Toronto Through My Lens

Month: July 2023 (Page 1 of 4)

TOcityscapes is One Year Old!

That’s right – I started this blog on July 31, 2022. Happy First Birthday!

Thank you to all my loyal subscribers for sticking with me all this time. There’s still a lot more TOcityscapes to come!

If you’d like to take a look back at the year that was, I’ve created an Archives page where you can select and view any post from the past year.

As a bit of a retrospective, here are links to a few of the posts that generated the most viewer response or comments from the past year. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for a whole lot more to come…

Victoria Memorial Square

At 10 Niagara Street, on the corner of Portland Street and Niagara, sits Victoria Memorial Square:

Victoria Memorial Square is a park and former cemetery. It was established in 1793 as the burial place for those affiliated with the nearby Toronto Garrison (Fort York). It was the first cemetery to be used by European settlers in what would become the city of Toronto. Originally known as St. John’s Square, the park today is part of Fort York National Historic Site.

The Old Soldier
War of 1812 Memorial

This monument in the Square is entitled The Old Soldier, and was erected by the British Army and Navy Veterans’ Association. It was erected to honour the dead of the War of 1812, on this site of an old burial ground used between 1794 and 1863 for soldiers and their families from nearby Fort York. 

The memorial was designed and constructed by Walter Seymour Allward. He designed a bronze half-length figure of an old one-armed soldier in the uniform of 1812 holding his military cap, the George IV medal on his chest and the end of one empty sleeve pinned up.

The memorial’s cornerstone was laid on July 1, 1902. The cornerstone featured a time capsule, including newspapers, coins, and other documents of the day. Veterans of several wars were on hand for the ceremony, including those who had served in the Crimean War, Second Opium War, Indian Rebellion of 1857, Second Anglo-Afghan War, Fenian Raids, North-West Rebellion, and the South African War. The official unveiling was on July 5, 1907, after nearly 20 years of planning and fundraising.

Inscriptions On The Memorial

DEFENCE OF YORK (NOW TORONTO)

IN MEMORY OF OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND MEN WHO WERE KILLED OR DIED OF WOUNDS IN THE FOLLOWING REGIMENTS OR COMPANIES OF REGIMENTS ENGAGED IN THE DEFENCE OF YORK (TORONTO).

APRIL 27TH 1813

ROYAL ARTILLERY
ROYAL NAVAL ARTIFICES
8th REGIMENT (OF FOOT)
ROYAL NEWFOUNDLAND REGIMENT
CLENGARY FENCIBLES MILITIA
INCORPORATED MILITIA
Front Plaque
IN MEMORY OF OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND MEN WHO
WERE KILLED, DIED OF WOUNDS AND DISEASE, IN THE FOLLOWING REGIMENTS OR COMPANIES OF REGIMENTS ENGAGED DURING THE WAR OF 1812-1815 UPON THE WESTERN CANADIAN FRONTIER, WEST OF KINGSTON.

Royal Artillery – Royal Engineers
19th Dracoons 41st Regiment 100th Regiment
1st Regiment 49th Regiment 103rd Regiment
6th Regiment 82nd Regiment 103th Regiment
8th Regiment 89th Regiment
Royal Veteran Rect.
Royal Newfoundland Rect.
Prov. Dracoons Militia
Wattsville Rect. Militia
Canadian Fencibles
Simcoe Militia
Clencary Fencibles Militia
York Rangers Militia
1st Norfolk Militia
Coloured Corps & Indians
Rear Plaque
“Dead in Battle – Dead in the field”
More than his life can a soldier yield?
His blood has burnished his sabre bright
To his memory, honour: To him, good night”

This monument is to perpetuate the memory and deeds of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men who gave their lives in the defence of Canada in the War of 1812-15 and is erected by the British Army and Navy Veterans residing in Toronto. Aided by generous subscriptions from the British Army and Navy, and the citizens of Canada.

July 1st 1902

BATTLE FIELDS

RIVER CANARD
BEAVER DAMS
BLACK ROCK
CHATEAUGUAY
CHRYSLER FARM
DETROIT
FORT NIAGARA
FORT ERIE
YORK
FORT GEORGE
LUNDY’S LANE
THAMES
STONY CREEK
Side Plaque

Surviving Headstones from the Military Burial Ground

The park is Toronto’s oldest cemetery. The downtown site was used as a burial ground for nearly seventy years, from 1794 to 1863. During that time, it saw hundreds of burials, including many soldiers from the War of 1812.

The park was created by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe shortly after the establishment of the Garrison at York and the founding of the town. Simcoe’s infant daughter, Katherine, was one of the first to be buried at the cemetery which was closed in 1863 when it was deemed to be full.

The cemetery was converted to a park in the 1880s. Its grave sites were levelled, paths were established, and the 17 surviving headstones gathered along the park’s western edge:


Historical Photos

1885 – Military burying grounds, today’s Victoria Memorial Square (Toronto Public Library r-2851)
1913 – Looking northwest from Portland Street. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 52, Item 192.
1950 – City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257

References

Government of Canada, Veterans of Canada site

The Daily Hive

Atrocity on Maitland Street!

Is no historic building safe!?

Passing these beautiful old brownstones on Maitland Street last week I noticed that a rezoning proposal has been submitted for 36 and 42 Maitland Street. These buildings are known as The Maitlands and managed by Hazelview Properties.

36 & 42 Maitland Street
42 Maitland Street
36 Maitland Street
Building proposal for 34, 36 and 42 Maitland Street… nnnnoooooooo!!!!
Someone else has voiced their comments
Just what we need… another highrise condo to congest the area. Looks like a protester has slapped on a “Squat The Village” sticker in response to the threat.

The building proposal would incorporate the two existing facades, which are Heritage buildings, at 36 and 42 Maitland Street and would look like this:

I find this trend of filling in quieter, charming streets with towering monoliths alarming. I’m no Jane Jacobs or Christopher Hume, but I must say that this type of city development destroys a neighbourhood; it also saddens me. Currently Maitland Street is a quiet, orderly, leafy and calm residential street. If these proposed changes go ahead, Maitland Street will suffer the same fate as Charles Street – a once-beautiful, tree-lined, quiet street, full of character, turned into a major thoroughfare with towering condos every few feet.

But wait, there’s more…

Oh, say it ain’t so… Across the street at 37 Maitland Street, this beautiful building (currently law offices) is also being threatened with a zoning proposal for a 49 storey condo building.

Zoning proposal for this site. At least they will be incorporating the facade into the new complex.

‘Tis a sad day on Maitland Street… 🙁

“UltraChurch: 50 VIP Party People – 1948-2014”

About 10 years ago, there was a successful and productive project called The Church Street Mural Project. The mural project adorned walls up and down Church Street, from the south-facing wall of The Marquis of Granby pub (now defunct) to the northernmost mural on the 519 Church Street Community Centre.

The Church Street Mural Project involved the participation of 25 artists and was a key part of the community’s preparation for the massive World Pride 2014 festivities that year. One of my favourite murals from that project is a massive piece entitled Ultra Church: 50 VIP Party People – 1948-2014, produced by artist Lily Butter of Butter Land Studio. The mural is 90-feet long and runs down a laneway (recently dubbed Dapper Lane) behind the jumble of stores at 568 Church Street. The mural contains dozens of portraits of people who have been integral in the LGBT party scene over the past 60 years.

The mural is still there at this location, but it is now very faded and fragmented, and soon (or so we’ve been told) this block of old stores will be pulled down to make way for more condos, taking the mural with it. I’m glad I took these shots when I did as the mural was still very vibrant then and still reflected the vibrancy of our community.

In & Around Portland Street

On my way to photograph Victoria Memorial Square (stay tuned for a future post on that) I passed through the Portland Street and Wellington Street West area. Here’s a bit of what I encountered:

Nice bike!
Adelaide Street West, just east of Bathurst Street
More condos!
Just south of Richmond Street West. Condos are going up all around this site, hence the message on the painting: “The last inhabited house on this street”.

I found this graffiti and artwork in an alley behind Portland Street, south of Richmond Street West. Lots of colour here:


Interesting white flowers
Ruby Soho patio on Portland Street, just south of King Street West
The Happy Sundae
85 Portland Street. Lots of colour and ice cream here. Next time, I’m stopping for a sample!
Mural
On Portland Street south of King Street West

Clarence Square
On the corner of Wellington Street West and Spadina Avenue

Houses on Clarence Square
Charming houses on the Square

Mascot
Outside The Soho Hotel & Residences, 318 Wellington Street West
“Pas de Trois” (1984) by Russell K. Jacques
In front of office tower at 70 University Avenue, corner of Wellington Street West
Jump Restaurant & Bar
18 Wellington Street West. Love the spring!
That’s it for now… thanks for joining me on this little walkabout!
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