Saturday 4 May 2013

Jane's Walk - The Architectural Legacy of The Village of Parkdale 1879 – 1889, Toronto, ON

Gord and I did a Jane's Walk at 1:30pm today.

Jane’s Walk celebrates the ideas and legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs by getting people out exploring their neighbourhoods and meeting their neighbours. Free walking tours held on the first weekend of May each year are led by locals who want to create a space for residents to talk about what matters to them in the places they live and work. Since its inception in Toronto in 2007, Jane’s Walk has expanded rapidly. In May of 2011, 511 walks were held in 75 cities in 15 countries worldwide. 

We did the Architectural Legacy of The Village of Parkdale 1879 – 1889 walk ... it was 1.5 hours.

Jack Gibney, of The Parkdale Village Historical Society and Meghan Edmonds, of the Roncesvalles Village Historical Society invite you on a trip down old Queen Street, to a time when life was slower, and less frantic. We will see examples of beautiful historic architecture, some in need of care and hear a tale of murder in 1894 on Jameson Ave. Learn the unusual origins of street names such as Tyndal, Spencer, as well as landowners O’Hara and Brock . Discover why Parkdale is one of the most historic and architecturally beautiful neighbourhoods of Toronto.

Parkdale is a neighbourhood and former village in Toronto, west of our 'hood.  Parkdale was founded as an independent settlement in the 1850s. It became an incorporated village in 1879 and later joined Toronto in 1889. It was an upper income residential area for the first half of the 20th century, with several notable mansions. The area changed dramatically with the building of the Gardiner Expressway in 1955, demolishing the southern section of the neighbourhood together with the Sunnyside Amusement Park, and the creation of a barrier between the neighbourhood and the lakeshore. This led to both an outflux of prosperous residents west and a decline in the local economy. Most of the residential buildings remain though many were converted into rooming houses but the demographic composition has changed considerably, including a higher proportion of lower incomes and newcomer families. Today, it is largely a working-class neighbourhood, with a mix of low and high income residents as well as new immigrants, and many artists and young professionals.

We started off at the corner of Queen Street W, King Street W and Roncesvalles.  There's the Eggsmart where Gord and I like to go for breakfast ... it used to be the Oceanview Hotel.

We walked east along Queen Street W looking at the buildings.  Though Jack pointed out the buildings, it would have been nice if he'd known the history of them (he only knew about a few).

Meghan was knowledgeable and told us stories about the neighbourhood ... such street name origins, Clara Ford (she was a "woman of colour" who had been arrested for killing a rich white man in 1894 and was acquitted), the KluKlux Klan rallying in Parkdale, etc.

 Jack spent a lot of time taking pictures of us.

This would have been downtown Parkdale.

Are there any bricks still under that siding?

Great detail on the buildings
 This has always been a hardware store (according the research Gord had done).

A ram's head on the hardware building

We saw a lot of great old architecture on our walk ... as I said, it would have been nice to know more of the history.

1 comment:

Masshole Mommy said...

I love walking tours!