Tag Archives: Architecture

CCT’s Now and Then on Queen & Ossington, Toronto

Here’s a relatively dull image of the foot of Ossington Avenue at Queen Street West. You might recognize that some of the buildings still remain (even in part). Though it is now becoming the gateway to a great dining strip, it certainly pales in comparison to the charm it once had.

CCT-Queen-Ossington-TorontoOnce called Dundas Road, Ossington served the community of workers from the many local factories as well as the Provincial Lunatic Asylum. Today, sounding more like a night-club than a hospital, the Provincial Lunatic Asylum which once sat on the south side of Queen Street West is now called the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). While the original parameter wall still stands on Shaw St. and along the rear wall as well as some of the grounds buildings, there is nothing left of the original building. Though the new buildings of CAMH are utilitarian and dull compares to the once-majestic (on somewhat ominous) Provincial Lunatic, what we’ve lost in it’s beauty of architecture, we’ve gained in social understanding and tolerance.


This view is from Queen circa 1909 showing the original clock tower of the original Dundas Road fire hall. Seen also is a Toronto Railway Company streetcar travelling south. In 1921 the TRC joined with the Toronto Civic Railways to become the Toronto Transit Commission, or TTC.

At this time Ossington Avenue was called Dundas Road. When the Toronto city limits only reached as far west as Bathurst Street, Dundas Street West ended there at it’s far western end. Arthur street was the continuation west and began a short distance north from Dundas. Today, Dundas curves north east of Bathurst to connect with the former Arthur Street.

Note the Painted Coca Cola  wall. This photo was taken within 15 years of the very first wall painted with a Coca Cola advertisement.

Queen and Ossington looking north October 23, 1958
Queen and Ossington looking north October 23, 1958
CCT-Lunatic Asylum 1867-sm
Provincial Lunatic Asylum on south side of Queens street at Ossington (originally Dundas Rd.) 1867.

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CCT’s Now and Then in Parkdale, Toronto

Here’s a photo I took this week of a great building on the north east corner of Queen Street West at Macdonell Avenue in Parkdale.

CCT-Toronto-Queen-Macdonell-2013 And here is the same corner from circa 1900. This photograph of the intersection of Queen Street West and Macdonell shows the above 1880’s building with it’s dome still intact.

CCT-ON-Toronto-Parkdale 190?

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Our Vacation in Ontario comic book

Here’s a very cool tourist giveaway comic book I found a short while ago. It was created, printed and published in Canada by G.W. Hogarth and the Division of Publicity, Department of Travel and Publicity, in authority with Baptist Johnston, Printer to the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty (no pressure) Toronto, Ontario. There is no mention of artist although there could be a signature hiding in a panel somewhere and my guess is it was published circa 1952. If anyone has any additional information, please be sure to let me know.

Reproduced below is the entire comic book of Our Vacation in Ontario, cover to cover.

Posted in Architecture, Canadian Art, Canadian Wlidlife, Canadiana, Historical, Ontario, Toronto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

We’ve Been Framed!

Billie Hallam, Miss Toronto 1937.

Canadian Culture Thing now has Prints. These awesome prints are sure to make your environment that much better. Say, if you lived in an igloo, you could put up the Animated Map of Canada and POW! you’ve got some colour to add some pizzazz to all that white snow and ice. It might be so flashy that you’ll have to reach for your Inuktitut Snow Goggles just to look at it.

Animated Map of Canada c1935.

Or maybe you’re a Torontonian lumberjack, living up a tree in B.C. and you’re getting awfully sick and tired of all that green, all that blue sky and you need something to balance the pristine beauty of a Canadian forest. So you reach for your black and white print of Yonge Street at rush-hour, with streetcars, cars and people, oh my!

Looking north on Yonge Street from north of Queen Street. 1:15pm, January 12, 1929 Toronto.

Or maybe you’re from Vancouver and were forced at finger-point (we don’t do things at gun-point) to go work in Toronto and want to show all those people, with their inexpensive housing what trees look like…

I think you get my drift.

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Dear Thingy, I need your raccoon wisdom…

Dear Thingy,

I don’t know if you can help me, but I bought several of your postcards (I think I purchased them at Toronto’s First Post Office), and I am using them to send to people’s names I get through Postcrossing.com (a hobby of mine).


Anyway, one of your cards is a vintage-looking, faded colour one reading “TORONTO” in large letters across the middle. Inside each letter is an image of a famous Toronto landmark. I think I have all of them figured out but one. I think, in order, they are: Old City Hall, Queen’s Park, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, the Princes’ Gates, [unknown], Canada Life Assurance Co., and University of Toronto’s Hart House. However, I have been unable to figure out what the image is in the letter “T.” Can you help me, Thingy? I’d like to be able to list all of the buildings in my message to the recipient, when I use this card for a Postcrossing person. Please let me know if you can help me, Thingy, or even where I might look online (although I’ve checked a few sites, as well as a few books already).

Thank you in advance.
Most sincerely,
Virginia C.

Hello Virginia,

As far as Canadian Culture Thing Large Letter Toronto postcard CCT0034,  you were pretty close…

The T is Old City Hall (1899) at Bay and Queen, the O is the Ontario Legislative Building (1893) at Queen’s Park, The R is the Royal York Hotel (1929), the middle O is the Prince’s Gates (1927) at the CNE, the N is Osgoode Hall (1829) at Queen and University, the last T is the CIBC building (1931) on King street between Bay and Yonge and finally the last O is Soldier’s Tower(1927) at the University of Toronto.

In the foreground is Sir Henry Pellatt’s Casa Loma (1914).

Casa Loma

Most of the building are government buildings or structures with the exceptions of the Royal York and the CIBC building. For the purpose of postcards like this one, directed primarily at tourists, it was important to feature significant city buildings and historical landmarks. The Royal York is used because it was an important landmark hotel and one that many of the postcard-buying tourists would be staying at or at least wishing they were.


The Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada Building was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth having overshadowed the Royal York by by 21m (69′). It held this title until 1962 when it was surpassed by La Tour in Montreal by 35m (115′). In 1967 it ceased to be the tallest building in Toronto when it was surpassed by the TD Tower by a whopping 78m (256′) which brought the Commonwealth title back to Toronto. It’s hard to believe when looking at the Toronto skyline today, that the CIBC building, while beautiful in design, was once the tallest building in the British Empire.


In another CCT Large Letter Toronto postcard (CCT0087) we have a similar assortment of buildings with the inclusion of a seldom used landmark building in the centre O, Maple Leaf Gardens on Carleton at Church.


I hope this answers your question.

Yours Truly, Thingy the Raccoon.

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