Saturday, 3 May 2014

Jane's Walk - Visions of Parkdale Past and Future, In the Balance, Toronto, ON

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

We did the Visions of Parkdale Past and Future, in the Balance walk.  We live near Parkdale so thought it would be interesting.  It started at Queen Street W/King Street W/Roncesvales and ended at King Street W/Atlantic and was about two hours.


Alec Keefer will lead us through what remains of the first lakeside Estates near King Street, then show us remnants of the mansions on Jameson. Where are they? We will see the middle class homes and institutions on Dunn and other streets. We will see the various pockets of blue collar housing. Why are they in these places? Alec will trace the changes in Spencer and Tyndall, leading us into Liberty Village, at the border of Parkdale. 

Jack Gibney will describe a vision of a beautiful historic village with increased housing, commercial and parking space and plans to preserve some beautiful buildings and make Parkdale the Paris of Toronto.

Our starting point

Alec Keefer led the walk.  He was very knowledgeable about the neighbourhood and passionate about sharing the information. He has lived in Parkdale for over 30 years and is the author of numerous books mostly on the architectural growth of this city. Jack developed the Parkdale Village Historical Society with Alec.

Jack and Alec

Before we started, they had everyone swear we wouldn't complain about the weather ... alas, that didn't work to hold off the rain.

Mona, Jack and Alec

There was a lot of information and I made notes as we went ... and still missed a lot.  I researched to try to fill in some of the blanks.

The Edgewater Hotel was built early in the 20th century and
became a Howard Johnson Hotel in 2006. 
The McDonalds next door to it used to be a Gray Coach bus station.
The building behind the Eggsmart was the Ocean House Hotel
until the early 1950s and the top floor was removed.

We walked east along King Street W and headed north on Triller Avenue, which is now a combination of older houses and apartment buildings, which Jane would have approved of.

Built in 1912

We walked back to King Street W and headed east to Wilson Park Road.

The yellow house down the end of this laneway
was once was an estate house that sat on its own.
The front of the house faces the lane.
When it was built, these two other houses didn't exist
and the laneway was a long driveway from the house
to King.  Now the back of the house, which sits
at an odd angle between two streets,
has an address on Beatty, the street behind.
A house of octagons

We headed back east along King Street W and then south on Dowling Avenue.

Built in 1870
There was a veranda on the right side (south side) of
this house to catch the breeze coming up from the lake.

Along the way, we walked by Glenavon Road, which heads west from Dowling Avenue.

The first black doctor in Canada, Anderson Ruffin Abbott's house
is on the SE corner of King Street W/Dowling Avenue
Abbott's house
The NE corner of King Street W/Dowling Avenue

Most of the houses on Jameson Avenue were demolished to make way for apartment buildings.


We headed south on Close Avenue and stopped by Jack and Mona's house.


Across the street is the Parkdale United Church, which was built in 1976 to replace the original one which opened in 1878.


We walked back to King Street W.

This apartment building was one of the first built with full electricity

The houses south on Cowan Avenue apparently don't have much of a backyard.

NE corner of Cowan Avenue

And then the rain started.

An apartment building on the SW corner of Spencer Avenue
Tyndall Avenue, which has many apartment buildings,
has extremely wide boulevards

We headed south on Dufferin.

This huge old house  on Dufferin Street, just south of King Street W,
was sold to the City of Toronto by the Salvation Army in 2011.
The City plans on demolishing it to make a park.

We headed east on Liberty Street.

The Toronto Carpet Factory was built between 1899 and 1920. 
In the 1980s, it was converted into office and commercial use.
Formerly called the Radcliff building; it is now the Dufferin Liberty Centre.
It was built in 1908 by Sunbeam General Electric and-
later became the Canadian head office and manufacturing.
The "Castle" building was built in 1912 by the E.W. Gillett Company
for production of Magic Baking Powder, Royal Yeast Cakes, and perfumed lye. 
Kobo and Sirius are there now.
This is where the Andrew Mercer Reformatory
Ontario Reformatory Facility for Females was, which was torn down in 1969,
and as now the location of Lamport Stadium.
In 1901, G.M. Miller built this building for his Ontario Wind, Engine
and Pump Company; it is now a work / live artist studio space.
Built in 1890, the Brunswick Balke Collender Company bought the building
and began manufacturing billiard tables, cues, balls and billiards accessories;
office use since the 1980s.
Former location of WarAmps
Built in 1912, it was the former CIBC book vault for records;
now used by the City of Toronto restoration department.

Former site of Barrymore Furniture

It was an interesting walk and make me look at buildings I've never noticed before.

3 comments:

Masshole Mommy said...

My hubby and I love going on tours like this!!

Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

These are such great walks. Unfortunately, I missed that it was happening until too late! Maybe next year!

Jack Gibney said...

Very well documented article. I hope in future you will cover more Historical walks in Parkdale and allow the Parkdale village Historical Society to include your articles on pvhs.info.Jack Gibney