Roncesvalles Dundas Planning Tour Oct 27 5-7 pm.
Date: Thursday October 27, 2016
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00 pm
Place: Grafton Avenue Park (southeast corner of Grafton Avenue Roncesvalles Ave. just north of Queen St W) We will meet at Grafton Avenue Park, southeast corner of Grafton and Roncesvalles Avenues, walk north along Roncesvalles to Dundas, and continue east on Dundas to Sorauren Avenue.
Roncesvalles and Dundas West Study Kick-off Meeting
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Place: Fern Avenue Public School – 128 Fern Avenue
The City of Toronto is undertaking a Planning Study of Roncesvalles Avenue between Queen Street West and Boustead Avenue, continuing along Dundas Street West to Sorauren Avenue. The study focuses on the built form and physical character within the study area and how to approximately accommodate future growth. This includes examining building envelopes, height and massing, heritage assessment and streetscape and landscape improvements. More information is available at <www.toronto.ca/roncesvallesdundas>. Click here for more information
Your input is important to this process. To register for the walking tour, please contact the City Planner, Aviva Pelt at 416-392-0877 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to attend this walking tour, please forward your comments to Councillor Perks at email@example.com and/or Aviva Pelt, City Planner at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to see you on October 27th.
Councillor Gord Perks, Parkdale/High Park- Ward 14, Email: email@example.com , Office: 416-338-5174 , www.gordperks.ca
News on Other Developments: 57 Brock, 11 Brock and 6 Noble
57 Brock Avenue, 7 Stories.
An application for Rezoning was submitted on June 30th, 2016 regarding proposed construction. The applicant is proposing to construct a 7-storey residential building containing 106 units and 73 parking spaces.
A pre-application meeting with the community was held on April 13th, 2016, prior to the application being submitted. Concerns raised include the building height and density, and the effect on neighbourhood traffic, among others.
Planning staff will now review the application and will be holding a community meeting in the near future – details of which will be shared when available. In the meantime, please view details of the application and development online at:
The progress of this development can also be followed on our website at: http://gordperks.ca/location/6-noble-street/p />
11 Brock Ave, Parking Lot.
The Toronto Parking Authority is in discussion to purchase the land from the provincial government where they will, in the short-term, look to operate a surface parking lot. In the longer terms they are seeking the construction of affordable rental housing units with an included public parking garage.
6 Noble St. 14 Stories.
An application for a Zoning By-Law Amendment was submitted on September 15th, 2016 from applicant 6 Noble Street Developments regarding proposed construction at 6 Noble Street.
The applicant is proposing to construct a 14-storey, mixed use building containing commercial use on the ground floor, with 174 residential units above. The applicant also proposes the inclusion of 76 parking spaces in a below-ground parking garage.
A pre-application meeting with the community was held on June 20th, 2016. Concerns raised on that day included building height and density, among others. Planning staff will review the application and will be holding a community meeting in the near future – details of which will be shared when available.
Eden Smith and Three Carnegie Libraries
Thu Oct 20, 2016
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
High Park Community Room
Architect Andrew Pruss will discuss Eden Smith’s architectural practice in Toronto of the 1910’s; specifically his commission to design three new Carnegie Libraries for the Toronto Public Library. The High Park, Wychwood and Beaches Branches.
Part of High Park’s Centenary Celebration.
Proposed for Conservation
Here is what may be most valuable. What do you think? Comments please.
23 Roncesvalles Ave Walk Start.
10 Roncesvalles Ave. Is MacDonalds but was a Bus Terminal, 14 is Hotel But was the gand Edgewater Hotel.
82 Roncesvalles Ave
118 Roncesvalles Ave
130 132 Roncesvalles Ave
150 to 156 Roncesvalles Ave. St Casimir's Church
228 Roncesvalles Ave High Park Library
214 Roncesvalles Ave at Wright
246 256 Roncesvalles Ave at High Park Blvd.
112 Roncesvalles Ave at Westminister Ave. residential on the west side of roncesvalles Ave is part of what makes Roncesvalles Village fabulous.
310 Roncesvalles Ave
314 Roncesvalles Ave
320 Roncesvalles Ave The Windsor House
390 Roncesvalles Ave area. Small store fronts throughout the area are part of what makes Roncesvalles Village fabulous.
390 Roncesvalles Ave. the Revue Theatre
408 Roncesvalles Ave
410 Roncesvalles Ave
9 Hewett Ave
470 Roncesvalles Ave
2211 Dundas St W
2211 2215 Dundas St W
2152 area Dundas St W
2154 Dundas St W
2112 Dundas St W
393 Sorauren Ave
2127 to 2067 Dundas St W
2049 to 2067 Dundas St W
2063 to 2062 Dundas St W
481 Roncesvalles Ave Peace Garden and Starbucks
479 Roncesvalles Ave
469 467 Roncesvalles Ave
421 Roncesvalles Ave corner of Howard Park
403 to 393 Roncesvalles Ave area
383 Roncesvalles Ave at Neepawa Ave
372 Roncesvalles Ave
315 Roncesvalles Ave
299 Roncesvalles Ave
289 Roncesvalles Ave
265 Roncesvalles Ave. St Vincent De Paul 1915-1924 J. M. Cowan.
263 Roncesvalles Ave Rectory
150 Fermanagh Ave Your Region Loan and Savings
150 Fermanagh Ave Your Region Loan and Savings
219 Roncesvalles Ave area
209 Roncesvalles Ave CIBC. 205 Scotia. 197 Sobeys
181 Roncesvalles Ave RBC Art Deco
155 to 157 Roncesvalles Ave
127 Roncesvalles Ave Brighton
127 Roncesvalles Ave
59 Roncesvalles Ave
59 Roncesvalles Ave
23 Roncesvalles Ave. Grafton Ave Park
23 Roncesvalles Ave
23 Roncesvalles Ave. Pictures of Sunnyside Amusement Park. Connected to Roncesvalles and Parkdale villages by a streetcar, Pedestrian and auto bridge, all three thrived from 1922 through 1956 while the bridge existed.
23 Roncesvalles Ave. The bridge and streetcar are gone and so are the crowds.
23 Roncesvalles Ave
23 Roncesvalles Ave
23 Roncesvalles Ave
23 Roncesvalles Ave
23 Roncesvalles Ave
5 to 9 Roncesvalles Ave
1647 Queen St West. Ocean View Hotel. Could we ban the billboard?
Colonel O’Hara planned Roncesvalles Avenue in 1860, but was there a Mississauga trail to Fort Rouille there first? Would Robert Home Smith and Jane Jacobs have differed when assessing Roncesvalles Village planning? To be explored in future articles. A new road, “High Park Gardens“. was added under Streets.
High Park Branch opened October 31, 1916 AT 228 Roncesvalles Ave built with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation. Plaque by Heritage Toronto 2016.
The Plaque is unveiled by Brian Bertrand at 228 Roncesvalles Ave Toronto.
150 Fermanagh Ave was built by York County Loan and Savings as a three story office building. Who made it five stories and why will be covered in a subsequent article on the Development of Roncesvalles Village. This is the largest century building on Roncesvalles Ave.
Looking closely at the west wall of 150 Fermanaugh Ave. we see on the second floor between the three bay windows on the right there are two rectangles of darker bricks. The same pattern is present, ‘though less evident, on the third floor. the walk leader pointed this out and explained that the building was increased from 3 to 5 stories as it was re-purposed from commercial to residential. Plate glass windows on the ground floor were replaced with the present windows, while on the upper floors bay windows were inserted and smaller windows replaced medium sized, seen to the left.
Red dots mark some points covered. We started at the Library, bottom right, and continued to the York County building just above it. We then followed Indian Road to Ridout St. and around to High Park Gardens.
Looking north on Roncesvalles in a 1914 postcard we see 150 Fermanaugh Ave. on the right and 2 High Park Blvd on the left.
The same view. Posted by Rick McGinnis blogto.com May 25, 2009
Looking east along High Park Blvd. towards 150 Fermanaugh Ave.
The same view. Posted by Rick McGinnis blogto.com May 25, 2009
2 High Park Boulevard was one of a few houses developed by York County Loan and Savings before it’s demise.
Alec Keefer speaks to the group in front of 2High Park Blvd.
235 Indian Road is adorned with a strong wooden Japanese style porch, reflecting the rich diversity of the area’s architecture.
Clinkers, I. E. Bricks that burst while being fired were utilized in the walls of this house of many styles.
This Arts and Crafts house sits at the corner of Indian road and High Park Boulevard. Rejecting the Symmetry and patterns of Georgian and Victorian styles, this form centres on interior functionality. Notice the massive chimney.
263 Indian Road displays a return to the classical features and layout of the Victorian era.
35 High Park Gdns., at Park Side Drive. Alex Keefer points out the brick columns at the entrance to the second Planned Community of York County Loans and Savings. Alec pointed out that the bricks need tuck pointing.
At 31 High Park Gardens. the walk leader explains the outstanding architecture of this house.
J J Wright was a leader in Canada’s electric industry. He lived in Parkdale during a dynamic period, leaving us with contested histories. His sight line to the lake was broken by tall buildings. Contending opinions with sources are offered. Comments are very welcome.
0 John Joseph Wright (1847-1922), general manager of the Toronto Electric Light Company for many years beginning in the 1880s, lived at 14 Gwynne Avenue. The house is Second Empire styling with an Italianate tower that afforded a view of Lake Ontario. The sight lines are explored in maps later in this article.
Photo taken with film camera by Mike Filey. Ivy covered the entire building obscuring all the historic details and part of the windows while possably damaging the brick. The overgrown bushes have been removed, while a tree has grown into the picture. The front wall has been restored. Commendable restoration.
1 John Wright’s house was smaller than today. The original house extended back just beyond the arched window. The side appears to have been rebricked, while the front is original polychrome brick work.
2 The porches were usually added later. Immediately behind the side porch the extension widens the house. Analysis of the maps shows this extension was added between 1903 and 1912.
3 The extension was consistent with the Italianate styling. The paint on the rear wall may have been added to protect the brick from the acid rain of the 1980s. I am not sure when acid rain started and ended but bricks and mortar were corroding rapidly at the time.
4 Protruding windows were popular at this time. Queen Anne styling?
7 The bricks in the porch are made from rejected bricks. This was a fashion before 1900, seen on the south end of Beaty Ave suggesting the porch was built before 1900.
1848 From ‘Parkdale in Pictures’ page 60, “John Joseph Wright (1847-1922), general manager of the Toronto Electric Light Company for many years beginning in the 1880s, lived at 14 Gwynne Avenue. In 1883 he was engaged, along with Charles Van Depoele, by the Toronto Industrial Exhibition to work on an electric railway for demonstration at that year's fair. Real success came in 1885 with the invention of an underrunning trolley pole which picked up electric current from the overhead wires, the system still used by streetcars. Wright ran an electrical business in Parkdale in the 1880s, and was on Parkdale's town council in 1886. In 1891, he was the first president of the Canadian Electrical Association.”
1848 John Joseph Wright Plaque
1876 http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/wright_john_joseph_15E.html WRIGHT, JOHN JOSEPH, electrical engineer; b. 11 Dec. 1847 in Great Yarmouth, England, son of James Wright, a Methodist minister, and Matilda Whittaker; m. 22 June 1874 Jessie Firstbrook in Toronto, and they had six daughters and two sons; d. 1 Feb. 1922 in Newcastle, Ont. Educated at Shireland Hall in Birmingham, John J. Wright arrived in Toronto in 1870 as a millwright – he later called himself a machinist. In 1874 he married Jessie Firstbrook; her father was a lumber dealer and box maker and some of her brothers were machinists. When Wright went to Philadelphia in 1876, ostensibly to visit the Centennial Exhibition, he attended lectures on electricity by Elihu Thomson and Edwin James Houston, teachers at the Central High School there and partners in electrical experimentation. He apparently impressed them and entered their employ; he worked on generators and in 1879 helped install North America’s first electric-arc street lamp.
1881 http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/wright_john_joseph_15E.html Following his return to Toronto in early 1881, Wright, in a back room at the Firstbrook factory, built a trial generator; it powered arc lamps that he had designed and installed in some downtown businesses. Such experimental ventures prompted city council to establish a committee in October 1881 to study the benefits of electric street lighting, but no contracts ensued.
1882 http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/wright_john_joseph_15E.html One of a number of early electrical entrepreneurs vying for opportunities, in the summer of 1882 Wright opened Toronto’s first commercial power station using generators provided by Thomson and Houston and driven by surplus steam from a nearby printing plant. Distribution wires were strung across the rooftops, and in 1884 Wright applied to use the poles of the newly organized Toronto Electric Light Company Limited. Since illumination was required only at night, he sold electric motors to stimulate daytime demand.
1883 the History of Electricity is a Story of Canadian Innovation. John Wright, the first Canadian Electrical Association President, demonstrates the first electric street railway at the Toronto Industrial Exhibition, (later replaced by the CNE). This would have involved the third rail on the ground. Better methods were developed later.
1884 Wright Succeeds with Electric Street railways, maybe. https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/innovations/023020-2720-e.html Also dubious is the claim made by some, notably J. J. Brown in his history of Canadian invention, Ideas in Exile, that Wright invented the elevated pole system used to power electric trolleys. Wright apparently attempted to install and operate the first electric railway in Canada at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in 1883. This attempt, using an engine purchased from Thomas Edison, failed, the story goes, because the power source, a third rail in the ground, shorted out in heavy rains. Legend has it that Wright's solution was to convey the electricity through an overhead wire, connected to the trolley by an elevated pole; at the top of the pole, a spring-loaded wheel moved along the wire and conducted the electricity. This new electric railway system was demonstrated at the CNE in 1884, and this time it ran perfectly, carrying some 15,000 passengers on its two-week run. However, the evidence does not bear this story out. Wright never patented a pole apparatus; he has three patents in Canada, one for a regulator for electric lights, and two for improvements to DC electric motors, including the one pictured above. Such "dynamo-electric machines," as they were then called, were the earliest type of electric motor and generator. (Another well-known Canadian inventor, Thomas Leopold Willson, patented and built his own electric dynamo in 1889, at the age of 20, but was better known for his contributions to chemistry.) While Wright may have helped install electric railways at the CNE, and may even have used a pole system, there's no hard evidence to prove it. Official credit for the invention of an electric trolley pole has gone to an American, Frank J. Sprague, who installed a working system in Richmond, Virginia, in 1888. Trolley poles, of course, went on to power electric railways around the world, and are still used in Canada for Toronto's streetcars and Vancouver's electric bus system. Regardless, Wright deserves credit as one of Canada's electrical pioneers. Between 1876 and 1881, he worked in Philadelphia for electrical engineers Elihu Thomson and Edwin James Houston, helping them install North America's first electric-arc street lamp in 1879. Upon returning to Toronto in 1881, Wright built a generator to power arc lights that he designed and installed in 15 Toronto businesses. In 1886, he became superintendent, and later manager, of the Toronto Electric Light Company, which that year installed Toronto's first electric street light system. In 1891, John J. Wright became the first president of the Canadian Electrical Association.
1884 Toronto Electric Light Company http://broom03.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Toronto%20Electric%20Light%20Company The Toronto Electric Light Company was an early electricity supplier in Toronto, founded and presided over by John Joseph Wright (1847–1922) and owned by Sir Henry Pellatt. Founded in 1882, TELC opened a steam driven power plant at Scott Street and The Esplanade. The plant was used to win a contract to provide night time street lighting (50 lights), replacing the oil and kerosene lamps in the old city of Toronto on King, Queen and Yonge Streets. By 1884 it was "used by a number of prominent establishments" as well. This power plant lasted into the 1920s when it was replaced by Central Heating Plant.
1885 North America's first Electric Railway at CNE. Toronto Sketches, the way we were. Mike Filey. The picture clearly shows the Joseph Wright’s working electrical railway with no third rail on the ground and an apparent overhead system. There is another story that seems unaware of the above newspaper report. http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/wright_john_joseph_15E.html In 1883 the Toronto Industrial Exhibition had decided to install an electric railway for demonstration purposes. The directors intended to buy equipment from a Chicago source but, since the price was too high, they settled for an experimental engine built by Thomas Alva Edison and owned by Wright. It proved unable to move any cars. The exhibition tried again in 1884. This time Wright, working for Charles Joseph Van Depoele, a leading American proponent of electric traction, motorized a Grand Trunk flatcar, which performed perfectly. Although newspaper accounts in 1883 and 1884 make no mention of Wright’s involvement, he is credited by some with constructing the first electric railway in Canada.
1885 Toronto. Mike Filey suggests the Americans may have invented this. The American patent was installed later, in 1899 by Frank J. Sprague and is the mechanism in wide use. Details are discussed in the next paragraphs. Mr Wright apparently made his idea work in 1883 0r 1884, but it appears to me the idea was further improved by others. This uncertainty may illustrate why modern historians often disagree and may even present numerous possible solutions. In this case admitting uncertainty is my best option.
The above picture was kindly provided by Mike Filey. "I recall in 1975 we built a “replica” of the 1885 Wright-Van de Poele experimental car for the CNE. It was on display in a large dome. The occasion was the intro of the proposed new streetcar for the TTC’s aging PCC fleet. The mock-up of the CLRV car developed by the UTDC was also in the dome. Those were were interesting years at the CNE, not like today." Mike Filey
1893 Toronto Railway Company car No. 316 on the Queen St line. in 1894 all street cars had become electric.
1894 Arc Light at Queen and Dufferin.
1898 Queen St looking east with Gwynne Ave on the right. Above the street car overhead wires are faint but visible.
1899 Dowling Ave looking north across tracks at an arc light.
1905 Cartoon of John J. Wright involved in the debate over generators vs Niagra Hydro lines to Toronto. http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/wright_john_joseph_15E.html In September 1884 the Globe identified him as head of the J. J. Wright Electric Light Company. The city directory of 1885 described him simply as an electrician. His private operations ended in 1886 when he became superintendent (later manager) of the Toronto Electric Light Company, which had acquired a municipal street-light franchise in 1884. Contested by Consumers’ Gas and the Toronto Railway Company, the renewal of the franchise in 1894 was tainted with the hint of scandal. The chair of the city’s fire and light committee, Alderman William T. Stewart, supposedly suggested that Wright provide $13,000 for distribution to council members. Stewart was tried but the charge was not proved. Wright’s involvement with electrical application illustrates the challenge of working in a field of rapid technological and corporate change. He testified before the Ontario legislature’s private bills committee in 1902 that long-distance transmission was impractical and that, in Toronto, steam-driven generating plants were more economical. Although the city received its first electricity from Niagara Falls in 1906, he was still arguing in 1908 that high-voltage lines posed a “grave danger” to farm buildings. Other electrical engineers, such as Robert Alexander Ross of Montreal, disagreed. Whatever the limits of Wright’s know-how, his managerial skills remained valuable, and he stayed with Toronto Electric Light after it became linked in 1908 to William Mackenzie’s large holding company, the Toronto Power Company Limited. In 1910 he was made second vice-president and general consultant. By 1914 he was a consulting engineer with no connection. A member of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Wright was the first president of the Canadian Electrical Association in 1891–93. He held the office again in 1904, and served on the managing committee of the association until its affiliation in 1911 with the National Electric Light Association in the United States, a step he did not support. In appearance this genial electrical pioneer was a stocky man with a large moustache. An enthusiast “of all kinds of aquatic sports,” he belonged to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and spent many a weekend “speeding” across Lake Ontario, “the central figure of a jolly party.” He retired from the electrical industry about 1915, settled in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and moved to Newcastle in 1921. He died the following year and was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.
1911 City Hall decorations for the inauguration of Toronto Hydro, May 2, 1911 http://broom03.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Toronto%20Electric%20Light%20Company TELC was eventually linked to Toronto Power Company and in 1906 TELC Toronto Power Generating Station was opened at Niagara Falls, Ontario to harness hydro electric power for Toronto. The company was acquired by Ontario Hydro in 1922, after private utilities ended in the early 1900s under the order of Sir Adam Beck.
1911 This settles the issue of when hydro towers went through Sunnyside.
1911 Hydro towers between Toronto and Niagara.
1915 Front cover of the Electric Service Magazine published by the Toronto Electric Light Co. http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=d023a83a0083c410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD However, in 1913 and 1914, there were a number of power interruptions, and residents who had switched from TELC were quite upset. The THES was actually forced to buy power from TELC, which proved to be an embarrassment for the commissioners. The strategy of Adam Beck to address customer dissatisfaction was to use "the weapon of cheapness." He mandated very low rates to be charged by THES, and customers enjoyed prices that were 50% less than those of TELC.
1915 the strategy of the TELC was to survive with higher private rates. We went public then. Governments are selling utilities back to private companies because we have forgotten the lessons of history!!!!
1921 The TTC along Queen to Parkdale. https://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/History/Turning_90_The_TTC_Since_1921.jsp http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly? With the arrival of World War I, there were increasing demands for power, and from the fall of 1917 to the fall of 1920, the winter months were marked by power shortages of increasing severity. The situation was finally relieved in the early 1920s when the private charters of TELC and the street railway expired, and the municipal system became the sole distributor of power in Toronto. In 1921, William Mackenzie's franchise to operate streetcars in the city expired, and the Toronto Street Railway became defunct. The City had an act passed by the provincial government providing for the formation of the Toronto Transportation Company. The TTC was to take over and operate the former street railway and the other civic lines that had been constructed by the City. Like the THES, the TTC was to be run by a three-member board of commissioners, none of whom could be a member of City Council. There were many points of connection between the TTC and THES, such as the joint use of poles, and electric railways were a major market for electrical power sold by the THES. To save money and to be efficient, council decided to amalgamate the THES and the TTC. The two organizations shared two commissioners--P.W. Ellis and George Wright--and H.H. Couzens served as the general manager for both. Even after the TTC and the THES split in 1924 when Couzens left Canada for a job in Brazil, Ellis and Wright continued to serve on both commissions. P.W. Ellis died on April 21, 1929, after having been the chairman of the THES for eighteen years.
1884 map of Parkdale showing the lake views from 14 Gwynne Ave.
1884 map At number 72 Gwynne Ave, lot 24 just north of King St we see small footprint of the three story house with a tower overlooking the lake.
1912 map The same house now bearing the address of 12 Gwynne on lot 24 has been significantly enlarged and large, still existing, houses have been built at 1244 and 1250 King Street East. The view would have disappeared.
2016 map showing the current street numbers and outlines of the buildings. 14 Gwynne Ave.
2016 map showing Wright Ave that was named for Joseph Wright per ‘Parkdale in Pictures’ page 60.