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>

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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>

F.Y.I. – FRED KNAPP’S ROLLER BOAT WAS THE STRANGEST CRAFT EVER LAUNCHED IN TORONTO

FOR YOUR INFORMATION – This unusual boat measured 125 by 25 feet. There was an opening at each end where people could board. The inside remained stationary, while the outer casing, equipped with small paddle-like projections, revolved around it. This allowed the ship to roll sideways along the surface of the water like a rolling pin.
<PHOTO ABOVE – the inventor of the Roller Boat, FRED KNAPP>
In 1897, while a large crowd was watching, the ship demonstrated a top speed of 5 miles per hour in TORONTO Bay. The idea was dropped because the vessel was too slow and very expensive. <PHOTO above – City of Toronto Archives; WATERCOLOUR below by THOMAS HARRISON WILKINSON, 1847-1949>

AUTHOR LEE SHIMANO IS A TRUE FAN OF THE C.N.E. AND SHE’S PUBLISHED A BOOK ABOUT IT

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>