Old Toronto Pictures from the Toronto Star

19300306 TS Adelaide Street courthouse

Adelaide Street courthouse, Toronto Star, March 6, 1930\

19300306 TS Historic graveyards Scarborough

Toronto Star, March 6, 1930

19300307 TS Northern Congregational Church Church & Woods

Northern Congregational Church Church and Woods (no longer exists) Toronto Star, March 7, 1930

19300308 TS City Bank of Montreal Building Bay and Wellington

City Bank of Montreal Building Bay and Wellington, March 8, 1930 (no longer exists)

19300310 TS Baptist Church Adelaide Street

Baptist Church Adelaide Street, Toronto Star, March 10, 1930 (No longer exists)

19300308 TS City Bank of Montreal Building Bay and Wellington

City Bank of Montreal Building Bay and Wellington, March 8, 1930 (no longer exists)

19300310 TS Baptist Church Adelaide Street

Baptist Church Adelaide Street, Toronto Star, March 10, 1930 (No longer exists)

19300311 TS Zion Congregational Church Adelaide & Bay

Zion Congregational Church Adelaide and Bay, Toronto Star, March 11, 1930 (No longer exists)

19300312 TS Masonic Hall Toronto Street

Masonic Hall, Toronto Street, Toronto Star, March 12, 1930 (no longer exists)

19300313 TS College Avenue

College Avenue, Toronto Star, March 13, 1930

19300314 TS Unitarian Church, Jarvis Street

Unitarian Church, Jarvis Street, March 14, 1930 (No longer exists)

19300315 TS Globe & Canadian Farmer bldgs King Street

Globe and Canadian Farmer Building King Street, March 15, 1930

19300316 TS Bond Street Congregational Church

Bond Street Congregational Church, Toronto Star, March 16, 1930 (no longer exists)

19300318 TS St. Peter's Church Seaton St n of Carleton

St. Peter’s Church Seaton Street, Toronto Star, March 18, 1930 (still standing, with additions)

19300319 TS Loretto Convent Bond Street

Sisters of Loretto (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary), Convent, Bond Street, March 19, 1930 (no longer exists though this Roman Catholic order of sister still does)

19300319 TS Royal Insurance Co Yonge and Wellington

Royal Insurance Compnay, Yonge and Wellington, Toronto Star, March 19, 1930 (no longer exists)

19300321 TS Mechanics Institute Church Street

Mechanics Institute, Church Street, Toronto Star, March 21, 1930 (No longer exists, forerunner of the Toronto Public Library)

From Farm to Shacktown to Bungalowland: Gerrard-Coxwell

The First Landowners
The First Land Grants. The road at the bottom of the map is Queen Street, first known as Kingston Road. It is the surveyor’s base line from which they laid out the grid of lots. The road at the top is Danforth Avenue. The double lines running north to south are sidelines dividing the area into three sections. Each section is subdivided into 5 lots numbered from east to west with the name of the man who owned that farm. The Don River is at the west and what is now Victoria Park marks the boundary between the Township of York and Scarborough. The sideline between 5 and 6 is Coxwell Avenue.
1851
The First Land Grants. The road at the bottom of the map is Queen Street, first known as Kingston Road. It is the surveyor’s base line from which they laid out the grid of lots. The road at the top is Danforth Avenue. The double lines running north to south are sidelines dividing the area into three sections. Each section is subdivided into 5 lots numbered from east to west with the name of the man who owned that farm. The Don River is at the west and what is now Victoria Park marks the boundary between the Township of York and Scarborough. The sideline between 5 and 6 is Coxwell Avenue.
1878 County Atlas Map Erie Terrace - Copy
Close up of the 1878 County Atlas Map of the Township of York. I’ve turned the map on its side so that west is at the top, east is at the bottom; south is at the left and north is at the right. The map is somewhat distorted but clearly shows the layout of the various farms. Each of the farms between Greenwood and Coxwell were owned by the Ashbridge’s family and men who married into the family e.g. Sam Hill, a farmer and ice dealer.
1878 Country Atlas with modern overlay. I've turned the previous 1878 County map so that could overlay a grid with modern streets shown. It then becomes quite clear how our street system is based on the farm boundaries.
1878 Country Atlas with modern overlay. I’ve turned the previous 1878 County map so that could overlay a grid with modern streets shown. It then becomes quite clear how our street system is based on the farm boundaries.
City Engineers Map 1892

City Engineers Map 1892 Showing the boundaries of the City of Toronto as “City Limit” in red. The lot lines still show, but streets hadn’t been built on them yet. The lot lines were the farm boundaries and had muddy lanes the farmers used to access their fields. Coxwell Avenue is a rough dirt road.

1896 Goads
The First Land Grants. The road at the bottom of the map is Queen Street, first known as Kingston Road. It is the surveyor’s base line from which they laid out the grid of lots. The road at the top is Danforth Avenue. The double lines running north to south are sidelines dividing the area into three sections. Each section is subdivided into 5 lots numbered from east to west with the name of the man who owned that farm. The Don River is at the west and what is now Victoria Park marks the boundary between the Township of York and Scarborough. The sideline between 5 and 6 is Coxwell Avenue.

In the 1896 map, E.H. Duggan, a real estate developer, now owns the farms between Woodfield Road at the east of the Ashbridge Estate and Coxwell Avenue. He has subdivided the area directly west of Coxwell Avenue that includes Rhodes and Craven, holding it for future development.

Erie Terrace is not yet built on. Houses show on the map as little black rectangles. Rhodes Avenue is very faintly marked between Gerrard and the railway tracks. Upper Gerrard exists as does lower Gerrard but they are both not much more that rutted dirt trails. If you look carefully at the very bottom of the map at the lower right you can see an estate marked “E. Simpson”. A knitting mill was built there in the 1860s by one of the most enterprising and important business men in the area, Joseph Simpson (1824-1898). I will write a separate story about this intriguing Jewish businessman from Charleston, South Carolina who panned for gold in the 1848 California Gold Rush and came to Canada as a “draft dodger” because he did not want to fight for the Confederacy. Ernest Simpson, the E. Simpson on the map, was his son.

EH Duggan ad
E. Henry Duggan, Vice-President, Ontario Industrial Loan and Investment Co. advertisement, Arcade Guide and Record, Toronto, Canada (1884), Developer of Coxwell, Rhodes and Craven
1893 Goad's Atlas map shwoing the farm boundaries.
1893 Goad’s Atlas map showing the farm boundaries.

In the 1893 map Reid Avenue (now Rhodes Avenue) has been laid out north of the track. The subdivision has been registered (the numbers in the oval). South of the tracks no road has been opened up yet Erie Terrace (Craven Road) is now a registered subdivision (see the number) and has been divided up into tiny lots on its side. Coxwell Avenue has also been subdivided all along its west side to Danforth Avenue. Duggan intentionally developed Erie Terrace as a “shacktown” with tiny houses on tiny lots and no infrastructure. At the same time, he held back the farm to the west, intending it to be developed later for more lucrative lots with more substantial houses. That is why the west side of Erie Terrace (Craven Road) was not built on.

Erie Terrace ad
Enter a captionOpening Erie Terrace (Craven Rd) west of Reid Ave (Rhodes Ave) Toronto Star, May 29, 1906
1903 Goads Atlas map
1903 Goads Atlas map.

In this 1903 map, Erie Terrace is not yet built on. Houses show on the map as little black rectangles. Rhodes Avenue is very faintly marked between Gerrard and the railway tracks. Upper Gerrard exists as does lower Gerrard but they are both not much more that rutted dirt trails. If you look carefully at the very bottom of the map at the lower right you can see an estate marked “E. Simpson”. A knitting mill was built there in the 1860’s by one of the most enterprising and important business men in the area, Joseph Simpson (1824-1898). I will write a separate story about this intriguing Jewish businessman from Charleston, South Carolina who panned for gold in the 1848 California Gold Rush and came to Canada as a “draft dodger” because he did not want to fight for the Confederacy. Ernest Simpson, the E. Simpson on the map, was his son. Joseph Simpson grazed his own sheep where Gerrard Square is today. Only the best wool was good enough for his Toronto Knitting Mills.

1894 Map showing the 1884 City of Toronto annexations in the East End. The area in yellow is still in the Town of York and could not be systematically developed for housing until it was part of the City of Toronto because there were no water mains, sewers, fire or police services.
1894 Map showing the 1884 City of Toronto annexations in the East End. The area in yellow is still in the Town of York and could not be systematically developed for housing until it was part of the City of Toronto because there were no water mains, sewers, fire or police services.
An 1891 map given away by the Bank of Commerce showing the Ward boundaries.
An 1891 map given away by the Bank of Commerce showing the Ward boundaries.
In 1909, after a referendum, the City of Toronto annexed the areas marked with pink.
In 1909, after a referendum, the City of Toronto annexed the areas marked with pink, as well as the Village of East Toronto which lay between the two pink areas on the right of the map.
CG 1910 Goads Atlas
The First Land Grants. The road at the bottom of the map is Queen Street, first known as Kingston Road. It is the surveyor’s base line from which they laid out the grid of lots. The road at the top is Danforth Avenue. The double lines running north to south are sidelines dividing the area into three sections. Each section is subdivided into 5 lots numbered from east to west with the name of the man who owned that farm. The Don River is at the west and what is now Victoria Park marks the boundary between the Township of York and Scarborough. The sideline between 5 and 6 is Coxwell Avenue.

Duggan has developed Ashdale Avenue as a slightly more upscale working class street than Erie Terrace (Craven Road). The backyards of the houses on Ashdale extend to Erie Terrace. There are no houses, therefore, on the west of Erie Terrace — just a few sheds. The houses are little rectangular squares. The ones in yellow (all of them) are made of wood or are roughcast (stucco and wood). Erie Terrace is on the right. There are, of course, shacks scattered all over “Shacktown” but they were not considered even houses by the those who drew up this map for fire insurance purposes. So they are not marked. Morley Avenue is Woodfield Road. Applegrove became part of Dundas Street in the 1950’s.

The subdivision and lot numbers are clear on this 1910 map, making it easier to research the history of individual houses. Robin Burgoyne of Caerwent House Stories is that expert on this.

See more at http://www.housestories.ca/

1907 Dominion of Canada topographical map. Coxwell Avenue is beginning to fill in with houses and Rhodes Avenue is built up too. Erie Terrace has houses on the one side.
1907 Dominion of Canada topographical map. Coxwell Avenue is beginning to fill in with houses and Rhodes Avenue is built up too. Erie Terrace has houses on the one side.
1923 Dominion of Canada topographical map. The neighbourhood west of Coxwell is beginning to look more like that of today. East of Coxwell is not yet build up yet although real estate agents were trying! The big open area between Grenwood and Woodfield Road south of Gerrard will, in1925, become the Ulster Stadium.
1923 Dominion of Canada topographical map. The neighbourhood west of Coxwell is beginning to look more like that of today. East of Coxwell is not yet build up yet although real estate agents were trying! The big open area between Greenwood and Woodfield Road south of Gerrard will, in1925, become the Ulster Stadium. The Duke of Connaught School is marked S for school as is Roden School north of Gerrard between Ashdale and Hiawatha. The streets are lined with bungalows and larger houses. There are still a few shacks, probably being remodelled and added to, but Coxwell-Gerrard is no longer Shacktown.
Toronto Star Jan 21 1924
Street name changes Toronto Star, Jan. 24, 1924
A 1947 Dominion of Canada aerial photo.
A 1947 Dominion of Canada aerial photo.
Goad's Map 1910. I have added labels.
Goad’s Map 1910. I have added labels.

I know many people may not enjoy maps. So I put this one last map in as a reward for those who don’t like maps but read this post anyway.

Flat Earth - Copy
A “Flat Earth” map from the 19th Century. Some days I do hope angels are holding the whole thing up!

1860 Ownership Map: The area east of the Don River

This map shows the larger land owners, property lines, roads, railroads, rivers and creeks. Built up areas are indicated by solid dark blocks like the one on the west side (left) of the map showing Riverside. Another is the solid block on Kingston Road in Norway Village.
Charles Coxwell Small owned all the land from the lake to Danforth Avenue from Coxwell to Woodbine Avenue. Coxwell Avenue is named after him.
Don and Danforth Road is now Danforth Avenue.
Riverside and Leslieville, 1860.
The Beaches or “The Beach” had not yet become a resort.
South of the Don and Danforth Road (Danforth Avenue) large lots, running from north to south in long, linear strips were, granted to the first settlers. Roads were horrible and every landowner or tenant wanted access to a waterway to ship produce out and goods in. North of the Danforth the lots ran west to east so that farmers had frontage on the Don River.
The road running north from Norway was an indigenous trail, later called Dawes Road. It connected with Kingston Road until 1884 when the Grand Trunk Railway built a rail yard and roundhouse complex at Main Street. The road cutting north east off the Kingston Road at Jame Beatty’s property was the original route of the Kingston Road and was known as “The Old Kingston Road”. It is now Clonmore Drive.

There’s a crack in everything

liberty_bell_2008
The Liberty Bell
Photo by Tony the Misfit on Flickr – [1], CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11201228

Well, to paraphrase as Leonard Cohen sang, “Everything has a crack in it, that’s how the light gets in…”

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in


From Anthem by Leonard Cohen

It appears I was “snookered” along with a whole lot of other people on the quote on our plaque.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  -Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)

It appears that Harriet Tubman did not say the words attributed to her on the plaque.

https://gizmodo.com/even-google-got-fooled-by-a-fake-harriet-tubman-quote-1772260111

Thanks to Toronto historian Kathy Grant, I’m aware of the problem with the plaque wording.

Here’s the back story. We did our best three years ago in terms of due diligence, believing our sources were valid and checking with various authorities. However, this was before the word was out there on the Net that this was very likely not Harriet Tubman’s words even though a scholar discovered that the quote didn’t begin to appear until 2007. http://www.harriettubmanbiography.com/harriet-tubman-myths-and-facts.html

Here was one of our original sources for the quote:

Barbara Lee, Renegade for peace and justice Congresswoman Barbara Lee speaks for me, 2008 cover

Barbara Lee, Renegade for Peace and Justice: Congresswoman Barbara Lee speaks for Me, 2008 see p. 125

Our own [belated] search for original 19th century sources came up with nothing, no evidence that Harriet Tubman said this or anything like this. However, there is an eerie echoe from another leading Black American:

How easy, then, by emphasis and omission to make children believe that every great soul the world ever saw was  a white man’s soul; that every great thought the world ever knew was a white man’s thought; that every great deed the world ever did was a white man’s deed; that every great dream the world ever sang was a white man’s dream. — W.E.B. Dubois, W.E.B. Dubois, Darkwater: voices from within the veil, 1920, p. 2

The sentiments in the quote purportedly from Harriet Tubman are still true though the quotes we have from her are generally pithy and too the point. 

Harriet Tubman, on bringing people to Canada from Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman By Sarah Hopkins Bradford.

But the real value of the plaque is not that quote but the recognition of the people and families who came here and made their homes here after escaping slavery. Their lives were hard, marked by tragedy all too often.

March 21, 1876 The Times
But from the earliest days here in Toronto, members of Leslieville’s black community like the Cheney family were involved in the Underground Railroad. Globe, April 29, 1851

I can personally vouch for the research on that and am more than happy to share the sources with anyone who is interested. If it brings a little more light to this history through this particular crack, then good.
 
“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven”.

Harriet Tubman, Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman by Sarah Hopkins Bradford, 1869

PS We should say up front that the quote is “attributed to Harriet Tubman”.

Joanne Doucette

 

Plaque to Underground Railroad

We hope you will be able to join us for at 11:30 a.m. on November 19, 2019, at The Logan Residences, 899 Queen Street East. The Leslieville Historical Society and The Daniels Corporation will unveil a plaque recognizing the Underground Railroad and the families who made their way to freedom, forming a black community here from the early 19th century.

Here is the wording of the plaque:

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)

Many families came to Toronto in the1800s to escape slavery, violence and oppression in the American South. They courageously followed the dangerous path to freedom via the Underground Railroad and some settled here, near the corner of Queen Street East and Logan Avenue. While a few returned south after the Civil War (1861-1865), many remained, helping to forge the identity of Leslieville today.

This plaque commemorates these families: the Barrys, Cheneys, Dockertys,Harmons, Johnsons, Lewises, Sewells, Whitneys, Wilrouses, Winders, Woodforksand others who came here from Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia and other States.

BY THE LESLIEVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETYWITH THE DANIELS CORPORATION AND THEIR PARTNER STANLEY GARDEN
2019

In 1793 Upper Canada passed law banning the import of slaves (first such law in British Empire (9 July). The Abolition Act decreed slave children born in Upper Canada from this day forward are to be freed when they are 25. In the 1840s and 1850s a series of American court decisions and laws tightened slavery’s grip and made escape even more dangerous. Increasingly, refugees from slavery headed to Canada, many using the secret network known as The Underground Railroad, but most travelling alone or in small family groups with no help from anyone, using the Northern Star to guide their way.

By the mid-1860s 60 to 75 black people lived here, out of a population of Leslieville’s population of about 350. We honor their contributions to our community where their descendants still live and work today.

1909 Map: The East End

1909 Map of Township of York and City of Toronto East Toronto (north of Benlamond)
1909 Map of Township of York and City of Toronto East Toronto (south of Gerrard but not including the Beach)
1909 Map of Township of York and City of Toronto- Woodbine to Victoria Park
1909 Map of Township of York and City of Toronto Leslieville and Riverside
1909 Map of Township of York and City of Torontonorth shore of Ashbridges B
1909 Map of Township of York and City of Toronto Midway (north)
1909 Map of Township of York and City of Toronto Midway (south)