What's the Future Ever Done for Me?

Lansdowne and Dundas/Then and now

The S/W corner has seen a lot pf action over the last 100 years or so.

An early map from 1884 shows the property occupied by A Roman Catholic Church and school. The original St. Helens,

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Several years later the property is home to the Elias Rogers Coal and Lumber Yard.

Looking north towards Dundas the Church can be seen in the distance.

s0376_fl0005_it0118.jpgLooking south,


By the late 1930’s the property was aquired by National Cash register.


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Taken from J.B’s Warehouse

“Before NCR purchased the property during the mid-1930s, site occupants included the original home of St. Helen’s Roman Catholic Church (which moved a block east) and, during World War I, army barracks. On November 27, 1935, Canadian Manufacturers’ Association president W.S. Morden turned the sod for the $300,000 plant. Opened in June 1936, the 75,000 square-foot facility included a machine shop, assembly area, and stock department. It was intended to supply cash registers and other business machines to Canada and the rest of the British Empire. The yellow-bricked Art Moderne façade was designed by architect Thomas E. Muirhead, whose other works included the Kenson Apartments on Grosvenor Street. The Star noted that the plant offered employees “comfortable working conditions and lighting of the most modern kind.” NCR also provided a generous Christmas bonus—employees who had worked more than three months for the company by the end of 1936 received $25, with an extra buck per year of service. The company’s growth prompted two additions built between 1947 and 1950.

The site switched from building cash registers to utilizing them when Knob Hill Farms bought the building in the mid-1970s to serve as its first warehouse-style “food terminal” location within the City of Toronto. Customers could watch trucks unload fresh goods in the middle of the produce department and butchers practise the fine craft of meat-cutting. “I don’t like to do things behind closed doors,” noted chain proprietor Steve Stavro. “I want the customers to see everything and feel part of it. If you’re selling proper merchandise, you should have nothing to hide.” Among the perks the store offered were late shopping hours and a courtyard statue of Neptune Stavro imported from Italy. It wasn’t the prettiest store, but it offered affordable prices and a deeper selection of multicultural foods than other chains.

After a quarter-century run, the store closed along with the rest of the Knob Hill Farms chain in 2000. Near the end, customers complained about wide pools of water streaming from aging refrigerators. The store sat vacant for several years, during which it was designated as a heritage property, before reopening as a No Frills, which provided a modernized take on Knob Hill’s low-cost warehouse concept.”

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One response

  1. Bill Clarke

    Very interesting about NCR. I used to work for them when it were on Eglington Avenue. I think AT&T have acquired the company now along with Bell Telephone whom I also worked for

    November 15, 2016 at 6:04 pm

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