LEE SHIMANO is a CNE enthusiast, and her treasured collection of Canadian National Exhibition memorabilia is most impressive. As a youngster she says “the CNE was this huge, magical world. It was only open for . . . 10 to 14 days. So it was very special.” And a perfect subject for a book.Ms. Shimano’s book, ‘Treasures of the CNE”, features her private collection and the positive stories of.people who loved Canada’s largest fair. The self-published book came out in 2017. It’s from FRIESENPRESS, and it’s also available from AMAZON as well as several other outlets. <PHOTO BELOW – the Canadettes on the big stage at the Ex, 1960’s>
There are over 30,000 historic photographs on the OLD TORONTO project’s website. Created by the City of TORONTO Archives and Sidewalk Labs, this valuable research facility is very easy to use and well worth exploring. The photos below illustrate day-to-day life of the city’s construction workers. For more of the same go to – https://oldtoronto.sidewalklabs.com/<A shoveller at work for Bell Canada, Temperance and Sheppard streets, 1923. This site would soon become a new telephone exchange to house an automated system.><Hard to believe, but this was the site of Union Station on July 28, 1914. Smoke gallore. Construction was about to begin.><Thompson Welding and boiler industries at 169 Adelaide Street West, January 28, 1914><Laying concrete on Front Street at John, January 13, 1928. Workers are watched over by “the suits” on the left.><Deconstruction site at 432 Bay Street, which seems to be adjacent to Shea’s Hippodrome, February 18, 1937>And to take the chill off, here’s a rare photograph of movie star MARY PICKFORD in front of her birth place home, 211 University Avenue – an address now occupied by TORONTO’s Hospital For Sick Children. Ms. Pickford’s photo was taken on March 23, 1924.
Built – 1911-1914 . . . Cost – $3.5-million . . . 98 rooms . . . 5 acres of gardens . . . designed by E. J. Lennox who also did Old City Hall . . . 30 bathrooms . . . 25 fireplaces . . . 22,400 sq. foot stables . . . 3 bowling alleys . . . a shooting gallery . . . . . wine cellar holding 1,700 bottles.
The Halton County Radial Railway (HCRR) in MILTON is a non-profit, educational organization, and Ontario’s first and largest electric railway museum. Founded in 1972, its mission is to collect, preserve, restore, operate and show electric railway trains, streetcars and buses – many of which are retired from the streets of TORONTO.<PHOTO by Ted Wickson – the first two streetcars acquired in 1954; #1326 on the left was built in 1910 and was the last wooden streetcar retired by TORONTO Transit; #55 on the right was built in 1915.><#327 on loan to TORONTO Transit for the TTC’s 80th birthday celebration, is shown at the corner of Bay and Dundas Streets. Photo by Ted Wickson. It’s also part of the Halton Collection><Self-propelled welding car, believed to be the only surviving ERICO bonder, Lake Erie and Northern Railway><Rail grinding car from TORONTO Transit, acquired in 2002; photo by Alan Gryfe><Recently acquired TTC replica of a horse-drawn bus, built in 1930, used in parades and at the CNE; photo – Transit Historian Trevor>Getting there from TORONTO – Highway 401 westbound, exit #312 Guelph Line. Travel north until you reach the museum on the east side of the road. From the Queen Elizabeth Way, exits #102 and drive north for 40 kilometres. Opening hours in JULY & AUGUST – 11 am to 4:30 pm; weekends and holidays 10 am to 5 pm. Website – https://hcry.org/
SHEA’S HIPPODROME, opened on April 27, 1914 on what is now Nathan Phillips Square. It was the largest theatre in Canada, with over 3,000 seats. Silent movies were on the bill, along with a 24-piece orchestra.In 1926 a magnificent $50,000 Wurlitzer organ was installed. It would rise from the lowest part of the orchestra pit to the stage. The theatre closed on December 27, 1957 to make way for a new city hall. The organ was re-installed in Maple Leaf Gardens.<SHEA’S HIPPODROME with a sign promoting Elvis Presley’s new movie ‘LOVE ME TENDER’. The film opened in November, 1956.> ABOVE PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archive; Toronto Public Library & Historic Toronto.
<The VARIETY HOTEL, with its vitrolite facade, was one of several small hotels in the Queen/Chestnut neighbourhood. The Alexandra at 102 Queen & the Municipal at 67 Queen Street were close by. They all provided basic rooms at reasonable prices. Photo – Jones & Morris, 1956><Main floor of the ladies’ beverage room in the VARIETY HOTEL, 1956. Photo – Jones & Morris><A basic hotel room, 1956; Photo – Jones & Morris> The VARIETY was located at 112-114 Queen Street West. It was typical of several hotels in the vicinity of city hall.