Another long spring walk in Toronto

Bleecker Street Housing Co-Operative

Wellesley-Magill Park

Wellesley-Magill Park

Steam Plant Lofts (part of the former Wellesley-Princess Margaret Hospitals)

Verve condominiums at Wellesley and Homewood

Public art on a utility box near Jarvis and Gloucester Streets (one of many in the area)

One of the former Gooderham residences, this one at Jarvis and Cawhtra Square

Magnolias on Cawthra Square

Toronto AIDS Memorial at Cawthra Square Park, behind the 519 Church Street Community Centre

519 Church Street Community Centre (“The 519”)

Former Oddfellows Hall (1891) at College and Yonge Streets

College Park, the former Eaton’s Store at Yonge and College Streets

A notorious Bay Street dive emerging as a boutique hotel

Walking the labyrinth at Bell Trinity Square

Osgoode Hall, Law Society of Upper Canada

Canada Life

Campbell House, the oldest remaining home from the original site of the Town of York, was built by Upper Canada Chief Justice Sir William Campbell and his wife Hannah in 1822.

OCAD University’s (Ontario College of Art and Design) Sharp Centre for Design, Will Alsop, archt. with Robbie/Young + Wright Architects Inc., is a box four storeys above ground supported by colourful pillars; it is often described as a tabletop.

The spire of St. George the Martyr Anglican Church near The Grange

The Grange (1817) behind the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and now part of it, was built for D’Arcy Boulton (1785–1846).

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

Victoria University, University of Toronto

“Crucified Woman” (1976) by Almuth Lutkenhaus at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto

Victoria University reflected in the Isabel Bader Theatre

Church of the Redeemer (Anglican)

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

The Royal Conservatory of Music

Queen Alexandra Gateway, at the Bloor Street end of Philosopher’s Walk, next to the Royal Conservatory of Music, was built “To commemorate the visit of TRH the Duke & Duchess of Cornwall & York Oct. 10th 1901.” The Duke and Duchess later became King George V & Queen Mary.

The entrance to the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall


The Winchester – from draft beer to coffee since before Confederation

I did a short double-take walking up Parliament Street today, approaching the former Winchester Hotel. At the sreet-level entrance to what are now apartments upstairs – to the south of Tim Horton’s – a sign says something to the effect “Winchester Gardens – since 1861”.

That would be the landlord’s way of putting a time-stamp on the building, I suspect, whose main floor has undergone more than one transformation over the years.  When I first moved into the neighbourhood nineteen years ago it was still the Winchester Hotel, in its original incarnation, run-down and seedy, a tavern with rooms upstairs.  (They may even have called themselves apartments by then.)

The second photo shows the Winchester Street side which, as I recall, was once the “ladies and escorts entrance” – an archaic designation, commonly seen at watering-holes across Ontario, mandated by liquor control authorities of past generations.

The tavern, modernized with a kitchen serving finger foods, continued to try to make a go of it until relatively recently – my last visit there being a Michael Shapcott election campaign celebration.

Things changed, however, when the building’s fine brick-work had the beejeezus sand-blasted out of it a few years ago in preparation for its current main floor tenant, a Tim Horton’s coffee shop.

Neighbours will remember the fight Tim’s had to wage to claim its place on the corner as heritage preservationists rightly demanded that the franchise adapt its typically cookie-cutter plans to befit the historic Victorian architecture of the Winchester.  Even skeptics would be hard-pressed to argue that they haven’t done a good job with the thick brick interior walls accented with framed pictures of the hotel and Parliament Street.

Like any Tim’s location in Canada it is a busy spot, even without the customary drive-thru window, and is a meeting place in Cabbagetown for people of all ages – men, women, escorts and children!