Beach Memories: Historic walk along Main Street set for Saturday, June 29

These buildings on the southwest corner of Main Street and Gerrard Street East are on the City of Toronto's Heritage Register. Photo by Alan Shackleton.

By GENE DOMAGALA

On Saturday, June 29, at 1 p.m. I will be leading an historic walk on Main Street. We will meet at the northwest corner of Main Street and Danforth Avenue to start the walk.

Main Street was literally the main street of a large town known named East Toronto that existed because of what was once one of the largest railroad yards in the Province of Ontario. The railroad had its headquarters in the area of Main Street and Danforth Avenue.

The Town of East Toronto had a population of approximately 5,000 people and was in existence from 1888 to 1908. It was taken over and made part of the City of Toronto in 1908.

Main Street was originally a part of Dawes Road and was started around 1885.

The Main Street area is one of the most historic sites in the City of Toronto and deserves street signs indicating its exact location in what was the former Town of East Toronto.

The town had many interesting features including buildings, people, and events which we will learn more about on the walk. Some of that history has been demolished, but some is still in existence.

Did you know the Main Street area had its own race track and was the site of the Queen’s Plate horse race in 1868?

On the walk we will also see the site of the first library prior to the Main Street Library.

How many people know that one of the first hospitals was located in East Toronto on Main Street? We will see the site and hear the story on the walk.

We will also see the historic buildings written about so informatively in the April 30 print edition of Beach Metro Community News by reporter Amarachi Amadike. The story included quotes from Barbara Myrvold of The Beach and East Toronto Historical Society (celebrating 50 years this year). The story gives a good account of and insight into some of the buildings and people of Main Street in the early years. (The story can be read at https://beachmetro.com/2024/04/22/east-toronto-buildings-added-to-heritage-register-as-concerns-grow-about-possible-changes-to-citys-rules/ )

We will also visit a park on Main Street to honour the memory of a Black Canadian activist named Stanley Grizzle.

Also on the walk will be a stop at the first post office in East Toronto, just off Main Street.

Did you know there was a theatre on Main Street and the building is still there?

There will also be a couple of Masonic temples on our walking tour and you can learn more about them.

We will note some of the religious structures on our East Toronto tour.

Also, we will meander down one of the oldest and most historic streets known as Lyall Avenue.

There will be many places featured on our walk of this historic Main Street area.

Here’s a question for you: Where was the original Malvern Collegiate located? Find out the answer on the walk.

Of course, we’ll also stop at Community Centre 55 on Main Street which used to be a police station.

I look forward to seeing you on the walk on June 29.

Historically yours!


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