What's the Future Ever Done for Me?


When Yonge Street Was Fun


The Biltmore Theatre and POW Burgers!


1266542_545236555546333_213977156_oThe Rio Theatre, Sam the Chinese Food Man, a Pinball arcade and a smutty bookstore!

11023972_834964639906855_530193536406034346_oAn ashtray from Sam the Chinese Food Man.



Scan10002-2large-4 2011222-BloorSoYoungSoBadsoyoungsobad so-young-so-bad-poster Poster_of_the_movie_So_Young,_So_Bad 54719

Queen and Spadina 1983


The S/E corner in 1983 before Queen Street was “hip”. It was mostly used book stores and cheap furniture. This photo is by Patrick Cummins.

Toronto Hydro Store on Yonge

393962_261439137259411_1670477840_nThe west side of Yonge Street opposite Shuter, circa 1917. The building on the left of frame was The Toronto Hydro Electric Shop where various electrical appliances could be promoted and sold.10995934_826701790733140_6462736148632122643_n

Looking south from Shuter

Give something electrical this Christmas. - December 17, 1917 Toronto Hydro Electric main store - Welcome to Edward, Prince of Wales. - September 1, 1919 Yonge Street store interior, Christmas 1919. - December 11, 1919 393962_261439137259411_1670477840_nThe next building was Mason and Risch, a piano manufacturer.

-tmp-jpgchdvmk_1024_9999_fill_waterContinuing left to right, Tamblyn Drugs:

Tamblyn Drugs was a chain of pharmacies in Canada founded by Gordon Tamblyn.

Gordon Tamblyn was born in Belwood, Ontario in 1878. He apprenticed to a druggist in Whitby for a few months before enrolling in the Ontario College of Pharmacy. After graduating in 1901 he began work at the Burgess-Powell Pharmacy, on Yonge Street in Toronto. In 1904, with capital of $500, he opened his own pharmacy at Queen Street East and Lee Avenue, in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood.

Tamblyn’s Cut Rate Drugs featured a soda fountain like many druggists of that period, and offered a delivery service. He opened a second store in 1907, and in 1910 took over another store from a retiring pharmacist.

In 1911, Tamblyn incorporated his business, and began adding new locations almost every year, eventually expanding into other parts of Ontario. During the 1920s, Tamblyn’s chain expanded to about 60 stores, primarily in Toronto and area. Tamblyn died on August 17, 1933, during a round of golf at the age of 55.

George Weston Limited purchased the chain in 1960, and continued to operate it alongside its Loblaws chain of grocery store, creating a “T” logo to match loblaws’ L logo. The chain declined under Weston’s management and was sold to the United Kingdom’s Boots Group chain in 1978. Boots changed the stores over to the Boots name, and later sold the chain to Pharma Plus group.

tamblyn_s_1946-1Interior of a Tamblyn’s.

393962_261439137259411_1670477840_nBachrack Brothers was a Department Store.

Bachrack-ad-23jul1912s Bachrack-fire-7jan1918sFrom the Toronto Star, October 25, 1919

Morris Bachrack, the well-known Toronto merchant, who died on March 17, 1919, left an estate valued at $95,615. This included real estate, being his home at No. 337 Sherbourne street, valued at $18,000; household goods, valued at $1,000; book debts, $21,000; insurance $3,877; $30,000 stock in the Bachrack Company, Limited; $900 in shares in the Cosmopolitan Club of Toronto; $19,800 in the bank, and an automobile valued at $1,000.

By his will, his three sons, Benjamin, Solomon and Emanuel, of New York, were appointed the executors of the estate. The $30,000 in shares of the Bachrack Company was divided equally among the seven sons, Julius and Harry, in Toronto, and Solomon, Benjamin, Emanuel, Louis, and Oscar, in New York. Mr. Bachrack was the founder and president of the Bachrack Wholesale Dry Goods Company of Toronto and New York.

Each of his daughters, Isabel, Ruth and Charlotte, of Toronto, and Mrs. J. E. Goldman, of New York, were bequeathed $5,000 to be paid when they should attain their majority or should marry.

Morris Bachrack was born 59 (69?) years ago in Russia. When he was only 12 years old he went to New York, and came to Toronto in 1887. He started a retail dry goods business on Queen Street west, and twenty years ago moved to Yonge street, to the store that was subsequently taken over by the T. Easton Company. After that he established the Bachrack Dry Goods Company. ♦

And from the new York Times, 1920:

Screen shot 2014-12-26 at 10.59.46 AMThese buildings as well as the entire block (almost) were demolished to make way for the Eaton Centre in the mid 70’s.

Series 8, Subseries 4 - Photographs of Robert and Harold StaceyLooking north, 1977. Barely visible on the right is an old street sign for Albert Street that has since almost disappeared.

Screen shot 2014-12-26 at 11.28.26 AM

324560_382711091798881_1650996169_oInside the old Eatons looking north onto Albert Street.

The Spadina Hotel/Then and Now

The Spadina Hotel/Then and Now Built in 1875, the original block of the hotel was operated for several decades by Samuel Richardson. An early shot of the Spadina Hotel, then known as the Hotel Falconer on the N/W corner of Spadina and King Street West
The same view in 2010.
The Spadina Hotel/Then and Nowscreen-shot-2015-02-05-at-12-28-20-pm
Sometime in the early 1950’s.
If you click on this photo for a better view you’ll see that there were separate entrances for men and ladies.
Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 5.57.30 PM2010.
Hotel_Spadina_in_194810918924_816240111779308_8714342016472667722_oThe late 1970’s?
The Spadina Hotel/Then and Now
Here’s a shot of The Spadina Hotel as it appeared in the 80’s.
Several well known bands (and 100’s of lesser known) played their
first shows upstairs at the legendary Cabana Room on the second floor..
In 1973 several scenes form The Last Detail were filmed here in Toronto
including one where Jack Nicholson slams his gun on the bar.
The Spadina Hotel is now a backpacker’s hostel
but the bar remains in the lobby.
Now used as a check in desk the dents in the
formica top remain.
The Spadina Hotel/Then and NowThe Spadina Hotel today.
Below, a handbill from 1983.

The Spadina Hotel/Then and NowThe Spadina Hotel/Then and NowMATCHBOOK - TORONTO - SPADINA HOTEL - THE CABANA ROOM - 460 KING W - AT SPADINA[1].jpg

Vintage matchbook covers from Chuckman’s Postcard Collection.

420283_295298757206782_1175534271_nThe Spadina Hotel can be seen in the background of this photo from 1962.

Hotel_Spadina_in_1921Early 20’s?

Spadina Hotel Update

I stopped by yesterday to have a look and the interior has been pretty much gutted. I spoke to one of the workers who told me that the building has been designated historic and would not be torn down.

P1140484this the former dining room.

P1140481The lobby from the front door.




Happy Holidays from Lost Toronto!

Thank you to everyone that follows this blog. Thank you for your contributions and comments and thank you for embracing Toronto’s past!


20121203-Christmas-Bridge 20121203-Christmas-Subway-Alt 20141220-vintage-christmas-toronto

The Beverley Tavern

The only photo I’ve found. circa 1981…

Queen Street West street scenes. - July 1, 1971-May 19, 1984An article from NOW Magazine from 2003 by   below.

Those looking to relive their wild youth one last time at the breeding ground of Toronto’s alternative scene will have to party elsewhere. The Beverley Tavern, the dingy west-side hangout that kick-started Queen Street, is quietly closing for good on Saturday, December 27. The hangout, owned and run by the Kolin family since 1967, has been on the market for four years and is now being sold to a company that hasn’t a clue what the next step will be for the former art-punk haven.

On any weekend night from 1976 to the early 80s, the Bev’s second floor hosted the likes of the Dishes, the Cads, Johnny and the G-Rays, the Country Lads, the Biffs and Cardboard Brains.

The most famous of the bunch, Martha and the Muffins, went from the stage of a fluorescent-lit room that stank of stale cigarettes and beer to performing their international hit single Echo Beach on Britain’s Top Of The Pops TV show in less than 18 months. This at a time when the Horseshoe was still Stompin’ Tom’s stomping grounds and the Rivoli, Bamboo and Cameron had yet to launch, never mind MuchMusic.

“The Beverley should be turned into a museum or at least be given a plaque to commemorate its significance as a major music, art and culture site,” says Mark Gane, then and now Muffin partner. “Though (it was) a really small scene and completely below the radar of the Canadian music industry, the Bev paved the way for what would become mainstream 15 to 20 years later.”

Back in the day, the clubs along Yonge Street – Le Coq d’Or, the Gasworks, the Colonial and their ilk – were Toronto’s best gigs and only booked top 40 cover bands or local metal-heads like Rush.

If you wrote your own songs, sported unusual hair and didn’t belong to the musicians’ union, you didn’t play. The Beverley changed all that. They didn’t even have to book bands; musicians just came and volunteered. And though there had been hipster haunts in the past – the Pilot in the 50s, Grossman’s in the 60s – the Bev was the first time Toronto’s music and art world collided.

“Anything to do with the birth of punk culture in Toronto and its consequent virulent spread across Canada started upstairs at the Beverley,” remembers former Diodes manager Ralph Alfonso, now art director for Nettwerk Records. “It’s where we drank and schemed, poring over copies of English music magazines while showing off our latest shirts bought at Goodwill. New York had Max’s Kansas City – we had the Beverley.”

And it only happened because of the location. The Bev was the closest bar to the Ontario College of Art, which provided an instant audience open to new ideas. Soon, every artist was joining a band and every band was dabbling in the arts – film, primitive video and graphic design on posters.

The Beverley was the kind of DIY place where a kid with an electric hockey stick could get up onstage with a slide projector, sing a couple of self-penned numbers and be applauded. Well, maybe not applauded, but at least not beaten up. But the action wasn’t only onstage – the audience was part of the show as well.

Future art stars General Idea would swill 95-cent quarts of Black Label beer with a yet-to-be-diva Carole Pope while imminent playwright Tomson Highway gossiped with nascent cineaste Clement Virgo and ingenue fashion designer Leighton Barrett. Next to them the Body Politic crew planned revolution, and over in the corner next to the battered jukebox a young William Gibson – then an anonymous OCA student – would be inspired to name the villain in his first sci-fi novel after a Viletones song.

“Everybody desperately wanted to play the Beverley,” recalls Andrew Cash, then a guitar wrangler with L’Etranger and currently a Cash Brother. “It spoke to a different time in Toronto, before Queen Street turned into what it is now. People have forgotten that most bands back then weren’t interested in mass commercial success. We did it because we believed in it.”

“It’s where I first sang in public,” recalls Glenn Schellenberg, former Dish, Everglade and TBA keyboard whiz, now a U of T psychology professor, “a gay punk version of Lulu’s To Sir With Love.”

The first wave of bands inspired a second – Cowboy Junkies, Rent Boys Inc., Fifth Column, Dave Howard Singers, Breeding Ground – but by the early 80s the scene’s focus had shifted to the Cabana Room and the Cameron. When Citytv moved in across the street, the Beverley pulled the plug on live music and turned the joint into a sports bar, looking to cash in on the street’s gentrification. The old joint was now worth a pile.

“It was a good club despite the owners,” says William New, the Groovy Religion singer/songwriter who began hosting Elvis Mondays at the Beverley in 82 and recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the alterna-vaudeville revue at the El Mocambo. “They weren’t the hippest people. I remember asking for a slice of lemon for my drink once and being told, ‘All the fruits are upstairs. ‘”

Beverley honcho Lawrence Kolin says he’s not sure what plans the new buyers have for the Beverley. “It could be a Krispy Kreme for all I know.”

Restaurateur Thai Hua, whose numbered company bought the building, says he’s currently looking for a tenant. “I’m surprised that it’s a famous place,” he says. “I thought it was just a bar.”

There’s an excerpt here from a book by Liz Worth called “Treat me like Dirt”

Chapter 4, Death by Design.

The building that actually housed the Beverley tavern is one of the oldest in Toronto.

It can be seen here in this simple sketch from 1852.

Queen and John looking North/East.

The name on the side is W. H. Brayley, Dry Goods. Groceries.

The old St. Patrick’s Market tower is behind.

A detailed description of this sketch below.

 QUEEN STREET WEST, TORONTO, 1852— St. Patrick’s Market
was built in 1836-7 on land granted by D’Arcy Boulton of “The Grange.” The
occupants of houses to the west on the north side of Queen street were W.
H. Brayley, grocer; Daniel Bell, tailor; W. H. Smith, druggist; Arthur
Farrall, cabinetmaker; Wm. Siver, shoemaker; Richard Brown (colored),
shoemaker. The buildings on the south-east corner of Queen and John
streets were the stables of Beverley House, the residence of Chief Justice
J. B. Robinson. Water color by General A. R. V. Crease, R.E. Size 6 x 10.


Lost Dundas Street

Spotted this remnant of the residential past in Chinatown. An old frame house sits behind a newer facade on Dundas West, east of Spadina.

P1140447When this house was built, Dundas was called St. Patrick Street.

P1140561Another old “half house” hides behind a modern facade.


Anotherone Bites the Dust

Zimmerman’s in Kensington Market has decided to close down. The family owned business has been there since 1955 or so.

P1140440 P1140436

St. Lawrence Antique Market

P1140427 P1140430 P1140432Another thoughtful display from my favourite vendor.

Dufferin Gate TTC Booth/Then and Now

1391830_792629100807076_8447562227515596653_n Screen shot 2014-12-22 at 9.39.24 AMNote the billboard for Pussyfoot Toilet Tanks.

Screen shot 2014-12-22 at 9.34.46 AM Screen shot 2014-12-22 at 9.35.13 AM $_20


Morningside and Kennedy, Swansea/Then and Now

The N/W corner. The Donald MackIntosh House, 1900.

This is not the Morningside and Kennedy roads in Scarborough…

pictures-r-2786 Screen shot 2014-12-14 at 9.40.37 AMScreen shot 2014-12-14 at 2.28.46 PM

King and Sackville/Then and Now

South side looking east.

10649081_787941884609131_4857200153805789853_o Screen shot 2014-12-13 at 7.33.20 PM

A Moment in Time

A little girl in a white dress poses for a photo in front of the Swansea Pump House.



Lost Spadina/Toronto Packing Company

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.58.44 PMThe Toronto packing Company on Spadina just north of St Andrews in the late 1970’s. This was a substantial chicken processing plant. In the early 1980’s I was a driver for a fur cleaning and storage company called Shinerizing and my route was the Spadina area. My job was to drive up and down Spadina picking up new fur coats from the numerous factories and delivering them back to the warehouse on King Street where they would be cleaned and then returned.

Passing by the packing Company was always an adventure as the chickens were being unloaded and hung onto a hooked conveyor belt and routed inside. There would always be a few renegades that would escape and run out into the street.

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 9.34.42 AMShinerizing was the trade name of Scientific Fur Cleaning Ltd. Scientific Fur Cleaning Ltd. was a business name registered in 1943 by a Toronto-based fur cleaning and storage company founded in the early nineteen thirties. The company name was derived from the company owners’ last name (Hyman Shiner and sons Sol and Huck). Shinerizing invented many fur cleaning methods that are now industry standards worldwide, and their fire-engine red delivery vans were easily recognized throughout Ontario. The Shinerizing buildings were located at 570 and 572 King Street West and 457 Adelaide in downtown Toronto. In the early 1990s, the company was sold to a competitor¹. Their trademark blue and orange coat hangers continue to linger in the closets of Torontonians everywhere.urbantoronto-8952-30621The plant was located behind the 1882 three storey historic Silverplate building.

2434574076_d57a4f65c3_bThe plant was the building with the lease sign. The gas station was popular with the cab drivers, open 24 hours.


rkvn2b il_fullxfull.232088133Mark Moore was kind enough to send me this photo of the Slaughter House on Spadina.

tc4MZoJkL-6fvOMoIlJqlphQICwK2GkpMwt_MNbY5Wr3vkwXipHtRzOKHPfV_Z4YOF2kjeVbrZkbVfot5vT-P0gTUabRq1iyGZztnoJInk3pK5PNmKJIWc1druflD_xK1CTTz1E9OC2b_4JiEDHXNTIZESUOKZrIklXcJ837ZOhrMuV_Z4siU6O1-mGG49pUwftT192V8UXTvQ7Yojj8-S4v-hnP_538264_301085956628062_1908529396_nA Toronto Packing truck can be seen on the left.

DriveUnitOverheadConveyorBigThe chickens would be hung on a conveyor by their feet and taken into the building to meet their fate….

Who Was John Ellis?

                               John Ellis was apparently comfortably established in London, England, by 1836. He had a business in the City in Old Broad Street and was a freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company; he owned two country properties in Essex; his wife of eight years, Rhoda Anne Benton, had just had their first child. But in that year he sold the London property and in August the family sailed for British North America, reaching Toronto in October. For a year or two Ellis “bushed it” west of the city on land adjoining that of John George Howard*.

In the early 1840s Ellis opened an office in Toronto as an engraver, eventually extending into lithographic printing of substantial projects, including the Plan of Toronto in about 1858. Probably the main line of business was stationery. In 1867 the firm was bought by Joseph T. Rolph and, with mergers, has since grown into the modern lithographic house of Rolph-Clark-Stone, Limited.

Ellis was an enthusiastic, and reportedly an accomplished, amateur cellist, prominent in the city’s young musical life. With the Reverend John McCaul* he organized the Toronto Philharmonic Society in 1845 and served on its committee for many years. He was also a founder, and the orchestra leader, of the Toronto Vocal Music Society.

Ellis was Anglican, Conservative, and an early member of the St George’s Society in Toronto. After retiring from business he lived at his old home overlooking Humber Bay, where he died in 1877.

pictures-r-2754North of Lake Ontario, just west of what is now High Park, stood John Ellis’s house, Herne Hill, overlooking Grenadier pond and the lake. John Ellis Sr. bought the forested 66 hectares (160 acres) west of Grenadier Pond for $25 an acre, and built a house, “Herne Hill” on Grenadier Heights. It was his friend, John George Howard (who donated his land to create High Park) that had convinced John Ellis Sr. to buy the land. The area was known as Windermere in the 1880s, as it has rolling hills similar to its namesake in England, and then Swansea by the 1890’s. Ellis Avenue was constructed over an existing First Nations trail as the entrance to the Herne Hill estate.

pictures-r-3046A view from the estate looking towards the lake.

pictures-r-2772From across Cat Fish Pond.

pictures-r-6864Relatives of Mr. Ellis on the property.

pictures-r-3057-1John Ellis Jr.

pictures-r-1809This print is attributed to John Ellis as the printer.

pictures-r-6631As is this one.

maps-r-111This map of Swansea (Windemere) shows the extent of the Ellis property.

Also interesting is the fact that Ellis Ave is a former Indian trail to the lake as is Indian Road.

Most Toronto streets follow a strict British grid, When you find a road that meanders, it’s either an old trail or it follows an old creek or river. Niagara Street is a good example of the former as it followed the path of Garrison Creek from the old fort up to Queen Street and onto the fort at Niagara on the Lake.

pictures-r-6865-1John Ellis Jr. at Herne Hill, “Ye Old Homestead”.

The sketch below is his.

pictures-r-68511851Browne.york-1851xA high res map of Toronto from 1851, drawn by J.D Browne, printed and engraved by John Ellis, showing the Herne property as well as some other interesting details.

Taverns are prominently marked and note that the intersection of Yonge and Bloor is a Potters Field.

“A potter’s field or common grave is a term for a place for the burial of unknown or indigent people. The expression derives from the Bible, referring to a field used for the extraction of potter’s clay; such land, useless for agriculture, could be used as a burial site”.

  • Toronto, Ontario had a Potter’s Field at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets. The burial grounds were closed with some of the bodies moved to other cemeteries. Unknown number of bodies remained on the site when it was built over. Today the grounds are part of the posh Yorkville district, and the site of an office tower.
  •  Dundas Street starts at the foot of Queen Street (now Ossington).

    Swansea Bicycle Club

    pictures-r-3033 pictures-r-3041 pictures-r-3039Below, a shot of the windmill.

    The Ontario Pump Company.


    A Look at Ellis Ave/Then and Now

    pictures-r-3048 Screen shot 2014-12-11 at 11.06.40 AMLooking south.

    pictures-r-3047Looking south from Morningside, then called College Street, a continuation of present day College Street. See map below.

    Screen shot 2014-12-11 at 11.29.35 AMmaps-r-111pictures-r-3019 Screen shot 2014-12-11 at 10.57.55 AMLooking north across the train tracks with the old Swansea pumping Station on the left.

    ellis ellis 2010Check out a quick time lapse of these two photos below.


    s0372_ss0100_it0092 Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 1.27.23 PMLooking south to the lake.

    At the time the first photo was taken the Queensway did not exist. Queen Street West terminated at Parkside and resumed here at Ellis Ave continuing west. The Queensway extention was buit in 1956.

    pictures-r-3140Looking east across Ellis Avenue in the mid 1950’s.

    Screen shot 2014-12-11 at 11.38.31 AMA current view of the same angle.

    pictures-r-3139 Screen shot 2014-12-11 at 11.40.24 AMLooking west.

    s0372_ss0100_it0094Looking north again, with Herne Hill visible on the far right.

    pictures-r-6443Looking south across the Queensway.

    pictures-r-2750Another shot of the Pump House.

    The map below from 1924 shows the termination of Queen Street West at Ellis Avenue.

    Screen shot 2014-12-14 at 2.30.21 PMAnd on the est side of High Park, Queen stops at Parkside Drive.

    Screen shot 2014-12-14 at 2.34.08 PMIt’s interesting to note that new sections of the map (new construction) have been pasted over a previous version.

    The code on these is:

    Red = Brick

    Yellow= Wood

    Blue = Stone