NEAR TORONTO’S BORDER YOU’LL FIND A FULL-SIZED OPERATING ELECTRIC RAILWAY & MUSEUM

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/ 

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SHEA’S HIPPODROME AT QUEEN & BAY WAS ONCE CANADA’S LARGEST THEATRE – IT’S GONE FOR GOOD

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.

THERE ONCE WAS AN ESTABLISHMENT CALLED THE VARIETY HOTEL NEAR TORONTO CITY HALL

<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.

IN THIS 1930 PHOTO BY WILLIAM JAMES, OLD CITY HALL’S CLOCK TOWER STANDS OUT

<The cluster of structures behind city hall are the T. Eaton Company’s factory buildings where goods for Eaton department stores were manufactured. On the left you can see early parking lots that replaced demolished buildings. Photo by William James, City of Toronto Archives>

THE FAIRMONT ROYAL YORK HOTEL, A TORONTO LANDMARK, IS NOW NINETY YEARS OLD

Following a complete renovation of its 1300 rooms, spectacular ballroom, lobby and concert hall, the Royal York takes its place again as one of TORONTO’s leading hotels. Since opening on June 11th, 1929 as the largest hotel in the British Empire, the Fairmont Royal York has welcomed multiple heads of state, top musicians, movie stars, sport celebrants – and still does.<PHOTO ABOVE – the Concert Hall, by Muhammad/Flickr><PHOTO ABOVE – the Ballroom><The Lobby and its famous clock><POSTER – The Royal York, largest hotel in the British Empire, 1929> For more information on the Royal York, its history and transformation – http://www.thefairmontroyalyork.com

REMEMBERING TORONTO’S FIRST GAY PRIDE PICNIC, 1971, & PRIDE MARCH & PICNIC, 1972

You had to be brave in those days, when a small army of souls set off for TORONTO’s first Gay Picnic, nearly 47 years ago on Sunday, August 1/1971. It was held at HANLAN’S POINT on Toronto Islands, site of today’s clothing optional beach.The first Gay Pride Week in TORONTO took place in 1972. There was a small march along Church Street downtown, followed by the second annual Gay Picnic on WARD’S ISLAND, August 20/1972.ARCHIVAL IMAGES – CLGA, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 2nd largest in the world, 34 Isabella Street, 416-777-2755, http://www.clga.caTORONTO STAR – June 23/2019 – big crowds, clear skies, and a day beaming with joy. The Pride Parade brought the city together to celebrate.How far we’ve come – Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU, Mayor John Tory & Premier Kathleen Wynne lead the parade in 2016.TORONTO’s Mayor John Tory and city councillors, 2015 – that was the year when it poured rain.  Everyone got soaked.<TORONTO’s ‘World Pride’, June/2014> <The Flag – July 2011>

TRINITY ST. PAUL’S, 427 BLOOR ST. W., IS A UNITED CHURCH, COMMUNITY CENTRE & CONCERT HALL

RICHARD LONGLEY IN ‘NOW’ MAGAZINE – “(Faced with a shrinking congregation) Trinity St. Paul’s church has made room for 483 tenants, who rent for periods ranging from one hour to year ‘round. They include Greenpeace, Montessori Day Care, Middle Eastern Language School, a base for Tafelmusik, the Toronto Consort, Middle Eastern Language School, International Socialists and the Common Good, etc. It’s a jewel in TORONTO’s halo.” <PHOTO ABOVE – Eric Parker>