Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Tuesday Treasures

 Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.

Timeless Thursdays is hosted by Stevenson Que

June 2021 - Toronto ON

This week I am going with a couple of recent random lanes I found.

Yo Yo Ma Lane Harbourfront 

Stop for a coffee.

The site of the former Grand Opera House is now occupied by the 68-storey Scotia Plaza in Toronto's Financial District. The sole remaining physical legacy of the concert hall is a small lane running south from Adelaide Street West, named "Grand Opera Lane".

Designed in the Second Empire style with 1750 seats, the hall was the first in the city to feature gaslights that could all be switched on or off simultaneously with one electric switch. 

The Grand Opera House was built in 1874 to become the major venue in the city for grand opera and for important theatrical performances. It fulfilled its ambitions and more. It opened in September 1874 with Sheridan’s School for Scandal, then hosted a succession of international singing and stage stars. A fire destroyed the building in 1879, but it was rebuilt in only 51 days! Maurice Barrymore (father of Lionel, John, and Ethel) appeared there, as did Ellen Terry, Sarah Bernhardt, and a host of others. The Toronto Philharmonic Society gave concerts, including Handel’s Messiah with singers from Mrs. Morrison’s Opera Company. 
 O.B. Sheppard was a later manager, and moved on to manage the Princess. 
But it was mainly, and sadly, Ambrose Small for whom the opera house is remembered. Small was in the process of closing a sale of his theatrical assets to a syndicate, Trans Canada Theatres Ltd., when he vanished without a trace. At the end of her life, his wife confessed to murdering him and burning half of his dismembered body in the furnace of the opera house and disposing of the other half in the Rosedale Ravine. The case was never solved and remains a mystery today. 

The Grand Opera House also demonstrated clearly that home grown impresarios had what it takes to reach the highest success. In 1927, eight years after Small’s disappearance, the opera house was demolished.


  1. Oh the irony of turning gas lamps on and off with an electric switch.

  2. ...l have escaped the city and am getting bitten alive by the bugs, the city is looking pretty good right now! Thanks Jackie for stopping by.

  3. What an interesting story of the murder by his wife!

  4. Why would she confess unless she did it? Sounds like the mystery was solved by the person who did it.

  5. What a stomach churning story of the wife.

    Building looks fine and very bustling too. Happy #wordlesswednesday

  6. I loved that YoYO Ma Park, lovely spot. And such an interesting story of that first opera house and the man who was murdered. It cross my mind she must have had an assistant(s) to dispose of the body.
    Book recommended: A Ghost in the Throat.https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/51498568


  7. The stories behind the signs are so intriguing!

    I'm happy you chose to share your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

  8. A lovely wander with you and coffee included too - Perfect!
    Have a lovely weekend
    Wren x


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