After a large part of TORONTO burned down 112 years ago this month, dynamiters were hired to blow up the shells of the destroyed buildings. JOHN CROFT of Parliament Street, 38, father of three, was one of them.
On May 4, his team set 33 dynamite blasts. The last 3, under a wall at W. J. Gage and Company, failed to go off. Mr. Croft ran up to investigate and, as fate would have it, was killed by an explosion.
A double-sided Croft Street mural honours both John Croft, and the events of April 19, 1904.
CROFT STREET is a higgledy piggledy laneway of colourful murals, an ode to both Monty the Cat (deceased) and TORONTO’s black squirrels, a feminist bookstore, tumbledown garages and a variety of architectural styles. It runs for two blocks, from Harbord to College Street, east of Bathurst. Streetcar #506 takes you there.
Black and white photos: William James & W. J. Whitingham/City of Toronto Archives