IN 1936 TORONTO’S BACK YARDS WEREN’T THAT PICTURESQUE – CITY OF TORONTO ARCHIVES

<1936 – #695-703 KING STREET>

<1936 – 595 WELLINGTON STREET>

<1936 – #33, 36 & 37 BLEVINS PLACE>

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IN THE ‘GOOD OLD DAYS’ TORONTO’S CHILDREN HAD THE RUN OF THE STREETS

In a growing, dirty and dangerous city, children created their own playgrounds. Photographers found them in laneways, backyards, behind houses, on construction sites, sitting on stoops and staircases and playing chicken with streetcars.

For immigrant children in The Ward (officially known as St. John’s Ward), TORONTO’s downtown slum, the street was where they played, watched and wandered. Here they were masters of their own destiny.

The Playground Movement in Canada began in the early 1900’s. TORONTO’s Cherry Street Playground opened in 1909, St. Andrew’s and Elizabeth Street playgrounds in 1913. A department of social work was established in 1914 at the University of Toronto. The Ward became the site of early health and hygiene planning and slum clearance.  PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives – Website – http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=7cb4ba2ae8b1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

<PHOTO ABOVE – a modern playground in newly renovated GRANGE PARK, behind the Art Gallery of Ontario.>

A NEW EXHIBIT AT THE CITY OF TORONTO ARCHIVES – “FROM STREETS TO PLAYGROUNDS”

A1606160-ArchivesExhibit Web Banner v2.inddIn the good old days, many TORONTO children had the run of the streets. An exhibition from the vast photography collection of our city’s archives captures the kids at work and play in a growing, dirty and dangerous city.  Photographers found them in laneways, backyards, behind houses, on construction sites, sitting on stoops and staircases.

The City of TORONTO Archives occupies an impressive building at 255 Spadina Road. While there you can see the stacks through a glass window – boxes and boxes of our city’s history, and over a million photographs.  Website – http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=7cb4ba2ae8b1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

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TORONTO IN THE 1980’S IS NOW HISTORY – WE’RE BIGGER, IN MANY WAYS BETTER, BUT STILL FUNKY

Although TORONTO today is in rapid change mode, there’s still plenty of old ‘funkytown’ around.  A friend from CHICAGO comes here annually for TIFF, and says she loves our parks and picket-fence neighbourhoods, non-linear streetscapes, quirky architecture, robust nightlife, and colourful populace.  Below, a few photos from the City of Toronto Archives taken about 35 years ago – before densification and sprawl really took hold.

<PHOTOS – 1) Building Roy Thomson Hall next to a vast parking lot; 2) on the Lakeshore Boulevard motel strip; 3) the police cars were yellow; 4) subway cars were red; 5) we had trolley buses;  6) the SkyDome (now the Rogers Centre) was under construction>

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A ONCE-UPON-A-TIME LOOK AT THE DANFORTH – FROM CITY OF TORONTO ARCHIVES

Until 1919 and the completion of the Prince Edward Viaduct, the DANFORTH was fairly isolated on the east side of the Don River Valley.  In 1888 the TORONTO Street Railway had established a streetcar line along Broadview Avenue to Queen Street East.  But the Viaduct (named in honour of King Edward VIII) immediately became the major link to the expanding city on the west bank.

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The Bloor-Danforth subway, which crosses the Don on the Viaduct, launched a major wave of home renovations and restoration all along the Danforth.  The line opened in 1966.

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<PHOTOS ABOVE – 1) Building the Prince Edward Viaduct, 1916  2) Coffee on the Danforth, 1934  3) Bank of Toronto – still exists – 1930  4) Grocery at Carlaw and Danforth, 1934  5) Used car lot, 1960’s  6) Collapsed pole Main Street at Danforth, 1926  6) Hillingdon streetcar terminus, south of Danforth, 1922>

CITY ARCHIVES – 2 massive warehouses full of TORONTO’s history

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Our city’s archives, 255 Spadina Road, contains TORONTO’s entire history – 131,119 boxes full.  Blueprints, plans, council records, photographs, paintings, TTC pins, books and magazines – they’re all here, in a climate-controlled, ultra-secure red brick building.

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<PHOTOS ABOVE – GRIDto and Commodore Gandalf Cunning/Day Trip Canada>