Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Walking up Yonge Street on a grey damp September day – from Adelaide to Dundas

below:  Southeast corner of Adelaide & Yonge: the (sort of) dome shaped entrance way with the stained glass roof is under renovation.

a couple walks on the sidewalk, along Adelaide, near northeast corner of Yonge, construction on the southeast corner, renovation of entranceway to office building

below: Walking his bike up Yonge Street

a man walks his bike on the sidewalk, northbound on Yonge street, east side, north of Adelaide

below: Looking north up Yonge Street from Richmond

looking north up Yonge street from Richmond

below: Looking west on Temperance Street towards a wall of glass

lookingwest on Temperance Street from Yonge street, a young man is crossing the street, a wall of glass condos rises in the west

below: Dineen Coffee on the ground floor the old building on the northwest corner of Yonge and Temperance streets. The coffee company took its name from the building – the Dineen Building, once home to furriers W. and D. Dineen Co. (until the 1930s). The building was built in 1897 and was added to the City of Toronto Heritage list in 1973. Ceilings in it were made of bronze and aluminum plates; this was the first time that aluminum was used as a building material in Canada.

Dineen coffee, an old building on the northwest corner of Yonge and Temperance streets.

below: Dineen Building, 1927.  The 2012 restoration was very faithful to the original facade.

vintage 1927 black and white photo of the Dineen Building in Toronto, source, TPL, Toronto Public Library

Source: Online,  Toronto Public Library Archives. Unknown photographer for the Toronto Star newspaper.

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Yonge street on a rainy day, two people with black umbrellas walk past mado, an empty storefront

below: Streetcars on Queen West under the redesigned pedestrian walkway.

TTC streetcar on Queen Street at Yonge, outside Eaton Centre

below: Looking north from Shuter Street.  Since the late 1970s, the west side of this block has been dominated by the Eaton Centre.  When the mall was first completed, it destroyed any street scene that had existed there.  Subsequent alterations have improved this block at street level a bit.

below: Looking north up Yonge Street from Queen back at a time when the new Eatons store at the north end of the Eaton Centre was built (at Dundas, completed 1977) but the old stores on the west side of Yonge hadn’t been completely demolished. This photo was found online on blogTO – here’s the link to their site if you are interested in the history of the Eaton Centre construction.

1970s faded colour photo of Eaton centre development, found on blogTO website, original photo from Toronto Archives, people crossing Yonge street in front of construction, one tall building in the background, as well as new Eatons building at north end of Eaton Centre

hand written sign on ground leaning against an information and map stand on Yonge Street, poster says Iran needs help

a young man walks south on Yonge, over a metal grid in the sidewalk that is an air vent for the subway that runs underneath, picnic benches for a patio beside the sidewalk, traffic, construction signs on the street including a large arrow directing traffic into the righthand lane

store signs on Yonge Street, Burger King, a tailor shop, vans, and Ed Mirvish theatre

below: Massey Hall, Shuter Street

a man is eating as he walks past ads for a bank and financial security, Massey Hall sign in the background

below: Reflections in the windows as you approach Dundas. I’m not sure what the relevance of “drunk elephant” is!

a man walking towards the camera, beside a large store front window with reflections, including the words drunk elephants

below: Tourists in the city; cameras out at Yonge Dundas Square.

people standing on the upper level of a double decker bus, hop on hop off tour bus in Toronto that is covered with Harry Potter ad, at Dundas Square with large billboards in the background with ads for Disney - the rebellion begins, poker stars casinos epic games, and Andor

looking towards Yonge Dundas Square on the southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas

people walking with umbrellas on wet sidewalk on Yonge, at Edward, going south towards Dundas

There are more rainy day photos of people at Yonge and Dundas in the next blog post.

between Steeles and Drewry/Cummer.

Once it was the hinterland but now it feels like the city just goes on and on and on….

below: In 1955 this was the view looking south on Yonge from just north of Cummer/Drewry. This was the center of the community of Newtonbrook, named after the Newton Brook Wesleyan Church founded in 1857.  A general store and post office were opened here in 1863 on the northeast corner of Yonge & Drewry (possibly the buildings on the right side of this photo).

black and white photo of yonge street looking south from Cummer

photo credit: James Victor Salmon, found on Toronto Public Library website (public domain).

below: It’s not taken from exactly the same viewpoint (traffic!) but this is what you see looking south on Yonge Street now.

yonge street, looking south from drewry and cummer, large new condo development with 3 cranes, some traffic,

below: Looking north up Yonge Street from just south of Cummer/Drewry.  The large house is on the southeast corner of Cummer and Yonge.

old black and white photo of yonge street,

photo credit: Tim Chirnside, found on Toronto Public Library website (public domain)

below: The intersection of Yonge and Cummer (to the east) and Drewry (to the west) today.   The large house in the black and white photo above would be on the far right of this picture.

northeast corner of cummer and yonge, large red brick apartment building, small strip malls

below: Yonge Street is also Provincial Highway 11.

toronto street signs, cummer ave., yonge street, as well as provincial highway 11 sign for yonge street

below: It is a major transportation/transit route.

GO bus stop and Viva bus stop markers on yonge street

below: Happy Nowruz! or in other words, Happy New Year!  It is the Iranian New Year; the beginning of spring; a new day!  The banners were by sponsored by Tirgan, an organization that “promotes cross-cultural dialogue between Iranian-Canadians and the global community at large.”

red banner on utility pole on yonge street that says happy nowruz

below: There are many other cultures that are well represented in this part of the city.

signs for stores, restaurants and businesses on yonge street, popeyes louisiana kitchn, legal services, accountant, mary's cosmetic clinic, etc

small hand written sign that says big parking lot

cleaning up in front of a new building on yonge street

below: Like so many parts of Toronto, there is a lot of redevelopment taking place. Blue and white development notice signs are everywhere.

blue and white development notice sign on vacant lot on yonge street, houses, and newer highrises in the background, residential area, Newtonbrook

crooked metal fence around a vacantlot that has been paved over, yonge street, about to be redeveloped

man adjusting signs on hoardings around a construction site

view southward on yonge street, behind chainlink fence

below: To be (possibly) replaced by 25 storeys, 347 residences and a daycare.

sign print shop storefront with development notice sign in front

below: Seoul Plaza with it’s Korean BBQ restaurant and other businesses (not all Korean) – also with a development notice sign in front.  I’m not sure of the size of the development but it looks like your average  20ish storeys on podium condo.

Seoul Plaza on Yonge street, restaurant and businesss, with blue and white development notice sign in front

strip mall on Yonge street with cars parked in front, Arzon Super Market, Papa Cafe, nanaz Salon, plus other businesses

billboard that says bigger and better, on yonge street, pedestrians on sidewalk

below: Looking south from Moore Park Ave

looking south on the west side of yonge from Moore Park Ave., people walking on sidewalk, stores and restaurants

below: Looking north to the intersection of Yonge and Steeles.  Steeles Ave has been the northern boundary of the City of Toronto since 1953.  All of the tall buildings in this picture are north of Steeles and are in Thornhill (York Region).

looking north up yonge street to the intersection of yonge and steeles with many highrises north of steeles

looking down a short alley to a pale grey side of a house, same grey as building on north side of alley

below: Pro Ukraine stencil graffiti.

spray paint stencil graffiti, black trident on blue and yellow map of ukraine

below: I’m not sure what the spring will do but someone has been putting up a lot of posters for the Communist Party.

graffiti text sprayed on map and wall of bus shelter says the spring will (illegible), partially removed posters below that for communist party

communist party posters on a grey metal street boxcommunist party posters on a red box on the sidewalk

old Christmas decorations and empty buckets behind a restaurant

man sitting in a bus shelter, brick apartment building behind him

graffiti of a cartoon like young man with a big red nose

Shona Illingworth at The Power Plant

This blog post looks at a portion of one of the exhibits now on at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. “Topologies of Air” by Shona Illingworth was commissioned by The Power Plant; it involves some video pieces that I have not included here. “Amnesia Museum” is a series of small works exploring how memory and forgetting intermingle. A sample (with apologies for the poor quality of the image):

two pieces of artwork on a green wall. by Shona Illingworth, part of her amnesia museum series

below: Paintings from “Topologies of Air”

Three images by Shona Illingworth at Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

an image by Shona Illingworth in an art gallery from her Topologies of Air series

below: The full title is “The Right to Live Without Physical or Psychological Threat from Above” and it fills a wall.  Across the top the images are related to satellites and the solar system.  Images of people and human activity are on the bottom.  The words fill the air gap between the two.

part of a full wall covered with words and black and grey images, on psychology of air space and the struggle for human rights to have no interference from above - such as military, drones, etc

Some of the text:
“Airspace also encompasses shared radio frequencies, our electromagnetic commons. Each drone is operated by a team of a dozen or hundreds who watch video and audio-track cell phones. Companies operate powerful algorithms in military command centers half a world away to decide who is a combatant and is not. But never forget that these are almost indistinguishable from the algorithms that are used by Facebook and Twitter to categorize us and profit from us. There algorithms are often staggeringly inaccurate. The margins of error built into these powerful databases are huge. ” and
“Humans need protecting. We’ve got an air gap. We’ve always lived with an air gap, which is simply the unconnected world. The ability to conduct your activities of any kind, in any way you want, without any form of connectivity, surveillance or control.”

We can argue as to whether or not this wall is art;  we can argue as to the validity of some of the statements.  But as I stood looking at the wall, it was thoughts of Ukraine that went through my head.  The idea that air supremacy over that country was being fought over at that moment and that the Russians would love to control those skies.  Not for the first time. Countries have used air power throughout recent history, from the time of the invention of the zeppelin and the airplane through to the introduction of drones into the modern arsenal.

We can also argue over the merits of living in a connected world but I’ve already ventured far from the focus of this blog. I’ll just end with three short notes. First, without a connected world, you wouldn’t be reading this. And second, how do you separate the good uses from the bad? Lastly, is this art’s role?

The Airspace Tribunal website

Power Plant Contemporary Art website

In 1913, businessman Miller Lash bought a piece of land at what is now Old Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue where the Highland Creek flows. He built a house for his family by the creek and a coach house for his collection of cars nearby. They were made of poured concrete faced with river rocks that had been collected from the creek. The two buildings remain on they site but now they are owned by the University of Toronto Scarborough campus and have been repurposed.

below: Lace curtain in a window of the Miller Lash house.

window with lace curtain from the outside. building is made of river rock and is covered with vines with purple berries

The University of Toronto acquired the land in the 1960s. Toronto architect John Andrews designed the initial two buildings, the Humanities Wing and the Science Wing, which opened for students in January 1966.  Both were built at the top of the ravine.

Last week when I walked around the campus it was very quiet; very few students were present.  Most of the people I saw were like me, taking pictures of the buildings, or they were out for a walk through the woods. In class learning for UTSC’s almost 13,000 students resumes tomorrow, February 7th.

benches covered in snow, in front of brown tall grasses and a shiny facade of a building

below: “Tall Couple” (or “Un Grand Couple”) by Louis Archambault (1915-2003) stands beside one of Andrew’s buildings, the Humanities Wing. This metal sculpture was first on display at Expo ’67 in Montreal.

The Tall Couple, or Un Grand Couple, a metal sculpture by Louis Archambault on the campus of Scarborough College (U of T), in the snow

The newest building on the campus is Highland Hall located by the main entrance to the campus on Military Trail. It features large pillars, red accents, and a glass facade.

below: The west side, main entrance side, above the pillars is a large glass feature that shows a satellite image of Scarborough.

a couple taking photos at utsc, including Highland Hall west side, new building, large amounts of glass with reflections as well

below: East side of Highland Hall. The upper level on this side features an aerial image of Scarborough in the mid 1960s when the college first opened.

the east side of Highland Hall, a new building on the Scarborough campus of University of Toronto, with a large glass facade on the upper level.

a chair and desk inside a building but facing out, close to the window

below: From CONTACT Photography 2021 (on view until March 2022), is “I’m Listening” by Ebti Nabag.

more than lifesized black and white pictures of two women on exterior concrete wall

below: From the Solar Walk around the campus, information about Mars.

from the solar walk at utsc, Mars, a picture of the planet plus a plaque with information about mars

below: … and also Neptune. The Solar Walk was supported by the Canada 150 Fund that celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. The position of the planets on the walk represent to position that they were in on 1 July 1867.

plaque with picture and information about the planet neptune on a solar walk on the scarborough campus of the university of toronto.

below: The Highland Creek still runs through the campus. There is a new walkway that winds its way down the side of the ravine from the main part of campus to the tennis courts, athletic fields, creek trails, and park.  Here the new path curves in front of the Science Wing.

curved walkway down the side of a ravine beside Scarborough campus concrete buildings built in the 1960s, winter

below: Signs of human activity beside the trail.

a group of three tree trunks with initials and other symbols cut into the bark, winter

below: Construction crew working on the banks of the Highland Creek.

construction crew reinforcing the banks of the Highland creek with large rocks, winter,

buildings at U of T Scarborough in the winter

below: Koa Hall, side view

Koa Hall, side view, University of Toronto Scarborough campus, in winter, with tall trees

utsc buildings including home of The Underground, the student newspaper

bike parked, almost totally covered by a snow bank

below: The modern equivalent of the smoking lounge?

a man wearing parka and toque sits outside smoking, sitting on a chair in a small clearing in the snow

Find your uncharted territory and explore!

below: Unchartered

banner on light standard at University of Toronto Scarbourgh Campus that says the uncharted is an invitation to explore

 

mural, blue letters on yellow, XOXO Downsview

below: Ulysses Curtis mural by Danilo Deluxo McCallum.  Curtis (1926-2013) played for the Toronto Argonauts football team in the 1950s.  He was considered to be the first black player on the team.

mural, black man with helmet and shoulder harness straps

The Downsview area and airplanes have been linked since the late 1920s when land here was being used for airfields—Barker Field, the Canadian Express Airport and the Toronto Flying Club.  In 1929 de Havilland Aircraft of Canada purchased 70 acres of farmland along Sheppard Avenue West.  In the mid-1950s de Havilland moved its operations to newly constructed modern facilities to the southeast.  De Havilland Canada was sold to Boeing in 1988 and then to Bombardier in 1992.

below: Bombardier facility and GO tracks on the east side of the park.   Downsview Park station at the north end of the park connects the GO system with the TTC’s Line 1.

Bombardier facility beside GO tracks in Downsview

In 2017, the Sesquicentennial Trail was developed on part of the site.  Sesquicentennial means 150 years, as in Canada was 150 years old in 2017.

below: The North Plaza of the trail features a semi-circular wall of rusted steel with cutout silhouettes of real historical photographs showing various people, buildings, and airplanes that was designed by John Dickson.

rusted metal art installation with sections of wall with cutout pictures, airplane windsock in front

part of an art installation, rusted metal with cut out pictures, cut out words that say danger low flying aircraft stop until clear

two pictures cutout of rusted metal

Small models of four of the aircraft built by DeHaviland ‘fly’ over the trail – the DH.60 Gipsy Moth, the Dash 8, the DHC-6 Twin Otter, and the Mosquito.   They cover years of both DeHaviland and aircraft history from the bi-winged Moth in the mid-1920’s to the turboprop Dash8. The later was developed in the early 1980s and is still in production today.

plaque describing 4 of the types of aircraft once produced in Downsview, DH.60 Gipsy Moth, the Dash 8, the DHC-6 Twin Otter, and the Mosquito

two model airplanes on pillars, look like they are flying above a pond, park, and new apartments under construction

below: High overhead, a DHC-Beaver, a bush plane developed in 1947 here at Downsview.

large metal flat silhouette of beaver airplane on tall metal poles as public art in a park

Grounded! But still great for child’s play.

playground at Downsview Park, yellow wood airplane on ground with pretend control tower

Hundreds, and probably thousands, of trees have been planted on the site.

two red muskoka chairs near the top of a hill, overlooking the trees in the valley below

below: Tulip tree

autumn colours on a tulip tree

below: Other areas have been set aside for native grasses and wildflowers such as milkweed, purple coneflower, and wild lupine.

plaque at donswview park describing tallgrass prairie and three of the plants that grow there

below: There is a large hill in the park and this is the view to the southwest from there.

Downsview view from hill in the park, looking southwest over a path, some apartment buildings, and rest of Toronto skyline

below: At the top of the hill stands an installation of blue flags along with two of the many red muskoka chairs scattered around the park.   This is “Wind Rose” by Future Simple Studio. This picture doesn’t show it very well but at the northwest corner, two of the flags are not blue – one is black and the other white (black for west and white for north).  These two flags, “The Turtle and the Traveller,” were designed by Mi’kmaq artists Chris and Greg Mitchell.   They are best seen when the wind is blowing!

blue flags hanging from poles, art installation at Downsview Park

maple leaves in autumn

small bird feeder on a tree, with a blue roof with red flower painted on the roof

Downsview has also been associated with the military.  In 1937, the Royal Canadian Air Forces expropriated portions of the site to establish the RCAF Station Downsview.  The site once had two residential areas with barracks – one for the enlisted soldiers and their families and another for the commissioned officers and their families.  Over the years the base expanded to include the original de Havilland lands.  In the 1960s, the military expropriated the lands adjacent to the Downsview Airport and closed 2.5 miles of Sheppard Avenue between Dufferin and Keele Streets.  That is why Sheppard Avenue swings north around what is now Downsview Park.

two small bird houses hanging against a tree, white round one with red conical shaped roof

In 1996 CFB Toronto officially closed.  Parc Downsview Park Inc. was established in 1999 to build and operate Downsview Park but administrative control over the land wasn’t transferred to the Park until 2006.

very red crimson maple leaves in fall

below: ArtworxTO Hub North with a mural by Mediah.  At the time, the site was being used by a film crew.

mediah mural at arthub at Downsview park

below: Another mural on the exterior of the ArtworxTO Hub building.  This one was painted by Kreecha.

mural at arthub at Downsview park

stickers on the back of a dark coloured car, robots shooting at stick figures, The Empire Doesn't Care about your stick figure family

East of Brimley and north of Lawrence is a large park, Thomson Memorial Park.
I have mentioned the Thomson family’s role in the history of Scarborough in a blog post about St. Andrews Bendale cemetery where many of the Thomsons are buried.  St. Andrews is adjacent to this park and is on land donated by David Thomson.

In this blog post I wanted to look at a corner of the park – the southwest corner is home to the Scarborough Museum and it’s small collection of old buildings.

below: The McCowan log house is one of the houses.

log cabin home

Scarborough Historical Society plaque for McCowan log house, built 1830, now located in Thomson Memorial Park

The McCowan Log House
This cabin was built about 1830 in the northeast part of Scarborough and was moved to its present site by the Scarborough Historical Society in 1974. From 1848 until his death, it was occupied by William Porteous McCowan (1820-1902) who had come to Canada in 1833 with his parents, Margaret Porteous and James McCowan, a coalmaster of Leshmahagow Parish Scotland. The McCowan family, including four sons and four daughters, settled near the Scarborough Bluffs east of the present McCowan Road.
“Uncle Willie” McCowan narrowly escaped death by cholera which claimed his father and brother the same night in 1834. A bachelor, “Uncle Willie” was succeeded as owner by his nephew James McCowan.

below: There is another plaque nearby, this one for Rhoda Skinner who you have probably not heard of.  She had a lot of children!

historic plaque honoring rhoda skinner

This plaque is dedicated to the women who pioneered the wilderness of Ontario in the early 19th century and, in particular, to Rhoda Skinner (1775-1834).
In addition to laborious household chores, assisting with the farming, and coping with fears and challenges unheard of today, they were often called upon to raise huge families. Rhoda was the mother to 37 children by two husbands. Her children and their years of birth are as follows: [names & birth years of the children are then given]

Let’s take a closer look at Rhoda:

First, Rhoda married Parshall Terry (1754-1808) whose wife Amy Stevens died in 1792. Parshall was 20 years her senior and already had 7 children, 3 boys and 4 girls. Or at least, I assume that a child with the name Submission is a girl, sadly. The oldest, Parshall Jr. was born in 1777; he was only two years younger than Rhoda would have been 15 when his mother died.

Rhoda’s first child was Simcoe born in 1794 when she was 19. Her oldest step-daughters, Mary and Martha, would have been 14 and 11 – instant babysitters and helpers. IF they had survived. Considering the higher infant mortality rate of the time it is possible that some of these offspring didn’t make it to adulthood.

Rhoda went on to have 12 children with the youngest, Eliza, being born after her father died. 12 children in 16 years. Parshall Terry drowned in the Don River in 1808. At the time he and Rhoda’s brothers, Isaiah and Aaron Skinner, had a sawmill and a grist mill at Todmorden Mills. Terry was also a member of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada.

Rhoda must have married William Cornell (1766-1860) shortly after because Rhoda and William had a son, Edward, in 1810. William Cornell was a widower with 12 children already. He and Rhoda had 5 more children after Edward. In the end, Rhoda gave birth to 18 children, the last one in 1821 when she was in her forties and when her eldest, Simcoe, would have been 27.

Rhoda died in 1834 and is buried in St Margarets in the Pines cemetery in Toronto (at Lawrence near Morningside) as Rhoda Terry Cornell. Her second husband is buried there too – written on his stone is “A native of Rhode Island U.S. and settled in Scarborough in A.D. 1800 being the second settler in the Township”.

below: The Cornell House. It was built by Charles Cornell and his wife Matilda. Charles was the son of William Cornell & Rhoda Skinner.

white frame house

below: ‘GrandMother Moon (and the Equinox Wave), 2019’ by Catherine Tammaro, Spotted Turtle Clan (photo taken in 2020).

a picture on an exterior wall

below: Thomson Memorial Park.  One of the many attractions of the park is the fact that it is the western end of The Meadoway – a project to turn a hydro corridor into green space with bike paths and walking trails.  (but that’s another  – blog post! – see link!)

large trees in autumn, lots of yellow and gold leaves on the trees and on the ground

Starting at King and Berkeley and walking a little bit north and a bit farther west.

below: This wall, at King and Berkeley, used to have a large painting of a black chair on it.  Now it has two boys on the run with an Afghan flag.

tall white building with graffiti of two boys running with Afghan flag

below: It was painted by Mahyar Amiri a few months ago in an effort to raise awareness of the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.

 white building with graffiti street art of two young boys running. one is carrying an afghan flag, Afghanistan, the other is carrying a tire or similar shaped item, with the words not art written on it

below: In front of the Alumni Theatre on Berkeley Street.

painting on metal street box in front of Alumni theater on Berkeley street, beside laneway with another black and white mural on side of building

below: Also on Berkeley Street, the old Christie Brown stables are now the lower floors of a condo building.

95 Berkeley Street, old brick building that houses Christie Smith bakery stables, now the lower part of a condo development

historic plaque for Christie, Brown and company stables at 95 Berkeley street

“This building was once a stable that housed horses and wagons for one of Canada’s largest biscuit manufacturers. From here, Christie, Brown & Co delivered baked goods prepared at its Adelaide Street factory across Toronto.”
  “Designed by the architectural firm of Sproatt & Rolph, the building’s Beaux-Arts Classical style was popular at the turn of the 20th century for its appearance of stability and grandeur.  With elements such as the contrasting stone trim and arcade windows, it was built to reflect the appearance of the nearby Christie factory.  The state-of-the-art stable included two floors of wagon storage with a purpose-made elevator, stalls in the back for the care of sick horses, and a central horse shower underneath a large skylight. “
“Founded by Scottish-born businessman William Christie (1829-1900), Christie Brown & Co manufactured over 400 types of baked goods at its peak.  In 1928, Nabisco acquired the company. The stable was later used as a garage, seed plant, and film production office.  It is now part of a residential complex. “

below: Christie Brown biscuit factory on Adelaide street in 1902. The building still exists and is part of George Brown College.  It takes up the whole block between George and Frederick streets.

old colour photo of Christie Brown cookie factory on Adelaide street, brick building with windows with curved tops

below: This neighbourhood advertises itself as “Old Town, since 1793”.

Toronto city street sign for Worts Lane, turquoise banner advertising the fact that this is part of Old Town, since 1793

below: But a lot of it is starting to look shiney and new (what? a new parking lot in downtown Toronto?)

new condos on Richmond Street east, with new staples store and a just paved new parking lot

below: A copy of a late 1890’s lithographic poster advertising bicycles from Fernand Clement & Cie Cycles Paris. The original artist was Jean de Paléologue (1860-1942). This version is a large mural on Worts Lane.

fernand clement and cie mural of woman on a bicycle with large moon, night time scene

below: Mother of God of Prousa Greek Orthodox Church on Richmond East

Mother of God Prousa Greek Orthodox church on Richmond Eat, small simple stucco building with central wood door and small cross on roof peak

below: Old and not so old.  The taller grey building is the Chapter House for the Greek Orthodox church that is immediately to the east.

two adjacent houses on Richmond Street, half of old black house remains, other half has been renovated to three storey building

one way street sign in front of a window of a brick building painted blue

below: Apparently everything ends here on Ontario Street

car parked in front of old brick building on Ontario street, with graffiti words on wall that says all ends here

… and around the corner

an exterior brick wall with some of the bricks covered with rectangular pieces of mirror

blue painted graffiti words on a pale grey brick building that say this is all gonna end badly

below: This street art faces a parking lot between Brigden and Queen East that is now fenced off.  It is one of 4 or 5 paintings along that wall.

old street art that has small shrubs and vines growing over it

below: This is one of the street art pieces on the same wall. The photo was taken in  2012 when the site was accessible and before the vines and shrubs took over.

photo taken in 2012 of street art with iconic red tongue from rolling stones

below: A very large empty building and vacant lot that used to be a car dealership. This is part of a large section of land that has been under redevelopment for at least five years (includes the parking lot in the photos above).

bags of yard waste lie on the sidewalk on Richmond Street on sidewalk by large vacant lot, east of Sherbourne

below: … The original proposal back in February 2016 was three towers of 39, 45 and 39 storeys, on top of two base buildings ranging from 3 to 11 storeys within a site bordered by Queen Street East, Ontario Street, Richmond Street East and McFarrens Lane. That was turned down by the city. Since then there has been various modifications, appeals, and litigation (ongoing?).

a black and a blue metal drum shaped container, barrels, in vacant lot, with large puddle and tall weeds by vacant Downtown collision center building

a chair, outside, litter on ground, vines on wall behind

below: On what was once a Honda dealership there is now an art installation with words…

exterior wall of empty honda dealership, word graffiti that says to win the outergame you must first master the inner game, dr. joe

below: … and pasteups from jumblefacefoto aka Jeremy Lynch

pasteups by jumbleface foto

pasteup collages by Jeremy Lynch, eyes in the center, abstract around

below:  On the same wall: In the line of fire – urban ninja squadron‘s t-bonez takes aim with very heavy firepower.  It looks like spudbomb has already been hit by an arrow and is bentoghoul providing the target?

pasteups on a black wall, an urban ninja squadron with a large missile, a spudbomb and another poster like graffiti by bentoghoul

below: Looking west on Richmond from Brigden Place.  Richmond Street jogs to the right at Jarvis – it doesn’t dead end like it looks in the photo.

looking west on Richmond street from near Sherbourne

below: Looking north on McFarrens Lane to Queen Street

looking north on McFarrens Lane from Richomnd Steet, to the babrber and hairstylist shop on Queen.  Tall apartment building behind that

below: About 1910 this is what the northeast corner of Richmond and Sherbourne Streets looked like.  Not surprisingly, this is all long gone.

old black and white photo from about 1910 of the northeast corner of Richmond and Sherbourne streets

an old car from the 70s parked beside a building, a new TTC streetcar behind

below: From biscuits to hot dogs…. Soloways Hot Dog Factory Outlet, in business since 1927. They sell a wide range of bulk meat, meta products, and plant based meat products both wholesale and to the public.

sign over entrance to Soloways Hot dog factory outlet in nondescript brick building

below: Richmond and George, with the bright red of the George Diner dominating the intersection.

at Richmond and George streets, red building on corner is George's Diner, with large sign that says Delicious Food that Satisfies

below: The windows have been painted.

one of the windows of Georges Diner, a red brick building, painted with a scene of the interior of the restaurant.

below: Old newspaper articles taped to the window.  The top one is a review of the restaurant (with apologies for it being too small/fuzzy to read).   The bottom one has a headline that reads “Don’t be like Dick”.  With an image like that I immediately think of Dick and Jane (yikes, those of us who remember Dick and Jane from our childhoods are dwindling in number!).

old newspaper articles taped to window with coke machine behind it

below: At Richmond and Jarvis, northeast corner

indigenous theme mural on the side of a Petro Canada station at Richmond and Jarvis

below: Mystic Muffin on the southeast corner of Jarvis and Richmond.

mystic muffin, a blue building, on the southeast corner of Richmond and Jarvis

below: Richmond Street bike lanes are now separated from traffic by a low kerb that has been decorated by a number of street artists.  This section is the work of AndreaCataRo aka Andrea Rodriguez

brick building and parking lot behind chainlink fence

red ant painted on a kerb separating bike lanes from traffic

below: Another view of the bike lane barrier, this one at the intersection of Richmond and Berkeley and looking west towards the city center.

Richmond Street east, at Berkeley, with barrier between bike lanes and other traffic

little purple mouse sticker graffiti

two black and white sticker slaps graffiti on a grey metal pole, one is a black rabbit with words why suspect us. and the other is a white abstract drawing on black background

Or, approximately Finch and Weston Road

utility pole with police red light camera, no standing sign, a TTC bus stop, and a street sign for Finch Ave West in Emery village

Today, the intersection of Finch and Weston Road is a mess. Metrolinx is preparing to start construction on the Finch LRT, more than 12 acres on the southeast corner is being totally rebuilt, and water mains along Finch are being upgraded. The intersection also has the misfortune to lie in a hydro corridor.

below: Looking west on Finch at Weston Road.

intersection of Finch and Weston Rd., looking west on Finch, construction, traffic, hydro poles,

below: Canadian Pacific tracks cross Finch just east of Weston Road
red Canadian Pacific engine pulls a train across a bridge over Finch Ave West on its way northward.  Traffic under the bridge, also some construction work, a crane and a large truck blocking some of the lanes

below: Emery train station just after 1900. This was a a flag station built for the Toronto Grey and Bruce Railway in 1870 (i.e. trains only stopped if you flagged them down). In the early 1880s the line was acquired by the Canadian Pacific Railroad.   Photo source: Toronto Public Library

vintage black and white photo of a small wood building, Emery train station, with a woman holding a baby in the doorway and a man holding a hat in his hand standing on the tracks getting ready to flag down a train

Like the rest of the GTA, development here began as a village that supported the surrounding farms. In 1796, Isaac Devins and his wife Mary Chapman were given 200 acres of land, south of what is now Finch Ave from Weston Road to Islington. Devins had worked with Governor Simcoe as a superintendent on the construction of Yonge St.   Two of their grandsons opened businesses near the corner of Finch and Weston Road. – one was a blacksmith and the other a carriage maker.  A brick schoolhouse came shortly after 1850 and the Methodist church followed in 1869. A post office was established in 1879… and Emery was officially a village.

below: 1902 photograph of Isaac Devins house.  Source: Toronto Public Library

black and white photo of Devins homestead at Finch and Weston Road.

Celebrating the history of Emery are some plaques on display at a couple of bus stops on Weston Road.  The one below describes two musicians with local roots, Claudio Vena and Alfie Zappacosta.  Both men have streets named after them.

historic emery plaques at bus stop celebrating Claudio Vena and Alfie Zappacosta, two musicians

below: Finch West Mall was built in 1971 on the southeast corner of Finch and Weston Road on what had previously been farm land.  Step-brothers Aubrey Ella and Orrie Truman had farmed here since 1930.  …. but you can’t go shopping there any more.   [transcription of the text can be found at the bottom of this post]

A plaque by a bus stop in Emery describing the history of the Finch West Mall

below: Development notice sign at the site of the former Finch West Mall.  The proposal includes 5 towers, 2237 residences ranging from bachelors to 3 bedroom, some retail, and a park.  All rentals.
Blue and white toronto development notice sign at Finch and Weston Road

below: Construction is only in the early stages so there isn’t much to see


fence around construction site, parking lot, no left turn sign on its side, green fence

large yellow and orange signs guide pedestrian track through a busy intersection with a lot of construction

below: Preparations for the construction of the Finch LRT are underway.

below: But not always well thought out – here sidewalk access ends but the only way to go is to cross Finch in mid-block with no help

Empty glass drink bottle lying on ground, Sof Drink, carbonated beverage, pineapple flavour, Jamaican flavour

Also like many places in Toronto, Emery has become very multicultural.

below: African Food & Groceries as well as Comida Colombiana

part of a strip mall on Finch West, laundry, African food groceries, Erica beauty salon, Comida Colombiana Latino Americana,

below: A Vietnamese restaurant and a West Indian grocery store

two highrise apartment buildings in red brick with white balconies, strip mall in front with 6 businesses, a vietnamese restaurant, Ali Babas fast food, a west indian grocery, a mattress store, and a convenience store

below: North York Sikh temple

sikh temple in a two story plaza, beside Beck and Aps beauty supply and salon, and Makola Tropical foods, and employment agency

below: Confusion?

many signs beside a sidewalk, new tires, rotors and pads, Plaza Latina, milvan shopping centre, a bus in the background

 

below:  More restaurants and businesses

Sign for B & T plaza, 2437 Finch West, with many businesses listed, Anatolian fine foods, Malado Sushi & korean food, Sendas Money transfer, Chay Hoa Dang Flower Lantern Vegetarian restaurant, PePeyee(dot)com, Nash hair salon, etc

below: Ghanaian Presbyterian Church, since 1994 (as seen from Finch Ave)

Ghanaian Presbyterian church, light grey concrete structure with front in a triangle shape, cross on top of the tallest middle section, three flags in front - Canada, Ontario and Ghana

below: Prayer Palace

exterior of Prayer Palace

below: Lindylou park

A man sits on a bench in a park beside an apartment building

a large willow tree beside a playground and three apartment buildings

below: Emery Creek south of Finch
Emery Creek and shrubs in the foreground, new condos and older apartment buildings in the background

below: Finch Avenue West, looking eastward towards Weston Road

Finch Ave West looking east towards Weston Road, townhouses on the south side of the street, orange and black construction cones on both sides of the street, some traffic, apartment buildings in the background

below: Slightly closer to Weston Road (from Lindyloou park looking northeast)

Lindylou park looking northeast towards finch and weston road, apartment building, Burger King, McDonalds

below: Not taken from the same spot but also Finch Avenue West, looking eastward towards Weston Road in 1958 when Finch was still a dirt road.  The brick building is Emery Public School (built 1914); and it looks like it had a portable in the yard… and is that an Elmer the Safety Elephant flag?  The school was demolished shortly after the picture was taken.  Photo source: Toronto Public Library, photo by James Victor Salmon

below: Farther east, now past Weston Road. If you go even farther you will come to Hwy 400
intersection of finch with arrow and signet, construction, a long TTC bus us waiting to turn left, one woman walking on sidewalk

below: Most of the area north of Finch is zoned for light industry including this business, the making of prefab concrete staircases. With all the condo development in the city at the moment, there must be a lot of demand for these stairs!
light industrial area of the city, factory that makes prefab concrete staircases with lots of the product in piles of 4 or 5 staircases lying around outside

sign on a chainlink fence wishing a merry christmas and happy holidays to essential workers - you essential to us,

red and white danger due to sign altered to read danger due to climate change

below: Another vacant lot
vacant lot for sale

*****

Transcription of Plaque (above):

“Emery’s first large indoor shopping complex was built in 1971. It was called the Finch West Mall and was located on the southwest corner of Finch and Weston Road… Prior to the mall being constructed, the land was used for farming. A farmhouse, barn, and some other farming structures remained on the property up until the construction of the mall began in the early 1970s. Aubrey Ella and Orrie Truman built a farmhouse on the lot in the 1930s just south of the intersection of Finch and Weston Road. During this time, the entire property permitted wide range agriculture with even an arena for sheep.”
“The opening of the Finch West Mall in 1972 was a big hit for the community. A sizable Towers outlet first appeared but it swiftly merged into a Zellers retail store. Zellers was the principal leaseholder located at the far north end of the mall. Safeway Canada quickly decided to build a grocery store connected to the south end of the mall.”
“In 1973, McDonald’s restaurant was added onto the site but as a separate building situated at the far south of the property. It was one of the first McDonald’s restaurants opened in Canada along with another outlet at Dufferin and Wilson. This McDonald’s even featured an outdoor sitting patio with six stone tables made out of lightly coloured presses marble complete with matching benches. Close to this historical marker was a dirt trail that was upgraded into a long set of wooden steps that permitted pedestrian entrance onto the site.”
“On occasions local bands were permitted to conduct live concerts right in the mall.”
“When Zellers shut down their store in the 1980s, Canadian Tire quickly opened an outlet to take its place. However, they too decided to close their doors at the turn of the new millennium. The commercial banks began moving out and countless other stores too. The mall had ceased to have sound commercial value and disappointingly started to become an endless array of dollar stores.”
“The owner of the mall (Medallion Properties) recognized these telltale signs and thought it might be ideal for a development upgrade which could inspire financial resurgence within the general community. The City of North York Planning Department made a recommendation to establish a Business Improvement Area (BIA) to stimulate economic recovery.”
“With the organized structure of the Emery Village BIA in place, city staff suggested creating a new secondary plan for the entire general community…The mall was demolished in 2006.”

*****

One of life’s unexpected coincidences… I didn’t read the text before I took the picture so it wasn’t until a few days later that I saw the name Orrie Truman. I have Trueman ancestors in this area… was he related? Orrie Truman was Orrie Levi Richard Trueman. I don’t know where the name Orrie comes from but Levi and Richard were his grandfathers, Levi Coulter and Richard Trueman. William Mellow Trueman married Eleanor (Nellie) Coulter and Orrie is their son. William died shortly after and Nellie subsequently married Ella. Going back a generation, William Mellow Trueman is the son of Richard Trueman and Rebecca Mellow who happen to be my great great great grandparents. My great grandmother, Ina Rebecca Moore was named after Rebecca Mellow, her grandmother. Ina would have been Orrie’s first cousin. Question: What relation am I to Orrie Trueman?

 

lowrise townhouses, red brick, with large pine trees

I read in the news this morning that the graffiti and artwork on the hoardings around the old foundry site in Corktown/Canary District are being painted over now. I had previously mentioned some of the stencils and posters that we here when I first saw them back in February. Unfortunately I am a bit behind on my posts so I haven’t uploaded the pictures that I took on a subsequent visit to the area…. here they are now. This is what is being painted over today:

below: “The history that is represented in this era of globalization is very important not to bulldoze”
“I want to save the Foundry because the buildings lend character to an area that is being made more and more bland every day.”
Meanwhile Doug Ford can’t keep his hands off Toronto City Hall.

red hearts stenciled on plywood hoardings along with a poster showing parody of Doug Ford with his hands meddling with a model of Toronto City Hall.  Other posters with words describing why saving the old Dominion Wheel Foundry is important

below: “Municipal Destruction Minister Steve Clark screws up plans for A-Ford-A-Bull-Housing.”

below: Why Doug? Why?

below: “Dear Doug Ford: Let us fix this for you.”

below: Up beside the Don Valley Parkway and way off the beaten track this time.

up on a hill, level with a DVP overpass over York Mills Road, concrete barrier at side of parkway, signs for exit ramp to York Mills, also sign saying Lawrence Ave in 2 km,

But obviously some people with spray paint know about this little green corner of North York.

graffiti on a concrete wall beside the Don Valley Parkway just north of York Mills Road

below: More graffiti (text, throw ups) along the concrete barrier beside the southbound traffic

text graffiti on the concrete wall along west side of DVP, apartment building in the background,

below: A dead end on an abandoned road. This is part of the remains of an onramp for the southbound Don Valley Parkway from westbound York Mills Road.

text graffiti on a concrete wall, beside green space and the dead end of an abandoned onramp for the Don Valley Parkway, red brick apartment building, small trees,

below: This ramp was closed in 2005 and replaced with the present road configuration where all the on and off ramps are on the south side of York Mills.  Except for creating a mound of earth along the York Mils side, the site was left untouched.  Small trees are slowly taking over as nature gains the upper hand.

abandoned road starting to be overgrown with cracked asphalt, behind some houses, lots of trees with no leaves (early spring)

below: Still no parking

abandoned ramp to DVP,

Looking south along remains of an abandoned on ramp for the DVP at York Mills Road, later winter,

below:  Walking east on York Mills Road

A path crosses a large lawn in front of two apartment buildings

looking slightly uphill at a tree with a slight lean to the right in front of a tall yellowish grey apartment building

below: Any idea what this is? Something old and to do with water? At first I thought that it was sidewalk feature but now I suspect that someone ditched it here.

Small cylindrical metal object standing upright on the grass beside a sidewalk, rusty and old

below: Looking eastward on York Mills Road

Looking east along York Mills Road, just east of the Don Valley Parkway, some condo construction on the right, traffic, school bus, low rise apartments on the left

red and orange spray paint markings on a sidewalk by a construction site

below: Walking through Deerlick Park

View from a park towards a construction site with first few floors of a new condo built.  Taller apartment buildings in the background

fence around  a pile of dirt, construction site, with orange objects, apartment building in the background

below: Playground on Deerlick Trail

path leading to a playground

An orange kids bike lies on the grass outside a townhouse.  Patio chairs are stacked up by the house along with round table and folded umbrella

below: CN Tower and the downtown Toronto skyline in the distance

Looking beyond a fence and some houses to see the CN Tower and Toronto downtown skyline in the distance

Part of a mural, outdoors summer rural scene with house in the distance, a fox by a creek and a girl in the foreground in a flowered dress and her hair in two pigtails, surrounded by a field of long grass and flowers

below: Trilliums under the Don Valley Parkway. Part of a mural on both sides of the underpass at Brookbanks. It was painted by Sarah J. Collard with help from Manny and Sonja Wiebe.

end of a mural on walls of an underpass, under the DVP.  A field of white trilliums with tree trunks on the background.

Woman walking on sidewalk, walking past a mural by Start and City of Toronto, on DVP underpass concrete walls

part of a mural, a man cycling on a path, a sea gull lands behind him., path goes past field of flowers

3 valleys auto garage and full service gas station, a low one storey building with 4 bays for car repair

below: Church of Our Saviour with its large triangular stained glass window that was apparently designed by a local high school student.

Front view of Our Saviour Church, Anglican, with its A shaped roof line.  Large triangular stained glass window

Construction site in residential area, house is mostly demolished, just footprint remains, fence around site, orange digger, backs of houses in next street, a tall apartment building in the background

blue dump truck backed into a construction site where a house has been demolished

split level semi divided house with cars parked in the driveway, a large tree in front of the one on the right, apartment building behind

From Three Valleys I tried to find a way to get back north to York Mills Road via parks and green spaces but I couldn’t do it. The next blog post was the result of a subsequent walk when I started farther north and attempted to find a path south.

below: No Eiffel Tower here!

blue and white toronto street sign for Paris Court, on a wood utility pole

tile pattern beside a glass door