Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.
Timeless Thursdays is hosted by Stevenson Que
June 2021 - Toronto ON
Click here for a history of Toronto lane naming and a list of other lanes with neighbourhood descriptions. That post is a work in progress, and gets updated frequently.
This week I am going with a couple of recent random lanes I found.
Yo Yo Ma Lane Harbourfront
Click here to read about the Toronto Music Garden located at Harbourfront designed by Yo Yo Ma. The lane is located across from the garden.
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.
Mrs. Charlotte Morrison owned and managed the opera house, and gave it a brilliant record.
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.
Click here for our visit to Toronto's Police Museum which includes a 1920 poster for the missing Ambrose Small!
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.
If you would like to read about Ambrose Small - The Missing Millionaire: The True Story of Ambrose Small and the City Obsessed With Him.