It’s been a long time coming, but soon subway trains will be on their way to one of Canada’s finest heritage villages. Surrounded by development, Black Creek Pioneer Village is a living tribute to the TORONTO Region’s roots, with architecture dating as far back as the 1790’s.
On-site there are 40 buildings considered to be amongst the oldest in TORONTO and its surroundings. Inside several of them, interpreters and artisans in period costume describe life as it was lived in pioneer Canada.
BLACK CREEK PIONEER VILLAGE is open daily from May 1 to December 23. It’s located in TORONTO’s north-west end, at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway near the intersection of Jane Street and Steeles Avenue.
GETTING THERE BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT – subway to FINCH STATION, then take the Steeles bus #60 westbound; or from JANE SUBWAY STATION use the Jane bus #35.
<PHOTOS ABOVE – the new Black Creek Pioneer Village subway station, designed by Will Alsop – TTC and Jack Landau/UrbanToronto>
The Village website – https://blackcreek.ca
From the CTV News collection in the City of TORONTO Archives – the Evergreen Sikorsky Skycrane puts on the last piece of the 39-section broadcast antenna atop the incomplete CN Tower – April 2/1975. The helicopter’s official model number was N6962R – known locally as ‘Olga’.
The Soldier’s Tower on the St. George Campus commemorates those who lost their lives while fighting in WWI and WW2. It’s Canada’s second tallest war memorial after the Peace Tower in Ottawa. Designed by Hart House architects Henry Sproatt and Ernest Rolph, the Tower is built of grey ashlar stone amd trimmed with limestone.
The Memorial Room sits directly above the archway and is open to the public. It contains artifacts focused on the U of T’s wartime service, and the names of those who lost their lives.
The Memorial Room stained-glass window is based on John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. It was dedicated in 1995. Eight additional windows honour the wartime services of the Canadian Forces.
Built by the British firm Gillett and Johnston, the tower clock’s original 23 bells were replaced in 1976 by the current 51-bell carillon. The 51 bells span four octaves and range in weight from 23 pounds to 4 tons. <PHOTO – clock face mechanism>
The bells are played using an organ-like console.
Bridging the gap between University College and the Soldiers’ Tower is the Memorial Screen, displaying the names of the 627 who died in the First World War. Students walking under the tower through the Memorial Archway pass by the engraved names of the 557 university members who lost their lives in World War II.
<One Spadina Crescent as it was two years ago>
One Spadina Crescent, with its Gothic towers and long history, is getting yet another lease on life after a career as Knox College, World War I barracks, a penicillin factory, an eye bank, a veterans hospital, a library, pathology lab and several departments within the University of Toronto.
Amelia Earhart once worked here as a nurse’s aide until she contracted influenza, and there’s been at least one murder within the building. It was nearly demolished in the 1960’s to make way for the (canceled) Spadina Expressway.
Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design is now rehabilitating the historic structure and adding a modern extension on the back.
The extension will contain lecture rooms, research facilities, a green roof testing lab, design studios, a fabrication lab and the Global Cities Institute.
<PHOTO – looking down on One Spadina Crescent prior to the renovation>
This yellow brick building on Dundas Street West at Spadina Avenue opened its doors in 1922 as The Standard Theatre. Designed by architect Benjamin Brown, it was home to Yiddish comedy, original Jewish and translated plays, music, and left-wing politics. It went on to become The Strand, a movie house, and from there the Victory Burlesque. These days it’s a bank, and will soon be home to a 7,000 square-foot Rexall Pharmacy Plus.
In 1961, as the Victory, it was one of three burlesque theatres in town, but by the mid-sixties the other two had disappeared. Ryerson and University of Toronto students became its most loyal fans.
Occasionally The Victory doubled as a music venue. The New York Dolls, Kiss, Iggy Pop and Rush all played there. Once TORONTO’s educational television station did a live New Year’s Eve telecast from the theatre.
Now plans are for a pharmacy at street level, and hope is a community-based space of some kind will appear on the upper levels.
<Group of Seven painter A.J. Casson’s depiction of the Kleinburg General Store.>
VAUGHAN, the sprawling mass north of TORONTO, is trying hard to become a city. Within the sprawl are a number of small villages and towns, one of which is KLEINBURG. Home to the superb McMichael Canadian Art Collection which focuses on the famed Group of Seven painters, the historic village has a population of roughly 1,000.
Much of the old town is gone or gentrified, but there are still some traces of the past. KLEINBURG is a popular spot for weddings, art aficionados, and visitors to the nearby Kortright Centre for Conservation and the Humber River Trails.
<KLEINBURG’s McMichael Canadian Collection is one of Canada’s finest art galleries.>
Developers and gentrifiers are updating the village streetscapes. Bungalows are at the gates.
The Comique, from 1908 to 1914 one of TORONTO’s earliest cinemas, stood on the site of the world’s original Hard Rock Cafe. That’s about to change. The Cafe will soon be replaced by yet another Shoppers Drug Mart. Oh woe. Yonge-Dundas Square.