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Thread: Miscellany Toronto Photographs: Then and Now

  1. Default search for grave of Stella VanZant

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie View Post


    The York U. Archive gives no further info regarding this mysterious photo.
    A brief search of Google did not assist with the key words, 'Stella Vanzant.'
    Perhaps another of our viewers will know the story.
    It's a fine mystery!
    ================================================== =======================
    My last name is VanZant, and my family has told me of this story.
    I have recently done some digging and came up with the following interesting Associated Press story dated Thursday December 4, 1952, which you can view in the National Library of Australia, at this URL.
    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42763219

    The article, which pre-dates the CIBC construction in 1969, talks about the building of an office tower by General Trust in 1911. While it was being constructed, it says they built a protective shed over the grave of Stella Vanzant, and construction went on around the shed. Amazing !

    __________________________________________________ ______________________
    " LEFT SPACE FOR GIRL'S GRAVE

    TORONTO--(A.P.)--There is a small place of ground in the crowded heart of the city untouched by the giant commercial buildings that surround it
    The plot, 12 feet by 14 feet, is dominated by the Bank of Commerce, tallest building in the commonwealth, and lies next to Toronto General Trust Building.
    Beneath the pavement of the courtyard of the trust building is the grave of a girl, Stella Vanzant daughter of one of Toronto's pioneers, John Vanzant who came from New York about 1778.
    As was the custom in those days, the child was buried in the garden. First record of the grave appeared in a deed registered in 1815. But there has been no apparent transfer of land in which it lies from the Vanzant family to other owners.
    The grave is protected by an honorable agreement. In 1911, when the first part of the General Trust Building was erected, the company agreed to hold the plot containing the grave inviolate and, in 1928 when an addition was made, the agreement was observed.
    A protective shed was built over the grave and construction went on around the shed. Mrs. Gerald Johnson of Toronto, a descendant of John Vanzant, knows of the family legend.The pioneer was of Dutch ex-traction and his family had helped found New Amsterdam on the Hudson River.
    He arrived when Toronto was a fur-trading post. Later he established a tannery at the corner of the present Adelaide and Yonge streets, some 10 years before the future town plot of York was surveyed. Actual settlement of the area was delayed until 1793, so John Vanzant was one of the first to live there. York later became part of Toronto.The Vanzants left Toronto and returned to the United States when the Mackenzie rebellion broke out in 1837. Mrs. Johnson believes the tannery and Vanzant's residence a block away may have passed into the hands of Jesse Ketchum. philanthropist and reformer. The family returned to Canada about 1850 and some of its members settled in the Markham district.
    "
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    The Toronto General Trusts Building was on the east side of Bay Street, south of King Street at the north-east corner of Bay/Melinda.
    Note: Melinda Street now ends at Jordan St; it does not go west to Bay St. Likewise, Jordan St no longer goes south to Wellington; it ends at Melinda.

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    To build Commerce Court, CIBC tore down most of the existing buildings on the site between King-Wellington and Yonge-Bay; a notable exception was their own bank building at King/Jordan which is now known as Commerce Court North. Included in the large tract that was demolished were the General Trust Buildings of 1911 and 1928, where it is said that Stella was buried in 1814. Construction of the Commerce Court complex was halted while they searched for the missing remains of Stella.


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    I also found the following on the internet:

    A book - "Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City That Might Have Been" - written in 2008 by Mark Osbaldeston, states:
    "In 1969, in an effort to find the gravesite, the bank undertook an archeological dig, supervised by Mount Pleasant Cemetery, the provincial government, and the Anglican Church. After hand-digging to a depth of twelve feet without any sign of Stella's remains, all parties agreed that further searching would be futile. Construction could begin in earnest on Commerce Court."


  2. #11507

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    Many thanks to contributor VanZant for this additional information regarding an amazing story of Toronto's early history.

    One wonders how many other secrets remain under our magnificent towers.
    Last edited by Goldie; 2014-Jan-16 at 00:33.

  3. Default Hwy 27 & 5, 1953 vs 2013 (Cloverdale Mall)

    My core areas of historical research are in middle Etobicoke (1940's to 1969), the Etobicoke Flats, and of course my long term CN Tower construction documentation project. Having been inspired by a posting in FB this evening, I through I'd re-post some work I did for FB and Vintage Toronto a few months ago.

    Photo 1 = A before and after comparison, November 1953 and 2013, of Dundas Street West looking north-west from the Food Basics plaza towards Cloverdale Mall and the junction of Dundas and Highway 427 (previously known as Hwy 27 before 1969). The red frustum defines the camera's approximate look-from and field-of-view from this 1953 photo by James Victor Salman. The left portion of the image is the northern border of the Silverthorn home & farm (all the way south to North Queen St., west over to the Etobicoke creek). MTO would end up purchasing 30 acres of land from Newman Silverthorn for the Hwy 27 & Dundas cloverleaf. Top photo from the Toronto Public Library digital archives (public domain). As something I had almost overlooked, notice the telegraph poles in this image -- these are from the 1930's "Toronto Suburban Railroad" which ran out to Guelph along the northern side of Hwy 5 (Dundas St) at Hwy 27.

    Photo 2 = A before and after comparison of Dundas Street West looking north-east towards 128 Silverhill Drive, Etobicoke, in November 1953 and 2013. The blue outline is of the houses you can see in the top image. The red frustum defines the camera's approximate look-from and field-of-view from this 1953 photo by James Victor Salman. Top photo from the Toronto Public Library digital archives (public domain).

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    For those logged into FB, here's a tiny snippet of some of my captures to review:

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=65ae97ea04

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=6b0456455b

  4. #11509

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    Noteworthy in the first shot: before the interchange, there were already stoplights at Dundas + (4)27.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by adma View Post
    Noteworthy in the first shot: before the interchange, there were already stoplights at Dundas + (4)27.
    For the proper perspective, everything north of the QEW at Hwy 27 was the "sticks", a really rural, farming area of Etobicoke, back in the day. Its urbanization didn't start up in earnest until the mid 1950s, with most being completed by the mid and late 1960s. Its sort of like going out to the NW corner of Mississauga today, NW of the 410/403 interchange, where there are still farms and empty land. Dundas St. had been the primary thoroughfare through Etobicoke since the 1700s, or thereabouts, so prior to 1953 you would either take Lakeshore Blvd, QEW or Dundas St. to travel east-west through Etobicoke. It wasn't until well past 1953 that the "Toronto Bypass Highway" (later to be called 401) went westerly from the Hwy 401/27 interchange, as all that area was pure farmland. The best parallel to this is all the new Hwy 410 extension work east of Markham. Hwy 27 was the main North-South thoroughfare back in the past, allowing one to go all the way up to Barrie and beyond (as I would myself) before Hwy 400 came about. That's why there would be stop lights at this corner, as it intersected the two most important rural highways in this region.

  6. #11511

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    Quote Originally Posted by adma View Post
    Noteworthy in the first shot: before the interchange, there were already stoplights at Dundas + (4)27.
    It was the intersection of two major highways - 5 and 27. Just before the first interchange was built in the mid 1950s.

    I also like how the old TSR telegraph poles are shown - this was one of the few places where the Guelph line paralleled a major road.

    Note too that the lights are DHO green - which was the provincial-highway standard until the 1970s. (Most municipalities went with all yellow - Hamilton and a few others such as the Toronto Township/Mississauga and Burlington - excepted. Paralleled New York State where the state still uses the same shade of green while most cities use yellow.
    Last edited by ShonTron; 2014-Jan-16 at 16:24.

  7. #11512

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    Quote Originally Posted by lansd View Post
    For the proper perspective, everything north of the QEW at Hwy 27 was the "sticks", a really rural, farming area of Etobicoke, back in the day. Its urbanization didn't start up in earnest until the mid 1950s, with most being completed by the mid and late 1960s. Its sort of like going out to the NW corner of Mississauga today, NW of the 410/403 interchange, where there are still farms and empty land. Dundas St. had been the primary thoroughfare through Etobicoke since the 1700s, or thereabouts, so prior to 1953 you would either take Lakeshore Blvd, QEW or Dundas St. to travel east-west through Etobicoke.
    When my father was growing up in the 40's, my grandparents would periodically go for a drive along Dundas/Hwy 5 out to Paris as a Sunday drive. I knew that it would've been quite a rural route at the time, but this really illustrates that it wasn't long until you hit countryside on Dundas.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ShonTron View Post
    Note too that the lights are DHO green - which was the provincial-highway standard until the 1970s.
    Oh my, you are right. My hard core interest is the historical recreation of the construction of Hwy 27 after 1945, but mostly from 1953 through to 1969. I have reams of photos which someday I'll get online. But your note above just made me aware of another "new fact" to me, that they built the interchanges from north to south, with Hwy 5/27 being the last one to be started. In my photos of this interchange in 1953 you can see that the Bloor St. overpass had been completed, as I knew from my other summer-1953 construction photos. My Richview overpass was still being completed in Jan 1954. The photo above, in this thread, was taken just before any construction had begun on the Hwy 5/27 "small cloverleaf interchange". which would later be completely ripped up with the mega-interchange work of 1968-1972.

    The following photo is "just around the corner" from the same one I have shown above. Same date. Nov 1953. Hwy 27 looking north across Dundas St. West prior to any new 4-lane highway construction work. Cloverdale Mall will eventually come to the upper-right corner of this intersection within 5 years. Photo by James Victor Salman from the Toronto Public Library digital archives (public domain).

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    And then there is the same intersection 1-3/4 years later in Sept 1956. I am always amazed about how much environmental change can be made with a bunch of bulldozers. "Sept 1956. Hwy 27 looking north from Dundas St. West overpass. Photo by James Victor Salman from the Toronto Public Library digital archives (public domain)."

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    I have a lot more interesting photos and commentary on my Facebook pages, and someday in the near future, a ton more in a properly documented WEB site.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Earlscourt_Lad View Post
    When my father was growing up in the 40's, my grandparents would periodically go for a drive along Dundas/Hwy 5 out to Paris as a Sunday drive. I knew that it would've been quite a rural route at the time, but this really illustrates that it wasn't long until you hit countryside on Dundas.
    Except for Longbranch, Kingsway, etc., Etobicoke was pretty barren up to 1953. The Silverthornes and 2 or 3 other families, owned most of middle Etobicoke, from Queen St. on the south up to Richview Side Rd. There is some interesting chronicles of the ladies' group talking about "How the city is approaching us soon", in the early 50's, and then their quick demise, as speculators grabbed up most of the land for a bargain. There was some spotty housing settlements along Dundas, all the way out to Cooksville, but often just farming houses. In the 60's I recall how Burnhamthorpe Rc was lined full of oak trees just west of Mill Rd, now all gone. Urbanization has a way of destroying farm country all too quickly.

  10. #11515

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    Quote Originally Posted by lansd View Post
    The Silverthornes and 2 or 3 other families, owned most of middle Etobicoke, from Queen St. on the south up to Richview Side Rd.
    They also owned a chunk of land on the east side of the Humber. Roughly between Old Weston to Caledonia and St. Clair to Eglinton. Silverthorn Avenue bearing their name.

  11. #11516

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    Quote Originally Posted by lansd View Post
    And then there is the same intersection 1-3/4 years later in Sept 1956. I am always amazed about how much environmental change can be made with a bunch of bulldozers. "Sept 1956. Hwy 27 looking north from Dundas St. West overpass. Photo by James Victor Salman from the Toronto Public Library digital archives (public domain)."

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    Strange; for some reason, I thought that Bloor didn't cross the controlled-access 27 until its 427 upgrade. (Unless I got that confused w/its extension into Mississauga.)

    I'm also wondering what those "roads" within the cloverleaf segments are about--service road remnants?

  12. #11517

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lansd View Post
    Oh my, you are right. My hard core interest is the historical recreation of the construction of Hwy 27 after 1945, but mostly from 1953 through to 1969. I have reams of photos which someday I'll get online. But your note above just made me aware of another "new fact" to me, that they built the interchanges from north to south, with Hwy 5/27 being the last one to be started. In my photos of this interchange in 1953 you can see that the Bloor St. overpass had been completed, as I knew from my other summer-1953 construction photos. My Richview overpass was still being completed in Jan 1954. The photo above, in this thread, was taken just before any construction had begun on the Hwy 5/27 "small cloverleaf interchange". which would later be completely ripped up with the mega-interchange work of 1968-1972.

    The following photo is "just around the corner" from the same one I have shown above. Same date. Nov 1953. Hwy 27 looking north across Dundas St. West prior to any new 4-lane highway construction work. Cloverdale Mall will eventually come to the upper-right corner of this intersection within 5 years. Photo by James Victor Salman from the Toronto Public Library digital archives (public domain).

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    And then there is the same intersection 1-3/4 years later in Sept 1956. I am always amazed about how much environmental change can be made with a bunch of bulldozers. "Sept 1956. Hwy 27 looking north from Dundas St. West overpass. Photo by James Victor Salman from the Toronto Public Library digital archives (public domain)."

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    I have a lot more interesting photos and commentary on my Facebook pages, and someday in the near future, a ton more in a properly documented WEB site.
    What is your FB page? Is it a joinable group?

  13. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by themarc View Post
    What is your FB page? Is it a joinable group?
    Just to ensure we are using the same terminology, "FB" is a short form for Facebook. It's the #1 world-wide social media outlet, now growing more towards "older people" connections. You would go to www.facebook.com and register/login. Thereafter you can enter my URLs from above to get to my Hwy 27 historical pages + photos, of which I have an interesting number online + my comments. I also have my T. Eaton barn photo from the early 50's where it was being blown up with dynamite -- that barn's location now sits in the centre of Hwy 427. You can also review my "Eringate" and "Cloverdale" albums, as that's where most of my current Hwy 27 historical photos are located, but the majority of my hundreds of 4x5" negative scans of constructions are not online yet.

  14. Default

    NW corner of York and Richmond:

    1910 (York Street PS):

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    2014:

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    SW corner of York and Richmond:

    1915:



    2014:

    Last edited by thecharioteer; 2014-May-25 at 20:14.

  15. #11520

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    Quote Originally Posted by lansd View Post
    JuYou would go to www.facebook.com and register/login. Thereafter you can enter my URLs from above ...
    actually those urls work fine without being looged in to facebook

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