St Charles Tavern Clock Tower – Once Part of Yonge St Fire Hall No. 3

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April 21, 2024 - Looking west towards the restored Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern clock tower. The landmark tower, along with the glass structure depicting the fire hall that once stood on the site, have been incorporated into Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St
April 21, 2024 – Looking west towards the restored Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern clock tower. The landmark tower, along with the glass structure depicting the fire hall that once stood on the site, have been incorporated into Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St

The St Charles Tavern Clock Tower, originally part of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, is located at 480-484 Yonge St (just north of College St) in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto.

Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3

The clock tower has a rich history dating back to the early 1870s. The city purchased the land in what was then considered the northern outskirts to construct a fire station. Architects James Grand and William Irving were tasked with designing three fire halls with towers – at Queen St W and Portland St (demolished), at Yonge St south of Grenville St, and at Berkeley St and Adelaide St E.

In 1871, Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, also known as Engine House No. 3, opened for service. Over the next few decades, the fire hall was expanded. It went from a single hall to one capable of housing three horse-drawn rigs (a hose wagon, chemical engine and steam engine) with stables in the rear.

The clock tower remained an essential and prominent feature of the building, standing tall at approximately 27 m or 90 ft. The four-sided tower has a red brick base and round window openings below the roofline, while the slate-covered bell-cast mansard roof with round-arched window openings, classical keystones, and wood details add to its grand late-Victorian style. It also features a wooden top with cross-hatched details and clock faces.

The tower’s primary function was to hang fire hoses to dry, and its 2-ton bell alerted volunteer firefighters and the neighbourhood of a fire emergency. In an era when watches were less common, the tower’s clock was invaluable to the community.

After the Fire Hall

Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 was decommissioned in 1928 and sold, only to be returned to the City of Toronto when the deal fell through. From the 1930s to the mid-40s, the building served different purposes, including a car wash and used car dealerships. It also housed a tire shop business that added a single story on the front.

St Charles Tavern

1955 - Looking southwest from Alexander St towards the St Charles Tavern, once at 488 Yonge St in Toronto. The iconic clock tower was built in 1871 and was originally part of the former Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3
1955 – Looking southwest from Alexander St towards the St Charles Tavern, once at 488 Yonge St in Toronto (Toronto Public Library R-3759, James Victor Salmon – photographer)

However, the building’s next incarnation came in 1948 when it was purchased by Charles Hempstead, a restauranteur and racehorse enthusiast. Hempstead opened the St Charles restaurant, which featured a cocktail bar and music and even used the iconic clock tower in its advertising with the slogan “Meet me under the clock.”

In 1958, Mr Hemstead sold the restaurant/tavern to St Charles Food Limited. The business continued to thrive, offering a selection of drinks and Chinese Canadian cuisine. The St Charles Restaurant was legally allowed to remain open during dinner hours while other bars had to shut down. During this time, customers from the nearby Red Lion Room – a bar nicknamed the “Pink Pussy” by the gay community, located across the street inside the former Westbury Hotel (now the Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Downtown) – became a go-to destination for a bite to eat.

In the 1960s, St Charles became a popular destination for gay men, hosting various drag shows, including the Halloween drag show tradition that drew thousands of people to the area until the 1980s. However, despite being a gathering place for the gay community, it was not always a safe space. Police were often hostile and kept a close watch on activities inside. The shows attracted not only spectators and supporters but also protestors. As a result, drag queens had to resort to entering the nightclub in secret to avoid being verbally abused or having eggs thrown at them.

Through the 1970s and 80s, the upper floor of the building was home to a variety of discos such as Maygay, Charly’s, and Y-Not. Even after the St Charles Tavern closed in 1987, the building was a popular venue for nightclubs like the Empire Dancebar.

The Clock Tower’s Restoration

March 29, 2020 – The clock tower from the former Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern is located on the west side of Yonge St, opposite Alexander St. The heritage-designated tower was built in 1871. The photo captures the structure prior to its 2022/23 restoration
March 29, 2020 – The clock tower from the former Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern is located on the west side of Yonge St, opposite Alexander St. The heritage-designated tower was built in 1871

The property was sold in the early 2000s, marking a new beginning for the clock tower. The new owners quickly recognized its historical significance and initiated a massive restoration project.

In 2018, the St Charles Tavern building, except for the clock tower, was demolished to make way for a condo development.

The Landmark Today

Further restoration work from 2021 to 2022 has brought the St Charles Tavern clock tower back to its former glory. It now stands as an impressive landmark in its architectural value and is a link to milestones in Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community.

The clock tower and the facade of the neighbouring building, which was once home to Syd Silver Clothing, were incorporated into the 45-storey Halo Residences.

A glass structure depicting the Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 has also been constructed next to the clock tower. It’s a stunning representation of the original fire hall that once stood on the site, beautifully capturing its unique character and charm. The structures are a testament to the area’s rich history and heritage and a must-see for anyone interested in architecture and design.

Did You Know?

  • The clock tower received heritage designation from the city in 1974.
  • The pole on top of the clock tower features coloured bands that represent the progressive pride flag – an important symbol of inclusivity within the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a more recent version of the traditional rainbow pride flag and has additional stripes that represent specific groups. The black and brown stripes represent people of colour, and the light blue and pink stripes represent the transgender community.
  • The tower at what was originally known as Berkeley Street Fire Hall No. 4, today home to the Alumnae Theatre, was very similar to the tower at Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3; however, it did not have a clock. While the brick-clad base of the Berkeley Street tower survived, its wooden top was removed in 1952.

St Charles Tavern Clock Tower Photos

1955 - Looking southwest from Alexander St towards the St Charles Tavern, once at 488 Yonge St in Toronto. The iconic clock tower was built in 1871 and was originally part of the former Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3
1955 – Looking southwest from Alexander St towards the St Charles Tavern, once at 488 Yonge St in Toronto. The iconic clock tower was built in 1871 and was originally part of the former Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 (Toronto Public Library R-3759, James Victor Salmon – photographer)
January 2024 – Looking southwest towards Yonge St from Alexander St in Toronto. The clock tower that was built in 1871 and originally part of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, along with the facade of the neighbouring building, are now part of the contemporary tower known as Halo Residences
January 2024 – Looking southwest towards Yonge St from Alexander St in Toronto. The clock tower that was built in 1871 and originally part of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, along with the facade of the neighbouring building, are now part of the contemporary tower known as Halo Residences
Between 1871 and 1896 - A sketch of Engine House No. 3 once at 488½ Yonge St in Toronto. When the single-hall fire station opened for service in 1871, the area was considered the northern outskirts of the city. All that remains today from the original fire hall is the clock tower
Between 1871 and 1896 – A sketch of Engine House No. 3 once at 488½ Yonge St in Toronto. When the single-hall fire station opened for service in 1871, the area was considered the northern outskirts of the city. All that remains today from the original fire hall is the clock tower (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 2 by J Ross Robertson – 1896)
April 21, 2024 - Looking west towards the restored Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern clock tower. The landmark tower, along with the glass structure depicting the fire hall that once stood on the site, have been incorporated into Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St
April 21, 2024 – Looking west towards the restored Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern clock tower. The landmark tower, along with the glass structure depicting the fire hall that once stood on the site, have been incorporated into Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St
December 1906 - Architectural drawings by the City Architects Office of the expansion of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 showing the front, north, and rear elevations. Originally a single hall station, it was later expanded to house three rigs (a hose wagon, chemical engine and steam engine) with stables in the rear
December 1906 – Architectural drawings by the City Architects Office of the expansion of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 showing the front, north, and rear elevations. Originally a single hall station, it was later expanded to house three rigs (a hose wagon, chemical engine and steam engine) with stables in the rear (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 2347, Item 78)
Between 1916 and 1919 – Looking towards the northwest corner of Yonge St and Grenville St with Fire Hall No. 3 and the clock tower in the background. The fire hall was decommissioned in 1928 after more than 55 years of service
Between 1916 and 1919 – Looking towards the northwest corner of Yonge St and Grenville St with Fire Hall No. 3 and the clock tower in the background. The fire hall was decommissioned in 1928 after more than 55 years of service (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1562)
February 17, 1930 – Looking northwest along Yonge St from south of College St/Carlton St in downtown Toronto. Notice the construction of Eaton's College Street Store in the left foreground, Oddfellows Hall in the centre-left and the Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern clock tower in the distance. By this time, the fire hall had been decommissioned and, during the 1930s, was used as a car wash, used car dealerships and a tire shop
February 17, 1930 – Looking northwest along Yonge St from south of College St/Carlton St in downtown Toronto. Notice the construction of Eaton’s College Street Store in the left foreground, Oddfellows Hall in the centre-left and the Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern clock tower in the distance. By this time, the fire hall had been decommissioned and, during the 1930s, was used as a car wash, used car dealerships and a tire shop (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, File 71, Item 7442)
November 17, 1941, 1952 – Looking southwest from Yonge St and Alexander St towards the Lyons Furniture store fire. Notice the building in the right foreground. It was originally Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, by this time, a single storey had been added to the front of the building for a tire shop
November 17, 1941, 1952 – Looking southwest from Yonge St and Alexander St towards the Lyons Furniture store fire. Notice the building in the right foreground. It was originally Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, by this time, a single storey had been added to the front of the building for a tire shop (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 366a)
March 29, 2020 – The clock tower from the former Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern is located on the west side of Yonge St, opposite Alexander St. The heritage-designated tower was built in 1871. The photo captures the structure before its 2021/22 restoration
March 29, 2020 – The clock tower from the former Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern is located on the west side of Yonge St, opposite Alexander St. The heritage-designated tower was built in 1871. The photo captures the structure before its 2021/22 restoration
June 25, 1952 – Looking north up Yonge St towards College St/Carlton St during Line 1 Subway construction. Notice Eaton's College Street Store in the left foreground and S. S. Kresge on the right. Also visible in the distance on the left is Oddfellows Hall and beyond that, the St Charles Tavern clock tower
June 25, 1952 – Looking north up Yonge St towards College St/Carlton St during Line 1 Subway construction. Notice Eaton’s College Street Store in the left foreground and S. S. Kresge on the right. Also visible in the distance on the left is Oddfellows Hall and beyond that, the St Charles Tavern clock tower (City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, File 85, ID 491062)
June 256, 1952 – Looking south down Yonge St from Alexander St during the construction of the Yonge Subway (Line 1) in Toronto. Notice St Charles Tavern, Syd Silver Clothing and Eaton's College Street Store on the right, with the Grosvenor Hotel in the foreground on the left
June 25, 1952 – Looking south down Yonge St from Alexander St during the construction of the Yonge Subway (Line 1) in Toronto. Notice St Charles Tavern, Syd Silver Clothing and Eaton’s College Street Store on the right, with the Grosvenor Hotel in the foreground on the left roof (City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, File 85, ID 491063 – Brigdens Limited photographer)
July 27, 1959 - An aerial view from the 6th floor of the Toronto Hydro Building at 14 Carlton St looking northwest towards excavation for the Westbury Hotel at Wood St and Yonge St. Notice the St Charles Tavern clock tower in the distance
July 27, 1959 – An aerial view from the 6th floor of the Toronto Hydro Building at 14 Carlton St looking northwest towards excavation for the Westbury Hotel at Wood St and Yonge St. Notice the St Charles Tavern clock tower in the distance (Toronto Public Library R-5661, James Victor Salmon – photographer)
October 1961 - An aerial view looking west towards Yonge St, just south of Alexander St in downtown Toronto. The businesses along Yonge St, between Grenville St and Grosvenor St, include the Automobile Renault Canada showroom, Cityview Restaurant, Toronto Hi-Fi Centre, the St Charles Tavern, Radio Trade Supply, Jokeland variety store and Grove Restaurant. The parking lot in the foreground is today home to Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Downtown. The tall building in the right background is the Whitney Block tower
October 1961 – An aerial view looking west towards Yonge St, just south of Alexander St in downtown Toronto. The businesses along Yonge St, between Grenville St and Grosvenor St, include the Automobile Renault Canada showroom, Cityview Restaurant, Toronto Hi-Fi Centre, the St Charles Tavern, Radio Trade Supply, Jokeland variety store and Grove Restaurant. The parking lot in the foreground is today home to Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Downtown. The tall building in the right background is the Whitney Block tower (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 1, ID 75)
February 1971 - Looking north on Yonge St from south of College St/Carlton St in downtown Toronto. Oddfellows Hall, then a branch of the CIBC, is in the left foreground, the Westbury Hotel on the right, and the St Charles Tavern clock tower is in the distance
February 1971 – Looking north on Yonge St from south of College St/Carlton St in downtown Toronto. Oddfellows Hall, then a branch of the CIBC, is in the left foreground, the Westbury Hotel on the right, and the St Charles Tavern clock tower is in the distance (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 2, ID 107)
May 30, 1974 - Looking southeast on Yonge St from Breadalbane St in Toronto. The St Charles Tavern clock tower and Eaton's College Street Store are visible in the distance, but also notice Tuxedo Junction, Radio City and Funland in the foreground
May 30, 1974 – Looking southeast on Yonge St from Breadalbane St in Toronto. The St Charles Tavern clock tower and Eaton’s College Street Store are visible in the distance, but also notice Tuxedo Junction, Radio City and Funland in the foreground (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 2, Item 70)
April 21, 2024 - Looking southwest along Yonge St from Breadalbane St in Toronto. The photo shows the restaurants and shops on the block with the top of the historic St Charles Tavern clock tower in the distance
April 21, 2024 – Looking southwest along Yonge St from Breadalbane St in Toronto. The photo shows the restaurants and shops on the block with the top of the historic St Charles Tavern clock tower in the distance
June 6, 1975 - A view of the shops and businesses along Yonge St, from just south of Maitland St. Notice the words "ST. CHARLES" written in red midway up the clock tower. Neighbouring shops and businesses include Radio Trade Supply, Mr Submarine, Bank of Montreal, Syd Silver (which was previously located next to the south side of the clock tower), the International Coats of Arms, Harold's Delicatessen and S Lichtman & Son Clothing & Shoes
June 6, 1975 – A view of the shops and businesses along Yonge St, from just south of Maitland St. Notice the words “ST. CHARLES” written in red midway up the clock tower. Neighbouring shops and businesses include Radio Trade Supply, Mr Submarine, Bank of Montreal, Syd Silver (which was previously located next to the south side of the clock tower), the International Coats of Arms, Harold’s Delicatessen and S Lichtman & Son Clothing & Shoes (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 2, Item 81)
2011 – Looking southwest from Alexander St towards what was initially the clock tower for Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 and later part of St Charles Tavern. In 2018, with the exception of the clock tower, the tavern building and many of the surrounding structures were torn down to make way for a condo tower
2011 – Looking southwest from Alexander St towards what was initially the clock tower for Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 and later part of St Charles Tavern. In 2018, with the exception of the clock tower, the tavern building and many of the surrounding structures were torn down to make way for a condo tower (Google Maps)
October 22, 2022 – Looking southwest along Yonge St from Grosvenor St during the construction of the condo development
October 22, 2022 – Looking southwest along Yonge St from Grosvenor St during the construction of the condo development
2007 - Looking northwest on Yonge St from Wood St. Along with the St Charles clock tower, a few of the businesses on this stretch of Yonge St include House of Souveniers, Sushi Sky Japanese Restaurant, Hair Story and Curry's Art Store
2007 – Looking northwest on Yonge St from Wood St. Along with the St Charles clock tower, a few of the businesses on this stretch of Yonge St include House of Souveniers, Sushi Sky Japanese Restaurant, Hair Story and Curry’s Art Store (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1581, Series 2196, Item 24, Peter MacCallum – photographer)
April 4, 2021 – The top of the St Charles Tavern clock tower before its 2022/23 restoration. The tower features four clock faces and sits atop cross-hatched woodwork
April 4, 2021 – The top of the St Charles Tavern clock tower before its 2022/23 restoration. The tower features four clock faces and sits atop cross-hatched woodwork
July 24, 2021 – The St Charles Tavern clock tower is surrounded by scaffolding during renovations and the construction of Halo Residences. The yellow exoskeleton next to the clock tower is supporting the three-storey façade that was once home to Syd Silver Clothing
July 24, 2021 – The St Charles Tavern clock tower is surrounded by scaffolding during renovations and the construction of Halo Residences. The yellow exoskeleton next to the clock tower is supporting the three-storey façade that was once home to Syd Silver Clothing
July 24, 2021 – A close-up of the St Charles Tavern clock tower during restoration
July 24, 2021 – A close-up of the St Charles Tavern clock tower during restoration
August 8, 2021 – The St Charles Tavern clock tower, originally part of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, is covered during restorations and the construction of Halo Residences at the southwest corner of Yonge St and Grosvenor St in Toronto
August 8, 2021 – The St Charles Tavern clock tower, originally part of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, is covered during restorations and the construction of Halo Residences at the southwest corner of Yonge St and Grosvenor St in Toronto
April 10, 2022 – A covered St Charles Tavern clock tower on Yonge St, opposite Alexander St, during renovations. The clock tower received heritage designation from the city in 1974
April 10, 2022 – A covered St Charles Tavern clock tower on Yonge St, opposite Alexander St, during renovations. The clock tower received heritage designation from the city in 1974
October 22, 2022 – The beautifully restored Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern clock tower during renovations. The tower stands 27 m or 90 ft tall
October 22, 2022 – The beautifully restored Fire Hall No. 3/St Charles Tavern clock tower during renovations. The tower stands 27 m or 90 ft tall
May 27, 2023 – The clock tower, originally part of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, later the St Charles Tavern, after its restoration. The tower’s brick-clad base and bell-cast mansard roof are topped with intricate cross-hatched woodwork and clock faces
May 27, 2023 – The clock tower, originally part of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3, later the St Charles Tavern, after its restoration. The tower’s brick-clad base and bell-cast mansard roof are topped with intricate cross-hatched woodwork and clock faces
May 27, 2023 – The top of the St Charles Tavern clock tower. Notice the clock sits on top of cross-hatched woodwork. It's crowned with a pole featuring the colours of the Progress Pride flag
May 27, 2023 – The top of the St Charles Tavern clock tower. Notice the clock sits on top of cross-hatched woodwork. It’s crowned with a pole featuring the colours of the Progress Pride flag
December 9, 2023 – The glass structure depicting the Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 captures the unique character and charm of the original fire hall that once stood on the site. It's located next to the original clock tower that fronts Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St
December 9, 2023 – The glass structure depicting the Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 captures the unique character and charm of the original fire hall that once stood on the site. It’s located next to the original clock tower that fronts Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St
December 9, 2023 – Looking west towards Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St, between Grenville St and Grosvenor St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto. The clock tower and the facade of the neighbouring building, which was once home to Syd Silver Clothing, were incorporated into the 45-storey condo tower
December 9, 2023 – Looking west towards Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St, between Grenville St and Grosvenor St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto. The clock tower and the facade of the neighbouring building, which was once home to Syd Silver Clothing, were incorporated into the 45-storey condo tower
April 21, 2024 - The bell-cast mansard roof of what was originally part of the former Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 is clad with slate and features decorative round-arched window openings. Today, the restored tower stands as a neighbourhood landmark and has been incorporated into Halo Residences
April 21, 2024 – The bell-cast mansard roof of what was originally part of the former Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3 is clad with slate and features decorative round-arched window openings. Today, the restored tower stands as a neighbourhood landmark and has been incorporated into Halo Residences
April 21, 2024 - Looking up at the beautifully restored clock tower incorporated into Halo Residences on Yonge St, just south of Grosvenor St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto. The clock tower, originally used to hang hoses to dry, dates back to 1871 and was part of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3
April 21, 2024 – Looking up at the beautifully restored clock tower incorporated into Halo Residences on Yonge St, just south of Grosvenor St in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto. The clock tower, originally used to hang hoses to dry, dates back to 1871 and was part of Yonge Street Fire Hall No. 3
April 21, 2024 - The 45-storey Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St features the historic clock tower along with a glass structure depicting the former Fire Hall No. 3 hall that once stood at the site
April 21, 2024 – The 45-storey Halo Residences at 480-484 Yonge St features the historic clock tower along with a glass structure depicting the former Fire Hall No. 3 hall that once stood at the site
January 2024 - The heritage plaque reads:

St. Charles Clock Tower - Yonge Street Fire Hall 1872
  
“This clock tower was originally part of the Yonge Street Fire Hall. It later stood over the St. Charles Tavern, which was a symbol for Toronto’s gay community. The Yonge Street Fire Hall was active for 56 years. It closed in 1928 and the building became a car wash, then a tire dealership. In 1948, racehorse owner Charles Hemstead purchased the building and redesigned the ground floor to open the St. Charles restaurant and cocktail bar in 1950.
 
Hemstead sold the business in 1958 but it continued to operate, serving drinks and Chinese Canadian food. The St. Charles could legally stay open when other bars had to close for dinner. Patrons at the nearby Red Lion Room, nicknamed the “Pink Pussy” by the gay community, often moved to the St. Charles to eat.
 
The St. Charles grew popular with gay men and it held many drag shows, but it was not always a safe space. Police were hostile to the community and surveilled inside. In the 1970s, the tradition of Halloween drag shows began to attract malicious crowds, forcing drag queens to enter in secret or be pelted with eggs.
 
Several discos used the upper floors in the 1970s and 1980s, including Maygay, Charly’s, and Y-Not. The St. Charles closed in 1987, but the building still housed nightclubs such as the Empire Dancebar. In 2022, the St. Charles clock tower was restored and incorporated into a housing development.”

Designated in 2016 under the Ontario Heritage Act
Heritage Toronto 2023
January 2024 – The heritage plaque reads:

St. Charles Clock Tower – Yonge Street Fire Hall 1872

“This clock tower was originally part of the Yonge Street Fire Hall. It later stood over the St. Charles Tavern, which was a symbol for Toronto’s gay community. The Yonge Street Fire Hall was active for 56 years. It closed in 1928 and the building became a car wash, then a tire dealership. In 1948, racehorse owner Charles Hemstead purchased the building and redesigned the ground floor to open the St. Charles restaurant and cocktail bar in 1950.

Hemstead sold the business in 1958 but it continued to operate, serving drinks and Chinese Canadian food. The St. Charles could legally stay open when other bars had to close for dinner. Patrons at the nearby Red Lion Room, nicknamed the “Pink Pussy” by the gay community, often moved to the St. Charles to eat.

The St. Charles grew popular with gay men and it held many drag shows, but it was not always a safe space. Police were hostile to the community and surveilled inside. In the 1970s, the tradition of Halloween drag shows began to attract malicious crowds, forcing drag queens to enter in secret or be pelted with eggs.

Several discos used the upper floors in the 1970s and 1980s, including Maygay, Charly’s, and Y-Not. The St. Charles closed in 1987, but the building still housed nightclubs such as the Empire Dancebar. In 2022, the St. Charles clock tower was restored and incorporated into a housing development.”

Designated in 2016 under the Ontario Heritage Act
Heritage Toronto 2023
1880 - Goads Map showing the location of Yonge Steet Fire Hall No. 3, between Grenville St and Grosvenor St, in Toronto
1880 – Goads Map showing the location of Yonge Steet Fire Hall No. 3, between Grenville St and Grosvenor St, in Toronto (Toronto Public Library)
1954 - The Toronto City Directory showing the address and phone number of the St Charles restaurant
1954 – The Toronto City Directory showing the address and phone number of the St Charles restaurant (Toronto Public Library)
1875 - The Toronto City Directory showing the address of the Engine House No. 3
1875 – The Toronto City Directory showing the address of the Engine House No. 3 (Toronto Public Library)
1916 - The Toronto City Directory showing the address of the Fire Hall No. 3
1916 – The Toronto City Directory showing the address of the Fire Hall No. 3 (Toronto Public Library)
SOURCE
  • City of Toronto Heritage Register: 484 Yonge St
  • City of Toronto: Research and Evaluation Summary: 484 Yonge Street, Aug 2015
  • Heritage Toronto: St. Charles Clock Tower – Yonge Street Fire Hall 1872 plaque
  • Ontario Heritage Trust: 484 Yonge St
  • The Globe Newspaper Archives: May 29, 1871, pg 1
  • The Globe Newspaper Archives: Apr 12, 1928, pg 13
  • The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Nov 1, 1979, pg 5
  • Photos: Denise Marie for TorontoJourney416
  • Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives, Toronto Public Library & Peter MacCallum
  • Street Photo: Yonge St & Alexander St from Google Maps
  • Vintage Map: Atlas of the City of Toronto 1880 by Chas E Goad courtesy of Toronto Public Library
  • Toronto City Directory by Might Directories Ltd 1875, 1916 & 1954 courtesy of Toronto Public Library

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