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Then and Now: Yonge/Dundas and area

dt_toronto_geek

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Interesting how by the time it became the Astor, the Victorian lower-facade details had been pallidly stuccoed over.

And speaking of Victorian--what I find puzzling is how the "official" history of the Panasonic (presumably using dodgy and rudimentary inherited data from the early THB inventories) starts with "Originally a private residence, built in 1911, it became a theatre - a cinema, called "The Victory" - in 1919." But--look at that building. It's pure Second Empire retail/commercial frontage: it'd be at least 1870s, or at latest 1880s. That in the course of its history and most recent facadectomy, that nobody'd have clued into the fact is preposterous...
I'm thinking that the cinema portion was built on at a later date. I was familiar with the cinema when it was run as the New Yorker & Showcase, there were two doors - one on each side of the cinema entrance which lead upstairs to two levels of office space. In order for the projectionist to access the projection suite he/she had to climb through an east facing window (this is true!), take a brief walk across the roof (about 10-20') and enter the projection suite door then walk down a few steps. I recall there also being a fire escape back there somewhere too. This is what leads me to think that the cinema portion was added on well after the front section was built. About 10 years ago the old cinema was demolished and a new auditorium built, one that had a bigger stage, stage wings, updated lighting & electrical etc. as it was going to be used exclusively for live shows.
 

Irishmonk

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Seeing those old Ramones concert posters makes me wish I had access to a time machine. What a great era for music that was.
 

Urban Shocker

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I saw the Ramones at the New Yorker in September 1976. It was the bands first gig outside of New York City, and it was the event that kick started the punk movement in Toronto. I always thought it was funny that the Ramones were so Manhattan-centric that they chose a venue called The New Yorker for their first outside gig! You can’t really see it, but the bass player Dee Dee Ramone (far left) is wearing a New Yorker Theatre t-shirt that the promoters had printed up, on the cover of their second album
John Catto used to get terribly moist about the Ramones, when we were at art school and he used to hang around like a little puppy dog. As for the place of punk in the grand scheme of things, I'm in agreement with artist John Kissick - as quoted in yesterday's Post:

Q How is music also an influence?

A I was looking outside of art for something that might be used as a metaphor for my paintings, and I started reading a lot about popular music. I particularly liked the discourse around disco and punk in the 1970s. The argument about disco at the time was that it was plastic and ersatz; it was maligned by critics as the opposite of what music was supposed to be. But interestingly, disco was the only really political music that came out of that time because it was a backdrop for the urban gay and black experience in the 1970s. The critics loved punk because of its supposed originality, but the truth is punk was the most easily co-opted of all musics--it was so deskilled and could be packaged anywhere. What I really loved about this history was the inversion of expectation between genres. Reading about that was my eureka moment where I said, "So that's why my paintings are like that. I've been trying to punk my disco and disco my punk."
 

adma

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A I was looking outside of art for something that might be used as a metaphor for my paintings, and I started reading a lot about popular music. I particularly liked the discourse around disco and punk in the 1970s. The argument about disco at the time was that it was plastic and ersatz; it was maligned by critics as the opposite of what music was supposed to be. But interestingly, disco was the only really political music that came out of that time because it was a backdrop for the urban gay and black experience in the 1970s.
...but it's probably telling re the burst-bubble fate of discomania that the urban gay/black element tended to be lost in mass translation (except through Village People minstrelsy). So with that suppressed, what was left? The plastic and ersatz, i.e. disco as wallpaper for Yorkville coke-spoon vulgarians, or as "hep" and "now" stuff pitched by pathetic polyester radio DJs--no wonder *that* particular imaging of disco as some kind of "next rock'n'roll" flopped big time...
 

thedeepend

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John Catto used to get terribly moist about the Ramones, when we were at art school and he used to hang around like a little puppy dog. As for the place of punk in the grand scheme of things, I'm in agreement with artist John Kissick - as quoted in yesterday's Post:

Q How is music also an influence?

A I was looking outside of art for something that might be used as a metaphor for my paintings, and I started reading a lot about popular music. I particularly liked the discourse around disco and punk in the 1970s. The argument about disco at the time was that it was plastic and ersatz; it was maligned by critics as the opposite of what music was supposed to be. But interestingly, disco was the only really political music that came out of that time because it was a backdrop for the urban gay and black experience in the 1970s. The critics loved punk because of its supposed originality, but the truth is punk was the most easily co-opted of all musics--it was so deskilled and could be packaged anywhere. What I really loved about this history was the inversion of expectation between genres. Reading about that was my eureka moment where I said, "So that's why my paintings are like that. I've been trying to punk my disco and disco my punk."
Good points there…
There has been a lot of interesting scholarship done in the cultural studies, history of sexuality areas, recuperating the radically gay and black underpinnings of Disco; reading the “Disco Sucks†campaign through the prism of white working class anxiety and homophobia etc. And it’s certainty true that the punk rock of the Ramones variety was very easily appropriated, and could (and did) become antiseptic, banal and popified in short order. However, the immediate antecedents of 70’s punk, embodied by the nihilistic sexual aggression of Iggy and the Stooges on the one hand, and the outrageously shambolic hybrid of vintage rock and roll riffifying and vintage store transvestism of the New York Dolls on the other, were easily as radical, were much harder to commoditize, and in fact never were! mainly because, unlike Disco artists, they were ear shreddingly malevolent in their intentions, and completely maladapted to the marketplace of popular music....
 

Urban Shocker

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...but it's probably telling re the burst-bubble fate of discomania that the urban gay/black element tended to be lost in mass translation (except through Village People minstrelsy). So with that suppressed, what was left? The plastic and ersatz, i.e. disco as wallpaper for Yorkville coke-spoon vulgarians, or as "hep" and "now" stuff pitched by pathetic polyester radio DJs--no wonder *that* particular imaging of disco as some kind of "next rock'n'roll" flopped big time...
Well, I think that long before that happened the mainstream of the ever-restless gay sensibility had embraced New Wave and mostly bypassed too-straight-by-half Punk entirely.

In my case it was a Bowie-Bolan-Roxy-Lewis Furey-Rough Trade-Sparks-Blondie-Japan-Culture Club-Bronski Beat lineage that took a quick look-see at the Dolls and Iggy along the way but avoided the Pistols, Ramones and Diodes ilk completely.
 

Mustapha

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Mustapha, Do you have any historical shot of Dundas/Jarvis?? Would be interesting too see what that corner looked like back when Jarvis was one of the best streets in TO

Hi dwynix3,

Check out page 50 of the "Miscellany Toronto, Then & Now" thread for a picture of the NE corner of Dundas and Jarvis.
 

ambleDexterous

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Not unlike that other pre/proto-PATH survivor, the Eaton's Annex/Bell connector...
In 90s I was told by someone who had been the head of Eatons College store security in the 70s that there was a huge maze of tunnels connecting all Eaton buildings ( in the early days there seems to have been quite a niumber). According to Tim all the tunnels were still there in the 90s but barred.


Tim also related as interesting story that got hushed up given the people who were involved. It seems that while he working at Eatons College store a number of expensive pieces of furniture and home decor very gradually went missing, not just small items but also big ones like sofas and beds.

The investigation led to the discovery of a very well appointed high end brothel in one of the sub sub basements which at that time were no longer in use. The girls who worked there, allegely worked in the Miss Selfridge department.
 

dt_toronto_geek

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I worked in the Cineplex cinemas all through 1985 in Eaton Centre. There were two stairwells that went down very far, maybe 5 or 6 levels down then connected into a series of long hallways. We explored only once and spent a couple of hours down there, never saw a single person the whole time but unless they were modernized my recollection is that they were modern looking hallways. I don't know where any of them eventually ended up but they went south or south/east well below the north part of what was then the new Eaton store and perhaps even the north end of the mall itself and likely past the then recently built Marriott Hotel on Bay St.
 

Mustapha

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In 90s I was told by someone who had been the head of Eatons College store security in the 70s that there was a huge maze of tunnels connecting all Eaton buildings ( in the early days there seems to have been quite a niumber). According to Tim all the tunnels were still there in the 90s but barred.


Tim also related as interesting story that got hushed up given the people who were involved. It seems that while he working at Eatons College store a number of expensive pieces of furniture and home decor very gradually went missing, not just small items but also big ones like sofas and beds.

The investigation led to the discovery of a very well appointed high end brothel in one of the sub sub basements which at that time were no longer in use. The girls who worked there, allegely worked in the Miss Selfridge department.
These things are always intriqueing,... as adma mentions, I believe the Eaton Centre to Bell building tunnel to be the spiritual replacement of the old Eaton store to Eaton Annex tunnel - it's in the same location I believe... The Eaton Centre dig was deep and extensive; there can't be any tunnels surviving from the early 1900s era.
 

Urban Shocker

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The Eatons also had to contend with the Church of the Holy Trinity, which they weren't allowed to demolish for the Eaton Centre, and the foundations of the church lie in very close proximity to the mall's subterranean loading area etc.
 

adma

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The Eaton Centre dig was deep and extensive; there can't be any tunnels surviving from the early 1900s era.
Though the argument for the Eaton's Annex tunnel is that it *wasn't* part of the Eaton Centre dig, but off to one side--and Bell was an independent kettle of fish...
 

Michael Bruce

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11.jpg
I took this photo back in 2014 of Dundas & Yonge looking west. The main reason was there was an old photo from the Toronto Archives taken from the same location. Of course I can't find the old photo now. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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