Trinity Bellwoods Park History

What Trinity Bellwoods Park used to look like

I've yet to feature any parks in our series of posts that look back at the history of Toronto mostly because, short of tracking the growth of trees, the subject matter makes it more difficult to mark change over time. Such an observation is not, however, accurate when it comes to the history of Trinity-Bellwoods Park, which has more than one buried treasure under its grassy knolls.

Probably the most famous former inhabitant of the park, and one of the sources for its name, was Trinity College, which stood from 1852 until 1950. The Anglican school was built by Bishop John Strachan (from whom the nearby street also gets its name) and would exist as a private institution until 1904 when it eventually joined with the University of Toronto. After the completion of a second Trinity College at U of T's central campus (which is something of a copy of the original), the first college was eventually demolished due to the callous short-sightedness of City officials at the time. Much of the foundation is said to still exist due north of the Queen Street gates, one of two remaining pieces of the school (the other is the former St. Hilda's College residence, which is now a retirement home).

In addition to what remains of the Trinity College, at the northwest end of the park there is more buried history, namely the former Crawford Street Bridge, which once ran over the Garrison Ravine. Part of the ravine can still be seen in the form of the "dog bowl" that now exists just southeast of the where the bridge has been buried, and flooding is common on the north side of the park in spring. When the Bloor-Danforth subway line was built in the 1960s, the fill was used to raise the ravine depression, which is now level with Dundas Street.

Trinity Bellwoods was also once home to a pretty lively amusement park, almost became a baseball stadium, and in more recent years, dodged the fate of becoming the designated G20 protest zone. And people say it's just a hipster hangout!

PHOTOS

Old Trinity College

In 1856:

201188-trinity-college-1856-f1498_it0011.jpg


The 1890s:

201189-trin-1890s-f1478_it0029.jpg


Goad's Atlas, 1910

Trintiy College Toronto


1913:

201189-trinity-1913-s0372_ss0052_it0172.jpg


Campus Map, 1913:

201188-trinity-college-map-1913-f1231_it0057.jpg


The Crawford Street Bridge

Original wood-bridge, 1912:

201188-crawford-bridge-1912-f1231_it1542.jpg


New bridge, 1915:

201188-crawford-bridge-1915-f1231_it1615.jpg


Different angle, 1917:

201188-crawford-bridge-1917-f1231_it1576.jpg


The top of the bridge, 1919:

201188-crawford-bridge-1919-s0372_ss0058_it0847.jpg


The Park

Park plan, 1910:

201188-trin-bell-plan-1910-s0372_ss0052_it0278.jpg


1913:

201188-bellwoods-1913-s0372_ss0052_it0083.jpg


1913:

201188-bellwoods-1913-s0372_ss0052_it0084.jpg


Gore Vale and park, 1913:

201188-trinity-east-side-1913-f1231_it2234.jpg


Preparing for the new Crawford Street Bridge, 1914:

201188-bellwoods-crawford-1914-f1231_it0667.jpg


Sleedding in 1914:

201188-bellwoods-winter-1914-s0372_ss0052_it0313.jpg


Southeast corner, winter 1914:

201188-trinity-park-1914-f1231_it0005.jpg


Southeast corner, summer 1915:

201188-trinity-park-se-1915-s0372_ss0052_it0517.jpg


The gates, 1926:

201188-trinity-gates-1926-f1548_s0393_it20527-1.jpg


Park shelter, 1928:

201188-bellwoods-park-shelter-1928-s0372_ss0001_it0801.jpg


Amusement park, 1945:

201188-trinity-amusement-park-1945-s0372_ss0052_it2124.jpg


All photos from the Toronto Archives


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