June is busting out all over!
Canada Day is just about upon us and Toronto is hosting World Pride! Well, why should the Gays be the only proud ones? We should be proud and loud about our city’s great and diverse history and heritage. What are we doing to let everyone in the city, young and old, new to the town and long time residents, know about the great history and heritage just around the corner or down the street from where we stand? Who has set up a card table on the street corner and handed out brochures and pamphlets on what they’re doing? Who is leading walking tours, giving talks? How are we going to convince people that the city’s legacy should be protected and enhanced if we are not working as hard as we can to promote what we have so that it isn’t lost? Not only with Pride Week, but with the upcoming CHIN Picnic, the Caribbean Festival, The Indy, our city is going to be the focus of hundreds, if not thousands of people. Wouldn’t it be nice to have them leave knowing and appreciating just a little bit more about what a great city Toronto is and how its history has helped shaped the nation in both big and small ways? Let’s commit to the balance of this year and in the years to come to preserve and promote all the history and heritage around us.
As I sit and type this, I can’t believe half the year has already gone past [ how the H-E- double hockey sticks did that happen?] and, while, like most, I moan what is left to do, in reflecting back over the last six months, I note many accomplishments by T.H.A. and its member groups. So, this is not the time to grump at things not done, but to salute the things we have done. While not losing the momentum and the verve and the desire to preserve our city’s natural, built and cultural history, I suggest that this Canada Day you sit back with friends and family and hoist a cold beverage of your choice and toast the many people like you who have and are working tirelessly to keep Toronto’s unique history alive in the hearts and minds of our city.
Keep up the good work, enjoy your summer and tell everyone you meet about Toronto’s great heritage and why it is important, in all its aspects, to be preserved and promoted. We are the pre-eminent city of the nation and we need to show we are proud of it.
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YOU SAY HELLO, I SAY GOODBYE
The Annual General Meeting of the Toronto Historical Association was held on Sunday, June 1, 2014 at the St. Matthew Lawn Bowling Club, overlooking the scenic Don Valley. Along with usual reports, opportunities to network and other activities generally associated with such programmes, elections were held to renew the Board of Directors for the coming years.
As President, it was my privilege to work with some fine, highly creative and strongly supportive individuals who provided direction and insight and dedicated many hours to the work of the THA and heritage across the city. I am deeply gratified for their work and saddened that they decided to step down from their positions as their terms were completed. I fully understand their desire to explore new opportunities and thank them all on behalf of the THA membership for their unstinting efforts on behalf of Toronto’s history. I thank Marti Latta, Harriet De Koven, Barry Mapes, Dawn Ayer and David Wencer for their many hours on our behalf – they attended many meetings around the city, gathered copious research, were instrumental in revamping initiatives within the THA and helped in rebuilding the Website and establishing our Twitter presence. They have all set out great plans for the new board to undertake and require a great debt of gratitude for their work.
At the same time, I am pleased to welcome a new slate of members to the Board of Directors, who, I have no doubt, will be as dedicated and insightful in their work for the T.H.A. and heritage and provide sage counsel and sober oversight to all our work on your behalf. Please welcome, Linda Symsyk [ Swansea Historical Society ] Lisette Mallet [ La Société d’Histoire de Toronto ] and Michael White [ Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve ] to the Board. They join Paul Litt [ Past President ], Carolyn King, [Vice-President], Bill Kindree [ Treasurer], Paul Denter [ Director] and myself on the Board for 2014-2016.
If you do the math, you will see that we are one short on the Board. We are in need of help to fill the mandate of the THA and are open to any and all nominations for the vacant position. It is not too late to have input and the opportunity to direct change in the city by volunteering for the THA Board of Directors.
THE BEST D#^%M AWARDS IN THE CITY!
As part of the recent AGM, the Toronto Historical Association inaugurated two awards, long overdue, to acknowledge the work of THA members, both individuals and groups. Recognizing the work of our own members in promoting, preserving and enhancing the city’s history and heritage, in all its manifestations, was long overdue. These awards were a small , but tangible, way to show that the, often unsung, work of groups and people are eminently worthwhile and should be supported. At the same time, it afforded us an opportunity to recognize a long time, late and lamented individual who dedicated a large part of her life to local and city-wide heritage and who’s value to all of us was not shown to her , in her lifetime, as much as she deserved.
The 1st Annual Peggy Kurtin Memorial Award for Heritage Excellence was awarded to long-time T.H.A. Member Group: La Société d’Histoire de Toronto. Their efforts in promoting the, often forgotten, Francophone heritage of the city and the history of the earliest European settlers to the area and the presence and influence of the French on the origins of Toronto were worthy of this award. Congratulations.
The 1st Annual President’s Award for individual effort above and beyond was awarded to again, a long time [ and some would say, long suffering ] member of the THA who has served tirelessly on the Board, in the community and on behalf of heritage across the city for many years, humbly and quietly but with great effect. Molly Sutherland was recognized for her passion and dedication to Toronto and community heritage and the well-deserved initial recipient of this award.
Congratulations to our award recipients and thanks for working so hard on Toronto’s legacy of history.
Nominations are now open for the 2014 awards which will be presented at next year’s AGM.
PROMOTING TORONTO’S HISTORY IN A CONCRETE WAY:
Well, actually in clay, but!!! You can add to the preservation of Toronto’s history in a tangible manner by acquiring a unique piece of city history. Yes! You know what I’m talking about – the one of a kind, authentic and spectacular Don Jail Bricks!
Great as a historic cobblestone marker in your driveway! Fantastic as the cornerstone of your garden wall! Make it the talked about centrepiece in your new backyard BBQ installation! These versatile mementos of Toronto’s [in]famous past will surely be a conversation starter and much talked about over beers and burgers at any backyard gathering. Be the envy of your street. Only $49.99 in our Summer Sale! With the civic election upcoming and the imminent return of Rob Ford to stir things up, what better item to remind politicians of why they should do more for heritage than a Don Jail Brick* [ *note: THA does not endorse the use of violence to induce heritage-positive outcomes in the election, so please do not use the brick directly on candidates ]. Order your brick today by contacting email@example.com
GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT THERE:
Has anyone used this service? The Ontario Genealogical Society is offering to heritage organizations access to scanning technology for electronic archiving and online posting of valuable and fragile paper records.
The equipment is portable and can be brought to your site/location to minimize damage to the documents/papers and they will provide technicians! There is a modest cost but there are also cost-recovery/revenue possibilities as well and for large efforts the OGS will help submit an application for a Trillium grant.
Get your message out, show what you have and keep history in the forefront of the world wide web!
Contact: Ontario Genealogical Society # 102, 40 Orchard View Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario, M4R 1B9 phone: 416-489-0734 Fax: 416-489-9803
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line PPV
We’ve all got great ideas and projects we want to promote, but finding money, next to willing volunteers is often a tough undertaking. Oh, we can apply for all sorts of grants but the timing is poor, long, doubtful and the competition heavy. Hitting up donors and volunteers is always tough. Now, there is a new way to shake the tree for cash. It’s working for movie productions, music videos and theatre projects, why not for history / heritage. Talking about CrowdFunding. Why not investigate the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada for opportunities and information or turn to an Angel _ The Business Development Bank is involved in connecting ‘ partners’ in projects and there is money out there funded by investors and philanthropists under the NACO the National Angel Capital Organization. If your project is worth doing, it’s worth doing well and finding the right funding to make it a reality is worth the effort.
CANADIAN CUISINE - PART OF OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE
Time for us to come up to the table and start bragging about our unique Canadian cuisine. Authentic food reflecting the character of our nation and city. Why can’t food be historical?
The Government of Japan applied to UNESCO for washoku – a traditional dish based on the seasons, to be granted the status of “ intangible cultural heritage” UNESCO has also designated the Mediterranean diet and the Turkish dish kashkek. If tamagoyaki [ egg rolls ] can be considered a cultural heritage so can poutine or maple-flavoured back bacon. What is the iconic, traditional Toronto dish that speaks to our city’s heritage and deserves a worldwide UNESCO crown?
FREE FROM THE GOVERNMENT
There’s still time to nominate one your members, someone from the community or a deserving individual for a Provincial Award. The Province of Ontario is inviting you to submit a nominee for An Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship. Deadline is July 17th. Think you know someone who has made a significant contribution to community life?
Then contact: www.ontario.ca/honoursandawards. Presentations are made by the Lieutenant Governor in the fall at special ceremonies at Queen’s Park. Don’t delay. There are many outstanding people in the Toronto heritage community that need to be thanked and applauded for their tireless efforts in preserving the city’s history. This could be one small way to say; Job Well Done.
MARCHING OFF TO WAR:
The THA has been contacted by the Federal Government Department of Canadian Heritage. They would like to know what we are doing across Toronto to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the War to End All Wars. World War i – particularly events open to the public on or about August 4.
If your group has an event planned at a local cenotaph, community centre or a special event or presentation to the public, let us know asap so we can alert the DCH. Contact the THA at email@example.com or call Paul Federico at 905 866 2835
On July 31, 2014 at Varsity Stadium there will be a major event for WWI – featured will be Prof. Margaret McMillan, Oxford University, General Thomas Lawson CDS with musical performances by the Massed Band of the Canadian Armed Forces. Sponsored by the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, The City of Toronto, The Munk School and others. Tickets/reservations required [event is free ].
Go to firstworldwar.utoronto.ca/in-memoriam
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As always, a number of activities and undertakings across the city have a direct effect on Toronto’s history and heritage. The THA was active and continues to be on a number of fronts.
Along with a number of other groups, the THA asked a number of questions of the developer group and the city on what would happen to the heritage designated properties that were enveloped in the development proposal. Discussions and debate swirled about at public meetings and input from the THA was sought and provided at various forums. The City and its departments worked hard to find a compromise to the efforts of the Mirvish Group to significantly alter the streetscape along King Street. In the end a significant compromise was reached with Toronto City Planning, Development and other agencies that resulted in a large scale change to the design and footprint of the project. THA is gratified that a number of heritage structures will be saved and integrated into the development in more than a cosmetic manner and that the scale of the project reflects and recognizes the history of the city and the area.
SAM THE RECORD MAN:
It seems that the city and Ryerson University have found a way to both preserve the iconic neon signs from Yonge Street’s earlier era and to honour the contracts and commitments made when the signs were dedicated as heritage properties and contracted to be preserved. While not rteturning to the same, or adjacent, location on Yonge at street level as initially promised, it appears that an agreement has been made to have them shine once more atop a city owned property overlooking Yonge at the Dundas intersection to add their lustre to Toronto’s attempt at creating an homage to New York’s Times Square through Neon Illumination. There are still many negotiations underway to finance, restore, erect and maintain these examples of Yonge Street’s youth and the THA will continue to monitor the moves and request that the parties honour their agreements to each other and the people of the Toronto who wished these preserved as part of our history.
EX PLACE / STANLEY BARRACKS:
The THA and member group, Canada Camps, have attended a number of meeting with Ex Place Board of Governors and third party organizations on the many changes being made to the grounds of what is usually referred to as the CNE.
The latest endeavour is by MLSE who is moving to revamp and expand the BMO field to accommodate more than just the soccer league. Plans call for an increase from 20 thousand to 30 thousand permanent seats and an additional 10 thousand mobile/temporary seating, plus a roof structure and other amenities on the present building. Construction is to begin after Labour Day this year and be complete, by 2016.
THA and Canada Camps raised concerns over archaeological issue and the sensitivity over the internment camp issue given the present world focus on the Ukraine and Canada’s WWI commemoration moves. Assurances were given by MLSE and the EX Board that all appropriate measures were in place to have a full assessment done before digging at that they were mindful of the need to not adversely affect any native, early settler or subsequent heritage as they build.
Ex Place is conducting some exploratory work by the Band Shell with respect to the early French presence on the grounds and promised to post results on its websites or have the findings publicly available.
The THA was able to continue its discussion with Classical Library Hotels over the fate of Stanley Barracks and was gratified to hear that, as the hotel nears completion [ slated to open December 2015 ], the management is moving forward with its expressed interest to have exhibits and displays of area history in the lobby treatments [ for which THA will be making contributions ] and that the park installation [ trees, grass, walking paths, seating, etc ] that will surround the Barracks are brought into place that a proper acknowledgement of the earlier history of the location will be acknowledged in a tangible and appropriate manner.
The hotel group is required to come up with a plan for use of the Stanley Barracks building no later than 2016. It sits empty, and has been in that state for a number of years, sadly, ignored by both the city and Ex Place which has allowed for much deterioration – the hotel has had to should the expense of maintaining the building in the condition it was given to them and has made some effort to improve things by, even the simple feat of getting the heating system back on]. The hotel group is anxious to discuss with the THA an appropriate future use of the building and meetings are planned for the near future. This would be a great undertaking in seeing that a preeminent piece of our city’s and country’s heritage is preserved, enhanced and part of the public legacy once again.
OTHER HERITAGE MATTERS:
No word on the move to add the Joy Gas Stations on the Lakeshore to the roster of restaurants dotting that landscape. THA is endeavouring to find out where this matter stands.
Downsview Lands continue to be an issue. Mattamy Homes has out a glossy brochure and print ads promoting their residential development on the grounds and Canada Lands continues to insist that development of the lands for residential and commercial use will be limited and intended to generate revenue to cover the costs of preserving the legacy of the area and making the park a publicly accessible and desirable recreational location. Local groups are tracking this matter.
The THA has and continues to attend meetings and public presentations on city initiated undertakings such as the Portlands/South of Eastern initiatives and the Development Permit System. More information will be posted when known.
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THA WELCOMES A NEW MUSEUM TO TORONTO:
Now open to the public throughout the summer! [ From July 2 – Tuesdays to Fridays with guided tours at 4 p.m. – tours by appointment as well.] Contact Carolyn Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 416-599-7339
Yes! We’re talking about Moses Znaimer’s Museum of Television and Archive at 64 Jefferson Avenue in Liberty Village.
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Check out the many events at the City of Toronto Museums by going to: www.toronto.ca/museum-events.
Wednesday, July 9, 9 p.m., Fort York.
Join the Homegrown National Park Project for an outdoor screening of the award-winning documentary Project Wild Thing. For more information www.davidsuzuki.org/homegrown. View the Project Wild Thing movie trailer vimeo.com/68072823.
Admission is FREE!
Saturday, July 12, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Fort York.
A celebration of Caribbean steel pan music featuring seven GTA youth steelbands and the award winning ensembles Pan Fantasy and Afropan performing outdoors on the grounds of Fort York. Great Caribbean food, all ages pan workshops and plenty of opportunities for audience participation – dance, dance, dance! Come celebrate Toronto's vibrant Caribbean community and support youth engagement with this proud tradition. Presented in partnership by Fork York and Pan Arts Network.
Admission is FREE!
Saturday, July 19, 1:30 to 11 p.m., Fort York.
Since 2008, TIME Festival has fast become Toronto’s premier summer dance/indie music festival focusing on the most cutting-edge, exciting artists in music today. This year’s TIME Fesitval is once again set to deliver a world class music festival experience, featuring: GRIMES, DEATH GRIPS, FLUME, ACTION BRONSON, ST LUCIA, SMITH WESTERNS, KAYTRANADA & more.
Visit www.embracepresents.com for tickets and more information.
Sunday July 20, 1 to 4 p.m., Tollkeeper's Cottage Museum.
Special Sunday opening of the Tollkeeper's Cottage Museum at Bathurst and Davenport.
Admission by donation.
Thursday, July 24, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Fort York.
Friday, July 25 & Saturday, July 26, 12 to 4 p.m. & 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 27, 12 to 5 p.m.
For four days Fort York will be transformed into a foodie wonderland of summer eating, drinking and entertainment. 14 of the city’s latest, greatest and hottest restaurants will be dishing up their finest in a bar none alfresco gourmet feast. Top that off with over 50 producers of the best food, beverages and premium brands providing a bountiful food market, and you have the best culinary festival of the year!
Visit tasteoftoronto.com for tickets and more information.
Monday, August 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fort York.
Lieutenant-governor Simcoe founded the town of York (Toronto) in 1793 and was the first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada (Ontario). Come learn about the birthplace of Toronto and thrill to the sounds of musketry, cannons and the fife and drum. Enjoy historic military presentations, family activities, feature performances, local crafts & food.
Admission is FREE.
Friday, August 15, 4 to 11 p.m., Fort York.
Mad Decent and Embrace Presents team up for their annual Mad Decent Block Party, featuring Diplo, Chance the Rapper., Flosstradamus, Grandtheft, ZEDS DEAD and more.
Tickets and more information available at www.maddecentblockparty.com.
Sunday, August 17, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Fort York.
Join us in the 1826 Officers' Mess Kitchen and techniques, where participants will prepare (and sample!) a variety of delicious 18th and early 19th century dishes such as fruit fools, creams, tarts, pies, waters, ice creams or compotes using historic techniques and tools. A salmagundi will also be prepared and served for lunch. Lunch and recipe package included.
For class information please call: Bridget Wranich at 416-392-6907 ext. 225
To register, call: 416-392-6907 ext. 221.
Pre-registration and payment required. $75 plus tax.
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Saturday, September 27: YIMBY
The annual YIMBY event, again hosted by the Centre for City Ecology, will take place on September 27 at a new location. UTS – The University of Toronto Schools, located at the corner of Bloor Street West and Spadina Avenue [ opposite the JCC . THA will have a booth / table at the event and other area groups are encouraged to book space and promote heritage – table prices are $30 cash on the day but reservations are required – Google YIMBY ]
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Working together, bringing Toronto’s past into the future
P. O. Box 67, Toronto’s First Post Office, 260 Adelaide Street East, Toronto M5A 1N1