What's the Future Ever Done for Me?

Posts tagged “Parkdale history

Parkdale at Night

I’m sorry for not posting anything for a while. I’ve been quite busy with work and other things…

Below, the intersection of Roncesvalles and Queen looking east circa 1971. This photo came from the Vintage Toronto Facebook page.



More Lost Parkdale

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The Harry Horne Company at 1297 Queen Street West.

From the 1924 City Directory:

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$_27 m0K_bHrgFJeATS4coooo6xg $_27-1

Below the intersection of Queen, King and Roncevalles from the late1970’s.

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Boy on a Pony

Here is a picture of my father circa 1937 taken outside his home on Harvard Ave in Parkdale. My grandparents did not own a pony. A man with the pony would travel around the city offering to take a photo for a small fee.

boy on a pony

Old Roncesvalles

11134028_857400020996650_7788788350249645269_oLooking east along as a TTC street car heads south down Roncesvalles circa 1964. Note the Sunnyside Bowling Alley.

The now photo is not quite right.

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Note the Sunnyside Bowling sign above Al’s Garage

Dundas and Ritchie/Then and Now

A nice colour photo looking west from 1965and again 2014.

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Queen and Roncesvalles/Then

11081259_851520421584610_8952946131931140357_n Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 4.51.42 PMA couple of shots from the early/mid 1960’s.

Parkdale Orphan

My father sent me an interesting piece in the National Post about an unclaimed plot of land in Parkdale.

Click on the photo for a link.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.55.33 PMThe area in question below. The red square.

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The Original Sunnyside Villa

This house, part of St. Joeseph’s Hospital is the original Sunnyside Villa built by John Howard in 1853 which he named Sunnyside. Howard never lived in this house but built it on spec and sold it to an American, George Cheney. The house became part of St. Joe’s in 1876 when it was an orphanage.


1024px-Sunnyside_Holiwell_Pic-nic 11021463_831713780231941_3393318440167273485_oFrom the Toronto Historical Association:

A surveyor and architect who is woven into much of Toronto’s 19th century history is John George Howard. He had built himself a home, Colborne Lodge, in what is now High Park, and continued to look around at other properties. In 1844, he and one partner purchased Park Lot 25, consisting of 100 acres. Four years later he was sole owner and decided to build a house near the lake, which he named  Sunny-side. This is the name used later to define an amusement park and, even later, to define a host of small business enterprises. Howard intended the building as an attraction among the many building lots he laid out on the Park Lot, and called the house a “marine villa” as it looked out to the lake. From the house, he watched a famous ship founder in a storm and engaged in the rescue of its crew, but he did not live in the house. Howard was also selling off timber cut from his land. Eventually, all of the building lots were sold and by this time the area was known as Sunnyside. The last sale made by Howard was of the house and the 9-acre lot on which it stood. George Cheney purchased it and converted it into a picnic area. There were subsequent owners, the last of whom became aware of the space crisis at the House of Providence on Power Street and its problems in accommo-dating children. At first, Sunnyside was loaned to the Sisters of St. Joseph, who used it as a boys’ orphanage. In 1881, the Roman Catholic Diocese purchased the property and the institution became Sacred Heart Children’s Orphanage, still run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, but accommodating both boys and girls. The original four-storey house had many additions, but the basic structure was octagonal in shape and Romanesque in style. It soon disappeared as the work expanded. In typical fashion, the City of Toronto decided to expropriate the property for use as a school in the growing residential area. To prevent the expropriation, the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Diocese decided to convert the property into a hospital, which could not be expropriated. The hospital opened in 1921. During successive expansions, Howard’s house was demolished in 1945.

West Lodge/Then and Now

s0372_ss0058_it0567Looking north up West Lodge in the summer of 1946 towards the Gutta Percha Rubber Factory.

The largest industry in Parkdale was the Gutta Percha & Rubber Manufacturing Company, established in 1883 on West Lodge Avenue next to, and served by the CPR. It made hose, belting, rubber boots and many other products and once was the largest all-Canadian rubber company. It was closed in 1960.

Screen shot 2011-11-20 at 9.54.34 AM2010 and the factory/warehouses are long gone.

gutta_perchaAnother view of the Gutta Percha factory.

1966325_830798296990156_1803760713334574668_o 10990919_830798250323494_3287943404680863250_o 1501133_830798246990161_2741033443974836318_oInside the factory and the front entrance.

Screen shot 2011-11-21 at 7.16.40 AM Screen shot 2011-11-21 at 7.16.56 AMAn online version of their catalogue from 1905 can be viewed here.

Screen shot 2011-11-21 at 7.23.02 AM47 Yonge in 2010.

Screen shot 2011-11-21 at 7.17.21 AMCompanies back then would exaggerate the size of their factories.

x861a x861percha-rubber-600x368“It would not be until January 1883 when the annual election would produce a majority in Parkdale’s town council for the village’s pro-development proponents. This allowed Parkdale to adjust its trade bylaws, allowing them to directly compete for industries with Toronto. As a result, the Gutta Percha Rubber Company was granted a ten-year tax exemption, a special water rate, and free gas. In return, the factory provided over one hundred jobs, mostly to people living in the municipality. This was an important time for industry in Parkdale, and the residents certainly benefited from the increase in near-by jobs. Of course, once the village was annexed, Parkdale lost the ability to adjust its own laws and thus its ability to compete with other areas of Toronto for industrial development.”

My grandfather worked here as an accountant in the early 1930’s.


And now the fine print…..

Guttapercha ( Palaquium gutta) is a fruit-bearing tree belonging to the Sapotaceae family that shares its genus with more than 100 other members. Found scattered throughout Southeast Asia, this tropical botanical received its name from the Malaysian word for getah perca, which loosely means “rubber.” This was a reasonable nomination since the sap of the tree yields a naturally occurring latex that had been put to use by native residents for hundreds of years before being “discovered” by the British in the mid-1800s. Since that time, however, guttapercha has been part of an equally long and fascinating history.

Initially, guttapercha was an attractive alternative to the latex obtained from the rubber tree of the same region, otherwise known as unvulcanized rubber. This was due to the fact that the latter was prone to becoming brittle since it was susceptible to ozone cracking because of its double bonded molecular structure. In contrast, guttapercha exhibited thermoplastic properties, which meant that it was much more stable and could be reshaped when heated. This property led to the development and improvement of numerous 19th century products, and even a few famous firsts.

For example, guttapercha resin replaced the rubber used to insulate telegraph cables, including those that draped the floor of the Atlantic Ocean to enable the infamous transatlantic telegraph communication between Queen Victoria and U.S. President James Buchanan. The same material was used to produce daguerreotype and tintype cases and to make jewelry, such as decorative hairpieces and combs. Of particular note was the use of guttapercha to embed the hair of a lost loved one into pearl, enamel, and other materials to create “mourning” jewelry to honor their memory. Some of these pieces have survived and are of considerable value today.

Even the furniture industry of the 19th century took notice of the exceptional properties of this material. In fact, The GuttaPercha Company quickly seized the opportunity to make chess sets, figurines, and tea trays from the substance of the same name. However, they also began producing molded mirror frames, sideboards, chairs, and sofas that rivaled the elaborate detail found in pieces hand carved from wood. This was a far leap from the traditional furniture-making standards of the time.

Many of these trinkets and furnishings of the past live on in museums or in private collections. However, examples of guttapercha handiwork can also be found by looking in the mirror and saying “aah”—that is, for those who have endured a root canal. That’s because the stuff is mixed with other resins and zinc oxide and used to fill up the void left in the tooth after it’s been drilled out. This practice, which also began shortly after Britain introduced guttapercha to the world, continues today. In fact, Brazilian guttapercha farmers harvest the resin for this purpose, which earns approximately $30,000,000 US dollars from the U.S. each year.

Scan10001A typical factory from the early 1900’s with belt driven machinery.

King and Jameson/Kingsley Mansions

Robert H. writes:

Can you include 149 Jameson Ave, formerly Kingsley Mansions at King at Jameson, north east corner. The original building – a hotel with indoor pool was renovated in 1995 by the Ontario Government to include 50 affordable compact 1 bedroom suites. Original building is intact and 2 staircases also survived. In the basement where the indoor pool was located is now community spaces and offices. The building and suites are well maintained.

8471155068_137d536db5_bBuilt in 1912, Kingsley Mansions is an early example of a purpose built apartment building in Toronto.

15aApartment living at the time was actually considered quite refined and glamourous and offered as a viable alternative to home ownership.

Apartments were spacious, well maintained with all of the latest appliances and often included servants quarters either adjacent to the kitchen or a communal residence in the basement or on the top floor.

Screen shot 2015-01-23 at 10.06.33 AMkingjamesonThis photo from from the 1930’s of Jameson looking north from King manages to exclude the building.

p1020534A current view.

Screen shot 2015-01-23 at 11.16.16 AMThis map from 1910 shows a wooden house on the corner (yellow).

Screen shot 2015-01-23 at 11.15.23 AMBuy 1912, the apartment has taken it’s place.

Dufferin and Melbourne/Then and Now

Looking south towards King 1976 and 2012.

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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.

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Beaconsfield House/Then and Now

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164 Marion Street/Then and Now

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Parkdale Baptist Church

A reader writes:

Love this blog. Do you know anything about the Parkdale Baptist Church (AKA  Western Baptist ) that stood at Queen and Callendar from 1911-1985? they just demolished the strip mall on the site and you can clearly see a wall section from the old church in the excavation. Ever come across a photo of the church? I can’t find one on the internet and I would love to know what it looked like.

I’ve looked for some information but nothing has turned up yet except these three photos that show the Church and spire in the distance.


photo-toronto-queen-at-roncesvalles-looking-e-pickin-chicken-restaurant-tandem-streetcar-brewers-retail-note-bicycle-groom-or-undertaker-1968 52bcornersThe Church, seen here on a Goad’s Fire Insurance map from 1924.

On these maps, brick buildings are in red, wooden in yellow and blue are made of stone.

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The small plaza that was built on the site was recently demolished.Screen shot 2014-11-27 at 11.43.14 AMThe excavation does reveal what appears to be the foundations of the old Church.


P1140349 P1140351I will continue to look into this one…

pictures-r-5562This photo from the archives is listed as Western Baptist Church, west side of Landsdowne north of Queen 1886.

I see no record of this Church on the maps, However, the Church in question was not built until 1911….


John Silva has been kind enough to send me some photos of the Church in question.

IMG_2781 IMG_2779 IMG_2778This was a substantial Church!

IMG_2773 IMG_2774This last photo shows the Church being demolished in 1985….

Dundas and Ritchie/Then and Now

The S/W corner circa 1939. Old TTC streetcars waiting to be scrapped. The Feather Factory Lofts are seen in the B/G.

pictures-r-1264 Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 8.46.52 AMThe map below shows the TTC yard in yellow.

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The old Peter Witt Streetcars were at this point being retired and replaced by the new PCC cars.

HCRY-Peter-Witt-TTC-2984PCC_4500_at_Humber_Loop title_world_us_pcc_diagram


Circus Elephants on Brock Avenue 1920


Dundas and Landsdowne/Then and Now

The old Fire Hall on the south side of Dundas just east of Lansdowne, 1952.

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Roncesvalles and Fern/Then and Now

A Policeman escorts some students across Roncesvalles at fern circa 1928.

Photograph also shows the store front of William Forster, Grocer at 177 Roncesvalles Avenue. William Forster lived in the attached residence at 190 Fern Avenue.

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More on The Boyd Gang

A couple of pages from the Parkdale Centennial Book courtesy of The Parkdale Village Historical Society.

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