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Category Archives: toronto’s heritage buildings

Toronto’s heritage buildings and sites on tayloronhistory.com

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Below are links to posts about Toronto’s heritage sites that have appeared on the blog, tayloronhistory.com, since it commenced in 2011.

Toronto’s Maple Leaf Baseball Stadium

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/torontos-maple-leaf-baseball-stadium/

Brunswick House on Bloor Street West, now closed

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/torontos-brunswick-house-now-closed/

Centre Island’s lost village

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/centre-islands-lost-villagetoronto/

Demolition of the Westinghouse building on King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/demolition-of-historic-westinghouse-building/

Walker House Hotel at Front and York Streets, demolished 1976

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/walker-house-hotel-demolished-front-and-york-streets/

Cyclorama on Front Street, demolished 1976

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/torontos-cyclorama-demolished-on-front-street/

The Toronto Star Building on King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-regent-mt-pleasant/

Fond Memories of A&A Records on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/fond-memories-of-a-a-records-demolished/

Memories of Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/fond-memories-of-sam-the-record-man/

Toronto’s old Land Registry Building (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/torontos-old-registry-office-building/

The Gordon House on Clarence Square, one of Toronto’s lost mansions

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/the-gordon-house-torontos-lost-mansion/

Old Toronto Star Building on King Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/the-old-toronto-star-building-demolished/

The Grand Opera House on Adelaide St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/grand-opera-house-on-adelaide-street-toronto/

The High Park Mineral Baths

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/torontos-lost-mineral-baths-on-bloor-street/

The old Dufferin Gates at the CNE

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/the-old-dufferin-gates-at-torontos-cne/

Toronto’s first brick house, built by Quetton St. George

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/torontos-first-brick-home-built-by-quetton-st-george/

Toronto’s Old Registry Office Building

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/torontos-old-registry-office-building/

Centre Island’s Lost Village

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/centre-islands-lost-villagetoronto/

Arcadian Court Restaurant in Simpsons

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/torontos-lost-arcadian-court-restaurant/

Toronto’s Old Customs Houses

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/torontos-historic-old-customs-houses/

Grand Opera House on Adelaide St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/grand-opera-house-on-adelaide-street-toronto/

Palace Pier Ballroom and Amusement Centre on Lakeshore, on West bank of the Humber River

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/torontos-old-palace-pier-ballroom/

Cawthra House—Toronto’s most historic mansion at Bay and King Streets (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/torontos-greatest-lost-mansioncawthra-house/

Ford Hotel at Bay and Dundas (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/the-old-ford-hoteltoronto/

Dufferin Gates of the CNE (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/the-old-dufferin-gates-at-torontos-cne/

Quetton St. George’s mansion on King Street, now demolished

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/torontos-first-brick-home-built-by-quetton-st-george/

Mineral Baths (swimming pools) on Bloor Street opposite High Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/torontos-lost-mineral-baths-on-bloor-street/

Upper Canada College’s first campus on Russell Square on King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/the-lost-buildings-of-upper-canada-college-toronto/

Upper Canada College’s former boarding house at Duncan and Adelaide Street 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/upper-canada-colleges-former-boarding-housetoronto/

St. Patrick’s Market on Queen West – the first market buildings

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/the-lost-buildings-of-st-patricks-market-toronto/

Armouries on University Avenue (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/torontos-lost-armouries-on-university-avenue/

Trinity College that once existed in Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/the-lost-trinity-college-of-bellwoods-parktoronto/

Hanlan’s Hotel on the Toronto Islands (Hanlan’s Point) now demolished

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/the-lost-hanlans-hotel-on-the-toronto-islands/

The Palace, the mansion of John Strachan (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/lost-toronto-palace/

Holland House—one of Toronto’s lost mansions (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/torontos-lost-mansionholland-house/

Crystal Palace of the CNE (demolished) —now the site of the Muzik nightclub

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/muzik-nightclubsite-of-cnes-crystal-palace/

Queen’s Hotel (demolished) —historic hotel on Front Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/queens-hotel-featured-on-murdock-mystery-series/

CNE Grandstand (demolished) —History of

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/torontos-cne-grandstand-and-baseball-stadium/

Maple Leaf Stadium (demolished) at Bathurst and Front Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/before-the-toronto-blue-jays-there-was/

Eaton’s old Queen Street Store at Queen and Yonge Streets (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/memories-of-eatons-queen-street-store-toronto/

Bank –Toronto’s First—Bank of Upper Canada (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/torontos-first-bankthe-bank-of-upper-canada/

Post Office—Toronto’s First

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/torontos-first-post-office/

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on Dundas Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/art-gallery-of-ontariofantastic/

Ontario’s Fourth Legislative Assembly

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/ontarios-fourth-legislative-assembly/

Ontario’s First and Second Legislative Buildings

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/ontarios-first-legislative-assemblypart-one/

Old Mill Restaurant in the Humber Valley

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/torontos-old-mill-in-the-humber-valley/

Montgomery’s Inn at Dundas West and Islington Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/historic-montgomerys-inntoronto/

Cecil Street Community Centre near Spadina Avenue and Cecil Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/historytorontos-cecil-street-community-centre/

Former Ryerson Press Building (now Bell Media) at 299 Queen Street, at Queen and John Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/torontos-ryerson-press-buildingbell-media/

Former Bank of Toronto Building at 205 Yonge Street, opposite the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/the-former-bank-of-toronto-at-205-yonge-street/

Buildings at 441-443 Queen Street, west of Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/torontos-441-443-queen-west-at-spadina/

History of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/history-of-the-royal-ontario-museum-rom/

Boer War monument at Queen West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/torontos-boer-war-monument/

History of Toronto’s CN Tower

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/history-of-torontos-cn-tower/

Gurney Stove Foundry at King West and Brant Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/torontos-gurney-stove-foundry-king-street-west/

Historic Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/torontos-historic-royal-alexandra-theatre/

Former Bank of Montreal at Queen and Yonge Streets, now a subway entrance and coffee shop

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/old-bank-of-montrealqueen-and-yonge/

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/torontos-historic-fairmount-royal-york-hotel/

Toronto’s Union Station of today that opened in 1927

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/torontos-newest-union-station/

Old Fort York

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/torontos-old-fort-york/

19th-century Bay and Gable house at 64 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/bay-and-gable-house-at-64-spadina-avenuetoronto/

Old houses hidden behind 58-60 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/old-houses-hidden-behind-58-60-spadina-avenuetoronto/ 

Historic Gale Building at 24-30 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/the-historic-gale-building24-30-spadina-ave-toronto/

Commercial block at 654-672 Queen West containing shops

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/architectural-gems654-672-queen-west-toronto/

Warehouse loft at 80 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/the-warehouse-loft-at-80-spadina-avenuetoronto/

The Systems Building at 40-46 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/the-systems-building-at-40-46-spadina-avenuetoronto/

The Steele Briggs Warehouse at 49 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/the-steele-briggs-warehouse-at-49-spadina-ave-toronto/

The building at Queen and Portland Streets, which once was a bank of Montreal

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/old-bank-building-at-queen-and-portland/

The 1850s buildings at 150-154 King Street East and Jarvis Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/torontos-architectural-gems150-154-king-st-east/

The Manufacturers Building at 312 Adelaide St. West 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/torontos-manufacturers-building-at-312-adelaide-street-west/

The old Eaton’s College Street (College Park and the Carlu)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/torontos-architectural-gemscollege-park-the-carlu-eatons-college-street/

The John Kay (Wood Gundy) Building at 11 Adelaide St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/john-kay-wood-gundy-building-toronto11-adelaide-st-w/

The Grange (AGO)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-grange-and-ago/

The Eclipse Building at 322 King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-eclipse-company-building-at-322-king-st/

The Toronto Normal School on Gould Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-toronto-normal-school-on-gould-st/

The Capitol Building at 366 Adelaide Street West, near Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-capitol-building-at-366-adelaide-west/

The Reid Building at 266-270 King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-reid-building-at-266-270-king-west/

Mackenzie House on Bond Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/mackenzie-housetoronto/

Colborne Lodge in High Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/torontos-architectural-gemscolborne-lodge-in-high-park/

The Church of the Redeemer at Bloor West and Avenue Road

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-church-of-the-redeemer-avenue-rd-and-bloor/

The Anderson Building at 284 King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-anderson-building-at-284-king-west/

The Lumsden Building at Yonge and Adelaide Street East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-lumsden-building-at-2-6-adelaide-street-east/

The Gooderham (Flatiron) Building at Wellington and Front Streets East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-gooderham-flatiron-building/

The Sick Children’s Hospital on University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/toronto-architectural-gemsthe-sick-childrens-hospital-and-mary-pickford/

St. James Cathedral at King St. East and Church St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/torontos-architectural-gemsst-james-cathedral-on-king-st-east/

The E.W. Gillett Building at 276 Queen King St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-e-w-gillett-building-at-276-king-st-west/

The Oddfellows Temple at the corner of Yonge and College Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-oddfellows-hall-at-2-college-st/

The Birkbeck Building at 8-18 Adelaide Street East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-birkbeck-building-at-8-10-adelaide-st-east/

The Toronto Seventh Post Office at 10 Toronto St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-7th-post-office-on-toronto-st/

Former hotel at Bay and Elm streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-former-hotel-at-bay-and-elm-streets/

The 1881 block of shops on Queen near Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-1881-block-at-388-396-queen-west/

The stone archway on Yonge Street, south of Carlton Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/torontos-architectural-gemsstone-archway-on-yonge-south-of-college/

The former St. Patrick’s Market on Queen West, now the City Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-st-patricks-queen-st-market/

The Brooke Building (three shops) at King East and Jarvis streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-brooke-building-at-jarvis-and-front/

The old Work House at 87 Elm Street, an historic structure from the 19th century.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-workhouse-at-87-elm-street/

The building on the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-northwest-corner-of-yonge-and-queen-st-west/

The former student residence of Upper Canada College, built in 1833, at 22 Duncan Street, at the corner of Adelaide streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-1833-structure-at-duncan-and-adelaide/

Church of the Holy Trinity beside the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/torontos-architectural-gemschurch-of-the-holy-trinity-beside-eaton-centre/

The former site of the “Silver Snail” comic store at 367 Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-silver-snail-comic-store-at-367-queen-st-w/

The Toronto Club at 107 Wellington, built 1888,  at the corner of York Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-toronto-club-at-wellington-and-york/ 

The YMCA at 18 Elm Street, built in 1890, now the Elmwood Club.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-ywca-at-18-elm-st/

The old St. George’s Hall at 14 Elm Street, now the Arts and Letters Club.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/torontos-architectural-gemsst-georges-hallarts-and-letters-club/

The 1860s houses on Elm St. (now Barbarian’s Steak House)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/torontos-architectural-gems1860s-houses-on-elm-streetbarbarians-steak-house/

The old “Silver Snail” shop on Queen St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-silver-snail-comic-store-at-367-queen-st-w/

The north building at the St. Lawrence Market, which is slated to be demolished

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/the-north-building-at-the-st-lawrence-market-in-autumn-of-2013/

The Ellis Building on Adelaide Street near Spadina Ave. 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-ellis-building-on-adelaide-near-spadina/

The Heintzman Building on Yonge Street, next to the Elgin Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-heintzman-building-on-yonge-street/

The tall narrow building at 242 Yonge Street, south of Dundas

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/torontos-architectural-gems242-yonge-st-south-of-dundas/

Toronto’s first Reference Library at College and St. George Streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-original-toronto-public-reference-library/

The Commodore Building at 315-317 Adelaide St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-commodore-building-315-317-adelaide-st/

The Graphic Arts Building (condo) on Richmond Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-graphic-arts-building-on-richmond-st/

The Art Deco Victory Building on Richmond Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-victory-building-at-80-adelaide-street-west/

The Concourse Building on Adelaide Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-concourse-building-on-adelaide-st/

The old Bank of Commerce at 197 Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-bank-of-commerce-at-197-yonge-street/

The Traders Bank on Yonge Street—the city’s second skyscraper

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/torontos-architectural-gemstraders-bank-on-yonge-st/

Toronto’s old Union Station on Front Street, built in 1884

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/torontos-lost-architectural-gemsthe-old-union-station/

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at King and Simcoe Streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/torontos-architectural-gemshistoric-st-andrews-on-king-st/

The row houses on Glasgow Street, near Spadina and College Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/torontos-architectural-gemsrow-houses-on-glasgow-st/

The bank at Queen and Simcoe that resembles a Greek temple

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bank-at-queen-west-and-simcoe-streets/

The cenotaph at Toronto’s Old City Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/torontos-architectural-gemscenotaph-at-old-city-hall/

The magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral at King East and Church Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/torontos-architectural-gemsmetropolitan-cathedral/

St. Stanislaus Koska RC Church on Denison Avenue, north of Queen West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/torontos-architectural-gemsst-stanislaus-koska-rc-church-at-12-denison-avenue/

The historical St. Mary’s Church at Adelaide and Bathurst Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/torontos-architectural-gemsst-marys-alterations-nearly-completed/

The Bishop’s (St, Michael’s) Palace on Church Street, Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbishops-palace-on-church-street/

The Union Building at Simcoe and King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-union-building-on-king-st/

The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-ed-mirvish-theatre-pantages-imperial-canon/

The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/toronto-architectural-gemsthe-waverly-hotel-484-spadina/

The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bank-of-commerce-cibc-on-king-street/

The Postal Delivery Building, now the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-postal-delivery-building-now-the-acc/

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/torontos-architectural-gems-bellevue-fire-station/

The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/torontos-architectural-gems-the-bank-of-nova-scotia-at-king-and-bay/

Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/in-mid-winter-recalling-the-sunshine-of-torontos-sunnyside-beach/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/a-pictorial-journey-to-sunnyside-beach-of-old-part-one/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/a-pictorial-journey-to-torontos-old-sunnyside-beach-part-two/

Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/torontos-architectural-gems-runnymede-library/

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/sinfully-saucy-and-diversetorontos-spadina-avenue/

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft building on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-reading-building-on-spadina/

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-darling-building-on-spadina/

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-amazing-fashion-building-on-spadina/

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/torontos-architectural-gemstower-building-at-spadina-and-adelaide/

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-balfour-building-at-spadina-and-adelaide

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/torontos-architectural-gemsrobertson-building-dark-horse-espresso-bar/

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/architectural-gem-grossmans-tavern-at-377-9-spadina/Historic

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-paul-magder-fur-shop-at-202-spadina-avenue/

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/a-historic-building-that-disappeared-from-the-northeast-corner-spadina-and-college/

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbank-at-spadina-and-queen-west/

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/history-of-the-backpackers-hotel-at-king-and-spadina/

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/torontos-hamburger-cornerwhere-is-it-and-why/

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/torontos-architectural-gems-lord-lansdowne-school-on-spadina-cres/

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/torontos-heritage-the-southwest-corner-of-queen-and-spadina/

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/torontos-architectural-historyspadina-north-of-queen-kings-court/

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/mcdonalds-at-queen-and-spadina-on-an-historic-site/

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.

ttps://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/torontos-architectural-gems-is-this-one-a-joke/

Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina Avenue and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/military-hero-of-war-of-1812-lived-near-mcdonalds-at-queen-and-spadina/

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/torontos-architectural-gems-art-deco-bus-terminal-on-bay-street/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-old-dominion-bank-buildingnow-a-condo-hotel-at-one-king-st-west/

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-canada-life-building/

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-glimpse-at-the-interior-of-campbell-house-at-university-avenue-and-queen-street/

A study of Osgoode Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-osgoode-hall/

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/torontos-first-city-hall-now-a-part-of-the-st-lawrence-market/

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/torontos-draper-street-is-akin-to-a-time-tunnel-into-the-past/

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/enjoying-torontos-historic-architectural-gems-queen-streets-black-bull-tavern/

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West, near York Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-cast-iron-fence-around-osgoode-hall/

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/listening-to-the-radio-as-a-child-in-the-1940s-the-lone-ranger-the-shadow-etc/

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/the-opening-of-torontos-university-theatre-on-bloor-street/

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/122-perish-in-torontos-noronic-disaster-horticultural-building-at-cne-used-as-morgue/

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/victoria-square-in-torontos-entertainment-district-is-a-gem/

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/visiting-torontos-best-preserved-nineteenth-century-street-willcocks-street/

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-water-maintenance-building-on-richmond-street-west/

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-city-hall-photographed-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/torontos-architectural-gems-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbank-at-spadina-and-queen-west/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-st-lawrence-hall/

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-history-and-beauty-of-trinity-bellwood-park/

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view the post that contains a list of Toronto’s old movie houses and information about them:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

 

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Upper Canada College’s former boarding house—Toronto

boarding house on Adelaide  1890  pictures-r-2330[1]

A student boarding house that was part of Upper Canada College, when  it was locate on the north side of King Street, is the only building that has survived from the 19th-century campus. Today, its address is 22 Duncan Street, and it is on the southwest corner of Duncan and Adelaide Streets. It was part  of a large complex of structures built for the college. It was erected in 1833, the year prior to York being incorporated as a city and changing its name to Toronto. The above photo depicts the building c. 1890 and is from the collection of the Toronto Public Library, r-2330.

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The above photo is of the boys’ boarding house at Duncan and Adelaide Streets in 2013. Though the building is in good shape, it has been altered greatly over the years and today there are no chimneys. It was part of the campus of Upper Canada College, founded in 1829 by Sir John Colborne, and located on a large tract of land known as Russell Square. The square was bounded on the north by Adelaide Street, on the south by King Street West, on the east by Simcoe, and the west by John Street. The school remained on this site between the years 1831 and 1891. It was eventually relocated to a site at 200 Lonsdale Road, at the top of Avenue Road, which at that time was in the Toronto suburb of Deer Park.

The old student residence from 1833 was designed in the Georgian style, with a symmetrical east facade and plain lines. The only ornamentation was the brick patterns on the corners of the building. The cornice of today is completely unadorned, though it has likely been changed several times since the building was originally constructed.  The student residence was altered in 1856 by the prestigious architectural firm of  Cumberland and Stone, and was altered several more times in the years ahead while it was owned by U.C.C.

After the college relocated to Lonsdale Road, the other college buildings on Russell Square were demolished. The student residence is the sole survivor. It became a factory until being renovated in 1953 to be used for commercial purposes. For the past few years, the building has been vacant. An historical plaque was placed on the structure in 1986, and was the main source of information for this post.       

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The symmetrical east facade of the boys’ residence at 22 Duncan Street. The ornamental brickwork on the corners of the building and the simple cornice are visible. 

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View of the cornice and the brickwork patterns on the northeast corner of the building.

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Entrance on the east facade at 22 Duncan Street (left), and one of the large rectangular windows on the east facade (right) , with the large stone sill beneath it. When the building was a student residence, there was a large porch structure over the entranceway. It is visible on the 1890 map.

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First floor on the east side of the old student residence on the southwest corner of Duncan and Adelaide Streets.

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Map from the Goad’s Atlas of 1890 in the City of Toronto Archives. It depicts Russell Square, where the buildings of Upper Canada College were located. The boys’ boarding house is in the upper left-hand corner of the map. On the map, Simcoe is on the right-hand side and John Street is on the left. On the south side is King Street West. In 1890, Duncan Street had not yet been extended south from Adelaide Street. The dotted-line extending north-south from the top of the map, to the left of the centre of the square, is where Duncan Street would eventually be extended.

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The place of the map where the word “house” appears is the building that is today 22 Duncan Street. Notice that there is an extended porch on the east side of the building, in the top right-hand corner of the map. The porch has been removed, perhaps when Duncan Street was extended south from Adelaide Street.

Map of 22 Duncan St, Toronto, ON M5H 3G8

        The site of the boarding house at 22 Duncan Street.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

A link to view posts that explore Toronto’s Heritage Buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/canadas-cultural-scenetorontos-architectural-heritage/

A link to view previous posts about the movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

The publication entitled, “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” was written by the author of this blog. It explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                          cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs.

A second publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016.

 

Tags: , ,

Stories from old Toronto postcards

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Old Toronto postcards sometimes reveal lovers’ quarrels and family squabbles, as well as mundane messages. It was necessary to be discreet, since the cards were seen by postal employees, including the local mailman. When viewing the material written on postcards of yesteryear, they appear similar to those sent in emails, or posted on Facebook and Twitter. Some of the messages are like the texts of today, though texts use more abbreviations.

I have been collecting old postcards of Toronto for many years; the postcard shown above is from my collection. It contains a view of Queen Street West, looking east from James Street, toward Yonge Street, about the year 1910. It was produced by Valentine and Sons’ Publishing Company, the most prolific marketer of postcards in the city during the first two decades of the 20th century. In the photo, on the left-hand side, to the east of the Adam’s Furniture Store, is the old Eaton’s Queen Street store, which was demolished to create the south section of the Eaton Centre of today. On the right-hand side of the photograph is the former Simpson’s Department store, which is now the Bay, at Queen and Yonge. The streetcar is a wooden car operated by the Toronto Street Railway Company, which provided city public transit until the TTC was created in 1921.

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The Rosehill Reservoir Park is located southeast of the intersection of Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue East (part of David Balfour Park). This card was mailed on July 27, 1906, to Mr. Norman Pascoe, who address was simply, “Lake Front at Kew Beach.” On the card the sender wrote: “ Dear Norman. We will meet you at Kippen Avenue at seven p.m. Wednesday next, if convenient. If not, please let us know. Yours truly, “Moonlight” 27/7/06.” Note: A hint of mystery is attached to this message, since the names of the senders are disguised. Why were they meeting?

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This postcard was mailed on June 1, 1939 to Miss Darling of Stockwell London, England. View looks north on Bay Street from King Street. A woman named Marjorie sent it from West Toronto. She writes: “Having a wonderful time. Have met Ivy, Doris, Fred, Uncle Eddie, and Aunt Annie and other friends in Toronto. We are on the boat on Lake Ontario and going to Niagara. Weather very hot.” The card was signed, “Love from Marjorie.” Note: Shorten this message slightly and it could be a text.

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On the reverse side of Marjory’s postcard, sent in 1939, are postage stamps depicting Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. The cost of postage was 2 cents.

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This view of Toronto harbour is on a postcard mailed on August 2, 1908. Written on the card is: “Had a fine ride on the Lake this morning. It is beautiful. Hope all are well and getting a long all right.” The card was signed, “Lillie.” In the picture, on the right-hand side of the skyline is the spire of St. James Cathedral on King Street East. On the reverse side of the card is a one-cent postage stamp commemorating the 300th anniversary of the founding of Quebec—1608-1908.

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This card was mailed from Toronto on June 14, 1909, by a young woman named Sarah, who sent it to Mrs. C. Everingham at Parry Harbour Ontario. She wrote: “Dear Mother, am well, hope you are the same. Mother could you send me $1.00 right away so I could get it Saturday. Well I am so home sick to see yous all again. I can hardly write Mother. Send me the price to go if you want me but send me the dollar for I need it badly.” The card was signed, “From Sarah xxx.” Note: The wording of the message is rather confusing but Sarah’s needs are quite clear.

The view on the card depicts Centre Island, likely from the shoreline of Long Pond looking west as there is a wooden bridge in the background. This bridge was later replaced by one constructed of stone.

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Sarah of Toronto sent this card on July 31, 1911. She wrote: “Dear cousin, We had a nice trip home, had dinner and tea at Mrs. Shepphard’s and then came down on the 7 o’clock boat. Found all well at home. Sister wants you to arrive, she wants to see you. Hope that Mr. Wossack is still getting on fine. Remember us to all with best. Kindness and Friendship.” The card was signed, “Yours, Sarah.” The view on the card looks westward across the picnic grounds at Hanlan’s point toward the lake.

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This exceptionally fine view of Toronto Street looks north from near King Street East toward Adelaide Street East. The Toronto Seventh Post Office, with its columned portico is visible on the left-hand side (west side) of the street. It is one of the few buildings on the street that still exists today. The card was mailed by Nellie from Toronto on February 25, 1908 to Mrs. Fred Battle in Bowmanville, Ont.  It reads: “Dear Mildred, would you cut me a pattern of a skirt for me. Will pay you for it, 22 waist, medium 38 length, a plain full skirt print for the house. I like them pretty full and if you would pin the seams together as I don’t know any other patterns putting them together unless they are put together. I can make them then.” The card was signed, “Nellie.” Note: I hope that Mrs. Battle understood the card’s instructions better than I did.

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This postcard shows the Amusement Park at the famous Sunnyside Beach, often referred to as “The poor man’s Riviera.” It was where each spring Toronto’s Easter Parade was held on the boardwalk, visible on the left-hand side of the photo. The view faces west, the waters of the lake to the south (left) of the boardwalk (not visible in the photo). The large structure in the photo with the red domed roof is the merry-go-round (carousel). When Sunnyside amusement park was demolished in the 1950s, the ride was shipped to Disneyland in California. In the foreground is Lakeshore Boulevard. The postcard was mailed on August 27, 1927, sent to “Master Elmer Morley, Sub. P.O. Ford City, Ontario.” The card reads: “ We arrived in Toronto all right and found Millers all well. We expect to go to exhibition on Monday.” The card is unsigned.

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This card is likely from around the year 1920. There is no date or message on it as it was never sent to anyone. The view faces east toward the pedestrian bridge over Long Pond. The women seated on the bench in the foreground are formally attired, the usual custom until the late 1940s, when men wore shirts and ties when attending picnics, the CNE or an evening stroll.

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This postcard depicts the ruins of a grist mill on the west bank of the Humber River. The card was mailed on July 12, 1907, prior to building the Old Mill Tea Garden and Restaurant, which was constructed beside the ruins in 1914. The card was sent to Miss Arrabel Ellis of Fenelon Falls. Ontario. It reads: “Dear Belle, I hear you are having quite a holiday this summer. You certainly had a nerve coming to Toronto and not the Junction. They wouldn’t give me your message.” It was signed, “Gerald.” Note: There seems to be some frustration and disappointment expressed on the part of Gerald. Lovers’ quarrel?

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This card with the delightful scene of Toronto harbour was mailed from the city on October 3, 1906. It was sent to Daisy Alberta Shepp at 929 E. King Street, York, Pennsylvania. U.S. A. There was no message on the card and it was unsigned.

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The view on this card faces south on Sherbourne Street. Sherbourne and Church Streets were among the first in the city to have electrically-powered streetcars. The card was mailed on June 7, 1905 to Miss A. B. Ellis, MacDonald Hall, Guelph, Ont. It reads: “Am sorry you will not be at my tea. We will miss you. Do not get lonesome.” It was signed, “May.”

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The first buildings on the site shown above was in 1838, when Captain Dick, a wealthy steamboat captain, constructed four brick townhouses. In 1856, Mr. Sword bought the houses and converted them into a hotel. In 1859, Captain Dick reappeared on the scene, bought the hotel, and renamed it the Queen’s. It became the city’s most elite hostelry and dining establishment. The future King George V, when he was the Prince of Wales, stayed at the Queen’s, as did several American presidents. The closing of the Queen’s in 1927 was the end of an era and the beginning of a new. The Royal York Hotel was built on the site by Canadian Pacific Hotels, a division of the Canadian Pacific Railways. 

The postcard was mailed on May 25, 1907 to Johann Laemmersamn of 2 Front Street, Watertown N. Y. It reads: “I am pleased with the pretty cards you sent.” It was signed, “Mr. Young.”

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This lithograph of Union Station on Front Street was mailed from Niagara Falls N. Y. on July 15, 1922. The station did not open until 1927, so the card was likely based on the architect’s sketches. The card was sent by Lottie to Miss Irma Chaplin of Jefferson, Ohio. It reads: “Toronto, Canada, July 14, 1922—Here today and there tomorrow. And it’s all wonderful. You ought to see it for yourself.” The card was signed, “Lottie” 

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This card was mailed from Hamilton, Ontario, on October 3, 1908. It was sent to Miss M. Eubank of Willoro Grove, Ontario. It reads: “Received letter but it was a long time in coming. Send me a card when you are coming down so I can go down to see you. Bring me some apples and beech nuts. I wish I was there to gather some. Miss H. will be down Friday, down to see her Sunday afternoon and Miss G. for tea. To church twice. Am going to write to Aunt Mary tonight.”

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This card depicts the Prince George Hotel on the northwest corner of King Street West and York Street. The card was mailed on February 4, 1913 to Mr. Floyd Gage, at 63 Penn Avenue, Binghamton N. Y. It reads: “Friend Floyd: I have been here a long time working with the Bowles Ltd., a large lunch concern and I am now receiving good pay. Am well and hope you are the same.” It is signed, “Your old friend, Samuel B. Wishart, 98 Mutual Street.” Perhaps the “Bowles Ltd.” that Samuel refers to was Bowles Lunch (restaurant) on the southeast corner of Bay and Queen Street West, across from today’s Old City Hall. 

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This card depicts the boardwalk along the south shore of Centre Island that leads to Ward’s Island. The card was never mailed, but written in pencil on the back is: “November 30, 1908—to William from Grandpa.” Little William likely was handed the card as there are child’s scribbles in pencil all over the back of the card.  

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This card was mailed from Portsmouth, England on November 13, 1915. It was sent to Miss Coles of 14 Craubury Avenue, Southhampton. It reads: “Saturday—M. D. A. We are leaving Portsmouth by the 8:55 train Sun. and look forward to seeing you all.” It is signed, “With love, Nellie.” It is assumed that Nellie or someone she knew had visited Toronto and purchased the card. The street in the upper right-hand corner is identified as “Pembroke Street. In the bottom right-hand corner is Wilton Street. The other streets are not named.

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This intriguing postcard was mailed on September 9, 1918 by Royal Air Force Cadet #171953 #4 Div. Toronto. It was sent to Mrs. Georgette R. Prince, Suite 25, Arlington Block, Edmonton, Alberta. The message on the card was written in French. I wish I were able to translate it as war-time messages are particularly important in preserving the memories of difficult times in Canada’s history.

The churches depicted on the card are: clockwise from the left-hand corner, St. James Cathedral on King Street east, Holy Blossom Synagogue on Bathurst Street, Metropolitan United on Queen Street East, St. Michael’s on Bond Street, Jarvis Street Baptist, Knox Presbyterian on Spadina, and the Bond Street Congregational Church at Bond and Dundas Street East (now demolished).  

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The card was mailed from Orillia, Ontario on November 10, 1955. It was sent to Miss Margaret Henry, 30 Annendale, Apt. 3, Kingston, Ontario. The picture is of Sick Children’s Hospital on University Avenue. The card reads: “ Dear Margaret, I have just returned home from Toronto. The David Scott’s address is 9809 19th Avenue North East, Seattle, Washington U. S. A. If Stanley would care to call on them? And do you still want Grey Squirrel for your coat?” The card is signed, “From E. Buchauau.” Note: A grey squirrel coat?

The cards that follow were never mailed so they have no messages or postage stamps on them to determine when they were purchased.

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Toronto’s Old City Hall, after the gargoyles had been removed from the tower as they were in danger of falling into the street below.

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          Children’s Playground on the west side of the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion

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Yonge Street in 1915, gazing north toward the College and Carlton Street intersection. The building on the left-hand side, with the rounded flat-topped towers, is the Odd Fellows Hall, built between 1891 and 1892. The streetcar in the distance that is making a right-hand turn from College Street, to proceed south on Yonge, is negotiating a jog in the roadway. This jog was eliminated when Eaton’s College Street was built in 1929, and Yonge Street was straightened. The clock tower of the old St. Charles Tavern is visible in the distance, on the west side of Yonge. The streetcar is a wooden car operated by the Toronto Railway Company. The TTC took over the system in 1921. The buildings on the west side of Yonge street, south of College, were demolished to erect the Eaton’s College Street Store. 

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When the Royal York opened on June 11, 1929, it was the tallest building in the city. The hotel’s architects were Ross and Macdonald, with the firm of Sproat and Rolph. They chose the “Chateau Style, reflecting the latest Art Deco trends of the 1920s. The Royal York possesses a copper roof and touches of the Romanesque in the many arched windows in its podium. The 28-storey building originally had 1048 rooms.

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The Royal Ontario Museum when its main entrance was on Queen’s Park. The Park Plaza Hotel is in the background, to the north of the museum.

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Construction on the Eaton’s College Street store commenced in 1928 and it opened on October 30, 1930. The magnificent structure, the jewel in the crown of the retail empire of the T. Eaton Company, was designed in the Stripped Classical design that reflected Italian Art Deco styles of the period. The building’s architects were the firm of Ross and Macdonald, in association with Sproatt and Rolph. The store was intended to appeal to affluent customers. Unfortunately, by the time the Eaton’s College store opened, the Great Depression had descended across the nation.

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Church street, where electric streetcar first appeared in 1891.  The view is looking south.

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This view of the Humber Valley was taken after 1914, as in this year a stone bridge was built over the river to replace the former wooden structure destroyed by an ice storm. The Old Mill Tea Garden (the Old Mill Restaurant of today) opened in 1914, prior to the stone bridge being constructed. It is in the photo, but is barely visible as it was a small structure compared to the vast complex of today’s Old Mill Restaurant. 

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In this view, the Royal York Hotel and the Bank of Commerce dominate the skyline. On the far left-hand side is the Terminal Building, now the Queen’s Quay Terminal. The cannon in the foreground remains at Centre Island but is now located near the ferry terminal.

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This photo of the Ford Hotel may create memories for a few people. This hostelry was once among the finest in the city. Some may also remember the Murray Restaurants that were in several locations throughout the city. The Ford Hotel was located at Bay and Dundas Streets, across from the bus terminal. Unfortunately it eventually became rather shabby. It was finally closed and demolished.

A link to a previous post that explores the history of postcards in Canada: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/torontos-golden-age-of-postcards/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

A link to view previous posts about the movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

A link to view posts that explore Toronto’s Heritage Buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/canadas-cultural-scenetorontos-architectural-heritage/

Recent publication entitled, “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                          cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 130 archival photographs.

A second publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Memories of Eaton’s Queen Street Store Toronto

View of construction site and Eaton's Queen Street store – April 16, 1975

The Eaton’s Queen Street Store on April 16, 1975. The view looks south on Yonge Street toward Queen Street, the east facade of the Simpson’s Store (now The Bay) visible in the distance. Behind  the white hoarding, to the north of the Eaton’s Store (in the foreground), construction is underway for the northern part of the Eaton Centre. Photo from the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, FL 0084, Item 62.

The Eaton’s Queen Street store occupied an entire city block, which was bounded by Yonge, Queen, Albert and James Streets. It was one of the most magnificent retail stores ever built in Canada. I was a young man when it was demolished to build the Eaton Centre, and I must confess that I did not lament its demise, despite having wonderful childhood memories of visiting it. Similar to most Torontonians in the 1970s, I was looking forward to the modern shopping mall that was to replace it and was too obsessed with the future to consider preserving the past. I now regret that I did not pay more attention and take photographs of it before it disappeared in 1977.

The northern half of the Eaton Centre, containing the new Eaton store, opened the same year that demolition commenced on the Queen Street store. The southern half of the Centre opened two years later. In future years, it became obvious that the Centre’s Yonge-Street facade had caused the street beside it to deteriorate, as it was a barren wall of concrete, devoid of stores with windows. Many millions of dollars were spent to renovate it to duplicate what the former Eaton’s store had always provided. How much better it would have been if the architects had paid more attention to the facade of the old Eaton’s Queen Street store. Attractive shops at street level provide a more inviting streetscape, and streets that are inviting attract shoppers, customers for restaurants, and tourists.

When I was a teenager in the 1950s, I considered the T. Eaton Company so immense that it seemed indestructible. It was a retail and manufacturing empire, spanning the nation from Atlantic to Pacific. When it disappeared, in today’s terms, it was akin to Tim Horton’s, Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, the NHL, or Canadian Tire disappearing from the scene. Similarly, when I attended Shea’s Hippodrome, the University Theatre, and the Odeon Carlton or the Odeon Hyland, I never dreamt that in the years ahead, they would all disappear. Only the facade of the University remains to remind us of the days when Toronto included many Canadian-owned commercial enterprises, including the largest of them all—Eaton’s.

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Shea’s Theatre (left) on Bay Street near Queen, and the University Theatre (right) on Bloor Street West.

Eaton’s was a retail success story that commenced in 19th-century Toronto. It became one of the most trusted and respected firms in Canada. Its founder, Timothy Eaton, was born in Ireland in 1834 and immigrated to Canada West (Ontario) in 1854, settling in the southwest part of the province. He relocated to Toronto in 1869 and opened a wholesale business on Front Street, near Yonge. However, later in the year, he moved into a rental property at 178 Yonge Street, near the corner of Queen Street, and opened a retail dry goods shop.

In the 1860s, King Street was the main shopping avenue of Toronto. The streets north of King possessed mostly pedestrian traffic, although there were horse-drawn streetcars on Yonge Street, between King Street and the village of Yorkville. The wealthy in their fancy carriages did not often venture as far north as Queen. However, Timothy was more interested in the masses than the wealthy. During the next few years, his store lured shoppers north to Queen Street. Due ever-increasing sales, Eaton’s shop was extended 40 feet to the rear and then, it leased the second-storey apartment above the store. It was said that Timothy paid the drivers of the horse-drawn streetcars to announce at the appropriate time in the journey—“Queen Street, all out for Eaton’s.”

Timothy soon outgrew the building at 178 Yonge, and in 1883, he relocated to 190-196 Queen Street, a short distance north. He now had 52 feet of frontage on Yonge Street, which provided 25,000 square-feet of retail space. His new shop possessed exceptionally tall plate-glass windows, vastly improving the displays of merchandise. This was a new concept, as although many shops at the time contained large windows, they had numerous small panes of glass.

Timothy’s merchandising methods, however, were far more revolutionary. He ended the system of bargaining for the price of goods; he sold all items at an advertised fixed price. The store offered no credit, but if customers were not satisfied with their purchases, the items were either exchanged or the money refunded. Customers were also invited to enter the shop to browse, and were not asked to leave if they did not purchase anything within a reasonable period of time, as occurred in other stores. The public quickly warmed to these new ideas and began flocking to the store. 

In 1884, Eaton’s acquired its first telephone. Also, an overhead pneumatic tube system was installed. A bill for a purchase and the customer’s cash were placed in a small container and sent through a pressurized tube to a central service counter. The container was returned with the customer’s change and a receipt for the goods. I remember watching this system in operation in the 1940s in the Eaton’s Annex store on Albert Street.

In 1886, having grown to employ 1500  employees, Timothy acquired space on Queen Street West, with a frontage of 31 feet. This doubled Timothy’s retail space. Eaton’s now possessed an “L-shaped” configuration, with an entrance on Yonge and another on Queen Street. The same year, Eaton’s installed its first elevator. As a boy, I remember the elevators at Eaton’s, operated by women in uniforms, who wore white gloves. They called aloud the floors and stated the goods available on each floor. To allow customers to exit or enter the elevator, the operator opened a heavy cage-like set of iron bars that folded back, accordion-style, and then manipulated the actual elevator doors.

The same year, Eaton’s commenced closing on Saturday afternoons during July and August to allow employees to enjoy the summer weather. To compensate, special sales were held on Fridays. Other stores remained open all day on Saturdays during the summer, but their profits were less. My great Uncle Jim worked at Eaton’s in the 1920s, and was extremely loyal to the company as he had a cottage in Long branch. He was grateful to be able to depart to visit it on Saturday afternoons, during the summer months. Today, it is difficult to imagine Long Branch as cottage country.

In 1889, Eaton’s expanded with another section added to the complex, its west facade on James Street and its north facade on Albert Street. Next, the retail space on Queen Street was doubled in size. In 1891, restaurants were added to the complex, including the Grill Room on the fifth floor and the “Quick Lunch Room” in the basement. Next, a grocery department was opened in the basement. Two years later, a four-storey addition on Albert Street extended the retail space of the store. In 1896, the section on Queen Street was increased to four storeys. In 1903, the mail-order department relocated from the main store to its own building on Albert Street.

The year 1905 was when the first Santa Claus Parade was held. By 1907, Eaton’s owned 22 acres of property in downtown Toronto, its retail space within the city-block bounded by Yonge, Albert, James and Queen Streets. Only the small building on the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen was not part of the complex. A building to showcase furniture was acquired on the northwest corner of James and Albert Streets. In 1924, the Georgian Room opened on the ninth floor of Eaton’s; many considered it Toronto’s first fine restaurant.

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       Easter Display in the Eaton’s Store in 1906. Photo, Ontario Archives.

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Looking north on James Street in 1910, toward Albert Street. Old City Hall is on the left-hand side (west) and Adam’s Furniture Store on the right-hand side (east). Eaton’s eventually acquired the furniture store as well. Toronto Archives, F. 1244, Item 1160a.

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Statue of Timothy Eaton presented by the store’s employees in 1919. It was located near the Queen Street entrance. When the Eaton Centre was built, it was relocated to the Dundas Street entrance of the store. Today it resides in the basement of the Royal Ontario Museum. It was said that rubbing the toe of the shoe of the bronze figure brought a person good luck. Photo from Wikipedia. 

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Same view of James Street as the 1910 photo, but taken in 1920. In this picture, in the distance, the Eaton’s Furniture Store is visible on the northwest corner of Albert and James Streets. Toronto Archives, F. 1244, Item 1160b.

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                         Post card showing the Eaton’s complex in 1920.

Queen St, east, from James, traffic, noon - 1 p.m., (Executive Department) – August 31, 1929

The view is looking east along Queen Street West toward Yonge Street in 1929. The Eaton’s store is on the left, and Simpson’s (The Bay) on the right. On the north facade of Simpson’s there is a large Union Jack and a banner fluttering over the street that advertises the CNE. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 7175.

North, on Yonge, from north of Queen, 1:37 p.m., no rush hour parking on east side frees extra street space for use of rush hour moving traffic, (Traffic Study Department) – January 12, 1929

View looks north on Yonge Street from near Queen Street on January 12, 1929. Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre (now the Elgin) is on the right, and the Eaton’s store is on the left. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 6569. 

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The Georgian Room in 1939. An orchestra played here while customers dined. Photo Ontario Archives.

                    

The Yonge Street facade of the Eaton’s store decorated for the coronation in 1953. Photo, Ontario Archives.

View of sale signs displayed along Queen Street Eaton's store windows – April 5, 1977

The south facade of the Eaton store on Queen Street on April 5, 1977. Signs in the windows advertise the final sales before the store closed for demolition. Toronto Archives, F 1526, fl 0085, item 9.

Personal Memories of Eaton’s

I was a young boy in the 1940s, and my first memory of the T. Eaton Company was the catalogue that my mother carefully examined each November, prior to our trip downtown to shop for Christmas. It was glossy and colourful, and for me, the section advertising toys particularly exciting. On the day we finally journeyed downtown, my brother and I thought that riding the old square-shaped Yonge Streetcars was part of the adventure. I especially enjoyed the trailer-cars as they swayed considerably as they rattled their way south toward Queen. If we were lucky, we found a place to sit near the coal stove, which was situated in the centre of the streetcar.

After arriving at Eaton’s, my mother examined goods on the ground-floor level and then, we went to the basement. This was where there was a tunnel under Albert Street that led to the Eaton’s Annex store. Goods were cheaper in this building, and my mother usually purchased bedding and towels there. In the tunnel, the scent of ice cream waffles filled the air, which seemed strange as the walls of the tunnel contained space for selling house paints. Hot dogs and soft ice cream were two other delights that were sold in the tunnel. I remember that the escalators in the Annex were quite narrow and very rickety. On this visit, it seemed forever before we returned to the main store via the underground tunnel, where the aroma of treats again tortured my brother and me.  

Today, I wonder if my mother visited the other departments of Eaton’s to build suspense before she took us on the elevator to the fifth floor, where Toyland was located. It was a sight beyond the magic of the “Thousand and One Tales of the Arabian nights.” The huge diorama containing model electric trains possessed rivers, bridges, miniature towns, and mountains with tunnels. The model trains disappeared into the tunnels and then, shot out on the other side. Some of the trains even emitted smoke.

The display of board games was endless. Snakes and Ladders, Clue, and Parcheesi were my favourites. The games were manufactured from wood and cardboard, as the use of metal was restricted due to the war effort. There was also an amusement ride, a small train that carried passengers on an imaginary trip across Canada. It was 15 cents for adults and 10 cents for children. To save money, my brother and I rode the train without my mother. The train weaved its way across Northern Ontario, the prairies and into the mountains of B. C. It was great!

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Of course, the highlight of the trip was visiting Santa, who sat on an elaborate chair in his North Pole castle. The Eaton’s Santa Claus was the “real” Santa, my mother had explained to my brother and me. The Santa at Simpson’s was merely a helper. Most Torontonians were loyal to one store or the other. My mother preferred Eaton’s as she felt that the prices were cheaper. However, we always took the time to view the Simpson’s Christmas windows that contained fairy-tale scenes with animated figures. The Bay Store continues this tradition today.

A few years ago, I visited San Francisco during November and visited the Macy’s Store on Union Square; it was like being in the Eaton’s store of my boyhood. The decorations were lavish and the toy section amazing. The restaurant on the top floor was crammed with people, similar to the days when Eaton’s operated restaurants. It is not surprising that Macy’s copied the advertising techniques of Eaton’s, as they came to Toronto many years ago seeking advice on how to create a Christmas Parade. They learned fast, and the Macy’s New York parade survives to this day. 

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Eaton’s Annex Store on Albert Street. The view looks west on Albert toward Nathan Philip Square in front of the New City Hall. Toronto Archives. F0124, fl0003, id. 0031.

Close view of construction of Eaton Centre bridge from a streetcar stop on Queen Street West – September 25, 1978

View on September 25, 1978 of the glass-covered bridge over Queen Street that connects the Eaton Centre to Simpson’s (now the Bay). The south facade of the Centre is also under construction, and is visible in the background of the photo. Toronto Archives, F1526, Fl0090, item 0014. 

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View of the Eaton Centre in 1978 from the corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets. Photo from the Ontario Archives.

                   View of Eaton Centre with holiday decorations towards Queen Street – December 15, 1981

View of the Eaton Centre, gazing northward, on December 15, 1981, when it was decorated for Christmas. Toronto Archives, F1526, Fl 0092, Item 0056.

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                                       View of the Eaton Centre in 2011.

The author is grateful for the information provided by the publications: “The Eatons, The Rise and fall of Canada’s Royal Family” by Rod McQueen (Stoddart Press, 1998) and “Eaton’s, The Trans-Canada Store,” by Bruce Allen Kopytek (History Press, 2014) 

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous posts about the movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern, and Toronto’s Heritage Buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[1]

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016, entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” 

“Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press, explores 75 of the city’s heritage buildings. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plans for Waterworks Building at 505 Richmond Street West

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View of the Waterworks building, gazing north on Brant Street toward Richmond Street West. The structure’s east facade and a small portion of the south facade are visible (photo, September 2015)

The Waterworks Maintenance building at 505 Richmond Street West is an architectural gem that has survived for over eighty years in the heart of downtown Toronto. Because it is a designated Heritage Site, despite the many condos erected in the area, is has escaped the wrecker’s ball. There are now plans to restore and revamp the structure to contain facilities that will benefit many residents living in downtown Toronto.

The building hearkens back to an era when great care was lavished on public buildings, even though their main purpose was utilitarian.  The complex was constructed in 1932, on the site of the former St Andrew’s Market, which was established in 1837. For a link to the history of the Waterworks Maintenance Building and St. Andrew’s Market: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-water-maintenance-building-on-richmond-street-west/ 

When the city vacated the Waterworks building a few years ago, it opened the possibility of it being redeveloped for other purposes. The Waterworks complex actually consists of nine buildings of different heights — single storey, two storey, and three. When it was occupied by the Waterworks, the “Pattern Storage and Shop” occupied the three-storey section, while the “Machine Shop and Heavy Storage” were in the one-storey section, which possessed an extra-high ceiling. This was necessary as it contained moveable cranes. The facades of the buildings vary in design, but do not exhibit much symmetry. They are faced with a pleasing yellow bricks, except one building on the south side that has red bricks. The trim is limestone, quarried in Queenston, Ontario. Limestone also comprises the base of the facades that face outward toward either the street or the park. 

When the buildings were erected in the 1930s, they were considered a new architectural style, one that emphasized the horizontal rather than the vertical. This was viewed as revolutionary, since during the previous two decades of the 20th century, commercial builders had been obsessed with reaching for the skies, each commercial structure in the downtown stretching higher than its predecessor. However, in the early-1930s, some architects felt that horizontal buildings were the way of the future. They reasoned that because the decade was an era of increasingly numerous passenger flights, tall buildings would threaten aircraft. Constructing them horizontally would reduce this risk. The idea may appear quaint today, but it was a serious consideration in that decade. The Waterworks was one of the buildings that reflected this concept. No architect in the 1930s could ever have imagined that increased land prices would make this idea totally impractical, or that technology would remove the danger of aircraft flying over skyscrapers. 

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The left-hand photo is of a one-storey building in the complex. It has no limestone on its base as it faces the interior courtyard. The right-hand photo is of a building that is three-storeys. It faces Richmond Street.

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                               Two-storey section on Brant Street. 

The following quote is from the book “Smart Address, Art Deco, Style Moderne, and their Contemporaries in Toronto.” Published in 2013 by the Toronto Architectural Conservatory. Article is by K. S. Gillies and the Staff of the City of Toronto, Departments of Buildings, Architects.

“The Waterworks Maintenance Buildings comprising office buildings, heavy, medium and light storage buildings, machine and repair shops and storage, garage, paint, salvage and miscellaneous storage, are a step in the right direction. Though built for a civic department they are with the exception of the office building, industrial in character and use but there is little of the stereotype factory building about them. Both in mass and in detail they show a rather welcome freedom from hackneyed repetition. In the detail one is conscious of an earnest effort to break new ground, to substitute simplicity of line and form for the so often unnecessary ornamentation of the traditional styles, styles which do not seem suitable for the time or use to which these buildings are put.”

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         View of the building from the corner of Brant and Richmond Streets.

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View of the two-storey south section of the complex, with St. Andrew’s Playground to the south (left-hand side) of it. The vertical windows have dogtooth-brick patterns on either side. It is one of the few deviations from the simplicity of form that the building displays. However, the pattern is not particularly noticeable, so the overall appearance remains true to the original concept of being unadorned.

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Close-up view of the dogtooth brick patterns beside the windows on the south facade of the building, overlooking St. Andrew’s Playground.

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This entrance on the north side of the Waterworks Building, facing Richmond Street, is perhaps the one small area where there is a little exuberance in the architectural style. The doorway is surrounded by Queenston Limestone, and the design is symmetrical. The latter feature is not common throughout the buildings. 

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View of the wrought iron gates at the exit from the centre courtyard in the complex. It leads to Maud Street.

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Other areas of the structure where Queenston Limestone is employed for trim.

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Construction of the Waterworks Building on May 6, 1932. The view gazes northeast toward Richmond Street. The buildings on the north side of Richmond, on right-hand (east) side of Augusta Avenue, is where the condo 500 Richmond is located today. The building in the top right-hand corner of the photo is the first Salvation Army Citadel erected in Toronto.  Photo Toronto Archives, S0372, SS0001, item 1117.

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View gazing west toward Maud Street of the site of the Waterworks Maintenance Building in April 1932. On the wall that is supported by timbers, blocks of Queenston limestone have already been placed under the windows, which will face the inner courtyard. The houses in the distance, on Maud Street, have since been demolished, but the large building, E. Pullan Paper Stock at 20 Maud Street, still exists today, though it has other occupants. Toronto Archives, S0372, SS0001, Item 1116.

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This view also gazes east, on April 16, 1932. The spire of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at Bathurst and Adelaide Street is visible. Toronto Archives, S0372, SS0001, Item 1111. 

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View gazes south on April 30, 1932, from the Richmond Street side of the construction site. In the upper left-hand side of the photo is Brant Street School. Toronto Archives, S0372, SS0001, Item 1115.

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View of the construction gazing west toward Brant Street on May 6, 1932. Camden Street is also visible, stretching east toward Spadina. The photo provides a good view of the south side of the Waterworks Building, overlooking St. Andrew’s Playground. In the photo, the windows extend closer to the ground than today, as the lower portions of them were later bricked-in. In the distance, the large buildings are 460 Richmond Street, and the Fashion Building at Spadina and Camden. On Brant Street are the houses that were demolished to create a parking lot, where eventually the condo  50 Camden Street was erected. On the right-hand side of the photo is St. Andrew’s playground, where there is a wading pool and a pavilion, the latter containing washrooms and indoor space for special events. Toronto Archives, S0372, SS0001, Item 1118.

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Photo shows the windows on the south side of the Waterworks complex, facing St. Andrew’s Playground in September 2015. The lower portion of the windows are bricked-in. Future plans for the building include reopening these windows and extending them to ground level to allow pedestrian access to the building from the park.

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View of the buildings gazing north on Brant Street toward Richmond, with St. Andrew’s Playground on the left.

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Interior of the south building of the Waterworks complex. The door at the far end opens on to Camden Street. Photo, September 2015.

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Interior view of the south building, revealing the skylights and the enormously high ceiling.

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The south building has a Heritage Floor that consists of wooden blocks. They are in poor shape but will be restored.

The following is a quote from a bulletin that Counsellor Joe Cressy published online. It provides information about one of the proposals for the future of the Waterworks Maintenance Building.

The proposed YMCA will be located in the Waterworks building at 505 Richmond Street West, a designated Heritage structure and BUILD Toronto property.  BUILD has been working over the past few years to develop a holistic plan for the property, which will include residential development, heritage restoration, and a link to the neighbouring Saint Andrew’s playground.  The new 50,000 square foot YMCA facility, which will include program space and a full-size swimming pool, has been included in the overall plan for the building.

On  the east side of the Waterworks building, the space will altered to facilitate “Phoenix Rising,” which offers courses and accommodation for at-risk youths, providing courses that teach skills to allow the youths to re-integrate into the community.

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Space on the east side of the Waterworks building that will be occupied by Phoenix Rising. Photo taken 2015.

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     Plans for the space that Phoenix Rising will occupy in the Waterworks Building.

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Councillor Joe Cressy who spoke at the community meeting in the spring of 2015 that announced the plans for Phoenix Rising. He is the city counsellor for Ward 20, where the Waterworks building is located and has spent many hours on this project. Mayor Tory was also in attendance.

To read more about the proposals for the Waterworks Building, follow this link: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2015.EX8.15

To contact Counsellor Joe Cressy’s office for further information: www.joecressy.com/contact

The Garden District web site also provides information about the Waterworks building; www.GDNAToronto.org


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View of the Waterworks from the corner of Maud and Richmond Streets.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern—and Toronto’s Heritage Buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , ,

Toronto’s first bank—the Bank of Upper Canada

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The Bank of Upper Canada, Toronto’s first bank, was chartered on April 21, 1821, only 25 years after Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe departed the tiny settlement of York. In that year, the town possessed approximately 2000 inhabitants, with 209 houses, 27 shops, and 5 storehouses. It was realized that for the town to grow further, it was necessary to have a local bank, to eliminate the need to journey to Montreal or New York to secure loans. In response to the need, a group of wealthy and influential businessmen created the Bank of Upper Canada. Many of the residents of York were not too pleased that all the directors of the new bank were Tories, and thus closely aligned with the Family Compact. Undeterred, the businessmen elected William Allan as the first president of the bank. He was among the wealthiest men in the province and highly regarded by his peers. The above sketch of the second building of the bank is from the collection of the Toronto Reference Library (B2 11a).

The Bank of Upper Canada opened in July 1822, in converted store on the southeast corner of  Frederick and King Street East. In 1827, it relocated to the northeast corner of George and Duke Street (now named Adelaide Street), on land purchased from Sir William Campbell, whose mansion was on Duke Street. The new premises were two and a half storeys, built in the neo-classical style, constructed of white stone blocks. Its impressive porch was designed by John G. Howard, who in later years donated to the city the land that became High Park. The porch of the bank was added in 1844, in the classical style, supported by four large Doric columns on its south side. Its door possessed rectangular sidelight windows, with a semi-circular transom window above it. Above the porch there was a balcony. The interior of the bank was trimmed with mahogany.

In 1841, Upper and Lower Canada became the Canadas (Canada West and Canada East). In 1849, because of the riots in Montreal, the capital of the Canadas was moved from Montreal to Toronto. The same year, the Bank of Upper Canada was granted the right to mint copper coins.

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A one-penny token issued by the Bank of Upper Canada in 1857. (Photo from www.coinquest.com)

The bank was successful and assisted greatly in financing projects that helped the town to grow. It instituted the branch system of banking, assuring that Toronto would become the financial centre of the province. It also protected people’s savings, though it offered no interest on the customers’ accounts. It had no rivals in York until the 1830s, when other banks were formed or banks from other cities opened branches. They commenced paying interest on customers’ deposits, and the Bank of Upper Canada was forced to follow their example. In 1857 the decimal system for currency was introduced, based on the American system, replacing pounds with dollars.

However, in 1857 there was an economic crisis. The Crimean War ended the year before and lucrative war contracts disappeared. This greatly affected the bank, but it continued offering loans to land speculators, particularly those investing in land for railways. The situation improved when the American Civil War commenced in 1861, as merchants in Toronto sold supplies to the North, even though Britain had recognized the South. When the war ended in 1865, there was another business slump. In 1866, the combination of bad loans, a poor economy, and competition from rival banks, of which there were now eleven, caused the Bank of Upper Canada to fail.  

In 1870, the building was purchased by the De La Salle Institute, a Roman Catholic school for boys. They constructed a three-storey building with a Mansard roof on the east side of it and joined the two structures to create a single building. In 1874 they bought Toronto’s first post office next door to it, adding it to the other two buildings. Mansard roofs were added to the bank and the post office to create the appearance that the three buildings were all one structure.

The school remained on the premises until 1913. In 1914, the former bank building housed the Royal Flying Corps Recruiting Centre. After the war, the three buildings were purchased by Christie Brown and Company, Canada’s largest baking company. In 1956, the bank building was empty and during the next few years it began to  deteriorate. Finally, it was purchased by Sheldon Godfrey and his wife Alice, who restored it. In 1978, the bank building was designated a National Heritage Site.

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The Bank of Upper Canada building in 1872, on the corner (on the left-hand side of the photo), when it was owned by the De La Salle Institute. The school’s new building is next door to it, on the right-hand side. Photo Toronto Reference Library, r. 2858

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Photo taken prior to 1874 as there are no Mansard roofs on either the Bank of Upper Canada building or the three-storey Toronto’s first post office (right-hand side). Ontario Archives, 10002092.

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Diagrams of the railings above the bank’s porch, as shown in Eric Arthur’s book, “No Mean City.”

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              Diagram of the porch as shown in Eric Arthur’s book, “No Mean City.”

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The buildings in the 1960s, prior to restoration, the Bank of Upper Canada on the far left-hand side. Toronto Archives, F0124, fl 2, id. 19.

Jan. 1978  f1526_fl0053_it0040[1]

View of the porch from its west side in 1978, Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, item 40.

July 1978  f1526_fl0053_it004 9[1]

Gazing east along Adelaide Street at the buildings in July 1978. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, fl 0053, id. 49.

June, 1979  f1526_fl0053_it0053[1]

The three combined buildings in 1978, prior to restoration. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, fl. 0053, id. 0053.

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Same view in September 2015, the planted trees having matured, partially obscuring the buildings.

                         Jan. 1978  f1526_fl0053_it0035[1]

The doorway in January 1978, Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, Fl.0053, id 0035.

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     The porch and doorway of the former bank on September 15, 2015.

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                                      The portico in September 2015.

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View of the Bank of Upper Canada Building erected in 1827, in September 2015.

The author is grateful for the information contained in www.lostrivers.ca and www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[1]

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791

 

 

Tags: , ,

Toronto’s first Post Office

                  DSCN6970

Near the northeast corner of Adelaide and George Streets, at 252 Adelaide Street West, is one of the city’s most historic structures — Toronto’s first post office. Erected in 1833, it was an important commercial and social centre for the town of York, in the days when it was in a remote colonial province of the British Empire. Despite its isolation, York was a bustling settlement as it was the capitol of the colony of Upper Canada. Postal service was vital as it was the town’s only connection to the outside world, especially to relatives overseas.

In the 1830s, Canada did not have its own postal system. The delivery of mail was controlled by the imperial government in London, which appointed a Post Master General for British North America, who was responsible for the various local postmasters. Only a man of considerable financial means was capable of fulfilling the duties of a local postmaster. This was because the position required that the person pay out of his own pocket for the construction and maintenance of the building that housed the post office, the salaries of the employees, and for any equipment and supplies required.  

Despite these drawbacks, James Scott Howard was proud to be appointed the postmaster for York in 1828, as the position was lucrative and it gave him considerable prestige within the town. Born in Ireland in 1798, he had immigrated to Upper Canada in 1820. Working at first from log cabin, he prospered and was eventually appointed the postmaster, even though he was not considered a member of the elite of the town. This was because he was a Methodist, not an Anglican as were the members of the Family Compact. However, his reputation for integrity and hard work earned him the position. 

Howard purchased land from the Bank of Upper Canada and erected a fine Georgian building on Adelaide Street, which was then named Duke Street. At a cost of 2400 pounds, it was a three-storey structure of red bricks, with a plain symmetrical design. In that era, it was common for merchants to live in the same building as their business enterprises. To accommodate this arrangement, the post office contained two entrances, one on the west that allowed access to the postal facilities, and another doorway on the east that led to the family residences on the upper floors.

The Bank of Upper Canada was to the west of the post office, a vacant lot separating the two structures. The stately home of Chief Justice William Campbell was to the east of the post office. The St. Lawrence Market was nearby, allowing families and farmers who attended the market to easily retrieve their mail. The new building was the fourth such facility that had served the postal needs of the town. When York was incorporated as a city and renamed Toronto in 1834, Howard’s building became the city’s first post office.

Following the Rebellion of 1837, Howard was accused of being a rebel sympathizer. Because of these unsubstantiated rumours, he was dismissed from his position in 1838, even though no charges were ever laid and nothing was ever proven. The fact that he was not a member of the elite group of the city, undoubtedly influenced this decision.

During the years ahead, the building had many different occupants. In 1870, the De La Salle Institute, a Roman Catholic boys’ school, purchased the Bank of Upper Canada building and the vacant lot to the east of it. The school erected a three-storey building on the vacant lot, with a Mansard roof, and altered the roof of the former Bank of Canada to match it. In 1874, they bought bought the old post office and added a Mansard roof to it as well. The three structures were joined to create a single building. The school operated on this site until 1913.

The last occupants of the joined buildings departed in 1956. The old post office, which occupied the eastern portion of the structure was empty, along with the two adjoining structures. They soon began to deteriorate and were in danger of being demolished. Fortunately, the structures were eventually purchased by Sheldon Godfrey. The old post office was rediscovered and restored. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1978. Today, it is a museum, but is also a fully functioning post office.

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The above picture depicts a section of a model of the town of York that is on display in Toronto’s first post office on Adelaide Street. The building on the left is the Bank of Upper Canada, and to the right of it is a vacant lot. Toronto’s first post office, with its two entrances, is to the right of the vacant lot. To the right of the post office is a brown structure. To the right of it is the home of Chief Justice William Campbell. The latter building was relocated in 1972 today is situated on the northwest corner of University Avenue and Queen Street.

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A watercolour by Owen Staples that today is in the Baldwin Room of the Toronto Reference Library. It was painted from a photograph of the building taken in 1869.

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The building as it appeared in September 2015. The Mansard roof on the structure was added in 1874, when De La Salle Institute purchased it.

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Toronto’s first post office on the north side of Adelaide Street (on the right), the De La Salle Institute building to the left of it, and the Bank of Upper Canada building to the left of it, hidden behind the trees.

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    Portrait of James Scott Howard, on display today in the post office. 

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The left-hand photo is of the entrance to the post office, on the west side of the building. The right-hand photo is of the east entrance, which gave access to the residence of the family on the floors above. 

                   March 1982, f1526_fl0053_it0059[1]

The doorway of the post office in March 1982, the year prior to it opening as a museum. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, It.59

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The restored building opened as a living museum in 1983, and is today a functioning post office. It is the oldest surviving such facility in Canada as it is from the British colonial period.

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The reading room in the post office was where people opened and read their mail, and then, composed a reply and mailed it. This was necessary as many customers travelled considerable distances to retrieve their mail, and a return visit might entail a journey of several hours or sometimes an entire day. If a person were illiterate, a staff member at the post office would read the letter to its recipient and also write a reply for them.  

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      A desk in the reading room with the necessary equipment to write a letter.

1978- f1526_fl0053_it0030[1]

Photo of the building that was the De La Salle Institute, taken in 1978, prior to its restoration. The Bank of Upper Canada is the western (left side) of the structure, the centre section was constructed by the Institute, and the first post office is to the right of it, on the eastern side.  The three buildings appear as if they are a single structure, as the Mansard roofs unify them. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, Item 30.

c. 1900  I0002092[1] 

Gazing east on Adelaide Street from near George Street, prior to 1874, as neither the post office (far right) or the Bank of Upper Canada (foreground) have  Mansard roofs in this photo. Photo from Ontario Archives, 10002092.

                         DSCN6971

                                 Toronto’s first post office in 2015.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[1]

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791

Theatres Included in the Book:

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), the Photodrome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

 

 

 

Tags:

Art Gallery of Ontario—Fantastic

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The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is for me a home away from home. I purchased a membership to enable me to frequently visit paintings that I consider old friends. Each time I see them, I discover another facet of their life as they reveal details that I have not seen before, even though I have spent time with them on many occasions. With every visit, my life is enriched, as these friends allow me to access their stories and explore the skills of those who created them. It is a quietly fantastic experience.

The beginnings of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) commenced in the auspicious year 1900, when a new century was born. In that year, Toronto painter George Reid, president of the Ontario Society of Artists, joined forces with a prominent banker, Edmund Reid, to raise funds for a permanent gallery for art exhibitions. The gallery was to be named the Art Museum of Toronto. In 1903, the Ontario Legislature passed an act to officially recognize this new institution, even though it did not possess a permanent site for its exhibitions. In the meantime, the society displayed works of art in various locations, the old Toronto Reference Library at College and St. George Streets being one of them.

In 1909, the Grange, the Georgian mansion of Goldwin and Harriet Smith, was bequeathed to the society for the explicit purpose of creating an art gallery for Toronto. The home was located south of Dundas Street, between McCaul and Beverley Streets. The society took possession of the property, established their offices in the building, and renovated it for exhibitions. The first showing was held in the Grange on June 5, 1913, consisting mainly of the art collection of their benefactor, Goldwin Smith. However, the prospects of the gallery’s growth were limited unless more space became available. In response to this need, the Ontario Government began purchasing and expropriating land on Dundas Street, to the north of the Grange.

In 1916, construction commenced on the new gallery. Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, its architects were Darling and Pearson. The square-shaped  structure opened on April 4, 1918, built to the north of the Grange, its south wall attached to it. Patrons temporarily accessed the new building through the Grange until the following year, when the door facing Dundas Street was opened. In 1919, the gallery’s name was changed to the Art Gallery of Toronto. By 1922, on the land on Dundas Street, purchased by the Ontario Government, the few remaining houses had been demolished, and space was now available for further expansion. 

Another wing was added to the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1926. Two new galleries were built in 1935, their architect Darling, Pearson and Cleveland. In 1966, the name of the gallery was changed to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to reflect its enhanced role in the artistic life of the province. During the 1970s, construction commenced to create space for the collection of the Henry Moore sculptures and to create a new Canadian wing. Because of the many wings added to the gallery, in 1989, the architects Barton, Myers and Associates were commissioned to redesign the interior to create a more cohesive interior appearance. Then, in 1993, the Tanenbaum Sculpture Atrium was built on the south side of the gallery, facing Grange Park.

In 2002 the largest expansion in the gallery’s history began. Toronto-born Frank Gehry redesigned and transformed the gallery. Its exhibit space was increased by 50%, to a total of 583,000 square feet. An enormous structure of glass and natural wood was built extending the full length of the building on the side facing Dundas Street. Named the Galleria Italia, it has been referred to as a “crystal ship” with a great sail at its eastern end. On the south side of the gallery, facing Grange Park, a four-story wing was added, covered with blue titanium. It contained a sculpted staircase on its exterior that appeared as if it were suspended in space. The building’s interior was redesigned to improve the hallways, staircases and ramps, employing generous amount of natural wood. The total cost was $500 million, of which Ken Thomson donated $50 million, along with 2000 works of art. In November 2008 the transformed gallery was officially opened.   

The first group exhibition of the Group of Seven was held in the gallery in 1920. Over the many decades, the AGO has presented many other special exhibitions — King Tutankhamen (1979), Barnes Collection (1994), Courtauld Collection (1998), Treasures of the Hermitage (2001), Turner-Whistler-Monet (2004), Catherine the Great (2005), and Picasso (2012). The Art Gallery of Ontario’s collection contains 2000 years of art history and over 80,000 works of art from Canada, North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Oceania and Asia. The AGO also has the largest collection of Henry Moore sculptures in the world.

Fonds 1244, Item 304

The Grange in 1907, when it was the home of Goldwin and Harriet Smith. Toronto Archives, Fl 1244, it 0304(1)

Fonds 1244, Item 315

Plank boardwalk allowing visitors to reach the Grange from Dundas Street in 1913. Houses in the distance are on the north side of Dundas Street. In this year, houses remained on the south side of Dundas Street. They are on the right-hand side of the photo. Toronto Archives, F1244, it.0315(1).

Series 372, Subseries 53, Item 70

The Grange in February 1913, when the Art Museum of Toronto owned the property. This was year of its first exhibition in the building. Toronto Archives, Series 372, SS53 it70

Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 41 - Miscellaneous photographs

View of the square-shaped building constructed in 1918, designed by Darling and Pearson. The north facade (left-hand side), facing Dundas Street is in the Beaux-Arts style. Houses on McCaul Street can be seen in the distance, to the east of the gallery. The west facade of the Grange and its large chimney are visible on the south side of the new gallery. Photo from Toronto Archives, S0372, SS0041, it0314(1). Photo is dated 1922.

Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 41 - Miscellaneous photographs

Sculpture Court (Walker Court) on August 3, 1929. The fountain in the centre of the court is today outside the gallery on its west side. Toronto Archives, S0372, SS0372, It.0199

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A 1950s postcard depicting the Beaux-Arts style entrance on the north facade of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Collection of the Toronto Archives, Series 330, SS567, Sheet I.

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A 1950s postcard showing the north facade of the gallery. Collection of the Toronto Archives, Series 330, SS576, Sheet I.

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Art Gallery of Ontario in August 2015, the enormous glass and natural wood of the Galleria Italia overlooking Dundas Street.

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The Walker Court in 2015, the Frank Gehry transformational alterations evident.

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View of the interior of the Galleria Italia, the 19th-century houses on the north side of Dundas Street visible through the enormous glass panels. 

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View of the north facade of the Grange through the glass windows of the Tanenbaum Sculpture Gallery in August 2015.

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Marble bust of Pope Gregory XV carved in 1621 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, on display in the European Galleries.

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             Gallery containing paintings of Lauren Harris

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Painting by Clarence Gagnon in the Canadian collection at the AGO.

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                                   The Barns by A. Y. Jackson

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                          Winter scene in Toronto by Lauren Harris

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                      British Columbia totems by Emily Carr

                       DSCN8618

            Painting in the special Emily Carr Exhibition of 2015. 

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[2]

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791

Theatres Included in the Book:

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), the Photodrome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

Tags: ,

Ontario’s fourth legislative assembly

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                 Legislative buildings at Queen’s Park in 2014.

In 1827, a royal charter was granted by King George IV for the establishment of an Anglican university—the University of King’s College. Bishop Strachan arranged for property to be purchased for the university in 1828; the site chosen was to the northwest of the town. It included the land that today encompasses Queen’s Park and the Provincial Legislature.

In 1847, a bill was signed in the legislature declaring that King’s College was to be secular. Bishop Strachan relocated his faculty to a site inside today’s Trinity Bellwoods Park, and named the institution Trinity College. In 1849, King’s College changed its name to the University of Toronto. In 1853, the provincial government took possession of a portion of the university’s property as a site to erect new legislative buildings. In 1859, the university leased a section of its grounds to the City of Toronto for a period of 999 years. A public park, Queen’s Park, was created and officially opened by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) on September 11, 1860. The legislative buildings were eventually referred to by their location within this park — “Queen’s Park.”

Between 1879-1880, the legislature, then located on Front Street, authorized a design contest for new legislative buildings and 13 architects competed for the contract. However, the lowest bid was $613,000, which the legislature deemed too expensive. As a result, they postponed the project.

In 1885, Richard Waite, an Englishman by birth who was living in Buffalo N.Y. was given the contract. His price was $750,000, which was considered acceptable considering the previous bids. It is interesting to note that the eventual price was $1,227,963. Construction commenced in 1886. Waite chose the Richardsonian Romanesque style for the building, similar to Toronto’s old City Hall.

The buildings at Queen’s Park contained massive stone blocks, creating the appearance of an heavy fortress, with Roman arches and domed towers that were ornamented with carvings and intricate trim. The pink sandstone for the walls was quarried in the Credit River Valley, the larger blocks carried by horse and cart to the grounds and carved to fit on-site. The roof was covered with slate from Vermont and the domed roofs on the towers were sheathed with copper. In the interior, the panelling and floors were oak, the columns of cast iron. The building possessed a centre block, with wings on the east and west sides. It was completed in 1892, and the first session of the legislature was held on April 4, 1893, with Premier Oliver Mowat officiating.

In 1909, a fire severely damaged the buildings. E. J. Lennox, who designed the Old City Hall, was hired to design the restoration. He added two extra floors to the west wing to create more office space, and changed its hipped roof to a gabled roof. He also added a north wing to the building.

The author is grateful to discoveryport.ontla.on.ca for details about the materials employed in creating the legislative buildings. 

between 1891-3, nearing completion f1478_it0004[1] 

      Legislature 1891-1893 (Toronto Archives, F1478, id.0004(1)

LOC  1909-- 18546v[1]

View of the buildings in 1913, after it was restored following the fire of 1909, the west wing (to the left of the centre block) then containing a roof with gabled windows. Photo from Library of Congress, 18546(1)

view from TGH, 1913--f1231_it0208[1]

View of the legislative buildings, gazing northwest from the Toronto General Hospital on College Street in 1913. The north wing on the back of the buildings is evident. Toronto Archives. F1231, it 0208

               1929--s0071_it6939[1]

View of the legislative chamber in 1929. Toronto Archives, S0071, it.6939

I0001892[1]

View c. 1900 gazing south on University Avenue from the doorway of the legislative buildings. At the turn of the 20th century, University Avenue had not been widened and was flanked by mature chestnut trees. Photo from Ontario Archives, 10014189

University Avenue 1959

View gazing north on University Avenue from near College Street in 1959. Photo from the author’s collection, from an Ektachrome 35mm. slide.

PICT0004

Picnic on the lawns in front of the Ontario Legislature on July 1, 1974. Photo from author’s collection, from a Kodachrome 35mm. slide.

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Romanesque tower on the west side (left photo) of the centre block, and on the east side (right photo).

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View from the second floor of the open three-storey covered courtyard in the interior that resembles a Roman peristyle. It creates the appearance of a reflecting pool. 

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View of a hallway on the ground-floor level, the oak floors and panelling evident.

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The legislative chamber, with a view of the spectators’ gallery on the upper left. (Photo May, 2015)

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Desks of the members of the provincial parliament (MPPs) in the chamber.

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    Room within the lieutenant governor’s suite that is employed for hospitality.

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         Fireplace in the room used for hospitality at Queen’s Park

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                                 View of Queen’s Park in November 2014.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[1]

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791

Theatres Included in the Book:

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), the Photodrome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: ,

Ontario’s third legislative assembly building

f1498_it00101----1856_thumb2

Parliament Buildings on Front Street in 1854 (Toronto Archives, F1498, id.0010(1) 

After the second parliamentary buildings at Front and Berkley Street burnt, until new buildings were erected, the members of the assembly met at the vacant hospital on the northeast corner of John and King Street West. The hospital was empty as although its construction had been completed, there were no funds to furnish, equip and staff the facility. However, in 1829, the hospital regained possession of the premises, as funding had been secured. Members of the legislature relocated to the York Courthouse on the northwest corner of King Street East and Church Street. This building, designed by John G. Howard, was built in 1827 and demolished in 1853.

courthouse-1827-1853 pictures-r-3942[1]

Watercolour of the York Courthouse where the assembly met. It was designed by John G. Howard. Toronto Reference Library r. 3942(1)

There was considerable disagreement over where to build new parliament buildings, many members of the assembly favouring reconstruction on the site of the ruins of the previous structures. Others argued that the site was unhealthy due to the malarial swamps near the mouth of the Don River. Finally, they decided to build on Front Street, to the west of the town, between John and Simcoe Streets. Today, the CBC occupies the site.

Construction commenced in 1830, and the first session of the legislative assembly opened on October 12, 1832. The ruins of the previous building (second parliament buildings) near the Don River still existed and were inhabited by a destitute family that had simply moved in without any legal permission. The new (third) Parliament Buildings in York (Toronto), were designed by Thomas Rogers of Kingston and were considerably more ambitious, reflecting the growth of the province. Facing south toward the lake, the buildings were aligned east-west. There was a centre section, on either side of it wings containing offices and records. Large chimneys reached skyward, in an era that lacked central heating and fireplaces were required. The area soon became known as the “Government quarter,” as the residence of the lieutenant governor of the province was nearby, at King and Simcoe.

The assembly met in the building from its opening in 1832 until 1841, when the capitol was relocated to Kingston following the union of Upper and Lower Canada. The structures on Front Street were empty at times, and for a few years were employed as an asylum. Between 1856 and 1859 the seat of government returned to Toronto, but during the years 1861 to 1867 they became barracks. In 1867, after confederation, Toronto was declared the permanent site of the government of the province. 

The buildings now remained in continuous use for the legislative assembly, but by the late 1870s, they desperately needed updating and repairing. In the late-1880s, they finally decided to erect new and larger buildings on a different site. In 1892, the seat of government relocated to Queen’s Park, overlooking University Avenue.

Series 1465, File 121, Item 5

Sketch of the the third parliament buildings, c. 1832. View gazes east along Front toward the town of York. Between the buildings and the town there was an occasional house but it was mostly open fields. The pillars on the portico in this sketch do not appear in any of the photographs. Toronto Archives S1465, fl 0121, id ooo5(1)

Fonds 1244, Item 3177

The Parliament Buildings on Front Street in 1910, after they had been abandoned. Toronto Archives, F1244, It.3177.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

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   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791

Theatres Included in the Book:

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), the Photodrome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

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