One sits on top of the other. On the bottom – the resplendent ELGIN, and on top – the WINTER GARDEN, with its pastel lamps and leafy bowers.These are the last remaining double-decker Edwardian-era theatres in the world. 189 Yonge Street, above Queen.<PHOTO ABOVE – The Elgin><PHOTO ABOVE – The Winter Garden>This National Historic Site offers year-round tours – Thursdays at 5pm & Saturdays at 11am. Adults $12; students and seniors $10. Cash only. No reservations required.Tours include samples from the vaudeville scenery collection, the Winter Garden’s original Simplex Silent Film Projector and a vaudeville-era dressing room. Ontario Heritage Trust website – http://www.heritagetrust.on.ca
<PHOTO – City of Toronto Archives & Sidewalk Labs>
The OSBORNE COLLECTION OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS (BEFORE 1910) began with a visit from British librarian EDGAR OSBORNE.He was greatly impressed by the range and quality of children’s services within the TPL (Toronto Public Library) system.OSBORNE donated his personal collection of some 2,000 rare books in 1949. The numbers have grown to over 80,000 rare and notable modern children’s books. Now there are several collections within the collection.The oldest artefacts include a 14th century manuscript of Aesop’s fables, 16th century school books; Florence Nighingale’s childhood library; Queen Mary’s children’s books; penny dreadfuls, chapbooks, Puritan works, and fifteen-century traditional talesLillian H. Smith library is located at 239 College Street, not far from the University of TORONTO.
CJRT-FM has been on the air since November 1, 1949 as Canada’s first educational radio station on the FM band. The commercial-free station was part of Ryerson’s School of Broadcasting and Electronics, with input from the University of TORONTO, the Ontario Department of Education and some boards of education. Needless to say, the ratings weren’t sky-high.In the 1960’s Radio and Television Arts students were required to produce and broadcast live programming for CJRT. This included writing and producing half-hour radio dramas, complete with sound effects and music. I know about this because I had to do one myself. Plenty of sweat was involved. <CJRT control room photos are from Ryerson University’s Archive>Making a long story short – in the 1990’s, along came Mike Harris and his Progressive Conservative provincial government. He cancelled funding for CJRT-FM. Suddenly, the station had to fend for itself, and that’s when independent JAZZ-FM91 was really born.These days the station promotes live concerts, is funded largely by donations, and reaches a wider audience than ever. In a way, Mike Harris did ‘the little station that could’ a real favour.
I grew up with AM radio, worked in it for some time, and love its ‘reach’. <ABOVE – my grand mother’s Westinghouse, 1946, made in Hamilton, AM & Short Wave, stands beside my bed> Unlike FM, which is usually tied to its home market, AM’s signal can go almost anywhere, within reason. For instance, TORONTO’s CFZM, 50,000 watts, clear channel, reaches a vast audience in Ontario and the northern American states. <ABOVE – my Telefunken AM/FM radio, sat dormant for two years, but surprisingly remained fully functional. It’s been part of the family since 1970.><And this little guy by TIVOLI is in charge of the kitchen. It’s on AM every night – while I’m washing dishes.> FOR THOSE who really love AM, there’s a celebratory tribute on YouTube. It features Medium Wave channels from 530 kHz to 1700 kHz, with an emphasis on New England. Canadian AM outlets on the site – CKGM, Montreal, 50,000 watts; CJBC (French), Toronto, 50,000 watts; CHML, Hamilton; CHOK, Sarnia, 10,000 watts; CJEU, Gatineau (French); CKDO, Oshawa; CHHO, Toronto; & CHLO, Brampton, Ontario. Thanks to PETE BYERLEY for sampling AM stations right across the band. “TRIBUTE TO A CENTURY OF RADIO BROADCASTING” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKRZJ5uO2Mw&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2XcSmV9-wBU1MkV0Pagtc_E9AIrXqIqw6-oLY5cdgsnoVm-OhbSwLirt4
<PHOTO BY JAMES ESSEN, City of Toronto Archives/Sidewalk Labs>
The 169-year-old St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica, 65 Bond Street, was designed by TORONTO architect WILLIAM THOMAS. It’s the principal church of Canada’s largest English-speaking Catholic archdiocese and now, after a complete reno, its interior is among the most spectacular in the city. The Archdiocese, encouraged by Cardinal THOMAS COLLINS, hired TORONTO’s +VG Architects to take on the task of restoring the yellow-brick structure inside and out. The aspect that’s captured the public’s imagination is the crypt. The first Bishop of TORONTO is buried there, along with other important people. One such is John Elmsley, a convert from the Anglican church, director of the Bank of Upper Canada and member of the Family Compact,. His father was Chief Justice of Upper Canada. “The cathedral will link with the Royal Ontario Museum and Ontario Tourism so that visitors will know that they can see those buried here were part of the social and cultural history of Canada,” said TERENCE WHITE of the architecture firm.All the stained-glass windows were restored to their original magnificence. The rose windows in the south and north transepts were revealed after a century. New stained-glass windows were commissioned from TORONTO’s Vitreous Glassworks.NEW YORK-based Ecclesiastical Art created decorations for the walls, and transformed the ceiling into a celestial sky with more than 18,000 stars.The balcony was rebuilt and now seats 230. The old organ, installed in 1880, blocked some of the most beautiful stained-glass in North America. It’s gone, replaced by Opus 3907, a new $2-million pipe organ by Casavant Frères of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. The pipe chests were split to preserve the view and the daylight. Ongoing phases of the restoration include the restoration of the Bishop’s Palace or Rectory, and completion of the new crypt chapel. <ALL PHOTOGRAPHS by Paul Cormack/Concrete Pictures>