The Toronto Archives houses a wealth of historical information, both online and within the building. The pictures shown here were all sourced from those archives. To find the original archived source:
- Do a Save As on the picture to get the filename. Eg. TorontoArchives-f1231_it1333.jpg The "f" number is the fond (eg 1231), and "it" number is the item (eg 1333). Or look at the bottom of the picture where the fond/item is sometimes printed.
- Surf on over to the City of Toronto Archives database
- Click Advanced Search, and enter the THREE items (Item number in the top, Fond in the bottom, and Level of Arrangement set to IT-item) as shown here.
Spadina Road at the railway, looking north. 1912. The railway bridge does not yet exist, nor does Casa Loma (1914). Laidlaw is where the Archives are now.
Spadina Road at the railway bridge, looking north. 1915. Notice the road had puddles back then too? 100 years later still leaky.
Walmer Road going up the hill, looking north. 1913. One car, one horse buggy.
Spadina Bridge. 1915. Looks a bit wobbly.
Sealtest Dairy Products is located where we are today. 1974.
Sealtest Dairy Products, Different view. 1974. Cars had huge trunks back-in-the-day.
The site of the City of Toronto Archives was part of a farm until around 1885, when it was sold to a developer who marketed it as small residential lots. Sometime before 1909, businessman Jesse Cook bought several of the lots at the corner of Spadina Rd. and Macpherson Ave. (then Bridgman Ave.) and operated a lumber yard there. In 1910, R. Laidlaw & Co., a company that already owned several lumber yards and mills in the city, bought the business, and operated it until 1921. Laidlaw built a three-storey brick woodworking factory at the south-west corner of the site and several smaller wooden buildings.
Laidlaw owned the site until 1922, when Langley's Cleaners and Dyers bought it. Langley's added significantly to the buildings on the site, keeping the existing brick building, but constructing several additions to the north over several years in the 1920s.
After Langley's moved to another site around 1951, the buildings were occupied by a variety of businesses. During the 1960s the site was acquired by the Metropolitan Toronto government as part of plans for the Spadina Expressway, which would have replaced Spadina Road with several lanes of traffic. Because of citizen protest, the expressway was never built, and in the 1980s when Metropolitan Toronto decided to build an archives and records centre to store its documentary heritage, this site was chosen. The Metropolitan Toronto Archives and Records Centre, designed by the Zeidler architectural firm, opened in January 1992. With the municipal amalgamation of the former municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto, the facility was renamed the City of Toronto Archives.