Posts Tagged ‘abortion’
Passing along Harbord Street with a visiting friend on Monday, I snapped this photo of 85 Harbord Street.
I’d also taken a photo of this address–not a separate building, just a door in a larger building–in 2008, from across the street.
Why so much attention to a non-descript address? 85 Harbord Street is the address of Henry Morgentaler’s first abortion clinic in Toronto, as I noted back in August 2008 when I posted the second photo. The Globe and Mail provided a potted history of the building.
The story of this old Annex Victorian semi, among the storefronts on the south of Harbord, really begins on June 15, 1983, when Henry Morgentaler opened an abortion clinic. It was subjected to protests and pickets, and victories and defeats – for both sides of the debate. The drama might have ended in 1988, when the Supreme Court ruled that freestanding clinics were legal, but the rallies continued, reaching 3,000 strong. Harbord Street Cafe, at No. 87, closed shop, its windows papered over. A sign for The Way Inn took its place. The Toronto Women’s Bookstore moved down the street. Then on Victoria Day weekend in 1992, an explosion by arsonists blew the wall out at No. 85. No one was ever charged. A small apartment is there now, next to Ms. Emma Designs at No. 87.
Jamie Bradburn at The Grid also wrote about this in 2013. Without Morgentaler’s clinics, which provided abortions in violation of restrictive regulations in public hospitals, abortion policies in Canada might have ended up being very different. There should be a plaque at 85 Harbord: What happened here really did shape the lives of Canadians.