Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photo: Redpath Sugar Construction in 1958

This is the Redpath Sugar refinery being built on Queen's Quay in the late '50s. According to what I can piece together from Wikidepdia and the website of the Redpath Sugar Museum, which is inside the complex, the company was started all the way back in the 1850s. James Redpath came over from Scotland penniless and walked barefoot from Quebec City to Montreal, where he'd build the company from scratch. When the St. Lawrence Seaway was opened up by a series of locks and canals connecting us to the Atlantic in the 1950s, Redpath Sugar built this refinery on our waterfront. Queen Elizabeth was even there to celebrate the grand opening. Inside, they process huge shipments of sugar cane that come up from the Carribean on massive tankers.

Also worth mentioning: I believe that's the spire of St. James Cathedral at King and Church in the distance, which I'll be mentioning a bazillion times on this blog since it plays in an important role in much of  Toronto's history. That was the highest church spire in all of Canada when it was finished being built in the 1870s. Oh and, of course, the Redpath Sugary Refinery now has a giant whale mural on the side of it, which was added fairly recently by an artist who travels around the world painting whales all over everything.

I stumbled across this photo on the forum at the newly redesigned Urban Toronto over here. They've got more photos of the construction and of Queen Elizabeth at the grand opening, too.

If you'd like to see more old Toronto photos, this seems like a pretty good time to plug my brand new and totally spiffy Toronto Dreams Project Historical Photostream, which you can check out over here.

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