Toronto Through My Lens

10 Scrivener Square

What do you do with an abandoned old train station? Why, turn it into a high-end LCBO of course!

Located just off Yonge Street near Summerhill Avenue, this structure used to be the North Toronto Railway Station. It was in service from 1916 to 1930, and closed in 1931 after Union Station opened downtown.

In 1916, architects Frank Darling and John Pearson were assigned the task of creating a new North Toronto rail station. The centrepiece of their plan was a 140-foot clock tower inspired by the Campanile in St. Mark’s Square in Venice. Built by the P. Lyall & Sons Construction Company, the station went on to service the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) line running across Toronto.

Globe, September 10, 1915

This station was the first building in the city to be constructed of Tyndall limestone from Manitoba, supplied by The Wallace Sandstone Quarries.

When then-Mayor Tommy Church laid the cornerstone on September 9, 1915, he praised the CPR for being the first railway company to give Toronto proper recognition. He hoped the station would be the first of a series of railway gateways to the city, improving inter-city commuting. When passenger service began on June 4, 1916, destinations included Lindsay, Owen Sound, and Ottawa. The most popular route was Montreal, which attracted wealthy businessmen who lived nearby.

Globe, June 15, 1916

When Union Station opened in 1927 and the Great Depression followed shortly thereafter, the North Toronto Railway Station, which served smaller towns in Ontario and was originally meant to augment the bigger station, began to suffer. The last paying passengers filed through the station on September 27, 1930. Brewers’ Retail moved into the northern portion of the terminal building in 1931.

Ticket area, circa 1916
City of Toronto Archives

The station was re-opened, briefly, at 10:30AM on May 22, 1939, when King George VI and his consort, Queen Elizabeth (mother of Queen Elizabeth II), arrived for their first visit to Toronto. This was the first visit to Canada by a reigning British monarch. The King was also officially the Canadian monarch, marking the first visit by one to the city. The royal couple departed Toronto through Union Station. Shortly after World War II, returning soldiers passed through the North Toronto station; they were its last rail passengers.

The building has been protected under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act since October 13, 1976.

Inside The Building…

You want booze? There’s nothing you can’t find here – champagne, wine, beer, vodka, gin, whisky, scotch, tequila – you name it, they have that and a lot more. They also carry extensive vintage and imported liquor.

Staying true to the building’s roots, aisles and signs echo its past life

The station has a much, much longer history than I’ve noted, so if you’re interested in reading a more in-depth article, click here for the wiki.

2 Comments

  1. Bob in Vientiane

    Glad you mentioned the Tyndall Limeatone, which is a bit of an obsession of mine.

  2. David

    I love this building. Now a HUGE LCBO! I wish I could have experienced it back on the day.

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