A BRITISH LIBRARIAN PLANTED THE SEEDS FOR TORONTO’S PRE-1910 CHILDREN’S BOOK COLLECTIONS

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 CELEBRATES ITS 70TH YEAR – FIRST AS AN EDUCATIONAL STN. NOW TORONTO’S JAZZ FM

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 it promotes live concerts, is funded largely by donations, and reaches a wider audience than ever. In a way, Harris did ‘the little station that could’ a real favour.

NEWS FOR THOSE STUCK ON FM RADIO – AM RADIO IS STILL ALIVE & WELL IN NORTH AMERICA

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

AFTER A 14-YR., $128-MILLION RENO, TORONTO’S ST. MICHAEL’S CATHEDRAL IS RESPLENDENT AGAIN

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>

WHO WAS EDWARD “NED” HANLAN & WHY, IN THE 1930’S, WAS A TUG BOAT NAMED AFTER HIM?

Born to Irish parents, NED HANLAN (1855-1906) was a professional sculler, hotelier and alderman who lived in TORONTO. Hanlan’s Point is named after a small hotel his father opened on Toronto Island’s west end. Every day young Ned would row back and forth across the harbour to attend George Street public school in the city.At eighteen he was competing in rowing events and became amateur champion of Toronto Bay.  He turned professional in 1874/5, and soon afterwards beat all comers, losing only six of his 300 races, and became the world sculling champion for five consecutive years from 1880 to 1884. Following his career as an athlete, Hanlan became a hotelier like his father, and eventually was voted a city alderman. He was also the first head coach of the University of Toronto Rowing Club in 1897. In 1900 he coached Columbia University’s crew for several years. <Abbreviated excerpt from Wikipedia>NED HANLAN died of pneumonia at age 52. Ten thousand Torontonians paid their final respects at the church where his body lay in state. <ABOVE – Ned Hanlan monument on the Toronto Islands, sculpted by Emanuel Hahn><Ned Hanlan tug boat, September 16/1932; photo – City of Toronto Archive/Sidewalk Labs><Breaking ice, March 14/1934><Ned Hanlan steam tug approaching the foot of Bay Street, February 20/1952; photo by JAMES VICTOR, 1911-58><The Ned Hanlan tugboat still exists, although it’s been retired.  You’ll find it on Toronto Islands.>

TORONTO’S FLATIRON BUILDING, FIRST OF ITS KIND IN NORTH AMERICA, WAS BUILT IN 1892

The first flatiron building in North America was TORONTO’s Coffin Block, constructed in the triangle formed by Front and Church Streets.  The stubby little structure housed the offices of a stagecoach company.It was demolished and replaced in 1892 by the present day Flatiron or Gooderham Building.  For the record – NEW YORK CITY’s Flatiron was completed in 1903.The present-day Flatiron was constructed for $18,000.  Until 1952, it contained offices for George Gooderham of the giant Gooderham and Worts Distillery.  There’s now a pub in the basement, a patio outside, and Berczy Park in behind.  The Flatiron is close to three theatres, St. Lawrence Market, St. James Cathedral, Hockey Hall of Fame and numerous fine restaurants and pubs. <photo above by bmccle . . . #streetsoftoronto>