Friday, August 11, 2006

the backstreets of toronto: frank kovac lane

Frank Kovac Lane
Be a good neighbour and you could have a street named after you.

Frank Kovac owned a garage on Harbord St for three decades before passing away in 2002. According to this report, the local residents association proposed to name the laneway by the garage "Frank's Alley". Apparently apostrophes and "alley" are frowned upon by those in charge of street names, so the more formal "Frank Kovac Lane" was the name given in April 2003. Note in the report the objections raised by police and emergency services, due to too many streets named after guys named Frank. This should not discourage all other Franks out there from being neighbourly.

Globe and Mail piece by Rick Salutin on Kovac. Another story about Kovac's passing.



The lay of the land - Frank Kovac Lane is in green.

Church of St. Mary of Magdalene Anglican Church - Front View Church of St. Mary of Magdalene - East Side
Our journey begins with Church of St. Mary of Magdalene Anglican Church, bounded by Manning, Ulster and Frank Kovac. Opened in 1888, the exterior was completed 20 years later.

Cutout View IMG_0919a
The view north, artsy-fartsied up to hide the fact the shot was a tad blurry (I'm still adjusting to the new camera). The church is on the left, Healey Willan Park on the right.

Note the sign, using the old brown-and-yellow style favoured everywhere for park signs in the 70s. Alas, like the classic provincial signs, these are going the way of the dodo, replaced with the post-amalgamation blue signs.

Healey Willan (1880-1968) was a composer, instructor at U of T and choirmaster at St. Mary of Magdalene from the 20s through 60s (Encyclopedia of Music in Canada entry). Along with opera singer Emma Albani, Willan was one of the first musicians to appear on a Canadian postage stamp, in 1980.

Healey Willan Park - Landscape Shot Tic Tac Toe
A landscape look at the park. Couldn't resist a closer look at the tic tac toe game, which somehow had set for a fresh game.

I Win
When playing by yourself, it's hard to lose.

Looking North Freshly Painted...
Finally, time to actually walk down Frank Kovac Lane. Like any laneway, the condition of the car barns and garages vary, from the freshly painted...

...Or Rusting Away
...to the not-so-fresh.

Swag Toyko Was Here
The lane boasts some graffiti, with Swag and Toyko dominating garage doors.

The Southward View Frank's Garage
Looking south from the north end of Frank Kovac Lane, at Harbord St. The garage on the right was Frank's, which still appears to be for rent.

War Memorial, Harbord Collegiate Institute
Lying in front of the northern end is Harbord Collegiate Institute. Educating students since 1892, the school has been around long enough to boast a memorial for alumni killed in World War I. - JB

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