Month: February 2017

A Coxwell Avenue Secret

From Shacktown to Subsidized Housing Housing: Downtown and Shacktown Developers laid out new subdivisions beyond Shacktown to the east of Coxwell Avenue. In 1909 the City of Toronto annexed the area south of the Danforth between Greenwood Avenue and the Beach. It included the area called “Midway”, on the former Ashbridge’s farm, between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenues.  All was not smooth sailing.  Many Midway residents had to rely on City water carts for drinking water. Their wells were too contaminated to ever allow them to be used again. Safe drinking water was an urgent necessity when even the City water was bad. Toronto World, May 31, 1912 Toronto Star, May 17, 1912 The subdivision plan for Danforth-Woodbine Park. DANFORTH-WOODBINE PARK is right in the heart of that new suburban section of the city where development is the most rapid and where values are going to increase by leaps and bounds. DANFORTH-WOODBINE PARK is just such a subdivision as will prove the home seeker’s delight — where a man may build his home, and, while being in closest touch with …

Shacktown: Pump in the White Man

The Canadian Courier, Vol. V, No. 1, December 5, 1908   The Englishman in Canada has most of his troubles when he arrives. Shacktown began at a time of great expectations. There was an economic depression in Britain, following on an earlier depression in the 1890s. Unemployment soared and the big industrialized cities of Britain had high levels of poverty. The future looked bleak for many working class people in places like Belfast, Glasgow, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and other manufacturing centres. Governments and private charities sponsored immigration so that Britons could move to Canada where there was hope for a better future. The cost of a boat trip to Canada enabled many to escape poverty at home by going “to the Colonies”. A flood of immigrants to Canada from the big cities of Britain poured into Canada, and especially into Toronto, creating a housing boom and providing labour for the growing manufacturing sector here. These immigrants usually came as families, as immigrants still do today. Often a father, son or brother came first and a …

Not for Ourselves but For Others

Who were Granison and Luella Price and why should 6A Redwood Avenue be considered a heritage building? And what was the Eureka Club that first met there? Before I answer these questions, I want to say that sadly I do not have pictures of Luella and Granison. I do have a picture of what is likely Luella’s brother William Cooper. When I first started researching my neighbourhood some twenty years ago or more, I was told that there were no black people in Leslieville. Oral history I found in the local history collection at the Toronto Public Library supported this. And I think I should say that it was a WASP neighbourhood. As a matter of fact, I think it was Hughie Garner that said we were WASPO – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Orangemen. Olwen Anderson It was a predominantly English, Irish and Scotch stronghold. Bruce N. Rooney When I was a boy, very rarely you met anybody who wasn’t born here or Anglo-Saxon or whatever you call them. Harry Wilmot I did discover a few …