Tuesday, April 21, 2015Mostly Cloudy 11°C
City

What Leaside used to look like in Toronto

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 19, 2015

leaside torontoLeaside is Toronto's railway town, or at least one of them. Starting around 1912, Canadian Northern Railway began buying up large tracts of land in the area east of Yonge, north of the Don Valley, with a view to creating planned community in the mould of its successful Port Mann and Mount Royal Park towns in British Columbia and Quebec.

Noted Montreal-based landscape architect Frederick Todd was commissioned to produce the master blueprint that would dictate the location of houses, roads, and commercial areas.

Many of Leaside's streets were named after Canadian Northern executives, including Hanna, Wicksteed, and Laird. The town, which takes its name from early settler William Lea, was officially incorporated in 1913 and many of the current homes west of Laird, south of Eglinton, were built after 1924.

Heavy industry has also historically been a major presence in the Leaside area. During both world wars, Canada Wire and Cable produced shells and other important munitions at its sprawling plant southeast of Wicksteed and Laird. It's gone now, replaced by a shopping plaza, but the surrounding area remains a dense thicket of factories.

Here's a look back at what Leaside used to look like.

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City

Is summer 2015 the year of the block party in Toronto?

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 16, 2015

block party torontoA slew of Facebook pages promising street parties in locations all over Toronto are causing wide eyes and furrowed brows at the city. So far more than 50,000 people have RSVPd to the events online, and while that certainly doesn't mean that number will attend, the numbers are enough to be potentially troubling, especially as most don't seem to have applied for permission.

Obtaining a permit to host an event in one of Toronto's public spaces brings with it insurance, security in the form of paid duty police officers, a liquor license, and permission from the city to close streets, among other things.

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City

Major addition to Robarts Library starts to take shape

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 15, 2015

toronto robarts libraryPlans for a 1,200 seat reading room to be built on the west side of the University of Toronto's Robarts Library are beginning to take shape.

The five-storey extension, to be named Robarts Common, will span the Huron St. side of the building, adding 4,300 square metres of additional space to the crowded interior.

According to recently filed plans with the City of Toronto, Robarts Common will be connected to the main library by a four-storey bridge and include an extensive green roof. A separate plaza connecting the corner of Huron and Harbord streets is planned for the south end of the new pavilion.

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City

The astonishing numbers behind Toronto's electricity use

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 13, 2015

toronto electricity useToronto summers are notoriously power hungry. As soon as the warm weather begins to bite, air conditioners and other power-hungry appliances come online, putting a massive strain on the province's power network.

In 2013, the last year for which detailed statistics are available, demand peaked on July 17. That day the Honda Indy was making a racket at Exhibition Place, the discussion around converting the Scarborough RT was approaching a farce, and the temperature peaked at 35.4 degrees--a scorcher.

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City

5 Toronto intersections as they were 150 years ago

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 13, 2015

toronto queen university150 years ago Toronto had only been Toronto for a little over three decades. Originally Dublin, then York, the bulk of the town was still mostly clustered along the waterfront between Parliament and Bathurst streets. The tallest structures were church spires and factory chimneys and large parts of present day downtown were reserved for industrial use.

Not many photos survive from this period (camera technology was still in its infancy) but thanks to careful preservation, and a little luck, it's still possible to get a sense of what Toronto looked like when the horse and cart was king of road.

Here are 5 Toronto intersections as they were 150 years ago.

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City

That time Toronto won the 1887 baseball pennant

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 12, 2015

toronto baseball teamThe Toronto Blue Jays were not Toronto's first professional baseball team, oh no. That honour goes to the "Torontos," later the Maple Leafs, who set up shop east of the Don River in a ball park near the southwest corner of Queen and Broadview in 1886. It was there, in just their second season, their big hitter, Ned "Cannonball" Crane, slugged the team into the history books.

It started with a meeting at the Rossin House hotel in downtown Toronto. A group of local businessmen, led by former city alderman Thomas Hunter, formed a company that would field a baseball team in the 1885 Canadian League, a competition between teams from London, Guelph, and two in Hamilton.

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