THE MELLOW YELLOW OF CABBAGETOWN’S FORSYTHIA BUSHES – NAMED AFTER WILLIAM FORSYTH

WILLIAM FORSYTH (1737– July 25 1804) was a Scottish botanist. He was a royal head gardener and a founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society. A genus of flowering plants, Forsythia, is named in his honour. – WIKIPEDIA

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MART CROWLEY, AUTHOR OF ‘BOYS IN THE BAND’, BELIEVES GAY SANCTUARIES ARE VANISHING

Referring to his apartment building in Midtown Manhattan, Mr. CROWLEY, who is now 82, says: “It’s all yuppies and kids in strollers and all of that – and a few old codgers. Gay culture is so diffuse now, where it was once so cloistered and clandestine. It was like our own world – the world was inside out.”

Is that world disappearing – and with it, ‘Gay Identity’? Read an excellent column by FRANK BRUNI in the Sunday New York Times, ‘The Extinction of Gay Identity’, at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/28/opinion/the-extinction-of-gay-identity.html

<In the midst of condo towers & construction – TORONTO’s Church/Wellesley (gay) Village; photo by Steveve/urbantoronto.ca>

TORONTO’s gay sanctuary, the Church/Wellesley Village, appears to be flourishing.

The codgers, kids, strollers, yuppies and millennials are all present, but so are gay bars, gay-friendly restaurants, Glad Day Books, the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives, a couple of art galleries, a flower shop, barber shops, the 519 Community Centre, the National Ballet School, Barbara Hall Park, the AIDS Memorial, a subway station and a plethora of high-rise apartment towers – all within a few blocks.

<Glad Day – oldest LGBTQ bookshop/bar/cafe in the world>

<Barbara Hall Park>

<CLGA – Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives, 2nd largest in the world>

<The 519 Community Centre>

LGBTQ people now live, work and play in many parts of TORONTO, but The Village remains home-from-home for many.  The sanctuary is still there.

<Church Street during Pride Weekend, 2015>

THE DISTILLERY DISTRICT – 40 HERITAGE BLDGS., 3 THEATRES, GALLERIES, SHOPS & BISTROS, 13 ACRES

Once this was the largest distillery in the world, but now it’s a major TORONTO tourist attraction and a National Historic Site. The Gooderham and Worts Distillery was founded in 1832 and provided 7,600,000 litres of whisky to a thirsty world. Most of it was exported onto the world market, and a good deal of it went south to the US.

In 2003 the District opened to the public, with a variety of small boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, coffee houses, a micro brewery – but no chain stores.

Several condominium buildings have been built in the area – making the District financially viable.  About 900 movies and television shows have been filmed here – including ‘Chicago’ and ‘A Christmas Story’.

<The Corkin painting and photography gallery is on Tank House Lane>

<One of three theatres inside the Young Centre for Performing Arts, home to the Soulpepper Theatre Company & George Brown College’s theatre school>

<The Stone Distillery, built in 1859, is the oldest and largest structure in the Distillery District.  It’s made from limestone imported from KINGSTON, Ontario – and is an outstanding representation of Victorian industrial architecture.

<The #514 Cherry streetcar, which travels along King Street, terminates its eastern run near the Distillery District.>

MANSIONS, NIGHTCLUBS, ANTIQUES, ART, TAVERNS, WIRES, BILLBOARDS, ROOMERS – MUST BE PARKDALE

PARKDALE is a neighbourhood that’s seen plenty of ups-and-downs, but these days things are looking up. Young professionals, new immigrants, hipsters and artists have been moving in – joining those who’ve seen much better days.

PARKDALE is one of the few places in old TORONTO where there’s any hope of finding a reasonably priced Victorian townhouse or mansion, or renting an affordable artist’s studio or loft.

PARKDALE is roughly 1 square kilometre, bounded by Roncesvalles Avenue, Dufferin Street, Queen West and King West. It began life as an independent settlement in 1850 and amalgamated with TORONTO in 1889. For the first half of the 20th century the neighbourhood was upper income residential. The construction of the nearby Gardiner Expressway ended that, when apartment buildings sprouted and the mansions were turned into boarding houses.

PARKDALE is a neighbourhood worth exploring. Queen Street West, the main drag, is lined with Victorian-era commercial buildings housing restaurants, bars, Tibetan restaurants, a couple of art galleries and antique shops.  A multitude of Victorian-era homes still survive, and you’ll find many of them on the leafy side streets.

All-in-all PARKDALE is a walk on the wild side – TORONTO-style.

ANCROFT PLACE IS LIKE AN ENGLISH COUNTRY VILLAGE THAT’S LANDED IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO

There’s something kind of British about these 21 red brick buildings situated on a leafy cul-de-sac, facing a deep ravine.

Houses in this community are similar to English cottages, but they’re not as small as they first appear.  They’re valued in the millions, partly because of the location.

Lawyer and developer KENNETH FERNS MACKENZIE finished building Ancroft Place in 1927, two years before the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. His was one of the few rental complexes in or near ritzy ROSEDALE, that made it possible to rent without worrying about a mortgage, and still be in an upscale neighbourhood.

Ancroft Place is another of TORONTO’s ‘hidden’ communities.  When the trees sprout in the spring the houses almost disappear.