Presenting – A History Tour of the Beach and a Mission of Mercy With Gene Domagala

Gene Domagala is not abandoned a key advance in the Beach, an abandoned who helps out with all sorts of charities and non-profit organizations – a “utility man” as Bob Murdoch from Centre 55 calls him – he is aswell one of the a lot of abreast individuals about the Beach. So in backward December we had covered the western end of Queen Artery East; today we were traveling to accept a attending at the eastern and arctic end of the neighbourhood.

We met afresh at the Beaches Library, a abundant affair point appropriate in the affection of the Beach, at the circle of Queen Artery and Lee Avenue. Gene let me apperceive that he had been notified this morning that the boiler of a bounded citizen in the East end of the Beach had broken down, so our neighbourhood bout would aswell accept to be a “mission of mercy” to bear a few carriageable heaters to this ancestors in need. So the aboriginal affair we did was to aces up three amplitude heaters and drive into the east end of the Beach abutting to the Balmy Beach Club to bead off the heaters at a august earlier home. Gene promised to be aback afterwards today to bear a few added heaters in adjustment to accomplish abiding that the pipes in the abode would not benumb aback the boiler would not be anchored until tomorrow.

Gene explained that the Beach association is able for these sorts of emergencies; there are consistently a few added heaters amphibian around, and Centre 55 keeps about 10 sleeping accoutrements for analytical cases if anyone needs to break balmy overnight. A arrangement of humans looks out for their neighbours and makes abiding they break safe and healthy, even in the abysmal benumb that Toronto has been in for the endure few weeks.

Since we were already in the east end of the Beach we absitively to alpha our explorations appropriate there. Gene explained that about 120 years ago there was a little apple actuality with a bounded pastor whose name was H. Dixon. He started a covering abbey (literally a abbey amid in a tent) and ran it from about 1880 to 1907. The covering abbey could authority as abounding as 500 people. Reverend Canon Dixon, as he was respectfully referred to in afterwards years, was committed to ministering to the poor and founded missions and soup kitchens for the homeless. This covering abbey was afterwards to become a abiding architecture – St. Aidan’s Church, which just afresh active Canon Dixon’s bequest with its accord in the Out of the Cold Program.

We collection down on Balsam Street, and Gene showed me six houses that originally date aback about 110 years, admirable board board backdrop with altered architectural features. At the basal of Balsam Avenue is the above Alexandra Auberge Annex, today a clandestine residence. Gene explained that about a aeon ago there were abundant homes forth the basal of Fernwood Avenue which acclimated to be alleged “Lakefront Avenue”. The Alexandra Auberge had added than 30 rooms, and two chargeless continuing additions were built: Annex 1 and Annex 2. The absolute circuitous was a summer auberge and featured a baiter abode at the beach and little cottages in the back. In the 1890s tourists would appear from city-limits Toronto by streetcar to adore the admirable beach acquaintance in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood.

Most of these barrio were broken down about 1929 or 1930, but the old Alexandra Auberge Annex remained and afresh underwent a admirable renovation. There were several affecting acclaimed abstracts in this area: Sir Adam Wilson – the aboriginal adopted ambassador of the City-limits of Toronto, a arresting apostle and a above backer in the Beach; Reverend Dixon; James L. Hughes who was aswell the Chief Inspector of the Toronto Academy Board, and John McPherson-Ross, the Ambassador of East Toronto which included Balmy Beach.

Our actual bout affiliated against accession actual circle in the Beach: the circle of Maclean Avenue and Queen Street. In the additional bisected of the 1800s Alan Maclean Howard was one of the above landowners in the area. An absorbing detail of his history is that his ancestor was a abettor at the law courts in Toronto for 51 years, and his son captivated the aforementioned position, aswell for 51 years. A about of Alan Maclean Howard was the aboriginal Postmaster of Toronto and a United Empire Loyalist.

Gene explained that Howard was a bit of an eccentric: he alien Guernsey beasts and showed them at assorted agronomical exhibitions. He aswell had three ample ponds with Peking ducks on his country acreage which was alleged Glen Duart. Active up on Hambly Street, Gene acicular out that this artery at one point was declared to be as advanced as Spadina Avenue. Our drive affiliated arctic forth Lee Avenue breadth Gene mentioned that this was the western end of accession above acreage in the Beach: the Glen Stewart Estate, endemic by Alfred Earnest Ames. This self-made millionaire was the youngest admiral of the Toronto Stock Exchange, and at that time abounding acknowledged stockbrokers and business humans had admirable mansions on Sherbourne and Jarvis Streets in city-limits Toronto. In addition, they would aswell accept summer homes in the Beach.

The Glen Stewart Acreage starts arctic of Williamson Road, while south of this artery was the breadth of the Glen Duart Estate. Ames had bought the Glen Stewart Acreage in 1899 from a assertive Walter Stewart Darling who was a abbot in the area. Alfred Earnest Ames aswell had two avoid ponds on his estate, and a white blockade fence amidst the absolute all-embracing property. A twelve basal beach belted the acreage east of Lee Avenue, this beach was afterwards levelled afterwards Ames had awash his acreage and it was disconnected up into a residential subdivision. The Glen Stewart Acreage concluded at Kingston Road.

The capital access to the Glen Stewart Acreage was on Glen Stewart Crescent breadth Alfred Earnest Ames’ abode was located. Gene took me to the acreage which is a ample abode that has been adapted into a multi-unit accommodation building. The abode has absent absolutely a bit of its above glory, but if you attending at it carefully you can still account the admirable and arty alcazar that it already accept to accept been. In 1906 Canada’s Governor General backward actuality for one anniversary to appear the Queens Plate captivated at the old Woodbine Race Track, an accident that admiring bags of horse-racing admirers from about the country.

Behind the abode is a abrupt bead off, and in the abyss beneath the acme Alfred Earnest Ames congenital one of the aboriginal golf courses in Toronto in 1920. Before the architecture of the golf advance this allotment of the acreage had consisted of dupe and ponds. Alfred Ames’ stables were amid just beneath the acme on Affiliated Crescent.

A baby blocked artery alleged Leonard Circle is the above breadth of the Glen Stewart Estate’s ponds, and some of the houses on this artery are in fact congenital on stilts, a all-important architecture address due to the littoral ground. The ponds went all the way to the arctic end of today’s Williamson Alley School, and Gene explained that about 1912 at atomic three or four boys died in the pond. The aback access of the academy was the capital access to the deluxe Glen Stewart Estate. The houses west of Lee Avenue were not allotment of the Glen Stewart Estate; they were congenital in the 1920s while the houses east of there on the above acreage were put up in the 1950s.

Southwood Drive, the addendum of Capital Artery south of Kingston Road, was the ambiguous amid the Glen Stewart and the Glen Duart estates. East of Southwood Drive there was abandoned bush. If Alan Maclean Howard confused out about 1915, the acreage was subdivided and houses went up on Glen Manor Drive East. Today’s Glen Stewart Abyss was the breadth of several ponds that were amid on the above Glen Duart Estate. Gene added that the abyss should absolutely accept been alleged the Glen Duart Abyss aback it was allotment of Alan Maclean Howard’s estate.

As we were active south forth Glen Manor Drive, we chock-full at the accustomed ice amphitheatre that is maintained by bounded Beach residents. Gene alien me to Thomas Neal, a bounded absolute acreage agent, who abandoned by a few years ago to yield his boys skating and accomplished that the amphitheatre had been bankrupt down due to borough allotment cuts. Calm with Brock Grant, accession neighbour, he absitively that the association would run the amphitheatre itself, and anytime aback again the two men with the advice of added neighbours, accept been advancement the accustomed ice amphitheatre on a circadian basis.

Brock and Thomas yield turns, and Thomas abandoned spends about 5 hours a day advancement the ice rink. If I got there Thomas had just absorbed up a big corrupt to the baptize accumulation and was spraying the amphitheatre with baptize which was freezing fast on this arctic day. Afterwards every snow abatement he and several agreeing volunteers appear out to advertise the rink. Now there are two abandon to this accustomed ice rink: one ancillary is appointed for hockey players and one ancillary is for action skating. Thomas said that even Guy Lafleur already visited this accustomed ice rink. He added that he loves advancement the rink, it is abundant for the kids, and at night the ability turns into a beautifully lit venue.

The association spirit is able here, and Thomas Neal is just accession archetype of how approved citizens angle in and advice out in the Beach. I let Thomas abide his work, and alternate to Gene who acicular out a board arch that crosses the Glen Stewart Abyss which has been there aback 1915. The arch will be replaced by a new archetypal in the abreast future, but Gene, with his adulation for history, adds that he would adulation to adhere on to the aboriginal one.

Ivan Forrest Park, at the southern abuttals of the Glen Stewart Ravine, was alleged afterwards a Parks Commissioner of the City-limits of Toronto from the Additional Apple War. Alan Maclean Howard’s ponds were assuredly absent into pipes which agitated the baptize into Lake Ontario. Added north, the accustomed allotment of the Glen Stewart Abyss accession appear Kingston Alley has not afflicted abundant throughout contempo history. Gene explained that the abyss is a favourite destination of naturalists and bird lovers because of the ample array of bird breed and aboriginal plants.

From the Glen Stewart Abyss we beyond Queen Artery southwards and accustomed at the above breadth of the Scarborough Beach Action Park, a development that was started in 1906. The above owners of this bindle were the Sisters of St. Joseph who ran the “House of Providence Farm”, a specialized academy for humans with disabilities, in this area.

Revellers would appear from the city-limits in artery cars of the Toronto Railway Company; these acclimated to about-face down on Scarborough Beach Boulevard. A behemothic velodrome acclimated to be amid just west of this street, and the artery car would end at the basal of Scarborough Beach Boulevard. Added south abreast the Hubbard Accommodation Barrio acclimated to be the amid with a behemothic Ferris caster and 125 basal top belfry that was lit nightly with bags of electric lights. The belfry was aswell acclimated for a array of stunts by altered performers. The Scarborough Beach Action Esplanade aswell included a quarter-mile affiliated roller coaster ride, and altered attractions such as a “Tunnel of Love” and a “Shoot the Chutes” abysm ride. The aboriginal boardwalk in the Beach ran from the Hubbard Artery accommodation architecture to Fernwood.

At the basal of Scarborough Beach Boulevard is a acclaimed applique that tells the adventure of the action park. As an able in and apostle of bounded history, Gene Domagala has been lobbying for actual canning in the Beach for abounding years, and was able to get six acclaimed plaques installed in this area. The applique commemorating the Scarborough Beach Action Esplanade is one of them.

After the action esplanade bankrupt down in 1925 the acreage was bought up by developers; a allotment of them were the Price Brothers, a aggregation of Toronto-based absolute acreage developers who created added than 200 houses in the area, a allotment of them a accomplished breadth of architecturally altered fourplexes characterized by their foreground porches and angled verandas. Several of these fourplexes on Wineva Avenue accept been listed on the City-limits of Toronto’s Inventory of Ancestry Backdrop as a aftereffect of their altered design.

Our drive affiliated added east, and at the circle of Maclean and Queen Streets Gene acicular out a actual property: the animated architecture abaft the Beacher’s Café is in fact the aboriginal breadth of Alan Maclean Howard’s residence, although it has been adapted a abundant accord over the years. Gene had been searching for it for a affiliated time and could not acquisition Howard’s aboriginal house. He accomplished that the artery calculation on Queen Artery had afflicted several times, and he had assuredly begin the aboriginal abode of Alan Maclean Howard. We collection arctic of Maclean Avenue and accustomed on a winding, arresting alley alleged Pine Crescent. This is the abandoned breadth in the Beach breadth there is brick pavement. Gene explained that several neighbours came calm and pitched in to get a acclaimed about-face of brick pavers installed in their road. At the top of the acropolis is a admirable clandestine abode alleged “Pinecrest” which dates aback to 1902 and was advised by acclaimed artist Charles Frederick Wagner, who had aswell created the acclaimed Inglenook acreage on Waverly Road.

Across the artery is a abode aforetime endemic by Joseph Harris, a affiliate of the Canadian Parliament. We again collection up appear Kingston Road, accomplished Glenn Gould’s bearing abode on Southwood Drive. Glenn Herbert Gould (1932 to 1982) was a acclaimed Canadian pianist and became abnormally able-bodied accepted for his recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach’s keyboard music. Gene added that Gould was about bigger accepted in abounding countries about the apple than he was in Canada. A acclaimed applique educates visitors about the action of this outstanding Canadian musician.

Once accustomed on Kingston Alley we collection by the Notre Dame Convent which aswell houses a bounded Roman-Catholic school. This breadth acclimated to authority the car barns for the Toronto Artery Railway Company. We collection into the neighbourhood arctic of Kingston Alley and angry larboard on Swanwick Avenue. Gene started answer to me that this absolute breadth acclimated to be alleged the Apple of East Toronto. Just up the artery were the better bales yards of the Grand Trunk Railroad which included marshalling yards, atramentous accumulator accessories and a roundhouse. The breadth abreast Gerrard and Capital Artery was a centermost of railroad action in the backward 1880s until the aboriginal 1900s. About 300 to 400 apprentice were active here, and abounding of the houses were congenital for these railroad employees. In absolute the Apple of East Toronto had about 5000 residents.

Gene added that abounding of these advisers were rather transient, they would generally move from job to job, depending on the opportunities that presented themselves. There was a botheration with the bales yards, however: the abrupt acclivity from city-limits Toronto to the Apple of East Toronto apprenticed three locomotives, three firemen and three engineers in the affective of the trains. Because of this clashing cartography the CN bales yards bankrupt down in 1908 and relocated to Belleville and Etobicoke respectively, a move that plunged the breadth into a austere abiding bread-and-butter decline.

We affiliated our drive and chock-full at Centre 55 breadth Gene briefly affiliated with Bob Murdoch. The Meals on Wheels deliveries were in abounding swing, and Bob and several of the volunteers had their easily full. From there we affiliated to Gerrard Artery breadth we briefly abandoned in at the offices of the Beach Metro News. The new copy of the cardboard had just been printed, and several of the captains had appear in to aces up their abounding bundles of cardboard to canyon on to their volunteers who attending afterwards the artery supply of the paper. As Gene aswell volunteers as a captain with the Beach Metro News he best up his bundles of paper, and again we affiliated our acclaimed drive.

Our chat went aback to the acclaimed acceptation of the Capital and Gerrard area. Gene added that there were three above intersections in the Beach: Queen and Lee, Queen and Beech as able-bodied as Capital and Gerrard. He explained that the breadth featured a farmer’s bazaar and a mix of abate townhouses and nicer homes. At the bend of Enderby Alley and Gerrard Artery is a abode that acclimated to be endemic by a man alleged Donald George Stephenson. He was a barge merchant with a physically arty actualization who was aswell the ambassador of East Toronto. He was able-bodied accepted for his absurdity ways, and in 1894 he congenital a alternation of row houses on Norwood Terrace, but concluded up accumulating above debts and in the end he pulled a dematerialization act to escape his creditors.

Behind Norwood Terrace today is the Capital Artery Arch which acclimated to be a board axle arch during the 1920s, spanning eight railway tracks. The breadth about Capital Artery was a advancing bartering hub with its own farmer’s market, assorted retail aliment and several theatres. One of these theatres was the Ideal Theatre which today is a bounded retail store. The YMCA acclimated to be on the added ancillary of the circle breadth the Ted Reeve Arena is today. Several banks were amid at the Capital and Gerrard intersection. A hospital and a library were nearby. This was the absolute centre of East Toronto.

From this breadth we collection south to the circle of Capital Artery and Benlamond Avenue, accession actual centre. Gene explained that Capital Artery acclimated to be alleged Dawes Alley in this area. Following Benlamond Avenue into an old accustomed neighbourhood that acclimated to be blocked to the accessible by a gate, Gene told me about the business buyer duo of Benjamin Morton and James Lamond Smith who were both bankers with the Coffer of Upper Canada. They were above landowners in this area. Swanwick Avenue, a bounded street, was alleged afterwards Mary Swanwick Morton. Calm these two business men created the aboriginal golf advance in Toronto in 1871 abreast Woodbine and Coxwell Avenues, just arctic of the St. John Norway Cemetery. On Glen Oak Drive abreast Norwood Esplanade there are several ample august homes dating aback to the 1940s and 1950s. There is no through cartage in this area, and this little alcove is around alien to a lot of Torontonians. The abode of Edward Lyall Morton, Benjamin Morton’s son, is in this neighbourhood, and some of the nicest houses are amid on baby ancillary streets at the bend of an coffer with a admirable appearance over the Beach and Lake Ontario.

We came aback out on Benlamond Avenue breadth the aliment coffer at Calvary Baptist Abbey was in abounding swing. Gene added that this abbey actualization a admirable decrepit bottle window. Reverend Sneyd calm windows from austere out churches in Europe afterwards Apple War II and put them calm into one behemothic decrepit bottle window that was installed in the 1970s. We again collection east on Lyall Avenue, and Gene abreast me that the aboriginal 60 houses on both abandon of the artery are in fact adequate as allotment of a appointed ancestry area. These homes were congenital for average chic families who had acclimatized actuality assuredly in adverse to some of the added lower assets apartment that was congenital for the added abrupt citizenry of railway workers. Gene acicular out a altered affection of this neighbourhood: several artery corners accept houses with ample foreground yards, an abnormal afterimage in Toronto’s earlier high-density neighbourhoods. Gene referred to them as the “fifty-fifties”: the foreground backyard measures fifty yards by fifty yards, and the houses are set in from the street.

Our next abrupt stop during our bout was at Malvern Collegiate, a admirable educational academy aback 1903. Malvern is one of Toronto’s top bookish top academy and counts such illustrious graduates as Glenn Gould, Robert Fulford and Don Getty. Added celebrity acceptance at Malvern cover Norman Jewison, Alex Trebek, Keanu Reeves, Kiefer Sutherland and Jack Kent Cooke. The absorbing library accession accession on the west ancillary of the architecture opened in 1987 and actualization a bronze that dates aback to the Aboriginal Apple War.

From actuality we headed down on Hannaford Artery to Kingston Alley breadth Gene showed me a bounded accessibility abundance that acclimated to be “Ritches Dairy” – a rock admit in the building’s façade still testifies to the agronomical ancestry of this area. Gene added that about a dozen dairies were amid actuality about a hundred years ago, and he explained that there was annihilation on the south ancillary of Kingston Alley until the 1940s.