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Category Archives: Tronto’s lost 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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Toronto’s old Palace Pier Ballroom

palace-pier-dance-hall[1].png

The Palace Pier Ballroom and Amusement Centre, depicted on a 1930s postcard.

My memories of the Palace Pier, an immense structure that extended 300 feet into Lake Ontario, date from the days of World War 11. On hot summer days in the 1940s, when my parent took my brother and me to Sunnyside beach to paddle in the cold waters of the lake, I gazed at its enormous size, as it dominated the scene to the west of Sunnyside Beach. I asked my mother about it, and she dismissed it as a place where people of “dubious” character attended, as it was a “dance hall.” My father gave an amused smile as if he seemed to disagree with her assessment, but said nothing. He had played a trumpet in McCormick’s Dance Band during the 1930s, before he met my mother, and had a more liberal view of dance halls.

A year or two later, I learned what the word “dubious” implied and discovered that my father thought that to dismiss Palace Pier as a mere dance hall was do it a great injustice. Located on the west bank of the Humber River, there were no other buildings in the area that competed with it in size. In its heyday, it was one of the most spectacular dance spots in Toronto. However, when I was a boy, I was too young to know about the famous entertainers who were featured there or to appreciate its importance in the night life of the city. Also, it was another few years before I became unaware of the inherent attraction of “dubious” places.

The Palace Pier was conceived in 1927 by the Provincial Improvement Corporation. It was inspired by the wonderful seaside piers in Great Britain, such as those in Brighton, one of which survives today. Toronto’s pier was to be a “year-round amusement enterprise.” Sunnyside Beach, which opened in 1921, had been a great success and the Palace Pier was an attempt to improve Toronto’s lakeside area by extending development further west along the shoreline. In some respects, it was a project similar to Ontario Place, which was constructed to celebrate Canada’s Centennial in 1967. It too was built out over the water, although it was created by dumping landfill into Lake Ontario. Similar to Palace Pier, it was an amusement centre and contained a theatre—Cinesphere.

Palace Pier was to have four buildings, each 260 feet in length, one of them containing a ballroom and another, a Palace of Fun. The latter was to have shops, an arcade, games, restaurants, and food kiosks. There was to be a 1500-seat theatre and a 170-foot bandstand. When the covered walkways and promenades were added to the sides of it, the structure would extend over a third of a mile into the lake. At its southern end there was to be a steamboat landing, as the 1920s was an era when leisure travel on Lake Ontario was highly popular. It was envisioned that over 3000 couples would dance the night away its ballroom, in a multifunctional facility that could also be used for roller skating and bowling.

1297791972217_ORIGINAL[1]

Artist’s sketch of the proposed Palace Pier employed to promote its construction and attract investors. Sketch from Toronto Sun, Jan. 10, 2016, contained in an article by Mike Filey. 

Palace Pier was designed in the Moroccan style by Craig and Madill, a Toronto company that was later to design the CNE Bandshell. However, by the time the pier transitioned from the architects’ drawing boards to the construction site, the Great Depression had descended, necessitating that the plans be greatly reduced. Only the first phase of the structure was to proceed, and due to delays, its corner stone was not laid by former Prime Minister Arthur Meighen until 1931. It extended out into the lake 300 feet and contained the main ballroom. Unfortunately, it was the only part of the original grand plans that ever materialized, and even after it was completed, it stood empty for a decade due to the financial restraints of the times. When it finally opened on June 18, 1941, it was a roller rink named Strathcona Palace Pier, another site of the Strathcona rink on Christie Street, south of St. Clair Avenue. I attended this rink when I was a teenager.

The pier’s 19-foot wide boardwalks, located on the east and west sides of it, provided commanding views of the lake. On the east side, the city’s skyline was visible. Its inaugural event was a fundraiser for the British victims of the bombing by the Nazi’s, the headliner for the event the Hollywood star, Bob Hope. He was in Toronto to promote his latest film, “Caught in the Draft.”

In 1943, the pier reverted to its original purpose and became the Queensway Ballroom, and later the Humber Pier Ballroom. During the years of World War 11, some of the famous “big bands” performed at the it—Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Less Brown, Duke Ellington, the Dorsey Brothers, Louis Armstrong, Harry James and Stan Kenton. 

It was renovated in the 1950s and reverted to its original name, the “Palace Pier.” It was one of the few surviving large-scale dance floors in the city. In the mid-1950s, it included country acts such as Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. As attendance slowly dwindled, on weeknights, the pier held bingo events and rented its space for private functions such as political rallies, boxing matches, high school dances, and year-end proms.

However, its life came to an end on January 7, 1963 when it was torched, the arsonist never caught. The structure was destroyed to the extent that it required complete rebuilding, which was not financially practical. It was demolished and the great pier disappeared forever.

On the site of the pier, two luxury condominium towers and public park were constructed, which were named after the famous amusement facility. The north tower was built in 1978 and the south tower in 1991. A monument, donated by the residents of the condominium, was erected to commemorate the original Palace Pier. It was placed on the west side of the footbridge across the Humber River. The monument had originally been one of the cement footings that had been used in the pier’s construction.

Sources: www.torontovintagesociety.ca—vintagesocity.ca—ww.blogto.com—tornontohistory.net—citiesintime.ca/toronto—urbantoronto.ca/news—https://booksgoogle.ca/books—www.torontosun.com

data=RfCSdfNZ0LFPrHSm0ublXdzhdrDFhtmHhN1u-gM,Bcp1Jl2WTHd5fqTIEjV_zN1J8UEcfCtEi_ZvqTNN6q2fWfUOXVRASZFmb_v-HdAaljOkWtU4RufMioB_IcOyE-lt5-ZtuDAvHUQte2m[1].png

Location of the Palace Pier Dancehall, beside lake Ontario, on the west side of the Humber River.

Series 372, Subseries 34 - Humber bridge photographs

Entrance to the Palace Pier on July 29, 1931, when it was under construction. Toronto Archives, S 0372, SS 0034, Item 0070.

Series 372, Subseries 34 - Humber bridge photographs

Looking west on the Lakeshore Road, the facade of the Palace Pier visible in the background, to the left of the tall hydro tower. Pictures was taken on August 4, 1931, while the building was under construction. Toronto Archives, S. 032, SS 5500, Item 0078.

Palace_Pier_Plaque_2[1]

Undated photo of the Palace Pier, the view showing the north and east facades. The covered walkway and terrace on the east side can be seen.

Palace Pier c. 1940s (public Domain). 

         Palace Pier in the 1940s, the north and west facades visible. 

1954, bridge over Humber  pictures-r-3136[1]

View looking south toward Lake Ontario in 1954, when the bridge over the Humber River was being constructed. The Palace Pier is in the background. Toronto Public Library, r- 3136. 

Series 65 -Metropolitan Toronto Planning Department Library collection of Alexandra Studio photographs

Aerial view of the area surrounding the Palace Pier in 1958. The pier is in the bottom left-hand corner of the photo, on the west bank of the Humber River. The widened Lakeshore Road is to the north of the pier, the Gardiner Expressway to the north of it. Toronto Archives, S 0065, File 0047, Id. 0011.

              TRL,  1963  tspa_0000344f[1]

The Palace Pier after being ravaged by fire in January 1963. Photo from the Toronto Star, Baldwin Collection, Toronto Public Library tspt 000344f. 

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[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 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.

 

 

 

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Toronto’s greatest lost mansion—Cawthra House

1897,  pictures-r-2138[1]

The Cawthra House in 1897, on the northeast corner of King and Bay Streets. The view depicts the west facade on Bay Street. Photo from Toronto Public Library, r-2138

The Cawthra Family immigrated from from Geysley, Yorkshire, England and arrived in Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1803. They lived in a brick house on the northwest corner of King and Caroline (Sherbourne) Streets. The following year Joseph Cawthra, head of the family, was granted land in Port Credit, but remained there only until 1806, when he relocated to York (Toronto) the provincial capital. He had once aspired to be a doctor, and because of his interest in medicines, he established an apothecary shop that he expanded into a general store. It is reputed to be the first store of its type established in York (Toronto).

When the War of 1812 was declared, he sold medical supplies to the British army and amassed a considerable fortune, which he invested in acquiring properties in York. Joseph’s son, William, inherited the business when his father died in 1842. He closed the shop and concentrated on developing the plots of land in downtown Toronto that had been part of his inheritance. He lived in a brick cottage near Bloor and Jarvis Streets, which at the time was outside the city, in the village of Yorkville.

In 1849, William married  Sarah Crowther, seventeen years younger than he was. She considered Yorkville too far north of the city, and urged William to build a home near the commercial heart of downtown Toronto. She wanted a grand mansion that would be their home, and contain an office where her husband could conduct his business transactions.

In 1851, William purchased a lot on the northeast corner of King Street and Bay Streets. It possessed 56’ on King Street and extended 146’ north on Bay Street. William was aware that the area west of Yonge Street was developing commercially and that his new house would increase greatly in value. Construction began in 1851, but was not completed until 1853.

Though Cawthra was thrifty by nature, he acceded to his wife’s wishes and built a residence that reflected his wealth and prominence within the city. Twice he had been elected an alderman on City Council and had also served on the Board of Trustees for the Common Schools. To design his home, he selected an aspiring architect, Joseph Sheard, who at the time was earning his living mostly as a carpenter. However, the structure was completed by a younger partner in the firm, William Irving.

The home was in the Greek Revival style, the walls constructed of large blocks of light-coloured Ohio sandstone, fitted together to form smooth facades. The frame and roof of the house were of hand-hewn-timbers, held together with wooden pegs. The windows and main doorway on Bay Street were surrounded by carved detailing that was richly ornate. The heavy cornice above the second storey protruded over the street, created a solid and impressive appearance. The triangular pediment above the cornice added to its resemblance to a Greek temple, with both the cornice and pediment displaying large dentils. These were designs from ancient Greece that were highly popular throughout most of the 19th century. The facades on King and also on Bay were divided into three sections by pilasters (three-sided columns), topped with Corinthian capitals. 

The house was essentially rectangular, with a service wing extending on the north side where the brick stable was  located. The mansion was surrounded by a high brick wall. William Cawthra lived in his sumptuous residence until he passed away in 1880. Despite it being one of Toronto’s grandest mansions, no photographs survive of its interior. There is an unconfirmed story that the front door of the house possessed a gold doorknob, that the butler removed each night before dark to prevent it being stolen.

His widow remain in the house until about the year 1885 and then, moved to a more luxurious home on Jarvis Street, opposite a small park that was named after the family. She rented her former residence. By this year, the land on King Street, where the house stood was among the most desirable commercial locations in the city, too valuable to remain as a residential property. From 1885 until 1907 it was a branch of the Molson’s Bank and from 1908 to 1925, the head offices of the Stirling Bank. The rich detailing on the exterior and the marble-trimmed interior reflected the image that the banks wished to portray. However, the Canada Life Assurance Company, whose head office was next door on King Street, eventually purchased the property and then, rented it to the banks.

In 1929, the insurance company relocated to a new art deco building on University Avenue, north of Queen Street. The sites of the old Cawthra House and the Canada Life building were purchased by the Bank of Nova Scotia, which wanted to build a 27-storey office tower at King and Bay Streets. Unfortunately, the plans for the bank were shelved because of the Depression. In the late-1940s, the plans for the building were revived.

Every effort was explored to preserve the Cawthra House because of its architectural merits and historical importance. A member of the Cawthra family offered to pay the cost of dismantling the building and re-erecting on the property of the Royal Ontario Museum. However, the museum refused the offer. The house was demolished, though the mantel from the drawing room and the stone columns on ether side of the doorway were eventually saved and placed in the garden of Joseph Cawthra’s estate in Port Credit. Other architectural parts of the house was rescued by a descendant of William Cawthra, and placed in the backyard of his home in Rosedale. 

After the demolition of Cawthra House, the cornerstone for the 24-storey Bank of Nova Scotia was laid in 1949, and the building was completed in 1951.

Sources; William Dendy, “Lost Toronto”—cawthra-bush.org—www.blogto.com—www.biographi.ca

1910-  pictures-r-6527[1]

The Front door of the Cawthra House in 1910, when the building was a branch of the Stirling Bank, Toronto Public Library, r- 6227.

The Molson Bank, Cawthra House, King Street and Bay Street – [1913]

The Cawthra House in 1913 when it was the Molson’s Bank. The view is of the building’s south facade on King Street, with Bay Street on the left-hand side of the photo. The building to the east of the bank (right-hand side) is the Canada Life Assurance Company. Toronto Archives, S 0409, Item 0060. 

                    1922--pictures-r-2132[1]

A sentimental Christmas card of the Cawthra House, printed  in 1922, depicting the house when it was occupied by the Cawthra family. Toronto Public Library, r- 2132.

1926 as Stirling Bank  I0001651[1]

The Cawthra House in 1926, after it had been purchased by the Canada Life Assurance Company. Ontario Archives, 10001651.

Fonds 1244, Item 7098

The northeast corner of Bay and King Streets c. 1926. The Cawthra House and the Canada Life Assurance Company dominate the scene. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item. 7098.

1931 - f1548_s0393_it23370[1]

The Cawthra House in 1931 when used for offices. Toronto Archives, F1548, Item 23370.

DSCN9340

The Bank of Nova Scotia on the northeast corner of King and Bay Streets, which occupies the site where the Cawthra mansion once stood.

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[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. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The old Ford Hotel—Toronto

       postcard, 1930s  s-l500[1]

Toronto’s Ford Hotel in the 1930s (postcard S-1500)

I vividly remember the old Ford Hotel, but unfortunately, until I began researching its history, never realized that it had once been one of the city’s finest hotels. Located on the northeast corner of Bay and Dundas Streets, my memories of it are from the days when it had become extremely tacky. One reason for its decline is the dubious reputation it received from being directly across from the bus station at Bay and Edward Streets. People who arrived in the city by bus, without a place to stay, often found budget-priced rooms at the Ford. I remember that in the 1960s, it was considered a “flop-house,” even its coffee shop a place that was best avoided.

In  fairness, the Ford did not entirely deserve its unsavoury reputation. It was a victim of the economic downturn caused by the Great Depression, which descended shortly after the hotel opened. Another factor was the many tragic occurrences, beyond its control, that happened within it. Despite its reputation, there are some who remember the hotel fondly. There were immigrants that arrived in Toronto to begin a new life, which started at the Ford Hotel. As well, there were budget-minded tourists that stayed in it during the five decades that it registered guests. There are similar places in Toronto today that fulfill these needs, and there is a place for them. However, when the Ford opened, there were no reasons to believe that it would have anything other than a bright future.

Its story began during the final years of the 1920s, a decade that became famous for its exuberance—the “Roaring Twenties.” Toronto’s nightlife was booming, the city attracting over three million tourists a year, making it one of North America’s top tourist destinations. More hotel space was needed and Richard T. Ford responded to this need. Headquartered in Rochester N.Y., he owned a chain of luxury hotel and decided to build one in Toronto. At a cost of $2 million, he constructed an hotel with three 12-storey towers that were connected, in total containing 750 rooms. The one-storey base was where the lobby, guest facilities, coffee shop, and restaurant were located. Its architecture was a duplicate of the Ford Hotel built in Buffalo in 1923, designed by J. Foster Walker.

The Ford Hotel opened on the on May 21, 1928, billed as Toronto’s most luxurious hotel, though its room rates were at budget prices ($1.50-$2.50). The city’s mayor and many other dignitaries attended its inauguration, and it appeared as if it was destined for prosperous times. It was furnished by the T. Eaton Company, each room boasting a reading lamp, private bathroom, ice-water tap, and telephone. The hotel included valet and laundry services, a barber shop, newsstand and a cigar shop. The restaurant on the ground-floor level was operated by G. Brown, who had been employed for 35 years at the prestigious and historic Queen’s Hotel on Front Street. It had recently been demolished to build the Royal York Hotel. The Queen’s Hotel’s loss was the Ford’s gain. However, when the Royal York opened, it ended the Ford’s boast of being the latest luxury hotel in the city.

The hotel managed to survive the Depression years and was successful throughout the 1940s. In 1949, it was taken over by the Sheraton chain and renovated. In 1954 the Ford was purchased by a New York syndicate that considered it a profitable investment. It continued to be successful, offering nightly entertainment in its Tropical Room and good food in its restaurant, which was leased to Murray’s Restaurant chain. During the 1950s, the Casino Theatre on Queen Street near Bay, which featured burlesque and strip shows, also booked many well-known stars. The theatre’s performers were housed mainly at the Ford Hotel—Lillian Rush, Jimmy Boyd, Gordon McRae, Burl Ives, Dizzy Gillespie, and Jimmy Dorsey.

However, a series of tragedies occurred at the Ford that created bad publicity. It began when a young Montreal woman committed suicide by leaping from a window. Next, on October 26, 1955, a 22-year old immigrant was ordered to return to his room as he was wandering around the lobby area attired only in a bed sheet. In his locked room, he repeatedly fired a 22-gauge shotgun into the walls. The police arrived, broke down the door, and shot tear gas into the room. When the smoke cleared, the man was found dead from a self-inflicted wound.

In the 1960s, the hotel fell further into decline. The fact that the Gideon Bible Society had placed copies of the Good Book in the rooms, did not prevent the hotel’s residents from straying from the straight and narrow. The hotel became a popular gathering spot for various miscreants and those upon whom society frowned. It also attracted year-around guests who took advantage of its reasonable rates. In 1969, one of them, a 77-year-old man, died in a fire that had ignited in a wastepaper basket on the 7th floor.

On November 14, 1970 a 34-year-old engineer fell to his death when the elevator doors opened on an empty shaft. In 1973, a 10-year old boy was murdered in one of the rooms. The publicity from this horrendous homicide caused more and more patrons to avoid it. It closed on October 19, 1973 and was demolished during the winter of 1974.

Sources: www.blogto.com—torontoist.com

Map of 595 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5G 1M6

Approximate location of the Ford Hotel on the northeast corner of Bay and Dundas Streets.

ser372_ss0003_s0372_ss0003_it0735[1]

The hotel shortly after it opened in 1928. The view is of the west facade on Bay Street. Toronto Archives, S272, SS0003, Item 0735.

                  Wikimedia commons Ford_Hotel_1929[1]

Postcard of the Ford Hotel printed in 1929. The three towers and the single-storey base are evident in this view of the building’s east side. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Fonds 1244, Item 7304

View looking west along Dundas Street from Yonge Street c. 1929. The United Cigar Store on the northwest corner remained on the site until it was demolished in 1950 to erect a branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia. The east facade of the Ford Hotel at Dundas and Bay Streets is evident in the background. Toronto Archives S 0071, Item 7663..

Motor coach #503, taken at a distance of 30 feet, (Motor Coach Department) – May 21, 1930

In the background of this photo is the west facade of the Ford on May 21, 1930. The bus is going to the open-air terminal located at Bay and Edward Streets. The outdoor terminal is shown in the next photo. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 7663.

Motor coach terminal property - Edward and Elizabeth sts, looking east, (Buildings Department) – June 10, 1931

View looking east along Edward Street on June 10, 1931, the open-air bus terminal on the west side of Bay Street, and a parking lot to the west of it, in the foreground. The west and north facades of the hotel are visible in the background. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 8616.

                    Getty 515075319[1]   

The west (left-hand) facade on Bay Street and and the south (right-hand) facade on Dundas Street of the Ford Hotel in the late-1950s. Photo from Getty Images (51507319).

                    May 11, 1969  see TRL site for details-- tspa_0000354f[1]

Fireman rescuing a man from the 7th floor of the hotel on May 11, 1969, when a 77-year old man perished in the blaze. Photo, Toronto Public Library.

Ford Hotel - under demolition - view west on Dundas at Yonge – January 27, 1974

View gazing west on Dundas Street toward Bay Street on January 7, 1974. The hotel is evident in the background, after demolition had commenced on the top floors. The PCC streetcar on the north side of Dundas Street, painted red, is being used as a diner. It creates an interesting foreground—“A Streetcar Named Desire.” Toronto Archives, F1526, Item 0046.

View of Ford Hotel from Bay – February 10, 1974

A westbound Dundas streetcar approaches the intersection of Bay and Dundas Streets, on February 10, 1974, the demolition of the Ford Hotel in the background. Toronto Archives, F 1526, Item 0050.

Sources: www.blogto.com—torontoist.com

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[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 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.

 

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The lost buildings of Upper Canada College, Toronto

1890 , I0002101[1]

Upper Canada College in 1890, photo from the Ontario Archives, 10002101

Archdeacon John Strachan, who became the first Anglican Bishop of Toronto, petitioned the British Crown in 1827 for a charter to create a university in the town of York (Toronto). However, some resident objected to the new university, since its affiliation with the Church of England would allow the church to essentially control its curriculum.

When Lieutenant Governor Sir John Colborne, who later became Lord Seaton, arrived in York in 1828, he agreed with those who opposed the new university. Instead, he proposed founding a preparatory  school for boys, modelled on the public schools in England. At the time, parents in Upper Canada (Ontario) who wished to educate their sons within a proper school system sent their sons to England or the United States. The latter country was frowned upon, as the parents feared that their sons might return home with anti-British or republican sentiments. The result was that Upper Canada College, a school for boys’, was established in York in 1829 by a royal charter granted by King George IV.

The school opened in temporary quarters on January 4, 1830, with 140 students, taught by 8 master. Henry Scadding, Toronto’s first recognized historian, was among the students enrolled in the school when its first building opened in 1831. Located on King Street, it was on Russell Square, named after Peter Russell, the Auditor General and Receiver General of the province under Governor Simcoe. The square, donated to the school by Sir John Colborne, was bounded by King Street West on the south, Adelaide Street on the north, Simcoe Street on the east, and John Street on the west. The campus buildings were to be recessed over a hundred feet from King Street, their facades facing it. Thus, the square that had appeared on the plan for the town of York in 1799, and reserved as a public square, was now the campus of the boys’ school. When the college opened, it was in a rural setting, to the west of the town.

Upper Canada College was a boarding school, divided into “houses” that provided rooms and meals for the students. Each house was headed by a classroom teacher, referred to as a master, all of whom had been hired in England.  To finance the school, a thousand pounds each year was to be provided by the Canada Company, a semi-government agency that sold crown land on behalf of the government. These funds were supplemented by student fees.

The plans for the campus included a large block of red-brick buildings, the largest of them located in a central position. It was constructed by Mathew Priestman, its size and commanding position denoting that it was the heart of the school. The administrative offices, including the principal’s, and the student classrooms were located within it. On either side of the centre structure were two buildings, referred to as “houses,” which provided room and board for the students. Built by John Ewart, the houses were connected to each other and to the centre building by covered passageways. These allowed students and staff to access the various buildings without stepping outside. This arrangement was considered necessary because of the severity of the Canadian winters. 

1835,  pictures-r-2275[1]

The main (centre) building and those on either side of it contained two storeys, with a centre hall on both levels. All the buildings were Georgian in style, symmetrical and unadorned. There was a gravelled east-west roadway in front of them, and a walkway that extended south to King Street. In the northwest corner of the centre building there was a prayer room, with a raised platform for the masters to lead the prayers, and box pews in which the students listened. Henry Scadding, Toronto’s early-day historian, became a teaching master at the college in 1838, and taught classes in drawing.

During the 1830s, Upper Canada College expanded its enrolment and more boarding houses were constructed. In 1855, the architectural firm of Cumberland and Storm was contracted to refurbish and update the buildings. A large stone portico (porch) was added to the centre structure, and its windows were trimmed with stone. Further repairs were required following a fire in 1869, and W. J. Stibbs was hired for the project. It is thought that this was when the Mansard roofs, in the Second-Empire style, were added to the buildings. More expansion occurred in 1876-1877, and perhaps this is when the tower was installed on the main building.

In 1890, the Ontario Government ceased funding the school and it became completely independent. In 1891, the school relocated  to a new campus that was larger, situated on Lonsdale Road, north of Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue. At the time, the area was remote from the city as Toronto did not extend much beyond Davenport Road. The buildings on King Street were eventually demolished, except for one of the student residences. It still exists today on the southwest corner of Duncan and Adelaide Streets. In the years ahead, it was converted into a warehouse.

Russell Square, the home of Upper Canada College for six decades, was sold for commercial development. It is unfortunate that except for one boarding house, the historic buildings of Upper Canada College did not survive. Perhaps the most well-known buildings erected on Russell Square after the UCC relocated were the Royal Alexandra Theatre, erected in 1907, and the Princess of Wales Theatre, constructed in 1993. More recently, a 47-storey condo named “Theatre Park” was built. The Ed Mirvish project, which consists of two condominium towers, are to be added in the near future to the area that was once Russell Square. 

Upper Canada College today maintains a link to the British Crown, as HRH Prince Philip acts as a “special visitor.” UCC is the oldest private school in Ontario and the third oldest in Canada.

Sources: torontoplqques.com — bluenet.ucc.on.ca — “Lost Toronto” by William Dendy.”

1890

Map from the Goad’s Atlas, dated 1890. King Street is at the bottom (south) of the map, and at the top (north) is Adelaide Street West. Today, Duncan Street has been extended southward from Adelaide Street to King Street, through the former campus.

1865, -I0021817[1]

The buildings of Upper Canada College in 1865.  View is of the south facades facing King Street West, from the west side, looking east. The main building, in the centre position, has a Greek-style porch that had been added on the front. Photos from the Ontario Archives-10021817. 

1867  I0005306[1]

A similar view of the buildings, but from the east side looking west, in 1867. Photo from the Ontario Archives-10005306.

1871  I0021818[1]

View of the south facades of the buildings, looking west from east of the structures in 1871, after the Mansard roofs and towers were added. Photo from the Ontario Archives, 10021818.

1884 - pictures-r-2305[1]

View looking from the northwest toward the campus in 1884. Photo from the Toronto Public Library, r-2305

1884  pictures-r-2344[1]

View gazing north at the campus in 1884, from near King Street. The connecting passageways between the structures are clearly evident. Photo from the Toronto Public Library, r-2344.

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

Upper Canada College boys’ boarding house on Adelaide Street in 1890. View is from the northwest. Duncan Street was eventually extended south to King Street, on the east side of the structure. The other buildings in the photo were demolished.  Photo from the Toronto Public Library, 1890  r-2330.

DSCN1441_thumb1_thumb[1] 

Photo taken in 2013 of the the boarding House of 1833. The view gazes at the northeast corner of the building. A third storey has been added to the old boarding house.

To explore more about this building:

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

main dining room c. 1890  pictures-r-2325[1] - Copy 

The eastern portion of the main dining room of the college, c. 1890, Toronto Public Library, r-2325.

principal's room, 1890.  pictures-r-6629[1]

     Principal’s room c. 1890, Photo from Toronto Public Library r-6629.

classrom of Mr. Wedd, 1890  pictures-r-6638[1]

Classroom of Mr. Wedd, c. 1890. Photos from the collection of the Toronto Public Library r-6638.

gymnasium, 1890  pictures-r-2326[1]

The gymnasium of Upper Canada College, c. 1890. Photo from the Toronto Public Library r- 2326.

prayer room, 1890, TPR.  pictures-r-6630[1]

Prayer room of Upper Canada College, c. 1890, the raised dais for the “master” on the left-hand side. By this year, the box pews had been removed. Toronto Public Library r-6630.

Library and Archives Canada, RD353, 1890 thumbnail_600_600[1]

Upper Canada College campus after it was relocated to Lonsdale Road, north of  Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue. Photo from Library and Archives Canada, RD 353.

Buildings on King Street today that were constructed on the former Russell Square

276 King  DSCN4220

(Left) Gillett Building, 276 King St. (1901) and (right) Eclipse Building, 322 King St. (1903)

DSCN4237

Reid Building, 266-270 King St. West (1904). The Royal Alexandra Theatre is to the right (east) of it.

DSCN9060  DSCN8988  

(Left) Royal Alexandra Theatre (1907) and (right) Anderson Building, 284 King St. (1915)

DSCN7029       Sept. 2015

(Left) Princess of Wales Theatre (1993), and (right), Theatre Park Condominium, on the east side of the Royal Alexandra Theatre, in September 2015 (its construction incomplete).

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.

 

 

 

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The lost buildings of St. Patrick’s Market, Toronto

pictures-r-5352[1]

Toronto’s second town market, the St. Patrick’s Market, was preceded by the St. Lawrence Market, founded in 1803, on orders from Governor Peter Hunt. The second market was required as the city was expanding westward and the St. Lawrence Market was too distant for those living to the west of Yonge Street. In response to this need, in 1836, Mr. D’Arcy Boulton donated land from his estate, known as the Grange, to the city on the condition that it be used for a market square in perpetuity. If the land ceased to be used for a market, ownership of the property was to revert to the heirs of D’Arcy Boulton. The property he donated had a ninety-foot frontage on Queen Street, and it extended 123 feet northward. The new market was named St. Patrick’s Market, as it was in the St. Patrick’s Ward, one of the city’s original five wards.

The market opened in 1837, in a small  temporary structure that had sufficient space for only a couple of stalls. Its only merit was that it protected a few shoppers from the worst of the inclement weather. However, because the market building was viewed as temporary, it was not maintained and fell into disrepair. A more suitable building was badly needed. I was unable to discover the year that the first permanent building was erected, but it was likely about 1840, as records state that in 1842, a fire station was located in the St. Patrick’s Market building. It was manned by trained volunteers. Later, the market was renovated to include a police station.

The new building was a frame structure, erected on the northern portion of the donated land. The structure contained a large interior space with stalls, where farmers displayed and sold their produce. It was a two-storey structure, with a centre block that had a triangular pediment above the south facade and a small cupola on the roof. There were one-storey wings on the east and west sides of the centre block. The building was set back from Queen Street, on the north side of the square, to allow space for open-air stalls to be erected in front of it on market days, when farmers from the surrounding areas brought their produce to the city. 

This is the market that is depicted in the watercolour shown above. It was painted in 1845 and is from the collection of the Toronto Public Library, r-5352. The Anglican Church of St. George the Martyr, on John Street, is visible in the painting, behind the market. The church’s spire was destroyed by fire in 1955. In 1852, the fame building was demolished to erect a white-brick building. Three well-known citizens provided funds for the new market on condition that they were reimbursed from the profits of the enterprise.

Thomas Young, who was born in England and immigrated to Canada in 1832, was hired by the city as the architect. The brick market building was constructed between the years 1850 and 1854. To compare it to the frame structure that preceded is difficult as artists tend to romanticize their subjects. This must be taken into consideration when viewing the watercolour to compare the first permanent market structure with the one that followed it. “The History of Toronto and York County—Part IV” (Chapter 32) states that the new brick building had “no pretentions to architectural beauty.” Unfortunately, this was an apt description.

The brick market building was erected closer to Queen Street, to the south of the previous market building. Constructed in the Italianate style, it was a two-storey building, its brick walls covered with stucco. Its south facade faced Queen Street. Behind it there was a single-storey extension where the stalls were located. The south facade, where the main entrance was located, was symmetrical in design. The entranceway was surrounded by a Roman archway, the large windows on either side of the doorway topped with similar arches. A bell tower provided a look-out for the fire station within. The tower had an extended cornice at the top, with large modillions (brackets) below it.

1890--pictures-r-5354[1]

The St. Patrick’s Market in 1890, Photo from the Toronto Public Library r- 5354. 

The market building served as a focal point of the district, since the two-storey section contained a room for public meetings on the second floor. The nearby church of St. George the Martyr, to the north of the market, added to the importance of the area to the community. Though the market was never as prominent as the St. Lawrence or St. Andrew’s Markets, it was well attended by those who resided nearby as it had many stalls displaying vegetables, poultry and fish, as well as several butcher shops. Each Christmas, the market overflowed with seasonal treats for people’s festive tables.

However, because it never achieved the popularity of the other two markets of the city, it was not as well maintained. Even after the city purchased land to the north of the market to create St. Patrick’s Square, the market building continued to decline. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire about the year 1912, and replaced with another brick building that still exists on Queen Street West today.

Sources for this post:

urbantoronto.ca—www.landmarksoftoronto.com—“Lost Toronto” by William Dendy”— www.electric canadian.com— “Landmarks of Toronto” by John Ross Robertson.

Map of 238 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z7

   Location of the St. Patrick’s Market at 238 Queen Street West.

1909, drypoint sketch, J. W. Beatty  pictures-r-344[1]

Drypoint sketch created in 1909 of the market, the Church of St. George the Martyr in the background. Sketch by J. W. Beatty, now in the collection of the Toronto Public Library.

                   1910.  I0021910[1]

The St. Patrick’s Market on Queen Street in 1910. The one-story extension behind the taller building is evident. It was where the produce and food stalls were located. The second floor of the two-storey structure, facing Queen Street, contained the large room for public meetings. Photo from the Ontario Archives, 10021910.

                     1913, pictures-r-6840[1]

The market in 1913, photo from the collection of the Toronto Public Library r-6840.

St. Patrick's Market (14)

The market building that replaced the structure destroyed by fire in 1912. This building remains on Queen Street West today, and was designated a Heritage Site in 1975.

St. Patrick's Market (11)

Rear view (north side) of the St. Patrick’s Market in 2014, looking south from the tranquil St. Patrick’s Square. 

St. Patrick's Market (3)

Interior of the market in 2014, the original pine support-beams in evidence. A skylight provides plenteous light for the interior. Since this photo was taken, many of the stalls have been rented, mostly for fast food outlets.

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: ,

Toronto’s lost armouries on University Avenue

f0124_fl0001_id0064[1]

During the final decades of the 19th century, the Federal Government in Ottawa ordered a number of armouries built across Canada to train and maintain local volunteers and professional militia regiments. At the time, troops in Toronto were being trained in various venues throughout the city, rather than at a centralized facility. When the government ordered an armoury for Toronto, it was to be the largest such facility in Canada. Thomas Fuller, the Minister of Public Works and chief architect for the Government of Canada, was in charge of selecting the site and approving the design.

Toronto’s armoury was to be located on the east side of University Avenue, a short distance north of Queen Street West, and south of today’s Armoury Street. Thomas Fuller chose the solid Romanesque Revival style of architecture as it was suitably militaristic in appearance, similar to the great fortresses of ancient times. The above photo of the armouries is from the Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, Fl0001, Id 0064. The view is of its west facade, on University Avenue.

Built in 1891, the Toronto Armouries officially opened on May 17, 1894. Its inauguration was celebrated by a military tournament featuring different regiments—the Queen’s Own Rifles, 48th Highlanders, Royal Regiment, Royal Dragoons Toronto, and the Governor General’s Body Guard. The building had massively thick walls that were faced with red bricks and bonded with red mortar to create a continuously smooth appearance. Built on a solid foundation of Kingston limestone, the same type of stone was used as trim around the smaller windows and the huge arched windows on the west facade. The trim on the top of the towers, which were mediaeval in appearance, were also detailed with limestone.

In the interior of the armouries was a great  drill hall measuring 280’ by 125’, with a ceiling that soared 72’ above the floor. The drill hall was sometimes used to host banquets and automobile, trade, and fashion shows. Included were offices for military staff, mess halls (dining areas), classrooms, and kit rooms (storage). In the basement there was a rifle range and a  bowling alley to provide recreation for the men.    

The Toronto armouries served as a training facility for troops that fought in the Boer War (1899-1902), the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), and the Korean Conflict. The Boer War was when Canadian troops first fought on foreign soil. During World War 11, because of the proximity of the armouries to Osgoode Hall, judges in the courtrooms complained that the gun salutes rattled the windows of their courtrooms causing them to fear for their safety.

However, by the 1950s, high-rise buildings increasingly dominated University Avenue. Despite efforts to preserve the armouries, the need for space to expand the law courts at Osgoode Hall was given priority. On the site today there are provincial courthouses and a historic plaque stating, “On this site stood the University Avenue Armouries, the home of famous Toronto Regiments of the Canadian Army and centre of Militia activities in Toronto from 1891 until it was demolished in 1963.”

The military activities were transferred from the University Avenue facility to the new armouries on Fleet Street, a short distance to the southwest of Fort York.

                    Map

              Site of the demolished Toronto Armouries.

Ont. Ar. c. 1890  I0001795[1]

Toronto Armouries c. 1890, University Avenue in the foreground. Photo from the Ontario Archives, 10001795.

TRL.  1893  pictures-r-5511[1]

Sketch of the Toronto Armouries dated 1893, from the collection of the Toronto Public Library, r-5511.

postcard 1909, Gov. of Canada   v3_c1_s05_ss05_01[1]

   Postcard dated 1909, from the collection of the Government of Canada.

after 1900,  f1568_it0220[1]

The Toronto Armouries after 1900, City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1568, Item 0220.

Fonds 1244, Item 52

Auto show in the drill hall of the armouries in 1912, Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 0052.

Fonds 1244, Item 50A

The north facade of the armouries in 1913, City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 0050a. 

DSCN8594

Crowds at the armouries in 1914, as troops depart for overseas. The view looks south on University Avenue. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 7666b.

dinner for returned troops, 1914-18 pictures-r-5769[1]

A banquet held in the drill hall in 1918, for the veterans of World War 1, photo from the Toronto Public Library r-5769.

TRL  1931  pictures-r-5518[1]

View of the west and south facades of the armouries in 1931, Toronto Public Library collections r-5518.

Ont. Ar. 1938  I0004015[1]

Aerial view of the west and south facades of the armouries in 1938, Photo from the Ontario Archives, 10004015. 

Series 372, Subseries 58 - Road and street condition photographs

View gazing north at the west side of University Avenue in 1913, across from the armouries. Toronto Archives S0372, Item 0248.

new armouries, 1934  f1231_it0593[1]

The new armouries on Fleet Street in 191. This building replaced the University Avenue facility. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 0593.

DSCN8149

                         The armouries on Fleet Street in May 2013.

Sources for this post:

torontoplaques.com — urbantoronto.ca – torontohistory.net –“A Toronto Album 2: Glimpses of the City That Was” by Mike Fily – “Lost Toronto” by William Dendy.”

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: , , ,