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Goodbye to a local land mark

By Joanne Doucette

Leslie House at Jones and Queen (north east corner) torn down Telegram October 20, 1923
Globe, May 6, 1893 showing a separate entrance for his office
George Leslie’s house at the north east corner of Queen and Jones (undated, but probably early 1920s). The verandah and main entrance faced on Jones. Originally the main entrance was on Queen Street.
The stores that replaced the Leslie house, 1986
Goad’s Map 1910. I have added labels.
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October 14: more deaths and soon come the anti-maskers, etc.

By Joanne Doucette

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait of the Artist with the Spanish Flu (1919)
More Flu deaths at the training camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake, The Gazette, October 14, 1918
Personal protective devices, home-made by medical staff themselves
Flu deaths in Ontario The Gazette, Oct. 14, 1918
Medical authorities warned the public…
…but early on the information was not always correct, undermining credibility
American anti-mask rally, 1919 Public Domain
Edvard Munch, The Scream
Sled dogs rescue man Globe, February 1, 1919
Andrew Coulter, 128 Curzon St Toronto Star, March 12, 1919
Andrew Coulter, 128 Curzon St Toronto Star, March 12, 1919
Many simply stayed home and coped as best they could
People wiped surfaces rigorously with strong disinfectants, Saturday Evening Post, March 29, 1919
Promises, promises
Statistics deaths in Toronto for 1918, Toronto Star, May 15 1919
In this the second wave, hospitals quickly filled up again and the shortage of nurses was again acute.
The Pandemic’s impact on the supply chain, Globe, January 2, 1919
Flu back in Toronto The Gazette, Jan. 12, 1920
Mixing different kinds of vaccines to combat the Pandemic, The Canada Lancet, April, 1919
The official voice of Canadian doctors, Canada Lancet, supporting vaccination, November 1919
Dr. Charles Hastings, appointed by the Province of Ontario and not answerable to Toronto City Council, strongly supported vaccinations
Anti Vaccination League, Toronto Star, November 18, 1919 Dr. Hastings, the City’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, supported compulsory vaccination. Vaccines against influenza had been invented but were not widely available.
Anti-vaccination Rally on the Steps of the Toronto City Hall
Globe, November 20, 1919
Globe, November 20, 1919
Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait of the Artist after the Spanish Flu 1919
Inside cover, Maclean’s, April 2, 1955: a cartoon criticizing people who diagnosed themselves and picked and chose new medicines according to their misconceptions
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October: The Month from Hell

page 1033 of Ontario Sessional Papers, 1919, No.26-41 Public Domain

If you lived in Toronto in the fall of 1918, you probably had a great sense of hope for a better future. The Great War to end all Wars seemed to be coming to an end. The Allied forces, including Canadian battalions, were sweeping back Germans along the Western Front.

Canadians returning victorious from The Battle of Courcelette, September 1916, Library and Archives Canada

Yet the men in the trenches were worn out. Casualties, both dead and wounded, were still high. The country was split over conscription and recruitment and training were ongoing. Men packed into military camps and aboard troop ships to Europe just as returning soldiers, mostly wounded, packed ships heading home.

First aid being rendered to wounded at Courcelette September 1916

Conditions for civilians “Over There” were horrendous as refugees tramped the roads, families cowered in basements and starvation stalked the towns and countryside.

The Survey April-September 1920, p 350 Public Domain

And rumours of a new mystery illness had been appearing in letters from overseas and in the newspapers since the previous winter. China was diving into an epidemic and sick soldiers were beginning to die — Americans, British, Canadians, Australians, Indians, Africans, Russians, Germans, Austrians, Italians. The new illness seemed to be a form of the flu that once it took hold often progressed to a deadly pneumonia in an age without antivirals or antibiotics.

Globe, Jan. 5, 1918
Globe, January 17, 1918

In Toronto, cases of pneumonia began to appear here and there in the papers. Often the victims were young and healthy with no preexisting conditions. These cases were not yet identified as influenza. But those who read the paper knew something dark was on the horizon. The military would be the vector, flu’s main line across the globe and to Toronto.

Flu kills Ulster team player Toronto Star May 13 1918
Riverdale Camp, 1915
Camp Kosciuszko, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Flu in Polish camp at Niagara Globe, Sept. 18, 1918

In mid September cases of influenza began to appear among the Polish soldiers at the Canadian Military training camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake. “Lieut.-Col. Le Pan does not anticipate any serious results from the epidemic.” Authorities seem to take the deaths of Josef Zabezyk and Kazinners Kolonaki, both Polish Americans, the first deaths, lightly. But were officials simply trying to reassure the public? This was wartime and the army authorities knew full well what was going on in Europe. Propaganda was “part and parcel” of war.

Some propaganda was worse than others,: a lot of it was sexist and much of it was racist, though Canadians of European ancestry wouldn’t have seen it that way at the time. Indigenous people maybe not so much. I wonder what the Cree syllabics say.

A week later the flu was in Toronto, but no deaths had yet been identified. Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Hastings, offered guidelines to help prevent infection and spread of the new illness. Some are familiar to us 103 years later: avoid crowds, wash your hands, get outside (breathe pure air). Others seem downright weird: breath through your nose, chew your food well, “don’t let the waste products of digestion accumulate” (don’t be full of shit), avoid tight shoes. But the Pandemic of 2020-2022 offers advice just as useless and more dangerous: inject yourself with chlorine bleach, take pills vets prescribe for cows and horses, don’t get the COVID vaccine, diagnose and prescribe for yourself and your family, etc.

Toronto Star, Sept 23, 1918
Toronto Star, Sept 23, 1918

By September, Toronto had its first official flu death. Some schools were in quarantine as were some military centres in the city. Dr. George W. Ross was prescient.

Keep Away From Coughers Take No Chances, Cough Drop ad to prevent flu, Public Domain

People tried everything they could think of including cough drops to prevent getting the flu. They opened windows on streetcars and in homes, but dark jokes began to spread.

We opened the winda

And in flu Enza.

Masks were initially not recommended and then medical recommended them and soon political authorities mandated them. And some resisted.

Illustrated Current News, 1918, Collection National Library of Medicine Public Domain
Public Domain

Growth was exponential as Toronto entered the October from Hell.

Triaging in Toronto, Vancouver Daily World, Oct. 7, 1918
Flu makes orphan Ivy Avenue, Toronto Star, Oct. 11, 1918

October 12, 1918 Toronto’s Day from Hell

By October 12, the hospitals were triaging, turning away patients they thought might have a chance of survival or just accepting patients on a first-come-first-served basis. Doctors and nurses were not seeing those we would think would be least likely to survive: elderly, frail people and young children and infants. Those who were dying were, overwhelmingly, young and healthy men and women, in all neighbourhoods including older areas in the East End such as Riverside, Leslieville and Todmorden and new neighbourhoods spreading across the farm fields of the Ashbridges, Charles Coxwell Small, the Sammons, Cosburns and others. Even the new cottage communities along the Beach were not spared.

October 12, 1918, Toronto’s Day from Hell, began.

Influenza spreads across Toronto, Influenza deaths Toronto Star, Oct. 12, 1918
Some of the many deaths from influenza at the Niagara Military Camp and the Toronto General Hospital on College Street.

Like now, there simply were not enough trained and qualified doctors, nurses and other staff to care for the seriously ill. Voluntary in this case did not mean unpaid. Those doing the hands-on work of cleaning, feeding, and caring were then and now paid low wages and themselves falling prey to the Pandemic of their time.

Appeal for Volunteers Flu Toronto Star Oct 12 1918
The Gazette, Oct. 12, 1918

A temporary lockdown began.

Lockdown begins, Dr. Hastings, Toronto’s Chief Medial Officer, The Gazette, Oct. 12, 1918
Deaths rise Toronto, The Gazette, Oct. 12, 1918

Dr. Hastings arranged for supplies and beds for overflow facilities. Big business began to move to combat the Pandemic.

No more movies, The Gazette, Oct. 12, 1918
Calgary Herald, Oct. 12, 1918

Even the deeply religious no longer relied on prayer alone.

Baptist Convention cancelled The Gazette, Oct. 12, 1918 1
Record of influenza death at the Niagara Military Camp, October 13, 1918, Burial at St. John of Norway Cemetery

This man kept Thanksgiving by travelling to Toronto and playing billiards on arrival. He read the newspapers…and caught a chill.

Diary entries of Edward G.R. Ardagh, October 14-17, 1918, Archives of Ontario Public Domain
Globe, October 15, 1918

More emergency measures put in places and more volunteers called for.

Toronto Star, October 16, 1918
Ontario Emergency Volunteer Health Auxiliary, October 16, 1918 Archives of Ontario Public Domain

People began confronting those who refused to wear masks in public.

The Evening Star, October 16, 1918 Public Domain

A vaccine was available at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Mayo wasn’t sure if his jab would work for everyone and seemed unaware of side effects when he said, “We are not absolutely sure, except that we know the inoculation can do no harm.” Facilities couldn’t make it fast enough to give everyone the vaccine, but Dr. William James Mayo downplayed the flu, reassuring those who couldn’t get it or couldn’t afford it. Dr. Michael Mayo treats COVID patients today.

Influenza vaccine, Mayo Clinic, Toronto Star, October 16, 1918

You could buy insurance against influenza, but how high were the premiums?

Toronto Star, October 16, 1918
Globe, October 18, 1918

People quickly came up with new and supposedly improved masks.

Flu mask, Globe, October 18, 1918 Montreal inventor
Toronto Daily Star, 23 Oct 1918 chart

And the numbers continued to rise, but, like now, statistics were hard to gather. But arrangements could be made for free delivery of free sup0plies to the home.

Toronto Daily Star, 23 Oct 1918

Quack cures and fake news abounded, mostly by word-of-mouth. Although the main stream media accepted ads like this, reporters were careful to adhere to the journalistic standards of the day. By and large, their stories were accurate.

Toronto Daily Star, 23 Oct 1918 false news remedy

A lot of people repurposed their Ultra-Violet home machines in 2020-2021. They bought them to disinfect the tubing, parts and masks of their CPAP machines safely and quickly. But many CPAP machines were also repurposed to become ventilators with new computer chips and the addition of oxygen.

Ultra violet machine, Globe, October 28, 1918

They believed the First Wave had crested and November would be better.

Preview(opens in a new tab)

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October 6: I hear the train a-coming…about 20 feet above me!

This series of photographs will take you on a trip from downtown Toronto to Main Street on the new Toronto Viaduct, a raised railbed that lifted the train high above the city streets, eliminating several of the most dangerous level crossings such as the one at Queen near DeGrassi Street.

Plan of the Toronto Viaduct (raised railway line) to Logan Avenue, 1913
Leslieville businessman, teacher and contractor won the race to become Mayor based in part on his commitment to get the long-awaited Toronto Viaduct built. He kept his promise.
Creator: Alfred J. Pearson Date: December 5, 1926 Archival Citation: Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 4646 Credit: City of Toronto Archives http://www.toronto.ca/archives Copyright is in the public domain and permission for use is not required.
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October 6, 1926, looking east from Woodbine Avenue
Grand Trunk Railway, International Flyer running between Montreal and Chicago; looking east between York Station & Woodbine Ave TPL
Main Street bridge, looking east, April 26, 1915
York Station, from the Main Street bridge looking east
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October 4th in history

It was a fine autumnal morning (October 4th) when I put my equipage in motion from Queenston towards York, accompanied by a friend and a favourite pointer.

Map from Travels in Canada and the United States in 1816 and 1817, 1818

The diary of traveller Lieutenant Francis Hall as he travelled from Queenston (near Niagara-on-the-Lake) to York, published in 1818. This British army officer had served in some of the bloodiest fighting of the Napoleonic Wars with in the 14th Light Dragoons.

Officers of the 14th Light Dragoons
Hamilton Hotel, Queenston (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario), painted in 1913 by Owen Staples
Twelve Mile Creek (St. Catharines, Ontario) painted 1913
American Woodcock, 1835, by John James Audubon
Forty Mile Creek later became Grimsby, Ontario, postcard from 1910
Stoney Creek, photo, 1933
The Bay, Hamilton
Humber River, looking south to Lake Ontario. Toronto, Ont., by William Arthur Johnson, 1867
Credit River, 1796, by Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe
LAKESHORE Boulevard West, looking west across Humber River, showing Charles Nurse’s hotel, south side Lakeshore Boulevard West, west side Humber River, 1891
Near Toronto (Swansea) by Mary Collenya Russell Morgan
Looking north from near Lighthouse, Centre Island as it was in 1817 by William Armstrong
Looking south towards Gibraltar Point, showing firing of salute, 1793 by Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe
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October 1 in history

Queen Street East – Old track – October 1, 1913 Looking west to Logan Avenue (Coca Cola sign on side of drugstore)
Queen Street East – Old track – October 1, 1913
Rolph Clark Stone Oct 1, 1948
Leslie Grove Playground October 1, 1913
The Canadian Engineer, Vol. 27, (October 1, 1914)
Lost Creeks 1909 Topo map with labels
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September 28 in history: Bridges

The bridge to Leslieville through Riverside, over the Don River: Queen St bridge September 28, 1910
Queen St bridge September 28, 1910
Queen Street – King Street – Don River bridge looking east Sept 28 1910
John McPherson Ross painted a landscape scene looking east along Queen Street over “Ashport”, the tiny creek at today’s Vancouver Avenue. The old 1811 Ashbridge House is in the distance. This digital painting was done using a black and white photograph of the original painting from about 1910.
Rainy day, Austin Avenue, September 28, 1916

There are lost bridges (buried under fill and pavement in Leslieville. One of those lost creeks crossed at the end of Austin Avenue. City of Toronto Creek Locations 1912

Goad’s Atlas 1903
Looking east along Gerrard Street from the top of the railroad bridge at Carlaw Avenue. The boys are sledding on the banks of that little creek that crossed Austin and Badgerow. Another branch of the same creek crossed Gerrard just east of the firehall. Photo – February 20, 1904
This photo shows the bridge over that little lost creek.
Gerrard At Carlaw, 1964 – Unknown Photographer
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The Blake Street Subdivision Lot 11, Concession One from the Bay, Subdivision Plan 154

Someone graciously shared a digital copy of this original subdivision plan which I have adjusted to make it a little straighter and easier to read.

Auction Leslieville, Saturday, August 12, 1882
Lot 11, Concession One, Subdivision Plan 514 1884 Goad’s Atlas
Subdivision Plan 514, Blake Street area, Goad’s Atlas 1890

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Little Iron Man: Austin Avenue’s “Teddy” Morris

We received this interesting note!

Allen “Teddy” Morris from the Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Thanks for pulling this information together. It appears that Allen Morris, listed as the son of policeman Gordon Morris of 59 Austin Ave in the 1911 and 1921 censuses, was Canadian football Hall of Famer “Teddy” Morris, real name Allen Byron Morris, who won 3 Grey Cups playing for the Toronto Argonauts (1931-39), and 3 more Grey Cups as their head coach (1945-49), becoming one of the giants of Toronto sports of the middle third of the twentieth century. I research Argonauts history and am working on a biography of Morris. He was famous for being tough as nails despite a small stature – they called him “Little Iron Man” – and it sounds like he grew up in a tough neighbour hood.

Dr. James Fraser
University of Guelph

For more about Teddy Morris go to:
https://cfhof.ca/members/allan-teddy-morris/

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What does Pape Avenue have in common with bees, dragonflies, and basketball?

Pape Avenue looking north from Eastern Avenue – March 25, 1957
Location, location, location. Pape Avenue stretched south to the shore of Ashbridge’s Bay at Eastern Avenue.
1884 Goad’s Plan – Willow Street is now Pape Avenue from Eastern to Queen Street
(some modern street names have been added to help viewers orient themselves)
Willow Street Auction sale property, Globe, September 26, 1885
Pape Avenue looking north from 8 – March 25, 1957
Ashbridges Bay, by John Wilson, 1900, looking west towards the city of Toronto near the foot of Leslie Street
Sandbar Willow, USDA, 2011
Beaverpond Baskettail dragonfly (from the Master Naturalist course I attended at Lakehead University’s Orillia campus)
Bumblee pollen basket on leg
Women’s Basketball, Globe April 18, 1895
Ashbridge’s Bay with tall grass and willows, looking east towards the foot of Leslie Street from around the foot of Pape near Eastern Avenue.
Anibhnaabe families, including the KIchigos, frequented Ashbridges Bay up until World War I, according to oral history. Basket Makers, Mount St. Hilaire, Quebec, ca. 1870
Mi’kmaq child and woman weaving a basket, Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia, no date
(where some of my ancestors came from and no doubt weaved baskets — JD)
Hanging Baskets George Leslie, Globe, May 31, 1873
Basketmaker, Globe, Sept. 25, 1925 (Fleet Street is now part of Lakeshore Blvd. through Leslieville. Some of my ancestors came from Sussex in England where baskets like these, called trugs, are made. JD)
Willow renamed to Pape, Toronto Star, June 25, 1925
The gardener for whom Pape Avenue was named.
Willow Branch changing room Leslie Beach Globe & Mail, 07 July 1938
“You don’t know what you’ve lost till its gone…” Joni Mitchell
Ashbridge’s Willow, photo by Joanne Doucette, May 18, 2009

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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!
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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

 

Featured

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.

Featured

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)
Featured

TTC Greenwood Avenue Yard A Visual History

Globe and Mail, February 15, 1956
Toronto Star, Nov. 1, 1957
Globe and Mail, April 22, 1959
Toronto Star, February 22, 1966 Advance Subway Information regarding the new Bloor-Danforth Subway Stations
Toronto Star, Feb 6 1966 East West Line Opens
Toronto Star Feb 26 1966

1965 Photographs of new Greenwood Yard follow

Photos from the TTC Greenwood Yard, 1965
TTC Greenwood Yard, photo by Joanne Doucette 2010
Featured

Some assorted maps

1802 Chewitt map
detail 1802 Chewitt map (digitally enhanced)
A new map of Upper and Lower Canada, 1807
1810 Map of Don River and nearby creeks
1811
1813
1813 Sketch of the ground in advance of and including York, Upper Canada
York, 1814
1817 Plan of York
Plan of the Town of York, 1818, unknown
1819
1833 Bonnycastle No.1 Plan of the Town and Harbour of York
1834
Toronto in 1834
1837
1843
1846 Holloway map
1846
1851
1851 Detail showing the subdivision near the Leslie Street School
1857
Boulton, W. S. Atlas of the City of Toronto and Vicinity, 1858 detail
1860 Tremaine map of Leslieville and Beach
1868
Featured

The Secret History of Our East End Streets: 1 – 17 Austin Avenue

London, England has a BBC show, The Secret History of Our Streets. The series claims to explore “the history of archetypal streets in Britain, which reveal the story of a nation.” Our streets are just as interesting and our stories goes back millennia before Austin Avenue existed to when Leslie Creek was full of salmon and Anishnaabe, Haudenosaunee and Wendat gathered wild rice in Ashbridge’s Bay. I hope you enjoy this page. My research ends in 1919, a century ago. I have not explored the history of every family, Austin Avenue has more secrets to tell.

Here are some of those stories — those from 2 to 17 Austin Avenue

2 Austin Avenue

Walter Gray was born on November 9, 1857 in at Gray’s Mills, York Township, now part of the Donalda Golf and Country Club. He married Annie Emma Clifford on January 30, 1884 and they had five children in 11 years. The Grays had a grocery store at 2 Austin Avenue and lived above the store. They moved to 100 Boulton Avenue about ten years later.

His wife Annie Emma passed away on July 29, 1916, on Bolton Avenue, at the age of 49. They had been married 32 years. Walter Gray died on April 8, 1938, in Dunnville, Ontario, at the age of 80.

Son William John was born on December 19, 1885, in Toronto, Ontario. He Gray married Annie Mary Norris on June 28, 1907, in Toronto. They had two children during their marriage. He died in 1948 at the age of 63, and was buried near his parents. Annie Mary Norris died in 1960 and was laid to rest next to her husband. The Gray family plot is in Saint Johns Norway Cemetery and Crematorium, Woodbine Avenue.

Ironically both the Gray family homestead and Leslie Street School principal Thomas Hogarth’s house have been honoured with historical plaques.

2 Austin Avenue, Many of these small family businesses have been converted into homes. Globe, May 25, 1909

4 Austin Avenue

4 Austin Avenue was the home of Henry Bowins in 1919 and, in 1921, by widow, Mrs. Louisa (Beckett) Greenslade and her five children, ranging in age from 7 to 17. in 1921. Her husband, William Henry Greenslade, a market gardener, had dropped dead of a heart attack in 1915. The family lived in Etobicoke at that time.

6 Austin Avenue

6 Austin Avenue, Toronto Star, October 6, 1918

8 Austin Avenue

8 Austin Avenue William Robertson Hodge
8 Austin Avenue, William Robertson Hodge, Circumstances of Casualty
8 Austin Avenue, Globe, November 9, 1918
8 Austin Avenue, William Hodge’s death was reported on the day the Great War ended: now known as Remembrance Day. Toronto Star, November 11, 1918
8 Austin Avenue, discharge papers for John Christopher Waldron, marked “medically unfit”.

John Christopher Waldron married William Robertson Hodge’s sister Eveleen in 1919 and was lived with her, sister Jean, and their mother, Mary. Like his brother in law he was a tall man for the time (5’11”) and fit. He was an Irish Catholic while Eveleen Hodge was an Irish Protestant. Both were from Dublin. Unlike his brother-in-law, he was not conscripted but volunteered. Like his brother-in-law he was hit by shellfire. Clearly from the medical records doctors had a hard time identifying just what was wrong with Pte. Waldron, apart from flat feet which was easy. The blast buried Waldron completely under mud, timbers and rubble, causing a severe concussion and what was known as “shell shock “. He died in 1964.

10 Austin Avenue

10 Austin Avenue: Highway Robbery Globe, September 10, 1909

It appears that Mrs. Robinson at 10 Austin Avenue took in lodgers, as many widows did. Since the lodgers were mostly young men who moved frequently, it is difficult to determine just which Frank Mulhern was responsible, but it appears to have been Frank Beauchamp Mulheron (1881-1917) who moved to the U.S. permanently shortly after this assault occurred. Strong-arm tactics to hijack valuable cargo was not uncommon though this was particularly audacious. Often the motive was to re-sell the produce and sometimes simply to get something to eat. The perpetrators usually knew their victims and counted on intimidation to keep the victims from reporting to the police. Gangs were a reality back then too. Timothy Lynch of 51 Austin Avenue took the law into his own hands shooting those who robbed his orchard. But that’s another story.

10 Austin Avenue, Globe, January 2, 1917

Dudley Seymour Robinson was born on July 6, 1892, in San Jose, California, USA,. Both his parents were English. He married Gladys Elsie Moffat on October 6, 1920, in Toronto. They had two children during their marriage. He died in March 1963 in Michigan, USA, at the age of 70. In 1911 he was living with his widowed mother Rosina Alice Robinson at 10 Austin Avenue and working as a Foreman in a leather shop. Dudley Seymour Robinson enlisted on February 16, 1916 and sailed to England where he became an Acting Sergeant but injured his left knee while training. A torn meniscus kept out of the trenches, he was discharged from the army on Dec. 17, 1916 and sailed on the troop ship Metagama back to Canada, arriving in St. John, New Brunswick on Christmas Day 1916. He married Gladys Elsie Moffat in Toronto, Ontario, on October 6, 1920, when he was 28 years old and they lived in an apartment on Silverbirch Avenue. His mother Rosina Alice passed away at home 10 Austin Avenue on November 9, 1922, at the age of 55 from pneumonia. After his mother’s death Dudley Robinson moved to Detroit and died at the age of 70 in March 1963 in Michigan, USA.

William Edward Harrold, 14 Austin Avenue, is likely in this photo of the band of the 48th Highlanders.

14 Austin Avenue

William Edward Harrold was born in March 1873 in Monkton Combe, Somerset, England, his father, William, a wheelwright, was 54 and his mother, Amelia Ann, was 29. Though in 1871 the family owned their own home and even had a servant, Ten years later family was destitute and he was educated in a pauper school. In 1881 his father was in the Poor House as a pauper, as was William and his brothers, Alfred and Henry, but there was no sign of his mother. His father died in 1887. In 1890, at the age of 17, he immigrated alone to Canada. He was related to the Billing family, another Somerset family, for whom Billings Avenue is named. William Harrold married Ellen Sophia Eva Cox on June 15, 1897, in Toronto, Ontario. They had two children during their marriage: Alfred William Badgerow Harrold and John E Harrold. He died at home 14 Austin Avenue on November 11, 1936 of heart disease. Though he spent his working life in a foundry, his death certificate lists his true vocation: musician.

Nominal Roll and Paylist, band of the 48th Highlanders, 1904
Wheelwright Arms, Monkton Combe, Somerset, England

The Wheelwright’s Arms pub in Monkton Comb, now part of the City of Bath, was likely the family home of the Harrolds. To see photos of the pub go to: https://the-wheelwrights-arms-gb.book.direct/en-us/photos

17 Austin Avenue

Every family has stories and secrets. We don’t know why 17-year-old Kate Wellings mysteriously left home, alarming her parents. But perhaps the numerous articles about the Wellings family might hold a clue. My sympathies are with Kate. I was a teenage daughter of a man with some “unique” ideas, obsessed with politics and who wrote numerous Letters to the Editor. I was sometimes proud of him and sometimes embarrassed. Perhaps Kate felt the same or perhaps there was another reason.

The Wellings family were the first to live at 17 Austin Avenue and built the house there where Katherine “Kate” Wellings was born on January 31, 1887, but their story, like every family’s, goes back further.

An early map of Birmingham, England, showing Duddleston, now a downtown industrial area, but home to the Wellings family 150 years ago.

Father George Washington Wellings was born in 1855 in Birmingham, England, the centre of Britain’s steel industry. His grandfather had been a blacksmith. His father, George Wellings Sr., was a “steel toy maker”. However, at the time, “toys” were not the playthings we think of today, but the term meant small metal items like buttons and buckles, and was part of the jewelry trade.

In 1830 Thomas Gill described the production of steel jewelry in Birmingham, from cutting the blanks for the steel beads or studs, to final polishing in a mixture of lead and tin oxide with proof spirit on the palms of women’s hands, to achieve their full brilliance. Gill comments: No effectual substitute for the soft skin which is only to be found upon the delicate hands of women, has hitherto been met with.” from Revolutionary Players Making the Modern World, published by West Midlands History at https://www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk/birmingham-toys-cut-steel/

George Sr. also worked as a gun maker during the 1850’s and 1860’s. This was a lucrative business during that period. Between 1855 and 1861, Birmingham made six million arms most went to the USA to arm both sides in the American Civil War. Not long after George Wellings Sr. father retired from gun making and opened a pub, The Wellington, in the Duddeston at 78 Pritchett Street. German aircraft bombed the area heavily in World War. The pub no longer remains.

For more about Birmingham’s gun making history go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/content/articles/2009/02/18/birmingham_gun_trade_feature.shtml

George Jr. became a jeweller specializing in engraving on gold.

George Washington Wellings married Anna Maria Johnson in 1875 in Birmingham. They and their five children immigrated to Toronto in 1884. They would have seven more children, all born in Toronto.

Walter was their first child born in Canada – at home 13 Munro Street. Dr. Emily Stowe delivered the baby. Florence was born at home 17 Austin Avenue in 1889 and was soon joined by sister Hilda Marie was born on October 4, 1891. Harold was born on July 14, 1893. Another son Howard George was born on January 1, 1896, but died two years later on March 21, 1898. Irene Wellings was born on September 18, 1897.

listing from the Canadian Trade Index 1900
Toronto Star, December 28, 1896

In 1896 George Wellings ran for Alderman for the first time and was beaten badly by brick manufacturer John Russell.

Toronto Star, January 5, 1897
Toronto Star, November 17, 1897

Wellings a proponent of the ideas of Henry George, popular at the time, but still on the fringes. For more about the Henry George Club, go to:

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2006/0306gluckman.html
or
http://henrygeorgethestandard.org/volume-1-february-26-1887/

Toronto Star, April 19, 1901

A tireless activist, George Wellings persevered. In the days before social media, Letters to the Editor had to fill the need for expressing political ideas.

Toronto Star, December 11, 1901

Unsuccessful in his attempt to enter municipal politics as an Alderman, in business George Wellings prospered, renovating his home at 17 Austin Ave and building a new factory downtown on the site of his previous manufacturing plant.

Toronto Star, July 18, 1904
Toronto Star, August 22, 1904 Building permit factory George Wellings Mfg Co, 67 Richmond Street East.
17 Austin Avenue, Globe, May 19, 1905
17 Austin Avenue, Globe, May 19, 1905

Katherine “Kate” Wellings married Albert Edward Ward in Toronto, Ontario, on November 13, 1911, when she was 24 years old.

Toronto Star, September 16, 1911

Wellings Manufacturing Company continued to proper, turning out buttons, badges, etc., what were known as “toys” in Birmingham in the mid-nineteenth century. Many thousands of Wellings cap badges, buttons and medals went overseas on the uniforms of Canadian soldiers during World War One.

Kate’s husband died of a heart attack on January 8, 1927 at their farm on the 3rd Line West, Chinguacousy, Peel, Ontario.

Canadian Jewish Review, February 17, 1922
Toronto Star, May 30, 1931

George Washington Wellings passed away on May 31, 1930, in Toronto, Ontario, at the age of 75. Though he tried and tried again, he never succeeded in becoming a Toronto alderman.

Katherine Wellings married James Templeman in York, Ontario, on March 27, 1937, when she was 50 years old. Both were widowed. Katherine was living at 17 Austin Avenue at the time of her marriage. James Templeman was a truck driver from Todmorden Mills. Her mother Ann Maria passed away on April 12, 1938 at her son-in-law’s home on Oakdene Crescent. Kate Wellings died in 1960 when she was 73 years old. She is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. 67 Richmond Street East is now a Domino’s Pizza take-out.

To see all of this large table drag the bar below across. The table shows who lived where and when on this part Austin Avenue from 1887 when the street was born to 1921. The 1888 City Directory was based on 1887 date and there were no street numbers as it did not get mail delivery. Postal service required numbers. Joanne Doucette

1888 City DirectoryLot # Subdivision 549#1889 Directory1890 Tax Assessment Roll Occupier1890 Tax Assessment Roll Owner1890 Directory1891 Directory1894 Directory1895 Directory1900  Directory1903 Directory1904 Directory1905 Directory1906 Directory1907 Directory1912 Directory1919 Directory1921 Directory1921 Census
North
Vacant lots 3 frontage on Pape2Vacant lotsGray Walter, grocerGray Walter, grocerGray Walter, grocerGray Walter, grocerGray Walter, grocerHannigan & Gunn, grocersBest Wilbert EWells George A, Hardware
Vacant lots34Vacant lotsLowman CharlesLowman Charles ELowman Edwin CPettit John EPettit John EPettit John EPettit John EBurkholder Albert/Pettit John EKing SamuelBowins HenryGreenslade Louisa MrsGreenslade Louisa  
Vacant lots36Vacant lotsPerkins Charles EFortier William JOverdale Christian SOverdale Christian SOverlade Pauline MrsOverlade Pauline MrsMundy WilliamMundy WilliamVacantBruce CharlesBruce CharlesBruce Charles
Vacant lots38Vacant lotsField Emma GFarmery CharlesBooth AlbertBooth AlbertBooth AlbertHalliburton JamesPettit William HPettit William HBrittain Rev DavidHodge Mary MrsHodge Mary MrsHodge Mary  
Vacant lots310Vacant lotsVacantCosgrove John JMulheron Mrs SarahTurner JosephRobinson FrederickRobinson FrederickRobinson FrederickRobinson FrederickRobinson Rose MrsRobinson Rose MrsRobinson Rose MrsRobinson Rose  
White Henry312White HenryWhite HenryWhite HenryWhite HenryJarrett GeorgeDoxsee George WVacantCrawford Walter LCrawford Walter LCrawford Walter LMontgomery Norman HMontgomery Norman HMontgomery Norman HNicholson JohnMacdonald WmIreland LouisIreland Lewis
Vacant lots314Vacant lotsPrivate GroundsVacantKordell George HLiley HenryTaggart Thomas RMontgomery Norman HStewart William HStewart William HStewart William HHarrold William EHarrold William EHarrold William EWilliam Harrold
Vacant lots316Vacant lotsPrivate GroundsVacantStewart WilliamSimmonds AlfredSimmonds AlfredMurphy JohnRidley JosephRidley JosephRidley JosephRidley JosephRidley MarkRidley JosephRidley Joseph
LANEA LANE
South
Vacant lots4  frontage on Pape1Vacant lotsStore, s eStore, s.e.
Vacant lots43Private Grounds
Vacant lots45
Vacant lots47
Vacant lots49
Vacant lots711
Vacant lots713
Vacant lots815Unfinished houseTaylor EdwardClifford C HTaylor Edward STaylor ESClifford JamesFredenburg George AClifford Caroline MrsClifford Caroline MrsClifford Caroline MrsClifford Caroline MrsClifford Caroline MrsClifford Caroline MrsClifford CharlesClifford CharlesClifford Charles
Vacant lots817Wellings GeorgeWellings GeorgeWellings, Annie M. and George WellingsWellings GeorgeWellings GeorgeWellings GeorgeWellings GeorgeWellings GeorgeWellings GeorgeWellings GeorgeWellings George WWellings George WWellings George WWellings George WWellings George WWellings George W
Private GroundsPrivate grounds
Featured

Riverdale Collegiate

by Joanne Doucette

A ghostly Riverdale Collegiate stands behind an orchard. Workers with pick and shovel fill in the Devil’s Hole or Devil’s Hollow, a ravine cut by Hastings Creek and widened and deepened by brickmakers. Nearby Harriet’s Hill shows how deep the hole really was and even the bottom of the gully there has been filled in with brickyard waste — broken bricks and cinders. Riverdale Collegiate itself was built of those deep red bricks from the local brickyards.

1910 Devils Hollow labelled
1910 map with my labels. 

There is an urban legend that Myrtle, Ivy and Harriet Streets were named after local women (true) who argued so much that they could never meet so the streets don’t meet (not true). The deep ravine called “the Devil’s Hollow” had more to do with keeping the streets from meeting. The women were all members of local brickmaking families who actually seemed to have got along quite well.

 

5
This is likely along Hasting’s Creek near Riverdale Collegiate. Note the orchard at the top of the bank. The Clay Worker, November, 1906.

Slide 22
The area was still quite rural in 1907 when Riverdale Collegiate began as can be seen in this photo of Pape Avenue looking north from about the railroad tracks.

Slide 23b
A cartoon appealing for British immigrants to come to Toronto. From the Globe, March 19, 1908. 

Canada’s immigration policy was openly racist and specifically sought white Scottish, Irish and English immigrants to counter the feared “Yellow Peril” — immigration from China and, to a lesser degree, Japan. This is clearly and, none to subtly, reflected in the poem below. John Wilson Bengough (1851-1923) was one of Canada’s leading cartoonists.

Slide 23a

British immigrants crossing the “Bridge of Tears” over the railway tracks at Union Station around 1911. It was called this because here people said goodbye to loved ones or cried because they had left everything they had to gamble on a new start in a new country. Everything they own is in their hands.

Most came in family groups like this. Mother has baby in her arms. Dad is at the back. Two teens carry the luggage and grandmother is at the back carrying another child. The grinning child on the right reflects the hope they had, but others don’t look so enthralled with Toronto.

Slide 24

At the same time that a Shacktown was growing outside the city, families like the Andersons built brick and brick-fronted houses like these west of Greenwood Avenue. The City of Toronto imposed stricter building requirements due to the danger of fire. The so-called “Fire Limits” required brick construction at least on the street facade and fire resistant cladding on the other walls. Much of that cladding was Insulbrick, a kind of asphalt impregnated with asbestos. There is still a lot of that material around, often covered with newer aluminum siding.

The Andersons, professional builders from Scotland, preferred to build solid brick, sturdy houses, like these three. Many of those still stand today near Riverdale Collegiate. (Photos courtesy of Guy Anderson)

Slide 25

After 1905 a Shacktown developed east of Greenwood Avenue on land that was still outside of the limits of the City of Toronto. A flood of impoverished British immigrants arrived here to start new lives only to find that while jobs were available (at least at first), there was no housing for them. So they bought lots at around $5 to $10 a foot of frontage and scrounged bits of lumber, old crates, tarpaper, tin and whatever could use to create their own homes. These are on Coxwell Avenue.

Slide 26
City of Toronto Building Construction Dates City of Toronto Works and Emergency Services, Technical Services, Survey and Mapping Services, Mapping Services. Produced by Patricia Morphet, September 2003 This map is on line at http://oldtorontomaps.blogspot.com/2014/06/contemporary-maps-with-historical.html

Slide 28
From Goad’s Atlas, 1913, Plate 100, showing Riverdale Collegiate. Curzon Street was later renamed Bushell Avenue north of Gerrard. Bushell may have been named after a brickmaker named Bushell who was killed in World War One. After that bloodbath the City of Toronto renamed a number of small streets after particularly courageous men who died. Another such street is Dibble near Eastern Avenue and McGee.

Skating on Hastings Creek The Devil's Hollow

December 22, 1919 Boys playing hockey on Hastings Creek. Hastings Creek crossed the Danforth just east of Jones and cut a ravine at Ravina Crescent in “The Pocket” and another gully, known as the “Devil’s Hollow” between Jones & Greenwood.

The creek continued south through the Hastings’ farm (Hastings Avenue to Alton Avenue) and across where Greenwood Park is to enter Ashbridge’s Bay between Leslie Street and Laing Street. The City filled the ravine in a number of times and finally buried the creek in the sewer system in the early 1920’s.

A staff member at the East End Garden Centre recalled when her grandfather caught fish in this pond. Others have told me of their grandparents tobogganing down the hill or skating on the pond.

Slide 29

Cattle and pigs were driven along roads leading into Leslieville from very early in the 19th century. The men and boys who managed the cattle en route were called “drovers”. Later they were brought in by train. When they reached Leslieville the animals were let loose to graze on the nutritious meadow grasses along Ashbridge’s Bay.

Some were even fed on the leftovers from the Gooderham Worts Distillery. Then they were slaughtered by butchers in the many abattoirs that were feature of Leslieville’s economy. Of the cattle that were fed on whisky mash, it is said that they died happy.

Slide 30

This is looking west along Jones Avenue just north of Riverdale Collegiate. Heavy industry lined the track, including a pork packinghouse on the west side of Jones where pigs where slaughtered. The stench was incredible especially on hot days, making nearby houses and the high school even more uncomfortable in the days before air conditioning,

Contour Map 1908 Hastings Creek labelled
This map was published in 1908 and is based on surveys done in 1907.

Lazeby 1921 TTC close up topo map Leslieville labelled
Hastings Creek has now been put underground as part of the sewer system. The penciled in line just east of Leslie Street may indicate the path of the sewer. By this time the creek was heavily polluted with industrial and human effluent. But public health was coming into its own by the 1920’s and chlorination of drinking water, immunizations against infectious diseases, pasteurization of milk, and the invention of new drugs like penicillin began to revolutionize society in ways that we often don’t recognize today. Nonetheless, the teenagers of Riverdale paid a heavy price in the First World War and Great Flu pandemic that followed. I hope the short history of the Riverdale Collegiate site that I have written will help all of us appreciate young people more through understanding the area that they grew up in.

Slide 31
Globe, Sat., Aug. 31, 1907 On the former exterior south wall, now inside an atrium, a 1965 Toronto Board of Education plaque. This is what it says: “In co-operation with the Riverdale Business Men’s Association, the Toronto Board of Education persisted in building a school on Gerrard Street, named Riverdale Collegiate Institute. The original school, consisting of a principal’s office, library, auditorium, four classrooms and two science rooms, was occupied in 1907.”  Contrary to some sources such as Wikipedia, Riverdale Collegiate Institute was first called Riverdale High School NOT Riverdale Technical School. Riverdale Technical School, founded in 1919 on Greenwood Avenue north of Danforth Avenue was renamed Danforth Technical School.

Slide 32
Colourized postcard, 1907

Slide 33
Photo from The Report of the Dept of Education 1910 By the second and third years, classes had to be held in the cloak rooms. The first addition was completed in 1910 and consisted of the assembly hall and the eight classrooms to the north and south of it.

Slide 34
Photo from Report of the Dept. of Education, 1914. Additions were built in 1914, 1922, and 1924, in accordance with the architect’s original plan for the expansion of the school.

Slide 35
Architect’s blueprint showing planned extension to Riverdale Collegiate. City of Toronto Archives.

Slide 36
Postcard of Riverdale Collegiate after 1924 when additions were added to enlarge the school further. This is likely from an architect’s drawing prepared for that extension to the school.

Riverdale_CI_From_Jones_(Phone)
CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1201756

Riverdale_CI_Crest
THE END

Featured

ON A WHEEL: A Trip for Cyclists in Eastern Suburbs, 1894

ON A WHEEL.

A Trip for Cyclists in Eastern Suburbs.

DOWN THE KINGSTON ROAD.

Beauties of Nature Which Many Miss.

SIGHTS ALONG THE WAYSIDE.

A Run From Little York to Wexford.

The Agricultural Wealth of York County viewed From the Saddle of the Bicycle.

1895 Mights Toronto Directory
1895 Mights Toronto Directory

It is questionable if one out of every ten of those in this city who possess bicycles really appreciates a quarter of the opportunities for enjoyment which it places within his reach, and it is certain if he does that he makes little attempt to improve them.

With the average rider the question of largest moment seems to be that of covering the greatest amount of space in the least possible time, and in the runs into the country which he takes once or twice a week the terminal point of his trip, and the desire to reach it as soon as possible, usually possesses his mind to the exclusion almost of everything else. He is carelessly conscious, perhaps, of a pretty country through which he may be passing, but he is so indifferent to such matters that no considerations of this kind would tempt him to deviate from the straight road leading to his goal.

18900000 Toronto Bicycle Club
1890 Toronto Bicycle Club

There are many, too, who are not constantly attempting to make or break a record, and who in their leisurely journeys succeed in obtaining all the benefit and delight which a healthy exercise and charming surroundings can give them, but who always keep to the same beaten track over which they repeatedly pass, oblivious to the fact that there is a wealth of scenic beauty lying all about them if they would only rouse themselves to seek it out.

Royal Canadian Bicycle Club 1899
Royal Canadian Bicycle Club 1899

There are indeed few cities which contain in their outskirts so many delightful spots as does Toronto.

Toronto of Today creek
Ravine Toronto

To the north, the west and the east are successions of wooded ravines, and, running along the hilltops above them shaded and, in the main, well-made roads, from which may be obtained in hundreds of places outlooks over lake and stream and meadow too beautiful for the brush of any painter adequately to portray.

All the enjoyment, whether real or fancied, which can be gathered from contact with nature and from communion with her in the secret recesses of her home, are obtainable by the people of Toronto if they would but care to know what they possess. To the bicycle rider, especially during the long summer days, these charming places should be as familiar almost as the street on which he lives. A number of the points will be indicated in other articles, and in the meantime, several of the favorite runs on the wheel will be spoken of.

1898 Cyclists Map
Detail, 1898 Cyclists Road Map of the County of York

A POPULAR TRIP.

Among the popular trips from the city is that along the Kingston road to Whitby, to which place and back again a fair rider can “wheel” without fatigue in one day.

18940113 GL Kingston Rd Queen Junction
Globe, Jan. 13, 1894

The road throughout almost is good; here and there occasionally heavy, and in some places cut up by the traffic which passes over it, but in general such as no bicyclist can reasonably complain of.

Michael Hannaford, Scarborough Heights, 1883
Michael Hannaford, Scarborough Heights, 1883

The most difficult part of it, by reason of the hills which have to be climbed, is that from the Woodbine to Highland Creek, but this, too, is the prettiest portion, containing many charming bits of scenery, and having in view the broad, blue stretch of the lake to the right.

Kingston Rd, looking south-west, Norway School
Kingston Rd, looking south-west, Norway School

Leaving the Woodbine, what is, perhaps, the least agreeable piece of the journey is immediately met with.

19180407 NARCH Wagons collided on hill on Kingston Road, Toronto, Ontario. April 7, 1918. Library and Archives Canada
Wagons collided on hill on Kingston Road, Toronto, Ontario. April 7, 1918. Library and Archives Canada

This is the half mile hill at Norway, which is certainly full of ruts at the present time and anything but pleasant wheeling especially to experienced riders. A good shower of rain, however, remedies this, and also lays the heavy dust; and when in this condition no better place could be found for practice in hill-climbing.

5269352281_08e59905d8_b

To the left of this hill, along which the electric road to Victoria Park runs, the deep and thickly-wooded ravine presents as charming a bit of scenery as could well be wished for, but at this point the rider is usually too much occupied to give it the attention it deserves.

Half-Way House, Kingston Road. - [1920?]
Half-Way House, Kingston Road. – [1920?]

At Norway the climb and the ravine both terminate, and an excellent run is offered to a considerable distance beyond the Halfway House, almost eight miles from the city.

18940113 GL Palisade Park
Globe, Jan. 13, 1894

On the short stretch from Norway to this point the road is gradually rising till the rider can command a view of the lake from the elevation of Scarboro’ Heights and especially on a fresh summer morning, before the heat of the day brings fatigue with it, the sight presented is worth a hundred-fold the labor of the run. The strong, fresh breeze from the water, carrying with it the odor of the fir trees over which it blows from the shoe; the awakening voices of the new day and the half-solitude of the country make up a condition of things the pure delight of which those who have never experienced it are unable to imagine.

18940113 GL The Lake Front
Globe, Jan. 13, 1894

At the Halfway House the rider usually halts for refreshment, and, perhaps, for breakfast or dinner. Many there are, too, who in the morning or evening run out here for the short trip, and when this is the case it is not unusual for them to seek the lake shore and enjoy a dip in the water. At this point, however, the land is some hundreds of feet above the level of the water, and the descent to the shore is somewhat of a task. From the Halfway House to Highland Creek numerous hills are met with, and one of them especially taxes the strength of the riders to surmount, but once over this part of the road the run to Whitby is easy and rapid.

18960425 GL Toll house Rouge River Kingston
Toll house Rouge River Kingston Road, April 25, 1896

The return trip is especially pleasant by reason of the fact that a great portion of it is down grade.

Cycling club in Swansea, Toronto, Canada, 1899
Cycling club in Swansea, Toronto, Canada, 1899

A CROSS-TRIP

Instead of gong on to Whitby from the Halfway House, the rider, if he chooses, can take the side line across to the Don and Danforth road, and run by it to Woburn. This road is on the whole superior to the Kingston road, being built of excellent gravel, and not being cut up so much as the other, over which a far greater amount of travel continually goes. If the bicyclist should take this road, however, he would do better by running up Broadview avenue where he meets it, take the sidewalk as far as it goes, and soon on through Little York, than by way of Norway, as he would by doing so avoid the heavy climb at the half-mile hill. From Little York half way to Scarboro-station a long ridge of gravel on the centre of the roadway, placed there for purposes of repair, renders this part not quite as good as the rest of the way, but with reasonable care a path on either side can be picked out by the rider.

1890s Danforth
1890s Danforth

These two roads, however – the Kingston and the Don and Danforth – are well known and continually travelled by bicyclists.

LITTLE YORK TO WEXFORD

House in Milne Hollow 1884
House in Milne Hollow 1884

A trip that offers many attractions and can be accomplished in a few hours is from Little York straight north to the pleasant hamlet of Wexford, about three and a half miles’ run, and, after crossing the bridge over the C.P.R., west along the side line to Millen’s Hollow, nestling beneath the hills which enclose the east branch of the Don, up the opposite bank, and along for some miles further to the west fork of the Don, and on to the second concession, which is a mile and a quarter from and runs parallel with Yonge street; due south along the second concession to Moore Park road, and by way of Reservoir Park to Yonge street.

Highlands of Toronto Moore Park

This run is principally over clay roads, and there is no more accommodation, by the way, than is afforded by forest shade and the pure water from the farm house pumps, but the trip is only a matter of from fifteen to eighteen miles and can be covered leisurely in two hours.

Artwork on Toronto, 1898, Reservoir Park
Artwork on Toronto, 1898

The roads are excellent during dry weather, except at the passages of the river, where the rider will find it to his advantage to dismount, at least in descending into the valleys, as the highway at these spots is steep, circuitous and rocky. After rain the road will be found less easy and pleasant to run on, as the farmers’ waggons are apt to cut it up while the clay is soft. The whole road, however, is full of interest to a visitor from the city, and the crossings at the river are picturesque in the extreme.

Artwork on Toronto, 1898, Scene on the Don River
Artwork on Toronto, 1898

The run form Little York to Wexford gives one a fairly good idea of the excellence and wealth of the County of York as an agricultural section. The houses of the farmers are substantial brick structures, erected with some attention to style and possessing pleasant and tasteful surroundings. The growing or ripening crops evince the richness of the soil, and the sleek and contented stock show the care which they receive at the hands of their owners. The same condition of things, indeed, prevails all along the route, broken only by the wide and untillable valley of the river.

Female cyclist wheeling bicycle up muddy hill on St. Clair Avenue West. - 1907At the point at which the Don is reached jut about Millen’s Hollow the river makes almost a half circle, opening up a wide stretch of valley, along which between the branches of the trees one catches glimpses of the running water. It is indeed a pleasant place, seated in the shade, from which to enjoy the cool breeze and pretty picture, after a sharp run.

Wheel outings in Canada and C.W.A. hotel guide women
C. E. Doolittle editor, Wheel Outings in Canada and C.W.A. Hotel Guide, 1895

IN MILLEN’S HOLLOW.

In the hollow beneath is Millen’s factory, in which blankets and other woollen goods are made, and where the families who live there rejoice in coolness in summer and shelter from the blasts of winter. The road up the opposite bank can be made in the saddle by a good rider, but the average man will find more comfort and quite as much satisfaction in walking. The road to the other fork of the Don is somewhat sandy in places, but otherwise good.

Artwork on Toronto, 1898, Reservoir Park
Artwork on Toronto, 1898

Once across the other valley and on to the second concession there is a fine road and a beautiful run to the turn to Moore Park.

1893 Woodbine GTR Bicycle Club

From the highway the rider catches a magnificent view of the southeastern portion of the city over the ravines running through Rosedale, and the eye travels with pleasure over house and garden and church steeple and away across the lake, dimly descrying the line of coast on the other side.

x65-13
Toronto Bicycle Club, 1890

The sidewalk, of generous size and in good repair, which was laid down along Moore Park road during boom days, makes good way for the rider, and he takes it without hesitation, knowing that in that spot he is little apt to meet any pedestrians. A stop at Reservoir Park for a cup of water, a short run down Yonge street, and a two-hours’ pleasant ride is brought to a conclusion.

Globe, August 2, 1894

18870600 Canadian Wheelman No. 8
Featured

The Toronto Golf Club: First 18 Hole Course in Canada

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Golf Club Grounds
Toronto World, Jan. 22, 1911 drawing
Toronto World, January 22, 1911

Globe, September 3, 1872 First article on golf
Globe, October 30, 1874 Second Globe article on golf
Globe, January 26, 1875 Third article on golf
Globe, October 4, 1875
James Lamond Smith
James Lamond Smith

An 1851 map with the log numbers. The east-west street is Queen St. (Kingston Rd in 1851). Kingston Road turns north just east of Coxwell. A small settlement is at the corner of Coxwell and Queen clustered around a steam saw mill, a tavern and a tollgate. The north south street between Lot 8 and 7 will become Coxwell Avenue. A larger village is clustered around Woodbine and Kingston Road. It was called the Village of Norway for the Norway or Red Pine that grew there so abundantly.
An 1851 map with the lot numbers. The east-west street is Queen St. (Kingston Rd in 1851). Kingston Road turns north just east of Coxwell. A small settlement, called Small’s Corners, is at the corner of Coxwell and Queen clustered around a steam saw mill, a tavern and a tollgate. The north south street between Lot 8 and 7 will become Coxwell Avenue. Lot 7 was originally granted to Paul Wilcott and sold in 1801 to John Small. A larger village is clustered around Woodbine and Kingston Road. It was called the Village of Norway for the Norway or Red Pine that grew there so abundantly.

Small's farm3
Globe, June 5, 1880

Globe, May 7, 1881 First mention of the Toronto Golf Club
Globe, June 3, 1881 Golf at Norway
Globe, October 22, 1881 Toronto vs Brantford

Globe, April 8, 1882 Small's Farm and TGC
Globe, October 6, 1883 Interprovincial
Globe, September 22, 1885

Small's Pond

East of Coxwell Avenue, Goad's Map, 1903.
East of Coxwell Avenue, Goad’s Map, 1903.
1882 Ontario Quebec tournament

Globe, August 7, 1886
Gordon T Cassels map
Map drawn by Gordon T. Cassels, from The Toronto Golf Club, 1876-1976 by Jack Batten.
Matching
Plan of Toronto Golf Club old grounds, Golf, Vol. III, No. 1 (July, 1898)
Toronto World, April 20, 1899
Toronto World, December 5, 1890
Toronto World, April 20, 1899 b
Toronto World, December 5, 1890 continued
Toronto World, December 5, 1890
Toronto World, December 5, 1890
Globe, Feb. 3, 1894
The Canadian Contract Record [Vol. 5, no. 13 (May 3, 1894)]
The Canadian Contract Record, Vol. 5, no. 13 (May 3, 1894)
The Punch Bowl from a private collection (date unknown)
Looking up the Dell from a private collection (date unknown)
Globe, June 16, 1894
Globe, June 16, 1894
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