HIGH WINDS & WAVES ARE SUBMERGING PARTS OF THE TORONTO ISLANDS INTO LAKE ONTARIO

Since 2017, flooding of TORONTO’s archipelago of 15 islands has been of great concern to the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). In the future, there could be new beaches and bridges, with raised barriers (or berms), elevation of low-lying roads, increased shore protection structures, and re-routed surface drainage to already installed sump pumps.PHOTOS taken by BRYAN BLENKIN on July 25/2019.

IN THIS 1930 PHOTO BY WILLIAM JAMES, OLD CITY HALL’S CLOCK TOWER STANDS OUT

<The cluster of structures behind city hall are the T. Eaton Company’s factory buildings where goods for Eaton department stores were manufactured. On the left you can see early parking lots that replaced demolished buildings. Photo by William James, City of Toronto Archives>

THE FAIRMONT ROYAL YORK HOTEL, A TORONTO LANDMARK, IS NOW NINETY YEARS OLD

Following a complete renovation of its 1300 rooms, spectacular ballroom, lobby and concert hall, the Royal York takes its place again as one of TORONTO’s leading hotels. Since opening on June 11th, 1929 as the largest hotel in the British Empire, the Fairmont Royal York has welcomed multiple heads of state, top musicians, movie stars, sport celebrants – and still does.<PHOTO ABOVE – the Concert Hall, by Muhammad/Flickr><PHOTO ABOVE – the Ballroom><The Lobby and its famous clock><POSTER – The Royal York, largest hotel in the British Empire, 1929> For more information on the Royal York, its history and transformation – http://www.thefairmontroyalyork.com

REMEMBERING TORONTO’S FIRST GAY PRIDE PICNIC, 1971, & PRIDE MARCH & PICNIC, 1972

You had to be brave in those days, when a small army of souls set off for TORONTO’s first Gay Picnic, nearly 47 years ago on Sunday, August 1/1971. It was held at HANLAN’S POINT on Toronto Islands, site of today’s clothing optional beach.The first Gay Pride Week in TORONTO took place in 1972. There was a small march along Church Street downtown, followed by the second annual Gay Picnic on WARD’S ISLAND, August 20/1972.ARCHIVAL IMAGES – CLGA, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 2nd largest in the world, 34 Isabella Street, 416-777-2755, http://www.clga.caTORONTO STAR – June 23/2019 – big crowds, clear skies, and a day beaming with joy. The Pride Parade brought the city together to celebrate.How far we’ve come – Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU, Mayor John Tory & Premier Kathleen Wynne lead the parade in 2016.TORONTO’s Mayor John Tory and city councillors, 2015 – that was the year when it poured rain.  Everyone got soaked.<TORONTO’s ‘World Pride’, June/2014> <The Flag – July 2011>

CROFT ST., ACTUALLY A LANEWAY, HONOURS JOHN CROFT, WHO DIED IN 1904’S GREAT TORONTO FIRE

A large part of TORONTO burned down 115 years ago, in April, 1904. 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 4th, 1904, 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 mural <photos above> honours both JOHN CROFT, and the events of April 19, 1904. Unfortunately the mural has been destroyed by taggers <photo below>. It’s a total mess now, but the culture of Croft Street lives on. There’s been a lot of painting done lately. May the aerosol spritzers respect the art.<The John Croft mural as it looks today>CROFT STREET is a laneway of colourful murals, an ode to both Monty the Cat (deceased) and TORONTO’s black squirrels, a feminist bookstore, multiple 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.

RADIO – HOW IT USED TO BE, THAT’S TORONTO’S 50,000 WATT, CLEAR CHANNEL CFZM AM & FM

MOSES ZNAIMER, owner of CFZM (AM740) :People today are not aging the way they did 20, 40, 60 years ago.  We’re not aging the way our parents did and we’re certainly not aging the way our grandparents did.” With this in mind, he has created a radio station unlike any other in Greater TORONTO.AM740 has a huge footprint – from Southern Ontario deep into the United States. It occupies both AM & FM frequencies. For those who long for the ‘good old days’ of big bands, comedy and drama, starlight serenades, Peggy Lee, Anne Murray, Eddie Fisher, the Supremes, Elvis, Bing Crosby, etc. – CFZM is where it’s at.<The HAPPY GANG on the morning show – Neil, Sam and Jane><Morning NEWS ANCHOR – Jane Brown><AFTERNOONS WITH Norm Edwards><NORM’S CO-HOST – the fun-loving Eva D.><‘FIGHT BACK’ with Libby Znaimer – one of TORONTO’s most civilized talk shows><Night time belongs to ROBBIE LANE and the hits of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s>

JUNE 17TH, A JOYOUS DAY OF THANKS TO THE TORONTO RAPTORS, NBA CHAMPS; PHOTOS BY TERRY KING

Sporting his now-famous Raptor’s jacket, TORONTO’s Mayor JOHN TORY addressed the capacity crowd in Nathan Phillips Square. Estimated number of fans in the city centre – 1.5 to 2-million from TORONTO and far beyond.<PHOTO ABOVE – Toronto Sun>