Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Tuesday Treasures

Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.

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Timeless Thursdays is hosted by Stevenson Que

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.




The Boys of Major Street - memorializes several young men of Major Street who fought in the Second World War, at least four losing their lives. They spent their youth in the city playgrounds, Jewish immigrant kids too poor to afford a bat and ball, never dreaming they’d own a baseball mitt. These boys were among the earliest to enlist, some lying about their age, 17-year-olds going to war.
  • 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.


Francesco Gall√© and his family are famous in their community for sharing their Italian traditions and love of food. In their annual pepper roast every fall known as Peperonata, the Galle’s invite neighbours to partake in the festivities, and to enjoy a meal of roasted red peppers and potatoes.

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".



Boys of Major, Peperonata, Jewish Choir Lanes

15 comments:

  1. A very interesting post, thank you!

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  2. Some Jewish history I wasn't aware of. City of Melbourne has proactively named lanes, as have many of inner suburban councils.

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  3. Love the names on these lanes :)

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  4. As always Jackie, so interesting. Are you familiar with Corktown in the East end at all? I loved wandering there, one of the roads reminded me of Cork itself.

    Gentrification may have ruined it now. I remember it being one of the oldest segments of the city.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. Yes, WWW, I know Corktown, and it has changed greatly. It is on my To Do list for lanes.
      In the meantime, you might like this post I wrote in 2016.
      https://junkboattravels.blogspot.com/2016/08/canary-district.html

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    2. Thanks for the link Jackie, you covered it well :)

      XO
      WWW

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  5. Such great names! Interesting that named streets don't have dwellings on them. I do find it amusing that a Jewish boy had the nickname “Porky” :)

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    1. These aren't really streets, but laneways that run behind houses on a street.

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  6. Very detailed history of such interesting street names. An enjoyable read.

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  7. "Jewish Folk Choir Lane" - interesting name for a road! It certainly gives you a sense of what is important to the people in that immediate area.
    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2020/10/the-fungus-is-among-us-mushrooms.html

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  8. Interesting. Sad to think of the boys who died in the war.

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  9. I used to be obsessed with boat names and did lots oft blog posts for "What's in a Name." - Margy

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  10. Wow! That is some awesome history and I'm glad it has been memorialized by the naming of the lanes. How very interesting, thanks for sharing :)

    Your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week is greatly appreciated!!

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  11. Fascinating names. My geeky obsession is how names come into being, so I much enjoy seeing these and wondering about how these names came about.

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  12. Oh I would love to hear those choir sing! I have always adored choirs both traditional and even the new accapella kind of choirs that sing pop music :)

    Thank you so much for sharing this to Timeless Thursdays dearest Jackie :)

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