Built in 1808 when only 400 people lived in the Town of York (now TORONTO) this fully functional lighthouse remains on the Toronto Islands. It’s the second oldest lighthouse in Canada after Sambro Island in Halifax. It’s said that in 1815 the lighthouse keeper was murdered in the tower by soldiers from Fort York, and that his ghost still haunts the building. All that’s really known is that he disappeared on January 2, 1815. His body was never found.
It sits in gothic splendour on top of the escarpment overlooking downtown TORONTO. A heritage building – former home of Senator John MacDonald, this house (with its tower observatory) is now occupied by the Brothers of the Christian Schools. De La Salle Oaklands, so-named for the Brothers and the great oak trees dotting the campus, is a co-educational Catholic school founded in 1851, and located here in the 1930’s.<DE LA SALLE OAKLANDS as it was in 1891>
The Glad Day Bookshop is a popular gathering place for TORONTO’s queer and trans community. Everyone is welcome – drag queens, artists, book buyers, DJs, readers and talkers. The rent for this beautiful space at 499 Church Street is $18,000 a month, which sounds like quite a responsibility, but it’s in a popular neighbourhood.Enter the Glad Day Emergency Survival Fund for LGBTQ2S artists, performers and tip-based workers, along with the Bookshop itself. MICHAEL ERICKSON, Glad Day’s lead owner told the Globe and Mail: “It was life saving. A lot of us felt powerless in this crisis (affecting the community). We didn’t know how to help – and then our fund provided people a really concrete and immediate way to give a bit of money and know they were making a difference.”So far Glad Day and other community members are staying afloat. But more donations – big and small – are most welcome at this address – http://www.gladdaylit.ca
<TORONTO skyline as it once was, ca1984-1998, City of Toronto Archives & Sidewalk Labs><Far Enough Farm, Toronto Island, 1970><ICEBOATS, Toronto Island, ca1989-1998><A Toronto Island Beach, July, 1982><Toronto Island gardens, ca1989-1998>30,000+ historic photos are on-line. An invaluable research facility, the OLD TORONTO website is very easy to use. You’ll find it at https://oldto.sidewalklabs.com/
Dr. JOHN O’BRIAN has one impressive CV – author of numerous books on art criticism and history, writer of poetry and, since 1987, Professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia in VANCOUVER. He’s also the editor of the four-volume edition of ‘Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism (1986 and 1993)’. All four volumes were named to The New York Times list of “best” books of the year, and they’ve received hundreds of scholarly citations.<PHOTO ABOVE – ‘Atomic Lanes’, Michael Crawford, collection of John O’Brian>As well, Professor O’Brian collects vintage photography, with a particular interest in the atom bomb and the nuclear age. These are some of his photographs from an Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition that took place in 2015. He was the guest-curator.<PHOTOS ABOVE – Atomic postcard, explosion at Yucca Flat; a cave bomb shelter, June 1972; and a hydrogen-bomb explosion crater, Yucca Flat, Nevada, October 1967><PHOTO – This could really give you the willies – an atomic bomb cloud dwarfing TORONTO’s then-tallest skysraper, the Bank of Commerce, 475 feet high; destructive radius 2-miles plus>
The THEATORIUM, opened in 1906 at 183 Yonge Street (just north of Queen Street), was TORONTO’s first permanent movie theatre. Its name was changed to the RED MILL in 1911. The 1911 photos are in such excellent shape, they look as if they were taken yesterday.<PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives>
<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.>
<Photos above are from the City of Toronto Archives/John Milne – the Island Theatre in the 1940’s.>