Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bloor & High Park Looked Like Countryside Back in 1914

Jesus. I mean, by now I should be used to seeing photos of places just outside the city core looking like the middle of the freaking countryside in the early 1900s, but it still gets me every time. This one is Bloor Street at High Park. (I think we're looking east? With the park on the right? That's what the internet faintly whispers, anyway.)

Hmm. I don't have much to say other than that. I can tell you that Bloor Street was named after Joseph Bloor, a brewer who founded the village of Yorkville. He was also one scary-looking motherfucker. And I can tell you that by this point, High Park had already been High Park for about 20 years. The land had belonged to a fellow by the name of John Howard. He's hailed as Toronto's first serious architect: he built the old "lunatic asylum" on Queen West, the old bank building at Yonge and Wellington (which is the Irish Embassy pub now), the row of buildings along King East just west of Church (Victoria Row, which includes the Albany Club, a Conservative Party hangout I'm working on a post about) and, of course, Colborne Lodge, which is where he and his family lived in High Park. As I mentioned in a previous post, he gave the land as a gift to the city in 1876 to be used as a public park on the condition that his family would still get to live there, that the city would keep the park's name, and that no one would ever be allowed to drink alcohol on the grounds. (Sorry dude.) He was also an amateur painter. You come across his artwork all the time when you're digging around into the early history of the city.

Alright! That's all I've got!


  1. I believe his name was Bloore

  2. Seems like it might be both — but it's kinda more fun with an extra "e".