Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Toronto Then and Now: Old Parkdale, part four

Below: Mar. 2009 - looking south-west along Dufferin St., the Dufferin Gates of the CNE are in the left distance; Springhurst Ave. is at the centre right.Click on photos to enlarge!Above: Same view, Jun.17, 1914 - Behind the Canada Metal Co. billboard is where the Dufferin loop is. In front of the ad is where the small aptartment building was later built. The ad is for 'lead pipe solder' (now banned) to go with all those lead city drinking-water pipes lurking to this day under the streets of old urban areas, including Parkdale. In the distance is the 2nd Dufferin Gate.
below: 1908-10 - bucolic view of kids playing on a raft on the Gwynne Estate. This great stand of trees surrounding the little pond was located in the block bounded by Dufferin St., Springhurst Ave., Tyndall Ave. and Thorburn Ave. This shot must have been taken from the Tyndall Ave. side, looking eastwards towards Dufferin, when it was still a vacant lot. In the distance are seen the factory buildings which were on the east side of Dufferin Ave.; there is a tractor and what appears to be grading work along Dufferin; at the far right are the billboard signs which were by the Dufferin Loop.
This is one of my favourite evocative photos of Parkdale's forgotten past.

above: Mar.23, 2009 - looking south east down Dufferin St. from Thorburn Ave.; factory at left was across from the Gwynne Estate in previous photo. The Dufferin Loop and the CNE Dufferin Gates are in the far centre right distance. The previously-seen lot with the pond is now a full block of houses (the ones lining Thorburn are seen at right); a similar photo like the one previously above can't be taken today, looking east from Tyndall towards Dufferin, as now houses are built all around. Interestingly enough, there are several quite large trees in the backyards of the houses in this block, which can be still seen today (south of houses that face Thorburn or north of houses on Springhurst) and which could be some of the trees by that pond seen a hundred years ago.
below: 189? - looking south-east along Dufferin St. from just from south of where today's Springhurst Ave. is. The Grand Trunk railroad tracks are in the centre, at a level crossing over Dufferin. At the far left distance is the "Agricultural Hall" of the Exhibition. There doesn't appear to be any formal gate to the fairground.

above: Jul.14, 2008 - same view - a parabolic arch (built in 1959) is the current (3rd) Dufferin Gate. Now a bridge (built 1911, after the railroad tracks were lowered) takes Dufferin St. across the tracks, and now also, another bridge immediately to the south (built 1958) carries Dufferin over the Gardiner Expressway. The Dufferin loop is to the right, with streetcar tracks seen at the bottom leaving the loop.
below: Jul.15, 1937 - looking south at a closer view of the Dufferin bridge over the railway tracks, with the second Dufferin Gates (built 1910) seen in the distance. Note the power lines running in the area just north of the gates: the right of way under these lines was where the future Gardiner expressway would be built - that area between the south-end of the curved steel girder of the Dufferin bridge, and the Dufferin Gate, was where the separate bridge would be built in 1959 at the time of the Gardiner construction.

above: same view, Mar.23. 2009 - this present third Dufferin Gate was built a lot farther back from the same railroad bridge than the second gate was, as can be seen between the above two photos; this is because the Gardiner expressway was built immediately to the south of and parallel to the tracks, requiring that area to be excavated, and another separate bridge built to carry Dufferin St. over the new expressway.
below: a 1912 view of the second Dufferin Gates from the track-level below, looking towards the south-east. As can be seen, the gates butted right to the south edge of the south stairwall; the stairs led to the south Parkdale eastbound railroad station platform below. Note that the part of the gate, right over the entrance at the top of the stairs, seems as if it is still under construction. Note that the second Dufferin Gate was built in a semi-circle-U-shape: the smaller towers with the cupolas, seen at the upper right, were located on both the east and west side of Dufferin St., at the north-end of the U-shape, while the actual gates were a bit farther south (to the right) at the 'top' of the U-shape. 

above: same view, Mar.23, 2009 - the exact same stairs still lead down to the now long-abandoned train platform, but the 2nd gate and all the soil upon which it was once built, are gone. Now, the Gardiner is seen immediately to the south, where the second Gate had been; the current Gate is much farther south.
below: Apr.10, 2008 - Looking west from the eastbound-track stairs. The train platform stretched westward almost to Tyndall Ave. The CNE is at the far left, the Gardiner is seen below left. In the whole far distance, from Lake Ontario at the far left to the tracks at the right, was where the neighbourhood of south Parkdale had once been. The track right of way was excavated and dropped lower in 1911-12; the area where the Gardiner now is, remained at its original higher grade, until being excavated for the new expressway. The reason the Grand Trunk Railway lowered the tracks was because the existing grade at the time was an onerous 0.7%, in the stretch from Sunnyside to Dowling Ave.; the grade reduction would bring the tracks down to 0.4%. The cut went as deep as 27 feet. The new bridges, which were built over the rail corridor after the grade-separation, were of the same distinctive standard design, with round-ended riveted girders, and with diamond-shaped iron-lattice railings by the walkway. The Dufferin Bridge is vintage in this regard, as are the neighbouring Dunn Ave. and the Dowling Ave. bridges, all from the same era. The Jameson Ave. and the Strachan Ave. bridges were also the same, but have since been rebuilt. The now-demolished old bridge which once carried Queen St. W. down into Sunnyside (near the old Sunnyside station) was also the same design.
below: Dec.6, 1912 - looking east down the railroad tracks, from the east bound platform; the tip of the second Dufferin Gate is seen at the far right top; the west-bound platform stairs are seen at the left. The 2nd Dufferin Gate was a u-shaped structure, curving north; the parts of the canopy over the stairs at right (south) are seen still under construction. The Dufferin loop would be at the top left. Note rail boxcars (at upper grade level) in the left distance, servicing what immediately to the north of the tracks was the great industrial area centered on Liberty St., which ran from Dufferin Ave. east all the way to Strachan Ave.

above: Mar.23, 2009 - the Dufferin loop is at the far upper left; the two sets of stairs leading to the former train station are seen in the centre-left, with the original 1911 Dufferin St. bridge crossing the railroad tracks. The 'newer' 1959 Dufferin bridge crossing the Gardiner is seen at the right. The former Liberty St. factory area is in the distance. Who can forget those days waiting for the bus at the Dufferin loop, when Dempster's Bread ovens (on Mowat, the next street east, near the chimney in the centre-right), were baking, when the air for blocks around carried that unforgettable, sweet aroma?
above: Apr.10, 2008 - looking west from the top of the westbound-platform over the abandoned, crumbling train station under the Dufferin bridge. The Dufferin loop is just to the right. The houses at the far right distance face the west side of tiny Ft. Rouille St., which is also the entrance street for TTC streetcars and buses going into the Dufferin Loop.
below: Apr.27, 1931 - the Dufferin Loop, as seen from across Dufferin St., looking west. Ft. Rouille St. is in the distance; the railroad tracks are immediately to the left (south). At right are a series of billboards, the one at right is for "Pussyfoot Toilet Tanks, by the Aristocrat Manufacturing Co. Ltd."

above: same view, Apr.10, 2008 - an apt. building sits where the advertising billboards were. This loop was a veritable madhouse of activity during the days of the Ex; I remember lineups of people (leaving the Ex) which stretched south along Dufferin across the railroad bridge, waiting to get through the wickets, then piling onto the buses and streetcars as fast as they could arrive. Arriving passengers were dropped off at the stop on the north-west corner of Springhurst and Dufferin; the empty streetcars and buses then turned west along Springhurst, turning south on Ft. Rouille, and then turned east into the Dufferin loop. The dispatchers up in the tower regulated the activity.
above: the dispatcher's tower, Aug.9, 1935, looking in a south-easterly direction. It's been re-sided, and is still in the same place today, as seen previously above. This view is taken from within the loop - one of the 2nd Dufferin Gate's tower cupolas is seen in the far right. Just to the right would have been the stairs heading down to the west-bound train station platform. Nice and convenient train-to-transit hub in those days.
below: first set of Dufferin Gates, at the Canadian National Exhibition, 1908.
below: looking southward through the second gates, marked the Dufferin Memorial Gates, under armed guard, during WWI. The former Arts and Crafts (now Medieval Times) building seen at the right.
below: same location, looking south; soldiers at the CNE Dufferin Gate, WWI, pos. 1915.

above: Nov.16, 1942 - looking northwards through the Dufferin Gates. The railroad bridge (the same one still in existence today) can be seen in the centre left distance, with its curved-end steel frame. You can see that there is a little bit of space between the southern-end of the railroad bridge and the west tower (at the far left) of the u-shaped layout of the Dufferin Gates. The east-side tower is seen at the far right.  In the 1950's, a new bridge for the newly-excavated Gardiner Expressway would be built in that area south of the railroad bridge, necessitating the demolition of the 2nd Dufferin Gates.
Farther in the left distance are seen the fronts of houses which are on the north side of Springhurst Ave., just west of Dufferin St.
below: Troops march north through the Dufferin Gates, WWI, pos.1914. In the view below, the lead troops are on solid ground, about to approach the original Dufferin Bridge over the tracks. Looking at the left of the photo shows the curve of the U-shaped layout of the 2nd Dufferin Gates.
above: Apr.10, 2008 - this is the same view as above, where the troops had once marched; the 2nd Gate had been in the foreground, a little closer to the camera and closer to the railroad bridge; so today, the exact location where the troops had once marched is now on this bridge over the Gardiner.
[On Jun.1, 2013, it was suddenly announced that as of Jun.15, the city of Toronto was closing the Dufferin St. bridge to vehicular (but not pedestrian) traffic, for some 18 months, while a temporary, and then a new bridge are to be built!! The traffic chaos resulting from this long closure will be interesting, to say the least. Where is the southbound Dufferin St. traffic going to go - over to the equally-rickety Dunn Ave. sister bridge?!
Also, I was baffled this Jun.13, 2013 National Post story post story by Kim Brown:
 "The bridge was originally built from 1911-1912, making it over 100 years old, but just because something is an antique doesn’t mean it’s charming to look at. Originally designed to carry streetcars and one lane of traffic north and southbound, the streetcar tracks were removed as part of a partial bridge reconstruction in 1973. Today the bridge accommodates vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, and has spacious 3.9 metre-wide sidewalks on each side."
Originally designed to carry which streetcars/going where?!! What reconstruction in 1973? There were no TTC streetcar tracks on the 1911 Dufferin Bridge, or on the 1958 Gardiner overpass!!]
below: 1958 - the second Dufferin Gate under demolition; this view is taken from a position standing south of the gate, west of Dufferin, looking in a north-easterly direction.

above: Mar.23, 2009 - same view, looking north-east from the south-side of the 3rd Dufferin Gate. (The old 2nd Gate, of course, was a little bit closer to the railroad, because the highway hadn't been yet built) Note, the chimney in far centre above (which is in the Liberty St. factory area north of the tracks), is the same chimney seen in the previous above photo, at the far left .

Older photos in this study are from the Toronto City Archives; the recent photos are by R. Bobak.
See more in this series at Old Parkdale, PART FIVE
Thanks for visiting Right In Niagara.

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