What's the Future Ever Done for Me?

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Lost Yonge Street

Just north of Wellesley.


Gas Prices 1975


1975 is the first year that gas was sold by the litre in Canada.

14 cents/litre works out to 60 cents/litre in today’s money.

Photo by Boris Spremo, Toronto Star.

Luck Boys

From the Toronto Star, 1971. Photo by Boris Spremo.

Putting together scraps of old bills found in the Black Creek ravine. Mrs. Emily Coggon helps Patrol Sgt. Cyril Barnes and Inspector Tom Cooke while her sons Kirk; 6, and Neil, 5, watch. Kirk is one of the eight children who found the money three months ago, $2,960 in bills from the 1930s. It’s not been claimed, and it’ll be divided among the youngsters. Kirk’s going to buy a bicycle.


$2,976.00 in 1971 would be worth $18,000.00 today!

New City Hall

Before the New City Hall was built (1965), various architectural firms submitted designs  in 1958 as part of  a competition.

The full story of the competition and building New City Hall here.

tspa_0004366f cityhall-a-r5-01Below, a selection of designs that were passed on.

cityhall-bonner-311-427 cityhall-bonner-105-265 cityhall-a-r5-02 cityhall-bonner-107-333 cityhall-a-r5-03 cityhall-panda-581184-41 cityhall-bonner-106-105 cityhall-a-r5-16 cityhall-a-r5-04 cityhall-panda-581184-58 cityhall-bonner-064-399More to follow.

cityhall-bonner-250-501 cityhall-bonner-324-027 cityhall-bonner-006-472 cityhall-bonner-310-381 cityhall-bonner-274-185 cityhall-bonner-311-427 cityhall-a-r5-05 cityhall-a-r5-17 cityhall-panda-581184-63 cityhall-bonner-065-362 cityhall-bonner-130-056 cityhall-bonner-249-269 cityhall-bonner-005-018 cityhall-bonner-309-390 cityhall-bonner-108-044 cityhall-bonner-283-347

Bathurst and Dundas/Then and Now

The N/W corner looking south circa 1930.

pictures-r-5359 Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 11.00.32 AMdundas mash

The E. & C. Gurney Stove Works Factory on King Street West/Then and Now

Here’s another example of a Victorian industrial building that has survived.

pictures-r-6472 The E. & C. Gurney Stove Works Factory

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.44.59 AMimage7Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.49.24 AMThere was another factory in Hamilton, On.

The corner of Catherine and King William.

gurney Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.53.10 AM mcr41art02_fig7 161

The James Robertson Company

pictures-r-6473 The James S. Robertson building located at the S/E corner of King and John Street.

If you look closely at the right hand side you’ll see this old house that is still standing.

Below, a later photo and I would guess the company has relocated.


Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 9.43.35 AM kingwestScreen Shot 2015-10-28 at 9.43.07 AM

ndtradecardsr-jamesrobertson1-1Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 9.52.34 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 9.53.00 AMA biography on James Robertson here.

The company later built this factory on Spadina Ave which is still standing


Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.05.51 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.05.02 AM 706robertson 4535

More Lost Parkdale

photo-toronto-king-at-jameson-streetcar-stopped-1967postcard-toronto-sunnyside-bathing-pavion-big-crowd-land-of-maple-leaf-series-tinted-1927 photo-toronto-dundas-near-ritchie-looking-e-toronto-feather-and-down-1965 photo-toronto-king-roncesvalles-and-queen-picken-chicken-sign-corner-store-appears-derelict-1964 photo-toronto-dundas-near-bloor-towers-sign-part-of-dempsters-sign-frans-restaurant-1965 photo-toronto-king-just-below-queen-at-roncesvalles-gordys-restaurant-edgewater-hotel-tamblyn-drug-sign-pcc-stopped-1951 photo-toronto-king-at-queen-and-roncesvalles-ruth-frocks-quaker-state-sign-pcc-and-clrv-1980 photo-toronto-queen-street-at-roncesvalles-looking-e-streetcar-turning-onto-queensway-1977 photo-toronto-roncesvalles-looking-n-from-king-edgewater-hotel-gray-coach-car-turning-onto-king-1965photo-toronto-dundas-and-bloor-note-toastmaster-sign-pizza-delivery-car-secondary-school-under-construction-s-e-corner-yellow-sunday-ttc-stop-puddicombe-motors-1967

Lost Parkdale

A selection of images from Parkdale’s past.

postcard-toronto-gtr-and-cpr-stations-north-parkdale-train-approaching-note-milk-cans-set-out-1910s photo-toronto-dundas-at-roncesvalles-looking-e-stores-1967 photo-toronto-queen-street-at-roncesvalles-looking-e-streetcar-turning-onto-queensway-1977 photo-toronto-howard-park-at-roncesvalles-streetcars-stores-1960smatchbook-toronto-ace-grill-restaurant-231-a-roncesvallesphoto-toronto-roncesvalles-looking-n-from-king-edgewater-hotel-gray-coach-car-turning-onto-king-1965

The Stoodleigh Restaurant/ King and Bay

PHOTO+-+TORONTO+-+KING+STREET+-+JUST+E+OF+BAY+-+LOOKING+E+-+TORONTO+STAR+BUILDING+-+STOODLEIGH+RESTAURANT+-+1960sThe north side of King just east of Bay Street in the early 1970’s.

menu-toronto-stoodleighs-restaurant-in-the-old-toronto-star-building-inside-1950s POSTCARD+-+TORONTO+-+STOODLEIGH+RESTAURANT+-+IN+TORONTO+STAR+-+KING+STREET+-+DINING+ROOM+-+1960s

Lost Hamilton

Location Scout, Mark Moore has sent me some photos of a recently exposed store front on Barton Street in Hamilton. This early store front had been covered for years. Next door (Hendry’s Shoes) has an equally interesting/vintage Vitrolite front.

More on Vitrolite here.

DSC09275 DSC09278 DSC09279 DSC09280 DSC09281 DSC09282 DSC09283 DSC09284Below a before shot.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 7.12.12 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 7.12.40 AMBelow, another good example of an Art Deco Vitrolite storefront in Toronto

photo-toronto-murdies-drugs-devon-ice-cream-free-coca-cola-today-art-deco-design-1930sScreen Shot 2015-10-26 at 10.44.51 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-26 at 10.46.55 AM396 Vaughn Road today….

The Derby Tavern

The Derby stood at the south east corner of Parliament and King from 1847 until 1988. I never went in but wish I had…

20130911-Beale-KingParliament The_Derby_1988 derby

slide371The S/E corner of King and Parliament as painted by Gerald Lazare sometime in the 1980’s.

Below, from the streetcar loop.


As with many of the older bars in Toronto there was always a Men’s entrance that lead to a separate bar where the men would drink (really drink) and another entrance for Ladies and Escorts where couple could drink in a more respectable bar. The Spadina Hotel was the same.

…in the late 1930s, the Provincial Division of Venereal Disease Control launched a major campaign against hotel beer parlours alleging that they were spreading venereal disease and that prostitution was the main source of VD. “You read these official records and it’s only women who spread disease,” Campbell said with a laugh. “They never acknowledge that they got it from a man. Only women.”

The campaign intensified with the Second World War during which VD was seen as undermining the war effort by infecting young men. In 1942, the provincial government ordered that beer parlours erect physical barriers between two separate areas with separate entrances designated for men only and for ladies with escorts. The latter would allow women either alone or with their husbands and boyfriends. “The whole idea was to try to separate unattached women from unattached men.”


Screen Shot 2012-05-03 at 7.56.37 AMA current view.

Below, another example of the Mens Entrance. The old Hotel  Breadlebane on Yonge Street.

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Vintage Milk Delivery Truck Update

$_2qqas0 $_20lloa-1 $_2''p0-2 $_2qq0980-3 $_20qqoknf-4 $_20okg0-5Early Canadian Bottle WorksCurrently for sale on Kijiji, Toronto. No engine though.

This post is from a couple of years ago. Recently the owner of the truck got in touch with me and was kind enough to supply his story as well as photos of his restoration/preservation work.

Mark G. writes:

Hi Greg,

Here is the story of the milk truck.
I bought it last summer from a guy in Wasaga Beach. He bought it from somebody else who removed the original drive-train, interior and a lot of other parts, so by the time I got the truck a good portion of it was missing.
I am an architect by trade (Hence the appreciation for your website and it’s historic and architectural content) but foremost I’m a custom motorcycle and hot-rod builder. I was looking for a truck for hauling motorcycles and parts but I wanted something totally different than what everyone else was using, so when I came across this milk truck I fell in love with it right away. The guy whom I bought it from was planning of painting his company logo on it so I was glad I was able to buy this truck before the original patina was going to be painted over and destroyed.
I brought the milk truck home and restored the original paint by hand in the exact way it was painted by the original sign maker. His hand signature still visible and legible saying “Signs by Maquis”.
After restoring the signs, finding a grille, head lights and other missing parts I ran into space and storage issues with this truck so, with a heavy heart, I decided to put the truck up for sale. The truck was too tall to fit into my shop and I knew I was going to be too busy for the next year or so to take on such a massive project on top of several existing projects already waiting to be finished.
The pictures of my truck you posted on your website were from my Kijiji ad from that time.

CIMG1155 CIMG1162 CIMG9912 Milk Truck 1 Milk Truck 8CIMG0033 CIMG0037 CIMG0038 CIMG0058 CIMG0076 CIMG0084 CIMG0087 CIMG0123

Several interested individuals responded to my ad. To my dismay most of them were interested in using the truck as a form of advertisement for their companies and their choices of restoration techniques were going to be very destructive to the historic value of the truck so this became very concerning to me. I guess I changed my mind about selling the truck when a couple of representatives of the Steamwhistle Brewing Company came to my house and expressed interest in buying the truck and turning it into one of their promotional vehicles, which they would add to their impressive collection of rare vintage trucks. I have no problem with the way Steamwhistle Brewing Company restores their vehicles. In fact, I love their fleet of old trucks but I did not want to be responsible for sentencing MY milk truck to be irreversibly altered and stripped of it’s historical importance by selling it to them.
After that experience I realized that the sale of my truck was turning more into something more of an adoption process than a sale. I was starting to loose hope for finding a responsible buyer who would respect the trucks past and local historic importance, so I decided not to sell it.
The last call I got about the truck before I pulled my ad was from a man who lives in Meaford, Ontario. He called me, and with a very apologetic voice, told me that he was not interested in buying the truck but rather just to tell me that he remembers this very milk truck delivering milk to his door step as a child, and him watching the milk man driving this truck doing so every day. He said that he totally forgot about the milk truck over the years but when he saw it for sale on Kijiji he experienced an overwhelming flood of memories from his childhood so he felt compelled to call me and tell me about it. I had no idea who this man was but his story was very touching and further confirmed my decision to restore the truck myself. Restore it the way it should be restored and perhaps preserved for future generations to enjoy.
I don’t want to get too romantic about this story but I did this restoration for my own satisfaction but also partially for that guy. Whoever he is.

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After deciding not to sell the truck I put a couple of my motorcycle project on hold, I rented space in a shop big enough to house the truck and I spent the next ten months locating period correct parts and building the frame and drive-train for this truck, sparing no expense or effort.
The truck is still not totally finished but I do drive it already. Mostly to car shows and cruise nights. When it’s all finished it will probably haul my motorcycles to the Bike Week in Daytona Beach next spring and double as a camper so I have somewhere to sleep while travelling around.
I hope you got the pictures I sent you of the restoration process. I have many more pictures if you’re interested. Feel free to post them on your website as well as my story if you wish.
I find your website very interesting. I spent hours browsing through the historic pictures and I’m looking forward to seeing more. By now I’m sure you can tell that I’m pretty fascinated by history, and especially local history.
Thanks for your interest in my truck and my story.
CIMG0392 CIMG0411 CIMG0439 CIMG0447 CIMG0448 CIMG0449 CIMG0452 CIMG0454 CIMG0505 CIMG0507 CIMG0581
A similar van has been spotted in the east end by Max M.
van2 unnamed van

King and Dufferin/Metallic Roofing Company

King and DufferinKing Street West looking east across Dufferin circa 1910
King and Dufferin
A similar view today.
King and Dufferin
King and DufferinThe Metallic Roofing Company of Canada began it’s operation in 1884 and was the first such company in Canada. It was located at 1190-1192 King Street West. Tin ceiling tiles held enormous appeal as they were affordable, fireproof and could be decorated with custom designs. Sadly, the building fell into disrepair, but unlike many Toronto gems, it was dismantled and is presently in storage with the Ontario Heritage Trust. The façade is on display at the Ontario Heritage Trust building on Adelaide if you want to get a rare peak at a pressed metal building façade.
1272033_542409172495738_708089708_oThe display building sat on the corner of Lamport Stadium for a couple of years.
1904roofingsbThe crates below are courtesy of Jamie C. of  Saskatchewan
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 Happy to see this bit of history of the Metallic Roofing Co in Toronto. I was cleaning out an old blacksmith shop in Southern Saskatchewan last week ( Sep 2015) and found an old muddy wooden box. I cleaned it up and it has stamped printing on the side which says “From the Metallic Roofing Co Ltd Manufacturers Toronto & Winnipeg”. It will be going into a small private museum the land owner and I are setting up.

Nothing To Do With Toronto

These are static images…


Lost CNE

Up until the late 1960’s-early 1970’s the CNE featured a “Freak Show”.

People that were deformed and physically handicapped were put on display.


Exhibition Street Car Loop.

Andre has provided this link to a short film on Youtube.


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