News from the Archives v02-4

Albert Fulton’s News from the Archives Newsletter Collection

News from the Archives v02-4

  • Created by: Albert Fulton
  • Date: 1993-12-01
  • Provenance: Collected by members of Toronto Island Connections group, scanned by Edward English, OCR by Eric Zhelka, PDF by Eric Light
  • Notes: v02-4

DECEMBER 1, 1993
SLIDE SHOW, February 2, 1994, 7:30 pm.
Marg Burrows has deposited in the Archives several hundred slides taken by her husband Bud during the ’50s, ’60s and 1
February 2, and if you have any Island slides it would be much appreciated if you would lend them
7 0 s . S o m e
to our presentation. Also, if you know of former Islanders or anyone else who has Island slides,
o f
please invite them to attend, or at least to send some slides!
t h e s e w i l l

FEDERAL ELECTION, October 25, 1993.
b e
As usual, the Island vote was substantially different from the Rosedale results as a whole. In the s h o w
following Island tally, the riding figures are given in brackets.
Jack Layton NDP 163 (5547), Daniel Jovkovic Reform 47 (6413), Bill Graham Liberal 39 (25726), a t
Leslie Hunter Green 11 (483), David MacDonald PC 10 (10930), Doug Hennig Natural Law 9 5
(817), Martin Lanigan National 6 (1091),Steve Rutchinsld Marxist-Leninist 1 (57), Linda Gibbons O j i b
Christian Heritage 0 (350), Yann d’Audibert-Garcien Abolitionist 0 (40). The Island turnout was w a y
70%, compared to 71% nationally. The Rosedale figure is not yet available. o
TILT ELECTION, November 21, 1993.
The results can be found in the current TIRA NEWS. Congratulations to the 5 GonIdes elected
W e d
to the interim board, with Enid Cridland topping the poll. Algonquin has been somewhat under
n e s
represented on the TIRA executive in recent years. Enid has diligently combed the files of the
d a y
Archives, as well as those of the Toronto Island Archives which are securely locked up in the
e v
bowels of City Hall, to list the members of all the executives of TIRA since its inception in 1969, e n i
aswell as those of its predecessors, The Inter-Island Council, The Island Homeowners Association, n g ,
and The Island Action Committee. Copies of Enid’s interesting lists are available at the Archives. Access to the Toronto Island Archives at City Hall is managed by Peter Holt (19 Fourth).
Along with the Blue Jays, this little South American yellow-bellied bird, first sighted between the School and the Lighthouse during the week of October 3, provided a welcome boost for the local economy. Hundreds of American bird watchers have “flown in” to add it to their lists. Columnist Barry Kent MacKay has dubbed it the Canadian bird of the century. “I doubt that any other bird species that has occurred in Canada has been quite as unexpected as that flycatcher. It could be Canada’s most watched bird, ever. Most local birders have seen it and those there now speak with the accents of such places as Florida and California.” (Star, Oct 31). Details of this famous bird are in the Archives.
The MTRCA has provided the Archives with a draft copy of the results of last summer’s Island survey by Steve Varga, John Riley and Lionel Normand. The Algonquin meadow was visited on July 26, August 19 and September 9. Seventy-one plant species were identified, including the regionally rare Nelson’s horsetail, prairie panic-grass, cordgrass, rush, baltic rush, sagewort
wormwood, river bank wild-rye and false dragonhead.Sixteen bird specieswere identified, including the rare Carolina wren and hooded merganser (no flycatcher!). Also noted were nine insect and animal species, including the domestic cat (no dogs). The report also gives the results for Ward’s, Snake, and the Boardwalk area. Steve Varga’s 1987 22-page booklet on the Island flora prepared for the Toronto Field Naturalists is also in the Archives.
From The Robber Bride, M&S, 1993. “From here on the Island, the city is mysterious, like a mirage, like the cover on a book of science fiction. A paperback. It’s like this at sunset too, when the sky turns burnt orange and then the crimson of inner space,and then indigo, and the lights in the many windows change the darkness to gauze; and then at night the neon shows up against the sky and it gives off a glow, like an amusement park or something safely on fire…” One of the characters in Atwood’s latest novel lives on Ward’s. Atwood is familiar with the Island, partly because her poet friend Gwendolyn MacEwen lived on Ward’s in the e a rl y
and living ring true. MacEwen (1941-1987) lived at 10 Second, first with the poet Milton Acorn,
and later with the artist Bob Mallory, known affectionately by the neighbours as Bozo. After
6 0 s , a n d h e r
MacEwen left, Bozo unfortunately didn’t pay the taxes, land rent, or hydro, and Metro consequently
d e s c r i p t i o n s
bulldozed the house, along with a lot of his paintings, he claims. In Atwood’s 1991 book of short
o f
stories, Wilderness Tips, one of the stories, Isis in Darkness, deals with MacEwan’s bittersweet life. I s l a n d s
Professor Rosemary Sullivan, on leave from “[RAT, is currently writing MacEwan’s biography and h o m e s
is interested in interviewing any oldtimers who knew her. She can be contacted through the Archives. Copies of The Robber Bride and Wilderness Tips may be borrowed from the Archives.
Professor Kilbourn, who grew up on St Andrew’s Ave at Centre and is the present owner of 3 Wyandot, has written a book to commemorate the upcoming centennial of Massey Hall (Intimate Grandeur, Stoddart). The hall opened on June 14,1894. “It was in its prime, quite simply, the most important building in the city”, and its acoustics “among the finest in the world”. I too have had the privilege of exploring every nook and cranny of the ball, including the attic, where one can view the magnificent stained glass windows which have been covered up for many decades. Dr. Kilboum has long been a Toronto history buff and has written or collaborated on a dozen books, beginning in 1956. Five of these, including the Massey Hall book, are in the Archives. His historical interests have been inherited by his daughter Hilary, who is presently preparing a video documentary on the successful culmination of the Island political battles.
The oldtimers who were interviewed by Leora for her Ryerson project will be pleased to learn that her professor was much impressed with her submission.She has been advised to refine it somewhat and submit it to the Globe & Mail and Star for publication. Leora has promised to provide the Archives with a final draft, and if you don’t read it in the newspaper, I will print it in a subsequent newsletter.
Matthew Ferguson (formerly of 10 Omaha) recently had a major role in a 2-hour true-story TV movie on the CBC, Life with Billy. The central character, Nancy Beatty, has appeared on stage with Roger Pepler (4 Fourth). Another of Matthew’s movies, Love and Human Remains, was well received at this fall’s Toronto film festival and should be released to the theatres shortly.
Emma Makinson (9 Oneida) appeared in the movie Ordinary Magic, as did Paul Anka! If you did
not catch this film during its recent 4-week run at Canada Square and the Eaton Centre, watch for it on TV–it’s delightful! Emma has appeared in about a dozen TV commercials, as well as in Working I t Out, produced for Molson Breweries. This film deals with alcohol abuse and is available to the public through Molson’s.
Leon Rabinovich: “I love living on the Island. There’s a moat which protects us from the city.” (November 19th episode). Leon “lives” at 21 Seneca, and new exterior shots of the house and grounds, specially decorated for the occasion with curtains, louvres, plants and wicker lawn furniture, were taken on the afternoon and evening of June 11, 1992. They have been used in this season’s series, Fridays at 8 pm on the CBC.
This house was begun in 1939 for Judge James Netterfield of the Family Court as a wedding present for his son, who died accidentally before the marriage. Judge Netterfield then rented the unfinished building to a series of tenants, probably as a summer cottage. The setting was ideal– across the street was a long sandy beach, which later survived for a few years even after the seawall washammered in. Eight families are listed on the assessmentrolls until 1951.Because of its design, the house was called The Little Church.
In 1952 Judge Netterfield happened to meet the war-widow Mary Howell on the Centre Island beach and offered to rent 31 Seneca to her and her son Dave. They had been flooded out of their Centre Island house, which they had been renting from Police Constable Roberts. Mary and Dave moved in, bought the house, and next year in 1953 Mary married the war veteran Warren Smith. They gradually finished the house, including the attic, and lived there until 1967.
Warren Smith’s sister, Dorthy Golden, was living nearby at 13 Seneca, which had belonged to their mother Mary Smith. Fred and Dorothy Golden had moved from an apartment on Centre to 11Seneca, also in highwater 1952, and they sold 11 Seneca to Mary Howell Smith’s mother, Mary Clark, after they moved across the street to 13 Seneca. Can you follow this? Do you care?
Anyway, the Smiths sold 31 Seneca to Fred & Peggy Russell in 1967. In 1956 Fred & Peggyand daughter Donna had moved from their apartment at 262 Lake Shore to 4 Oneida, which they rented from the widow Jennie Benham, the original owner in 1948.Peggy has recently moved to Dolma’s house in the Lawrence Park area, and Donna & Brenton Wiebe, formerly of 16 Omaha, have moved to Stroud, near Lake Simcoe. Brenton’s ad in the 1978 School Handbook read as follows: “TORONTO ISLAND NAVY Commando raids, reconnaissance, underwater demolition, marine and other sabotage, bulldozer specialty, mine laying, gunboat torpedo escorts, smuggling. PEACETIME WATER TAXI SERVICE.” The students were probably impressed; the teachers and parents maybe not so sure. Of course Brenton’s educational credentials were impeccable–he was the first teacher to be hired by the Island Montessori school in 1975, and the school has flourished ever since! Brenton’s barge is presently resting forlornly on the vacant lot at 6 Omaha, waiting to be pressed back into service for the impending building boom.
The lucky new owners of 31 Seneca, Graham & Charlotte Mudge, are to be congratulated for their sympathetic window and door treatments, and gingerbread trim on the two front gables is being contemplated. Judge Netterfield would be pleased. The semi-circular windows complement those next door at #33 and on the new AIA building. Both Graham and Charlotte have been active on the executive of the Royal Canadian Institute for many years.Each year the Institute, which was founded by Sir Sandford Fleming in 1849, hosts a series of a dozen illustrated lectures o f a scientific nature. They are presently being held in the Medical Sciences building at UofT at 3 pm
on Sundays and are free to the public. In the last of the 1993 lectures, held last Sunday, Dr. Dominick Amato dealt with recent advances in bone marrow transplantation. The schedule for the spring lectures will be available at the Archives shortly.
Harry and Edna Burroughs of 276 Lake Shore (The Massey House), followed by their son Gary, have run this charming hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake since 1963. The original section was built in 1824 by Sea Captain Duncan Milloy of Oban, Scotland. Halfway through their Christmas dinner last year the guests were forced to flee into the night as an electrical short started a raging fire which gutted the building. Alice Aitken, former neighbour, bridge partner, and good friend of the Burroughs, tells me that luckily a large portrait of Edna Burroughs which hung above the fireplace wasrescued. It was painted by Jeffrey Goss who lived around the corner on Hooper. On December 26 Gary Burroughs began cleaning up and making plans for the reconstruction of the hotel, and $2.6 million and 11 months later, the same guests recently sat down again to finish their turkey dinner! The hotel has been rebuilt, inside and out, as closely to the original as possible. On a personal note, Emily and I had the pleasure of being part of Honest Ed Mirvish’s contingent of 100 Torontonians who visited London for a week in November 1983 to celebrate the re-opening of Mr Mirvish’s restored Old Vic Theatre. Harry & Edna Burroughs and their daughter Jackie, the actress, were part of our group. The Islanders sure get around!
From The Algonquin Islander, November 2, 1967, by editor Jake Banky (15 Oneida): “The Algonquin Island Association needs money. The Island is home to many artists and craftsmen and they need an outlet for their work. Christmas is coming and everybody is wondering what to buy for Aunt Matilda.
“With these factors in mind, an idea has been proposed—why not hold a gallery-cum-boutique at the club house in early December? Islanders can exhibit paintings, photographs, sculpture, pottery, hand-made jewelry or anything else that is saleable. Other artists and craftsmen from the city could be invited to show their work. The club would take a 15% cut of the take, the same as most galleries in town.
“This is just an idea, and the A.I.A. executive is interested in your reaction. Those interested– either in buying or selling–should contact Beverly Harrison at 362-0462.” The first Christmas boutique was held on Saturday, December 9, 1967. Beverly Harrison lived at 12Dacotah, and her husband Michael was President of the AIA. Two years later he and Peter Gzowsld, President of the WIA, became the co-chairmen of the infamous I.R.A. (Island Residents Association), formed by combining the memberships of the two associations. Next year the name waschanged to the less radical sounding TIRA! One of the exhibitors in 1967 was Al Schoenborn, who displayed both his ceramics and his photographs. A large photo of the city skyline, taken by Al from Snake Island in 1957, is presently hanging in the AIA bar.
If you are unable to complete your list at this year’s Christmas Boutique, there are some other opportunities with an Island flavour. Karen Morch (1 Oneida) is organizing a crafts show and sale for Sundays December 4 and 11 at Trinity-St Paul’s United Church, on Bloor just west of Spadina. April Hickox, Leonard Schlichting and Alastair Dickson will be showing their work. Paulette Pelletier-Kelly (3 Seneca) is the executive director of the Ontario Crafts Council, which is keeping its crafts shop open every day until Christmas. The shop, and Paulette’s office, are located at 35 McCaul St, just up from Queen, and across the street at 52 McCaul is Prime Gallery, also open
every day until Christmas. Currently in stock is work by Irina Schestakowich, April Hickox, Tery Pellettier, Susan Keene and Matthias Ostermann (formerly of 14 Fifth). And then, of course, the odd item can be picked up, until this Sunday, at the One Of A Kind show at the Automotive Building. There are over 550 exhibitors, including Matthias Ostermann and his colourful ceramic pieces and Julie Ganton and her Sundown outfits. Julie’s current beautiful catalogue features Island models and scenes, and she tells me a similar one is in the works for this winter.
Jana Roerick donated a copy of Toronto’s Top TenWilderness Adventures,1987,by Stephanie Griffiths. Two of the ten, of course, are the Island and the Spit.
Adam Zhelka donated a copy of How To Get Things Cheap,1977,71 pages, by Patrick Conlan and Wilma Fraser (36 Omaha). Wilma wrote a similar column in Toronto Life magazine from time to time
Vivian Pitcher donated a copy of Harbour Thieves, 1984, by Bill Freeman (3 Seneca). This is one of Bill’s historical children’s novels, and the setting is the waterfront and Island in the 1870s. It contains 16 pages of archival photos.
David Pitcher donated Redpaths, The History of a Sugar House, 1991, 320 pages, and Let RedpathsSweeten It, 1993, 240 pages. Both books are well illustrated and were written by Richard Feltoe, curator of the Redpath Museum. The museum, in the plant on Queen’s Quay East, is well worth a visit by a school group, the Pioneers, or anyone else! Have you seen the recent huge pile of raw sugar on the premises? The plant processes about 1000 tonnes per day and the pile keeps it going during the winter when the Seaway is closed.
If you have any information about noteworthy Algonquin happenings, past or present, please pass it on to the Archives. The Archives are open for drop-in visits on Sundays from 1-5, and by appointment at other times.
Not that we needed more news to fill up this issue, but we managed to make some ourselves anyway. Last Saturday afternoon Emily and I made the last trip of the season in our trusty little blue 14′ steel workboat, and the trip from the Poison St pier took longer than expected! I consider myself to be a cautious person (some may disagree) and the heavy loads of sand, gravel, cement, blocks, free compost from Metro Works, etc, which we have been hauling for 10 years,have always been carefully balanced, fore and aft. Saturday’s load consisted only of light stuff–a small pile of firewood, a bit of lumber, a recently acquired $15 garage sale bicycle, some items for the Pioneers’ table at the Christmas Boutique, and Emily’s weekly grocery supply.Since it was pouring rain and the load was light, or so I thought, we simply tossed all the firewood into the forward compartment and crawled in under the tarp with the groceries et al in the other end. The bow seemed a bit low, but the wind was light from the southeast, the Ward’s shoreline was sheltered, and I couldn’t be bothered getting out into the rain to move some of the firewood to the aft compartment. That was my first mistake.
The voyage was uneventful until we were opposite Ward’s north beach. The Ongiara had just docked and the RCYC tenders were nowhere in sight–we’ve had the odd close encounter with their wakes (as has Glenn McArthur!) Suddenly (as in the car crash when “a tree came out of nowhere and bashed in my front end”) the wake of the Ongiara was upon us and my instinct about not making any sudden move restrained me from immediately turning to take the waves broadside or to run away from them. Of course, had I not been huddled back in my hood to keep the rain out of my eyes, i.e. had I been keeping a proper watch, this split-second decision would not have been necessary. We plowed head first into the waves and took a lot of water over the bow.
That was my second mistake, and my third was not immediately running the boat up on Ward’s beach. I preferred to run it up on the beach in the lagoon next to our dock where our cart was waiting. We had to maintain full speed to keep the bow above water, and we didn’t dare risk adding extra weight forward by moving some firewood to start bailing. We slid past the stern of the Ongiara, around the dock, and headed for home. The bow was lower than I thought–I couldn’t actually see it because of the load—and we must have been shipping water with every little wave. The boat chose to teach me a lesson in the safest possible place–directly in front of the Firehall! The bow went under, the boat turned over, and the firemen came running.
Our fourth mistake was not in staying with the boat, which has flotation tanks and would not sink. The shore seemed so close, just a few strokes, and we wanted to get out of the cold water. We barely made it. The seawall was fairly close, but the water is deep there. Emily reached the ramp, inspired by Doug Hamburgh’s coaching, but poor Doug had to jump into deep water to push me to the ramp. I was almost totally exhausted.So, I hope someone can learn from my mistakes–I think that I have!
We sincerely want to thank all who helped. Doug was first on the scene, and we both owe him a lot. The firemen came over with their truck and also alerted the Marine Unit, who towed in the boat. Bruce Smith comforted Emily and walked her home, and the firemen brought me. Marilyn Belisle waded in, rescued every piece of lumber, and piled it carefully in Gary Gray’s boat–her father worked in a lumbermill in Cape Breton and Marilyn knows the value of good lumber! After hot showers and a change of clothes, we returned to the scene and Michael Haswell helped us turn over the boat. Out floated the gas tank (which luckily was almost empty and hence buoyant) and most of the bags of groceries. The cans and bottles had gone to the bottom and the bread was kind of soggy, but the fruit and veggies and all but one egg survived, and the dinner roast tasted even better than usual–Iguesswe had worked up an extra appetite. Half the firewood stayed in the boat and the other half, along with the paddles, made its way to the corner by the OCYC clubhouse, where i t arranged itself neatly, easy to retrieve. After I removed the sparkplugs, drained the cylinders, and dried the plugs on the stove, the motor reluctantly started up, coughed a bit and belched some smoke, and then purred like a kitten.
Unfortunately the Pioneers’ goodies were water-damaged beyond repair and the ladies’3-speed is on the bottom waiting for some lady with a boat and a grappling hook–we grant you salvage rights. Maybe Peter Cridland will assist you!
ST PAUL’S CHURCH, 121 Avenue Road.
Today I am appearing before the Neighbourhoods Committee at City Hall in opposition to the issuance o f a demolition permit for this building. The magnificent ceiling, painted in 1890 by Toronto’s own Michaelangelo, Gustav Hahn, is an Art Nouveau masterpiece. The angels are represented in the pre-Raphaelite style which was highlighted at the William Morris exhibition at the AGO last summer. Donald Jones, historical columnist for the Star, proclaimed i t “one o f Toronto’s greatest treasures”. Professor Eric Arthur, founder of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, described it as being “without equal in Canada, or, for that matter, in North America”. Hopefully the demolition can be delayed until the new owners either revise their development plans to include retention of the church (as happened with the Church of the Redeemer at Bloor and Avenue Road) or sell the property (apparently they have had a reasonable offer from another developer who would preserve the ceiling). Many photographs and several publications on the church are in my possession, and I shall shortly be arranging a visit to the closed building during daylight on a weekday. Let me know if you are interested in joining us.
ALGONQUIN ISLAND ARCHIVES c/o Albert Fulton 5 Ojibway Ave Toronto M5J 2C9 203-0921 or 537-5006

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