Wednesday, June 07, 2006

backstreets of toronto: tranby avenue

Welcome to Tranby Avenue
From our last entry, we head a block north to one of the best-preserved turn-of-the-century streets in the city.

The origin of the name Tranby is unknown, though the best guess I've seen is a town in Yorkshire. Tom Cruickshank and John De Visser's 2003 book Old Toronto Houses provides a brief sketch of the street's origins:

Tranby Avenue was an afterthought - an annex to the Annex, if you will - carved out of one of the last intact estate properties in the area. It is noticeably narrower than neighbouring streets and even more intimate. Lined with a random patchwork of brick terraces and duplexes, virtually all of Tranby Avenue went up between 1889 and 1892. But far from monotonous, the street is alive with gables and architectural curios, the whole unified by the omnipresence of warm, red brick. This has to be one of the most harmonious walks in all of Toronto. (202)

Tranby Ave (3)
From the City of Toronto's East Annex Heritage Conservation District Study:
The outlines of lot areas for Tranby coincided with the lines of an existing fence that had defined the three-acre lot of Bernard Saunders on Avenue Road, and it is the meanderings of the fence line with account for the irregularity of the of the lot sizes on both sides of Tranby. (128)

Favourite name among the original residents of the street: J.D. Clinkunbroomer, who resided at 71-73.

Looking East on Tranby Ave from Bedford Rd
The view looking east from Bedford Rd.

Tranby Ave (2) Toronto Historical Board Plaque
While walking down Tranby, you'll notice that nearly all of the homes bear a plaque from the Toronto Historical Board (now Heritage Toronto). Nearly all were placed in 1984, as part of the city's 150th birthday.

Tranby Ave (4)
Given the historical nature of the street, it's not surprising that there are so many notices pasted on the renovations to this home. Among the suggested guidelines from the Heritage Study:
Tranby has the greatest uniformity in its buildings of any of the East Annex streets. For that reason greater attention should be given to detail elements such as porches and front steps to reinforce and support the cohesive character of the general alterations should be discouraged on the front faces of buildings on Tranby, and alterations should be modelled on precedents within the street. (131)

Tranby Ave (5)
Interesting mix of old and new in the front of this home.

Facing East from Tranby and Avenue NW Corner of Tranby and Avenue
The end of Tranby, at Avenue Rd. Note directions to guide customers around the one-way.

Next: Backstreets travels across the pond for a few sidestreets of London...if I can remember how to get to Haunch of Venison Yard. - JB

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