Author: Joanne Doucette

Who’s Who: Gerrard-Coxwell to Norwood Ave.

Back in 1907, Shacktown was springing up along Coxwell and Gerrard and new streets welcomed British immigrants with their “tarpaper castles” and big dreams. New names filled the City Directories, creating a puzzle for their compilers and editors. Just what to call this new suburb? This area was not part of the City of Toronto until 1909, but neither was it part of the Town of East Toronto east of Norwood Road. It was in the old Township of York East. City Directories, like many others, did not know what to call the “no man’s land” between the City of Toronto and the Town of East Toronto. Here they lump it in with the old village of Norway which was originally centered around the “four corners” at Kingston Road and Woodbine. But many others called it “Midway”, simply because it was midway between Toronto and East Toronto. Almost 100 acres of the hilly, ravine-cut area belonged to the Toronto Golf Club. The Golf Club stretched between Coxwell and Woodbine, north of what is now Dundas Street, …

Picturing Little India

Using Photos All the photos above were from the City of Toronto Archives. This information tells me where to find the photo and similar photos and whether I can legally use this photo. Archival citation: Fonds 200, Series 1465, File 383 Title: South Riverdale Date(s) of creation of record(s) 1975-1988 Physical description of record(s) 25 transparencies : col ; 35mm Forms part of Fonds 200; Former City of Toronto fonds Series 1465; Urban Design photographs Scope and content File consists of images of Little India along Gerrard East, and the Canada Metal Company building on Carlaw at Rushbrooke, as well as houses in the area. Subjects Dundas St E (Toronto, Ont.) Riverdale (Toronto, Ont. : Neighbourhood) South Asian Canadians INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES HOUSES STORES Record consists of 25 [browse] Access conditions OPEN – No restrictions on these government records. Copyright conditions Copyright is held by the City of Toronto….more To request records at the archives Please fill out the Records Request Form available at the Reference Desk, indicating: Location: Spadina Records Centre Box: 489347 Folio: 3 Why is …

Ew! On Eastern Ave.

Landlord: That smell’s the tannery; God help you in summer. If there’s one good thing, the rats can’t climb this high, but the water can – that roof hasn’t got long. Giacomo Casanova: You’re not exactly selling it. From the movie Casanova, 2005 Where did it all begin? In 1852 John Clarke opened a small tannery on the Otonabee River in Ashburnham, now part of Peterborough. In 1882 his three sons, Alfred Russell, Frederick G., and Charles F., moved the tannery to Toronto and Alfred R. Clarke took over sole ownership. The tannery was very successful, but, besides the notoriously bad stench associated with tanneries, it had other problems, including labour unrest. In 1893 the Working Women’s Protective Association went out on strike by at the A.R. Clarke & Co. glove factory in a fight for factory reform law and votes for women. The strike ran for about three months. Eugene Forsey, Eugene. Trade Unions in Canada, 1812-1902.  (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982) 329- 300. [Building Permits] A. R. Clarke, a three-story factory in Eastern avenue, …

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 …