Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Tuesday Treasures

 Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.

Toronto ON

Story told through a mural on Roncesvalles Ave.

The name “Sunnyside” had been used to denote a beach and its surrounding area for 70-plus years before the amusement park opened. The name may have been coined by George Howard, a prominent citizen whom in 1848 had built a home overlooking the shore on the sunny side of a hill. The other possibility is that subsequent owner George Cheney, named it after American author Washington Irving’s home in Tarrytown, New York.

The Ocean House Hotel was built in 1884. It came to house a Bake-Rite shop, Laura Secord Candy Shop, Tamblyn Drugstore, and a United Cigar Store. Some of these early Canadian businesses would survive into the present to become country-wide chain stores. The structure itself, still stands at the corner of present-day Queen Street and Roncesvalles Avenue above what would generally become the amusement park and specifically, The Boulevard Club’s location.

By the 1890’s the population was large enough to warrant the building of a streetcar service to the district, which was extended by new owners in 1893. One promotion started in that decade was the bathing-car service offered free to kids in the summer. They would pick up any children with bathing suits & towels and transport them free to and from the beach area west of Toronto. This service would continue until August of 1950 when lack of patronage caused it to be discontinued.

The building still stands (obviously as these are our photos!) and is often used for photoshoots.

In The Handmaid's Tale season 3 episode 8 the fortress-like building where June’s daughter goes to school is actually the innocuous pavilion at Sunnyside Beach.

Pre-pandemic there was a lakeside restaurant.

Born in Toronto in 1899, Gus Ryder demonstrated a natural athletic ability as a young man. After he rescued two fellow hockey players who had fallen through the ice on Grenadier Pond in 1916, he vowed to make swimming instruction his personal avocation.

Ryder also coached marathon swimmer Marilyn Bell who, in 1954, at age 16, was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. She swam the English Channel in 1955 and the Straits of Juan de Fuca in 1956. Bell is listed in the top ten of 20th century Canadian female athletes.

In 1980, the pool was renamed as “Sunnyside Gus Ryder Pool” after Gus Ryder, who was the founder of the Lakeshore Swim Club of New Toronto and Marilyn’s swimming coach!

Just a little further on is Marilyn Bell Park.

Sunnyside Amusement Park (also known as Sunnyside Beach Park) was a popular amusement park in Toronto that ran from 1922 to 1955, demolished in 1955 to facilitate the building of the Gardiner Expressway project. It was located on the Lake Ontario waterfront at the foot of Roncesvalles Avenue, west of downtown Toronto.


  1. I am surprised the Gardiner Expressway is so old, well clearing beginning in '55. It wouldn't be built now. Is there still chatter about demolishing it?

  2. ...this is similar to the bath house and the Sea Breeze amusement park along Rochester's Lake Ontario shore. Street car would take people north out of the city. I like the Orange Crush sign on the mural. Thanks Jackie for sharing this treasure.


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