Parkdale: Shitty since 1894

Old Map of Toronto

Although Parkadale doesn’t really show up on this map of Toronto from 1894, the “institutions” that line its eastern and southern borders suggest that it was always kind of a haven for deviants and reprobates. I guess Parkdale was like the ‘burbs back then, only instead of having bix box stores like Costco and Best Buy around, they had big boxes full of criminals and crazies.

It appears that there’s always been a “Lunatic Asylum” at Queen and Dovercourt, but I had no idea there was a “Central Prison” at King and Strachan, about a ten minute walk from me. Closer to home, we had the Mercer Reformatory — a place where prostitutes and “sexually precocious” ladies would end up for treatment. It couldn’t have been all that effective though judging by the number of “working girls” who still use the neighbourhood streets as an office.

Anyway, as Infonaut points out, it’s interesting to see how downtown T.O. has evolved over the past century. Who knew Front St. actually used to be the front street. Or that Fort York used to be on the water.

Too bad about Parkdale. Some things never change.

Here’s an interesting history digest of downtown Toronto that explains some of the locations noted on the map.


  1. Hi, neighbour! We too, live in Parkdale – and here is our exploration of our Westlodge building, its inhabitants and close surroundings:
    and here is a more optimistic post about summer time in parkdale:
    bookmarked your Parkdale Chronicles, going to read them with great interest! Thank you

  2. Wow! That’s a great map find~

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: