Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sidewalking Danforth

August 2018 - Toronto ON

We were going to the Taste of the Danforth, but started further east with breakfast. I will cover the Taste in a separate post. The churches along the way will have their own posts too.

I guess we had to move away before our old neighbourhood became trendy. This could also be titled A Walk Down Memory Lane.

Funky street art.

Danforth Avenue, named because it was created to connect Toronto to Danforth Road, was officially built by the Don and Danforth Plank Road Company in 1851 to Broadview Avenue, as well as connecting to Kingston Road.

In Scarborough, Danforth Road connects Danforth Avenue with McCowan Road.
It is possible, therefore, to stand at the intersection of "Danforth and Danforth", i.e. Danforth Avenue and Danforth Road. Local references, therefore, are careful to note whether it is the Avenue or the Road being referred to—although the term "the Danforth" always refers to Danforth Avenue, and never to Danforth Road.

“The Danny” is the new, catchy name for East Danforth from about Donlands station to Woodbine station.

If we had a parcel or registered mail we had to come to a post office at Danforth and Coxwell to pick it up. John would usually drive there but I would take the subway the extra subway stop, pick it up and then walk home.

Getting off the subway at Coxwell, you need to cut through this brightly decorated lane to get to Danforth.

The Bus Terminal Diner was my plan for breakfast but it had recently closed its doors, so we went to the Sunset Grill right next door.

It;s early on a Saturday and we haven't reached the Greektown section of Danforth where the Taste of Danforth is taking place.

Danforth Road was named for American contractor Asa Danforth Jr., who built portions of what would become Queen Street and Kingston Road. He started work in 1799 on Danforth's Road as (originally) a hundred-mile route from Scarborough to the Trent River. That road was completed 1801, but soon fell into disrepair and was largely replaced by the 1817 Kingston Road stagecoach route.

El Sol on the left was our go-to for Mexican. The Coal Mine Theatre calls itself the "off off Broadview" theatre, wish it had been there when we lived there.

Sarah's, also a local for us, as we lived just around the corner. Great mussels!

Our local supermarket, within walking distance, when we needed something.

Oh, they're gone!

More trendiness!

I can't take any more trendiness!

Whew! Something far less trendy and been around for years.

References in pop culture
The band Rush reference the street for the instrumental "La Villa Strangiato" from the album Hemispheres (1978), of which section VII is subtitled "Danforth & Pape".
The Barenaked Ladies reference this street in their song "The Old Apartment" from the album Born on a Pirate Ship (1996) in the line "I know we don't live here anymore/We bought an old house on the Danforth".



Stock in Trade, more newness, a butcher shop.

From their website:
    Stock in Trade - noun
    the typical subject or commodity a person, company, or profession uses or deals in : happy meat is our stock-in-trade.
    qualities, ideas, or behavior characteristic of a person or their work : ethical meat is our stock-in-trade.
    the goods kept on hand by a business for the purposes of its trade. In our case, locally & sustainably raised meat from nose to tail, sold raw, cured, brine or cooked is our stock-in-trade.

The Danforth neighbourhoods were originally developed as "streetcar suburbs" in 1920 after the Bloor Viaduct opened in 1918. And it would continue to grow when the Line 2 Bloor–Danforth subway line was opened in 1966. This major transportation link prompted an influx of ethnicities into the area, with Greek becoming it's most recognizable in the 1970s and 1980s. However, it's also been home to Gujarati, Moroccan, Afghani, Caribbean, Pakistani and Ethiopian cultures. This has translated into hundreds of retail locations, restaurants, and cafes on The Danforth, supported by swaths of low-rise housing, and a smattering of higher density housing.

We are at our corner, Danforth and Greenwood.
Gasps from us! Other than a long gone KFC we never had fast food so close.
We knew this as the old Emerald Isle Seniors Society building — which was vacated in 2016 — on the north east corner of Greenwood and Danforth.

We used to joke with our neighbours that we could all easily stroll here when we retired.

There was always a gas station on the south east corner, in our time on the Danforth, 1991 - 2012.

In 1935, a service station stood on the south-east corner of Greenwood and Danforth and next door was a vacant lot. In February of 1936, Charles Wagman and Hyman Starkman received building permits from the City of Toronto to build a movie theatre, at an estimated cost of $10,500. On May 22 of that same year an ad appeared in the Toronto Daily Star under the heading Help Wanted – “Young, experienced girl as cashier; must be of good appearance. Apply Allenby Theatre Danforth-Greenwood. Saturday, 10:30 a.m.” – and with that, the Allenby Theatre was open for business.

This is how it looked during most of our time.

Toronto Preservation Services had listed the theatre on its Inventory of Heritage Properties in 1985, a clear statement from the City that they wanted the heritage of the building to be preserved.

On February 6, 2007 City Council enacted a by-law under the Ontario Heritage Act, further protecting the building’s architectural and historical heritage. In November of that same year the new owner of the theatre, Imperial Oil, made an application to restore the historic façade as part of a redevelopment project.

Who knew so much could change on one corner?

We crossed the street and there was a construction site on the south west corner? 

What the heck used to be here, we asked ourselves??? A day later and we remember! A Beer Store and parking lot. Kudos to John for at least remembering it had something to do with booze.

The north west corner was a Scotia Bank, now a pharmacy.



Thank goodness my bookstores are still here!

Our spot to pick up gyros for dinner!

Originally constructed as a movie theatre in 1919, the building was first known as Allen's Danforth Theatre, after its owner the Allen Theatres chain.Promoted as "Canada’s First Super-Suburban Photoplay Palace", the theatre opened in the midst of both a building boom along Danforth Avenue (due to the opening of the Prince Edward Viaduct) and a boom in the construction of movie theatres following the First World War. Allen's Danforth Theatre opened on August 18, 1919, and the first feature film shown was Goldwyn Pictures' Through the Wrong Door, starring Madge Kennedy.

The Big Carrot has been here a long time as well, next to another favourite book store. 

If you walked in a straight line from Coxwell to Broadview it would be 3.5 km. We walked back as well, along with multiple stops along the way, it's never a straight line with me! So 7 km along the Danforth without the steps to and from home.



  1. ...A & W and the theater are fabulous.

  2. Changes are taking place every where. Our city has also been over taken with trendiness. At least something is being down to preserve some of the old places.


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