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.