Past & Present – Part 36

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2023/1970s – The illuminated "FLYER" roller coaster sign on display at the 2023 CNE, next to the Princess Margaret Fountain at Exhibition Place. The mighty wooden roller coaster was designed by Joe “Mile-A-Minute” McKee. When the Flyer debuted at the 1953 CNE, it was the world's highest (19 m) and fastest (104 km/h). Over its 39 years, the Flyer thrilled more than 9 million riders
2023/1970s – The illuminated “FLYER” roller coaster sign on display at the 2023 CNE, next to the Princess Margaret Fountain at Exhibition Place. The mighty wooden roller coaster was designed by Joe “Mile-A-Minute” McKee. When the Flyer debuted at the 1953 CNE, it was the world’s highest (19 m) and fastest (104 km/h). Over its 39 years, the Flyer thrilled more than 9 million riders (CNE Archives)

1955/April 24, 2022- Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St E and Craven Rd, in Toronto's Leslieville neighbourhood. The archive photo shows when it was the Vogue Theatre. It was originally the Melba Theatre and later Queen Theatre. Today, the building is home to Security Management Services
1955/April 24, 2022- Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St E and Craven Rd, in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood. The archive photo shows when it was the Vogue Theatre. It was originally the Melba Theatre and later Queen Theatre. Today, the building is home to Security Management Services (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 109)

Between 1930-35/2023 – Looking west from east of Yonge St towards The Concert Hall at Davenport Rd in the Yorkville neighbourhood of Toronto. It was built between 1916 and 1917 for the Masonic Temple. In the 1960s, the auditorium became home to various concert venues, including Club 888 and The Rock Pile. In 2013, Info-Tech Research Group purchased the iconic building
Between 1930-35/2023 – Looking west from east of Yonge St towards The Concert Hall at Davenport Rd in the Yorkville neighbourhood of Toronto. It was built between 1916 and 1917 for the Masonic Temple. In the 1960s, the auditorium became home to various concert venues, including Club 888 and The Rock Pile. In 2013, Info-Tech Research Group purchased the iconic building (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 4096)

1971/2022 – Looking northeast towards the former Lombard Street City Morgue at 86 Lombard St, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. Construction began on the morgue, the city's third, in 1907 and was completed the following year. It was in use for 68 years and closed in 1975. The heritage-designated building was then home to the Pauline McGibbon Cultural Centre from 1979 until the mid-1980s. In recent years, the former morgue was in use by the Fred Victor organization as a women's hostel. There are plans to build a mixed-use development called 100 Lombard. In the proposal, the old morgue building would be relocated about 35 m east to be directly next to Fire Hall No. 5 at 110 Lombard St
1971/2022 – Looking northeast towards the former Lombard Street City Morgue at 86 Lombard St, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. Construction began on the morgue, the city’s third, in 1907 and was completed the following year. It was in use for 68 years and closed in 1975. The heritage-designated building was then home to the Pauline McGibbon Cultural Centre from 1979 until the mid-1980s.

In recent years, the former morgue was in use by the Fred Victor organization as a women’s hostel. There are plans to build a mixed-use development called 100 Lombard. In the proposal, the old morgue building would be relocated about 35 m east to be directly next to Fire Hall No. 5 at 110 Lombard St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 61, Item 46)

September 1930/2023 – Looking northwest towards the Imperial Theatre, today’s Ed Mirvish Theatre, at 244 Victoria St in Toronto’s Garden District. 

The theatre was built in 1919/20 and was originally known as Pantages. It was one of Canada’s last combination vaudeville/movie-house theatres. It later became known as the Imperial and then, in the early 1970s, the Imperial Six when the 3,500+ seat theatre was converted into one of the world’s first multiplexes. By 1989, the gem was rebuilt into a live theatre, was renamed the Pantages, and the Phantom of the Opera began a ten-year run. 

In more recent years, it was known as Canon Theatre and, since 2011, the Ed Mirvish Theatre
September 1930/2023 – Looking northwest towards the Imperial Theatre, today’s Ed Mirvish Theatre, at 244 Victoria St in Toronto’s Garden District.

The theatre was built in 1919/20 and was originally known as Pantages. It was one of Canada’s last combination vaudeville/movie-house theatres. It later became known as the Imperial and then, in the early 1970s, the Imperial Six when the 3,500+ seat theatre was converted into one of the world’s first multiplexes. By 1989, the gem was rebuilt into a live theatre, was renamed the Pantages, and the Phantom of the Opera began a ten-year run.

In more recent years, it was known as Canon Theatre and, since 2011, the Ed Mirvish Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 87)

1970s/2022 – Sky rides over The Midway at the Canadian National Exhibition. The archive photo shows the Alpine Way along with Shopsy's Deli. Today, the Sky Ride along Princes' Blvd extends from just west of the Princes' Gates to the east side of the Better Living Centre. The present-day photo was taken before The Ex opened for the day
1970s/2022 – Sky rides over The Midway at the Canadian National Exhibition. The archive photo shows the Alpine Way along with Shopsy’s Deli. Today, the Sky Ride along Princes’ Blvd extends from just west of the Princes’ Gates to the east side of the Better Living Centre. The present-day photo was taken before The Ex opened for the day (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 94, Item 63)

Circa 1905/2023 – Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building located at 111 Wellesley St W, surrounded by Queen’s Park in Toronto’s Bay-Cloverhill area. In 1880, an international competition was held to design the province’s parliament buildings, the fourth of its kind. When none of the entries met the criteria, the Ontario government asked one of the competition’s adjudicators, Richard A Waite, to submit a proposal, which was awarded the commission. 

Construction began on the majestic Richardson Romanesque-style building in 1886, and seven years later, it was finally completed. Premier Sir Oliver Mowat opened the first legislative session in 1893. The original West Wing, shown in the archive photo, was destroyed by fire in 1909 and replaced with designs by renowned Toronto architect EJ Lennox
Circa 1905/2023 – Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building located at 111 Wellesley St W, surrounded by Queen’s Park in Toronto’s Bay-Cloverhill area. In 1880, an international competition was held to design the province’s parliament buildings, the fourth of its kind. When none of the entries met the criteria, the Ontario government asked one of the competition’s adjudicators, Richard A Waite, to submit a proposal, which was awarded the commission.

Construction began on the majestic Richardson Romanesque-style building in 1886, and seven years later, it was finally completed. Premier Sir Oliver Mowat opened the first legislative session in 1893. The original West Wing, shown in the archive photo, was destroyed by fire in 1909 and replaced with designs by renowned Toronto architect EJ Lennox (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1568, File 568, Item 420)

December 20, 1935/January 7, 2023 – Looking north up Yonge St from Queen St in Toronto’s Downtown Yonge area. The archive photo shows the F. W. Woolworth store on the left and Loew’s Theatre (today’s Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre) in the distance on the right
December 20, 1935/January 7, 2023 – Looking north up Yonge St from Queen St in Toronto’s Downtown Yonge area. The archive photo shows the F. W. Woolworth store on the left and Loew’s Theatre (today’s Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre) in the distance on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 11702)
1972/December 2022 – Looking southwest from the intersection of Front St E, Church St and Wellington St E in the St Lawrence neighbourhood. Notice the Gooderham Building on the right. Since 1892, the wedge-shaped building has stood guard at the unique corner. It originally served as the head office of the liquor distilling company Gooderham & Worts Limited. Along the south side of Front St E, the remaining 19th-century buildings include: the Beardmore Building at 35-39 Front St E (built 1872 and originally Griffith’s Block), the Perkins Block at 41-43 Front St E (built 1875), the Dixon Block at 45-47 Front St E (built 1872) and a warehouse at 49 Front St E (built 1873)
1972/December 2022 – Looking southwest from the intersection of Front St E, Church St and Wellington St E in the St Lawrence neighbourhood. Notice the Gooderham Building on the right. Since 1892, the wedge-shaped building has stood guard at the unique corner. It originally served as the head office of the liquor distilling company Gooderham & Worts Limited.

Along the south side of Front St E, the remaining 19th-century buildings include: the Beardmore Building at 35-39 Front St E (built 1872 and originally Griffith’s Block), the Perkins Block at 41-43 Front St E (built 1875), the Dixon Block at 45-47 Front St E (built 1872) and a warehouse at 49 Front St E (built 1873) (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 68, Item 2)

1970s/2022 – The Zipper at the CNE features twelve apostrophe-shaped cages that carry thrill-seeking passengers around a moving and rotating narrow “zipper” frame, with each cage freely flipping on an off-centre axis. The present-day photo was taken before visitors arrived
1970s/2022 – The Zipper at the CNE features twelve apostrophe-shaped cages that carry thrill-seeking passengers around a moving and rotating narrow “zipper” frame, with each cage freely flipping on an off-centre axis. The present-day photo was taken before visitors arrived (CNE Archives)

March 1991/2022 – Looking southeast along Yonge St between Gerrard St and Gould St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto.

The archive photo shows the Zanzibar Tavern, Ford Discount Pharmacy, Star House Chinese Restaurant, Panzerotto & Pizza Original, Caribbean Roti Delight, Peter Dunn’s Vinyl Museum, A & A Records & Tapes, and Sam the Record Man on Yonge St. While the Zanzibar still exists today, when it opened in 1951, it featured fine dining and live musical entertainment
March 1991/2022 – Looking southeast along Yonge St between Gerrard St and Gould St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto.

The archive photo shows the Zanzibar Tavern, Ford Discount Pharmacy, Star House Chinese Restaurant, Panzerotto & Pizza Original, Caribbean Roti Delight, Peter Dunn’s Vinyl Museum, A & A Records & Tapes, and Sam the Record Man on Yonge St. While the Zanzibar still exists today when it opened in 1951, it featured fine dining and live musical entertainment (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 3, ID 197)

2023/Circa 1873 – Looking northeast towards the corner of Church St and Front St E, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. The archive photo shows the former Ontario Chambers with W R Griffith occupying the building. Notice the steeple of the Cathedral Church of St James in the present-day photo
2023/Circa 1873 – Looking northeast towards the corner of Church St and Front St E, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. The archive photo shows the former Ontario Chambers with W R Griffith occupying the building. Notice the steeple of the Cathedral Church of St James in the present-day photo (Toronto Public Library R-5983)

1972/2023 – Looking southwest towards 191 College St at Henry St, in the Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhood of Toronto. Built circa 1887, the 2½-storey semi-detached house was designed in the Bay-and-Gable architectural style. It’s clad with red brick and features wood, stone and brick details. 

From the early 1950s to the mid-1980s, the Royal Canadian Institute (today known as RCIScience) occupied the building. Since 2014, the heritage-designated building has been home to the Prenup Pub. There’s a proposal to incorporate the semi-detached homes at 191-199 College St and 74-76 Henry St into a mixed-use tower development (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 43, Item 2)
1972/2023 – Looking southwest towards 191 College St at Henry St, in the Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhood of Toronto. Built circa 1887, the 2½-storey semi-detached house was designed in the Bay-and-Gable architectural style. It’s clad with red brick and features wood, stone and brick details.

From the early 1950s to the mid-1980s, the Royal Canadian Institute (today known as RCIScience) occupied the building. Since 2014, the heritage-designated building has been home to the Prenup Pub. There’s a proposal to incorporate the semi-detached homes at 191-199 College St and 74-76 Henry St into a mixed-use tower development (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 43, Item 2)

1976/2022 – The 2½-storey semi-detached homes are located at 9 and 11 Spadina Rd, north of Bloor St W, next to the Spadina subway station in The Annex neighbourhood of Toronto. Built in 1890, the houses were amongst the first buildings constructed on the street. The original occupants were FW Himsworth at 9 Spadina Rd and George Stinson at 11. The red brick homes feature Gothic Revival and Italianate architectural elements and decorative wood detailing, including on the front gables and two-storey verandahs. The archive photo shows when the heritage-designated house operated as the Karabanow Tourist Home and a real estate office
1976/2022 – The 2½-storey semi-detached homes are located at 9 and 11 Spadina Rd, north of Bloor St W, next to the Spadina subway station in The Annex neighbourhood of Toronto. Built in 1890, the houses were amongst the first buildings constructed on the street. The original occupants were FW Himsworth at 9 Spadina Rd and George Stinson at 11. The red brick homes feature Gothic Revival and Italianate architectural elements and decorative wood detailing, including on the front gables and two-storey verandahs.

The archive photo shows when the heritage-designated house operated as the Karabanow Tourist Home and a real estate office (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 8704)

July 2, 1980/2023 – Looking southeast along Front St E from Church St in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. Notice many of the buildings in the archive photo still exist today, along with St Lawrence Market in the distance
July 2, 1980/2023 – Looking southeast along Front St E from Church St in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. Notice many of the buildings in the archive photo still exist today, along with St Lawrence Market in the distance (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 60, Item 77)

1972/2023 - Looking southwest towards the corner of Church St and Front St E, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto
1972/2023 – Looking southwest towards the corner of Church St and Front St E, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 69, Item 36)

July 9, 1977/2023 – Looking northeast along Queen St E from west of Parliament St in the Regent Park neighbourhood of Toronto. In the archive photo notice, Becker's is on the left, TD Bank is across the street, and St Paul's Basilica tower is on the right. The present-day photo shows The Bullger restaurant in  the heritage-designated bank building and the church's landmark tower still on the right
July 9, 1977/2023 – Looking northeast along Queen St E from west of Parliament St in the Regent Park neighbourhood of Toronto. In the archive photo notice, Becker’s is on the left, TD Bank is across the street, and St Paul’s Basilica tower is on the right. The present-day photo shows The Bullger restaurant in the heritage-designated bank building and the church’s landmark tower still on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 75, Item 10)

1972/2023 - The Paint Store Toronto is located at 107 Baldwin St (at Huron St) in Toronto’s Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhood. 

Originally called Reingewirtz Paint and Wallpaper, the shop opened in 1929. Mr and Mrs Reingewirtz started the business in the living room of their family home. In 1956, their son and son-in-law took over running the store, and during the 1970s, they became the largest Benjamin Moore seller in the province. In the shop’s 50th year, the Reingewirtz’s grandson Gary began working at the store, and in 1998, the beautiful “Starry Night” mural was painted. 

Today, the paint shop has operated for over 90 years and is third-generation owned. Along with selling high-quality products, Gary and his staff give their customers friendly help and attention to all painting needs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 33, Item 35)
1972/2023 – The Paint Store Toronto is located at 107 Baldwin St (at Huron St) in Toronto’s Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhood.

Originally called Reingewirtz Paint and Wallpaper, the shop opened in 1929. Mr and Mrs Reingewirtz started the business in the living room of their family home. In 1956, their son and son-in-law took over running the store, and during the 1970s, they became the largest Benjamin Moore seller in the province. In the shop’s 50th year, the Reingewirtz’s grandson Gary began working at the store, and in 1998, the beautiful “Starry Night” mural was painted.

Today, the paint shop has operated for over 90 years and is third-generation owned. Along with selling high-quality products, Gary and his staff give their customers friendly help and attention to all painting needs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 33, Item 35)

2022/1981 – You wanna go faster?! Thrilling and loud, the musical Polar Express at the Canadian National Exhibition spins riders backwards around a circular track with peaks and dips
2022/1981 – You wanna go faster?! Thrilling and loud, the musical Polar Express at the Canadian National Exhibition spins riders backwards around a circular track with peaks and dips (CNE Archives)

March 27, 1956/2023 – Looking west along Gerrard St E towards Jarvis St, in the Garden District of Toronto. In the archive photo on the left, the building behind Nicholls Drug Store was the Avonmore Hotel which opened circa 1891. The corner became a parking lot in the late 1970s and is home to a residential building today. In the archive photo on the right were several large homes, many of which were rooming houses at the time. Harvey's and other businesses are located on this stretch of Gerrard St E today
March 27, 1956/2023 – Looking west along Gerrard St E towards Jarvis St, in the Garden District of Toronto. In the archive photo on the left, the building behind Nicholls Drug Store was the Avonmore Hotel which opened circa 1891. The corner became a parking lot in the late 1970s and is home to a residential building today. In the archive photo on the right were several large homes, many of which were rooming houses at the time. Harvey’s and other businesses are located on this stretch of Gerrard St E today (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 58, Item 2626)

February 1914/2023 – Looking south on Spadina Ave from Queen St W in Toronto. In the archive photo, notice the median to the wagon's left, where the city's second underground public lavatory was accessed through a stairway. The subterranean bathroom opened in 1906, but by the 1930s, there were calls to close it because it was a traffic menace and the $5,000 yearly cost to operate it
February 1914/2023 – Looking south on Spadina Ave from Queen St W in Toronto. In the archive photo, notice the median to the wagon’s left, where the city’s second underground public lavatory was accessed through a stairway. The subterranean bathroom opened in 1906, but by the 1930s, there were calls to close it because it was a traffic menace and the $5,000 yearly cost to operate it (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 7167)

Circa 1898/2023 – Looking west towards the Gooderham "Flatiron" Building located at 49 Wellington St E, at Church St and Front St E, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. The building was completed in 1892 and served as the corporate head office for Gooderham & Worts Limited, once Canada's largest liquor distilling company. The heritage-designated architectural gem is one of the city's most photographed buildings, and today it's home to commercial office space and a pub
Circa 1898/2023 – Looking west towards the Gooderham “Flatiron” Building located at 49 Wellington St E, at Church St and Front St E, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. The building was completed in 1892 and served as the corporate head office for Gooderham & Worts Limited, once Canada’s largest liquor distilling company. The heritage-designated architectural gem is one of the city’s most photographed buildings, and today it’s home to commercial office space and a pub (Toronto Public Library R-6249)

1980/2023 – Looking west along Wallace Ave towards Lansdowne Ave, in the Junction-Wallace Emerson neighbourhood of Toronto. Notice the Canadian General Electric Company Ltd Ward Street Works water tower in the background of both photos. The structure was built in the early 1920s, and it's one of only a few water towers remaining in the city. In the last 40+ years, the landscape has not changed much
1980/2023 – Looking west along Wallace Ave towards Lansdowne Ave, in the Junction-Wallace Emerson neighbourhood of Toronto. Notice the Canadian General Electric Company Ltd Ward Street Works water tower in the background of both photos. The structure was built in the early 1920s, and it’s one of only a few water towers remaining in the city. In the last 40+ years, the landscape has not changed much (Toronto Public Library LOCHIST-BL-094)

Circa 1906/2023 – Looking southeast on Spadina Ave from Queen St W in Toronto's Fashion District. The city's second underground public lavatory was once accessed through a stairway in a centre median on Spadina Ave. The lamp in the archive photo served a dual purpose and was also a ventilation column. This subterranean lavatory had an average of over 700 patrons daily. By the late 1930s, there were calls to close the bathroom due to the traffic issues it was causing
Circa 1906/2023 – Looking southeast on Spadina Ave from Queen St W in Toronto’s Fashion District. The city’s second underground public lavatory was once accessed through a stairway in a centre median on Spadina Ave. The lamp in the archive photo served a dual purpose and was also a ventilation column. This subterranean lavatory had an average of over 700 patrons daily. By the late 1930s, there were calls to close the bathroom due to the traffic issues it was causing (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 376, File 6, Item 84)

1972/2023 – Looking towards the northwest corner of Church St and Wellington St E, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. The archive photo shows a branch of the Toronto-Dominion Bank. The present-day glass and steel building was constructed in the early 1960s; however, the corner had been the site of the Bank of Toronto since 1863. In the background of the vintage photo, notice the Canadian Bank of Commerce Building (on the left), National Trust (in the centre) and the King Edward Hotel (on the right). Today, 60 Wellington St E at Church St is home to The Works Craft Burgers & Beer
1972/2023 – Looking towards the northwest corner of Church St and Wellington St E, in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. The archive photo shows a branch of the Toronto-Dominion Bank. The present-day glass and steel building was constructed in the early 1960s; however, the corner had been the site of the Bank of Toronto since 1863. In the background of the vintage photo, notice the Canadian Bank of Commerce Building (on the left), National Trust (in the centre) and the King Edward Hotel (on the right). Today, 60 Wellington St E at Church St is home to The Works Craft Burgers & Beer (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 68, Item 1)

1951/2023 - Looking southeast towards the corner of Queen St W and Simcoe St in downtown Toronto. The archive photo shows the shops that once lined the streets. Since 1958, the block bound by Simcoe St, Queen St W, University Ave and Richmond St W has been the site of the former Bank of Canada Building. The 8-storey office building, shown from the rear in the present-day photo, was designed by architects Mariani & Morris. The building received heritage status from the city in 1997. There are plans to incorporate it into a mixed-use development
1951/2023 – Looking southeast towards the corner of Queen St W and Simcoe St in downtown Toronto. The archive photo shows the shops that once lined the streets. Since 1958, the block bound by Simcoe St, Queen St W, University Ave and Richmond St W has been the site of the former Bank of Canada Building. The 8-storey office building, shown from the rear in the present-day photo, was designed by architects Mariani & Morris. The building received heritage status from the city in 1997. There are plans to incorporate it into a mixed-use development (Toronto Public Library R-367)

Circa 1885/1923 - Looking towards the southeast corner of Queen St W and Simcoe St in downtown Toronto. The archive photo dated circa 1885 shows when the corner building was home to the JM Rutherford Flour & Feed store, and in the 1923 photo, a United Cigar Store later occupied the building. Since 1958, the entire block bound by Simcoe St, Queen St W, University Ave and Richmond St W has been the site of the former Bank of Canada Building
Circa 1885/1923 – Looking towards the southeast corner of Queen St W and Simcoe St in downtown Toronto. The archive photo dated circa 1885 shows when the corner building was home to the JM Rutherford Flour & Feed store, and in the 1923 photo, a United Cigar Store later occupied the building. Since 1958, the entire block bound by Simcoe St, Queen St W, University Ave and Richmond St W has been the site of the former Bank of Canada Building (Toronto Public Library R-293 & City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1548, Series 393, Item 18579)

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