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The Steele Briggs warehouse at 49 Spadina Ave.,Toronto

49 Spadina

The five-storey warehouse on the east side of Spadina Avenue, between Front Street and Clarence Square, was built in 1913, the year before the outbreak of the First World War. It was constructed for the Steele Briggs Seed Company, founded in 1873 by Richard Steele and Sylvester Briggs. The warehouse was needed to consolidate the company’s operations within a single building. Previously, their offices and storage facilities had been in several locations in the downtown area.

In the early decades of the 19th century, seed production was an enormous business. Canada was a rural nation, the number of families who farmed the land a far greater a percentage of the population than today. The rural areas of the provinces, especially in Western Canada, were the company’s largest customers. As well, homes in cities across the nation maintained gardens to grow vegetables and herbs for their kitchens. The mail-order seed catalogues published each year in late-winter or early spring were eagerly sought. Purchasing seedlings from growers was considered too expensive for most families, so they bought seeds. Nurseries that sold plants were rare, although town markets sold seedlings. In Toronto, people could purchase them at the St. Lawrence Market.

The Toronto Directories reveal that in 1912, the land on the east side Spadina Avenue, between Front Street and Clarence Square, remained empty fields. It was an ideal location for a warehouse as it was close to the rail lands. After the Steele Briggs building was erected, it built its own private railway siding. The tracks for the siding remain visible today in the parking lot on the south side of the building. The company shipped seeds all over Canada, its success partially due to the fact that it developed seeds that were acclimatized specifically for Canada’s growing season. In 1961, the Steele Briggs Company purchased the William Rennie Seed Company. This company was important in the history of Toronto.

William Rennie was born in in Scarborough in 1832. In 1860, he moved his family to a farm in Markham, Ontario. However, in 1870 he rented out his farm and moved to Toronto, where he founded the William Rennie Seed Company. For the next 91 years, the company’s business activities centred around Adelaide and Jarvis Streets. In the early days, many of the seeds that the company sold were grown on Rennie’s five-acre farm on the east side of Grenadier Pond. His homestead was also in this location. Seeds not grown on his farm were imported from Scotland—oats, barley and wheat. As his business grew, he also imported bulbs from Holland. William Rennie was influential in the creation of the Toronto Industrial Exhibition of 1873, which in later years became the Canadian National Exhibition. He also helped found the first annual “fat-stock show,” the forerunner of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. A Toronto Island ferry, the Thomas Rennie, was named after one of his sons, who became a prominent businessman in his own right.

The red-brick Steel Briggs warehouse at 49 Spadina Avenue remains as impressive today as when it was constructed. In 1913, its address was 2 Clarence Square, and even today, its alternate name is the Clarence Square Building. When it was built, the lower portion of Spadina Avenue, below King Street, was industrial and dominated by the railroads. The entrance to the building was on the north side, facing Clarence Square.

The cornice on the top of the Steele Briggs Building is plain, the facades containing few ornamentations. On the north and south facades there are pilaster (faux columns), constructed with the same red bricks as the facades. They rise from the ground level to the top of the second storey, where they are capped with stone. They then continue on the third and fourth storeys, and are again capped with stone. On the fifth floor, stone blocks have been inserted above and below the windows. Though the building has few architectural details, its facades are symmetrical and orderly. It is a handsome structure that enhances the avenue.

When the Steele Briggs building was erected, five storeys was considered ideal, as if more floors were added, it required more expensive structural supports. The wood support beams in the building are reduced in size on the upper floors, as they support less weight. Containing high ceilings, the warehouse is a typical brick and beam construction. The support timbers remain today, visible on each floor. On the ground floor, large oak doors on three sides of the buildings open onto loading platforms, where horse carts, and later in the 20th century, trucks could pull up to unload sacks of seeds. The platforms on the south side of the building allowed the sacks of seeds to be loaded onto railway cars and shipped across the nation. The loading and unloading of the large sacks were done by hand, assisted by pulleys.

Today, the warehouse contains offices and is considered one of the city’s most prestigious rental accommodations as it is an attractive heritage building. 

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View of the loading platform on Peter Street on December 30, 1926, the Steele Briggs building in the background. City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, S 0079, It. 0176.

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This photo was taken about 1913, the year the Steele Briggs Building was constructed. Behind the Steele Briggs Building (upper right-hand corner) can be seen the trees in Clarence Square. The photo gazes north on Spadina. In the foreground, the demolition work on the Spadina Wharf is being completed. In the top left-hand corner of the picture are the towers of the old Union Station of 1884. The old bridge over the railway lines, south of Front Street, is also visible.  City of Toronto Archives, Series 1244, It. 0235

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View gazing north on Spadina from near the bridge at Fleet Street, on June 28, 1925. The Steele Briggs warehouse is on the right, and it has a water tower on its roof. The towers on the old Union Station of 1884 are on the far left. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1580, It. 0090

Series 372, Subseries 58 - Road and street condition photographs 

Gazing north on Spadina on June 16, 1946, from the intersection at Front and Spadina Streets. The Steele Briggs Building is on the right.

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The north facade of the Steele Briggs Building, facing Clarence Square. (photo, 2014)

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The west facade (left-hand side of picture) on Spadina and and south facade (right-hand side) of the building.

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                    Architectural details on the north facade.

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Tracks of the railway siding on the south side of the building (photo taken 2014)

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   Wooden beams in the lobby of the structure (photo 2014)

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Doors that open onto a loading platform on the south side that was used to load the railcars.

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Interior of one of the loading platforms on the south side of the building. (photo 2014)

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      The Steele Briggs Building, viewed from Spadina and Front Streets.

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

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

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

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

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

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It 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 .

 

 

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Toronto’s architectural gems—College Park (the Carlu, Eaton’s College Street)

April 2013

Construction on the seven-storey Eaton’s College Street, on the southwest corner of College and Yonge Streets, commenced in 1928 and was completed in 1930. Covering an entire city block, the retail store was officially opened on October 30th of that year, Lady Eaton and her son John David Eaton officiating at the ceremony. The magnificent structure, the jewel in the crown of the retail empire of the T. Eaton Company, was designed by the firm of Ross and Macdonald, in association with Sproatt and Rolph.

Unfortunately, by the time Eaton’s College was completed, the Great Depression had descended across the nation. The 40-storey skyscraper, planned for the western side of the building, was never completed. However, the interior of the section that was finished was perhaps the most magnificent retail store in Canada at that time. Its interior was trimmed with marble and granite, especially on the first-floor level. Most of the store’s interior was designed by Eaton’s own architect, Rene Cera. The brown granite was from Gananoque and the black granite from Mount Joseph, Quebec. Marble for the exposed pillars and the colonnade in the interior were imported from Europe. In stores across Canada, Eaton’s carried its own brand of products, labelled “Etonia.” However, the higher-class goods at Eaton’s College Street were to possess their own trademark—“Haddon Hall.” The store specialized in high quality furniture.

As a teenager in the 1950s, I remember that each Christmas season, the east hallway on the first floor level contained a vast display of Xmas decorations. It was a sight to behold, as it extended for almost a city block. In those years, I worked for the British American Oil Company (BA Oil), its head office located on the northwest corner of Bay and College Streets. BA Oil was later taken over by Gulf Oil. When I worked at BA Oil, at lunch hour in inclement weather, I often crossed over to the southeast corner of the intersection and walked through Eaton’s College to reach Yonge Street, on the far east side of the store.

Even today, the building that was Eaton’s College Street, is one of the grandest structures in the city. The cladding on the building is ivory-coloured Tyndall limestone from a quarry east of Winnipeg. The north and east facades continue to dominate the intersection of College and Yonge Streets with their displays of elegant Art Deco trim and classical ornamentations, which include Greek and Roman designs as well as floral motifs. However, I believe that the overall effect is pleasing rather than fussy.

The two top floors are recessed back from the street, allowing cornices to be placed above the fifth floor. These cornices have unadorned straight lines, but possess intricate detailing below them, as well as ornate metal railings of nickel and copper. They are similar to the cornices at the roofline of the building, and equally impressive. Tall pilasters of limestone rise vertically from the second floor to the cornices above the fifth floor. The large rectangular windows are situated between these pilasters. The windows allow generous light to enter the interior, which was ideal for the enormous retail areas that at one time occupied the various floors. At the street level, the display windows are enormous. Today, the window on the northeast corner is of sufficient size to contain a Tim Horton’s coffee shop.

On March 26, 1931, on the top floors of Eaton’s College, the 1300-seat concert hall, Eaton’s Auditorium, opened to the public. It was the creation of the French architect Jacque Carlu, famous for having designed the dining rooms of the great ocean liners—the Normandie and the IIe de France. Under his supervision, the concert hall, with its elegant lobby, the auditorium with its superb acoustics and the exclusive restaurant named the Round Room, showcased the latest styles of the decade. Many famous personalities entertained audiences in the great hall, including Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington. It was also the favourite recording venue for Glenn Gould.

As a young man, I was in this auditorium on several occasions and was always impressed with its luxurious surroundings and the warmth of the sound. I seem to recall that the plush seats were grey in colour.

When the Eaton Centre, further south at Queen and Yonge Streets opened in 1977, the Eaton’s Store on the north end of the Eaton Centre contained sufficient display space to accommodate the downtown requirements of the company. The College Street store closed in 1977. It was sold to developers and renamed College Park. The new owners divided the building into small retail spaces on the ground floor, with offices on the higher floors. Space was also rented for courtrooms.

In 1978, luxury condos were constructed on top of the low-rise (southern) portion of the building. However, the opening of the Art Deco concert hall, originally known as Eaton’s Auditorium was delayed as the new owners disputed the protection it received because of the Heritage designation of the building. The difficulties were eventually resolved. It was restored and renamed the Carlu, in honour of its designer. Unfortunately, the court battles delayed its reopening until 2003. 

The building remains a designated Heritage site under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Note. Some of the information in this post was obtained from, “The Eatons,” by Rod McQueen, Stoddard Publishing Company, 1998.

If you enjoy discovering Toronto’s heritage buildings and neighbourhoods, the following blog is an excellent source of reference about the history of the Parkdale community: pvhs.info

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When the Eaton’s College Street store closed in 1977, I visited the store to purchase a keepsake. The above photo is of a sketch of Eaton’s College that appeared on a shopping bag that Eaton’s provided for the closing sale. I kept it as I considered it as valued a keepsake as the item that I purchased. 

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The reverse side of the same shopping bag, depicting the old Queen Street store that was demolished to built the Eaton Centre.

Carlton St, lloking east to Yonge, 1958

A view gazing east along College Street toward Yonge Street. I took this photo in 1958 from the roof of what was then the British American Oil building, located on the northwest corner of College and Bay Streets.

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An architect’s drawing of the Eaton’s College Street store as it was originally conceived. Because of the Great Depression, the tower was never built.  Source of photo, City of Toronto Archives.

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Lady Eaton and her son John David Eaton at the opening of the Eaton’s College Street Store in 1930. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, It. 1637.

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The corner of Bay and College Streets on April 24, 1930. The view gazes south on Bay Street, the Eaton’s College Street Store under construction on the southeast corner (upper left-hand corner of the photo). City of Toronto Archives, Series 71, It. 7579.

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Gazing east on College Street from Bay Street in 1954. The Eaton’s College Street Store is on the southeast corner of Bay and College Streets (right-hand side of the photo).

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This undated photo is from the City of Toronto Archives (Fonds 124, Fl. 003, Id. 0062). The view gazes north on Yonge Street toward College Street. The shadows in the photo indicate that it was taken on an early-morning in winter, as the sun is illuminating the south and east facades of the building. This also explains why there is very little traffic.

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The grand entrance to Eaton’s College on Yonge Street, south of College Street. Today it is one of the entrances to College Park. Photo taken in 2013.

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The east facade of the old Eaton’s Store, now College Park. The view gazes north on Yonge Street toward College Street. Photo taken in 2013.

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A section of the east hallway of the old Eaton’s College store, now College Park. Photo taken in 2013. 

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A view of College Park, gazing east on College Street toward Yonge Street. Photo taken in 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It 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 Gooderham (Flatiron) Building on Wellington and Front Streets

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The red-brick Gooderham Building at 49 Wellington Street East is located at the confluence of Wellington Street East, Front Street East, and Church Street, in the St. Lawrence Market area. The present-day building is the second structure that has existed on this small triangular piece of land. The original building on the site was constructed in 1845, and was smaller than the one that exists there today, it having only three-storeys. It was a part of the Wellington Hotel on nearby Church Street, and was referred to as the Coffin Block as the land on which it was built was similar to that of a coffin. The odd shape occurred because the streets of the early-day town of York (Toronto) had been laid-out on a grid pattern, but the straight lines were slanted to accommodate the curve of the shoreline of Lake Ontario.

Fonds 1244, Item 7335

This photograph from the City of Toronto Archives (Series 1244, It. 7335-1) was taken in 1883. It shows the original three-storey Coffin Block, built in 1845. There is a three-storey bank across the street from the building, on the right-hand side of the photo. It is the structure with the imposing portico.

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This is the building that is presently on the site. The photo from the City of Toronto Archives (Fonds 124, Fl.0124, Id.0065) was likely taken in the early 1970s, since one of the towers of the TD Centre is evident in the background. The top of the Royal York Hotel is on the left-hand side of the picture. There is no CN Tower visible, as it was not completed until 1976.

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This photo from the City of Toronto Archives (Fonds 124, Fl.0124, Id.0025) gazes east along Front and Wellington Streets. In the picture, the Gooderham building is isolated. Beside it on its western side, there are only parking lots, and where the condo Market Square now exists, is another large parking lot. The St. Lawrence Hall is in the upper left-hand corner of the picture. The South Market Building of the St. Lawrence Market can be seen on the south side of Front Street. The old North Market Building is also evident, which was demolished in the late-1960s.

The Story of The Gooderham Building

In 1837, William Gooderham and his brother-in-law William Worts founded a distillery. By the 1890s, it was the largest  producer of spirits in Canada. In the early 1890s, George Gooderham, the eldest son of William Gooderham, purchased the Coffin block to construct a new headquarters for the Gooderham and Worts Distillery. He ordered that the building on the old Coffin Block be demolished. He hired David Roberts Junior (1845-90) as his architect, and at a cost of $18,000, instructed that a four-storey building be erected, which was completed in 1892. In the basement, the windows were partially above ground, creating an extra level. The design of Gooderham’s building was the inspiration for the famous Flatiron Building in New York City, built in in 1902.

Toronto’s Gooderham Building is Romanesque in design, with traces of Gothic. The cornice above the fourth floor has a wealth of intricate Romanesque designs. Above the cornice is a steeply-sloped roof that was originally covered with copper, although the copper has since been removed. The roofline is broken by eight peaked gable windows, four on the north side of the building and four on the south. On the east side, the apex of the triangular shape is rounded and topped with a pointed tower, its top still sheathed in copper. The building has several entrances, but the main entrance is on its north side, on Wellington Street. 

Interestingly, a tunnel was built under Front Street that connected the Gooderham Building to the bank across the road on Front Street. It allowed large amounts of cash to be safely transferred between the buildings without being seen from the street. The bank building can be seen in one of the above pictures placed in this post. Also, the first manually-operated Otis elevator was installed in the Gooderham Building.    

The Gooderham Building was the headquarters of Gooderham and Worts Distillery until 1952. In 1975, it was officially declared a Heritage site. The building was restored in the late-1990s, and remains coveted as office space. Its rooms, with their 12-foot ceilings, are ideal for companies that wish to rent space in an historic property.

                     April 2013

View of the Gooderham Building in April of 2013, gazing west along Front Street.

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Views of the apex of the triangular building, the top crowned with a copper-sheathed tower.

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The Front Street facade, the iron fire escape attached to the red-brick wall. In the basement, which is partially above ground, there is a pub. (Photo, July 2013).

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View of the top of the building, with the ornate cornice and the copper-sheathed pointed tower.

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                    The Romanesque ornamentations in the cornice.

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Impressive main entrance on Wellington Street, with its Romanesque surround.

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Architectural detailing on the building, with the date of its completion.

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The west facade of the Gooderham Building, containing the mural by Derek Besant, painted in the autumn of 1980. It is a mirror image of the Perkins Building across the street. It creates the illusion that there are windows on the west facade of the Gooderham Building.

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                View facing west along Front Street in July 2013.

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

To view previous blogs about other 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 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[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 historic architectural gems—tayloronhistory.com

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For several years I have been posting information on a blog about the history of Toronto and its heritage architecture. Recently I have expanded the blog to include the city’s movie theatres—past and present. One of my sources of information is my personal library, which I have built over the past five decades. The other sources are the City of Toronto Archives and the Toronto Research Library. Much information also has been gleaned from visiting the buildings themselves. Sometime there is a Heritage Toronto plaque that is very helpful.

My research is often frustrating. Postal addresses have been altered over the years, sometimes two or three times. There have been occasion when only the close proximity of a building to a street corner has allowed me to identify it in the archives. The maps in the Goads Atlas are helpful, but they too present difficulties and often contradict the Toronto Directories. Because of these factors, I am only too aware of the risk of errors. These problem occurs when researching both our heritage buildings and old theatres. Adding to the problem, so many of the older structures have been demolished, many of them during recent years. I always welcome comments and corrections from those who visit this blog.

The main purpose of this blog is to create a library of photos that reveal the architectural details of our 19th and early 20th-century buildings. When searching on the internet or in the picture files at the City of Toronto Archives, I discover that usually the only photos available are those that show the entire structure. Very few photos examine the architectural details. If the buildings are demolished, there appear to be few photographic records that examine them in detail. I also attempt to photograph the context of the sites, as these too change greatly over the years.

All of my photos will eventually be given to the City of Toronto Archives. I have been careful to label and date the pictures. Of course, the other purpose in maintaining this blog is to generate an interest in the city’s historic structures. I am continually amazed at how much enthusiasm exits for exploring the architecture of Toronto. It is one of the reasons for the great success of “Doors Open,” held annually in May. 

I also wish to express my appreciation for all those who either own, work, or live in the historic buildings that I have visited. They have been highly cooperative, informative and gracious. The one major exception that comes to mind is the City of Toronto. It does not permit anyone to photograph inside the Old City Hall during the weekend of “Doors Open.”  Because the law courts in the building are closed on this weekend, I fail to understand the reason for this restriction. By contrast, Osgoode Hall also has law courts, and yet visitors are invited to photograph all year round. The staffs at Mackenzie House, Fort York, Campbell House, Austin House, Casa Loma, and Howard Lodge are extremely helpful and encourage photographing. Their tours are superb. All these sites, except Casa Loma, are operated by Heritage Toronto. By becoming a member of this organization, you receive free admittance to the historic sites that they manage.

Below are links to the various topics this blog has examined. I can be contacted at tayloronhistory@gmail.com.

Doug Taylor

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/ 

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

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 Gooderham Building at Front and Wellington

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

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 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 Bell Lightbox at King and John Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bell-lightbox-tiff/

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/

 

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