FROM THE CABBAGETOWN/REGENT PARK MUSEUM – TWO LONG-GONE PARLIAMENT STREET CINEMAS

The Eclipse, 389 Parliament Street, made way for apartment buildings in North Regent Park in the mid-1950’s. It was quite normal for Cabbagetown theatres to show out-of-date movies, and The Eclipse was one of them. <PHOTO – The Eclipse, July 27, 1949. City of Toronto Arcives.>

The Bluebell Theatre, later named The Gay, stood next to Frenchie’s Fish & Chips on Parliament at Dundas. After a renovation, it didn’t take long to again become a dump. According to the Museum, the Bluebell’s floor was coated with gallons of spilled soda pop making it very sticky. Saturday matinees could get so rowdy that there was a bouncer on hand to throw troublemakers out.

THE TOLLKEEPER’S COTTAGE – RESCUED & REBUILT BY VOLUNTEERS – IS NOW A HERITAGE MUSEUM

In the 1800’s private companies were contracted to build, improve and maintain roads in (what was then called) Upper Canada.  This was costly, so to pay for upkeep, all users were charged a small toll.  A tollkeeper’s cottage – the oldest survivor anywhere in Canada – was discovered in 1993 attached to a house in the Davenport/Bathurst Street neighbourhood.  <PHOTO ABOVE – cottage when discovered, with original window intact, 1996>

In 1996 the Community History Project rescued the cottage and transported it to a temporary location inside the Toronto Transit Commission’s Wychwood Barns site.  A Tollkeeper’s Fund was setup while volunteers searched for a permanent site.  <PHOTOS ABOVE – Cottage transported to the TTC Wychwood Barns>

<PHOTOS BELOW – volunteers apply replacement clapboard with handmade nails; cedar roof goes on; chimney rebuilt with handmade bricks, 2002/2003>

The Cottage was eventually moved to 750 Davenport Road, where it sits today, surrounded by its very own namesake park.  Additions were made to the rear of the building, providing space for a museum and interpretive centre.  The Cottage is a block or so from the very unique Wychwood Park neighbourhood.  <PHOTO BELOW – Opening Day, July 1, 2008>

For background info and museum opening times: http://www.tollkeeperscottage.ca

A LOOK AT THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CANADIAN TELEVISION IN THE 1950’S

<Pierre Berton, Fred Davis, Betty Kennedy and Gordon Sinclair on CBC’s nationally televised “Front Page Challenge”, on air from 1957-1995 – a record>

The recent death of broadcaster BETTY KENNEDY at the age of 91 inspired me to look back at the earliest days of Canadian television. A broadcasting pioneer, Ms. Kennedy was the only female panelist on CBC television’s “Front Page Challenge”, from 1962-1995.

<Indian Head test pattern.  In the 1950’s programming began around 4pm; signoff was midnight>

The only Canadian networks were the CBC and Radio-Canada. A few local stations had connections to the national nets, but many did not. These small-market stations with many hours to fill, built their own star systems, and waited patiently for a microwave hookup.

<CHEK-tv, Victoria, British Columbia – quite an advanced setup for 1957>

<Marconi television sets, 1950’s, made in Montreal>

<A Dumont studio camera, 1950’s>

<The Dipsy Doodlers, CJON-tv, St. John’s, Newfoundland, 1957>

<The Bunkhouse Boys, CKCW-tv, Moncton, New Brunswick, 1950’s>

<“At Home with Mary Ashwell”, CFPL-tv, London, Ontario, 1955>

<Videotape was born – a revolutionary new process for recording and reproducing the sound and picture of television programs on magnetic tape – Ampex Corporation, 1957>

<Swimwear fashion show on CKCW-tv, Moncton, New Brunswick, 1957>

<Channel ID’s often featured a station’s mascot>

<Nople Bircumshaw and the lion cub, CHCT-tv, Calgary, Alberta, 1957>

<In the 1950’s television was taking over.>

PHOTOGRAPHER RONNY JAQUES’ EARLY TORONTO IMAGES RESIDE IN CANADA’S NATIONAL ARCHIVES

RONNY JAQUES (1910-2008) was a British photographer whose family moved from England to Canada, then on to New York City and TORONTO, where he opened a studio at 24 Grenville Street. He stayed here until 1941 when he closed the studio and moved back to New York. During the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s his photographic specialties were fashion, travel, food and lifetstyle. His work is everywhere, but there’s no sign of the man himself.

Mr. Jaques was in TORONTO long enough to record some splendid images of our city between 1939 and 1951. A large number of these are in Canada’s National Library and Archives. You can scan through the Archives’ vast collections at this address – http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca

<KENSINGTON MARKET>

<QUEEN STREET AT YONGE>

<THE BELTLINE FERRY DOCK>

THE ROYAL CONSERVATORY, ONE OF TORONTO’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS, IS DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO MUSIC

rc6Founded in 1886 and incorporated in 1947 by King George VI with a royal charter, The Royal Conservatory of Music is both an education centre and a concert venue.

rc5<KOERNER HALL, photo by Richard Lautens/Toronto Star>

rc3<PHOTO – Ettore Mazzoleni Hall>

There are two concert halls – Koerner Hall, which opened in September/2009 and seats 1,135, and the Ettore Mazzoleni Concert Hall which opened in 1901 with seats for 237. The Temerty Theatre, a smaller performance space, is also on site, with space for 150. This theatre replicates the acoustic quality and stage size of Koerner Hall and is used to prepare students for live performances.

rc1Rising above the traffic din on Bloor Street West, the Royal Conservatory is quite the complex, devoted entirely to music.

For details on the building, the concert halls, and the Conservatory’s outstanding graduates – including piano virtuoso Glenn Gould – go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Royal_Conservatory_of_Music

rc2

MIRVISH VILLAGE WILL HAVE AN AFTERLIFE WHEN THE HONEST ED’S SITE IS REDEVELOPED

mirvishvillage5MIRVISH VILLAGE is behind bars. The row of Victorian houses on Markham Street will become part of a huge development by Vancouver’s Westbank at Bathurst and Bloor. The developers plan to keep 23 of the 27 heritage buildings on site and the Village is very much part of their plan.

mirvishvillage2MIRVISH VILLAGE is made up of Victorian-era houses, rescued when the city had plans to tear them all down.

mirvishvillage3mirvishvillage1Overlooking the Village from an upstairs window – the man himself.

HONESTEDS3ED MIRVISH, who died in 2007, opened his first store at the corner of Bloor and Markham Streets, in 1948.  He and his son, David, went on to build a family empire.  The two of them ran an art bookshop on Markham Street; purchased the Royal Alexandra Theatre when it was destined to become a parking lot; built the Princess of Wales Theatre; rescued and renovated London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre; purchased the Pantages (now the Ed Mirvish) theatre on Yonge Street; founded Mirvish Productions, a major live-theatre company; and continued operating Honest Ed’s.