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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What Sherbourne Street used to look like in Toronto

Sherbourne Street History TorontoSherbourne Street is about as diverse as they come, from the stately Rosedale mansions at its north end to the towers of St. James Town to the last bit of industry that hangs on near its southern tip at the lakefront. It's also one of Toronto's older streets, being one of the original thoroughfares in the town of York, the central hub of which was located east of Yonge in and around where the current day St. Lawrence Market sits.

Named in 1845 by Samuel Ridout after the town of his origin in England, Sherbourne would eventually grow into a street that housed the well established throughout much of the 19th century. Although not as opulent as Jarvis Street to the west (or at least through the stretch south of Bloor), it was nevertheless a desirable and rather pretty place to live. That would eventually change in the mid 20th century when the affluent left the area, larger houses were divided up, and eventually public housing was built in the form of the St. James Town in the 1960s.

Like many older Toronto streets, Sherbourne carries a significant industrial legacy. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Polson Iron Works were located at the foot of the street (this despite the current location of Polson Pier to the southeast), where huge steamships and dredgers were built, as well as a few other more bizarre nautical contraptions. The shipyards would close up in 1919, though the waterfront would remain largely industrial for years.

Today, Sherbourne is a street in transition. Where once there was industry, now there is sweeping redevelopment of the waterfront area. It's the first street in Toronto to receive dedicated bike lanes, and there are cautious signs of gentrification in an around Dundas and Sherbourne, an intersection notorious for crime.


20131230-sherbourne-carlton-1890s.jpgSherbourne and Carlton, 1890s

20131230-sherbourne-bridge-1890s.jpgSherbourne Bridge, 1890s

20131230-bloor-end-sherbourne-1907.jpgBloor terminating at Sherbourne, 1907

20131230-sw-corner-sherbourne-bloor-1912.jpgSouthwest corner of Sherbourne and Bloor, 1912

20131230-sherbourne-north-queen.jpgSherbourne looking north from Queen, 1913

20131230-polson-iron-works-1914.jpgPolson Iron Works at the foot of Sherbourne, 1914

20131230-sherbourne-bridge-1915.jpgSherbourne Bridge, 1915

20131230-bloor-sherbourne-1917-fill.jpgFilling in the valley near Bloor and Sherbourne, 1917

20131230-sherbourne-bloor-nw-1923.jpgNorthwest corner Sherbourne and Bloor, 1923

20131230-queen-sherbourne-george-st-ard-1923.jpgGeorge Street Yard near Queen and Sherbourne, 1923

20131230-sherbourne-st-fill-1926.jpgFill at the foot of Sherbourne, 1926

20131230-sherbourne-lakeshore-1926.jpgIndustry at the foot of Sherbourne, 1926

20131230-skyline-fleet-sherbourne-pre-29-f1548_s0393_it0009.jpgSkyline from southern end of Sherbourne, early 1930s

20131230-isabella-hotel-1945.jpgIsabella Hotel, 1945

20131230-607-611-sherbourne-1954.jpg607-611 Sherbourne, 1954

20131230-sherbourne-north-gerrard-1960s.jpgSherbourne north of Gerrard, 1960s

20131230-sherbourne-station-1965.jpgSherbourne subway station, 1965

20131230-james-town-1987.jpgSt. James Town, 1987

Photos from the Toronto Archives

by Derek Flack via blogTO

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