FOUND IN THE CITY ARCHIVES – RARE PHOTOS OF TORONTO’S ‘LOST’ GERRARD VILLAGE

gerrard1In the 1920’s, artists, writers, shopkeepers and bohemians began settling into 19th-century row houses along Gerrard West and neighbouring streets.  They painted the stuccoed houses in rainbow colours, opened art galleries, bookshops, restaurants and – a first for TORONTO – an outdoor patio.  The neighbourhood was christened GERRARD STREET VILLAGE.  It became our city’s Greenwich Village, Soho, the Left Bank – an enclave of bohemia in the middle of a very conservative town.

gerrard2gerrard5Ernest Hemingway called the Village home for a while; the Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris sketched here; painter Albert Franck rented a shop in the 1940’s.  Some other villagers – poets Al Purdy and bp Nichol, Margaret Atwood, Milton Acorn, Michael Ondaatje, Joe Rosenblatt, Gwendolyn MacEwen – a slew of intellectuals, designers, booksellers and writers.

gerrard3gerrard4Only a few of the Victorian-era houses remain – “totally emasculated” as one old-timer put it.  A hotel, parking lot, hospital buildings, a condo and a steam plant occupy – what was once – TORONTO’s ‘Brigadoon’.  Fortunately, some photographer took the time to shoot these coloured images.  GERRARD STREET VILLAGE is gone forever.

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One thought on “FOUND IN THE CITY ARCHIVES – RARE PHOTOS OF TORONTO’S ‘LOST’ GERRARD VILLAGE

  1. It still hurts… !
    Greetings from:
    LI’LL ANDREW’S NEWSSTAND

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