What's the Future Ever Done for Me?

Posts tagged “Toronto History

Bloor and Croft/Then and Now


The John Rydall Carriage Shop.


Prince and Company.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.11.09 PMTim Hortons.

bloor mash

Poor Old Edison Hotel

The fire that destroyed the Edison Hotel on Yonge street is an event that prompted me to start this blog. Here is yet another photo from sometime in the 1970’s.

10000992_743024405767546_2341938038933610140_oThe land that it occupied is still an empty lot….

Empress HotelOriginally called the Empress Hotel, It opened in 1888.

Destroyed by a mysterious fire, Jan 3 2011.

edison+stitchThe facade of the Edison and it’s neighbour to the south, 1950 prior to the subway being built.



Adelaide and Jarvis Street/Then and Now

pictures-r-5979 The J. Nasmith Bakery on the S/W corner of Adelaide and Jarvis looking west along Adelaide.

nasmith bakeryAs you can see from this early map, Adelaide has since been re aligned to connect with Duke Street.

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 They also had lunch counters at 1408 Queen West, 470 Spadina Ave, 162 Yonge St. 53 King West, 51 King East and 68 Jarvis St.

BAGGrKNCUAEgCl1Theatre_Passe_MurailleThe former Nasmith bakery and Stables on Ryerson Ave.


A rare paper weight courtesy of Mgenter.

King and John/Then and Now

The N/W corner of King on John . The original occupant was  Toronto’s first hospital which in turn was replaced by the elegant Arlington Hotel.
Below, a good and correct drawing!

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POSTCARD+-+TORONTO+-+ARLINGTON+HOTEL+-+NICEScreen Shot 2015-02-22 at 9.23.25 AM
This fire insurance map shows the hotel situated on the N/W corner.
The red portion indicates a brick structure and the yellow, the wooden porch.
King and John/Then and NowLooking west across John Street in the early 1960’s. Farb’s car wash on the N/W corner was knocked down in the early 90’s and the site remained a parking lot until the Bell Lightbox was built last year. Note the neon sign.
King and John/Then and Now
Last year during construction.
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Old Parkdale Police Station

The old Police Station on the South West corner of Queen and Cowan. This station was replaced in the early 1930’s by this Art Moderne version below.



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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.


The S/E Corner of King and John/Then and Now

pictures-r-6484The Isabella Valancy Crawford House.

33173-004-383CDB2D Isabella_Valancy_Crawford_Plaque

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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.


Cool Cars Around Town

A 1958 Buick Limited Roadmaster spotted on Wellington near Niagara this morning.

A lot of time and money has been spent on this one and it shows.

Original price on this one was $5,125 when new or $44,000.00 in today’s money

One recently sold for $129,000.00 US.


I think the “pod” on the driver’s side dash is an automatic headlight dimmer.


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.

August 17th, 1964

The Beatles were here…


The Market Gallery at the St. Lawrence Market currently has an exhibit about the Beatles visits (3 times) to Toronto.

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 Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles

I believe the Revue is the oldest single screen movie  theatre (in Toronto) still in operation.


Cauldfield’s Dairy/Parkdale


45 Howard Park, south side just east of Roncesvalles. Caufield’s was soon to absorbed by the City Dairy on Spadina Crescent.

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A current view below.

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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.


The Daisy Tea Room

An attractive Vitrolite facade on this forgotten restaurant situated on the S/E corner of College and Bathurst. Currently the home of Sneaky Dees . Thanks to M. Ross for the info in locating this one.


Below, the building can be seen in 1951 or so with the second floor addition.


Sneaky-Dees.jpgAnd finally, an earlier location of the Daisey Tea Room across the street on the north side circa 1930.


A closer look at this photo reveals this cover from the Saturday Evening Post.

Painted by the great J.C. Leyendecke.


Lost Parkdale

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