TORONTO’S “BRIGADOON” – RARE PHOTOS OF THE FORMER GERRARD ST. VILLAGE

In the 1920’s, artists, writers, shopkeepers and bohemians began settling into 19th-century row houses along Gerrard West and neighbouring streets.They painted the stuccoed houses in rainbow colours, opened art galleries, bookshops, restaurants and – a first for TORONTO – an outdoor patio.  The neighbourhood was christened GERRARD STREET VILLAGE. It became our city’s Greenwich Village, Soho, the Left Bank – an enclave of Bohemia in the middle of a very conservative town.  CSILLA FEL remembers TORONTO’s first patio: “The first patio was a rented house and was called “The Jack and Jill”. Catherina Barca, aged 97 was part of the Barca pioneers in sidewalk cafes.  She once said “this was my backyard as a child and the atmosphere of coffee and creativity has stayed with me my whole life.”Ernest Hemingway called the Village home for a while; the Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris sketched here; painter Albert Franck rented a shop in the 1940’s.  Some other villagers – poets Al Purdy and bp Nichol, Margaret Atwood, Milton Acorn, Michael Ondaatje, Joe Rosenblatt, Gwendolyn MacEwen – a slew of intellectuals, designers, booksellers and writers.Only a few of the Victorian-era houses remain – “totally emasculated” as one old-timer put it.  A hotel, parking lot, hospital buildings, a condo and a steam plant occupy – what was once – Toronto’s ‘Brigadoon’.“You mention Albert Franck having a hop on Gerrard, but he and his wife Florence Vale, actually lived there too. Harold Town frequented their place (he wrote a couple of books on Franck, and Joyce Wieland and Kazuo Nakamura were, I think, mentioned by Franck. Also on that strip is where the collective General Idea (Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal, and AA Bronson, of whom Bronson is the sole surviving member) had their first salon.” – from STEVEN ERIC KETOLA <PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives; Image above – David Mason Books>

A SPECIAL HOUSE NAMED VALLEY HALLA – ITS OWNER WAS INTO A BREAKFAST CEREAL EMPIRE

In 1936, at the heart of The Great Depression a rich widower, Dr. George Robert Jackson, was running a health food empire on the West Side of Toronto.  His home, which is still there, east of the Toronto Zoo, is in the Tudor country house style near the Rouge River.The breakfast cereal behind Dr. Jackson’s success, was his Roman Meal brand health food products, introduced just before World War One. A blend of whole-grain wheat, rye, bran and flaxseed, it cost about 25 cents a box and you boiled it into a porridge in about 30 minutes. The Doctor promoted its laxative properties, and added that it could cure kidney problems, hardened arteries, high blood pressure, arthritis and double glaucoma that made him blind in one eye.For a detailed story about the house, Dr. Jackson and the Cereal, go to The Toronto Star story ‘Business History: The House That Cereal Built’, written by Angus Skene, January 19, 2015.

LOOKING BACK AT 1970’S, 80’S & 90’S. ARCHIVED PHOTOS OF ‘OLD TORONTO’ – INFO BELOW

#1 – Interior of the Air Canada Centre. #2 – Clarence Square, looking north, almost as it is today. #3 – View of Scadding House and Eaton’s Warehouse in Trinity Square, July 16, 1974. #4 – Interchange of the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway. #5 – Simcoe Street looking north to King and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. #6 – Aerial – Church Street at Richmond, looking north-east, 1993. <Photos – City of Toronto Archives>

THE VIRUS IS FIGHTING US, BUT ONTARIO IS A CHAMP WHEN IT COMES TO NEW EMPLOYMENT

Of course this could change at any time, but the latest in Canada’s national employment numbers have risen in seven-out-of-ten provinces. Ontario is at the top of the heap, climbing up by 182,000 jobs – an increase of 2.5%. Toronto city and area contributed 64,000 jobs out of the above numbers. Alberta saw an increase of 37,100 while Newfoundland and Labrador rose by 13,400 (6.5%).  Saturday’s Globe and Mail, April 10/2021

TORONTO’S EDWARD BURTYNSKY SHOWS US EARTH’S INDUSTRIALIZATION & EXTRACTION ON A GRAND SCALE

ANTHROPOCENE is a collaboration among award-winning photographer Edward Burtynsky & filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. <IMAGE ABOVE – Kevin Walsh/Earth Magazine.org>  The images make it clear what humankind has been up to for decades. They’re a wakeup call to the destruction caused by our species’ dominance, thus far anyway.<COAL MINE #1, North Rhine, Westphalia, GERMANY, 2015, © Edward Burtynsky, Flowers Gallery, London/Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto>. “I have always been concerned with showing how we affect the Earth in a big way. To this end, I seek out and photograph large-scale systems that leave lasting marks.” – from ‘Life in the Anthropocene’ by Edward Burtynsky.<Elephant Tusk Burn, Nairobi National Park, Kenya, film still, Anthropocene Films Inc. © 2018>. “How to convey, despite our brevity as a species, the magnitude of our impact? Anthropocene in a scientific and geological sense means that we are now everywhere, all the time, and even in the rocks—those dense, mysterious receptacles of the planet’s history.” – from ‘Our Embedded Signal’ by Jennifer Baichwal.<Dandora Landfill #3, Plastics Recycling, Nairobi, Kenya 2016. © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto>. “It’s hard not to marvel at the engineering ingenuity of the massive industrial sites we filmed, and equally hard to ignore the devastation they represent.” – from the essay ‘Evidence’ by Nicholas de Pencier.<Uralkali Potash Mine #2, Berezniki, RUSSIA, 2017, © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Flowers Gallery, London/ Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto><Carrara Marble Quarries, Cava di Canalgrande #2, Carrara, Italy, 2016. Mural, © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of the artist and Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto >The Art Gallery of Ontario-produced catalogue, Anthropocene, may still be available at shopAGO for $29.95; along with the 224-page Anthropocene art book published by Steidl.

TORONTO IS STILL IN PARTIAL LOCKDOWN, BUT WE CAN SALUTE THE IRISH ON MARCH 17TH

In September/2017 Ross and I were in The Republic of Ireland and had plans to visit Northern Ireland when the skies opened up and we sampled an Irish deluge. We’ll go up north next time. My day was made when the tourism lady asked my name. When she heard my last name, Moore, she said “you’re one of us!” with a jolly good laugh. We went off to explore the capital and there was plenty there to explore.You can’t miss the Spire of Dublin, or the Monument of Light. Either one, it’s made of stainless steel, 121 meters tall, located on the site of the former Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street in the heart of the city.Oscar Wilde’s childhood home, now restored and occupied by the American College DublinThere’s so much to do and see in Dublin, that once the pandemic ends, we’ll both be on our way there again.Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!