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Monthly Archives: May 2012

A photo of the “popcorn man” of downtown Toronto in the 1970s?

The photo below, taken in the 1970s, is of the popcorn man on Yonge Street. However, his usual haunt was on Queen Street, his cart located on the north sidewalk where people crossed  the street between the Eaton’s and Simpson’s Stores. When visiting downtown Toronto, he was a familiar part of the scene, in the heat of summer or the frigid days of winter. I don’t know when he disappeared from the street. I only know that on one of my trips the Eaton’s Store, he was no longer there.

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I have spent much of my adult life researching and photographing Toronto. I love the city. It has provided the background for my books, one of which, “The Villages Within”, was nominated for the Toronto Heritage Awards. If interested in novels with a Toronto setting, descriptions of the books are available by following the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/toronto-author-publishes-seventh-novel/

They can be purchased in soft cover or electronic editions. All books are available at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.com. The electronic editions are less that $4. Follow the links:

There Never Was a Better Time: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000056586/THERE-NEVER-WAS-A-BETTER-TIME.aspx

Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

The Reluctant Virgin; http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

The Villages Within:  http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000175211/The-Villages-Within.aspx 

Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

Authors can be contacted at: tayloronhistory@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Toronto

 

Photos of Toronto Harbour in 1975 and the small boat the “Normac”-“Capt. John’s”

I hope a few Torontonians remember the small boat the “Normac that was anchored in Toronto Harbour. At one time it had been owned by the Detroit Fire Department, and later they used it to ferry passengers between Torbermory and Manitoulin Island. It was brought to Toronto in 1970 and moored at Harbourfront. It provided an intimate seafood restaurant beside the lake until 1981, when it was rammed by the “Trillium” and sank. It was eventually raised and towed to Cleveland.

I remember enjoying all-you-can-eat lobster and frosty beer on the upper deck of the “Normac” on hot July afternoons in the 1970s. The photos below were taken about 1975, and shows the “Normac” as well as the larger ship the “Jadran.” The later was purchased in 1975 from the Yugoslavian Government and survives to this day as a popular Toronto tourist attraction.

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Toronto skyline c. 1975, the “Normac” (small red and white boat), and the stern of the “Jadran” to the right of it. In the foreground is a glass tour boat that carried passengers through the lagoons of the Toronto islands.

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    The “Normac” with the “Jadran” in the background, c. 1975

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                     The gangway to board the “Normac” c. 1975

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                        The “Jadran” in the summer of 2011

I have spent much of my adult life researching the history of Toronto. I love the city. It has provided the background for my books, one of which, “The Villages Within”, was short-listed for the Toronto Heritage Awards. If interested in novels with a Toronto setting, descriptions of the books are available by following the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/toronto-author-publishes-seventh-novel/

They can be purchased in soft cover or electronic editions. All books are available at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.com. The electronic editions are less that $4. Follow the links:

There Never Was a Better Time: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000056586/THERE-NEVER-WAS-A-BETTER-TIME.aspx

Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

The Reluctant Virgin; http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

The Villages Within:  http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000175211/The-Villages-Within.aspx 

Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

Authors can be contacted at: tayloronhistory@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2012 in Toronto

 

Enjoying Toronto’s Architectural Gems – 19th century facade Within BCE Place

Many film companies have included the stone facade of the old building within BCE Place in their movies. It is indeed an impressive structure. It was rescued when they demolished the building on its original site at 13-15 Wellington Street West.

The building’s construction began in 1843, and was completed in 1845. The cost of the land and building was $22,303. The architect was William Thomas, who designed the St. Lawrence Hall and St. Michael’s Cathedral. It was to be the Toronto branch office of the Commercial Bank of the Midland District. They  considered it a prestigious building in which to launch their bank into the Toronto financial scene.

The bank’s headquarters was in Kingston, Ontario, which at the time was under consideration for the location of the capitol of Canada. Unfortunately for Kingston, they selected Ottawa in 1867. However, the Commercial Bank did not stay in business a sufficient length of time to profit from its opening of a branch in Toronto.

In 1868, the Merchants’ Bank took over the premises, and eventually it was purchased by the Bank of Montreal. During the First World War, the accounting firm of Clarkson, Gordon, and Dilworth located its offices  in the structure, remaining until 1969. It was due to the efforts of Mr. Walter Gordon that the old bank building was preserved.

When the building was eventually demolished, the facade was dismantled stone by stone and reassembled in BCE Place as part of the Allen Lambert Galleria, located on the ground-floor level on Yonge Street, a short distance north of Front Street.

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The facade of the old Commercial Bank building within BCE Place. It has been said that it resembles a piece of Edinburgh, even containing cast iron balconies.

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Cast iron balcony on the facade and the cast iron fence in front of the facade

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          West doorway of the Commercial Bank facade in BCE Place

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The building when it was located at 13-15 Wellington Street. (Photo from Eric Arthur’s book, “Toronto – No Mean City” )

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous posts about movie houses of Toronto—old and new

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its heritage buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

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                To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

      Theatres Included in the Book

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

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Kensington’s European Meat Market is truly gone !

The European Meat market’s blazing red sign crowned the head of Kensington Avenue for many years. The premises are now empty, and the row house attached to the store, where the meat was cut, is now a tattoo parlour. The market area is not the same without this venerable shop.

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     The European Meat Market as seen in the summer of 2012.

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Interior of the The European Market, early on a weekday morning

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                The meant counter of the European Meat market

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                  The site of the European Meat Market today.

In 1959, “European Meats” arrived in the Kensington Market, but only occupied the premises at 178 Baldwin Street. In 1985 the business expanded into the other shops (#176, #174). The famous meat market was now contained within two of the old row houses, and the original site (#178) was used as the cutting and preparation room. Its windows were covered over.

Until the store closed in April of 2012, it’s methods of operations remained unchanged since the old days of the Kensington Market. Transactions were conducted in metric and in Imperial Measure. It required three members of staff to complete a transaction. Customers took a number from a dispenser located on the right hand side, near the door. They carried it to the counter, and handed it to an employee who lined them up, and shouted the numbers in the order in which they were to be served. When a customer’s number was called, it was then handed to another employee, who filled the order. When completed, the customer walked to the front of the store to the cashier, who accepted the money and placed the meat in a plastic bag. The transaction was now complete.

This system was indeed a part of the Europe of earlier days, but was amazingly efficient. Sign language was often employed by the customers to denote the numbers of pound, or a half pound, as on a busy day the store was so crowded that it was impossible to be heard above the clamorous voices.

The store sold excellent strip-loin steaks. The back-bacon, hams, and cold cuts were truly excellent. People came from all over the city to purchase meat there. On a Saturday it was jammed, and at Christmas time the crowds were unbelievable. Shopping here was an experience to be savoured, not a chore to be endured.

I have spent much of my adult life researching the history of Toronto. I love the city. It has provided the background for my books, one of which, “The Villages Within”, was short-listed for the Toronto Heritage Awards. If interested in novels with a Toronto setting, descriptions of the books are available by following the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/toronto-author-publishes-seventh-novel/

They can be purchased in soft cover or electronic editions. All books are available at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.com. The electronic editions are less that $4. Follow the links:

There Never Was a Better Time: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000056586/THERE-NEVER-WAS-A-BETTER-TIME.aspx

Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

The Reluctant Virgin; http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

The Villages Within:  http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000175211/The-Villages-Within.aspx 

Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

Authors can be contacted at: tayloronhistory@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Toronto