Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Twenty Years Ago Today, Joe Carter Did This...

It was on October 23, 1993 that Joe Carter launched a home run over the left-field fence at the SkyDome, clinching the Blue Jays World Series in as many years. A while ago, Major League Baseball interviewed Carter along with some old Jays and Phillies players and compiled a little video of their thoughts on one of the biggest moments in the history of the sport. Which you can watch below. Sportsnet has also collected a pretty great oral history of the homer here.

You can also check out my post about the history of Toronto's first great baseball team, from 1887, here

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rouge Park in September

One of my favourite things to do in Toronto is to take the GO Train out to the very eastern edge of the city, where I Instagram my way through Rouge Park. My most recent trip was a couple of weeks ago, at the end of September, just as the first leaves were beginning to change. I started out at Rouge Beach, which is at the mouth of the Rouge River, and worked my way north up to the Mast Trail before exploring the Orchard and Cedar Trails for the first time. I've just uploaded all the photos to Facebook, which you can check out here (whether you have a Facebook account or not) along with all the pics from my previous trips.

You can also check out maps of trails 'n' stuff on the Rouge Park website here. Or read my post about how Napoleon Bonaparte is indirectly responsible for the Mast Trail here. And, as always, you can follow me on Instagram at @todreamsproject.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Eaton Family Hanging Out in 1931

I stumbled across this photo today while I was searching through the Toronto Archives online. The image caught my eye, so I checked the caption and did a little Googling. Turns out this is the Eaton family hanging out in 1931. They, of course, are the wealthy relatives of Canada's most famous department store baron, Timothy Eaton, who first founded the family business on Yonge Street back in 1869. The CBC calls them "Canadian royalty."

When Timothy died of pneumonia in the very early 1900s, the department store empire was passed down to his son, Sir John. But Sir John also died of pneumonia, just 15 years later, leaving the business in the hands of his cousin (Timothy Eaton's nephew), Robert Young Eaton. He had come to Toronto from Northern Ireland as a young man to work in his uncle's store. And they say he was very successful in his time at the helm, expanding the Eaton's empire until it was ten times as big as when he took over. (Sir John's widow never liked him much, though: she'd apparently always refer to R.Y.'s branch of the family as the "owner Eatons" and her husband's as the "worker Eatons".) He would serve as the President of the AGO for a while, too. That's his daughter, Margaret, on the left-hand side of this photo. And his wife, Hazel, beside her.

The young fellow without a hat, that's Erskine Eaton. He's Robert Young Eaton's son. He was just 16 or 17 when this photo was taken, but he was already making a name for himself. In this very year, he joined the Governor General's bodyguards. And he was a famous horseman, too, representing the Canadian army in horse shows around the world. He even dated a famous movie star, Toby Wing, who also had flings with Maurice Chevalier, Jackie Coogan and Franklin Roosevelt Jr.

But war loomed. A decade after this photo was taken, Erskine Eaton was on the front lines of the Second World War, storming the beaches of France. He died on one of the most infamous days in Canadian history: August 19th, 1942. He was one of more than 900 Canadian soldiers killed in the raid on Dieppe.


Robert Young Eaton's house in Rosedale went on the market a couple of years ago. The Globe had an article about it here. The Toronto Then and Now blog has a bit of Eaton's family history here. The Montreal Gazette reports on Erskine Eaton's death at Dieppe here. Wikipedia's got a plenty of info about Dieppe here. And a page about Toby Wing here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yonge & Richmond in 1899

This is the north-west corner of Yonge & Richmond in 1899. Today, that corner is home to the Hudson's Bay building — the Bay took it over in the early 1990s after they bought out the old Simpsons department store. Simpsons and Eatons were the two big department stores in Toronto for more than 100 years; their flagship locations stared each other down across Queen Street. But by the end of the 1990s, Eaton's was dead too, bankrupt and bought out by Sears.

You can see a Simpson's sign in the top-left in this photo — the Bay/Simpsons building is actually a complex of buildings and the first of them was built just three years before this photo was taken. The big Art Deco addition that dominates the corner today was added in 1929. It was designed by Chapman & Oxley, the same architectural firm responsible for a bunch old buildings around Toronto, including many of the icons of the lake shore: the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, the Palais Royale, the Princes' Gates, the old Maple Leaf Stadium and the Toronto Harbour Commission Building.

Photo via the Toronto Public Library here.