Motorists heading east on Adelaide Street to the Don Valley Parkway pass through the Old Town of York, where the City of TORONTO began. Along the sides of this 4-lane ‘urban spillway’, are several heritage buildings of note. Fortunately, they’ve survived road widenings and demolitions – and today, appear to be in pretty good shape.
The oldest purpose-built post office in TORONTO (fourth in York Region) functions both as a museum and full-service post office at 260 Adelaide Street East. Originally a department of the British Royal Mail, its doors opened in 1833.
To the west you’ll find the former head office of the Bank of Upper Canada. Constructed in 1827, the Bank occupied the building until 1861. After a long period of neglect, the grey stone structure was renovated inside and out, and is now a national heritage site. It received the Heritage Canada National Award of Honour in 1982. <B/W PHOTOS BELOW – Bank of Upper Canada, 1970’s, City of Toronto Library>
Between the two – Bank of Upper Canada/Oldest Post Office – sits the De La Salle Institute, a Catholic boy’s school founded by the Brothers of the Christian Schools. This yellow brick property, constructed in 1871, is pictured below in the winter of 1952.
The surrounding streets of the Old Town of York are well worth exploring. You’ll find restaurants, coffee bars, a bistrot or two, the Alumnae Theatre, Victorian townhouses, old warehouses, this, that and the other.