Padrone Italiano: Italian Heritage of St. Clair – West Toronto

Photographic Survey Corp, 1956The highly-industrialized and historic meatpacking district along St. Clair Avenue West anchored by the Ontario Stock Yards is seen in this aerial photo looking northeast from just east of Symes Road in 1956. Source: Photographic Survey Corporation (via the City of Toronto Archives).

Ian Wheal will be leading a heritage walk here in West Toronto on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 2 PM. Beginning at the corner of Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue West near where the main gate to the Ontario Stock Yards was once located, the walk will go down St. Clair towards Lambton. Participants are welcome to stay for as much of the walk as they’re interested in. It will explore the Italian Canadian history of the area, but will also cover the Stock Yards, packing houses, railways, businesses, and the history of food production in the area including bread and even wine.

The walk will focus on the era between 1871 and 1969. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the history of Toronto’s meatpacking district and the Ontario Stock Yards–a critical and fascinating part of West Toronto’s history. Ian Wheal is a member of the West Toronto Junction Historical Society. If you’d like to know more information about this interesting walk, leave a comment.

Padrone Italiano: Italian Heritage of St. Clair – West Toronto
May 20, 2012, 2:00 PM
Southwest corner of Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue West

Padrone Italiano: Italian Heritage of St. Clair – West Toronto

Canada Packers in view, Archives of Ontario - Canada Packers Collection, 1960An aerial photo shows the highly-industrialized and historic meatpacking district along St. Clair Avenue West from Symes Road in the foreground (on left) to Keele Street (just out of view at the top right edge), anchored by the Ontario Stock Yards in 1960. Source: Archives of Ontario – Canada Packers Collection.

Ian Wheal will be leading a heritage walk here in West Toronto on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 2 PM. Beginning at the corner of Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue West near where the main gate to the Ontario Stock Yards was once located, the walk will go down St. Clair towards Lambton. Participants are welcome to stay for as much of the walk as they’re interested in. It will explore the Italian Canadian history of the area, but will also cover the Stock Yards, packing houses, railways, businesses, and the history of food production in the area including bread and even wine.

The walk will focus on the era between 1871 and 1969. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the history of Toronto’s meatpacking district and the Ontario Stock Yards–a critical and fascinating part of West Toronto’s history. Ian Wheal is a member of the West Toronto Junction Historical Society. If you’d like to know more information about this interesting walk, leave a comment.

Padrone Italiano: Italian Heritage of St. Clair – West Toronto
May 20, 2012, 2:00 PM
Southwest corner of Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue West

Transformation at the End of the Line: Placemaking at Gunns Loop

Gunns Loop may not appear on the rollsigns of westbound 512 St. Clair streetcars in Toronto, but with its recent reconstruction, it now has a proper sense of place. It is the western terminus for the city’s northernmost streetcar route; however, since its completion in 1981, it has lacked a design worthy of a terminus in Toronto’s iconic streetcar network. It was a banal quarter circle of concrete and asphalt, with some grass and a chain-link fence around the edges. Some generic shelters and a few shabby utility poles with mundane street lights broke up its featureless sterility.

Fortunately, the recent streetcar right-of-way project on St. Clair Avenue West involved a complete overhaul of the public realm. This time around, design would not be neglected. Intuitively, Gunns Loop was one of the last parts of the transit project completed between 2005-2011. It was transformed into a public space with polished landscape and urban design. The new design has not only enhanced this transit facility, but also the community itself with a beautiful new public space. Stepping off the streetcar onto the sheltered and attractively paved platform is now a more interesting and formal experience which evokes the “higher-order” transit that light rail can be. The loop is now a public space with a sense of culture and welcoming refinement, and no longer just a banal piece of infrastructure. It now gives people a sense of place. Continue reading