the backstreets of toronto: larch street

After a break of a few months, time to ease back into exploring the city's backstreets with a short trip through Chinatown.

Larch runs a short distance, from Grange Ave to Dundas St W. Haven't been able to find much history about the street, other than it existed with its current name in the 1880s.

Larch St (1) Larch St (3)
Our journey starts at the south end. On the left is the complex at the the northeast corner of Larch and Grange, which reminded a fellow walker of an old hotel. On the right are the buildings opposite Larch - if anyone can translate the signs, leave a comment.

Larch St (4) Larch St (5)
Most of Larch is occupied by public housing, opened in 1996, that curls around from Grange. The west side of the street is shown on the left, east on the right (note the leftover election sign). As Richard Milgrom wrote in East/West: A Guide to Where People Live in Downtown Toronto:
Both buildings are three storeys high, fitting with the scale of the neighbourhood. The address the streets by providing many of the units with their own front doors, and the apartments on the east side of Larch are clustered around a semi-public courtyard. The project was constructed on top of a separately owned underground parking structure that was designed to serve businesses in the area. This complicated the development process and, despite the establishment of local working groups to discuss the concerns of residents and business owners, the project took almost ten years to complete. (126)

Larch St (2) Larch St (6)
Just before reaching Dundas, cars have to turn into alleys on either side of the street, as a concrete barrier suddenly blocks off Larch. Pedestrians have no problem carrying on.

Larch St (8) Larch St (9)
This barrier turns out to be the Larch St parking lot, into which all traffic coming off of Dundas must go into. On this day, foot traffic was heavier on the ramp than vehicular.

Larch St (12) Larch St (10)
One of the few Green P signs in the city with other lettering included (there are several others around Chinatown). Larch comes to an end next to a business many other streets wind up at across the country - Tim Horton's.

Larch St (11)
Looking across from the north end of the street along Dundas, including a building with possibly obscene graffiti.

Photos taken January 13, 2007


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