Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.
2020 - Toronto ON
Lane names are my new obsession as I wander the city.
Laneways, also known as alleys, are narrow streets that add to the diversity of the overall public space network, supporting the fine grain character of a city. ... Laneways can work as a network for pedestrians to navigate the city and build an overall identity for the city center.
Typically there are no dwellings in these lanes.
Just 10 per cent of Toronto's more than 3,000 public laneways have a name. Usually the titles recognize community figures, events or local traditions, but many are delightfully strange with brilliant backstories.
- Harold Fromstein, known as Red, lived at 117 Major St. He used his older brother’s name to enlist in 1940. Wounded in France in 1944, and decorated for his service, he survived the war.
- Joe Greenberg enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 and survived the war to become the legendary Dr. Joe Greenberg.
- Flying Officer Irving “Porky” Lindzon was shot down over the Bay of Bengal in 1945.
- Flight Sgt. Harold Sobel lived at 5 Major St. and Flight Sgt. Solomon (Solly) Kay next door at 3 Major St. The two were friends and competitors, pitching against each other in rival baseball teams at the Lord Lansdowne playground. They formed a club and carried their membership cards as good luck charms. A third friend, Charles (Chucky) Males, joined them in the air force. None returned from the war.
- Joe and Murray Sonshine also served. Murray died; Joe was taken prisoner and sent to Buchenwald, though he did survive.
It is a tradition so cherished that a lane way has been named in its honour.
Jewish Folk Choir Lane "Everyone has heard of the Mendelssohn Choir. The Jewish Folk Choir is less well known, even though its story is deeply and inextricably connected to the community we call Palmerston. The choir was founded in 1925 by factory workers in the textile trade in and around Spadina Avenue, both as a recreational outlet and as a way to bring Yiddish musical culture to the Jewish community. In 1939, it hired Emil Gartner, recently arrived from Austria, to serve as its conductor. Together with his wife Fagel, Emil built the choir into a choral powerhouse. Under Emil’s charismatic leadership, the Jewish Folk Choir was able to attract superstars like Paul Robeson and Jan Peerce to sing with them; to commission or premiere new choral works; and to sing on a regular basis at Massey Hall with the Toronto Symphony. Throughout this period, the choir’s epicentre was the Gartner’s apartment in a house at 388 Palmerston Boulevard".