Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Trinity Street
I love this row of houses...though likely not the most luxe of homes, the terrace has great character, and oozes history. It makes me think of some of the humble homes in The Ward that  Lawren Harris captured in his Toronto days.

 I expect the address would have been even less savoury in the early decades of the nineteenth century when Corktown was developing. Here's a great BlogTo story with an historic  photo or two. And a Streetview link to Trinity Street approaching King Street East, if you would like to follow along with Larry and me, as we tour Corktown.

Corktown was settled in the early 1800s by working class immigrants, many from county Cork in Ireland (hence the name.) They worked in brickyards and breweries, and despite their labours, most lived in poverty.

 The 1843 Little Trinity Church, a charming brick Gothic revival building, served the parish. Word is that neighbourhood folk couldn't afford to attend grand St. James where one had to rent a seat (the cathedral retains those box pews to this day.)
Corktown gave back

a transformation
  Behind the church, along Trinity Street, stands the oldest school still standing in Toronto, the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, now a school museum. I like this story. The owner of one of the breweries in which the neighbourhood toiled financed the building of the school in 1848 on land donated by the church; it was the first free school in Toronto. Here's the Ontario Heritage Trust site with some photos.

Didn't record it many distractions in the 'hood, including the many stories Larry the transformation of Little Trinity Church Annex above.
Victorian terrace updo - no comment
 Another delight on the walkabout was tiny Bright Street. So narrow, impossible to do it justice with my camera. The writer of this BlogTO article ends by saying "there aren't many places in Toronto like this, " with reference to the tiny house at 32 Bright Street. I would say that quote could apply equally to the entire crooked street. My guide recounted that Toronto film crews occasionally scout the tiny street as a stand-in for English terraces.

 Corktown is becoming popular (lower cost commercial loft and storefront conversions, Georgian rowhouses becoming design shops and condos) but I have a confidence that no amount of tidying and scrubbing up will erase its historic character.
interesting partnership
still frame clad, cut-off entrance

Here's a handy neighbourhood history, because I'm going back to explore further, and I expect you might, also. Corktown is bordered by Jarvis, Queen, Front, the West Don Lands. Corktown sits north of the historic Distillery District. Its street names recount its industrial past: Tannery Road, Rolling Mills Road, Mill Street.

 If your budget is healthier than mine, you might want to seek out a pied-a-terre for those Toronto getaway weekend. Here are some Toronto Life  condo listings. Get them before they're gone.
Larry contemplates the Great Fire of 1849, further along King

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