Interactive Toronto Historical Map Viewer


Screen Shot of Toronto Interactive Maps

Screen Shot of Interactive Toronto Historical Maps.

wrote in, “There’s now an easier, more convenient, and more dynamic way to compare different stages in the development of Toronto: thanks to the new Toronto Historical Map viewer, you can zoom in and out of and explore maps produced between 1818 and 1924, and aerial photographs from 1947 and 2012.”

Use it right here Toronto Historical Map viewer. It is also here under Resources / Historical Maps with many more maps.

Inspired by Nathan Ng, creator of the Historical Maps of Toronto project Chris Olsen, an analyst at ESRI (a Geographical Information System technology vendor) entered the picture. Olsen proceeded to create the map viewer by georeferencing and then stitching together map plates—essentially, each map had to be tagged so that users could jump between the same location in different files—and by adding controls that allow users to slide between years. He’s also worked on historical map viewers for both Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

Read the entire story at the source on .

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Two Historical Initiatives in Parkdale

Parkdale Town Seal

Parkdale Town Seal 1886

There are now not one but two historical initiatives in Parkdale, a group related to this site, ‘Parkdale Village Historical Society’ and a Parkdale Residents Association initiative. We were surprised too. We will be updating our About Us and Contact Us sections soon. Stay tuned.

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Parkdale Picture Mystery Resolved

735011_518560911499583_1679211532_nGreg Chown provided this interesting illustration of historical research. He says:
This photo is a bit of a mystery to me. The Parkdale BIA has been using it in some promotions and I can’t seem to locate where it was taken.
Circa 1915 (there’s a car in the background)
The evidence is: Parkdale Taxicabs, a sign that appears to read Parkview Theatre and H.M. Davy.
Anyone have a suggestion? The mystery seems to hinge on the telephone number.

ParkdaleTelephoneExchange1 Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 10.17.55 AMThe old Parkdale telephone exchange and from the City Directory of 1913 a Parkdale phone number.

The evidence.

I think William Mewes has solved this one.

parkdale1I believe the building outlined is this one on Roncesvalles.

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 3.33.37 PMAlso the brick detail outlined in blue (below) is still evident on this building.

parkdale2Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 3.43.10 PMYou can even see where the old Parkview Sign was attached.

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 3.43.10 PM

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 4.02.26 PMFrom the 1921 Directory

A Florist @ 115 Roncesvalles

A garage @ 113 (Taxis?)

HM Davy @ 105.


Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 4.22.38 PMThe final piece of the puzzle. From the Toronto Sunday World, May 31, 1914 .

Wait! There’s still more on this one.

In the original photo you can see a lane between the florists and the theatre that leads back to a garage (according to the directory)

That garage still stands today and is the home of a friend of mine. It was originally a blacksmith shop and then operated as a garage until being converted to a residence.

Screen Shot 2013-02-23 at 11.06.47 AM

This map from 1912 shows the blacksmith shop/taxi garage before the theatre was built.

430681_410781355658521_299109603_nH.M. Davy survived out here on Dundas near Six Points until the late 1950s.out these ads

Read more of Greg Chown’s discussion here.

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Parkdale Historical Society launch March 26

PRA-Logo-medFrom a PRA EMAIL: It’s time to Spring into Action!

Please join us on Wednesday, March 26th at May Robinson Auditorium, 7 – 9 pm, for a general meeting of the Parkdale Residents Association where we’ll say goodbye to this brutal winter and Spring Into Action! on our 2014 community-building initiatives.  This meeting will focus on our volunteers, and on the launch of new initiatives identified through a democratic and inclusive process that you will be a part of.

The PRA Executive has some ambitious ideas, but we need the help, energy and direction of volunteers like you to make them happen.  Here’s what we’re thinking:

  • Parkdale Historical Society launch
  • PRA Summer Event – Music in the Park (June/July)
  • PRA Membership Drive
  • Municipal Election All-Candidates Night (September)
  • Greening Parkdale – Parkdale Tree Canopy Mapping
  • Your community-building idea here!

The March 26th meeting will give everyone who attends an opportunity:

  • to meet your PRA Executive and fellow volunteers
  • to learn more about these initiatives
  • to pitch your own community-building idea for consideration
  • to sign-up to one or more of the volunteer committees, and
  • to participate in a break-out session to start the discussion and planning of your chosen initiative in earnest.

We hope to see you on the 26th.  If you are unable to make the meeting, please feel free to respond to and tell us where your interests lie.  We’ll add you to that volunteer committee and ensure you are included in subsequent communications around that initiative.

Your PRA Executive
Parkdale Residents Association – Parkdale.TO
Contact us: Info@Parkdale.TO or call 416.533.0044
Toronto, ON

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Residents association takes steps toward creating a historical society Oct. 5, 2011

1898 Dufferin St railway crossing south of Springhurst.  Picture courtesy of Parkdale village BIA and City of Toronto.

1898 Dufferin St railway crossing south of Springhurst.
Picture courtesy of Parkdale village BIA and City of Toronto.

Reposted with permission from Bloor West Villager Oct 5, 2011, By Erin Hatfield.
When the Parkdale Residents Association (PRA) organized and hosted a guided tour through one of Toronto’s most historic neighbourhoods in 2010, they were overwhelmed with the turnout. The walk, which was presented during the annual Jane’s Walk, drew more than 100 people. Jane’s Walks, which take place the first weekend in May, is named after the late urban planner Jane Jacobs’ with the goal of getting people exploring their neighbourhoods and meeting their neighbours.

It was after that walk PRA members said they realized there might be more of an interest in local history than they realized. Recently the PRA hosted a meeting, which focused on possibly establishing a Village of Parkdale Historical Society.

Historical societies collect information about an area’s past, gather and preserve historical artifacts, encourage the preservation and restoration of unique buildings and foster an interest in history in the community. The PRA has decided to build at least the framework for a historical society in the area, and the meeting was an opportunity for the association and residents to learn just how to do that.

Robert Leverty, the executive director of The Ontario Historical Society, explained the organization has the power to incorporate historical societies and in recent years there has been a flood of societies being set up across Ontario.

“There are many reasons people are setting up historical societies,” Leverty said. “But the message is… if you don’t organize and protect your history then no one is going to do it.”

In order to incorporate, Leverty explained the group would need to create a constitution and operate as a democratic body. “Whatever you decide to do in the coming year and months, we are more than willing to work with you because this is how history is saved,” Leverty said.

Also on hand were Paul Litt and Gerald Whyte, president and vice-president, respectively, of the Toronto Historical Association. That association, which was started in the 1990s, pulls together area societies and shares best practices. Litt said he hoped that was something in which Parkdale could participate in the future. “You do have a really rich history and hopefully you can form,” Litt said.

Joan Miles, founding member of the West Toronto Junction Historical Society, explained when that society was in its early stages in the 1980s, the relationship it had with the area planner and local librarian proved quite valuable. She encouraged Parkdale residents to foster relationships with the local city planner and library staff.

Norm McLeod, president of the Swansea Historical Society, explained to the group that if they do form a society, they will find there is a great deal of crossover and shared history with other societies.  “In the heritage community, there is no real separation,” he said. “Everyone works together.”

Read the original : “Residents association takes steps toward creating a historical society Oct. 5, 2011

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Appeal for Your Opinion

Detail of 1410 Queen Street West at Dunn Ave.

Detail of 1410 Queen Street West at Dunn Ave.

This summer, a city commissioned study will hold consultations in Parkdale on development and preservation. Following this, development will enter Parkdale. It is very important that when they come to hear our views we have discussed this and are as much in agreement as possible. Some resources are provided here to help with these discussions.
The city’s policy is DENSIFICATION. Consider ongoing development in Liberty Village and along Queen Street West the other side of Dufferin. More residences are almost inevitable. Consider where, how big and what appearance. We will need more parks, transit and parking for cars and bicycles. We possess the fairly intact nineteenth century Village of Parkdale. If well preserved and restored it could become a Tourist Attraction, as did the Village of Unionville. If we are without a plan we could see a repeat of the errors of the 1960’s and the resultant dereliction of Parkdale.

We need your feedback to our First Newsletter Survey.
If you have subscribed or registered you should receive an email survey soon. To respond to this survey from here Click drag and copy the following survey. Paste this into an email, fill it out, go into detail, then send it to . We will tabulate and post the results.

Parkdale Town SealWhat do you want the PVHS to do?
[ ]Protect Queen Street Parkdale Village
[ ]Protect other places___
[ ]Research Architectural histories of Buildings [ ] and Homes [ ].
[ ]Research, educate and entertain
[ ]Other___
What do you want to do for PVHS?
[ ]Help Protect Queen Street Village
[ ]Research, lead walks, give talks, write articles.
[ ]Provide help as needed
[ ]Tell us___
May we post your comments under your name?
[ ]Yes, [ ]No.

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Parkdale residents resisted joining City of Toronto in 1889

The Great Anit-Annexation demonstration in Parkdale. (As it was to have been.) Courtesy/TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY J.W. Bengough's editorial cartoon appear in Grip on 3 November 1888, a week after the Parkdale electorate voted to join Toronto. It shows several leaders of the anti-annexation Citizens' Protective Association.

The Great Anit-Annexation demonstration in Parkdale. (As it was to have been.)
J.W. Bengough’s editorial cartoon appear in Grip on 3 November 1888, a week after the Parkdale electorate voted to join Toronto. It shows several leaders of the anti-annexation Citizens’ Protective Association.

From the Parkdale Villager Feb. 27, 2014, P. 11: Parkdale by Erin Hatfield with permission.

The town of Parkdale was annexed by the City of Toronto on March 23, 1889.

Parkdale resident Jack Gibney, one of the forces behind a burgeoning Parkdale Village Historical Society (PVHS), said in his research and reading, Parkdale residents resisted annexation into Toronto. Had the rules around the vote on the annexation not favoured absentee landlords, the outcome may have been quite different.

“Parkdale joined Toronto because election rules favoured absentee landlords,” Gibney said.

Parkdale was a settlement in 1850 and then an incorporated village with 73 landowners and 788 residents in 1879. By 1888, Parkdale had built a full set of services and governing structures to serve a population of 1,091 property owners and 5,651 residents.

“They had accomplished a lot and had much to be proud of when the issue of annexation came to a vote in October 1888,” Gibney said. Although many of the city’s surrounding communities welcomed becoming part of Toronto, Parkdale resisted annexation for 10 years.

“The anti-annexationists decried bad Toronto waters, bureaucracy, wire pulling and greedy speculators,” Gibney said. “The pro-annexation side offered improved underpasses at rail lines, more services and debt relief. They also offered transportation assistance to non-resident property owners, who were in fact, the majority of the voters.”

With the non-resident owner majority, annexation won with 467 votes against 339. “If they had used modern election rules that include non-property owners, the vote would probably have gone the other way,” Gibney said.

The election was followed by accusations and lawsuits, but Parkdale officially joined Toronto in 1889.

The PVHS is looking for people who would like to join their efforts.

 Read more of the Parkdale Villager.  All factual information is based on ‘Parkdale in Pictures’ by Margaret Laycock and Barbara Myrvold.  Inferences were my own, Jack Gibney.

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Parkdale and Brockton History from Lost Toronto, Greg Chown

Nick's Pizza is an interesting blend of Parkdale's old cultures.

1312 King Street West, today Nick’s Pizza is an interesting blend of Parkdale’s old cultures.

Jack Gibney: ‘Greg, I’d like to put some of your pictures and stories in .  I hope to hear from you.’ February 5, 2014 at 6:22 am
Greg Chown: ‘Sure, just give Lost Toronto a credit and a link back to the site.’ February 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm.
Photos Include Then and Now About… College and Lansdowne, 1312 King Street West and Cowan, Bloor and Parkside, Gas on Dundas east of Lansdowne, Queen and Noble and Brockton’s Old Town Hall .  Read More on on Parkdale’s History at Greg Chown’s Blog ..

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The Parkdale Movie Theatre at 1605 Queen Street West by Doug Taylor

1605 Queen Street West, The Parkdale Theatre

1605 Queen Street West, The Parkdale Theatre

Doug Taylor gave  permission to include his articles: He said ‘Communicating with those who have an interest in preserving the architectural history of Toronto is always a pleasure. I have been blogging now for about three years, and Parkdale is one of the communities that has captured my interest. When I stroll along its tree-lined streets, I feel as if I have entered a time tunnel that transports me back to the past. It is rare to discover a district in our city that has survived the onslaught of the condo developers, remaining virtually unchanged since the late-nineteenth century. I worry that in our busy commercial world of today, Parkdale will eventually come across the radar of the developers and an important part of our heritage will be lost.

I was recently very pleased to establish a contact with Jack Gibney, who has created a blog to post articles and pictures relating to the Parkdale of yesteryears. His blog has an attractive layout that is interesting to read, and the photographs are expertly inserted to illustrate the various topics that are presented. I hope that Jack will include links to some of the posts on my blogs, where our interests happen to coincide. Sharing a love of Toronto’s architectural heritage is an abiding passion and one that I am always anxious to share.’     Doug Taylor   (Doug’s Article follows…)

This photo of the Parkdale Theatre at 1605 Queen Street West, on the southwest corner of Queen and Triller Avenue, is from the Ontario Archives (AO 2171). It was taken around 1947. One of the features listed on the marquee is the Laurel and Hardy movie, “Chump at Oxford,” released in 1940. I was never inside this venerable theatre, but I remember it well.  When I was a child in the 1940s, the most anticipated event of the summertime was a trip on the streetcar to the fabled playground beside the lake—Sunnyside. We travelled on the Queen Streetcar, alighting at Roncesvalles. The theatre loomed majestically near the intersection. As a child, I thought it was a massive structure and longed to be of an age to attend it.  Continue Reading on Doug Taylor’s Blog…

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1388 Queen St W is on Sale. What is Under the Siding?

1388 Queen Street West is on sale.  We are all wondering what is under the siding and how to deal with it.

1388 Queen Street West is on sale. We are all wondering what is under the siding and how to deal with it.

The pictures below show how this building looked  when built and now. On the left the original has a high decorative parapet, 3 rectangular windows on the third floor and one arched window on the second floor.  On the right, the same building is covered with brown siding.  The windows on the second floor are far apart, so the original arch may have been demolished. One could probably remove the siding and restore or rebuild the facade. Reproduction vintage bricks may be available locally. The second picture is a front view of 1388 in brown siding. The last picture shows a building on Mount Pleasant, South of Eglinton. The architect designed  a Victorian style arched window and a simple parapet.  The building is dated 1991, proving it can be done!
A tasteful restoration would greatly increase the value of this property located in an area that is ripe for growth. It is for sale now. Open the pictures below. Use the “i” symbol under the pictures to display important comments.
Jack Gibney

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What Sunnyside looked like before the Gardiner arrived

Sunnyside Traffic 1925 Toronto Archives Fonds 1266 Item 4960.

Sunnyside Traffic 1925 Toronto Archives Fonds 1266 Item 4960.

Although still a well-known beach, the Sunnyside of today only hints at the area’s former glory. As one makes his way from the Humber Bay Arch Bridge heading east across the Boardwalk or the Martin Goodman trail, it’s difficult to imagine that he’s approaching what was once the city’s most popular amusement area, a place that could look almost Coney Island-like on its busiest of days.   …Read more…

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248 Dufferin Street, Not Designated or Listed. Gone!

Without Historical status demolition was planned without further consideration.

Without Historical status demolition of 248 Dufferin Street was planned without further consideration.

Feb. 19 Gord Perks and city staffers held a meeting to obtain public opinion on what will be done in the Expanded Dufferin Park.  Parkdale is fortunate to gain this larger park. I went to learn the fate of the big Georgian Style composite building currently on the site at 248 Dufferin Street.  The city bought it to use as a park. It was neither Historically Listed or Designated so the team immediately committed to demolition to make the park.  I understand that the city needs to be decisive. Delays are expensive and waste time. It was a WAKE UP CALL -if we do not move to protect our still intact Parkdale Village, the historic buildings on Queen Street West that grace the village could be summarily slated for demolition one at a time, leaving us with a mess.  We have work to do.  Please register here at or subscribe to the Newsletter. Parkdale needs you.

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22 Elm Grove Avenue

22 Elm Grove Avenue built in 1875.

22 Elm Grove Avenue built in 1875.

An excellent example of the Ontario Gothic Revival Cottage. Built in 1875 by the Toronto Home Building Society for Mr. R.J. King, an employee of the Grand Trunk Railway. The 42’ x 170’ lot is a reminder of country ‘village days’ when large yards were a necessity to allow for a horse and carriage storage. It is thought that these out-buildings could have housed the milk wagons for the dairy business located further north on Elm Grove. Today they have been converted into a large garage. A decorative cast iron fence surrounds the front and across the gated driveway.

This home was built on the ground and had a roughcast or skin of stucco. It was later raised to add a basement and at that time was bricked and a brick porch added. The porch detail is considered historically accurate to the style and period. Barge board is displayed in the gable of the house.

This house, along with a number of houses in the immediate area, were condemned in the 1980’s but during this time was renovated and the interior of the house restored almost to its original Victorian form. Original doors/trim and maple flooring throughout.

Owners, Will and Ruth Davies, bought the home in 1991 and have since replaced all the windows (maintaining the original look of the period) and replacing the porch in the early 2000’s.)

Beautifully preserved and restored houses like this are a great benefit to the community. The colours also tastefully reflect the period.  If it ever goes on the market it will be much sought after too.   TO SEE THE PICTURES, CLICK THE IMAGES BELOW. Press the “i” symbol under the pictures for information.

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Sanctuary Lofts Lost to Fire Jan 2014

Did this building need more protection?

Did this century church need more protection?

An historic building burned Jan 31, 2014. Our historic buildings cannot protect themselves.  It is very important that we ensure this was not done for someone’s convenience. Goads Maps from the Toronto Archives show that the current brick structure appeared between 1913 and 1924 while there was a wooden church two doors south before 1890. Enjoy the pictures and video. Click below. Use the “i” symbol under the pictures to turn on the date of the each map.

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Parkdale Then and Now

Ocean View Hotel opened 1884 at  Queen and Roncesvalles.

Ocean View Hotel opened 1884 at Queen and Roncesvalles.

Many very beautiful Victorian buildings remain in Parkdale. Here is what they look like Then and Now. Some are prime for preservation or restoration. Some are badly damaged or gone. Images will be added until the stock of available pictures is exhausted, so drop back from time to time.  SEE THE PICTURES, CLICK THE IMAGES BELOW. Press the “i” symbol under the pictures for information about each picture.

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