parkdale millinery toronto

Historic Toronto hat store uncovered during renovations

An old sign that could possibly date all the way back to the 1930s has been uncovered in Parkdale after being hidden from sight for years. 

The metal piece, which shows the outline of the name Parkdale Millinery, can be seen hanging above the property at 1412 Queen St. West. 

It was revealed during renovations late last year, when contractors took down the sign belonging to the previous business, Happy Kids World. 

The children's clothing store has since closed down (owner Hoang Le had operated the space as Le's Fashion before that) and is now in the process of becoming the new location of local bike shop MetroCycleTO.

"I'd like to preserve the oldness of it," says MetroCycle's owner Gordon Robb.

Though Robb's been a longtime resident in the neighbourhood and had been operating MetroCycle just down the street at 1266 Queen St. West since 2009, he says he'd never heard of Parkdale Millinery before the historic sign was revealed. 

There isn't much information about the business online. It is, however, listed in the Ontario Jewish Archives database as belonging to someone named Arthur Levine, according to a Jewish businesses directory dating back to 1931

It's cool to imagine the sign might possibly be the original from the Parkdale Millinery's tenure, back when Parkdale was one of the most desirable places to live

The building at 1412 Queen St. West itself, which sits at the top of Queen and Dunn, was built in 1881, according to the Sunnyside Historical Society site. 

Thankfully business names were pretty cut and dry back then, so we can safely assume that the millinery was in the business of making and dealing hats (maybe the kind Lucille Ball wore back in the day).

Unfortunately the wooden lettering screwed into the metal board has disappeared since contractors first unveiled the thing, but Robb says he hopes to incorporate the Parkdale portion of the sign into his own signage with a little TLC for when MetroCycle opens in March 1. 

Lead photo by

Tanya Mok


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