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What Dovercourt Road used to look like in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / April 2, 2014

Dovercourt Road History TorontoDovercourt Road takes its name from the once-prominent Denison family, whose land holdings included a stretch of the street. Neither a main thoroughfare nor a sleepy residential enclave, there's something quintessentially Toronto about Dovercourt. At various points in its history, the street seemed on the brink of becoming more developed, particularly when it was home to a streetcar route, but aside from little hubs of activity at main intersections (notably Queen, Argyle, College, Bloor and Hallam), it never really happened en masse.

To the north, Dovercourt was originally home to poor English migrants who lived in shack-like structures spread around what is now Dupont. As industry developed on that street and along Geary Avenue (formerly Main Street) around the turn of the 20th century, Dovercourt Park became a bonafide neighbourhood, the heart of which was located at the intersection of Hallam. Surprisingly, both streets were served by streetcars at the time, and there was arguably even more traffic at the intersection in the 1920s than there is today.

Dovercourt and Argyle, once home to the Ideal Bread Company (now a rather nice condo), also feels like a mini-hub thanks in part to the presence of Luna Cafe. Ditto for the intersection at Foxley, which is home to Julie's Cuban and one of those classic residential Toronto variety stores. I've always liked this stretch of the street for the degree that it speaks to an older version of the city, one in which corner stores and lunch counters could be found scattered in neighbourhoods off main streets.

If there's a stretch of Dovercourt that's been preserved the most over the years, it's to be found between College and Bloor, where stately homes are set back from the road and look pretty much the same as they did in the 1950s (see photo below). It's a shame not to have an old picture of the Matador to share here, but the latest iteration of 466 Dovercourt will retain the iconic sign, so there's no need to get too mournful.

PHOTOS

Goads Atlas DovercourtGoad's Atlas, 1924

201442-dov-dupont-1899.jpgDovercourt "streetcar" 1899

201442-dov-geary-1912.jpgDovercourt looking north to Geary, 1912

201442-dov-subway-1915.jpgDovercourt looking north to Geary, 1915

201442-dov-bloor-looking-west-1919.jpgDovercourt and Bloor looking west, 1919

201442-bloor-dovercourt-1919.jpgDifferent angle, 1919

201442-dov-college-allens.jpgNorthwest corner Dovercourt and College, 1920

201442-Dov-Argyle-NEc-1920.jpgDovercourt and Argyle, 1920

201442-great-hall.jpgThe Great Hall as the Royal Templar Headquarters

201442-dov-dav-lookingeast-1923.jpgDovercourt and Davenport (looking east), 1923

201442-991-dovercourt-1929.jpg991 Doverourt, 1929

201442-bloor-dov-sec-1932.jpgSoutheast corner Bloor and Dovercourt, 1932

201442-dov-btw-col-bloor-1934.jpgDovercourt between College and Bloor, 1934

201442-dov-dav-1947.jpgDovercourt and Davenport, 1947

2011119-Hamilton-Gear-1957-s0975_fl2426_id34553-6.jpgHamilton Gear at Dovercourt and Dupont, 1957

201442-dov-queen-1987.jpgDovercourt and Queen, 1987

201442-dov-north-hallam-1998.jpgDovercourt north of Hallam, 1998

201442-jules-1998.jpgDovercourt and Argyle, 1998

Shortys Variety TorontoDovercourt north of College, 1998

Photos from the Toronto Archives, Library of Canada and (the last four) from Patrick Cummins.

Discussion

13 Comments

Sam / April 2, 2014 at 03:45 pm
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I was just in the Royal Templar Headquarters last night for a show. Classic crazy layout: you get to the basement theatre by way of the second floor.

Nice history of the building here: https://losttoronto2.wordpress.com/tag/the-royal-templars-of-temperance/
jeff / April 2, 2014 at 06:18 pm
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Awesome. But I am calling out the pic of Dupont and Dovercourt. I am certain that is in fact Christie and Dupont and the TD closed a few years back and it has been replaced by a Starbucks. My two Pennies
Voice of Reason replying to a comment from jeff / April 2, 2014 at 07:01 pm
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You may be certain, but you are also wrong.

First of all, the article does not even include a photo of the Dovercourt intersection with Dupont.

You are referring to the photo of the old Dominion Bank building, which is located at the Dovercourt intersection with Davenport, exactly as indicated.

For heaven's sake, it says "Davenport & Dovercourt Branch" right over the front entrance.

The building occupied by Starbucks at Christie & Dupont is similar, so I understand the mistake.
Laurie replying to a comment from jeff / April 2, 2014 at 07:35 pm
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It looks similar, but it's definitely Dovercourt and Davenport. That building is still there.
Ian M / April 3, 2014 at 12:16 am
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It also seems that the Toronto Dominion Bank building went up at some point after 1923. The photo of the worker standing at Dovercourt and Davenport shows the previous building at the same location.
Anthony / April 3, 2014 at 12:51 am
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"Northwest corner Dovercourt and College, 1920" is actually 1940, because that's when the movie on the marquee, The Doctor Takes A Wife, came out.
David / April 3, 2014 at 12:55 am
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@jeff Just go to Google Street Search and see for yourself.
rs / April 3, 2014 at 02:04 pm
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Great article...would love to see pictures of Luna from back in the day...same with Julies (the pic here is from 1998).
The Dovercourt facade on Ideal Bread Company now Argyle Loft building is ~ half the length it is now. I almost thought it was an architect drawing but it looks like that's how the building started out.
Chris / April 3, 2014 at 06:56 pm
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Dovercourt at Geary is in such rough shape you can actaully see some of the old streetcar tracks poking back up from the pavement.
Peter Marinelli / April 8, 2014 at 01:20 am
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I really love these old photos of yesteryear Toronto. I emigrated to Toronto in 1964 and we settled around Davenport and Dufferin area. This was part of my neighbourhood. I remember the streetcars on Davenport and they use to turn down Dovercourt Road and continue along Harbord to Spadina. Keep these little historic snipts coming
Joe / April 28, 2014 at 03:36 pm
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Jeff, I think you may have misread Davenport and Dovercourt with Dovercourt and Dupont. The old Dominion Bank building still stands at the s/w corner, though it is an office now. A similar building does exist at Christie & Dupont, but the picture above is not the one that is now Starbucks
Bev Lavender / August 3, 2014 at 12:19 am
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Hi,

I was disappointed there are no pictures of the amazing all steel and glass structure that still stands at the NE corner of Dovercourt and Dupont. Have always admired this building but have no idea for what it was built nor for what it's used now. I like to think of it as an "atelier" used for theatrical properties, or flying machines, or at least something vaguely romantic.
A / September 8, 2014 at 07:51 pm
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Julie's Snack bar is actually Dovercourt between Dundas & Queen, west side of the street.

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