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Brick and cobblestone streets in Toronto

A blast from the past:

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Full text here, page 3: http://www.connexions.org/SevenNews/Docs/7News-Volume01-Number07.pdf
 

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Fascinating. I've always wanted to know about the politics of preserving brick streets in the past. It's not the kind of topic that was written about extensively in major newspapers. That article helps tell the story of how the bricks on Carlton Street were saved.

I mistakenly deleted my Google map of brick streets in the city when I deleted my old Google account. (I forgot that custom maps are tied to your Google account). I plan to recreate it soon. Fortunately, I still remember everything.
 
While Toronto's heritage of brick streets languishes in obscurity, I found an interesting article and video about the city of Montreal's work to preserve its heritage pavements for future generations. They've adapted the old world methods of stone road construction with modern mortar to create a tougher pavement that can better withstand normal plowing operations. The city expects the road to last for 75 years.
 
Carlton Street seems to have more red brick than I realized - there's a large pothole on the north side near Carlton/Metcalfe, and you can clearly see the red brick paving underneath the crumbling asphalt.
 
This 1908 map of Toronto and surrounding Township of York (before annexations and the breaking up of the township into York, North York, and East York). It was the bicycle that demanded that the streets be paved. Unfortunately, the automobile then took over the paved streets for their own exclusive use, up to today.

gta1908.jpg

From link.
 
While looking at Google Maps today, I noticed another instance of traditional red brick paving peaking through a layer of asphalt that I didn't know about. It's on Gendron Lane near Richmond and Sherbourne. I hope it can be restored one day.
Good find but the City resurfaced quite a bit of it last fall so more of the bricks may now be torn up and this is a dead-end lane (unfortunately) that ends at a parking garage entrance so would not be my first priority for rebuilding with brick. It is also an odd lane in that it does not even have a pedestrian exit at the west end due to the fencing on north side. (I remember when this was not there, or not closed, so you could always walk through..
 
Good find but the City resurfaced quite a bit of it last fall so more of the bricks may now be torn up and this is a dead-end lane (unfortunately) that ends at a parking garage entrance so would not be my first priority for rebuilding with brick. It is also an odd lane in that it does not even have a pedestrian exit at the west end due to the fencing on north side. (I remember when this was not there, or not closed, so you could always walk through..

I'm going to take a slightly different tack.

I think asphalt or concrete in laneways should be illegal.

Its not merely an aesthetic question, its an environmental one.

We'd be much better off with permeable surfaces.

Which both brick and cobblestone can be (it depends on how they are laid, and whether grout used vs sand).

I would generally focus on changing laneways as they come due for reconstruction or resurfacing; though might imagine advancing a few if they served a tourism-related purpose.
 
I'm going to take a slightly different tack.

I think asphalt or concrete in laneways should be illegal.

Its not merely an aesthetic question, its an environmental one.

We'd be much better off with permeable surfaces.

Which both brick and cobblestone can be (it depends on how they are laid, and whether grout used vs sand).

I would generally focus on changing laneways as they come due for reconstruction or resurfacing; though might imagine advancing a few if they served a tourism-related purpose.
Yes, that would be good BUT there are different kinds of Lane - some are VERY suitable for a brick surface, others are more like 'small narrow streets" and maybe not! Of course, we all know how poorly the City will maintain brick lanes so I foresee asphalt patches proliferating!
 
Good find but the City resurfaced quite a bit of it last fall so more of the bricks may now be torn up and this is a dead-end lane (unfortunately) that ends at a parking garage entrance so would not be my first priority for rebuilding with brick. It is also an odd lane in that it does not even have a pedestrian exit at the west end due to the fencing on north side. (I remember when this was not there, or not closed, so you could always walk through..

It's too bad that the developers of the adjacent condo buildings didn't partner with the city to restore it or even to use a modern ornamental pavement. So many condos have paver driveways. Quality pavements make for more appealing buildings and grounds.
 
Yes, that would be good BUT there are different kinds of Lane - some are VERY suitable for a brick surface, others are more like 'small narrow streets" and maybe not! Of course, we all know how poorly the City will maintain brick lanes so I foresee asphalt patches proliferating!

I agree the City's maintenance standards can be woeful; but to me that can only make the case for changing them, rather than accommodating them.

***

As to small streets; its worth pointing out that Yorkville is entirely brick; while King's College road is brick/cobblestone.

This surface-style is widely used in Europe, including in northern cities that get snow; and cobblestone was historically the treatment of streetcar ROWs here until.....sometime in the 70s I think....

Which is to say, this surface-type can hold both high and heavy traffic. (when selected, installed and maintained properly.)
 
It's too bad that the developers of the adjacent condo buildings didn't partner with the city to restore it or even to use a modern ornamental pavement. So many condos have paver driveways. Quality pavements make for more appealing buildings and grounds.
Yes, that ought to have been in the site plans for the two new buildings to its south so that the developers would have paid
 

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