A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘history

[PHOTO] Five photos from Pointe-à-Callière and Place Royale, Montréal

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I did not get to see the renowned Pointe-à-Callière Museum on this visit. I did get to spend time there in the twilight, wandering around there and the adjacent Place Royale down by the Saint Lawrence.

Around Pointe-à-Callière, looking west (portrait)

Around Pointe-à-Callière, looking west (landscape)

Place Royale (portrait)

Place Royale (landscape)

Around Pointe-à-Callière, looking east

Written by Randy McDonald

February 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “The fascinating history of Toronto’s oldest bookstore”

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blogTO’s Phil Villeneuve shares the story of Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest GLBT library in the world still operating.

Very few book stores in the world have been fought off widespread hate, battled censorship at the Supreme Court, and acted as home base for an entire community of people. Toronto’s Glad Day bookshop has, which is why it’s even more special that it’s not only Toronto’s oldest bookstore, but the world’s oldest LGBT bookstore.

Glad Day took the title after New York’s Oscar Wilde bookstore closed in 2009 because of low sales and high rent. That shop opened in 1967.

Glad Day was opened in 1970 by Jearld Moldenhauer out of his home in the Annex. The residential space also doubled as the office for The Body Politic, a gay and lesbian political paper, which eventually morphed into Xtra and then to the now online-only DailyXtra.com.

After folks moved in and out of the home, Moldenhauer and a group men bought a place in Cabbagetown at 138 Seaton Street and operated the shop out of there.

It was a time when a gay and lesbian bookstore could exist out of someone’s living room and word spread wide enough for the city’s queer population to know exactly where to go — all very much on the down low and in fear of violence.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm

[PHOTO] Celebrating Montreal 375 at City Hall, Montréal

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Celebrating Montreal 375 at City Hall

These golden doors of the Hôtel de Ville were framed by these banners advertising Montreal 375, this year’s celebration of the 375th anniversary of Montréal’s foundation.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

[URBAN NOTE] “How Toronto was marketed to the world in the 1970s”

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blogTO’s Derek Flack points readers to some of the video clubs and songs, even, used to promote Toronto to the wider world back in the 1970s.

While the 1980s might have been the heyday of Toronto tourism advertising, there’s something wildly compelling about the version of the city that was sold in the decade prior. Here was a city in the midst of massive transformation just getting its bearings on what it might become.

Two clips in particular serve as touchstones for the manner in which Toronto was coming into its own as a city that deserved mention on the international stage, one of which came from abroad and one of which was a homegrown product.

At the outset of the decade, Eastern Airlines produced a promotional reel for its service to Toronto that’s rich with references to the booming metropolis the city had recently become. It’s pre-CN Tower, but full of scenes featuring City Hall, the TD Centre, and the still new-feeling Bloor-Danforth subway.

The whole two minute clip is dazzling for the way that it boldly proclaims Toronto’s place on the world’s stage, from shots that look like old buildings being torn down for new ones to an at times haunting soundtrack that changes pace in manner reminiscent of the Chinatown trailer.

The media clips are … remarkable.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 18, 2017 at 6:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “The Stories of Draper Street”

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Torontoist’s Erin Sylvester tells the story of downtown Toronto’s Draper Street.

The future site of Draper Street, which runs one way from Front Street West to Wellington Street West, first appears on a map in 1833. It didn’t yet have a name or building lots, but it was the start of what has become a carefully preserved district to reflect what Toronto looked like in the late 19th century.

The first houses—Empire-style cottages—were built on Draper Street between 1881 and 1882. These were paid for by Jonathan Mandell, a developer, and designed by Richard Humphries. These early houses are all semi-detached and one-and-a-half storeys. A new phase of building started in 1886 with semi-detached houses built by the firm Smith and Simpson. The final phase was a row of houses built in 1889 on what was a lumberyard for Wagner Ziedler and Company, the firm that, among other things, did the woodwork and speaker’s dais in the new Ontario Parliament buildings at Queen’s Park, which opened in the 1890s.

Draper Street is part of the King and Spadina neighbourhood, which became an industrial centre in the growing city of Toronto. King and Spadina was the heart of the textile and garment industries, a heritage now reflected in some of the remaining industrial buildings and a giant, colourful button and thimble at the corner of Richmond and Spadina. The area also saw early labour agitation in Toronto, most notably from the Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union strike in 1931.

Although Draper Street sounds like it fits right in to the textile industry in the neighbourhood, it was actually named for William Henry Draper, a lawyer and local politician who had died in 1877.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 18, 2017 at 6:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that a Toronto family known for its Christmas lights display may be forced to ratchet back by city inspectors.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the apparent discovery of Kuiper Belt objects around white dwarf WD 1425+540.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper examining the possible orbital inclination of Proxima Centauri b, and points to another one speculating about upper limits to the masses of other exoplanets orbiting P_roxima Centauri.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to interviews with different historians noting how close the United States is to a scenario from 1930s Germany.
  • The LRB Blog notes that the actions of the American deep state to undermine elements of the Trump Administration seen as potentially threatening will certainly also undermine American democracy.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw looks at reasons for the continuing gap in life outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer links to a paper looking at the effect of Huey Long’s populism on Louisiana’s economy, noting that he had little effect on the markets. This suggests that counting on the markets to reign in populists before the crash may be a mistake.
  • Strange Maps links to a map and history of the Gagauz of Moldova.
  • Torontoist looks at the continuing decline of live music venues in Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes the origins of Der Spiegel‘s cover art showing Trump with the severed head of lady liberty in a Cuban exile’s work.
  • Window on Eurasia notes differences between how Russians and Americans think about ethnicity and citizenship in their diverse societies.

[URBAN NOTE] “Two centuries and counting for Toronto’s last farming family”

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Chris Bateman described how the Reesor family in north Scarborough remain the last farmers active within the borders of the city of Toronto.

Dale Reesor figures he’s the last farmer in Toronto.

Since his elderly neighbour Jim Murison passed away in December, Reesor’s family is the only one he knows of that’s still growing crops commercially in the city.

From their 136-year-old farmhouse on the south side of Steeles Ave. E. in north Scarborough, Dale and Lois Reesor and their five kids work about 350 acres of land within the Toronto city limits under the name Sweet Ridge Farms. They grow mostly sweet corn, about 10 to 12 varieties, plus soybeans and wheat.

It’s a way of life that stretches back more than 200 years.

The Reesors “came to the Toronto area, Markham and Scarborough, in 1804,” Dale said. “It’s a Mennonite family. They came from Pennsylvania. They travelled up and bought land in this area. It’s been the same family ever since.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 11, 2017 at 8:00 pm