Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Old City Hall: What Could Have Been





These guys got nothing on Edward James Lennox’s design.
More info on current Old City Hall.

From Both Sides of His Mouth

Mayor David Miller speaks:

“Ultimately, the quality of our natural environment relies on government and citizens doing what they can alone and together to reach the highest levels of environmental achievement.”

“We also know that Torontonians very much want to do the right thing.”

“We’re doing our best to deal with Toronto’s fiscal situation in a way that causes the least damage, and that’s within the city manager’s authority to manage.”

Heritage preservation is recognized throughout the world as a fundamental component of a liveable city,” from Toronto website.

According to Leslie Roberts on CFRB, Mayor David Miller and his minion Councillors want to expropriate from its great-grandmother owner the Matador Club near College and Dovercourt for $800,000 so that they can tear down this heritage building and build 20 smog-producing parking spaces.

I couldn’t stop laughing when Leslie told us all about this latest idea from our City Council, else I’d start crying that the green, fiscally-prudent Mayor’s solution to restoring an old heritage building is to replace it with a parking lot.

Human River Kick Off!

The third annual Human River kicks off in style August 30th. The Human River project celebrates Garrison Creek, Toronto’s largest buried river, which runs under the heart of the city, around Christie Pits down to Old Fort York.

The kick off will be held in a ravine carved by the waters of the Garrison Creek and will explore the histories and environment of our city, crafts, music and film. The film to be screened is Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time. An truly amazing view of one of the world’s most interesting artists in his ENVIRONMENT.

The film will be start around dusk so there’s plenty of time to mingle learn about the creek, walk through the trees with LEAF, create sculptures with Art Attack or help make crafts for the Human River Walk, all to the beat of Drummers from Exile.

Best of all the event is Free/PWYC and is put on as a co-presentation between Human River and Streets to Screens, in collaboration with LEAF and the Toronto Tree Tours, RiverSides, filmswelike and Drummers from Exile.

The place to be is Trinity Bellwoods bowl on Thursday August 30!

Schedule of events:
6-8:30pm: Information, crafts, art attack…
7:30pm: Tree Tour
8:30-10:30pm: Film starts after dusk: Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time

To The Highest Bidder

In yet another chapter in the selling of Toronto’s soul it appears that Sam’s will be auctioned off. With the Facebook hype surrounding THE SAM’S SIGN it will be interesting to see what nostalgia… ahem history is worth on the open market.

Whatever is paid up for the fixtures and substance behind the icon, it’s sure to be undervalued. To think that the Maple Leaf Gardens was looted in much the same way only to be a void waiting to be a grocery store… What will Sam’s become?

Toronto Postcard of the Day


Every so often I come across wonderful postcards of our city. Sometimes we take post cards for granted. I think they are a wonderful way to preserve the past without having to take any pictures. I had no idea there were so many of these out there. With that in mind, I will be posting these postcards every so often to show you all how rich Toronto is in its history.

I guessing this was what the downtown core looked like from the top of the Canada Life Building back in the 20s. Notice there is no University Ave south of Queen.

Say Good Bye to one of Toronto’s Firsts


This past Victoria Day weekend we witnessed the demolition of one of Toronto’s great historic buildings. Although it hasn’t been used for much recently it’s a shame it hasn’t been restored. Come on, Toronto’s first set of apartment buildings, a 150 year old building? There are thousands of apartment buildings in our city and we let the most significant and historic one go. Who ever had the decision to act on the preservation of this building sooner should put their head down in shame.

Here is what jp1958 from flickr had to say about Walnut Hall.

Is Old City Hall Falling Apart?


A few days ago one of my colleagues at work who lives downtown commented on the Old City Hall saying that it seems to be falling apart. The window framing is old, rusty and are cracking at the edges. Not being downtown very often makes it difficult for me to comment on the state of the building. The one thing I could say is, don’t tell that to Fredrick Workman. Fredrick Workman? Who’s Fredrick Workman?

According to the 1911 Census Fredrick Workman was the live in caretaker at Toronto’s third City Hall. Yes that’s right, there was a family calling City Hall their home. Fredrick lived in the building along with his wife, two kids and a cousin. Guess what the city paid him to take care of the cities most important building? Well, in the 12 months prior to the 1911 Census he worked 60 hours per week with the annual income of $800. Which was really good considering he probably did not have to pay rent to live there.

Click HERE to view the Fredrick Workman’s original 1911 Census enumeration record.

If you get a Error downloading data from server error click ok and click MrSid format at top right hand corner. That should work

Photo by Ride My Pony from Flickr

With The Boutique Hotel Idea Scraped Where Are We Now


Had a leisurely Sunday drive on the weekend and finally made it to the Guild Inn. I was glad I made it out before everything had been torn down. Sad that such a structure has been left to such neglect. It’s no coincidence that people walk the grounds and many more get there wedding photos shot in the park surrounding the Inn.

There were plans of ripping down the Inn to put up a hotel but this has been scrapped. Hoping someone, whether it’s the artist community or a developer at large, will restore the Guild Inn to what it was. A vital part of both the local and art community.

Rethink Space: Don Valley Brick Works

Don Valley Brick Works by  Scott-5x5 in flickr
photo by Scott-5×5 @ flickr

Daily Does of Imagery is truly inspirational. Today’s picture inspired me to do research on the Don Valley Brick Works which led me to this video clip from Got me very interested since I used to volunteer at Evergreen.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Brick Works and its transformation, read more at Rethink Space.

I wonder if Evergreen’s office floor still creeks as you walk on it…

Toronto’s Financial District up in Flames


So here we are 103 years later to the day, April 19, 2007. In a previous post I posted a “years ago today” post regarding the fire that struck Toronto (or York as it was known back then) in 1854. That fire was a big one for its time, but another fifty years later Toronto would ignite again in of the worst fires the country had ever seen, The Great Fire of 1904. What burned down? Basically the whole downtown core, mainly today’s Financial District, York Street over to Yonge and from Front up to Queen was ground zero. Mayor Thomas Urqhart was given warnings from the Fire Chief weeks before that a great fire is almost definite due to the lack of funding the fire department was receiving. Funding pleas were ignored and soon enough the city was in flames.

The fire started around 8pm on April 19th, 1904 and burned right through the night. Help was called in from Buffalo but it was too late. By the morning the heart of the was nothing more than rubble.

How did the city rebuild? Well, the area which burned to the ground is now the country’s economic engine. Amazing! When ever the Toronto seems fall it always gets back up.

More info regarding the Toronto’s Great Fire of 1904:

Toronto Archives, 1904 Fire
Ontario Archives, 1904 Fire
Wikipedia, 1904 Fire
Toronto Before, 1904 FireMap of effected area

Photo: Ontario Archives (I0006700), Reference Code: F 2178-1-0-22, S 5198

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