Monday, December 28, 2015

off the grid: ghost city balmy beach club

This installment of my "Ghost City" column for The Grid was originally published on April 23, 2013.

Photo taken April 2013.
When prominent jurist and one-time Mayor of Toronto Sir Adam Wilson partitioned his property along Lake Ontario in January 1876, he set aside a portion for use as a public “promenade and recreation grounds.” Within a few years, the community of Balmy Beach grew around Wilson’s lands, which sat amid the growing amusement parks and cottages that spurred the development of The Beach.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

off the grid: ghost city 260 church street

This installment of my "Ghost City" column for The Grid was originally published on September 25, 2012.

260 Church Street, May 7, 1913. City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Subseries 1, Item 35. Click on image for larger version. 
At street level, the Pizza Pizza at the southwest corner of Church and Dundas deviates little from other branches of the chain. Apart from reproductions of vintage French advertisements on the wall and lights dangling like teardrops from the ceiling, 260 Church Street bears the same orange colour scheme and the same special-touting window ads as other locations. But a glance at the upper two levels of its exterior reveals that past orders inside included bank deposits with a side of dipping into savings.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

before yorkdale had fashionable santas

Don Mills Mirror, November 22, 1972

Yorkdale Shopping Centre has earned more than the usual publicity for one of its Santas this year -- "Fashion Santa," a sartorially-smart take on the jolly old elf. While this take on St. Nick is designed to appeal to adults, kids can still find a traditional Santa at the mall much as they have since the 1960s.

Yorkdale was among the North York malls the Don Mills Mirror visited in 1972 to talk to the men behind the beards. While I mentioned this story in a "Vintage Toronto Ads" column for Torontoist, here is the full article.

dmm 72-12-13 local santa clauses
Don Mills Mirror, December 13, 1972. Click on image for larger version.

Friday, December 04, 2015

off the grid: ghost city rosedale park

This installment of my "Ghost City" column for The Grid was originally published on November 20, 2012. An expanded version was published on Tales of Toronto.

Rosedale Field clubhouse, November 30, 1921. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 615.
During World War II, Montreal-based Park Steamship Company named additions to its war cargo fleet after a few Canadian parks. Among those chosen were Hillcrest and Rosedale. Assigned to write historical plaques about each park, poet P.K. Page contacted Toronto civic officials for background information. Parks commissioner Charles E. Chambers provided Page with the info she required, but noted at the end of a March 27, 1944 letter that “neither park has any historical importance.”