The Biltmore Theatre and POW Burgers!
Looking south from Shuter
Continuing 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.
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:
These buildings as well as the entire block (almost) were demolished to make way for the Eaton Centre in the mid 70’s.
The same view in 2010.
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.
Vintage matchbook covers from Chuckman’s Postcard Collection.
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.
The only photo I’ve found. circa 1981…
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.”
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.
The 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.
Shinerizing 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.The plant was located behind the 1882 three storey historic Silverplate building.
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.
North 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.
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.
The sketch below is his.
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”.
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.
The map below from 1924 shows the termination of Queen Street West at Ellis Avenue.
The code on these is:
Red = Brick
Blue = Stone