Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Colborne St, Brantford, Ont. - historic stretch of downtown buildings, photos prior to demolition

The major demolition of the downtown buildings on the south side of Colborne St. in Brantford began on Jun.8, 2010. This four-block-long stretch of abandoned and expropriated buildings was fenced-off in early Feb. 2010, when crews began months of interior pre-demo preparation.

The Brantford Expositor's Heather Ibbotson wrote a detailed four-section feature article on these Colborne St. buildings, "A Walk on the South Side", which appeared in the May 15, 2010 edition, along with numerous photos, details, and descriptions about the history of the street and its people; some of the sections are seen below:
(click on photos to enlarge!)
Another good article in the Brantford Expositor was Ruth Lefler's article "South Colborne: a street that speaks" - check it out here.
Kathryn Blaze Carlson also wrote about the planned demolition in "The Block Battle" (see National Post, Jun.8, 2010) which had a neat photo-collage of Colborne St., below:
Back on Feb.8, 2010, I had photographed the front facades of this entire row of buildings which were scheduled for demolition along this stretch of Colborne St., (see here, "Old storefronts on Colborne St., Brantford, Ont.")
In this post, I document the rear facades of this entire stretch of buildings, as they were seen on Feb.8, 2010.
These views were taken from Icomm Dr. and from Water St., looking at the rear of the buildings whose fronts, of course, faced onto the south-side of Colborne St. This series of rear-elevation photos goes from west to east; in this case, the photos advance eastward to the right.
All photos below are by R. Bobak, taken Feb.8, 2010.
below: Feb.8, 2010 - looking at the rear of the first building in this row; this is the south-west corner of the building which stood on the south-side of Colborne St. closest to Brant St./Icomm Dr. (this building, the 'Huntington block', built 1867, was torn down today, Jun.8, 2010 - see here)

above: the 'Huntington block' building is at the far left; continuing east (to the right) the buildings fronting onto Colborne St. are seen up on the rise; - this photo was taken from Icomm Dr., which now runs over where the old Grand River Navigation Co. canal once ran in the late 1840's, and which met the Grand River at a point just slightly left out-of-frame, connecting Brantford by boat from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.
above: continuing east, at the far right, the large red brick structure is the rear of the 1937-built Esquire Theatre. Water St. is seen in the foreground.

above: continuing eastward, Water St. in the foreground

above: the Esquire Theatre building is at the far left.

above: at right is the parking garage

above: the Art Stanbridge Walkway crosses over Water St., connecting Colborne St. to the parking garage
above: a Feb.8, 2010 - looking west from the Art Stanbridge Walkway, towards the row of buildings which we have just walked by; Water St. is seen below; the large red building in the far distance is the Esquire Theatre; in the far distance at the top left can be seen the bridge which carries Colborne St. W. over the Grand River.
above: standing on the walkway, looking immediately to the west (left side) of the bridge.
above: closer view of the structures at the west-side of the walkway
above: this view looks to the right (to the east side) of the Art Stanbridge Walkway. Note the recently-cut tree stump.
above: looking still further east from atop the walkway. Water St. runs below; the parking structure runs along the right.
above: from back down on Water St., this view looks towards the east side of the walkway.
above: note that all the hydro wires have been removed from the posts

above: looking westwards along Water St., back towards the walkway

above: this building (fronting onto the north-side of Water St.) with its leaning brick tower looks like it could once have been a fire hall, though I haven't found much info on it - most of what has been written has focused on the Colborne St. side. The old painted-on-brick signs read 'Riverview Automotive Machine Co.' At the upper right side, an older faded sign reads 'Wholesale Auto Supplies, Use Our Machine Shop', below, between the two doors, another faded painted sign reads 'We sell quality parts and service'

above: continuing eastwards, "Heinbuck's" is seen at the right; it had been a used furniture shop.above: continuing eastward, in the centre building a painted sign on the brick reads ''Tea impo (rters)'. The building at the right with the large fire-escape is the rear of the Right House building, which had its origins in 1870.

above: looking back westward along Water St., at all the buildings we have walked past in this post.
above: Feb.8, 2010 - the building at the right (at 151 Colborne St., known as the 'Smith Building', from 1867) is the last building of this entire row of approx. 40 old structures which are scheduled for demolition; it sits at the eastern-end of the demolition strip. At the western-end of this row, the demolition had begun (at #35 Colborne St., just east of Brant Ave.) on Jun.8, 2010.
The above photographs in this post were taken by R.Bobak on a very cold Feb.8, 2010.
For my other photos of the front-facades of these same buildings, as seen from Colborne St., click here.

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