Saturday, November 1, 2014Light Snow 2°C
City

Toronto of the 1950s

Posted by Derek Flack / November 21, 2010

Toronto 1950sToronto of the 1950s has never seemed to be a very exciting place to me. As much as I enjoyed putting together photo tours of the 60s, 70s and 80s, for some reason I just didn't feel so compelled to put together the 50s iteration of the series. This hestation now strikes me as rather silly. Although the decade does pre-date the rise of the Toronto's first modern skyscrapers (the TD Centre wasn't built until the late 1960s) and the building and population booms of the 1970s, the 50s will be forever remembered in Toronto as the decade when we finally got the subway.

As a result of this massive construction project, there's actually a wealth of photographs from the period available via the Toronto Archives. While many of these feature subway building as their main subject matter, there's plenty else going on in the photos. One thing of note, everything looks so clean!

1950
Toronto 1950s

1950
Toronto 1950s

1950
Toronto 1950s

1952
Toronto 1950s

1953
Toronto 1950s

1953
Toronto 1950s

1953
Toronto 1950s

1954
Toronto 1950s

Toronto 1950s

1954
Toronto 1950s

1955
Toronto 1950s

1956
Toronto 1950s

1957
Toronto 1950s

1957
Toronto 1950s

1958
Toronto 1950s

1958
Toronto 1950s

1958
Toronto 1950s

1959
Toronto 1950s

1950s skyline
Toronto 1950s

Toronto 1950s

Images from the Toronto Archives (where marked), Wikimedia Commons, Redpath Sugar (#16), and PJs Deceased (#s 1,13,14, 18) on Flickr.

Discussion

141 Comments

rick mcginnis / November 21, 2010 at 03:25 pm
user-pic
Clean - and famously boring. That's no myth. Its world-renowned dullness was probably one of the things that made it easier to build a subway by cut and cover construction. Though the exterior of the Flame restaurant looks fabulous!

Also, the Letros building (across from the King Eddy) was home to one of the city's most famous gay bars, apparently. (Learned this factoid on the Urban Toronto forum, BTW.) So there were things going on in dull, blue-law, Sunday closing Toronto (where my cousin ran a speakeasy in his kitchen on Sundays.) But it was all on the down-low.
Jeremy / November 21, 2010 at 03:54 pm
user-pic
Looks like everything was mostly still built out of stone or brick. Boring maybe, but I kind of like it. You'd assume the city would feel much smaller without all the tall buildings that have since been built downtown, but those subway-digging shots on what I assume is Yonge St still give an impression of a built-up core.

It's kind of fun to picture the city without many of today's landmarks and think about how it may have developed differently.

Also, the picture of the lakeshore is interesting because of how much it's changed. What is that stadium on the right? I'm too young to remember exactly what Exhibition Stadium looked like (I saw a few games there but don't have a clear memory of it) but it doesn't look like the pictures I'm finding online. It also looks like it's in the wrong spot...
Neville replying to a comment from Jeremy / November 21, 2010 at 04:09 pm
user-pic
That is Maple Leaf Stadium. The current "Stadium Rd" is located on what would have been the west side of the stadium.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_Leaf_Stadium

What is cool about that picture is seeing how much more landfill was required to create Queens Quay.
Robert Mackenzie / November 21, 2010 at 04:12 pm
user-pic
That would be the Maple Leaf Stadium -- home to the minor-league Toronto Maple Leafs baseball club -- on the south side of Fleet Street (now part of Lake Shore Boulevard West) at Bathurst.

The sole reminder of the stadium today? That would be "Stadium Road", running south off the Lake Shore, one block west of Bathurst.
Jeremy / November 21, 2010 at 04:20 pm
user-pic
Thanks guys :) What a bummer that it was torn down.
W. K. Lis / November 21, 2010 at 04:25 pm
user-pic
The center yellow lines on roads would have been white (not yellow) in the 1950's. Something hard to differentiate with black & white photographs.

Another problem is that playground swings were locked up, slides were barricaded, no movies, no sports, nothing happening in Toronto on a Sunday. That is why my parents took me outside of Toronto to church picnics, where the swings and slides were not locked up on a Sunday.
seanm / November 21, 2010 at 04:26 pm
user-pic
The image of King and Yonge (3rd one down) is backwards, but a great picture nonetheless. Definitely one of the best streetwalls in Canada, albeit a short one.

Also, just look at how ravaged by industrial pollution our skyscrapers were, and that was only a few decades after their construction. The old Star Building is nearly black, though it was a bright off-white when constructed. Truly a tragic loss.
e / November 21, 2010 at 04:29 pm
user-pic
Boring, but beautiful.
fn replying to a comment from jim / November 21, 2010 at 04:48 pm
user-pic
you're a jerk. Toronto would be a very nice place if jerks like you didn't live here.
Olaf / November 21, 2010 at 04:53 pm
user-pic
Nice memories of a time when Torontonians were kinder, and less of a bunch of self-serving dickwards.
Teena / November 21, 2010 at 05:16 pm
user-pic
It's amazing how much land has been filled in at Queens Quay! And how much space the railway took up.
Roger replying to a comment from jim / November 21, 2010 at 05:18 pm
user-pic
Wow Jim! You're quite the dick. I guess you can just stick to the Internet, where you cam assume everyone that writes in English is white.

Randy / November 21, 2010 at 05:57 pm
user-pic
A big thank you to BlogTO for this series. It is one of my favourite things about your website. You should consider amassing these entries into a book one day.
Adam Sobolak / November 21, 2010 at 06:43 pm
user-pic
I'll assume the Letros picture was closer to 1965 than 1955 (when neither the garage to the right nor the present-day Canada Press building to the left yet existed)
Derek replying to a comment from Adam Sobolak / November 21, 2010 at 06:54 pm
user-pic
I was suspicious of that one, but it's labeled by the Toronto Archives as 1955, so I went with it. If it's definitely incorrect, I'll pull it.
SMurphy / November 21, 2010 at 07:08 pm
user-pic
Wow. That shot of Lakeshore. The city is completely hemmed in by the railway. It goes to show you that it isn't so much the Gardiner as it is the rail bed that separates the city from the water.
Greg / November 21, 2010 at 10:53 pm
user-pic
Nice! One picture of Scarborough and it's a police car!
Equatorial Polar Bear / November 21, 2010 at 11:47 pm
user-pic
I like that everyone wore hats. I'd like for us to start doing that again.
neha replying to a comment from Randy / November 22, 2010 at 01:38 am
user-pic
hello
webmento7 replying to a comment from neha / November 22, 2010 at 01:39 am
user-pic
hello
gadfly replying to a comment from SMurphy / November 22, 2010 at 08:09 am
user-pic
I was thinking the same thing, although anyone can see this for themself, just by walking under the pigeon-crap infested bridges of Parliament or Sherbourne and see what a dank tunnel is created by the dozens of tracks only 10 meters or so over one's head. The Gardiner seems bright and airy by comparison!

This was the 1950s, people. I doubt Montreal or San Francisco were much more 'hip' in those days. There really was only 3 cities in the world that bore any resemblence to 'cool' in the 1950s, and that would have been New York, Paris and Hamburg (those parts not ravaged by bombing, that is.)
Judging by the trouble my parents got into in Malton and Rexdale in the 1950s and the parties that went until dawn, it's not like everyone lived to go to Church.
There were so many cultural explosions just over the horizon: the birth of rock'n roll, the Pill, the sexual revolution, the hippy movement, the drug movement, black power, etc. The '50s were just the calm before the storm. I don't think it was all that bad living back then. Everyone had a job and everyone knew their place. But in the quest for 'choice,' and 'rights,' have we really gained so much by having 120 pairs of $200 running shoes to choose from, or 12 phone providers, or 45 brands of mid-size sedans to choose from?

Has life gotten easier?
Peter / November 22, 2010 at 09:48 am
user-pic
Wow, look at all the white people in that one picture! You won't see that today!
Caribou / November 22, 2010 at 10:51 am
user-pic
I've often wondered if the TTC always had ads on the cars or if that was a newer phenomenon. I guess that 1954 shot of a new subway car confirms yes, they have been there from the beginning!
iSkyscraper / November 22, 2010 at 10:56 am
user-pic
The waterfront shot is awesome and should quiet the ninnies who complain about condo buildings nonstop. The office developments of the 70s and 80s and condo developments of the 90s and 00s saved downtown.

norm / November 22, 2010 at 11:39 am
user-pic
Adam is right about the Letros photo being more '60's. Maple Leaf Stadium was a great old ballpark and we were given the afternoon off from St. Mary's S.S. to attend the Opening Day game as part of the "Knothole" Club in the early '50's. I remember that Little Norway still existed down on the Lakeshore just west of Tip Top building maybe. Yes Toronto was pretty boring and quiet especially on Sundays but we kids made our own excitment with freedom all day long in the summer and no adults to hassle us as long as we kept our nose clean (if you can imagine what that means!). There were what we called "gearboxes" around then (weird older kids and single men with wandering hands) usually found at Harrison's Baths, Cherry Beach changehouse, or in the toilets at the movie theatres, but we really didn't worry too much and the "gang" could usually sort these guys out quickly! The cops and teachers were really the authority figures although some dads really could do damage sober or drunk if you screwed up badly. The place was boring but safe and people seem to have been both more kind and tolerant although I know they were often racist and insulting with non-whites. The reason it looks so clean is that there was little throw away garbage. Bottles often had deposits and we kids collected and returned them; paper wrapping was common and we burned that in the furnace to light wood and coal. Remember that most of us had little money and we didn't seem to need much after being fed, clothed, sheltered. We made our own bikes from bits found and someone always had a ball and bat or football. You got skates for Christmas if you were rich or you bought used ones at the Salvation Army. I've said enough.
Rajio / November 22, 2010 at 11:44 am
user-pic
I love how because its old photos some of the commenters romanticize that era so much - it was also a time of commonly accepted racism and bigotry. We've come a long way.
Lars replying to a comment from Rajio / November 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm
user-pic
@Rajio, "I love how because its old photos some of the commenters romanticize that era so much - it was also a time of commonly accepted racism and bigotry."

Please, just stop. Enjoy the photos for what they are without making them negative.
some guy / November 22, 2010 at 01:52 pm
user-pic
Picture 10 - Dream world?
Hugh Pogue / November 22, 2010 at 05:04 pm
user-pic
Just think, back then the bank of Commerce building was the tallest building in the Britsh Commonwealth ! (34 foors I think! )
gadfly replying to a comment from Rajio / November 23, 2010 at 07:33 am
user-pic
Actually, I would venture to say there was a lot less 'bigotry' and 'racism' in Toronto 60 years ago than there is today, largely because the fledgling city fairly homogenous: the WASPS were over 50% of the population, the remaining Euros (Portuguese, Italians, French) comprised probably another 40% of the population, leaving the balance for the so-called Natives, Asians, Indians, etc. People got along because they had more in common.
Thanks to multi-culturalism ramming extremely diverse cultures down our throats over the past 30 years, we've had the 'fun' that comes with that: the school closures, the bed bugs, the lice, the SWAT teams arriving in neighborhoods, weapons searches in the class - yep, all signs that bigotry and racism is dead.
Roland Butta / November 23, 2010 at 08:24 am
user-pic
"Wow, look at all the white people in that one picture! You won't see that today!"

Actually, if that shot was taken at Yonge and Davisville, then things haven't changed *that* much demographic-wise.

Been in a cafe in Riverdale recently? Or the Kingsway? Or Mount Pleasant? The Distillery? The city south of St. Clair is whiter than it's been for decades.
Matt replying to a comment from Roland Butta / November 23, 2010 at 09:39 am
user-pic
That's probably true. You see a lot of diversity on downtown streets, but many of those are just people working downtown. I'd wager that the large majority of those who've made central Toronto their home in the last 5-10 years are white.

Which is fine; just interesting for a town that prides itself on diversity.
JB replying to a comment from gadfly / November 24, 2010 at 12:09 pm
user-pic
So essentially, there wouldn't be racism if there wasn't so many non-white people in Toronto? Everyone would get along fine?

What an absolutely ignorant statement, that's completely out of whack with the history of racism and bigotry in Toronto.

Three words: Christie Pits Riots

Has anything even close to this ever happened in Toronto since 1970? Absolutely not.

You obviously have no clue what you're talking about, and have no idea how widely accepted anti-semitism was in Toronto, Canada, and pretty much most of the Western World prior to WWII.

After all, members of the Toronto Swastik Club (which was responsible for the riots) included city officials and policemen, and were famous for erecting signs in the beaches that read "No Dogs or Jews allowed"

What an absurd statement - that "people got along" until all the non-white folks started showing up.
Sky Captaain replying to a comment from Equatorial Polar Bear / December 20, 2010 at 05:07 pm
user-pic
Pleas God, no. Most people can even afford to be wearing suits and tiles all of the time anyway, let alone dresses. And we already had a a 1940's swing revival-time to give it a rest.
Sky Captaain replying to a comment from gadfly / December 20, 2010 at 05:11 pm
user-pic
I guess that you've now shown your true racist colors, Gadfly. Considering what you've said before, I shouldn't have been surprised.
saltspring replying to a comment from gadfly / December 20, 2010 at 05:39 pm
user-pic
Hoo boy. You are one piece of nasty work, gadfly. Do you have a fever or something?

"Thanks to multi-culturalism ramming extremely diverse cultures down our throats over the past 30 years, we've had the 'fun' that comes with that: the school closures, the bed bugs, the lice, the SWAT teams arriving in neighborhoods, weapons searches in the class - yep, all signs that bigotry and racism is dead."

Let's see...I envision you as a 65 year old bald white dude with a big fat gut wearing a wifebeater holding a can of beer standing in front of his TV swearing and ranting at all the "coloureds". Oh wait, I recall that you are gay. Mmmm...ok, above picture with pink wifebeater.
SNACKER replying to a comment from norm / December 21, 2010 at 01:39 am
user-pic
Thanks, I enjoyed that!
Rover / January 3, 2011 at 11:26 am
user-pic
I grew up in Toronto in the forties and fifties, it was a great place and time to be alive
Rover / January 3, 2011 at 11:31 am
user-pic
I might also add that racism and bigotry were alive and thriving in those days, as they are today
David / January 8, 2011 at 09:02 am
user-pic
Re the postcard showing the Eastern Beach. Can't recall this configuration at Kew Beach Park as it had a long boardwalk running from the foot of Woodbine Ave. to Fallingbrook and the 100 steps. The boardwalk must have been built in the 1930's. Does anyone recall the Eastern Beach as shown, and where was it ?
Wayne Harris / January 10, 2011 at 09:53 am
user-pic
The baseball stadium was at the foot of Fleet Street. Officially it was called Maple Leaf Stadium and unofficially it was theFleet Street Flats. There was a Sunday curfew and no new inning could begin after 5:50 pm. On the right field wall there was an ad for Stoney's which was a car dealership I think. There was a prize for hitting the ball through the O in the name. Whatever happened to Lew Moton, Sam Jethroe and Rocky.
Chum / January 10, 2011 at 01:06 pm
user-pic
Further to Waynes comments.
That would be Rocky Nelson. And don't forget Sparky Anderson player here for several seasons.
As 12 year olds my buddy and I would ride out bikes from Mt. Dennis to the Stadium and either sit out side the left field fence waiting to get a home run ball or some friendly fan would offer us tickets to the game. Our bikes, left unlocked would be there for us after the game.
Beacher101 / January 11, 2011 at 11:57 am
user-pic
Further to David's question, the Eastern Beach postcard shows Wineva through Scarborough Beach; the rectangular 3-storey building just right of centre is at the foot of Hammersmith (tinted yellow in the postcard, it's actually red brick). The buildings are still there.
Lorraine O'Donnell Williams / January 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm
user-pic
The photo of the Eastern Beaches is correct, as I grew up in the house (set back in photo) on right hand side next to apartment building knows as Hubbard Court). The house is at 13 Hubbard Blvd, Toronto between Wineva and Hammersmith on the boardwalk. It is the star character in my recently best-selling published memoir of growing up in the Beach Area - "Memories of The Beach: Reflections on a Toronto Childhook" bublished by Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2010. Available everywhere by order or on line.
However, the trees look kind of small in this photo. I would suspect it might be more the late '30's or early '40's that it was taken. Thanks for showing it though -
rhonda / January 12, 2011 at 04:59 pm
user-pic
This is directed to the 1940's. What a surprise to see my dad and his factory. Fabulous site. Has brought back many good memories.
Don replying to a comment from Jeremy / January 13, 2011 at 03:32 pm
user-pic
The Stadium was the old Maple Leafs BallPark at the foot of Bthurst St just east of Tip Top Tailors, It is where Sparky Anderson Played as well as many other Major League ballplayers on their way up to the big leagues before Toronto had its own Major League Team
Norma Jones replying to a comment from David / January 14, 2011 at 02:09 pm
user-pic
Hello David:

glad you made that comment re Kew Beach - I cannot remember that part of Kew Beach. My grandmother lived on Buller Ave just north of the boardwalk- we crossed a park from that point to the beach. I recall no buildings along that part of the boardwalk. There was a pier at the bottom of Kippendavie Ave. where we played from. Also recalled many times of walking the boardwalk in the fair weather and yes during the winter months amazed at the icebergs along the waterfront. I left Toronto in 1959 for Ottawa and really all I have left of my birthplace is good memories but am not impressed with the Toronto of today.
Norma Jones replying to a comment from David / January 14, 2011 at 02:09 pm
user-pic
would like to hear from you, David
David replying to a comment from Lorraine O'Donnell Williams / January 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm
user-pic
Thanks,Lorraine, for the info. We learn something everyday, ie., 3 beaches made up the Eastern Beaches, Kew Beach, Beaches Park & Balmy Beach. Remember Balmy Beach Canoe Club Friday night dances ? And that special step "The Balmy" designed to move you around the oval ? Will look forward to reading your book.
David replying to a comment from Norma Jones / January 16, 2011 at 01:15 pm
user-pic
That park was called Pantry Park, just behind Kew Beach School. Kew Beach Park was a little further to the east. We swam at the foot of Woodbine up until the early 40's when the water became poluted and the Polio epidemic struck. To the west of that was a scrubby area of willows and sand just behind Woodbine Race Track known as "The Cut" - a playground of sorts - many sorts !
John / January 19, 2011 at 10:32 am
user-pic
My mother bought childrens tickets at 20 foe a dollar.I got 2.00 for the summer's spending money. That got me into a movie theatre and a box of popcorn every weekend for 8 weeks.
verna / January 20, 2011 at 05:55 pm
user-pic
Wonderful photos of the era I was raised in Toronto. I didn't see a photo of the Princess Gates at the exhibition grounds. I believe the military was stationed at the EX during WW 11. What about the TTC ladies that sold tickets gave directions etc. I remember the all day/night party up and down Yonge Street to mark the opening of the new subway. TTC's free Sunday rides on the street cars, I think children 12 and under, could ride free. We were able to visit relatives, discover other areas of Toronto, a visit to High Par, Allen Gardens plus the ROM that we might not have seen without those free rides. Ocean Blend Tea, coal, milk and bread were all delivered by horse and wagon/buggy until about the end of WW 11. To the commentators thank you for bringing back the memories of the "Balmy" at the Balmy Beach Canoe Club, Tip Top Tailors, Maple Leaf Stadium. I was Irish Catholic (my father and myself born in Toronto my mother born near Toronto) growing up in those days in Toronto, and being Irish decent, was very painful being punched, name calling and also seeing signs in shops "no Irish need apply" when looking for work as a teenager. You knew the sign was for Irish Catholic only. That is all over now and it happens with every new wave immigrants.

I do think, though, Toronto in those earlier days was a kinder, gentler place, neighbours were friendlier and looked out for one another. We all knew the police officer in our area. He knew us as he walked by on his beat. When I visit my home now I can't read the store or street signs, nor, do I know what language they are in. I hate traveling by subway I have never experienced so much shoving and pushing. Streets that were safe to walk even at night then, you would be afraid to walk now even during the day. It is not the Toronto I was born in nor the place I was raised and educated but your photos are great to bring back the time I lived in Toronto and I thank you for those memories. Toronto is not the place I even want to visit now.
Ronald Joseph Lehman / January 22, 2011 at 03:43 pm
user-pic
As a 79 year old I've seen Toronto grow up and .... a lot is not for the better. I helped electrify this once great city, and am still a member of I.B.E.W. Local 353, (albeit retired). I really liked the pictures from the '40's as they reflected Toronto as a great place to live. I could write a book about all the things I saw and did growing up in Long Branch, York Township and Toronto. Things I remember: going on the rides at Sunnyside Amusement Park, especially the ferris wheel when you could see the Lake and the smog free city, .75 cents for a ticket in the grays to see the Leafs at MLG (and saw all the oldtimers play when the Leafs had a TEAM), a baseball game at Maple Leaf Stadium (saw Jackie Robinson play for Montreal), wonderful trips to the CNE where you could eat for free at the food building, having a donut and coffee at Downyflake Donuts on Lakeshore Road near the Boulevard Club (remember their slogan "As you ramble on through life brother whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole" .... going to Union Station to see relatives and neighbours off to WWII in the '40's, joining the RCNR at HMCS York in Jan. 1951, and standing Royal Guard duty for Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the old Malton Airport in Oct 1951, watching the soldiers rifle practice at the rifle range on Lakeshore Rd in Lakeview just West of Long Branch Small Arms factory (yes it was called Lakeview in those days) before their deployment overseas (we'd sneak up in the long grass that was next to the rifle range and watch these heroes get ready to kick the Hun out of France, etc) and yes Verna all branches of our military were stationed at the "Manning Depot" at the 'EX' during the war in the '40's, and as a kid in the Sea Scouts during the war and sailing out of the National Yacht Club on Station Road we saw the Norwegians fly out of "Little Norway" and the Island Airport.
I must stop now because the memories are so vivid I am almost in tears. Toronto WAS a great city.... not any more ..... regardless of what politician tries to tell us it is ..... those words are only for their own edification and how much money they can line their pockets with. Greatness comes from how people treat their neighbours, and if the G20 is any indication of how to do this, I really don't want to visit Toronto .... only when it is absolutely necessary. I do however believe there are a lot of good folks yet in "Toronto the Good"








.
eileen / January 24, 2011 at 09:37 pm
user-pic
hate to disagree but letros was still around in the fifties as my mom was a luncheon waitress for a long time. she loved it, as the mngmnt & diners loved her. as for the gays, they treated her better than qoute "wasp business men" being born in cabbagetown help us to accept everyone & she did
PETE replying to a comment from David / January 30, 2011 at 04:40 pm
user-pic
I MET MY WIFE AT BALMY BEACH CANOE CLUB THE SUMMER OF 54 .A FEW WEEKS LATER WE WERE THERE WITH HURICANE HAZEL HOWLING OUTSIDE! WE NOW LIVE 200 MILES NORTH WHERE LIFE IS MORE RELAXED
David replying to a comment from Lorraine O'Donnell Williams / January 31, 2011 at 10:46 am
user-pic
Anyone from the Beach during that era should read your book, Lorraine, - so many familiar people, places, and things. Who wouldn't remember Jimmy Ralston - I delivered a paper to the Squares and Joyce may have gone to Norway as I did - my best Pal, Paul, went to St. John's with you (maybe a year or 2 behind) and then went on to St. Mike's. Oh, the divisiveness of religion! Thanks for the memories.
grace guest / February 3, 2011 at 04:31 am
user-pic
GREW UP IN EAST YORK..BUT WORKED DOWN TOWN $13.00 A WEEK,MARRIED ED GUEST IBEW 353 APPRENTICE. AND I STILL REMEMBER ALL THE FUN THING DATING IN THE 50S AND WALKING UP YONGE ST AFTER SEEING FATS DOMINO OR SOME OTHER 50 S WONDER, WATCHING TORONTO GROW. WE BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOUSE FOR 15,900 AT WOODBINE AND GERRARD.. LOL HAD A CAR COME IN THROUGH OUR FRONT WINDOW. THE BEACHES WERE OUR PLAYGROUND. MUSIC 3 NIGHTS AWEEK AND LADIES BASEBALL,,BUILDING TORONTO WAS A PART OF OUR LIFE..HANGING LIGHTS ON THE GARDINER IN THE FREEZING WEATHER AND TRAFFIC LIGHTS THAT NEEDED FIXING .PRINCESS MARG.HOSP KIDS UNIT.AND HAVING TO TEST RIDE STUFF AT THE EX..LOTS OF WONDERFUL MEMORIES
paul replying to a comment from Jeremy / February 4, 2011 at 04:32 pm
user-pic
the stadium is the Maple Leaf Baseball Stadium at the bottom of Bathurst Street. The large building next to it was Tip Top
Tailors and the ferry to the Toronto Airport and Islands was in behind the Stadium. I remember getting tickets to ball games at Loblaws as akid and being able to sit behind home plate
Don Mason / February 11, 2011 at 08:46 pm
user-pic
Grew up and worked in and around Toronto at Bryant Press and
Silknit loved EATONS AND SIMPSON xmas display leave your car or house unlocked no problem now ha ha try it any way EX was big attraction and centre island.Grew uo at the old WAC residents across from Army camp where the male soldiers where
corner of lakeshore and dixie road which was a gravel road.today l would not walk around Toronto after dark.You young people should have seen it back then it was amazing
Fantomex replying to a comment from Don Mason / February 12, 2011 at 12:00 am
user-pic
Sorry Don, but I find your post to be a bit rosy regarding the past. <i>Maybe</i> it was great for <i>you</i> (as a white male) but for women and anybody else, it probably was <i>not</i> rosy. I think that you Gadfly and the others that say Toronto was great back in the past need a more objective and frank view of history that's not clouded by nostalgia.
Margaret Mason / February 16, 2011 at 10:48 pm
user-pic
My dad helped build the Yonge subway. My grandmother worked at Eatons in the 1890s and told us she remembered old Timothy Eaton coming around and giving her a silver dollar for a Christmas bonus. Johnny Bower was the only sports hero I had. Thanks for the memories!
Lorraine O'Donnell Williams / February 25, 2011 at 03:02 pm
user-pic
David, was the friend who went to St. Jphn's Paul Mogan? If so, he was the first date I ever had! Also, that was Joyce Swuare who went to Norway school with you. Ujnfortunately she died about three months ago - was living in florida for years. thanks for reading my book, "Memories of the Beach: Reflections on a Toronto Childhood". Getting great feedback and reviews. Isn't this photo site interesting?
Bertha MacBain / March 7, 2011 at 02:45 am
user-pic
I arrived in Toronto in l950, as a ten-year-old, from an outport in Newfoundland. My father had moved us so he could find work, which he did, building the Yonge Street subway. Toronto was a magical place to me: a 3-story brick school rather than a one-room school, tall buildings everywhere, going shelling-out on Halloween, the swimming pool at Sunnyside. But it smelled bad. One of my earliest memories is of waiting for the street car in the centre of St. Clair Ave. around Oakwood, and how bad the air smelled, compared to the pure air of Newfoundland. I'm sure there was lots of racism and bigotry then but at school we were encouraged to be kind and helpful to the many displaced immigrant children who poured into our school after the Second World War. There was also much kindness to me, a little girl with a funny Newfie accent.
Peter Salter / March 9, 2011 at 01:18 pm
user-pic
Can't believe no one has corrected Verna's reference to the "Princess Gates" at the eastern entrance to the CNE grounds. These are the Princes' Gates which were officially dedicated by and named for Edward, Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII for a few months before abdicating) and his brother George (probably the Duke of Clarence who was third in line to the throne at the time)when they visited Canada in 1927 as part of the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of Confederation. I believe they also officiated at the openning of the Union Station and the Royal York Hotel on the same visit.
verna / March 9, 2011 at 01:53 pm
user-pic
Thank you for the correction Peter I appreciate you catching my error.
Marilyn Reford replying to a comment from norm / March 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm
user-pic
I do remember Little Norway I lived there in bldg. 3
They where the good old days, on Saturday your parents
would give u a broom and told you to go sweep outside
going to have a street dance. We jumped to it as we
got to stay up late whooo. I have good memorys of
Little Norway.
The Chimp / March 23, 2011 at 11:39 pm
user-pic
Scarborough had its own police force?!? That's awesome!
Ross Butler replying to a comment from Marilyn Reford / March 30, 2011 at 05:17 pm
user-pic
Little Norway. My wife Lorraine Donald lived there when we were going out. 1952 to 1954. I don't remember the building number. There is a historical marker there now.
John replying to a comment from Rajio / April 5, 2011 at 04:21 pm
user-pic
@Rajio - give the race baiting a rest you mong.
Lynda Willson Norman replying to a comment from grace guest / May 24, 2011 at 07:49 pm
user-pic
I too grew up in East York..Grace...I was born at home actually on Torrens Avenue. My brother and my sister and I all attended William Burgess Public School. In my teens we would often walk down Woodbine to the beach and walk along the boardwalk. Seems like a long walk now...lol...but then it was a day's outing. Later on I dated a man who owned a house on Ashdale Avenue and rented it out. He worked as a waiter on "The Canadian" ..the CPR train. He also worked at the Orchard Park Tavern across from the race track. So many many memories of East York and areas south of there. My cousin Glenda Duncan lived on Malvern Avenue.
Please feel free to reminisce anytime you wish. A lot of people have negative comments about the 50's ..perhaps they are just jealous that they didn't live in the best era ever !!
Charles / June 10, 2011 at 09:45 am
user-pic
I joined the Telegram as a reporter/photographer in 1955 and rented a room in a house at Kingston Rd and Fallingbrook in Scarborough for $9 a week. And yes, Scarborough had its own police force with Wilf McLelland as Chief and Harold Adamson as Deputy (later to be Metro Police Chief). It was a great time to be in Toronto. Radio Artists club on Bay St., Cal Jackson and Peter Appleyard, playing in the Park Plaza Hotel, outdoor summer night dining in the greenery behind the hotel with a giant tree in the middle, rotating stand for the musicians at the bar in the Brown Derby on Yonge St. You could get your pants pressed for 50 cents at Yonge and Wellesley (had to take them off first), shoeshine a quarter. Ten cents for a six ounce beer in the taverns (men only, there was a women's and escorts entrance for couples.) A guy I worked with at the paper was partners in the Top Hat Club just off Yonge St, one of the first cocktail bars in town. Never bought me a drink though. Club is long gone and so is he. You think traffic is bad today? Shoulda been there when they tore up Yonge Street for the subway! The Telegram was at Bay and Melinda across from the Stock Exchange. Great old building, great place to work. Most of my pals -- men and women getting equal pay for equal work, believe it or not -- are gone now but I remember them well. Ted Reeve, Dorothy Howarth, John Maclean, Allan Kent, Phyllis Griffiths,Mad Sale.....Those rfeally WERE the days, my friends.
Bob Mowat replying to a comment from Jeremy / July 15, 2011 at 09:13 pm
user-pic
Hey Jeremy..your question probably been answered by now, but if not- That is Maple Leaf Stadium in the picture there. Toronto had a triple "A" team in the International League until 1967. Not sure about the '50s but in the '60s it was a farm team of Boston Red Sox.
John Parker / September 23, 2011 at 08:49 am
user-pic
John Parker here, I was a driver for the TTC and Gray Coach and was on the Charter that brought the big wiggs to the ceremony that made the first shovel full of dirt to open the work on the subway. There were about 15 drivers from Gray coach standing to the rear of the podium. One of the high and mighty came back to us and told us that there was no smoking. As if that bothered anyone. John.
buy flexeril online / October 14, 2011 at 03:07 am
user-pic
Thank you for this information! I used it for my diploma thesis =)
Lou Wise / December 1, 2011 at 04:10 pm
user-pic
I was born at 113 Withrow Avenue in April 1921 and we moved to the Main Gerrard area in 1923. That makes me 90 now and still with lots of memories of Toronto past. One of the vivid memories is the time in the mid 30's when many of the local Gentiles were determined to stop Jewish folks from using the eastern beaches. We used to go swimming at Balmy Beach and saw many signs that displayed the feelings of some of Toronto's less kindly citizens. Many of the square concrete lamp-posts along the boardwalk had black swastikas painted on ne or two sides. But one of the things I can still see in my mind's eye was a black painted message on the concrete breakwater wall at the Water Treatment Plant at the foot of Victoria Park, down by the lake. The sign could only have been painted by someone standing in a rowboat beside the wall. It said "Britain gave you Jerusalem, for God's sake, stay off our beach!" (The words may not be exact, but it is close). We used to take the Evening Telegram in those days and I am quite sure I saw a photo of that painting in the Tely in about 1935 or '36.
One day, if I get through with my retirement career of flying my Piper Cherokee and doing aerial photography for Conservation Authorities, (at 90+), I may go out to York Iniversity where they have the Telegram archives and see if I can track down that picture. Can anyone else remember this?
Marjorie Jones MacKinnon / December 28, 2011 at 08:13 pm
user-pic
Marjorie here. Boy, all the comments bring back a lot of memories of my childhood in Toronto.Born at St Mike's hospital in 1931 & Lived in TO until around 1949. Went to Palmerston Ave/ school & Central Commerce. I can remember the big snow storm of 1944 (?) & also the free streetcar rides we used to get to take us to Sunnyside Beach in the hot summers. Loved school & can't remember any bullying that goes on now. Lived on Dupont St. & used to travel on the streetcar to Eatons Annex for their icecream waffles (when we had the money). Remember dad taking me to Kensington Market for chocolate donuts.My first job was at Goodyear Tire right across the road on Fleet Street from Maple Leaf Stadium. Could go on forever about my childhood.Thanks for the memories! Marj
Phil Sigmund / February 17, 2012 at 03:19 am
user-pic
I was born in the Women's College Hospital in the early 40's. My family had a house on Rhodes Ave. near the tracks. My early memories are the warm feelings from neighbours and children my age. A few years later we moved to Riverdale Ave. where I "grew up", attending Withrow Public, delivering for the Toronto Star, going sledding in Riverdale Park, many Zoo trips, rafting down the Don River (stinky then), making out at Cherry Beach as as teen. Just incredibly great memories. I now live on the west coast.
Ann Ridge Venditto / February 19, 2012 at 09:46 am
user-pic
Thanks for the memories! My Mom & Dad, sister and myself Emigrated to Canada from England 1957. I attended Danforth Tech. I was young and oblivious to any rascism at that time, attended school with another English immigrant Heather who I wish I had maintained contact with. Lived in the Victoria Park, St. Claire area using the fabulous T.T.C to go to work downtown, the best time ever! Anyone remember the Top of Tony? I was one of the blondes that worked there in the mid 60's. Truly blessed early adulthood. I tell my friends then and now what a great place Toronto was to grow up in. Thanks again to my friend of 50yrs for forwarding this email and who still lives in Toronto. I have lived in Daytona Beach, Florida for the past 25years and enjoy going back home for visits, Summertime of course, wink! Thanks again, Ann
audrey / February 25, 2012 at 03:11 pm
user-pic
I was born in the old Toronto Grace in 1932,born in the east end raised in the west end,Regal Road school,Oakwood Collegiate,Crangs swimming pool,Strathcona rollerdrome,Earlscourt park outdoor ice skating.I used to go from Dufferin and ST
audrey replying to a comment from audrey / February 25, 2012 at 03:14 pm
user-pic
it didnt add all of my comment,I went from St. Clair to Kew beach alone on streetcar when I was 7 years old,my Aunt lived there
audrey replying to a comment from John Parker / February 25, 2012 at 03:16 pm
user-pic
My father in law was an inspector on the TTC in the 40s and 50s
Paula replying to a comment from gadfly / February 26, 2012 at 09:02 pm
user-pic
I dont know who you are but I enjoy reading your comments, you mentioned living in Malton back in the 50's, I used to go to my cousins there, and rememberthe building as being one floor (I think).of a long long place, not sure exactly where it was,just Malton is what I remember. that was late 40's early 50's. have tried to find any of the relatives from that part but no luck. did you know the Wilsons?mom's name was Lou or Louise maybe Lucille? or Campbells? feel free to email me if you know them , Ive even tried to find pics of that bunch of buildings but no luck. think it was near an airport tho.. just wondering..
and you are right, there was no racism like there is today. we had friends of all nationalities and colors. I never knew even heard the word racism or knew what that meant until I moved to the town of Peterboro and never saw anyone of color and hardly any Chinese except at the restaraunts. I got bullied because I came from the big city, lol anyways Im glad I found this website and all the wonderful people on it :)
Paula replying to a comment from gadfly / February 26, 2012 at 09:04 pm
user-pic
ah my comment was for "gadfly", but I love reading all the commentsand I hope there are more recent ones from everyone:)
Paula replying to a comment from audrey / February 26, 2012 at 09:06 pm
user-pic
Hello Audrey , you should never give out so much personal
information on these websites.. especially year of birth. its too dangerous.. stay safe online :)
Paula replying to a comment from Lou Wise / February 26, 2012 at 09:13 pm
user-pic
Im too young to remember that ,born in the 40's BUT my mom's best friend's name was Edna Wise, who had a son a year younger than me, named Brian. Mom and Edna are both long passed away but wonder if you were related and knew if Brian was still in Toronto?
Paula replying to a comment from Lou Wise / February 26, 2012 at 09:16 pm
user-pic
Hope you are still in good health and with us.
Paula replying to a comment from saltspring / February 26, 2012 at 10:00 pm
user-pic
OUCH I am sorry as I did not read that part of Gadfly's comment , I sure do not agree with that which you quoted him writing..that was not very nice of him.
actually if truth be told, head lice and other such nasties were around way back then in every community just as it is now especially come school time. Often my mom would say she thot the teachers brought the bugs to the school so they could get time off lol.
RICHARD WOOD / March 1, 2012 at 03:12 pm
user-pic
Iactually believe that is my father with the scarfe standing to the right of the tall man with the fedorah 1954 worked at the back of montreal for 44yrs downtown Travelled evry day from wexford 30 miles north east of CITY every day to work.
Mal replying to a comment from saltspring / March 2, 2012 at 07:57 pm
user-pic
I agree that Gadfly's comments are bigoted. However, I don't think your homophobic slur in response is a an acceptable example of tolerance today, although it would have been in the 50's.
Margaret Hillier replying to a comment from Paula / March 4, 2012 at 07:13 pm
user-pic


Hi Paula

Lived in Malton during the late 40's to mid 50's. We lived in a u shaped building Called Staff House because it had been built for the training of soliders going over seas. Als went to Winston Hall schoold which was a military barrack too. Looking for phtos of these buildings which were located closed to AVRO where my Mother worked. Some of my friends were Robert Mitchell, Sandra Mcphee who lived on Hunstommor Avenue when Rexdale built its first suburb. Can't find any archival photos of these barricks. They did exist because we live there. Wonder if anyone can help with any photos of these buildings.
Kevin Lu replying to a comment from Paula / March 5, 2012 at 03:04 pm
user-pic
Hi Paula et al,

Though this comment is sent directly to Paula (I sent this to you, Paula, because your comment was the only one that had the term 'Chinese' in it!), I think this is a question that can be posed to everyone on this comment board.

I'm an Honours student at McGill writing a thesis on Chinese Restaurants, more specifically on perceptions of Chinese Food and People in Toronto from around 1940-1980. I want to track the change in attitudes towards Chinese food and its relation to attitudes towards Chinese Immigrants during this period (an important time in the modernization of Toronto/development of what we know as 'old chinatown'). I want to examine how these perceptions are related (if at all) to any kind of larger political events (Trudeau's visit to China in the 70's). The big picture of my project is to detect perhaps a kind of "practice of multiculturalism" that preceded official multiculturalism.

Does anyone have any kind of stories/memories they wish to share about restaurants, perceptions of chinese food or people, or even perceptions of Chinatown from this time period?

Any help would be much appreciated! Responses to this comment will be a gate way towards other questions I may pose later on and won't be reflected in my research (I'm not allowed to use these answers unless I actually conduct an official interview, which I very might ask of some of you!)

Thank you all in advance!

Kevin Lu
McGill University
Audrey / March 9, 2012 at 05:54 pm
user-pic
I lived in Toronto many years ago and went to Duke of Kent School on Yonge Street. Does anyone know what happened to that school. This would have been 1946- 1948. It was a way up on Yonge Street, sorry was only 6 years old at the time.
Would really like to find out just what area it is now.
Paula replying to a comment from Margaret Hillier / March 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm
user-pic
Hello again, sorry I just got back online and saw your message. My mom and I visited the Mitchell's and Wilson's and Barker families at Malton and that building you mentioned sounds like the same as where they lived:) I too have been searching for photos of those buildings but have had no luck. I guess we would have to go to the library there and check out their old photos or newspapers. o
I also remember a Donna Campbell whose father was named Jphn or johnny he was called. She was same age as me so if she is out there would love to meet up again for coffee(or tea) or a drink lol. so many of the old places are now torn down. I too went to Palmerston Ave school when I lived on Clinton st. think it was grades one to 3or 4,then to Ryerson Public school.til we moved out of Toronto in 1954.
Paula replying to a comment from Kevin Lu / March 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm
user-pic
Hello Kevin :)
I mentioned Chinese people as there were not many in the town(now a city) where I moved to from Toronto, Where I had friends of all nationalities, Chinese, black children, I hope its ok to call them that as they were called Negroes back then,Portugese,Italians,Irish & Scottish & Jewish. And to a child we didnt know nor did we CARE we just were all friends no crap like there is nowadays.

Then when I moved to this town when I was 11 yrs old and there were barely anyone of any other nationality or color I was upset.. and was picked on terribly because I would stick up for anyone else who was not "pure white". That was their problem not mine nor my mom's.

In toronto when I lived on Bathurst St across from the Toronto Western Hospital
I even babysat while the mommy was in the bathroom or just across the hall visiting, a little baby boy I called button nose, cuz he had these little white pimply things on his wee nose and dusky skin, the grandma was very tanned, mom was very white and after a few months I met the dad and he was very very dark and was a magician.

They thot mom would not let me babysit if she knew he was not white. didnt make a darn bit of difference to us then nor now. Have often wondered where they are , lots of wonderful memories. sooo as far as me saying Chinese people I only knew them at school and we,Helen and I played jump skipping ropes together and played marbles together and walked to and from school TOGETHER. :) why cant people all still do things TOGEThER. :) sorry this is soo long, Im sure its not what you wanted.. hope you get your thesis marked A+ :)
Bart / May 18, 2012 at 01:17 pm
user-pic
People are so conditioned to say Toronto was boring or ugly back in the '50's, when no one here actually seems to have experienced it! We have Canadian cities so well stereotyped that we have convinced ourselves of the truth without even knowing the truth.
Joanne / June 10, 2012 at 10:58 am
user-pic
Hi there! I have a question for you all - does anyone remember or have a picture of a place called the Miami Restaurant? I'm almost sure that's the name of the place my dad told me that he and my mom had their first date, in 1952. I've lost both my wonderful parents over the last year and a half. Just wanted to know if I was right on the name, and see if there were any pictures still around!
nitin / June 12, 2012 at 11:09 am
user-pic
All Whites then!!
koolgreen / July 6, 2012 at 11:58 am
user-pic
Growing up in East york where there were mostly wasps. It kinda is funny reading that there was no racism. We were fortunate that this community was pretty good and many people treated my parents with friendship and really helped them so much to acclimate to the new culture in canada. They opened a restaurant in the mid 50's and ran that restaurant for 35 years. I do agree that the there is still much racism. But conversely, I see the diversity in my son's school and kids do play with kids, whatever background they come from.
We have a good life here, but I prefer how it was then. Even as an immigrant then.
Linda Sproule nee Fisher / July 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm
user-pic
I attendd Palmerston Avenue School and lived on Bathurst at Dupont until 1959 approximately. I've wondered all these years about what happened to my friends Marjorie Wood who lived with her brother and dad and Donna Wilson who I remember being in trouble with smoking....
My maiden name was Linda Fisher
William Grant / July 14, 2012 at 08:08 pm
user-pic
Born 1926 in Scarborough,moved to East York lived on Lumsden Ave.Discrimination in the 50tys in TO?Sure was as the city was run by Orangemen.Maybe that's why we built a subway and paid for it from the fare box who knows.Now the city is controlled by idiots.Jews had it the toughest yet over the years I worked for many Jewish people and found them to be O.K.When I turned 18 I joined the army in 1944,1950 joined the TTC.I have work every part of this city and found the West end the North end and the East end people to be great that's why I drove for 39 years.But Toronto of the 40tys and 50tys was so much nicer than it is now.
David Basskin / August 30, 2012 at 02:18 pm
user-pic
It's always hilarious to read the views of people from the majority, who have never experienced a discriminatory act in their life, telling us that there was no racism in the old days. It never looks that way to the majority. Yup, we were all great pals in the old days, there were no differences, and all of "today's troubles" are the fault of them johnnnies-come-lately who cause nothing but trouble.

Utter nonsense.
Mavis replying to a comment from Kevin Lu / September 28, 2012 at 07:48 pm
user-pic
Hello Kevin,
I was born in Toronto and grew up just a block from Dundas & Bay, which was considered Chinatown. We used to eat in the little restaurants called Sang Wood, and later Kum Ling and other restaurants. The Golden Dragon was on Dundas then, and later the Sai Woo. Did you read Arlene Chan's book that was launched last year? It's called 'the Chinese in Toronto from 1878' From Outside to Inside the Circle. She covered restaurants, churches, schools, etc. and if you contact her she could give you quite a lot of information that she's gathered. There is also another person from B.C. who is in the process of writing about the Chinese in Toronto.
Mavis replying to a comment from Phil Sigmund / September 28, 2012 at 07:55 pm
user-pic
Hello Phil - I was wondering if you might have known a family that lived on Rhodes Ave in the time period you mentioned. The woman's name was May and she had a niece called Maureen. I can't remember her surname, but when she married her named changed to Gee. I always wondered what happened to her.
Mavis replying to a comment from Lou Wise / September 28, 2012 at 08:17 pm
user-pic
Hi Lou, I remember hearing about all the troubles of people trying to keep Jews out of certain areas, like the beaches, etc. I think there was even a huge fight between groups of people at Christie Pits in the west end over this. Seems there is always people wanting to keep people out of 'their' places or trying to blame people for causing them 'perceived' hard times. Remember news stories in Toronto about 'Vietnamese Boat People' being picked on? This kind of behavious seems to happen in cycles. I remember my mom talking about Chinese men being worried about being beaten up because they were mistaken for Japanese - and they were the 'targets' back then. Guess it goes around in cycles. I don't think it will ever end, because if they're not fighting about race and colour differences of people, they'll fight about the religious differences. Great to hear you still fly and do aerial mapping at 90+.
Mavis replying to a comment from Charles / September 28, 2012 at 08:25 pm
user-pic
Charles, I remember when they tore up Yonge St. for the subway! I was a kid then and loved walking over for the big opening day. They had a platform built at every intersection and had various people scheduled to entertain the expected crowds. I remember watching for Elaine Stewart (movie star) to arrive at her platform/stage. It was a very festive mood that week!
Mavis replying to a comment from Bertha MacBain / September 28, 2012 at 08:46 pm
user-pic
Thanks for your story Bertha. Since I grew up in Toronto, I never noticed it smelled bad. Going around the Greyhound Bus Terminal I used to hold my breath passing the exhaust from those buses. Besides swimming at Sunnyside, sometimes I'd be lucky enough to be taken to the Sunnyside Amusement Park where I loved driving those little white cars around the track. My friends and I would go to the EX, having been given just enough money to get in and buy a small treat, so my buddies and I would line up repeatedly in the Food Building until we got enough tiny cups of 'samples' to fill our tummies so we could spend the rest of the day in all the excitement taking place.
Mavis replying to a comment from norm / September 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm
user-pic
Great overview from your perspective Norm. Thanks for the memories.
Marlene / December 10, 2012 at 09:01 pm
user-pic
Does anyone remember the name of the fancy dining place some floors up in the old downtown Toronto Eatons building. My Mom and I went there to see a fashion show in the mid l950's. I was trying to figure the name of that fancy place with all that beautiful drapery today. As a young girl then, I had never seen anything so beautiful. It had a name that was called The ..... room. Hope someone can think of it.
Kondokat replying to a comment from Marlene / December 21, 2012 at 02:47 pm
user-pic
Dining room upstairs in Eaton's was called the Georgian Room I believe.
Verna / February 1, 2013 at 11:22 am
user-pic
Does anyone remember a school in the westend of Toronto by the name of Hesterhow? I think that is how it is spelled. I went to the dentist there for floride treatments before it was put into Toronto's drinking water system.
Doug Jubb / February 25, 2013 at 06:00 pm
user-pic
I'm looking for a picture of th eservice station on the corner of Steeles Ave E and Yonge St, newtonbrook, Ontario.

Great site
thanks for sharing

Doug
bill kennedy / March 3, 2013 at 08:24 am
user-pic
In reply to Neville you are correct that is Maple Leaf stadiam or known in those days as the Fleet Street Flats. The building beside it is Tip Top Tailers. I worked across the street at Loblaws head office in the early 60s.
Bobby / March 11, 2013 at 11:22 pm
user-pic
Good old days. Multiculturalism put everything to shit. Should of never opened those borders to the non-Europeans!
Mavis replying to a comment from Verna / March 15, 2013 at 03:43 pm
user-pic
Reply to Verna
Hester How P.S. covered the corner area of Elizabeth St. and Gerrard St. It closed in 1953 and the students were dispersed to Wellesley and Orde St schools.
Mavis replying to a comment from Kevin Lu / March 15, 2013 at 04:08 pm
user-pic
Question for Kevin Lu
How did you make out in getting replies to your questions about various perceptions people had of Chinatown, the people, food and restaurants?
Kevin Lu replying to a comment from Mavis / March 15, 2013 at 05:09 pm
user-pic
Mavis,

Thank you so much for your comment. Unfortunately, I only started receiving responses after I finished my paper. What I would have liked to do was to contact you in person and perhaps set up an interview time, if that was possible. The process to gather interview response for the Humanities, however, is quite long and I didn't have enough time to get it done.

That being said, I do appreciate you leading me on to Arlene Chan's book. I didn't take a look but am thinking of going back to do a little revision to the paper--perhaps even send it off to journal. Ms. Chan's book sounds promising and I will for sure take a look.

Thanks so much, Mavis

Kevin
Kevin Lu replying to a comment from Paula / March 15, 2013 at 05:21 pm
user-pic
Paula,

I never got the chance to thank you for your thoughtful comment.

It is very interesting that you mentioned the different dynamics that existed between your experiences living in Toronto and your experiences living in the town that you moved to.

I ended up modifying my paper a little bit by looking earlier into the Chinese Exclusion Era (1914-1945) when Chinese immigrants were barred from coming to Canada. The kind of inter-mixing that you are describing was not always the case early in the 20th century. In fact, the perception of Chinese people in particular during this early period was extremely negative. Chinese people, Chinatown, and Chinese Food were all perceived as being diseased .
What I found, however, through an analysis of newspapers throughout this period was a changing tone of how Food became the gateway towards greater communication between WASP Torontonians and Chinese Canadians. I argued in my Thesis that despite the political veneer of Exclusion during this period, Chinese Canadians were slowly being more accepted into the cultural fabric of Canada because of their food and their restaurants. Obviously food is not the only factor, but an important one nonetheless.

It would not surprise me to find that this process of cultural acceptance was slow to catch on in smaller towns -- like the one you moved to -- because there wasn't this strong culinary presence.

It would have been amazing to have gotten some interviews for my paper. It would have been very interesting to talk with you about your experiences.

Thank you very much for sharing.

Kevin

P.S. I got an A- in the end. McGill doesn't have an A+. :)
E.N.J.L. / March 17, 2013 at 12:29 am
user-pic
What ,, ! ! No Toronto Junction Area,, Come on ,, Let's See Some Photos of It ,, Ha - Ha ,,, (( E ))
Sunday,, March ,, 17 ,, 2013 ....
Ken Knowles replying to a comment from Audrey / April 3, 2013 at 12:26 am
user-pic
Hi
I went to Duke of Kent in 1947-48 and have a lot of info on the school.
email me back
Ken Knowles
Victoria BC
Audrrey / April 3, 2013 at 08:45 am
user-pic
Hi very interested for the info on Duke of Kent school I was around that same time maybe 1946,

Teddie replying to a comment from Chum / May 17, 2013 at 11:53 pm
user-pic
Yes. I remember going there too. With the cub scouts (252nd). We tried not to go on Saturday nights because we were not allowed to eat meat. Jane bus (35) to Bloor to Bathhurst down to Front. Always had decent seats.
Ingrid / July 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm
user-pic
When I was born we lived on Barton St until we moved to Olive Ave...north of Bloor off Bathurst.
Our house was at the end of the lane from Vermont Park and the house has since been torn down.

In the park in the winter the tennis court was flooded to create a skating rink and in the summer there was a wading pool on the grounds near the fenced in lawn bowling green.

My brother and I would walk down Bathurst St to the Saturday matinee to The Midtown or The Alhambra, sometimes we would go to the Bloor theatre.
The admission fee was .25....15 to get in and .10 for treats.

We went to Palmerston Ave School and after school we would buy treats at either the red or the white stores located on opposite corners of Follis.

There was racism and bigotry and all the other foolishness that ignorant people occupy their minds with but we were kids and accepted all the other kids as friends on the playground.
It was the parents who had the problems.
The lesson has always been teach your children respect, empathy and understanding, too many don't.

don lawrence / September 10, 2013 at 10:20 am
user-pic
was there ever stock car racing racing at the oakwood stadium early fifties, would love to know and pushing my luck evanksen see a picture of stadium and cars th
A replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / October 20, 2013 at 01:36 am
user-pic
The spelling is CENTRE. Thanks to the (!@#$%) for trying that one again. Be a good girl. Learn how to spell.
Abi replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / October 20, 2013 at 01:38 am
user-pic
Nice try. Learn how to spell. CENTRE NOT CENTER. Just like the idiots in the place I live. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
marsha replying to a comment from Ingrid / November 10, 2013 at 01:05 am
user-pic
very eloquently stated
Janie / November 19, 2013 at 09:51 pm
user-pic
What a great website - thank you.
I lived at Yonge and St. Clair during the time the subway was built (remember the Pile Drivers starting at 5 a.m. each morning - relentless!
Also - Quite a few homes were taken down on Pleasant Blvd. and Rosehill to build that subway,including the apartment we lived in on Rosehill.
I was in Grade 5 at the time, and it was rumoured (by the boys in our class), that the subway would go under the Mount Pleasant Cemetery - of course, as we know, it didn't!
Jonathon / November 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm
user-pic
Recently inherited a baby bjorn carrier and
its amazing when it comes to small toddlers! One difficulty you will
encounter is transferring the child into and out
of the carrier, this is often difficult if you are in a hurry.
Mavis replying to a comment from Verna / November 22, 2013 at 12:42 am
user-pic
What year did you go to Hester How for flouride treatments Verna? I attended Hester How and also Orde Street (top floor) School. I have photos of the last year of Hester How grades 6,7 and 8 before they tore it down to use the space for the Nurses Residence in 1953 - then the pupils were transferred to Wellesley St. school or Orde St. schools. I went to Wellesley for grade 8 and Mr. Byers was our teacher.
Verna / November 22, 2013 at 04:00 pm
user-pic
Hi Mavis
Actually I went to Park School but went to the dentist at
Hester Howe a few times. I went to Park School from kindergarten through grade 8. When they tore our houses down
to build Regent Park my parents moved out to Scarborough.
I had experimental flouride treatments on my teeth at Hester Howe. I lost all my teeth by the time I was 21. I have always been curious as to how many of the other children had those treatments in the 40's & early 50's before the flouride was put into the city water system. I have 5 siblings & to this day they all have beautiful teeth but I was the only one to have the treatments & lost their teeth. Coincident maybe aye?? Thanks for replying to my response about Hester Howe School. Over the years I have enquired about the school but no one seems to remember the school. I did see a very interesting story recently about Hester Howe School on the TV program called Structures on Channel 10.
Verna McKenzie.
larry / December 16, 2013 at 03:18 pm
user-pic
I grew up in Toronto, born oct.19 33 there was no don valley pkwy or hwy 401, on sun. we would go to top of bof c building, hey joseph I also enlisted at h.m.c.s. York 1951, Korean war, anybody remember the c.n.e. grandstand show lucky teeter and his helldrivers, I have a souvenier coin from him, I moved away in 1967 ,company move, I gotta admit I don't like the T.o of today
Blanca / February 11, 2014 at 08:00 pm
user-pic
Hi there, I would like to subscribe for this webpage to take most recent updates, so where can i do it please assist.
Zack / February 15, 2014 at 05:10 am
user-pic
Spot on with this write-up, I really believe that this site needs a lot more attention.

I'll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!
patrick replying to a comment from Ronald Joseph Lehman / February 21, 2014 at 03:35 am
user-pic
Great post Ronald. I really enjoyed your reminisces and observations. How very true they ring for me as well. I left Toronto in the mid-eighties...and have been back very few times. A few concerts and sporting events. Maybe check out the AGO once every few years. The city is nothing like it was, even only thirty years ago.
Dean Forward / June 11, 2014 at 11:22 pm
user-pic
I enjoy any site with a plethora of old photos of Toronto. What annoys me is the fidiots that have to make a site with old Toronto photos a place to denigrate the earlier citizens in Toronto. Why don't you take your act to Facebook and I and my comrades will gladly take you to the smokehouse. This is so not the place to take your agenda to. Oh, and as I recall, those people you say were such anti-semites are the same people that destroyed the III Reich and liberated the Concentration Camps.
Barbara replying to a comment from Marlene / July 27, 2014 at 07:30 pm
user-pic
Hello: In answer to your question about the name of the room on the ninth floor in the Eaton's Bldg., My Mother worked there as a waitress and it was called "The Georgian Room" very classy dinning room with teared levels and round tables. I use to go there for my Christmas Parties while my Mother worked as a waitress, when I was about 10 years old. Great memories.
Barbara replying to a comment from Marlene / July 28, 2014 at 04:03 am
user-pic
Hello: I grew up in Cabbagetown on Sackville Street in the 40's. Old Vicoria house not far from Regent Park and Park school. The Bath House was on the corner of Sackville and St. David's. Girlfriend Beverley Boone and her sister Penny lived there with her Grandparents who ran the bath house. Went to Park School from Gr. 1 to Grade 7 then moved to the Danforth Avenue. Great memories of my childhood. Does anyone remember a Irene Gordon who went to Eastern Commerce Highschool on Phin Ave., or a Jean Develano who lived on St. David's Place in Cabbagetown. We went swimming at Sunnyside Pool and Cherry Beach. Those were the happy days of my youth. Cheers to all.

Barbara (in Peterborough)

Jenna / July 30, 2014 at 09:17 pm
user-pic
Really nice history. Can someone please tell me what the sign says ( name of the business )?? that is above The Flame Restaurant Sign ( 1954 ). Thanks so much, Jenna
Theresa / August 15, 2014 at 11:50 am
user-pic
Does anyone remember a dry cleaners called Webbley on Bloor Street?
John / October 13, 2014 at 04:09 pm
user-pic
I grew up on Rhodes Ave. near the tracks during the 50's and 60's. It was a dead end street
so I think that made the residents a little closer since there was no through traffic . Over the years we at least knew the names of every occupant on that little street . One thing that amazed me was that half the street was Catholic and the other Protestant and we lived in utter
peace together. The kids played together totally unaware of any animosity that our parents may have harboured and we would walk to the corner together and then go our separate ways . Roden school for us and Corpus Christie for the Catholics. I never understood that when I was a kid. I have many fond memories of the east end.
Frank Bergson / October 29, 2014 at 04:35 pm
user-pic
Hi: Just found this site. Great memories. I was born in 1939, and we lived on Manning Ave, Winnona Dr. in York Township, then in Downsview. I went to JR Wilcox public School, then Wilkie Blvd school in Downsview, ( I think it's been renamed), then Bathurst Hts, then Downsview CI.
Dad had a drugstore at 606 College St. in the Pylon Theater building called Pylon Drugs, and a camera store on Yonge St.near the Rio Theater. Later he opened Bergson Drugs in Lansing Ont, later called Willowdale, then North York. Love to see pictures of any of these areas.

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Montreal