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Tag Archives: University Avenue Toronto

Toronto’s Boer War Monument

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Gazing north on University Avenue from south off Queen Street West on June 23, 1939. The Boer War monument is visible. The monument in the foreground is to Sir Adam Beck. Toronto Archives Fonds 1231, Fl1231, It1983.

The Boer War in South Africa commenced in 1899 and ended in 1902. It was the last of the great imperial wars fought by the British Empire. Between 6000 and 8000 Canadians volunteered to fight for Great Britain against the Afrikaners, who were settlers of Dutch heritage. The war was mainly fought against two Boer republics—the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic. About 90 Canadians were killed in combat and approximately 180 died of disease.

To honour those who had perished, Toronto officials chose Walter Allward to design a memorial. He was one of Canada’s most prominent sculptors. Born in Toronto on November 18, 1876, as a boy of 14, he worked with his father, who was a carpenter. Walter Allward attended Central Technical School and in Toronto studied under well-known Canadian sculptors William Cruikshank and Emmanuel Hahn. He later studied in London and Paris. Returning home, he apprenticed with the architectural firm of Gibson and Simpson. While in their employment,  he worked at the Don Valley Brick Works, where he modelled architectural ornaments. His first important commission was in 1895, to design a figure of “Victory” on a memorial to commemorate the Northwest Rebellion. The monument was located on the southeast corner of the grounds at Queen’s Park and can still be seen today.

In the first decade of the 20th century, mature chestnut trees flanked University Avenue, the broad roadway that led to Queen’s Park. Walter Allward’s South African monument was located at the south end of avenue, which terminated at Queen Street. It was not extended further south until the 1930s. When the monument was dedicated in 1910, Sir John French officiated. He unveiled a monument that possessed a granite column, at its base three figures cast in bronze. Two them were Canadian soldiers and the third was a symbolic representation of Mother Britain. At the top of the monument was a winged figure holding a golden crown. Crowds lined University Avenue for the occasion. On the east side of the avenue, a short distance north, was the Toronto Armouries, imposing a military presence at the scene. The armouries have since been demolished.

Allward was later to design the great memorial at Vimy Ridge to commemorate the First World War battle of April 1917, in northern France. The monument was dedicated in July 1936 by King Edward VIII.

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Unveiling of the Boer War Monument by Sir John French in 1910, Osgoode Hall in the background, Fl 1568, It.0526

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The monument c. 1930, the Canada Life Building on the left and the Toronto Armouries in the distance of the right. Toronto Archives, Fl 1257, S.105, It 0191

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Walter Allwards’s South African (Boer War) Memorial in 2012, at University and Queen Streets.

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Allward’s three bronze figures at the base of the granite monument. The names of the battles in the Boer War are carved into the granite column.

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     The earnest faces of the soldiers at the base of the monument.

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                 The bronze figure representing Mother Britain.

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Winged figure holding a golden crown, at the top of the granite column.

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   The Boer War monument on University Avenue on May 18, 2015.

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Gazing south from the Boer War monument on University Avenue in 1931. In that year, University Avenue terminated at Queen Street. The houses in the sketch, on the south side of Queen Street, were expropriated to extend the avenue further south. The Royal York Hotel is visible in the background. Sketch from the Market Gallery, Toronto.

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

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

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

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

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

   To place an order for this book:

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

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

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue

 

 

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Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital

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The above picture is from a 1950s post card. On the reverse side of the card is a purple 4-cents stamp with the image of a young Queen Elizabeth ll. The card was mailed in 1955, just two years after the Queen’s coronation. The hospital was a popular choice for post cards in that year as the facility had opened only four year earlier, its impressive symmetrical facade and enormous size greatly admired by Torontonians.

However, there was a Sick Children’s Hospital that preceded the one on University Avenue. The idea of creating a medical facility that catered to the needs of children commenced in 1875, and was contained in an eleven-room house. The following year, due to the increasing demands of a rapidly growing city, larger premises were found, which accommodated sixteen beds.

By 1891, the need for paediatric care had grown to the extent that funds were raised to construct a larger building.  The new facility was to be on the southeast corner of Elizabeth and College Streets, near the University of Toronto. The building was designed by the firm of Darling and Curry, constructed from red sandstone, likely quarried from the Credit River Valley. The style was Richardsonian Romanesque, similar to the Old City Hall on Queen Street West. The base of the structure contained massive stones, and over the entranceway was a great Roman arch. The building had a gabled roof and a cupola. The hospital officially opened in May 1892, and was named the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children. It was the first hospital in Canada built for the sole purpose of meeting the Health needs of children.

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The Victoria Hospital for Sick Children that opened in May of 1892. Photo taken in 2013.

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The entrance to the hospital (left) and the intricate carvings above it (right)

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View of the gabled roof, with terracotta tiles, and a small cupola at the top.

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View of the upper portion of the south facade that fronts on College Street. By the late 1940s, it was obvious that the size of the Victoria Hospital was inadequate. After securing government grants, supplemented by considerable fund raising, property was purchased at 555 University Avenue, on the east side of the street, a short distance south of College Street. The architectural firm of  Goven, Ferguson, Lindsay, Kaminker, Maw,  Langley and Keenleyside were hired. Patients were transferred to the new hospital on February 4, 1951. The Victoria Hospital was occupied by the Canadian Blood Services but they have since vacated the premises.

The site of the new hospital on University Avenue was where the house was located where Mary Pickford was born. Mary Pickford was Hollywood’s greatest star in the era of silent films. Her real name was Gladys Marie Smith, but she changed it to Mary Pickford when she appeared on Broadway in 1907. She became known as “America’s Sweetheart” and was the first truly international star of the silver screen. Her career in films began in 1909 and her final silent film was in 1927. In 1929, in a “talkie,” she won the Oscar for best actress at the Academy Awards of 1929 for her role in “Coquette.” She was one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which was (and still is) responsible for the Academy Awards. Mary Pickford was also one of the creators of United Artists Studios, along her husband Douglas Fairbanks, in partnership with Charles Chaplin and W. D. Griffiths. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were the first stars to officially place their footprints in cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Mary Pickford died in 1979.

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The site of the new Sick Children’s Hospital on University Avenue in 1925. The house to the right of the small one-storey house is where Mary Pickford was born. In this year, the postal address was 211 University Avenue. Photo from the City of Toronto Archives, Series 71, S 0071, It. 3734.

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The Pickford home shortly before its demolition. Photo from City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, S 1057, It. 3999.

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Mary Pickford as a young actress (left) and in the 1930s (right).

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Mary Pickford on March 24, 1924, in front of the house on University Avenue where she was born in 1893. Photo from the City of Toronto Archives.

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The Pickford Theatre, on the northwest corner of Spadina and Queen Street, named after Mary Pickford. The building was later occupied by Bargain Benny’s. Today, a McDonald’s restaurant is on the site. 

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            The Sick Children’s Hospital on University Avenue in 1955.

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Today, there is an historic plaque and a sculpture in front of the Sick Children’s Hospital, commemorating the birthplace of Mary Pickford on University Avenue.

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 the links to posts that rediscover Toronto’s old movie houses:

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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