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Posts tagged “Parkdale history

The Parkdalian

A re-post from another website called

The Parkdalian:

The Floral Suburb

Saturday was a good day, as I had a local history goldmine open up for me. I’ll spare you the details, but this gem was one of the first things I came across. I copied this from a handwritten transcription, so there may be errors. I’ll let the piece speak for itself, shall I?

Toronto Daily Mail, May 19, 1879

Parkdale’s Progress: A Busy Day in the “Floral Suburb”
A tree-planting bee – a procession, music and speeches

Saturday was a gala day in Parkdale. For the information of the people of Canada who are not versed in topography, and who do not know the situation of Parkdale, it may be said that it is a village of very aristocratic pretensions, suburban to Toronto, on the western side. It writes the number of its population in four figures, rejoices in railway communication east, west and north, and steamboat communication on the south, calls all its streets avenues, and points proudly to the fact that land in that delightful locality has increased, within the past few years, from $75 to $800 and $1,000 an acre.

Parkdale, though young, lives for herself. Toronto sought, on diverse occasions, with entreaties and threats to become possessed of her, but she turned coldly from the blandishments of her too experienced lover, whose perfidy is proverbial, and, gathering her spotless skirts closer about her, drew further away from the proposed new housekeeping arrangements which would involve higher water rates, higher gas rates and an uncomfortable burden of taxes.

Adopting the maxim that “A virtuous mind in a fair body is like a fine picture in a good light,” she became austere, proud and chaste. Ostracized the saloon keepers, frowned on negro minstrels, erected several churches, established a pound, built a school house, decorated her dead walls with placards of church meetings, tea-parties, temperance socials, sacred concerts and theological lectures, and became pious in good style. There is no lock-up, one not being required in such a moral community, and the only constable is employed to arrest dogs having no homes or visible means of support, vagabond geese or ducks, wayward cows or truant hogs that presume to desert their lairs in the unhallowed city and invade the sacred precincts of the village.

Parkdalians are proud of their village, and they have reason to be so. Prettily situated on the high land of the lake shore, a fine view of lake and island may be had, and on clear days the far-away blue hills of Niagara are plainly discernible. The principal avenues run down to the water, and in many of them, young as the place is, are charming residences, as stylish, as handsome, and as substantial as any in the city. The selectmen of the village in Council assembled decided to adopt the frontage tax system for local improvement purposes, and the streets, or rather avenues, are to be boulevarded and block paved. A company has offered to establish gas works and supply gas for street lighting and domestic purposes at $1.50 per thousand feet, which is $1 cheaper than in the city. A breakwater is being constructed on the lake shore front of the village to prevent the washing away of the banks, and a wharf is to be constructed for steamboats to stop at. A suburban train service has been established, four trains a day being run over the Northern and Great Western railways between the city and Parkdale and Mimico.

Some time ago, a village improvement society, having for its objective the beautifying of the village by the planting of trees and flowers, was formed, and on Saturday the first tree-planting bee was held. Work commenced early in the morning, and continued until two o’clock, when a procession of villagers took place through the principal avenues. By permission of Major Grey (Reeve of Parkdale), and the officers of the Toronto Field Battery, the band of the Battery was present, under the leadership of Mr. B. F> Cheesbro. When the procession arrived at the school house, the band played the 100th psalm, the audience singing, after which prayer was said by the Rev. J. F. Ockley, of the Parkdale Methodist Church. At the conclusion of the prayer, Madame Stuttaford planted the first tree in the school yard. A strong force of villagers, under the direction of Mr. J. M. Wingfield, Mr. J. Davis and Mr. William Fahey, then set to work “with vigour”, as the programme said, and during the afternoon planted about six hundred trees. At half-past four the band gave a concert in the grounds of the late Rev. George Maynard. Speeches were made by Major Grey, Mayor Beaty, Mr. N. Dickey, Mr. W. T. Mackenzie and others, in the course of which Parkdale was alluded to as the “floral suburb”. After an exciting day, the villagers sought their homes and rest about seven o’clock.


More Lost Parkdale

Before the Gardiner Expressway was built, Jameson was a quiet tree lined street with some of the grandest houses in Parkdale. All but two were demolished to build the corridor of apartment buildings that now dominate the street.

Below, looking south from Queen.


Two of the victims…


Lost Parkdale, S.S. Kresge’s



The Kresge’s on Roncesvalles, just north of Fern remained in business until 1994.

I was in there a couple of times and don’t remember if there was a lunch counter.  It’s now a bank, but the Art Deco Vitrolite is still somewhat intact behind the new sign.

My neighbour, Terry T. who has lived in Parkdale most of his life says the lunch counter was indeed there until the end.


A typical lunch counter. This one’s form the Kresge’s in the Junction that closed about the same time. No kale and quinoa salad on the menu here.


Anatomy of a House

My old house in Parkdale was in need of a serious face lift. Despite having spent considerable time and money 18 years ago, the porch and facade had deteriorated to the point of embarrassment.


The decorative medallions had rotted and given the squirrels and birds a chance to get in..

It was a wildlife condo with no maintenance fees.

The first step was the porch and columns which had also rotted.


My friend Dan, a carpenter came over to help. We jacked up one side and pulled the column. My original intention was to replace the wooden bases and clean/patch the columns. However, once removed I found the base was infested with carpenter ants and the column itself in need of considerable work.


I called Roman Columns in Mimico and he had brand new fibreglass replacements in stock for $275.00 each!


Dan and I replaced both of them in about 3 hours (I painted them the night before).

Next we stripped the deck  off the porch and made any repairs to the base.



Next up was the medallions and trim up top.

A different Dan came over and we set up the scaffold.


I removed the rotted inserts and years of debris that the animals had left behind including a mummified squirrel…


I originally thought we could cut new pieces by hand out of marine grade plywood but it was obvious that this was beyond both of our capabilities.

A quick call to John K. (a film carpenter with a CNC machine) solved this problem.

His company in Mimico, Motion Designs.

He came to the house, picked up the plywood and returned the next day with new panels,

designed by John, cut by the computer.



These were primed/painted and installed the next day.

A heavy duty wire screen (painted black) was attached to the back of each piece. I had previously used a lighter gauge screen door mesh which wasn’t as strong.

ALWAYS use a harness when working on a scaffold!


And there you have it, as good as new.

There’s still painting details to finish up.

Below is what the house looked like in 1998.


P.S. A mixture of Borax, sugar, honey and boiling water has proved a good deterrent to the ants.

P.P.S. I buried the mummified squirrel.



One last detail was to trim out the column bases.

The Parkdale Theatre/ Then and Now

Parkdale Theatre/ Then and NowParkdale Theatre/ Then and Now
Parkdale Theatre/ Then and Now2010
The Parkdale Theatre on Queen Street West was built by the Allans and opened April 5, 1920 and was very successful thanks to it’s proximity to Sunnyside Amusement park. It finally closed in 1970. A substantial venue with over 1500 seats.
For a short time the box office was used as a Beer Store and more recently the entire space has been divided into several antique stores.
In the 1937 photo the film playing is “Kid Galahad”.
In the 1947 photo the film is “Humoresque”.
Parkdale Theatre/ Then and Now
The lobby from 1947.
2013211-parkdale-theatre-stFor more information on Toronto’s Lost Movie Houses please look for John Sebert’s book“Nabes”.
Photos-7 GLOBE-ARTICLE-ROBBERY-2A brief history of the Parkdale Theatre and it’s reputation can be found here.


More Lost Parkdale

This sign for Freddi’s Clothes for Men can still be seen in the alley off of Lansdowne.

Not sure how long Freddie’s was in business but I bought some vests there in the 90’s…

“Just Around the “C”.


Harry’s Char Broiled is No More

Parkdale lost the Skyline Diner last month (although resurrected) and last week Harry’s Char Broiled at King and Springhurst closed after 48 years in business.


The full story can be found here.

Pretty Sharp in Parkdale

It’s comforting to know that some things don’t change.

The sharpening truck still makes its way through the streets of Parkdale with his tell-tale ringing bell.

He sharpened the blade on my lawn mower today.


The Snickelways of Parkdale

Here are two on Queen West.


The same building in the 1950’s when it was the Parkdale Boxing Club.


And the theatre (demolished) beside it.


Lost Parkdale

Looking east along Queen from Roncesvalles sometime in the late sixties. Note the Centennial sticker on the trash can.


Dundas and Lansdowne/Then and Now

Dundas and Lansdowne/Then and NowLooking east from Dundas across Lansdowne in 1917. The building on the S/E corner is a bank.
For years afterwards it was the Dunlan restaurant and had a wonderful 1940’s stainless counter and several small booths. Scenes from David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch were shot there in 1991.
Below some screen grabs from Naked Lunch. At first it was used  a New York Diner and then later re-dressed as a Moroccan Coffee house.
P1140535 P1140539 P1140543
Dundas and Lansdowne/Then and Now
Now it’s Yummy Pizza!
Dundas and Lansdowne/Then and Now
A couple of shots inside the long gone Dunlan Diner courtesy of mistagregory.
Dundas and Lansdowne/Then and Now
Good times!
Dundas and Lansdowne/Then and Now“Freshen’ your drink hon?”
Dundas and Lansdowne/Then and NowA couple of recent photos while under renovation.
Dundas and Lansdowne/Then and Now
It appears that it was a music academy before a restaurant.
These last two photos are by printwithfire.
Here’s another shot looking south on Lansdowne with the Dunlan in the B/G. The grey building on the left was a Hotel.

Queen and West Lodge/Then and Now

Queen and West Lodge/Then and NowAn old real estate listing from 1979. 1430 Queen Street West is listed for $83,000 with annual taxes of $1.491.58. Pizza Pizza, John’s Broadloom, a jewellery store and the Skyline Restaurant
Queen and West Lodge/Then and Now
In 2010 the Pizza Pizza is still here with new signage and to the far right
the Skyline is now closed…..

Skyline Restaurant /Parkdale Closing

I’m sad to report that the rumours  are true and that the Skyline Restaurant on Queen West is indeed closing. Sunday Feb 21/2016 will be the last day under the present ownership.

Skyline Restaurant / ParkdaleSkyline Restaurant / Parkdale

The Skyline Restaurant in Parkdale is one of my favourite “Diners” in the city.
It has a great neon sign, the interior has lots of period details and it’s kept spotless.
Highly recommended: cheeseburger and onion rings (the best in the city) or
open face roast beef sandwich (Mat’s favourite).
Skyline Restaurant / ParkdaleThe new owners have said that they’ll keep the interior intact.
Skyline Restaurant / ParkdaleEven the back room is nice…for a private party.
Lou, the owner was kind enough to give me and old menu as a souvenir.
skyline3 1.jpegskyline3 2.jpeg

More Lost Parkdale

The N/E corner of Queen and Macdonell.

The Metropolitan School of Music.


Currently under renovations with rumours that an A & W will be moving in soon..



Photo courtesy PVHS.

Nick the Parkdale Barber

A photo from the star archives circa 1990. Does anyone remember this guy and where this photo was taken?

There’s a reflected sign in the b/g that reads Parkdale Furs.


I think the detective work by the readers has proven successful. 1606 Queen West appears to be the location.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 12.01.19 PM.png

The architecture of the store front makes sense and the indication of these two holes on the column line up with the original location of the barber’s pole….

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 12.01.50 PM.png

The gas valve seems to line up as well.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 12.08.09 PM.png

Thanks to everyone that commented and helped solve this

Parkdale Mystery.



Dundas and Roncesvalles 1913

Dundas Roncesvalles 1913-Collections Canada[1].jpg

The bank on the right would later be robbed by the Boyd Gang and then used as Mr. Pinky’s Hefty Hideaway in the movie “Hairspray”.


More Lost Parkdale


12376286_988058087930842_8084074467238711044_n[1].jpgphoto-toronto-king-roncesvalles-and-queen-picken-chicken-sign-corner-store-appears-derelict-1964[1].jpgPHOTO - TORONTO - KING QUEEN AND RONCESVALLES - NOTE TAXI STAND - CLOTHING STORE AT CORNER - LOOKING E - 1966.jpg

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

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
IMG_5412 IMG_5414
 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.