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Photos of the four alarm blaze at Broadview & Gerrard

Posted by Derek Flack / July 13, 2013

Toronto Fire Broadview GerrardA four alarm blaze devoured a building early this morning at Broadview and Gerrard. Breaking out sometime around 5:00 a.m. at the fruit market on the southeast corner of the intersection, the scene quickly turned apocalyptic as smoke billowed out of the the upper floors of the building. According to reports, residents of the building were safely evacuated, though two firefighters were hospitalized due to injuries incurred while fighting the blaze, which raged for over two hours before the crew was able to get a handle on it.

During that time, the north wall of the building collapsed leading to a temporary surge in the blaze. The fire department believes further collapse is possible given the damage caused by the flames. The 504 streetcar is currently diverting both ways on account of the ensuing investigation. Here are photos of the blaze courtesy of Craig Jenkins and Tom Ryaboi.


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Toronto Fire Broadview GerrardToronto Fire Broadview GerrardToronto Fire Broadview GerrardToronto Fire Broadview GerrardToronto Fire Broadview GerrardToronto Fire Broadview GerrardFire photos by Craig Jenkins / aftermath photos by Tom Ryaboi



Sarah B. Hood / July 13, 2013 at 01:16 pm
A terrible event, and no doubt devastating for residents and businesses in the building (and, to a lesser extent, to those of us who shopped their regularly), but the photographs are stunning!
Local / July 13, 2013 at 01:20 pm
Just like that Toronto loses another beautiful historic building. However I am glad no one was injured.
Robert replying to a comment from Local / July 13, 2013 at 02:12 pm
This was historic? though it was just an old building. What is its history that makes it historic?
Bella Grundy / July 13, 2013 at 02:22 pm
brilliant photographs!
sniderscion / July 13, 2013 at 02:25 pm
A fund has been set up to help out the former tenants:
Engine 23 / July 13, 2013 at 02:33 pm
Many of these buildings are overcrowded with cardboard boxes of junk and goods, not to mention over legal residential occupancy limits. Have you ever driven by on garbage night? Many of these old buildings that rely on imported goods shipped from China and elsewhere need to be fire inspected more often to ensure they are not tinder boxes. Shocked this hasn't happened before now.
Declan / July 13, 2013 at 02:49 pm
Is a condo going up now?

Didn't someone get shot there last year?
Rico replying to a comment from Robert / July 13, 2013 at 02:54 pm
It has a history. I've been visiting stores around there for around 40 years. The building is not relevant with respect to architecture, but it does hold a lot of memories for people.
Tubbs replying to a comment from Robert / July 13, 2013 at 03:42 pm
What's historic about it??! It's only the building that's anchored east Chinatown since it's inception.. long before the BIA built the more tradtional archway a block west on Gerrard. About as relevant as any building in that neighbourhood. I shudder at whatever cookie cutter monstrosity they're going to conjure in it's place.
R. / July 13, 2013 at 03:53 pm
This area was not always known as Chinatown, and every building of a certain age is "historic". As old buildings are replaced, our history is lost and cannot be replaced.

That said, it would be nice if the property could be rebuilt in theme with the neighbourhood.
jacqueline / July 13, 2013 at 04:19 pm
I lived in that building for over 5 years, on the top floor...the two southern windows facing west were mine. It was such a beautiful apartment with tons of character (wood floors, skylights, caw-foot tub) and now it exists in the form of many many memories...

Though I moved out two years ago, I am saddened today by the loss of such a neighbourhood staple, and feel compassion for those currently calling it their home.

I really hope nothing as tacky as a cookie-cutter condo goes up in its place.
Bob Hamon / July 13, 2013 at 06:57 pm
If you want a really early building, probably from the time when Toront was York, then take a trot up Broadview to Riverdale Ave. and then come back about 2 houses and you should see a narrow what appears to be a Victorian bungalow, with a few stairs leading to the front door. Well it ain't what it seems! Underneath is a log cabin which was the first building that side of the Don, which would have most likely been forest. I used to deliver newspapers there when I was a kid about 1954. Are the ices and the band stand still in Riverdale park ? And I bet the YMCA isn't there south of Gerrard ?!? So stop moanin'. Yah never had it so good
n / July 13, 2013 at 07:12 pm
While these building may be historic they are built of cardboard and paper. The Canadian building standards are not good at all (even now), so the roof collapsing is common. And it's all burning up like it is made of wood (probably is). Really surprised how the houses are made here considering the climate. Even 30 years ago back in my country the double glazed windows were standard and here only recently they are replacing the windows with those. Also the standard material used in houses is concrete (in my country). Toronto is insanity where if one house starts burning in the neighbourhood half of the surrounding houses will also burn - all houses are made of wood. Anyway tragic event for the tenants.
Ron Smyth replying to a comment from Bob Hamon / July 13, 2013 at 09:11 pm
What on earth are you blathering about? A favourite building and produce store burns, people lose their homes, and you say "You never had it so good?" just because there are other older buildings around, or because other things disappear? What is your point?
mike / July 13, 2013 at 11:39 pm
oh wow, another fake fire to build condos.
A M / July 14, 2013 at 12:03 am
It is not built of cardboard and paper. It is a well constructed brick building of its era. I lived in the building in the nineties and loved my two floor 3 bedroom apartment there. Very grand, with hardwood floors and all. Sad indeed.

Thanks for posting the pics.

Kids in the Hall had this building repeatedly in their opening sequence, filmed from the library corner.
Cory Trevor / July 14, 2013 at 12:40 am
How about a little historical snapshot? From, say, 1914?
Bob Hamon / July 14, 2013 at 02:36 am
Reply to Ron Smyth: Didn't mean to upset you Ron.

Listen to 'ENGINE 23' and take a look at the state of all the buildings south of Simpson Ave. They are generally older than those to the north.

Do you remember the YMCA just south of Gerrard? How many of my generation were more than upset when that went for housing.

Ask around if anybody remembers the 'hook and ladder' fire trucks.

The great fire of 1913 when the whole of TO burnt, which is why Riverdale park is the shape it is clay was needed for the Toronto Brick Works to rebuild the city. History repeats itself and will repeat again and again.

You may think I'm blathering and maybe I am but perhaps you're being too sentimental.
Macsapple / July 14, 2013 at 05:55 am
Interesting use of adobe photographic software especially the fourth photograph in the portfolio. Being so close to what I imagine would be high temperatures (caused by fire) The film in the camera would be effected! Also, highly doubtful that the fireman would allow a civilian to accompany them on the ladder gaining access to the scene. Again, interesting use of adobe photoshop and not intentionally being critical but as a well versed and skilled graphical designer, one can easily determine the use of software. The rendering of the superimposed smoke on the second photograph of the portfolio has inconsistency, (apologies for industry and professional lingo) -
Nice work all around from one professional artist to these aspiring artists, stick at it!
CSmith / July 14, 2013 at 08:28 am
Glad to see there is a fund set up for the tenants. But there were 11 tenants, not just 2.
jesus replying to a comment from Macsapple / July 14, 2013 at 08:42 am
i dont know what drugs you're on but i would like to purchase some
W. K. Lis / July 14, 2013 at 09:49 am
I always wondered how the TTC (and its predecessor the TRC) handled fire using only streetcars? Today, the TTC uses buses as shuttles.
The conductor / July 14, 2013 at 10:07 am
@ W.K Lis....
The TTC has always contributed its services amidst times of urgency. To counter incurred costs within these unforeseen circumstances, an additional fare increase of .25c is intriduxed prior to boarding. We provide not only our filthy urine smelling modes of transportation, but also ensure shock victims, hyperthermia victims and the elderly are greeted with our most surly, vulgar and stale breath wielding drivers. Often within said case above in this herein scenario pictured, the use of the elastic waste bands from our female drivers floral underpants was brought into to assist in comfortably capturing those leaping from the effected units. All part of our improved customer service.
Dave replying to a comment from Macsapple / July 14, 2013 at 11:16 am
Film!? It's 2013... no one in professional news reporting shoots film anymore! The only Photoshop I can detect is a little colour or tonal exaggeration... no added smoke or other nonsense. Good use of telephoto & wide angle lenses, that's all... and the overhead shots are not from a ladder, but the roof of the bank across the street (helps to know the neighborhood... I live around the corner).
Macsapple / July 14, 2013 at 11:57 am
@ Dave -
I can't imagine amateur hobiest photographers having access to telescopic and lenses capable of widening a scene. Chances are, one or both of these amateur photographers probably has permissions from their college to use a copy of a program we call adobe photoshop volume 3, I can clearly tell but by no means discouraging their efforts, these photographs would look impressive in a frame and I encourage them highly to pursue this fascinating medium that I have been so fortunate to make a career.
Nigel Buchanan Davenport replying to a comment from n / July 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm
Do you have to work hard to make yourself seem like such an idiot or were you just born that way.?
Nigel Buchanan Davenport replying to a comment from Macsapple / July 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm
You must have such a successful career as bullshit artist. Telescopic lens that's a good one. Telephoto perhaps. Time to change careers.
BigJimSlade / July 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm
@ Nigel -
Dude seems to know his stuff bro - you don't need to be getting all up his grill calling him stupid! Kind of out of line when someone's just online sharing his know how, seems nice enough and hasn't said anything cruel like you in this forum!
Karen smedley / July 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm
@ BigJimslade ..... 'Good on you BigJim - bravo'

@ Nigel Buchanan Davenport... Goodness me, what a vile insecure little man you must be! How utterly unnecessary.

@ Macsapple... Carry on Macsapple, wonderfully creative name, Im quite certain you must truly be a master in your field and thank you for your opinions on these pictures, I had my doubts to their validity too.


BigJimSlade / July 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm
Thanks Karen - Im just sayin it like I see it, Nigel comes across as a total douchbag and a proper asshole!
Karen Smedley / July 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm
Oh BigJim lol - that's a little naughty but quite justified hehe.
If he is anything like my friends son of the very same name, Im quite certain his frustrations stem from his failings in the female liaisons department *chuckle*
AJ / July 14, 2013 at 01:27 pm
When do the start digging ground for a condo at that corner. You gotta know that this is what it's all about! The city encourages and allows the owners of these older buildings to let the buildings rot, so that they will have an excuse that the building is no longer safe and thus needs to be torn down. Or mysterious fires occur at locations like these. This UGLY city will continue to get uglier and uglier so long as the residents continue to be apathetic about the influence of developers and the types of buildings they build. In other more advanced cities, owners of buildings like these would gut the insides, and remodel into beautiful efficient buildings. Go to Boston, Chicago, New York, etc.
Dave replying to a comment from Macsapple / July 14, 2013 at 01:40 pm
Check out the other photographic work of Craig Jenkins and Tom Ryaboi from the links above in the article; they are not amateurs and no doubt have the gear AND the latest version of Photoshop... I don't believe for a moment that they added smoke or anything else to their photos, except as I said adjustments to hue, saturation, and contrast.
thomaus / July 14, 2013 at 02:17 pm
Another vote for "historic."

And, it's worth the trip to (searching "Broadview Gerrard") for many wonderful photos from over the years... and heartbreaking ones from this morning.
MacsApple replying to a comment from Dave / July 14, 2013 at 03:13 pm
Yes- indeed, both very good indeed and now that I have my spectacles on I can see clearly that these are indeed striking untouched photographs. Jolly good work and my sincere wish for those effected directly by this misfortune to find comfort and support and for their losses to be replaced with support and a good leg up on rebuilding life and home.
nhaler / July 15, 2013 at 11:43 am
My god, MacsApple, that was one one of the funniest things I've read all morning. Good sir, do keep those spectacles off -- you're priceless.
opensource1111 / July 16, 2013 at 09:21 am
English is not a first language for some posters, I am guessing. Right, MacsApple? I am not trying to be mean - it's just that with all the grammar policing that goes on here, it seems wierd when I see posts that read that Borat wrote them, or read as if they were Google translated into English and no one else comments on them. Ha, go figure.
Kathy / July 23, 2013 at 08:06 pm
I lived one block south of Gerrard off Broadview as a child. It was a totally different neighbourhood during the l940's and 50's. The building that burned down was a Tamblyn Drug Store follwed by a Loblaws, meat market, delicatessen, fruit market, Calladine & Baldry travel agency, fish & chip shop. It was a very nice neighbourhood. Our home was built in 1898. Broadview YMCA graced the east side of Broadview and served this very close community. We all attended local schools and churches. The library was a very special place as well as Riverdale Park. All has changed but there is also some revitalization. Walk along First Avenue near St. Ann's Church and you will see lovely restored houses. Fond memories of a wonderful neighbourhood.
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margit sampogna replying to a comment from Sarah B. Hood / August 21, 2013 at 10:54 am
My painting of the grocery store can be found on my website -

I was recently told of the fire........ I had no idea!
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