Monday, November 30, 2015

bonus features: scenes from the brunswick house

This post offers supplementary material for an article I recently wrote for Torontoist, which you should read before diving into this piece.

Globe, December 12, 1921
Ontario implemented prohibition of liquor sales via the Ontario Temperance Act in 1916. It was about as successful as such things go, which is to say, people still wanted to drink. Its repeal began in 1924 (after which weaker beer was allowed), then replaced entirely in 1927 by the creation of the LCBO.

A follow-up to Mr. Jennes's transgression appeared in the Globe five days later. Along the line, his last name lost an "e":
Fred Jenns, bartender at the Brunswick Hotel, was fined $50 and costs or 10 days for obstructing  the police. Jenns held on to an officer when he entered to look for liquor. The explanation was that Jenns kept a little liquor for his own use, and that he did not mean to obstruct the police.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

off the grid: retro t.o. the end of eaton's

This installment of my "Retro T.O." column for The Grid was originally published on August 28, 2012. This was the final installment of the column, though I continued writing for the paper under the "Ghost City" banner.
Toronto Star, August 21, 1999.
“The notice posted on the doors of the flagship Eaton’s store in the Toronto Eaton Centre on the morning of August 23, 1999 is not the usual professional presentation,” observed Eaton-family biographer Rod McQueen. “The 8-1/2 by 11″ document has been photocopied and hung in place with Scotch tape. The typescript statement, evocative of the words carved on a tombstone, reads: ‘The T. Eaton Company Limited, an insolvent person, pursuant to subsection 50.4(1) of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, intends to make a proposal to its creditors.’”

Shoppers lined up outside the store that morning, expecting bargains galore as Eaton’s began to liquidate its stock. They were disappointed; the details were still being worked out, and the great sell-off wouldn’t begin for two more days. While some customers bought items before they vanished forever, others browsed quickly before wandering off empty-handed. Nostalgia for a faltering Canadian icon was one thing; benefitting from its misery was another.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

off the grid: retro t.o. dining at the coxwell kresge

This installment of my "Retro T.O." column for The Grid was originally published on June 26, 2012.

Kresge's Come to Toronto
Toronto Star ad announcing Kresge's arrival in Toronto, June 12, 1929. The original location on Danforth west of Woodbine is, as of November 2015, occupied by Dollarama. Click on image for larger version.
While modern successors of five-and-dime stores like Dollarama expand across the city, they lack certain attributes their ancestors possessed. You won’t find the mingling of odours from parakeets, popcorn, and rubber boots. You won’t find the latest chart-topping records. And, in the chains at least, you won’t find a classic lunch counter.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

off the grid: ghost city 20 st. joseph street

This installment of my "Ghost City" column for The Grid was originally published on November 6, 2012.

Creating more space within a heritage building can be tricky, especially if plans outlining previous changes are unavailable. When the Canadian Music Centre wanted to open up its main floor for a performance space and lounge, architects worked around obstacles like central-air ducts installed over the course of the former Victorian home’s history.