TOMORROW, DECEMBER 13TH THE PRINCE EDWARD VIADUCT WILL BE A CENTURY OLD

“December 13th/2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Prince Edward Viaduct, which spans the Don Valley, connecting Bloor Street East with the Danforth. To those who cross it or drive under it, the viaduct has an air of immutable solidity.” – @tophotolaureate

“During the three-year construction period, the site presented a very different aspect – messy, chaotic and raw.” – @tophotolaureate

The Viaduct opened in 1918 minus the “luminous veil” (which was created to prevent suicides). The bridge, which crosses the Don Valley, carries the Bloor-Danforth subway, four lanes of traffic, and two sidewalks into (what once was) the village of Danforth.

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A TORONTO TRADITION THAT IS NO MORE – LINING UP FOR CHRISTMAS BARGAINS AT HONEST ED’S

‘Waiting for a Bargain’, outside Honest Ed’s, RAJKA KUPESIC, 1983 – >

“Circus lights shout Honest Ed over and over, three stories high and two blocks long, a legend built of tiny bulbs that burn all night in buy-buy-binary code.” John Oughton, “Edville”; PAINTING – Toronto Public Library Collection>

Honest Ed’s annual free Christmas Turkey & Fruitcake Giveaway was circled on the calendars of many Torontonians. In the (Globe and Mail) photo above by TIBOR KOLLEY taken on November 24/2002, early birds are lined up waiting for the doors to open.

As the retail landscape changed and the store’s fortunes fell, the family sold the land to a luxury-property developer and Honest Ed’s closed for good in 2016.

TREVOR PARKINS-SCIBERRAS IS A TRANSIT ENTHUSIAST, HISTORIAN, TEACHER & LEGO ARTIST

Born and raised in West TORONTO’s Junction neighbourhood, TREVOR PARKINS-SCIBERRAS is a volunteer for the Junction Historical Society and the Canadian Transit Heritage Foundation. He recently became an educational partner with the TDSB, and has begun teaching Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) history in the schools.

Trevor also works with Lego to tell the story of TORONTO’s transit from the beginning to modernity. You can see his work at http://www.TravelBricks.com and on Instagram.

<PHOTO ABOVE – William’s Omnibus Line, ca1850>

<PHOTO ABOVE – Horse-drawn train car transit, ca1861-1891.>

TREVOR PARKINS-SCIBERRAS BELIEVES A TTC TRANSIT HERITAGE MUSEUM WOULD BE A PLUS FOR TORONTO

<Small green and brown omnibus, Toronto Street Railway, ca1860’s. They ran as backups to the main fleet of horsecars.>

Media producer TREVOR PARKINS-SCIBERRAS has learned that relics from the earliest days of public transit in TORONTO are accumulating dust in Ottawa’s Science and Technology Museum. He wants them back where they belong. The major obstacle is finding a place to show them.

<Yorkville Omnibus, in service from 1849 to 1861 between TORONTO and the Village of Yorkville>

Once part of a museum display, the vehicles appear to be in excellent shape, but they’ve been in storage for decades. “They are part of TORONTO’s history, not Ottawa history,” Trevor says. “I really think the TTC could bring them back and run a touristic attraction for them, if they wanted.”

<John Thompson Omnibus, 1880, carried passengers from TORONTO to Richmond Hill>

Spokesman BRAD ROSS said the TTC has no record of heritage vehicles belonging to the TTC in storage in Ottawa – or anywhere else for that matter. “Vehicles are decommissioned and sold as scrap – and have been for years.” he said. “Where they go after that isn’t something we track.”

<1892 closed streetcar, Toronto Street Railway Company>

<One of TORONTO’s first double-deckers, 1921>

<Single-decker bus, Toronto Transportation Commission, 1922>

<PHOTOS – Trevor Parkins, Transit Toronto, blogto>

BEATRICE WHITE, FLY-SWATTING CHAMP, LIVED IN TORONTO & WHACKED 500,000 FLIES ONE SUMMER

From the Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum – In August 1912, BEA WHITE of Regent Street, spent several weeks whacking or trapping flies, ridding her neighbourhood of the pests. She earned $50 (about $1250 now) for her efforts.

Why target the fly? To call attention to the unsanitary conditions that caused sickness and death in TORONTO’s overcrowded inner city. And why so many flies? Blame it on the horse.  In this pre-automobile era horses produced piles of manure, perfect for breeding the “queen of the dung hill”

The contest was halted when organizers discovered some competitors were breeding flies to be killed. <IMAGES – City of TORONTO Archives>

FROM MY ATTIC – ‘FORTUNE’ MAGAZINE/1974 – A STORY ABOUT ‘SURPRISING TORONTO, THE NEW GREAT CITY’

EDMUND FALTERMAYER writes – “Canadians have seen their metropolises become better than ever. The most stunning improvement has taken place in TORONTO (1974), where a formerly tedious provincial capital has emerged as the world’s newest great city.”

<PHOTO – 1960’s skyline with the Admiral neon sign>

“In the 1950’s and 60’s TORONTO was so dull that a good time was a weekend in BUFFALO. TORONTO (1974) is a new sort of Fun City without angst or affectation – a place where the residents feel wondrously spared from the urban troubles to the south.”

<POSTCARD – the skyline in the 1970’s from the Gardiner Expressway>

TORONTO (1974) is in amazingly good repair. The new downtown skyscrapers are bordered, not by a wide zone of decayed housing and glass strewn lots, but by flourishing neighborhoods, that are some of the city’s chief glories.”

TORONTO (1974) has reined in suburban sprawl, kept its transportation in balance, and made sure that its streets stay safe and clean. In 1953, over-riding suburban objections, the province established a metropolitan government, which not only planned the region’s growth but also builds such basic facilities as arterial roads and trunk sewers.”

<PHOTO – Highway 401 interchange – Chuckman’s Nostalgia>

“In transportation, TORONTO (1974) has created the best of two worlds. There are a goodly number of expressways, including one twelve-lane monster (the 401) where the prevailing speed limit outside of rush hour is 75 miles-per-hour (121 km/hour). But these roads all go around the old urban core.”

<PHOTO – an all-red subway train by Robert Taylor, 1970’s>

“TORONTO’s subway system, begun in the early 1950’s, is needed to lure motorists out of their cars. The trains are immaculate, quiet and frequent. With fares subsidized at 25 cents, the average citizen rides the subway, buses and streetcars 158 times a year.”

<PHOTO – when police cars were yellow>

“Strict controls over handguns and comparatively unclogged courts get credit for the low TORONTO (1974) crime rate. A high level of maintenance deters littering and vandalism. Government has done a lot of things right.”

<PHOTO – an East York bungalow>

“Horrific inflation of housing prices is the one big blot on life in (1974) TORONTO. If this goes on, the non-affluent will be driven out of suburbs as well as the inner city. Mortgages in the TORONTO area carry a 12% interest rate; unpretentious new single-family homes recently sold for $65,000.”

<PHOTO – building the CN Tower – Photoscream>

To wind up his story, EDMUND FALTERMAYER wrote “ TORONTO may never reach the size of ‘world cities’ such as New York or Paris. But it has nonetheless won a secure place in the big time. Until something better comes along, the civilized city is still where many of the world’s civilized people prefer to be.”

<PHOTO – the waterfront, north of Billy Bishop Island Airport, in the 1970’s>