UrbanToronto has partnered with Heritage Toronto to capture a moment in Toronto's past. On a weekly basis, we will both be highlighting a historic photo of the city's people, places and events, and will be telling the stories behind them.
Many thanks to both Gary Switzer of MOD Developements and Maya Bilbao for putting together the photos and research. This week's photo:
YONGE AND BLOOR- 1926: Here, people can be seen shopping, walking, and waiting for the streetcar to take them along Bloor. Sadly the streetcar line has vanished and not one structure remains. Long before the Hudson's Bay Company set up shop on the northeast corner with a Brutalist style store in 1974, a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada was located there. On the southeast corner stood a branch of the Imperial Bank of Canada, a slim structure that, like many bank buildings of its generation, was designed with elegant architectural features that would complement the importance of the bank. It's interesting to note that the northwest corner, not seen in this photo, was dominated by the Canadian Bank of Commerce so, at one time, there were three banks on this corner. Also not seen in this photo is Stollerys, a long standing clothing store that has been a landmark since the early 1900's on the southwest corner. South of the Imperial Bank can be seen a number of old commercial buildings including Percy the Optician, Tamblyn Drugs and Robins Haberdashery, an old name for a store that sold clothing and accessories. In the centre you will see Laura Secord Confections Limited. Incidentally, this well known chocolate company was founded in Toronto in 1913 by Frank O'Connor. Today, this historic corner is the gateway to many communities including Yorkville, Rosedale, and many downtown neighbourhoods. The businesses in this photo disappeared many years ago as did those that came after them, and the southeast corner is now being redeveloped into One Bloor, a condominium complex that will soar to 65 storeys and is expected to open in 2014.