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Brick and cobblestone streets in Toronto

junctionist

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Does anyone know of some existing brick-paved streets in Toronto? I'm confident that no stone-paved streets exist today, but that they did at some point. Toronto was already an established city before the dawn of the age of asphalt paving in the late 19th century.

Toronto still has some stretches of road paved with bricks, and they are fascinating and remarkable. What's more, we also have stretches of road paved with modern interlocking bricks, which are also unique and attractive. I have found no list online of brick-paved streets in Toronto, and I wouldn't be surprised if no such list was in existence.

Brick streets are, at best, at the back of our city's consciousness and most of the surviving ones are on relatively obscure side streets. Yet they can be quite beautiful, and definitely inspiring for city-improvement projects. (Some brick paving exists under layers of asphalt.) For this reason, I have compiled a list myself:

Link

Google's street view feature is great for browsing these streets; I recommend it. I want to make the list as complete as possible, so I'd love to hear of other uniquely paved roads in Toronto. My criteria are simple. If the paving is traditional like real brick or stone, then any length is significant, while streets paved with modern pavers require more than just a few linear metres worth.
 

SimonP

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That's really great. I'd always heard that there was a brick paved street in the Beaches, but never knew exactly where.
 

nfitz

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There's certainly a lot more brick under the pavement - you see it occasionally when they are doing construction.

I'd be surprised if there was no stone somewhere under the pavement ... but perhaps I just assume that as I spent a long time in Kingston where limestone might have been more readily available.
 

adma

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Halford out near the Old Mill has long been legendary. And there's a scattering in spots like Forest Hill and Chaplin Estates...
 

DSC

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There was a discussion of brick-paved streets a year or so ago "somewhere" on UT. I can't find it but others may remember. Several streets were identified including some in Cabbagetown, Frederick north of Front and others.
 

CDL.TO

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Pine Crescent in the Beaches has modern paving bricks.

Paving bricks look really nice, but with car traffic and a few years of free-thaw they sometimes start coming loose.
 

Hipster Duck

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Does anyone know why they often line the edges of new streets with brick in Toronto? Basically, there is a row of bricks between the ashphalt pavement and the concrete curb. I've never seen this anywhere else.
 

Prometheus The Supremo

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Does anyone know why they often line the edges of new streets with brick in Toronto? Basically, there is a row of bricks between the ashphalt pavement and the concrete curb. I've never seen this anywhere else.
this isn't a new thing. as for why they do it, other than aesthetic reasons, i don't know.
 

egotrippin

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It must just be an aesthetic thing. I've also noticed that on some streets (especially down in the Sherbourne/Front area), they've left a row of the existing bricks uncovered, and as the road conditions are pretty terrible down there, you're able to see more bricks slowly become uncovered.

You can add the recently completed Percy Street to the list of brick-paved streets. There are definitely some more, and I recall the previous thread as well. If any come to mind, I'll post them here.
 

jn_12

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Just a guess but perhaps the curb-side bricks allow for better/additional drainage of water?
Either way I do find brick/cobblestone aesthetically pleasing. Even at crosswalks. In my opinion, and maybe it's from their initial prominence in the pre-automobile days but these materials make roads appear much friendlier for pedestrians.
 

DSC

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Just a guess but perhaps the curb-side bricks allow for better/additional drainage of water? .
I have seen this given as a reason (maybe in Urban Decoder in Toronto Life?) but I can't see why having a layer of bricks would make water flow faster. In the Sherbourne/Front area there are three (or 4?) rows of bricks but the whole street is not paved, I guess in the past they REALLY believed in the power of bricks! :-> Now it's just a single layer and the City still does it. Strange! (In England I have seen the equivalent with granite blocks, maybe the idea came from there?)
 

adma

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Pine Crescent in the Beaches has modern paving bricks.

Paving bricks look really nice, but with car traffic and a few years of free-thaw they sometimes start coming loose.
And they always strike me as too "Unilock-ish" for comfort.

Incidentally, I wonder if brick *sidewalks* (a la Chestnut Park) are also worthy of inclusion in this discussion...
 

jn_12

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I have seen this given as a reason (maybe in Urban Decoder in Toronto Life?) but I can't see why having a layer of bricks would make water flow faster. In the Sherbourne/Front area there are three (or 4?) rows of bricks but the whole street is not paved, I guess in the past they REALLY believed in the power of bricks! :-> Now it's just a single layer and the City still does it. Strange! (In England I have seen the equivalent with granite blocks, maybe the idea came from there?)
I was thinking more along the lines of the water seeping in between the bricks. It wouldn't be much, but spread over X kilometres of roads, it could eleviate some pressure from the sewers. It's just a guess. I really don't know the answer.
 

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Not quite on the street per se, but anyone know the story behind the wide strip of paving stones on the north sidewalk of Hoskin (between St. George and Queen's Park)? They certainly look pretty vintage, but they're at the same grade as the sidewalk, making me think they were placed there in more modern times (as nice as they are, they're also helluva uneven, and I curse the large convoys of oblivious students that monopolize the sidewalks and force me to maneuver around them onto the uneven stones)
 
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