Cross street: Queen St. West and Augusta
The original Original was already gone by the time Cummins took the first photo in 1984, but the S.L. Simpson Gallery was there, part of the early eighties Queen West art scene. The Vitrolite was too, those British-made glass tiles that once were ubiquitous across the city, on our storefronts and in our subway stations. The original 1954 subway stations were all lined with it but only Eglinton still is, and Broadview Furs, opposite, like Davisville, Rosedale, College and the rest, isn’t. And some typefaces are worth returning to.
Cross street: Borden Street and Bloor
We don’t see any these days, but bible signs were once seen regularly on Toronto’s Presbyterian streets. As for the worthwhileness of 1990s infill projects like this one, maybe we need to wait another few decades before kinder judgements can be made
Cross street: Bathurst Street and Nassau
Toronto doesn’t do Rust Belt decay much but for a few rare examples like this. Whoever lived on the second floor endured a while, until at least the second-last picture. The cat in the window seems sanguine about it all, and as it went, so too did the radiator shop next door, but that hole was filled in. The life is exhaling out of this house.
Cross street: Queen St. East and Carlaw
Queen East toward the Don River is the oft-forgotten bit of Queen that isn’t East Queen, west of Leslieville, moving from hand-painted mom-and-pop to tattoos to, most certainly, soon, a Starbucks, to serve the new condos going in all around.
Cross street: Bathurst Street and King St. West
Full Frontal T.O. photographer Patrick Cummins lived on the second floor, here on once-Spartan Bathurst. Things were actually made in this part of the city (or broken things were fixed up). The nail guns from the furniture upholsterer below could be heard all day long in the apartment above. Behind is the Summit, part of the first wave of condo building three decades ago, before we perfected the repeating glass box form. Over time this location may have gotten fancier, but it’s the trees that make the difference.
Cross street: Gerrard St. East and Logan
A once-famous sight on Gerrard Street just past the East Chinatown, one man’s battle to preserve the real Canada (and rally against drunk drivers and language laws) is finally over.
Cross street: Queen St. West and Ossington
With a sign like Printing, this place was just asking for it. The tags in the 1999 photos were all common in 1990s Toronto, including one by Skam. The top mural was by Adrian Hayles, the bottom, Alexa Hatanaka in collaboration with Logan Miller and Kellen Hatanaka. Part of so many lives as they passed by, ephemeral work like this, loved by some, hated by others, tends to remain anonymous to most