A Parking Lot Announcement

In spite of the pictures above, this won’t be about the much-fabled Yonge Street pedestrian mall of the 1970s. That history has been well covered in a number of places, like Torontoist, Active History, Spacing, and BlogTO. I will note that it’s nice to see the idea gaining some currency once more.

A group of Yonge Street business owners gather in the City Parking lot near Yonge (on Edward) to discuss that year’s pedestrian mall. July 15, 1971. Image: Reg Innell / Toronto Star / Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Collection, Item TSPA 0115323f.

As I am apt to do when looking for short story ideas, I was browsing through the the Toronto Star photographs digitized by the Toronto Public Library and came across this one (above). It stood out to me for two reasons: the first is a reasonably clear view of the Olympia Bowling Lanes (best known to me in its second life as the World’s Biggest Book Store) and the second is that I wrote it briefly last year as the site of Atrium on Bay.

In any event, the business owners above were gathered for a press conference in the parking lot to report the details of that year’s “Carnival Toronto”. Restauranteur Arthur Carman (Athanasios Karamanos) was the event’s main promoter. It was actually the second that year, and a follow-up to one promoted by city councillor William Archer in June between Albert and Adelaide streets. Le Coq d’Or manager Bill Bulson informed the meeting that $10,000 had been raised for decorations and that he expected to see another $15,000 “by the end of the week.”1”City okay needed but merchants plan for mall in August,” Toronto Star, July 15, 1971, 39.

In the Star. Source: Toronto Star, July 15, 1971, 39.


1 ”City okay needed but merchants plan for mall in August,” Toronto Star, July 15, 1971, 39.