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Tag Archives: Spadina Avenue Toronto

Toronto’s architectural gems–the Darling Building on Spadina

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The Darling Building at 96 Spadina Avenue, on the southwest corner of Spadina and Adelaide Street is perhaps the least attractive of the loft/warehouse buildings that were constructed to satisfy the needs of Toronto’s Fashion District. Built in 1909, it was the first multi-storey loft on Spadina, and one of earliest multi-storey cement structures in the city. The eight-storey building, which also has a basement level that today houses “The Dollar Store” and “Home Sense,” has few ornamentations included in its architecture. It was designed as a utilitarian structure, with few considerations given to aesthetics. 

The warehouse/loft was built at a cost of $150,000, for Andrew Darling to house his own company, Darling Dress Company. Originally the building had a large water tower on roof. Though simple in design, the facades of the building possess strong vertical lines that accentuate its height. The large windows, with steel sashes, are plain, with no ornamentation, and there are no designs on the cornice.  At the corners at the top of the building there are structures that appear like battlements.

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This photo from the City of Toronto Archives looks south on Spadina Avenue in 1921. The only warehouse/loft building on Spadina, in that year, was the Darling Building. The water tower on the roof of the building is clearly visible. It has since been removed.

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            The north facade of the Darling Building, facing Adelaide Street.

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A battlement-like structure on the northeast corner of the Darling Building

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The Darling Building (left), and to the right of it the Tower Building, then the Reading Building and finally the Fashion Building.

 

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                                 The Darling Building on a hot summer evening.

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

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

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 also relates anecdotes and stories from those 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 .

      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), thePhotodome, 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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Toronto’s architectural gems–the amazing Fashion Building on Spadina

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The Fashion Building on the northwest corner of Camden and Spadina is one of the most impressive warehouse-loft buildings ever constructed to facilitate the needs of Toronto’s garment trade. Built between the years 1925 and 1927, the rental spaces within the structure at 130 Spadina remain desirable locations for modern businesses today.

During the early years of the 1920s, the grocery store of Wm. Coo was located on the site, along with other shops and residences. They were all demolished to erect the yellow-brick Art Deco-style warehouse. Its walls are of solid concrete, built to last. It was constructed by the Goldberg Brothers and  Mr. Hartman. The architect was Caplan and Sprachman, who designed many theatres in Toronto, among them the Vaughan at St. Clair Avenue and Vaughan Road, and the Downtown Theatre at Yonge and Dundas Streets. Both of these theatres have since been demolished. The shops on ground floor of the Fashion Building, facing Spadina, were not there in the 1920s, but were added later.

The eight-storey structure, contains Neo-Gothic detailing around the main doorway, the second-floor windows, and on the cornice. The small marbled lobby has decorative plaster patterns that contain emblems and the word Fashion. The detailing on the cornice are typical Art Deco, with a few Gothic designs included. Though the Fashion Building is a commercial structure, it could be mistaken for an apartment building.  The Fashion Building, along with the Tower Building, provided the inspiration for the architecture of the condominium the Morgan, located on the northwest corner of Spadina and Richmond.

 

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The above view is of Spadina Avenue in 1921, looking south from near Queen Street. The small street in the photo, which extends west from Spadina, is today’s Camden Street. The Robert Darling Building, on the left in the picture, was the only warehouse building on Spadina when the photo was taken. The houses located to the north (left) of the Darling Building are where the Reading Building is today. In this 1921 photo, on the northwest corner of Camden and Spadina, is the grocery store of William Coo. It was demolished, along with the houses to the north of it, to facilitate the construction of the Fashion Building.

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Doorway of the Fashion Building, with its ornate surround containing Gothic designs.

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Designs on the cornice of the Fashion Building on the northeast corner of the facade facing Spadina Avenue.

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Cornice trim in the central position on the east facade, displaying Gothic tracery

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The stately Fashion Building on a hot summer night.

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

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

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 also relates anecdotes and stories from those 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 .

      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), thePhotodome, 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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Corner of Spadina and St. Andrew’s–graffiti art or murals ?

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The Pho Hung restaurant on the northwest corner of Spadina Avenue and St. Andrew’s Street is decorated with several paintings by Duc Hoang. They depict rural and city scenes from Viet Nam, very appropriate for a restaurant that specialized in Vietnamese cuisine. I have dined at the establishment several times, and found the food to be very good and the price extremely reasonable. I have walked past the painted walls many times, but never really taken the time to examine them. They are skilfully executed, and deserve more attention than they receive.

In a city that is rich with graffiti art, I am not really certain if these paintings qualify as graffiti. They were commissioned by the restaurant, and are really murals.  

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This painting is on the west wall of the restaurant. The large cement blocks of the building are evident in the photo.

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This is part of the above picture, but I had to reposition the recycling bins to take the photo. The rear door of the restaurant can be seen, as well as the broom of one of the employees.

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            This scene is on the south wall, facing St. Andrew’s Street.

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This photo shows the south and west walls of the restaurant, as well as the recycling bins that partially block the view of the murals.

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

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

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 also relates anecdotes and stories from those 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 .

      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), thePhotodome, 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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Toronto’s architectural gems–Bank at Spadina and Queen West

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378 Queen Street West (the bank building at the northeast corner of Spadina and Queen Streets)

During the early 1840s, on the site of the bank building was a modest wood-frame house, which was later converted into a small hotel. In 1856 its proprietor was Henry McEvoy, who operated a tavern and grocery business. In 1864 John Clark became the tavern-keeper. Throughout the years it changed ownership several more times At one time it was named Brown’s Hotel; then it became Brewer’s Hotel. It became the Avenue Hotel in 1880, but it remained under the management of Mr. J. Brewer, the former proprietor. In 1888, the building was vacant.

In 1902, the Bank of Hamilton purchased the property. The bank also bought the three shops to the east on Queen Street, giving them possession from #380 (at the corner) to #374. These were all demolished and an impressive building was erected, which remains on the site today. It was given the postal number #378. The Bank of Hamilton’s architect was G. W. Gouinlock, who designed an ornate red-brick building with limestone trim, and a stone façade on the ground-floor level.

For customer convenience, the door was angled so that it was accessible from both Spadina and Queen Streets. Pilasters decorate either side of the entranceway. Above the doorway the architect placed a faux balcony containing pillar-like railings, with ornate, curled brackets for support. In the cornice, there are dentils, and modillions under the eaves, with cement keystones above the windows on the second floor.

In 1925, the Bank of Commerce purchased the property and opened a branch. This eventually changed names when the Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada merged to become the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, known today as the CIBC.

Today the bank might be considered by some to be too ornate, due to its excess of decorative detail. However, during the era it was built, its architecture was considered attractive and it was very much appreciated. The quality of the workmanship was of the highest calibre, putting to shame many of the modern structures that have been constructed in downtown Toronto. The bank’s architecture attempted to impress customers by presenting a solid and prosperous appearance, thus inspiring confidence in the bank.

Much of the above information is from the book, “The Villages Within,” a humorous account of the history of Toronto, and a detailed examination of the Kensington Market, Queen Street West, and the Kings District around King Street and Spadina Avenue. The book was nominated for the Toronto Heritage Awards. For a link to this book:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/the-villages-within/

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Looking east toward the west facade of the bank building, facing Spadina Avenue

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This photo from the City of Toronto Archives was taken on 29 September 1910. Both Queen and Spadina are paved with bricks, which were well suited for carts pulled by horses. The Bank of Hamilton is clearly visible across the street on the northeast corner of the intersection. Notice the number of shops, with their awnings, located along the west side of the bank. The absence of traffic is remarkable, considering that the photo was taken on a Thursday, and the hour could not have been too early in the day as a woman, accompanied by a child can be seen. The building on the left (northwest corner) is the Mary Pickford Theatre. Today a McDonald’s outlet occupies the site.

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

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

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 also relates anecdotes and stories from those 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 .

      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), thePhotodome, 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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Military hero of War of 1812 lived near McDonald’s at Queen and Spadina

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The home of James Fitzgibbon was on the southwest corner of Queen West and Spadina, seen in the above photo. A bank occupies the site today, and towering beside it is the condominium The Morgan, on Richmond Street. The McDonald’s on the northwest corner is visible on the right.

James Fitzgibbon, hero of the War of 1812 and leader of the loyalist troops that raided Montgomery’s Tavern during the 1837 Rebellion, lived a short distance from the corner of Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue.  Records are vague, and it is impossible to pinpoint the exact location of the house, but it known to have been on the south side of Queen Street (then named Lot Street), a short distance west of Spadina Avenue (then named Brock Street). If he were alive today, his children would be able to walk to the McDonald’s on the corner of Queen and Spadina for a “Big Mac.”

In Henry Scadding’s book, “Toronto of Old,” published in 1873, he states that the house was, “. . . on the same side (south), across the very broad Avenue (Spadina), a modest dwelling place of wood – somewhat peculiar in expression; square and rather tall for its depth and width; of dingy hue; its roof four-sided; below a number of lean-to’s and irregular extension clustering around; in front low shrubbery, a circular drive, and a wide open-barred gate.” I find this account remarkable even without its unbounded enthusiasm for the use of semi-colons.

The Toronto Directory of 1819 lists within the Fitzgibbon home on Queen Street 2 males over 16 years of age, 3 females over 16, 2 males under 16, and one female under 16. In the 1833 Toronto Directory, it states that to the west of Peter Street was the home of The Hon. John Henry, the Receiver General of the province. To the west of his home was the home of James Fitzgibbon. Its exact location is not given, but Henry Scadding stated that it was immediately west of Spadina.

The 1837 Directory simply gives Fitzgibbon’s home as being on Lot Street (Queen Street), and that he was Chief Clerk of the House of Assembly. In 1847, Fitzgibbon returned to England, and his son assumed ownership of the property. The Toronto Directory of 1862 lists rows of shops/homes on Queen Street, west of Spadina, with no mention of the Fitzgibbon home. It is assumed that the home had been demolished prior to this year.

James Fitzgibbon had a distinguished career in the town of York, which was renamed Toronto in 1834. He entered the Upper Canada in 1802, the same year as General Brock. At that time he was a young lieutenant. In Europe, both he and Brock had fought in the Napoleonic Wars. Fitzgibbon was one of Brock’s favourite officers, having secured for him several promotions without the usual payment of funds. Brock encouraged Fitzgibbon to pursue private studies to improve his education. Early in the year 1812, Fitzgibbon resigned his army commission to study full-time, in hopes of eventually earning further promotions. When hostilities broke out with the United States in June of 1812, he resumed his military career.

In June of 1813, Laura Secord who travelled through the woods at night to warn Fitzgibbon of the impending American attack on Beaver Dams. Due to her information, Fitzgibbon captured 450 enemy infantrymen, 50 cavalrymen, 2 field guns, and a partridge in a pear tree. He accomplished this by bluffing the enemy into surrendering, by offering to prevent the Indians from attacking. The Americans were unaware that Fitzgibbon commanded just forty-eight soldiers, and a band of only 400 Indians. The enemy force had been superior in both numbers and artillery.

IN 1823, James Fitzgibbon became Adjutant-General of Militia for Upper Canada. William Halton, who was now back in England, sold the Camden site to James Fitzgibbon, the transaction arranged through his lawyer in Upper Canada, Duncan Cameron. The title to the land where the condominium 50 Camden is located today, was registered on March 8, 1817, the price paid being 270 pounds. Throughout the next few years, Fitzgibbon was involved in various financial endeavours, and used his Camden property as collateral.

In 1826, James Fitzgibbon became involved in another historic event in the town of York. He begrudgingly collected the funds that a court had awarded to William Lyon Mackenzie. The money was compensation for his printing press, which had been thrown into the lake by a group of young Tory hotheads. As Fitzgibbon had openly sided with the Tories, the affair did not endear him to Mackenzie.

In 1827, Fitzgibbon secured the position of Clerk of the Canadian House of Assembly. Mackenzie viewed the appointment as a sinecure position that was undeserving. In his newspaper, he severely criticized Fitzgibbon.

In 1832, a riot broke out in the town, the feud involving a struggle between the Reformers, led by Mackenzie, and the Tories who sided with the Family Compact. Fitzgibbon intervened in the fight on the street in front of Mackenzie’s printing shop. Not to be outdone, Mackenzie dared Fitzgibbon to call out the troops.

Fitzgibbon threatened to arrest Mackenzie and charge him in court with being the instigator of the riot. Mackenzie backed down, and Fitzgibbon escorted him to his home, and shoved him inside the front door. It was a colourful and action-packed scene. Mackenzie retreated to wait for a more opportune moment, while Fitzgibbon basked in the sunlight of adoration from his powerful friends.

James Fitzgibbon, a hero of the War of 1812, and the owner of the Camden property, was now a well-known figure in the town of York. Henry Scadding, in his book, “Toronto of Old,” referred to Fitzgibbon as one of the reverend seniors, who assembled habitually in the church at York.

This was the old wooden church of St. James, at King and Church Streets, not the structure of today. Scadding wrote the following about Fitzgibbon: His tall, muscular figure, ever in buoyant motion; his grey good-humoured, vivacious eye beaming out from underneath a bushy, light-coloured eyebrow; the cheery ring of his voice and its animated utterances were familiar to everyone. In a midst of a gathering of the young, whether in the schoolroom or the playground, his presence was always warmly hailed. They at once recognized him as a sympathizer with themselves, in their ways and wants, and had ever ready for them words of hope and encouragement.

Other sources stated: Fitzgibbon was a person of military bearing and exceptional strength, possessing both courage and wit.

Following the death of his wide, Mary, Fitzgibbon  returned to En gland in 1847. Due to his service to the British Empire, the crown granted him tenancy of a small cottage built into the walls of Windsor Castle. He died in December of 1863, and was buried within the crypt of St. George’s Castle.

Much of the above information is from the book, “The Villages Within,” a humorous account of the history of Toronto, and a detailed examination of the Kensington Market, Queen Street West, and the Kings District around King Street and Spadina Avenue. The book was nominated for the Toronto Heritage Awards. For a link to this book:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/the-villages-within/

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These graffiti marked buildings to the south and west of the bank on the corner of Queen and Spadina are likely on the site of the Fitzgibbon home, as the house was set back from Queen Street, and was most likely also set back from Spadina Avenue. The brick buildings behind the garages face onto Queen Street.

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

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

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 also relates anecdotes and stories from those 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 .

      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), thePhotodome, 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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Grossman’s Tavern at 377-9 Spadina, Toronto

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Some may question my sanity when I suggest that the building that houses Grossman’s Tavern on Spadina is an architectural gem. I might receive more agreement if I suggested that it is a place to imbibe a little liquid refreshment on a hot summer day or hide from the winter’s chill with a glass of anti-freeze beer. I won’t argue the validity of either opinion, and I am accustomed to having my sanity questioned. However, the next time you stroll along Spadina Avenue, pause for a moment and carefully examine Grossman’s Tavern. Behind the rather plain addition erected across the front of the premises, is an 1880s Second Empire house that at one time contained the home and office of a medical doctor. It is one of only three houses that remain from the days when Spadina was a residential street, many of the homes along the wide avenue belonging to the elite of the city.

The decade before the house was  built,  the name Spadina referred to the section of the street from Queen Street to Bloor Street. This was the 1870s, and apart from the tavern of Robert Brown on the northeast corner of Queen and Spadina, there was only one house on Spadina north of Phoebe Street. Even in the year 1880, the section of Spadina north of Queen, on the east side, remained vacant. The large Second Empire home that was later to house Grossman’s Tavern, was built in 1884. It was constructed for Dr. John Ferguson M. D.

The three-storey home was impressive, as befitting a medical practitioner. Its Mansard roof and generous proportions dominated southeast the corner of Cecil Street and Spadina Avenue. Dr. Ferguson remained in residence until 1890, when Dr. Henry Hunt took over the practice. In 1906, Edward Rutherford lived on the premises. He earned his living as a supplier of medicines and toiletries, his shop being at 398 Spadina. In 1907, the house was occupied by Dr. Malcolm Cameron. He remained the local doctor until 1919, when Dr. Murray Robertson moved in. In 1923, he was replaced by Dr. Frederick R. Hayes. During a few of the depression years, Hayes shared the premises with Dr. Woolfson. In 1935, it became the private residence of Mary Koski, and in 1938, that of Rama Walno.

In 1952, it became Grossman’s Cafeteria, operated by Louis Grossman, telephone number EMpire 6-8495. Rose Grossman lived in the south portion of the building. In 1959, the City of Toronto Directory of that year lists both 377 and 379 Spadina as being Grossman’s Tavern.

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

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

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 also relates anecdotes and stories from those 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 .

      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), thePhotodome, 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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Sinfully saucy and diverse–Toronto’s Spadina Avenue

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Spadina Avenue in 1906 (left) and today (right). Both pictures look north on Spadina toward Dundas St.

At one time, Spadina Avenue was a prestigious residential street where many of the well-heeled families of the city dwelt, alongside others who were quite so well off. It also contained three churches, all of which had large congregations. Today, the staid street of old has developed into one of the most interesting and diverse streets in Toronto. On a hot summer evening, some might say that the street is deliciously sinful. Its colourful neon signs and bustling activity create an atmosphere that is reminiscent of Hong Kong.

Beginning at Harbour Front by the lake, Spadina Avenue extends northward through several blocks where 1920s Art Deco warehouses dominate the scene. North of Queen Street, it becomes the main avenue of the Spadina’s China Town. After crossing College Street, it divides and circles around the old Knox College (now a U of T building) and proceeds up to Davenport Road. Here, the street changes direction at the base of the steep incline where Casa Loma is located. 

Throughout its journey through the city, the avenue rarely fails to enchant and entertain. Some historians state that architecturally, Spadina has never lived up to its potential. It’s true that for such a wide and impressive street, it has few outstanding buildings, but its array of nineteenth-century structures with their exotic markets and restaurants are wondrous to behold. To stroll its length is to relive the past of our city and view how Toronto’s old buildings have been recycled to suit the needs of the modern era.

A Brief History of Spadina Avenue

The creator of the wide avenue that today we call Spadina was Dr. William Warren Baldwin. The land where Spadina Avenue now exists was not owned by Baldwin, but by his wife Phoebe and his sister-in-law, Marie Willcocks (nee Baldwin). The sisters had inherited the land from their cousin, Elizabeth Russell, sister of Peter Russell. However, it was Baldwin, in his capacity as adviser to the two women that the idea for a grand avenue on the property was born. Henry Scadding, in his book “Toronto of Old,” published in 1873, stated that the width of the roadway was to be 160 feet throughout its mile-and-a-half course. However, it was actually 132 feet. 

William Warren Baldwin was born in 1775 at Knockmore near Cork in Ireland. He was the oldest son of Robert Baldwin, a farm manager. Young Baldwin received an M.D. degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1796, and set up his practice in Ireland. In 1798 he and his family immigrated to Canada, arriving on 13 July 1799, at age 24, and settled in York (Toronto). In 1803, he married Phoebe Willcocks, whose father, William Willcocks, was a first cousin of the wealthy land-owner Peter Russell. As previously stated, Baldwin’s wife was was one of the inheritors of the lands of Peter Russell.

In the early decades of the nineteenth century, the portion of Spadina south of Queen Street was named Brock Street, after Sir Isaac Brock, killed at the Battle of Queenston Heights. Baldwin became a political reformer and served in the Legislative Assembly from 1828-30, and was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1843. He died in 1844. It is interesting that though Governor Simcoe is highly honoured throughout the city, having a holiday and street named after him, as well as a statue at Queen’s Park, Baldwin is relatively forgotten, though his name does grace Baldwin Street, a north-west avenue located two blocks north of Dundas St. West. It is the main east-west avenue in the Kensington Market, containing several fish markets, bakeries, a cheese shop, and a high-end meat market.

Today, the Spadina Avenue that Baldwin created has many Asian and fusion restaurants that are enjoyed by the residents from all over the city.

Viewing Spadina from its beginning at the lake, north to Bloor  Street.

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Looking north from the bottom (south end) of Spadina Avenue toward Front St. in 1925 (Photo from the City of Toronto Archives). Visible is the old bridge over the railway tracks.

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                                             The same scene in 2012

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The south end of Spadina in 2012 (left), and looking north from the same spot in 1910 (right).

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Looking south on Spadina toward the lake in 1927, from south of Front Street. The new bridge over the railway tracks is under construction. Eventually, the roadway was raised to cross over the new bridge. Historic photo is from the City of Toronto Archives.

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From Front Street north to Queen St. West, the Art Deco buildings from the 1920s dominate the street. Today, they have been recycled as offices, restaurants, and retail stores.

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The corner of Queen and Spadina is one of the most vibrant intersections in the city. Night and day, the area hums with activity. North of Queen Street, the character of Spadina changes. The art work in the centre of the avenue alerts visitors and Torontonians alike that they are entering one of Toronto’s three China Towns.

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North of Queen Street, the street signs are bilingual and Asian art decorates the centre of the roadway.

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Restaurants from various Asian countries are housed in the nineteenth-century commercial buildings. 

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Between Dundas and College Streets, three avenues lead westward into the Kensington Market – St. Andrew’s, Nassau, and Baldwin Streets. The “cat on the chair” is a piece of art located on the northwest corner of Spadina and St. Andrew’s Street.

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In the section of Spadina between Queen and Dundas Streets, trendy coffee houses and cafes are located in the old warehouse buildings. Dark Horse Cafe (left) and Strada II.IV.1 (right-hand photo) at 241 Spadina are among the most popular.

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Bargain shirts as well as rare spices and herbs are available in the sidewalk stands

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North of College Street, the tower of the old Knox College, now a University of Toronto Building, dominates the street. Spadina divides at this point and circles around the nineteenth-century building. The name of the street now changes to Spadina Crescent, and Knox College’s postal address is #1 Spadina Crescent.

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On the west side of Spadina Crescent (left photo) is Lord Lansdowne School, and on the east side is the building that was originally the City Dairy (right photo), which became Borden’s Dairy, and is now occupied by the U of T.

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This artwork in the middle of the roadway that commemorates the old City Dairy.

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North of Spadina Circle, the west side of the street is flanked by nineteenth-century Romanesque homes (left photo), and on the east side, U of T buildings (right-hand photo)dominate the street. 

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The wonderful Asian restaurants, the exotic fruits in the sidewalk displays, and the ornate nineteenth-century architecture – Spadina has it all.

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

To view previous posts about movie houses of Toronto—old and new

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

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its heritage buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-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 also relates anecdotes and stories from those 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 .

      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), thePhotodome, 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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