Past & Present – Part 47

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February 15, 1931/December 23, 2023  – Looking east along Front St W from Bay St towards the Dominion Public Building in Toronto's Financial District. The archive photo showcases the construction progress of the Dominion Public Building's centre and east pavilion. The old picture also captures Dominion Rubber in the background, which is where Meridian Hall (initially the O'Keefe Centre) stands today
February 15, 1931/December 23, 2023 – Looking east along Front St W from Bay St towards the Dominion Public Building in Toronto’s Financial District. The archive photo showcases the construction progress of the Dominion Public Building’s centre and east pavilion. The old picture also captures Dominion Rubber in the background, which is where Meridian Hall (initially the O’Keefe Centre) stands today (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 23152)

April 20, 1904/December 25, 2023 - Looking west along Front St W from east Yonge St in downtown Toronto.

The archive photo shows the ruins of The Great Fire of Toronto, which occurred on the evening of April 19, 1904. The Bank of Montreal building, which appears in the right foreground, survived the inferno, with only one building between it and another left completely destroyed. Today, the old bank building has been transformed into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
 
The Dominion Public Building, visible on the left of the present-day photo, adds to the grandeur of the cityscape with its majestic presence
April 20, 1904/December 25, 2023 – Looking west along Front St W from east Yonge St in downtown Toronto.

The archive photo shows the ruins of The Great Fire of Toronto, which occurred on the evening of April 19, 1904. The Bank of Montreal building, which appears in the right foreground, survived the inferno, with only one building between it and another left completely destroyed. Today, the old bank building has been transformed into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Dominion Public Building, visible on the left of the present-day photo, adds to the grandeur of the cityscape with its majestic presence (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 7561)

February 25, 2024/1950s – Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St E and Bertmount Ave, in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. The archive photo shows the Joy Theatre at 1130 Queen St E. On the marquee, "Tarzan and the Leopard Woman," starring Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce and Johnny Sheffield, was playing. The theatre opened in the late 1930s and was initially known as the Rex. Today, the building is home to Dave's Hot Chicken
February 25, 2024/1950s – Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St E and Bertmount Ave, in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto.

The archive photo shows the Joy Theatre at 1130 Queen St E. On the marquee, “Tarzan and the Leopard Woman,” starring Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce and Johnny Sheffield, was playing. The theatre opened in the late 1930s and was initially known as the Rex.

Today, the building is home to Dave’s Hot Chicken (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 464)

1955/February 25, 2024 - Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St E and Craven Rd, in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. 

The 496-seat Melba Theatre opened in 1915 and was renamed the Queen in the mid-1930s. By the mid-1940s, it became the Vogue Theatre, as shown in the archive photo, closing around 1953.
 
Today, the building is home to SMS Security
1955/February 25, 2024 – Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St E and Craven Rd, in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto.

The 496-seat Melba Theatre opened in 1915 and was renamed the Queen in the mid-1930s. By the mid-1940s, it became the Vogue Theatre, as shown in the archive photo, closing around 1953.

Today, the building is home to SMS Security (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 109)

September 27, 1981/March 29, 2024 – Looking northwest towards the corner of Queen St W and St Patrick St, straddling the Kensington-Chinatown and Entertainment District neighbourhoods of Toronto. The stretch of buildings from 198 to 214 Queen St W are listed on the city’s heritage register
September 27, 1981/March 29, 2024 – Looking northwest towards the corner of Queen St W and St Patrick St, straddling the Kensington-Chinatown and Entertainment District neighbourhoods of Toronto. The stretch of buildings from 198 to 214 Queen St W are listed on the city’s heritage register (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 70, Item 18)

April 20, 1912/March 29, 2024 – Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St W and Spadina Ave, straddling the Kensington-Chinatown and Fashion District neighbourhoods of Toronto. 

The building at 378 Queen St W was designed by architect George Wallace Gouinlock and constructed between 1902 and 1903 for the Bank of Hamilton. Following the merger of the Bank of Hamilton and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 1924, this building continued to function as a branch of the CIBC. The property was listed on Heritage Toronto’s initial induction list in 1973. Plans are underway to incorporate the building’s historic façade into a mixed-use development. 

The archive photo shows Duffins, a gentlemen’s furnishings store, on the far right. Today, the building is home to the Horseshoe Tavern
April 20, 1912/March 29, 2024 – Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St W and Spadina Ave, straddling the Kensington-Chinatown and Fashion District neighbourhoods of Toronto.

The building at 378 Queen St W was designed by architect George Wallace Gouinlock and constructed between 1902 and 1903 for the Bank of Hamilton. Following the merger of the Bank of Hamilton and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 1924, this building continued to function as a branch of the CIBC. The property was listed on Heritage Toronto’s initial induction list in 1973. Plans are underway to incorporate the building’s historic façade into a mixed-use development.

The archive photo shows Duffins, a gentlemen’s furnishings store, on the far right. Today, the building is home to the Horseshoe Tavern (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 58, Item 113)

January 2, 1955/November 11, 2023 – Looking northwest towards the former Fire Hall No 9 located at 16 Ossington Ave, just north of Queen St W in the Beaconsfield Village neighbourhood of Toronto.

It was built in 1878 as a fire hall and decommissioned in the late 1960s. The archival photo of the structure reveals that there was once a clock situated atop the hose-drying tower. Although the clock's exact removal date is uncertain, its absence is notable.
 
The heritage-designated building is leased from the City of Toronto to the University Health Network and provides support for community members (Toronto Public Library R-6125)
January 2, 1955/November 11, 2023 – Looking northwest towards the former Fire Hall No 9 located at 16 Ossington Ave, just north of Queen St W in the Beaconsfield Village neighbourhood of Toronto.

It was built in 1878 as a fire hall and decommissioned in the late 1960s. The archival photo of the structure reveals that there was once a clock situated atop the hose-drying tower. Although the clock’s exact removal date is uncertain, its absence is notable.

The heritage-designated building is leased from the City of Toronto to the University Health Network and provides support for community members (Toronto Public Library R-6125)

July 19, 1983/March 29, 2024– Looking northeast towards the former Palace Arms Hotel and Palace Tavern at 950 King St W and Strachan Ave, in the King West Village of Toronto. Built in 1890, the building is an exquisite example of the Romanesque Revival architectural style. The renowned architect Frederick Henry Herbert designed the hotel and expertly crafted the building's façade and ornate details. In 1984, the city recognized its significance by awarding it heritage status. Today, there are plans to incorporate the building's historic exterior into a mixed-use development
July 19, 1983/March 29, 2024– Looking northeast towards the former Palace Arms Hotel and Palace Tavern at 950 King St W and Strachan Ave, in the King West Village of Toronto.

Built in 1890, the building is an exquisite example of the Romanesque Revival architectural style. The renowned architect Frederick Henry Herbert designed the hotel and expertly crafted the building’s façade and ornate details. In 1984, the city recognized its significance by awarding it heritage status.

Today, there are plans to incorporate the building’s historic exterior into a mixed-use development (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 74, Item 39)

1972/March 29, 2024  – Looking northeast toward The Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar at the corner of Queen St W and St Patrick St, straddling the Entertainment District and Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhoods of Toronto. Over the years, The Rex has hosted jazz artists on its stage, including Wynton Marsalis & the Lincoln Center Orchestra, Kurt Elling and Harry Connick Jr. To stay updated on The Rex's upcoming live music events, check out the calendar on their website
1972/March 29, 2024 – Looking northeast toward The Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar at the corner of Queen St W and St Patrick St, straddling the Entertainment District and Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhoods of Toronto.

Over the years, The Rex has hosted jazz artists on its stage, including Wynton Marsalis & the Lincoln Center Orchestra, Kurt Elling and Harry Connick Jr. To stay updated on The Rex’s upcoming live music events, check out the calendar on their website (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 65, Item 36)

May 29, 1933/ March 16, 2024 – Looking north up Mt Pleasant Rd, from Belsize Dr in the Davisville Village neighbourhood of Toronto. In the archive photo, notice the Belsize Theatre in the middle right. It later became the Regent Theatre, which closed in 2021
May 29, 1933/ March 16, 2024 – Looking north up Mt Pleasant Rd, from Belsize Dr in the Davisville Village neighbourhood of Toronto. In the archive photo, notice the Belsize Theatre in the middle right. It later became the Regent Theatre, which closed in 2021 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 9735)
June 7, 1981/March 29, 2024 – Looking west along Queen St W from St Patrick Market, straddling the Kensington-Chinatown and Entertainment District neighbourhoods of Toronto. The archive photo shows the former Beverley Tavern in the right foreground
June 7, 1981/March 29, 2024 – Looking west along Queen St W from St Patrick Market, straddling the Kensington-Chinatown and Entertainment District neighbourhoods of Toronto. The archive photo shows the former Beverley Tavern in the right foreground (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 76, Item 2)

July 22, 1930/March 29, 2024 - Looking southeast towards Queen's Wharf Lighthouse, also known as "Little Red," located between Fleet St and Lake Shore Blvd W in the Niagara neighbourhood of Toronto.

The lighthouse was built in 1861 and originally located at Queen's Wharf, once at the foot of Bathurst St (before lake-filling). However, in 1929, Little Red was in danger of being demolished due to the lake-filling project to expand Toronto's waterfront. To save the lighthouse, it was moved using wooden rollers and pulled to its current location, about 450 m west of where it once stood. Recently, Little Red underwent a restoration, which included new cedar shingles, wood repairs, and a fresh coat of red paint to live up to its name.

Both images show the Tip Top Tailors building (now Tip Top Lofts) and the Fleet St TTC streetcar loop encircling the lighthouse. The archive photo also shows Maple Leaf Stadium in the background on the left, providing a glimpse into a bygone era
July 22, 1930/March 29, 2024 – Looking southeast towards Queen’s Wharf Lighthouse, also known as “Little Red,” located between Fleet St and Lake Shore Blvd W in the Niagara neighbourhood of Toronto.

The lighthouse was built in 1861 and originally located at Queen’s Wharf, once at the foot of Bathurst St (before lake-filling). However, in 1929, Little Red was in danger of being demolished due to the lake-filling project to expand Toronto’s waterfront. To save the lighthouse, it was moved using wooden rollers and pulled to its current location, about 450 m west of where it once stood. Recently, Little Red underwent a restoration, which included new cedar shingles, wood repairs, and a fresh coat of red paint to live up to its name.

Both images show the Tip Top Tailors building (now Tip Top Lofts) and the Fleet St TTC streetcar loop encircling the lighthouse. The archive photo also shows Maple Leaf Stadium in the background on the left, providing a glimpse into a bygone era (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 21235)

1972/March 29, 2024  – Looking south towards Queen St W from St Patrick St in the Entertainment District of Toronto. Notice The Rex Hotel in the left foreground
1972/March 29, 2024 – Looking south towards Queen St W from St Patrick St in the Entertainment District of Toronto. Notice The Rex Hotel in the left foreground (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 65, Item 34)

1988/March 2024 – Looking west along Queen St W from west of Simcoe St in the Entertainment District of Toronto. The archive photo provides a glimpse into the past, showcasing George's Italian Café in the right foreground, The Rex Hotel a few doors west and a police car when they were yellow. The Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar at 194 Queen St W still stands strong today
1988/March 2024 – Looking west along Queen St W from west of Simcoe St in the Entertainment District of Toronto. The archive photo provides a glimpse into the past, showcasing George’s Italian Café in the right foreground, The Rex Hotel a few doors west and a police car when they were yellow. The Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar at 194 Queen St W still stands strong today (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 345, Item 25)

Between 1978-80/February 3, 2024 – Looking southeast towards the corner of Yonge St and Gould St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto.  

The photograph from the archives provides a glimpse into the past of the corner building once located at Yonge St and Gould St. The building was originally the Empress Hotel and, subsequently, the Edison Hotel. In the photo, you can see Music World and other businesses that were later housed inside. Unfortunately, the heritage building was ravaged by a fire on January 3, 2011, which led to its destruction.  

The space where the historic building once stood is now home to the World Food Market, a collection of food outlets
Between 1978-80/February 3, 2024 – Looking southeast towards the corner of Yonge St and Gould St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto.

The photograph from the archives provides a glimpse into the past of the corner building once located at Yonge St and Gould St. The building was originally the Empress Hotel and, subsequently, the Edison Hotel. In the photo, you can see Music World and other businesses that were later housed inside. Unfortunately, the heritage building was ravaged by a fire on January 3, 2011, which led to its destruction.

The space where the historic building once stood is now home to the World Food Market, a collection of food outlets (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 306, Item 5)

June 23, 1971/1980s - A & A Books & Records, later known as A & A Records & Tapes, was once located at 351 Yonge St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto. 

The store was initially called A & A Book Store, founded in 1945 by Alice Reingwertz Kenner and her brother Aaron. The store began selling records and was renamed A & A Books & Records. A & A's changed hands a few times, becoming Canada's largest music retail chain with 269 stores. In 1993, A & A Records & Tapes went bankrupt and closed. 

The building has since been torn down, and today, it's the site of the Toronto Metropolitan University Student Learning Centre
June 23, 1971/1980s – A & A Books & Records, later known as A & A Records & Tapes, was once located at 351 Yonge St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto.

The store was initially called A & A Book Store, founded in 1945 by Alice Reingwertz Kenner and her brother Aaron. The store began selling records and was renamed A & A Books & Records. A & A’s changed hands a few times, becoming Canada’s largest music retail chain with 269 stores. In 1993, A & A Records & Tapes went bankrupt and closed.

The building has since been torn down, and today, it’s the site of the Toronto Metropolitan University Student Learning Centre (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 1465, File 20, Item 23 & Series 1526, File 3, Item 26)

1952/March 16, 2024 – Looking northeast towards the corner of Yonge St and Davisville Ave, in the Davisville Village neighbourhood of Toronto. 
The corner building at 1909 Yonge St was built in 1894 by J.J. Davis for the Davisville General Store and Post Office. The Late Victorian Vernacular style structure received heritage status from the city in 1973. 
Today, the storefront is home to Circles & Squares Bakery Café. Did you know that the Davisville neighbourhood was named after the Davis family, who were early settlers in the area
1952/March 16, 2024 – Looking northeast towards the corner of Yonge St and Davisville Ave, in the Davisville Village neighbourhood of Toronto.

The corner building at 1909 Yonge St was built in 1894 by J.J. Davis for the Davisville General Store and Post Office. The Late Victorian Vernacular style structure received heritage status from the city in 1973.

Today, the storefront is home to Circles & Squares Bakery Café. Did you know that the Davisville neighbourhood was named after the Davis family, who were early settlers in the area (Toronto Public Library R-3899)

April 2, 2021/January 27, 2024 – Looking northeast towards the former Palace Arms Hotel and Palace Tavern at 950 King St W and Strachan Ave, in the King West Village of Toronto. 

The Palace Arms Hotel, a historic building constructed in 1890, is a prime example of the Romanesque Revival style. The building's design was the work of Frederick Henry Herbert, a prominent architect of his time. The city recognized the structure’s architectural significance in 1984 when it was awarded heritage status. 

There are plans to incorporate its historic façade into a mixed-use development
April 2, 2021/January 27, 2024 – Looking northeast towards the former Palace Arms Hotel and Palace Tavern at 950 King St W and Strachan Ave, in the King West Village of Toronto.

The Palace Arms Hotel, a historic building constructed in 1890, is a prime example of the Romanesque Revival style. The building’s design was the work of Frederick Henry Herbert, a prominent architect of his time. The city recognized the structure’s architectural significance in 1984 when it was awarded heritage status.

There are plans to incorporate its historic façade into a mixed-use development

December 4, 1954/January 27, 2024 – Looking north up Yonge St from Queen St in Toronto's Downtown Yonge area. In the archive photo, notice the F. W. Woolworth store on the left. The original building was constructed in 1895 for the Philip Jamieson & Company department store. The building in the present-day photo at 2 Queen St W is a replica of the previous structure. There were plans to salvage and restore much of the earlier building; however, it had deteriorated beyond repair due to decades of wear and tear. Another item to note in the archive photo is Loew's Theatre on the right. Today, it's known as the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
December 4, 1954/January 27, 2024 – Looking north up Yonge St from Queen St in Toronto’s Downtown Yonge area.

In the archive photo, notice the F. W. Woolworth store on the left. The original building was constructed in 1895 for the Philip Jamieson & Company department store. The building in the present-day photo at 2 Queen St W is a replica of the previous structure. There were plans to salvage and restore much of the earlier building; however, it had deteriorated beyond repair due to decades of wear and tear.

Another item to note in the archive photo is Loew’s Theatre on the right. Today, it’s known as the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (City of Toronto Archives, Series 381, Item 319 12641-7)

1942/March 16, 2024 - The former Regent Theatre, originally Belsize and later the Crest Theatre, is located at 551 Mt Pleasant Rd north of Belsize Dr in the Davisville Village neighbourhood of Toronto. 
The archive photo shows when “It Happened in Flatbush,” was playing at Belsize Theatre. Built in 1926/27, architect Murray Brown designed the theatre to host both movies and live stage performances. It had 725+ seats on the main floor and another 205 on the balcony. 
The building received heritage status from the city in 1984. The theatre closed in 2021, and there are plans for a neighbourhood art centre in the building
1942/March 16, 2024 – The former Regent Theatre, originally Belsize and later the Crest Theatre, is located at 551 Mt Pleasant Rd north of Belsize Dr in the Davisville Village neighbourhood of Toronto.

The archive photo shows when “It Happened in Flatbush,” was playing at Belsize Theatre. Built in 1926/27, architect Murray Brown designed the theatre to host both movies and live stage performances. It had 725+ seats on the main floor and another 205 on the balcony.

The building received heritage status from the city in 1984. The theatre closed in 2021, and there are plans for a neighbourhood art centre in the building (Archives of Ontario I0012591)

May 23, 2021/March 10, 2024 – Looking southwest towards the corner of Church St and Richmond St E, in the Old Town, St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. The four-storey heritage-designated building was constructed in 1882, designed by architect David Roberts Jr, and was originally the Windsor House. It was renamed the New Windsor House and later McVeigh's Irish Pub
May 23, 2021/March 10, 2024 – Looking southwest towards the corner of Church St and Richmond St E, in the Old Town, St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto. The four-storey heritage-designated building was constructed in 1882, designed by architect David Roberts Jr, and was originally the Windsor House. It was renamed the New Windsor House and later McVeigh’s Irish Pub

1972/March 16, 2024 – Looking southwest towards the corner of Dundas St E and Church St in the Garden District of Toronto. 
The building at 260 Church St was originally The Sterling Bank of Canada, then CIBC and later Pizza Pizza. The archive photo shows the steeple of St Michael's Cathedral Basilica in the left background. 
The present-day photo shows the former bank building, which received heritage status in 2021, incorporated into the contemporary 252 Church condo tower - an example of preserving a historical building while meeting modern urban living needs
1972/March 16, 2024 – Looking southwest towards the corner of Dundas St E and Church St in the Garden District of Toronto.

The building at 260 Church St was originally The Sterling Bank of Canada, then CIBC and later Pizza Pizza. The archive photo shows the steeple of St Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in the left background.

The present-day photo shows the former bank building, which received heritage status in 2021, incorporated into the contemporary 252 Church condo tower – an example of preserving a historical building while meeting modern urban living needs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 51, Item 18)

1972/January 21, 2024 – Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St E and Church St, in the Garden District of Toronto.

The archive photo shows that 60 Queen St E was once Thrifty’s Sport Shop and later became home to several businesses, including Public Optical, Gino’s Pizza and Shawarma’s King. According to a City of Toronto Heritage Report, the first two stories of the building were constructed in the 1840s, while the third story was added circa 1901. There are plans to incorporate the building’s historic façade, along with those of nearby structures, into a new 57-storey tower called 60 Queen St East Condos.

The archive photo also captures Cooke's Presbyterian Church standing tall on the right. The church, built in 1891, served the community for over 90 years before it was demolished in 1982
1972/January 21, 2024 – Looking northeast towards the corner of Queen St E and Church St, in the Garden District of Toronto.

The archive photo shows that 60 Queen St E was once Thrifty’s Sport Shop and later became home to several businesses, including Public Optical, Gino’s Pizza and Shawarma’s King. According to a City of Toronto Heritage Report, the first two stories of the building were constructed in the 1840s, while the third story was added circa 1901. There are plans to incorporate the building’s historic façade, along with those of nearby structures, into a new 57-storey tower called 60 Queen St East Condos.

The archive photo also captures Cooke’s Presbyterian Church standing tall on the right. The church, built in 1891, served the community for over 90 years before it was demolished in 1982 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 51, Item 7)

1982/2023 – Looking southwest from the corner of Victoria St and Gould St in Toronto’s Garden District. The archive photo shows the corner of Victoria St and Gould St, which once had a completely different view from the one we see today. In the past, you could have seen the towering office building above the Eaton Centre and even the CN Tower in the distance. Today, the corner is occupied by a building that houses the Toronto Metropolitan University Campus Store, a parking lot, and The Tenor - a complex that offers retail, office, and entertainment spaces
1982/2023 – Looking southwest from the corner of Victoria St and Gould St in Toronto’s Garden District.

The archive photo shows the corner of Victoria St and Gould St, which once had a completely different view from the one we see today. In the past, you could have seen the towering office building above the Eaton Centre and even the CN Tower in the distance.

Today, the corner is occupied by a building that houses the Toronto Metropolitan University Campus Store, a parking lot, and The Tenor – a complex that offers retail, office, and entertainment spaces (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 620, Item 682)

Between 1900 and 1912/January 27, 2024 – Looking north up Yonge St from Queen St in Toronto's Downtown Yonge area. 
In the archive photo, the building in the left foreground was constructed in 1895 for the Philip Jamieson & Company department store. While the building in the present-day photo looks the same, it's actually a replica. There were plans to salvage and restore much of the earlier building; however, it had deteriorated beyond repair due to decades of wear and tear.
 Another item to note in the photos is the building in the right foreground. It was built in 1909/10 as a Bank of Montreal branch office. Today, the heritage-designated former bank building serves as commercial space
Between 1900 and 1912/January 27, 2024 – Looking north up Yonge St from Queen St in Toronto’s Downtown Yonge area.

In the archive photo, the building in the left foreground was constructed in 1895 for the Philip Jamieson & Company department store. While the building in the present-day photo looks the same, it’s actually a replica. There were plans to salvage and restore much of the earlier building; however, it had deteriorated beyond repair due to decades of wear and tear.

Another item to note in the photos is the building in the right foreground. It was built in 1909/10 as a Bank of Montreal branch office. Today, the heritage-designated former bank building serves as commercial space (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 495)

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