Another Danforth crime story

Photo: The Linsmore Tavern last October, where Brian, Cheryl, Lloyd and I were entertained by The Dylan Tree cover band. We didn’t see the ghost of Dorothy Cox, but she is said to haunt the place.


Dorothy was a regular at the Linsmore until she suddenly stopped showing up in 1943. In I995, when Robertson Motors was demolished, her bones were discovered encased in concrete. The murder was never pinned on anyone, but her construction worker husband was helping build the new auto dealership at the time.


Danica and I first heard the story on one of our Jane’s Walks … free walking tours led by locals to discover, explore and connect with the city.

May 6-8, 2016 in TO and in 100+ cities around the globe. Get on the mailing list to be reminded.


I got the Gladstone part right

This pylon-monument-sculture made me wonder what it was all about. It stands in a park next to the Walter Stewart Library in East York and looked to me like something Gerald Gladstone might have done.


Gladstone’s welded rods and cutout shapes are recognizable enough but I never would have guessed that it represents a galaxy in space.

My uninformed guess was a Gladstonian shark swimming right through the stolid uprightness of Toronto’s cultural aspirations in the 1950s. OK … I do believe my guess is close to truth and Gladstone’s more grandiose metaphor was a sell-job for patrons eager to get in on the space age.


This is from the Toronto Public Library web site:

This pylon was described by Gladstone as “a physical statement by an artist on a philosophical problem. The concrete represents the space that our galaxy hangs in – the bronze part represents the galaxy – the lights represent energy within it. The whole piece is based on circles and straight lines.” The sculpture was commissioned in 1960 by the East York Public Library Board and is now the property of the City of Toronto.

It has lights? I wonder if they still work.

I like looking at such public works of art, partly, I admit, the way people like pop music from their youth. I never liked Gladstone’s stuff, actually, but I appreciate it now as a reminder of a naive, earnest Canada trying ever so hard to be modern and sophisticated.

Have we changed very much, or do we just dress differently now?

Dumped: the old Bucket of Blood

When it was the Wembley, this Danforth tavern’s clientele liked to fight. Known as the Bucket of Blood, the Wembley afforded a kind of arena out the back door. Scores could be settled out of sight of police.


Now the serially-named Quigley-Wembley-(Bucket of Blood)-Wise Guys watering hole is slated to become – what else? – shops and condos. Am I sad that the colourful, nasty history of the Danforth is disappearing? Not in the least … but the storied past is entertaining.

Rising from the ashes of arson


The owners of hardware store/lumberyard balked at the cost of demolition when they wanted to develop their real estate into the Carmelina Condos. Arson and an insurance claim seemed like a good idea in 2001, but one of the criminals died in the fire, another was horribly burned and a few people got prison sentences, including one of the owners. [News story]

Nevertheless, the building is up. Twelve storeys, 148 units, named after the owner’s mother. Isn’t that sweet?

Zipping up to 76 storeys

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, but she had nothing on the residents of the Big Zipper going up at Bloor and Yonge. Over 700 condo units will stand above 2 storeys of retail space. Some nicely shaped terraces step south on Yonge.


Upper right: The Royal Ontario Museum’s “Iceberg” addition bows before the towering “Zipper”.

This part of Bloor is drawing attention. The stretch west of Yonge is proud of its Mink Mile nickname, deriving from its many high end retail stores. After what seemed like endless construction, the sidewalks are open again, now made of uppity granite slabs.

Danica nailed it when she said, “I’m not sure I like what they’ve done. It looks like an outlet mall.”