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What Roncesvalles Avenue used to look like

Posted by Derek Flack / July 26, 2012

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryApproaching Toronto from the southwest about a century ago, Roncesvalles Avenue would have been the first well developed north/south strip that one encountered. Despite the expansion and intensification that's taken place in the years that have intervened, the street has somehow managed to retain the feeling of a main drag, like the kind that you find in small towns all across North America.

Bearing in mind that the city of Toronto came to be through a series of annexations of surrounding villages — in this particular case, Brockton and Parkdale — drag-like qualities of this type make perfect sense. Some of our streets really were the primary strips of smaller towns that were eventually subsumed by the big city.

Roncesvalles probably also owes some of this remaining vibe to the fact that it was once a major transportation hub and the entrance point to the city's most popular summer destination, Sunnyside Amusement Park. This was, at a certain point in time, the beginning and end of this side of the city, where people departed for suburbs like New Toronto and Port Credit on the old commuter streetcars or came to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.

Moving northward, photos from the 1910s show that the area around the Revue Cinema near Howard Park was much the same as it is today: lined with small businesses and eateries that serviced the residential community that surrounds the street. Many of these buildings still exist, though the Revue is one of the few businesses that has managed survive the long haul (temporary closure aside).

Other landmarks worth noting from the photos below are the long lost Sunnyside GTR station, the old bus terminal (now a McDonald's) at the foot of the street, the Edgewater Hotel (now a plastered-over Day's Inn), the High Park Library (which has aged very well) and the gates to High Park Avenue, which offer a formal introduction to a street that once had a decidedly suburban feel, as Rick McGinnis eloquently points out in a previous post about the area. And don't forget the streetcars. Thanks partially to the presence of the Roncesvalles car house at the bottom of the street, these vehicles are a fixture in the images below.

Although the Polish presence on the street isn't as obvious as it used to be, there's still plenty evidence of the community today, be it through the annual festival or the handful of businesses that still line the street. Alas, this particular aspect of Roncesvalles' history is not as well documented photographically (at least in terms of publicly available images), and so exists as a bit of hole in the collection below.


Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryLooking south towards Queen in 1909 (Ocean House Hotel in the distance)

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryGoad's Atlas, featuring Roncesvalles and Parkdale, 1910

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryRoncesvalles and Dundas, 1910

Roncesvalles Avenue History276-280 Roncesvalles, 1910

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryRoncesvalles and High Park, 1914

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryThe lay of the land in 1914 (note that Queen ends just beyond Roncesvalles)

Roncesvalles Avenue HistorySunnyside GTR station, 1915

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryThe old Sunnyside bridge, 1915

Roncesvalles Avenue History92 Roncesvalles, 1916

Roncesvalles Avenue History228 Roncesvalles, 1917

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryTrack work in 1919

Roncesvalles Avenue HistorySouth of Howard Park, 1919

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryQueen, King and Roncesvalles in 1920

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryTrack work at the foot of Roncesvalles, 1920s

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryQueen, King and Roncesvalles in 1923

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryRoncesvalles car house, April 1923 (pre-demolition)

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryNow that's track work (1923)!

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryQueen, King and Roncesvalles, 1920s

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryNew car house under construction, June 1923

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryThe Revue Cinema in 1935

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryAerial view, 1937

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryQueen, King and Roncesvalles, 1939

Roncesvalles Avenue HistorySunnyside, 1949

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryEdgewater Hotel, 1950s

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryLooking east along Fermanagh from Roncesvalles, 1959

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryLooking west along Constance, 1959

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryLooking west along Galley, 1959

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryLooking east along Garden, 1959

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryLooking west, 1959

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryLooking west along High Park Boulevard, 1959

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryLooking east along Geoffrey, 1959

Roncesvalles HistoryLooking east on Westminster, 1959 (check out the comments section for a cool tidbit on the garage to the left)

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryEdgewater Hotel, 1960s

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryEdgewater Hotel, 1970s

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryRoncesvalles at Howard Park, 1970s via Chuckman's blog.

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryQueen, King and Roncesvalles, 1971 via lindsaybridge.

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryPCC streetcars at Queen, King and Roncesvalles in 1976 via Lou Gerard

Roncesvalles Avenue HistorySunnyside loop, 1980 via Lou Gerard

Roncesvalles Avenue History429 Roncesvalles, 1983 (a Joy Oil Station) via Patrick Cummins

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryLooking south towards the foot of Roncesvalles in 1992 via David Wilson

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryThe corner of Queen, King and Roncesvalles in 1992 via David Wilson

Roncesvalles Avenue HistoryThe Ace in 1998 via Patrick Cummins

Photos from the Toronto Archives unless otherwise noted



Phil / July 26, 2012 at 03:54 pm
Another fantastic post with priceless photos.
McRib / July 26, 2012 at 04:11 pm

my dad stayed at the Edgewater Hotel for a night when he first came to Canada and was looking for a job.

"There's my old hotel."

he never failed to mention this to me whenever we drove past.

i miss living near Roncy
matts / July 26, 2012 at 04:14 pm
Thanks - this is great
Rob / July 26, 2012 at 04:24 pm
Do I see a dedicated streetcar lane in the 1971 photo? Can't be....
Cliff S / July 26, 2012 at 04:30 pm
"Drive as well as you say you do." Great billboard.
pz / July 26, 2012 at 04:34 pm

Thx for posting, these are great.
W. K. Lis / July 26, 2012 at 04:38 pm
The 1937 aerial view shows the minor Queen Street West connecting with Indian Road before ending at Parkside Drive.
K / July 26, 2012 at 05:01 pm
I think I'm in love with Derek Flack.
Ratpick / July 26, 2012 at 05:19 pm
I'm not really sure what the first two paragraphs are trying to get at, but to be clear -- Roncesvalles is very much a planned subdivision, NOT an old town like Parkdale. There are a few older 19th-century farmhouses here and there, but most streets are early 20th-century, tract houses.

There's a photo of Westminster Ave in the archives, one of the '59 set, where you can see a garage with No Parking in Driveway in deco letters on the door. The current owner still goes out there regularly and re-letters the door every time a "graffiti artist" defaces it. Great stuff.

Greg replying to a comment from Ratpick / July 26, 2012 at 05:37 pm
The fact that intensification has taken place around certain streets actually does have to do with the old layout of Toronto and surrounding areas. And the area around Roncesvalles Avenue was annexed in the late 1890s, but as part of Brockton and Parkdale. The strip/drag qualities, if they exist, would be a product of the early 20th century not the barns that Ratpick refers to.
iSkyscraper / July 26, 2012 at 06:09 pm
Goddamn Toronto for removing those cobblestones between the tracks. Would add so much character if they remained (even if in fake stamped-concrete form).

If the intersection still had cobblestones, it would remind me very much of the similarly shaped intersection of 9th Ave, 14th St and Hudson St in Manhattan. Both cases are on the edge of residential, old industry and new nightlife - a great spot to hang out at any time.
DV / July 26, 2012 at 06:43 pm
I think Roncy does have that small town strip feel, but mostly because it's the only major commercial street that runs north/south before like Royal York, and even that's not really the same type of street.
m, / July 26, 2012 at 07:13 pm
Dude from the Place / July 26, 2012 at 07:18 pm
Great series of pics. Two comments:

Love the '276-280 Roncesvalles, 1910' one, could have almost been done this year. Those houses look so beautiful.

Same pic from the 70s as "drive as well as you say you do": gas at 21c a litre.
McKingford / July 26, 2012 at 07:48 pm
So the junction of Queen, King and Roncy was torn up for track work in 1920, and either again - or continuously until, 1923. The St. Clair "disaster" has nothing on that!
belvedere / July 26, 2012 at 09:46 pm
where's w.k. lis on this excellent post? well done derek.
belvedere replying to a comment from belvedere / July 26, 2012 at 09:46 pm
oops...missed it...
Adam Sobolak / July 26, 2012 at 09:53 pm
God bless the commenter who raised the Westminster "No Parking On Driveway" garage. That's truly one of Toronto's unsung landmarks (and my grandparents lived on Westminster, so it's part of my life, too).

Oh, and if you squint at the 60s photo looking north on Roncy to the Edgewater, you'll notice a BMW billboard in the background (foretelling future yuppie demographics?)
Derek Flack replying to a comment from Ratpick / July 26, 2012 at 10:40 pm
Delighted to hear about that garage. I've added the photo to the '59 ones above, and here's a Street View image of what it looks like today. Thanks for sharing that!

B. Ross Ashley / July 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm
No pictures of the Windsor House at 320 Roncesvalles? We lived there for 5 years in the '90s.
Brent / July 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm
What a delightfully yawn-inducing post.

This sedative is more effective than if you had slipped it into my drink.
ChefAldea / July 27, 2012 at 01:52 am
I moved to Roncy about 5 months ago from Little Portugal. I absolutely love this part of T.O. Having grown up in The Annex, I can really appreciate this community. I hope to stay here for years to come. Thanks for the photos and article.

gryffe / July 27, 2012 at 07:07 am
shows that the stupid track work is nothing new, and that the streetcars belong firmly in the last century!
Rena / July 27, 2012 at 07:41 am
Wow, I lived in Roncy from 1988-2007 and I have never seen anything like this! So awesome
W. K. Lis / July 27, 2012 at 10:14 am
The Western Waterfront Master Plan, see http://www.toronto.ca/waterfront/wwmp.htm for downloads, was to include an new wider pedestrian & bicycle bridge to replace the current narrow pedestrian bridge. The key word is "was".
Fig / July 27, 2012 at 10:38 am
Another great post Derek!
The Duke of Earl / July 27, 2012 at 10:38 am
I'll bet the streetcar track reconstruction in the 1920s was more efficient and competent than in 2008-2010. Special thanks to Gord Perks and Adam Giambrone for destroying our street for 3 years.
loveit / July 27, 2012 at 10:45 am
kickass post derek, keep them coming!
RG / July 27, 2012 at 11:03 am
Where oh where is Ruth Frocks?
Ratpick replying to a comment from The Duke of Earl / July 27, 2012 at 11:48 am
More like 2 years, really, which is still too slow.

To say the street came roaring back to life would be an understatement. Maybe let that grudge go.
Michael / July 27, 2012 at 11:48 am
Why does 1992 look so damn old? I was a teen in 1992!!!!
Teresa replying to a comment from Dude from the Place / July 27, 2012 at 11:52 am
Wouldn't that be per gallon? We didn't switch to metric until much later.
The Duke of Earl replying to a comment from Ratpick / July 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm
It was more than 2 years, but I'll settle at 2 1/2. There were at least five formerly thriving businesses (off the top of my head) that shut down during the Roncy recon debacle. I know one went to Gord Perks for help and was blown off. No way I'm going to let that grudge go if only to warn other communities not to let hippy city councillors turn your commercial street into a nightmare. The reconstructed Roncy is a dangerous tangle of sloping pavement, semi bike lanes and half-assed streetcar platforms. Somebody's going to get killed.

On a positive note, this was a great photo feature. Excellent work.
so and so / July 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm
Yes ! I agree with Duke of Earl ... Roncesvalles looks now like a nightmare. Shame what they have done to a previously quite a nice and pretty street.
Lisa / July 27, 2012 at 02:06 pm
I remember the Ace Grill. In the 60's when my girlfriend & I would be going to Parkdale Collegiate, we would stop off at the Ace grill & get an egg roll & chips with gravy & of course a coke. It was awesome. Lisa
We just lived around the corner!
Tommy replying to a comment from Michael / July 27, 2012 at 03:05 pm
All of Toronto looks old if you take pictures in the fall.
Mike Hussey replying to a comment from Michael / July 30, 2012 at 09:37 am
Why do the pix from the '60s look so damn old - I was a teen then!
glenn storey / July 30, 2012 at 06:12 pm
dear sweet jeebus, i hate the term "roncy".
Stan / August 3, 2012 at 04:46 pm
Anyone got pics of Sorauren Ave from back in the day?
Caroline / August 4, 2012 at 04:46 pm
Thanks for the pics, this is where I grew up. Ruth Frocks was on the south east corner of Queen/King.
Ariel / August 7, 2012 at 10:29 am
Imagine having to walk down the hill from the Sunnyside station to catch your train :P

Does anyone have photos of the Cinema at the corner of Galley/Roncesvalles? Besides the Revue, no one ever talks about this old cinema :( It even still has it's marquee lighting!
Elizabeth Kaminski / September 4, 2012 at 10:10 am
Having a great time looking at the different times when Roncesvalles was old remembering all the good times I had when I lived there growing up. I lived at 195 Wright Ave.
Joel Eves / September 4, 2012 at 02:04 pm
Great seeing these Roncesvalles pictures. I've lived in the neighbourhood since 1954, and remember some of the long-gone businesses in my immediate area: Peel's Drug Store, The Ace Grill (already mentioned), Sunset Smoke Shop, The Guest Hardware, Sheppard's Appliances (where I would pick up my weekly CHUM chart), Kresge's, Lean's Drugs... Only thing the same in that strip is the Bank of Commerce. Oh yes, and the Ace (same decor, new management and menu).
Simon / January 30, 2013 at 02:45 pm
Just seeing this now, and it's fascinating. Easily one of my favourite neighbourhoods in this city.
Ezio replying to a comment from Ariel / February 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm
I remember going to the Brighton when I was in my early teens to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Lina / February 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm
I live on Roncy; been there for 8 years now. These are such lovely pics.
Judy / February 22, 2013 at 03:03 pm
My ancestors the Hawthorne family used to have an ice cream parlour on Roncesvalle Avenue by Sunnyside. I have two old black and white photo's of the inside of the parlour.
Brandy / March 19, 2013 at 03:16 pm
Thank you Derek for taking the time and energy to put together a wonderful historical tribute to Roncesvalles Village. We need more people like you.
debbie replying to a comment from Elizabeth Kaminski / March 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm
i grew up on wright ave back in the 60's and 70's and went to argentina ps.
love the pics posted
Labute Rabe / June 13, 2013 at 08:25 am
If you're a family, sure, do up Roncy, but this is the most overrated neighborhood in the city. The place is dead after 6 and while it's nice to walk down once or twice and there's a nice Polish deli and some "character" you get over that pretty quick and realize this place is coasting on overblown hype for its exorbitant rent. The streetcar is - now listen to me - a nightmare, east or north, you're better off walking from Queen to the subway every time, even (especially?) during winter. But like I said, if you have a fam or dogs, it's proximity to Highpark and the beach is key.
Jeremy Hill replying to a comment from Ariel / July 1, 2013 at 01:57 pm
The cinema was called the Broadview, last saw a film there mid 80's. Thought there would be at least one picture of the Edgewater hotel. Cheapest draft around, once upon a time. I lived at Dundas and Rocesvalles from 84 till 2009. I miss the perogies.
RC replying to a comment from Labute Rabe / July 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm
To Labute Rabe.
What planet are you on...that is, you are way off the mark.
Visit the area w/ Gate 409 and The Local. Both have music 7 nights a week. The Revue has movies and constantly hosts special events that draw huge crowds who enliven the streets. There are about 4 pub/sports bars in the middle area, a couple sushi joints, a few of the many coffee shops stay open late and even on holidays, then there is 'Film buff' at the bottom end open till 10. Thats not even mentioning restaurants. But take note buddy. These places are drawing people in and onto the streets. I'm noticing a growing Dyke/lesbian population, huge number of established and pop-up galleries. Oh yeah, and families too. Mine has been here almost 2 decades and my kid now cruises the streets on skateboard. You should visit some time Labute. Really.
Labute Rabe replying to a comment from RC / July 3, 2013 at 05:55 pm
Sorry but I'm not falling for that again. This and more was promised to me before I moved there and it was just as I described. Things may have improved in the intervening years but the place still sucks after dark. And are you a lesbian? Because if you're not I wouldn't use word "dyke". I know you mean no harm but your use of the word and the fact that you have a kid JUST REINFORCES MY POINT THAT THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS POPULATED BY FAMILIES.
Rue replying to a comment from Labute Rabe / July 3, 2013 at 06:35 pm
Labute, bitter much? You do know you could just move, right? What exactly is wrong with an inclusive, family neighborhood, btw? Just too boring for you?
RC / July 3, 2013 at 07:26 pm
Maybe you are looking for 'clubbing' type features in your neighborhood,something of that nature. (late night partying)
Oh,well. Can't have it all.
Joey / July 4, 2013 at 01:54 pm
The 1971 photo of the Queen/King/Roncy corner does not show a Right-of-Way (ROW). Instead, it shows the usual track reconstruction that seems to always be ongoing. I lived in the area since 1997, and I've witnessed at least three track rebuilds in that time.
Steve Franklin / July 5, 2013 at 01:17 am
Fabulous photos and interesting comments. Roncesvalles was a great area to grow up in. I belong to a Facebook group called Roncesvalles Kids Of The 50's, 60's and 70's. It is a good site to share memories and maybe even, connect with old friends and acquaintances.
Paul McLaughlin / July 29, 2013 at 07:05 pm
The Cinema at the corner of Galley and Roncesvalles was the Brighton...not the Broadview.
TO Gal / September 12, 2013 at 04:09 pm
The more I read about the history of the west end, the more convinced I become that the Gardiner is a blight on this city and its' history. I know it's a complicated issue, but building it cut a large portion of the city off from the waterfront and a certain way of living. So sad.
Ari replying to a comment from Elizabeth Kaminski / September 15, 2013 at 11:41 am
Hi Elizabeth, I live at 195 now, are there any pictures you have of 195 Wright, when you used to live there - I'd love to have them for our house. We wanted to hang up pictures of what our street and house originally looked like in stages. Thanks!
Ari replying to a comment from Derek Flack / September 15, 2013 at 11:44 am
Hi Derek, would you have any pictures you can send my way of Wright Avenue? We are currently searching for classic Roncesvalles pics that we can hang up on our walls - the ones above are great. Can I get these pictures in larger format for print, including any that you may have of Wright Avenue. You may contact me for details and thanks in advanced.
Wendy Hogan / October 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm
My great Uncle lived at 48 Westminster Ave. Toronto in 1920. If I were trying to locate this residence in the 1921 Census can someone tell me if this would be Toronto Centre, North, South, East or West? Thank you
www.photos.legrandroux.com / October 27, 2013 at 06:56 am
Like the original, it drops classic Disney skylanders facebook characters
into this cold, mechanical environment, and the central
part off his character. Legendary Spyro of the Magic Skylander Double Trouble.
Bridgett / November 3, 2013 at 10:07 am
Thanks for this wonderful collection. My Great Great Grandfather owned greenhouses on Fermanagh and a shop at 247 Roncesvalles, Florist shop called Parkdale Conservatories at 176 1/2 Queen street west (which I assume is in parkdale not queen and bay) He married Fanny Wright whose family name represents the street off Roncesvalles that they donated to the city. I had no idea of any of this history when I moved into the very building in 1988 that replaced my Grt Grt Grandfathers greenhouse on Fermanagh.
Seakaitoronto. / November 27, 2013 at 12:09 am
I live on Roncy now, and have for almost 3 decades. I have no kids, a dog, and love everything about the street. Labute is welcome
To leave: it's not for everyone. It keeps changing, but still stays the same. If you like a small town feel by the lake and park.
Donna / November 27, 2013 at 01:02 am
ROB FORD pays a visit to Roncesvalles

Let's see how we used to talk about him...
Ariel replying to a comment from Elizabeth Kaminski / December 26, 2013 at 08:45 pm
Hi there, would you happen to have any pictures of 195 Wright Avenue (from when you lived there). We currently live there and would love to have classic photos of the house up on our walls! Thanks for your time, happy holidays! Ariel
Brenda / January 8, 2014 at 04:33 pm
I lived at 470 Roncesvalles from 1955 to 1961 when we moved to Grenadier Rd., between Roncesvalles and Sorauren. Went to Howard Park Public, then Fern Ave. for Jr. High, then Parkdale Collegiate. Every Saturday, we caught the matinee at the Revue. Practically lived in High Park and Sunnyside pool was huge. Does anyone remember the huge fire at the Winwell sporting goods factory on Columbus Ave. and Sorauren in the early 60's? I would love to know if anyone remembers the name of my old building at 470.
Lynn / February 12, 2014 at 04:24 pm
I lived at 470 Roncesvalles with my little sister Brenda and my little brother Bobby. I went to all of the same schools as her. Went swimming at Sunnyside Pool every summer until they built the pool in High Park. It was free to swim at the High Park pool but I think it was fifty cents at Sjunnyside. I also remember a house closer to High Park where the owner's used to build a skating rink every winter for the kids to use. He would put up lights and play music all evening for us too. Never saw the people. They never came out of their house. It was such a nice thing for them to do for the neighbourhood kids. Went skating at the rink in High Park in the winter as well. Spent all afternoon on Saturdays at the Revue Movie Theatre until it turned into a German language theatre (at least I think it was German they were speaking) and then we switched to the State Movie Theatre on Bloor. It only cost a dime at the Revue but it was a quarter at the State. I used to go to the dance every Thursday at Fern School. So long ago but good memories.
d / February 16, 2014 at 04:35 pm
The 3rd pic down, at 2200 Dundas W., across from the bank (about where the people in the picture are getting on the streetcar), was where my mom met my dad at her parents' restaurant, the Rondun Grill, in the early fifties and she married him at that same spot in 1953 and was married for 60 years till he passed away last year.
Cob / February 16, 2014 at 05:08 pm
Toronto looked so….bleak in the past.

When i look at old photos of other places I get a sense that things looked interesting and maybe even better back then.

Toronto always looks desolate.

sorry Toronto lovers. Not trying to stir things up here. just bein honest
Mathew Syrokomla / February 18, 2014 at 04:04 pm
I have lived on Grafton Ave. in recent years, a little street just north of Queen. Slowly, I started seeing dramatic changes, not only to the street surface of Roncesvalles but also the demographic profile. Know nothing about the alleged homosexual crowd but the former Polish and Ukrainian owners of homes and businesses have died and their already "Canadian" children living elsewhere sold them to the 25-35 years generation, often with kids, mostly Yuppies. The cafés, restaurants, shops, have been transformed to suit this new population. Another reason for the changes: Mississauga has been less expensive to live in so many new immigrants moved west. It is the market principles which have made Roncesvalles too expensive for many older businesses. Something like in the case of NY Greenwich Village (or Yorkville) which the formerly living there bohemia and artists could not afford any more. Roncy is one of more expensive places now in Toronto, undergoing - as they say - gentrification (like Dundas and Keele) but of course losing its specific atmosphere. I have never seen there horse drawn coaches either. Too bad but that's life.
Mathew Syrokomla / February 18, 2014 at 04:16 pm
For those who are interested in history, Roncesvalles was originally an Indian tract leading from the lake. In the 19th century, a British general was granted a piece of land and started selling parts of it for development. The gentleman took part in the anti-Napoleonic campaign in the Pyrenees and he commemorated a name of the Spanish village where an important battle took place. Incidentally, Roncesvalles was also a place mentioned by the"Chanson de Roland", a very famous poem of a Frankian knight who died there, killed by the Basques. Many of the names of the Parkdale streets were named after members of the general's family.
Joan Semple replying to a comment from glenn storey / February 19, 2014 at 01:27 am
Me too, hearing it called Roncy drives me nuts. I lived in the area (Westminster, Geoffrey, Pearson, Fern, Indian Road, Wright, Queen & Triller, King & Triller) from 1956 - 1990. It was either Roncesvalles or Ronces but NEVER Roncy. Grrrrrr.
Joan Semple replying to a comment from Joey / February 19, 2014 at 01:39 am
That 1971 track work took barely a few months. They worked mostly nights & weekends and fixed the tracks from all the way from King & Dufferin to Ronces and up to Dundas West. I remember it well. I was going to Parkdale Collegiate at the time. I lived on Close Avenue & worked part time at the B&A Drug Mart at Roncesvalles & Queen.
Jackie MacGregor / February 19, 2014 at 05:47 am
We lived on Geoffrey on the third floor with three rooms when we first come from England in 1958...I was nine years old...there were five of us. It was the first time I had ever seen Ukranian households...my friend and her brother Boris were Ukranian and I loved the different smells and cross stitch everywhere. We then moved to the corner of Dundas and Keele...the old apartment building still exists. When I was in grade six we returned to the area to live on Galley Avenue...went to CGIT in the church across the street. I remember eating a banana split every day for lunch with the fifty cents my Mom gave me for lunch and keeping the change as we moved once again to Jerome Street and I had to finish my school year there before going to Annette Street School. Sent these pics to my brothers...warm and wonderful memories. Thank you!
Jackie MacGregor replying to a comment from Jackie MacGregor / February 19, 2014 at 05:49 am
I had the banana split at Woolworth's. The best ever!
Lynn / February 21, 2014 at 02:49 pm
Every Friday my mother used to give my a quarter to buy lunch for a treat. I was going to junior high at Fern at the time. That 25 cents used to be enough to buy a hot dog and a chocolate milkshake at either Woolworths or the Kresge lunch counter. Best milkshake I have every had and the hot dogs were great too. What can you get for a quarter these days??
marguerite palmer / February 27, 2014 at 07:05 pm
Does anyone remember the old Fern Avenue school? Creepy, with a turret; looked like the bates motel in the movie "Psycho-; torn down & replaced with a new building about 1950 or '51,
I had a teacher, Miss petty, who was scary-awful (Grade 5)
vince / March 14, 2014 at 03:15 pm
Looking at this brings back so many memories, great job well done
Janet / March 22, 2014 at 06:27 pm
Went to Fern Avenue school...loved the Thursday night dances. Saturday night in my teen was at Myseric Hall ...I lived at 159 Roncesvalles. I just remember the pool at Fern...loved it. And spent most of the winters at the skating rink in High Park. My friend Helga disappeared and it was big in the papers...wonder if that was every solved?
Mary replying to a comment from Caroline / June 8, 2014 at 08:57 pm
Grew up in Parkdale. Lived on Fern Ave. from 1958 to 1973. Attended St. Vincent de Paul school and then Western Tech. Married in 1973 at St. Casmir's Church and moved to the suburbs. My parents remained there until 1990 and moved to Mississauga. For those who have mentioned Ruth Frocks, it brought back memories because that is where I purchased my wedding gown. At present I am divorced, have a daughter Jennifer and a son Michael now in their 30,s and 3 beautiful grandchildren (2 granddaughters and 1 grandson)
Nancy / September 21, 2014 at 06:02 pm
I lived on Sunnyside Ave. From 1958-1965. Went to St. Vincent de Paul School and took swimming lessons at Fern Ave. School. The neighbourhood is still magic to me. Great post. Great work gathering the photographs.
Holden / September 21, 2014 at 06:13 pm
Even though it was kinda scuzzy at the time, we really wanted to experience the Edgewater; so we stayed there on our wedding night. It was fun staying in a hotel almost across the street from where we lived; and it wasn't as decrepit as you might imagine. I sure as hell, liked it better when it wasn't a chain (Day's Inn).
d / September 22, 2014 at 12:05 am
Thanks for those!
Mary / September 22, 2014 at 04:29 pm
Sure was nice looking at all the photos......Great memories....Thanks
Anne Wentzell / September 22, 2014 at 05:25 pm
These pictures brought back so many memories.I lived at Dundas West and Bloor and sometimes took the King car to work at Bay Street. Used to love the streetcar rather than the subway, when I had the spare time. To be able to see the lake and the goings on in the communities was such a thrill. Thank you for sharing. This one is going to be a keeper for me.
kate / September 22, 2014 at 06:50 pm
Great Piece! how interesting and nostalgic. Well documented, thank you
Cathy / September 22, 2014 at 08:54 pm
Enjoyed viewing the photos especially of the 1950s around Garden Ave. My parents were born In the area and grew up there. Went to St Vincent de Paul school and married there in 1940. I was born in the area but moved to a rural area near Milton at 4 years. We visited my mothers family at 250 garden and my Fathers family at. 169 Pearson as children during the early 1950s until the homes were sold after my grandparents died in the late 1950s. Years later in the my son moved to Fuller Ave about 1997 and I would take my grandson to school at St Vincent's and push the younger grandson in his stroller downtown to High Park. Lots of memories
Josephine / September 23, 2014 at 10:49 am
I lived at 480 Roncesvalles - my father owned the dry cleaning store and I went to the following schools - Howard Public, Fern and St. Vincent de Pauls...it was a great place to grow up in - when I married we bought a house on Boustead and had great times there as well....great community to raise children
Emily / September 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm
I have lived in the Roncy area for 42 years and have seen these pictures at the shoe maker store on Roncy, no longer there. I love Roncy
Bev / September 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm
I was born in Parkdale and lived there for 40 years and spent a lot of time on Roncy. I can remember all these pictures and of Sunyside. Great to see it again
jim replying to a comment from glenn storey / September 23, 2014 at 02:58 pm
agreed. i lived there from 85-96 and never heard it referred to as "roncy" before. it's a recent and very gross term. yuck
MONICA MOOTE replying to a comment from Janet / October 9, 2014 at 01:40 am
HI!!! I have been looking for years for my friend - ( Helga GASPER ) I lived at Ridley gardens...Helga and I went to look for a job..and the next day I recieved a strange phone call about a job...I told them to talk to my dad and they hung up..the following day I had two Plain clothed police officers at my house..asking if I knew any thing about my friend Helgas disaperance..I was puzzled..and have wondered to this day what happened to my friend HELGA..I STILL WONDER??? If any one knows any thing please let me know...THANK YOU IN ADVANCE...SHE HAD A BROTHER..WILL TALK TO HIM ..I'm sure her parents ar no longer alive!! She lived off of Roncensville..just one St.after Queen St. On the right hand side..up that St....The house was also on the right hand side of the St....Just up a few houses..this all happend I think in 1958 to 1960 I am not sure iPod the exact date..and I just found out that it was in the news paper....We did not have acces to the media as we have now!!!
Janet / October 9, 2014 at 10:02 am
Helga lived on Harvard Ave...I was at 59 Roncesvalles just around the corner from her house. I'm pretty sure her last name was Kaiser...there were a lot of articles in the paper. Have no idea if she was ever found .... if any knows please post...still wonder about it.
MONICA MOOTE / October 9, 2014 at 04:37 pm
HI!!! Janet, I had a friend that lived in an Apt. Close to Helga..She had a sister and they lived with there dad..The apt. was older looking even back then..with a narrow walk way between the facing buildings..
I am just wondering if I knew you back then...I went to ST. Vicente de Paul school..then to Fern school they had a new swimming pool when I went to school there..I remember all the places that we hung out at...our family had also lived at 27 Gwen St...I was tolled that 7 children had died in that house from gas..fumes...the house was burned when we lived there..from a border..that had smoked in bed..I know the house is still there and looks the same now as it did then...I had a friend there last name was Buttler the father was a plumber..they had the best house on the St..can't remember the girls first name..but she had red hair.....The story of the fun times we had..even thought here were sad times were the happiest of times..we were content with so little and the good friends that we had..I am 67 and wonder if there is some one out there that lived or went to school at the time I lived there..in 1958 - 1961..still wondering what HAPPENED TO HELGA???
mike / December 12, 2014 at 10:07 pm
Grew up on galley ave & roncesvalles in the 60s. Theatre was called "the brighton" I believe the 1917 photo of 228 roncesvalles was the public library.
Anna Powell replying to a comment from Caroline / December 15, 2014 at 11:12 am
From the time we first landed in Canada, it was Roncesvalles, we lived on Wright Ave in the 70's
Cezary Paluch / February 4, 2015 at 10:50 pm
I lived at 13 Constance as a child and attended St. Vincent de Paul School. What a great place to grow up. Going to the Brighton theatre, skating on Grenadier pond, playing little league in High Park. I also has a paper route and delivered newspapers to Borje Salming a Leaf defenceman who lives at 8 High Park Gds. Now I have a law office at 169 Roncesvalles.
jon s / February 5, 2015 at 12:29 am
Does anyone remember the Sir Nicolas restaurant? It was my grandparents restaurant and i would love to hear any memories or stories from anyone in the community who remembers it. Thanks!
Ann / February 18, 2015 at 09:38 pm
Great pics. Brought back some old memories. Lived at 167 Wright Ave from 1966 to 1971. Great times.
Daina Hunter / February 23, 2015 at 12:54 pm
My mother owned Venus Florist at 231 Roncesvalles for many years. The Ace grill, next door, was a favourite take-out.....french fries and gravy in small soggy cardboard boxes and the best cheeseburgers ever, and an elderly Chinese grandma, one could never understand comes to mind. Milne's Bakery sausage rolls were one of my mother's favourites.
We lived on Wright Ave. I learned to skate on the duck ponds in High Park in the mid 50's. The family home, purchased in Jan of 52 is now being sold. It feels like the end of an era. Garden Ave/Argentina P.S., Fern Ave, and Parkdale C.I. rounded out my schooling. I was taught to navigate the TTC at the age of six. Times have changed! Loved all the pics!
ak / April 17, 2015 at 12:54 am
1960's ... Skipped Sunday masses St C's and went to Sir Nicks for cherry cokes and fries at the main floor bar.
Ida Kaminski / October 9, 2015 at 04:23 pm
Love the pictures. I lived at 25 Grafton Avenue in the 1960s and went to St. Vincent de Paul.
I just read about the facebook page so will join that.
Ida Kaminski / October 9, 2015 at 04:58 pm
Also wanted to add, if anyone in the 1960s remembers a "Mr. Kookoo" or we used to call him that. He used to sit on the bench in front of the library...always with his white suit.
Bryan Ethier replying to a comment from Wendy Hogan / November 27, 2015 at 11:53 am
@ Wendy Hogan regarding 48 Westminster.

I lived at 52 during the early 60's.
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