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Presenting – A Historical past Tour of the Seaside and a Mission of Mercy With Gene Domagala

Presenting – A Historical past Tour of the Seaside and a Mission of Mercy With Gene Domagala

Gene Domagala will not be solely a key volunteer within the Seaside, a person who helps out with all kinds of charities and non-profit organizations – a “utility man” as Bob Murdoch from Centre 55 calls him – he’s additionally one of the educated people concerning the Seaside. So in late December we had lined the western finish of Queen Road East; at the moment we have been going to take a look on the jap and northern finish of the neighbourhood.

We met once more on the Seashores Library, an ideal assembly level proper within the coronary heart of the Seaside, on the intersection of Queen Road and Lee Avenue. Gene let me know that he had been notified this morning that the furnace of an area resident within the East finish of the Seaside had damaged down, so our neighbourhood tour would additionally need to be a “mission of mercy” to ship just a few moveable heaters to this household in want. So the very first thing we did was to select up three house heaters and drive into the east finish of the Seaside near the Balmy Seaside Membership to drop off the warmers at a stately older residence. Gene promised to be again later at the moment to ship just a few extra heaters with a purpose to ensure that the pipes in the home wouldn’t freeze for the reason that furnace wouldn’t be fastened till tomorrow.

Gene defined that the Seaside group is supplied for these kinds of emergencies; there are all the time just a few further heaters floating round, and Centre 55 retains about 10 sleeping luggage for crucial circumstances when somebody wants to remain heat in a single day. A community of individuals seems out for his or her neighbours and makes positive they keep secure and wholesome, even within the deep freeze that Toronto has been in for the previous couple of weeks.

Since we have been already within the east finish of the Seaside we determined to begin our explorations proper there. Gene defined that about 120 years in the past there was a bit of village right here with an area pastor whose identify was H. Dixon. He began a tent church (actually a church positioned in a tent) and ran it from about 1880 to 1907. The tent church may maintain as many as 500 folks. Reverend Canon Dixon, as he was respectfully referred to in later years, was dedicated to ministering to the poor and based missions and soup kitchens for the homeless. This tent church was later to change into a everlasting constructing – St. Aidan’s Church, which only recently revived Canon Dixon’s legacy with its participation within the Out of the Chilly Program.

We drove down on Balsam Road, and Gene confirmed me six homes that initially date again about 110 years, lovely picket clapboard properties with distinctive architectural options. On the backside of Balsam Avenue is the previous Alexandra Lodge Annex, at the moment a non-public residence. Gene defined that a few century in the past there have been substantial houses alongside the underside of Fernwood Avenue which was once known as “Lakefront Avenue”. The Alexandra Lodge had greater than 30 rooms, and two free standing additions have been constructed: Annex 1 and Annex 2. Your complete complicated was a summer season lodge and featured a ship home on the waterfront and little cottages within the again. Within the Nineties vacationers would come from downtown Toronto by streetcar to benefit from the lovely waterfront expertise in Toronto’s Seaside neighbourhood.

Most of those buildings have been torn down round 1929 or 1930, however the previous Alexandra Lodge Annex remained and not too long ago underwent a lovely renovation. There have been a number of influential historic figures on this space: Sir Adam Wilson – the primary elected mayor of the Metropolis of Toronto, a outstanding jurist and a serious landowner within the Seaside; Reverend Dixon; James L. Hughes who was additionally the Chief Inspector of the Toronto Faculty Board, and John McPherson-Ross, the Mayor of East Toronto which included Balmy Seaside.

Our historic tour continued towards one other historic intersection within the Seaside: the intersection of Maclean Avenue and Queen Road. Within the second half of the 1800s Alan Maclean Howard was one of many main landowners within the space. An fascinating element of his historical past is that his father was a clerk on the legislation courts in Toronto for 51 years, and his son held the identical place, additionally for 51 years. A relative of Alan Maclean Howard was the primary Postmaster of Toronto and a United Empire Loyalist.

Gene defined that Howard was a little bit of an eccentric: he imported Guernsey cows and confirmed them at varied agricultural exhibitions. He additionally had three massive ponds with Peking geese on his nation property which was known as Glen Duart. Driving up on Hambly Road, Gene identified that this road at one level was presupposed to be as extensive as Spadina Avenue. Our drive continued north alongside Lee Avenue the place Gene talked about that this was the western finish of one other main property within the Seaside: the Glen Stewart Property, owned by Alfred Earnest Ames. This self-made millionaire was the youngest president of the Toronto Inventory Change, and at the moment many profitable stockbrokers and enterprise folks had lovely mansions on Sherbourne and Jarvis Streets in downtown Toronto. As well as, they’d even have summer season houses within the Seaside.

The Glen Stewart Property begins north of Williamson Highway, whereas south of this road was the situation of the Glen Duart Property. Ames had purchased the Glen Stewart Property in 1899 from a sure Walter Stewart Darling who was a minister within the space. Alfred Earnest Ames additionally had two duck ponds on his property, and a white picket fence surrounded the complete expansive property. A twelve foot embankment bordered the property east of Lee Avenue, this embankment was later levelled after Ames had bought his property and it was divided up right into a residential subdivision. The Glen Stewart Property ended at Kingston Highway.

The principle entrance to the Glen Stewart Property was on Glen Stewart Crescent the place Alfred Earnest Ames’ residence was positioned. Gene took me to the property which is a big mansion that has been transformed right into a multi-unit condominium constructing. The mansion has misplaced fairly a little bit of its former glory, however while you have a look at it carefully you may nonetheless image the attractive and imposing villa that it as soon as will need to have been. In 1906 Canada’s Governor Normal stayed right here for one week to attend the Queens Plate held on the previous Woodbine Race Observe, an occasion that attracted hundreds of horse-racing followers from across the nation.

Behind the mansion is a steep drop off, and within the ravine beneath the crest Alfred Earnest Ames constructed one of many first golf programs in Toronto in 1920. Earlier than the development of the golf course this a part of the property had consisted of woods and ponds. Alfred Ames’ stables have been positioned slightly below the crest on Lengthy Crescent.

A small dead-end road known as Leonard Circle is the previous location of the Glen Stewart Property’s ponds, and a number of the homes on this road are literally constructed on stilts, a essential building method as a result of marshy floor. The ponds went all the best way to the north finish of at the moment’s Williamson Highway Faculty, and Gene defined that round 1912 at the very least three or 4 boys died within the pond. The again entrance of the varsity was the principle entrance to the palatial Glen Stewart Property. The homes west of Lee Avenue weren’t a part of the Glen Stewart Property; they have been constructed within the Nineteen Twenties whereas the homes east of there on the previous property have been put up within the Nineteen Fifties.

Southwood Drive, the extension of Fundamental Road south of Kingston Highway, was the borderline between the Glen Stewart and the Glen Duart estates. East of Southwood Drive there was solely bush. When Alan Maclean Howard moved out round 1915, the property was subdivided and homes went up on Glen Manor Drive East. At this time’s Glen Stewart Ravine was the situation of a number of ponds that have been positioned on the previous Glen Duart Property. Gene added that the ravine ought to actually have been known as the Glen Duart Ravine because it was a part of Alan Maclean Howard’s property.

As we have been driving south alongside Glen Manor Drive, we stopped on the pure ice rink that’s maintained by native Seaside residents. Gene launched me to Thomas Neal, an area actual property agent, who dropped by just a few years in the past to take his boys skating and realized that the rink had been closed down attributable to municipal funding cuts. Along with Brock Grant, one other neighbour, he determined that the group would run the rink itself, and ever since then the 2 males with the assistance of different neighbours, have been sustaining the pure ice rink every day.

Brock and Thomas take turns, and Thomas alone spends about 5 hours a day sustaining the ice rink. Once I acquired there Thomas had simply attached a giant hose to the water provide and was spraying the rink with water which was freezing quick on this chilly day. After each blizzard he and several other like-minded volunteers come out to shovel the rink. Now there are two sides to this pure ice rink: one aspect is designated for hockey gamers and one aspect is for pleasure skating. Thomas mentioned that even Man Lafleur as soon as visited this pure ice rink. He added that he loves sustaining the rink, it’s nice for the youngsters, and at night time the ability turns right into a superbly lit venue.

The group spirit is powerful right here, and Thomas Neal is simply one other instance of how common residents pitch in and assist out within the Seaside. I let Thomas proceed his work, and returned to Gene who identified a picket bridge that crosses the Glen Stewart Ravine which has been there since 1915. The bridge can be changed by a brand new mannequin within the close to future, however Gene, along with his love for historical past, provides that he would love to hold on to the unique one.

Ivan Forrest Park, on the southern terminus of the Glen Stewart Ravine, was named after a Parks Commissioner of the Metropolis of Toronto from the Second World Battle. Alan Maclean Howard’s ponds have been lastly diverted into pipes which carried the water into Lake Ontario. Additional north, the pure a part of the Glen Stewart Ravine stretching in direction of Kingston Highway has not modified a lot all through current historical past. Gene defined that the ravine is a favorite vacation spot of naturalists and chook lovers due to the massive number of chook species and indigenous crops.

From the Glen Stewart Ravine we crossed Queen Road southwards and arrived on the former location of the Scarborough Seaside Amusement Park, a growth that was began in 1906. The previous homeowners of this parcel have been the Sisters of St. Joseph who ran the “Home of Windfall Farm”, a specialised college for folks with disabilities, on this space.

Revellers would come from town in road automobiles of the Toronto Railway Firm; these used to show down on Scarborough Seaside Boulevard. A large velodrome was once positioned simply west of this road, and the road automobile would finish on the backside of Scarborough Seaside Boulevard. Additional south close to the Hubbard Condominium Buildings was once the halfway with an enormous Ferris wheel and 125 foot excessive tower that was lit nightly with hundreds of electrical lights. The tower was additionally used for a wide range of stunts by totally different performers. The Scarborough Seaside Amusement Park additionally included a quarter-mile lengthy curler coaster journey, and totally different sights resembling a “Tunnel of Love” and a “Shoot the Chutes” flume journey. The primary boardwalk within the Seaside ran from the Hubbard Road condominium constructing to Fernwood.

On the backside of Scarborough Seaside Boulevard is a historic plaque that tells the story of the amusement park. As an knowledgeable in and advocate of native historical past, Gene Domagala has been lobbying for historic preservation within the Seaside for a few years, and was capable of get six historic plaques put in on this space. The plaque commemorating the Scarborough Seaside Amusement Park is one in all them.

After the amusement park closed down in 1925 the land was purchased up by builders; amongst them have been the Value Brothers, a crew of Toronto-based actual property builders who created greater than 200 homes within the space, amongst them a complete part of architecturally distinctive fourplexes characterised by their entrance porches and arched verandas. A number of of those fourplexes on Wineva Avenue have been listed on the Metropolis of Toronto’s Stock of Heritage Properties on account of their distinctive design.

Our drive continued additional east, and on the intersection of Maclean and Queen Streets Gene identified a historic property: the elevated constructing behind the Beacher’s Café is definitely the unique location of Alan Maclean Howard’s residence, though it has been modified an ideal deal through the years. Gene had been on the lookout for it for a very long time and couldn’t discover Howard’s authentic home. He realized that the road numbering on Queen Road had modified a number of occasions, and he had lastly discovered the unique home of Alan Maclean Howard. We drove north of Maclean Avenue and arrived on a winding, hilly highway known as Pine Crescent. That is the one space within the Seaside the place there may be brick pavement. Gene defined that a number of neighbours got here collectively and pitched in to get a historic reconstruction of brick pavers put in of their highway. On the high of the hill is a lovely non-public residence known as “Pinecrest” which dates again to 1902 and was designed by famend architect Charles Frederick Wagner, who had additionally created the well-known Inglenook property on Waverly Highway.

Throughout the road is a mansion previously owned by Joseph Harris, a member of the Canadian Parliament. We then drove up in direction of Kingston Highway, previous Glenn Gould’s beginning home on Southwood Drive. Glenn Herbert Gould (1932 to 1982) was a celebrated Canadian pianist and have become particularly well-known for his recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach’s keyboard music. Gene added that Gould was virtually higher identified in lots of nations all over the world than he was in Canada. A historic plaque educates guests concerning the lifetime of this excellent Canadian musician.

As soon as arrived on Kingston Highway we drove by the Notre Dame Convent which additionally homes an area Roman-Catholic college. This space used to carry the automobile barns for the Toronto Road Railway Firm. We drove into the neighbourhood north of Kingston Highway and turned left on Swanwick Avenue. Gene began explaining to me that this whole space was once known as the Village of East Toronto. Simply up the road have been the biggest freight yards of the Grand Trunk Railroad which included marshalling yards, coal storage amenities and a roundhouse. The world close to Gerrard and Fundamental Road was a middle of railroad exercise within the late Eighteen Eighties till the early 1900s. About 300 to 400 workmen have been employed right here, and lots of the homes have been constructed for these railroad workers. In complete the Village of East Toronto had about 5000 residents.

Gene added that many of those workers have been slightly transient, they’d usually transfer from job to job, relying on the alternatives that offered themselves. There was an issue with the freight yards, nonetheless: the steep gradient from downtown Toronto to the Village of East Toronto necessitated three locomotives, three firemen and three engineers within the transferring of the trains. Due to this unsuitable topography the CN freight yards closed down in 1908 and relocated to Belleville and Etobicoke respectively, a transfer that plunged the world right into a severe long-term financial decline.

We continued our drive and stopped at Centre 55 the place Gene briefly linked with Bob Murdoch. The Meals on Wheels deliveries have been in full swing, and Bob and several other of the volunteers had their arms full. From there we continued to Gerrard Road the place we briefly dropped in on the workplaces of the Seaside Metro Information. The brand new version of the paper had simply been printed, and several other of the captains had are available in to select up their many bundles of paper to move on to their volunteers who take care of the road supply of the paper. As Gene additionally volunteers as a captain with the Seaside Metro Information he picked up his bundles of paper, after which we continued our historic drive.

Our dialog went again to the historic significance of the Fundamental and Gerrard space. Gene added that there have been three main intersections within the Seaside: Queen and Lee, Queen and Beech in addition to Fundamental and Gerrard. He defined that the world featured a farmer’s market and a mixture of smaller townhouses and nicer houses. On the nook of Enderby Highway and Gerrard Road is a home that was once owned by a person named Donald George Stephenson. He was a lumber service provider with a bodily imposing look who was additionally the mayor of East Toronto. He was well-known for his overspending methods, and in 1894 he constructed a sequence of row homes on Norwood Terrace, however ended up accumulating main money owed and ultimately he pulled a disappearing act to flee his collectors.

Behind Norwood Terrace at the moment is the Fundamental Road Bridge which was once a picket trestle bridge throughout the Nineteen Twenties, spanning eight railway tracks. The world round Fundamental Road was a thriving industrial hub with its personal farmer’s market, various retail shops and several other theatres. Certainly one of these theatres was the Ultimate Theatre which at the moment is an area retail retailer. The YMCA was once on the opposite aspect of the intersection the place the Ted Reeve Area is at the moment. A number of banks have been positioned on the Fundamental and Gerrard intersection. A hospital and a library have been close by. This was the true centre of East Toronto.

From this space we drove south to the intersection of Fundamental Road and Benlamond Avenue, one other historic centre. Gene defined that Fundamental Road was once known as Dawes Highway on this space. Following Benlamond Avenue into an previous established neighbourhood that was once blocked to the general public by a gate, Gene advised me concerning the enterprise proprietor duo of Benjamin Morton and James Lamond Smith who have been each bankers with the Financial institution of Higher Canada. They have been main landowners on this space. Swanwick Avenue, an area road, was named after Mary Swanwick Morton. Collectively these two enterprise males created the primary golf course in Toronto in 1871 close to Woodbine and Coxwell Avenues, simply north of the St. John Norway Cemetery. On Glen Oak Drive close to Norwood Park there are a number of massive stately houses courting again to the Nineteen Forties and Nineteen Fifties. There isn’t any via visitors on this space, and this little nook is nearly unknown to most Torontonians. The home of Edward Lyall Morton, Benjamin Morton’s son, is on this neighbourhood, and a number of the nicest homes are positioned on small aspect streets on the fringe of an escarpment with a lovely view over the Seaside and Lake Ontario.

We got here again out on Benlamond Avenue the place the meals financial institution at Calvary Baptist Church was in full swing. Gene added that this church options a lovely stained glass window. Reverend Sneyd collected home windows from bombed out church buildings in Europe after World Battle II and put them collectively into one large stained glass window that was put in within the Seventies. We then drove east on Lyall Avenue, and Gene knowledgeable me that the primary 60 homes on either side of the road are literally protected as a part of a chosen heritage space. These houses have been constructed for center class households who had settled right here completely in distinction to a number of the different decrease revenue housing that was constructed for the extra transient inhabitants of railway staff. Gene identified a novel characteristic of this neighbourhood: a number of road corners have homes with massive entrance yards, an uncommon sight in Toronto’s older high-density neighbourhoods. Gene referred to them because the “fifty-fifties”: the entrance yard measures fifty yards by fifty yards, and the homes are set in from the road.

Our subsequent temporary cease throughout our tour was at Malvern Collegiate, a venerable academic establishment since 1903. Malvern is one in all Toronto’s high tutorial highschool and counts such illustrious graduates as Glenn Gould, Robert Fulford and Don Getty. Different superstar college students at Malvern embody Norman Jewison, Alex Trebek, Keanu Reeves, Kiefer Sutherland and Jack Kent Cooke. The spectacular library wing addition on the west aspect of the constructing opened in 1987 and contains a statue that dates again to the First World Battle.

From right here we headed down on Hannaford Road to Kingston Highway the place Gene confirmed me an area comfort retailer that was once “Ritches Dairy” – a stone insert within the constructing’s façade nonetheless testifies to the agricultural heritage of this space. Gene added that a few dozen dairies have been positioned right here a few hundred years in the past, and he defined that there was nothing on the south aspect of Kingston Highway till the Nineteen Forties.

#Presenting #Historical past #Tour #Seaside #Mission #Mercy #Gene #Domagala

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