Todmorden Developments Brings ‘Bachelorama’ to the Rosedale Valley (1956)

Here is another short one. This time, it’s from Toronto and about an apartment that I’ve noticed every time I walk by.

Whenever I’m in the city, one building that I can’t help but pass is the smart former headquarters of the Ontario Association of Architects at 50 Park Road. 

It’s just too wonderful to pass up. Image: Ontario Association of Architects / Panda Associates

Invariably, I’m headed up the hill and notice its neighbour: an apartment building with the address of 40 Park Road. While it has clearly received some doubtlessly needed attention over the years (new windows, etc.), the fundamentally midcentury design it was given shines through. As is the case with its neighbour, I’d want to photograph it, but I’m always missing out on good light or good angles. Nonetheless, I needed to look into it.

It turns out that it’s something of a mystery to me,1Or, at least it is to me when looking into it from out of town. which is why this piece is so short. It was constructed in 1956 by an outfit (or maybe functionally two) known as Todmorden Developments and Park Road Manor Ltd.2Toronto Land Registry Office, Plan 282E, Lots 4, 5, and 6. Unfortunately, searches for them in the Star and the Globe and Mail does not shed any light. 

Other than the parcel abstracts from the land registry and a small run of ads, this photograph (taken by Brian Shawcroft) is among the few things I’ve been able to locate on 40 Park Road. Image: RAIC Journal, March 1957, 98.

The building itself was designed by the firm of (David) Lipson & (Aaron) Dashkin,3RAIC Journal, March 1957, 98. who would seemingly go on to specialize in the design of single family homes.4RAIC Journal, December 1960, 531, 535; Toronto Star, September 26, 1959, 19; Globe and Mail, September 26, 1959, 33; “Five Toronto Area Houses Capture Design Awards,” Globe and Mail, November 8, 1960, 33; Toronto Star, December 17, 1960, 8; “Bricks and Mortar,” Toronto Star, February 17, 1961, 22; Toronto Star, April 22, 1961, 36; “Only 48 houses in this small condominium,” Toronto Star, September 13, 1975, E1.

The firm didn’t advertise much. Source: Canadian Jewish News, April 13, 1962, 10.

Aside from the above, beginning at the end of May 1956, Shortill & Hodgkins, the firm hired to rent out the building, used the term ‘Bachelorama’ to advertise the available units.5There were many, but see Toronto Star, May 29, 1956, 30 for an example. It’s understandable why that never was the name given to the building, but it would have been amusing.

An example of the ‘Bachelorama’ ad. Source: Toronto Star, May 29, 1956, 30.

As is the case with so many buildings that had a marginal business case to support them, 40 Park Road’s construction period was marked by a long list of Mechanics’ Liens. At completion, it was transferred between a number of companies, including the Transportine Corporation and Nadelco Corporation (each as anonymous as the last). Afterwards, it was transferred to Julita Investments, and then to Helberg Properties in 1970.6Toronto Land Registry Office, Plan 282E, Lots 4, 5, and 6.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Or, at least it is to me when looking into it from out of town.
2. Toronto Land Registry Office, Plan 282E, Lots 4, 5, and 6.
3. RAIC Journal, March 1957, 98.
4. RAIC Journal, December 1960, 531, 535; Toronto Star, September 26, 1959, 19; Globe and Mail, September 26, 1959, 33; “Five Toronto Area Houses Capture Design Awards,” Globe and Mail, November 8, 1960, 33; Toronto Star, December 17, 1960, 8; “Bricks and Mortar,” Toronto Star, February 17, 1961, 22; Toronto Star, April 22, 1961, 36; “Only 48 houses in this small condominium,” Toronto Star, September 13, 1975, E1.
5. There were many, but see Toronto Star, May 29, 1956, 30 for an example.
6. Toronto Land Registry Office, Plan 282E, Lots 4, 5, and 6.

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