On Bloor, Seiberling Burns

The Seiberling Rubber plant was already being demolished when it burst into flames in 1983. Image: David Cooper / Toronto Public Library, Toronto Star Photo Archive, Item TSPA_0000708f.

After having written about the CNR Bloor Street subway last week, I came across this photograph in the Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archive and wanted to share. In May of 1983, the former Seiberling Rubber Co. factory (later owned by Firestone) caught fire in the process of demolition.1”Flames soar at factory blaze,” Toronto Star, May 19, 1983, A6.

This 1932 shot was taken from about the same angle. Image: City of Toronto Archives / Alfred J. Pearson, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 9181.

Notes   [ + ]

1. ”Flames soar at factory blaze,” Toronto Star, May 19, 1983, A6.

Centretown’s Apartments, Civil Servants, and the Great Depression

Chamberlin (Chamberlain) Manor. Image: March 2016.

If you’ve had a chat with me in the last year or so, there is a good chance that I found occasion to slip something about apartments, Centretown, or both into the conversation. It should come as no surprise that during the Depression, construction of all sorts ground to a virtual halt. If you were take a look around the neighbourhood during those years, it would appear that someone forgot to let a small group of developers know that the party was over.

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The CNR’s Over/Under on Bloor Street

I’m always captivated by a fine-grain urban fabric, like the integration of buildings with infrastructure. Image: December 29, 2016.

As I wrote about a few times this past Fall, one of the homiest neighbourhoods in Toronto for me is the Junction Triangle. I won’t go over the ultimately poetic reasons again, but there are also more mundane things that really pull me in. One of those is one of my favourite examples of buildings being integrated with infrastructure is the warehouse on Bloor built into the first of the two subways (underpasses) in the area. I should note that in the time I’ve been researching this, the good folks on the Urban Toronto discussion boards have also been sleuthing the same underpass.

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Mayor Whitton on Housing (1952)

In her 1952 inaugural address, Mayor Whitton tried to spark Council into action. Image: Ottawa Journal / LAC Accession 1979-203 NPC Box 04438.

Coming only four months after her Fall inaugural address, Mayor Whitton spared her Council colleagues by delivering a much shorter address1By her standards. It was still much longer than those delivered by her predecessors. that focused on developing a sense of urgency and the setting aside of small differences. The Mayor’s address listed 10 points, with housing placed right at the top.

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Notes   [ + ]

1. By her standards. It was still much longer than those delivered by her predecessors.

Mayor Lewis on Housing (1945)

Ottawa Mayor, J.E. Stanley Lewis on December 15, 1946. Image: City of Ottawa Archives MG393-AN-P-000242-003.

Keeping up with the theme of mayors and their thoughts on housing, I thought it would be fun to reach back a little further. In 1945, the Second World War was coming to a close and Ottawa’s longest serving mayor, J.E. Stanley Lewis, faced with a critical housing shortage.

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Mayor Whitton on Housing (1951)

Charlotte Whitton with Robert Campeau, a developer she would frequently do battle with. Image: Dominion Wide / LAC Acc. 1979-203 NPC, Box 04438.

After having shared excerpts from Mayor Charlotte Whitton’s 1953 inaugural address about housing on Saturday, I thought it might be somewhat interesting to share them from 1951, when she took over as mayor from Grenville Goodwin who passed away suddenly that August 28.1”Seven Hour Seizure; Mayor Stricken When Shopping on Mann Avenue,” Ottawa Journal, August 28, 1951, 1, 17.

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Notes   [ + ]

1. ”Seven Hour Seizure; Mayor Stricken When Shopping on Mann Avenue,” Ottawa Journal, August 28, 1951, 1, 17.

Mayor Whitton on Housing (1953)

Mayor Charlotte Whitton, as captured by Maclean’s Magazine’s Walter Curtin, March 1957. Image: LAC Accession 1981-262 NPC Box 06354 Assignment 574-1.

As I’ve noted previously, I have been working on a thesis about the Ottawa Lowren Housing Company, which was Ottawa’s city-owned, privately-operated limited dividend housing company. Although she was not the inventor of the limited dividend approach to housing, Mayor Charlotte Whitton was among the first Canadian municipal leaders to have any real measure of success making use of the National Housing Act provision and became an enthusiastic booster of its use.

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