Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yonge Street in the 1970's

Another great postcard from Chuckman's Collection of Yonge Street looking south from Elm in the 1970's before the big clean up.
From Wikipedia:

1977 Yonge Street clean-up

During the spring and summer of 1977, Toronto's city and metro councils were under pressure to do something about the sex trade and sex shops that were housed in the area along Yonge street from Queen to Bloor streets following the death of the twelve year old shoe-shine boy, Emanuel Jaques. The crisis was more political than real, never-the-less, under pressure from Toronto mayor David Crombie, Police Chief Ackroyd had to plan and implement a neighbourhood sweep on the scale of the 1968 Yorkville sweep. Like in the Yorkville "crisis", Yonge street did not pose a major policing problem. The police were not raising a fuss for something to be done, it was the politicians, this time lead by Crombie. Another factor driving this sweep was economic, as the newly opened Eaton Centre did not want this 'riff-raff' near its business establishment. So, over the course of a few months, Ackroyd – following the political directives issued by city council and the provincial government – ordered his officers to step-up their patrols on this commercial strip and forced the closure of many shops and arrested prostitutes and their clients.

A documentary was made a few years ago about the murder of Emanuel Jaques.


  1. Small note. You didn't 'introduce' Mr.Ackroyd to the story. I believe he was the police chief ?
    Also - how can I email you a link re - #601 - 611 Yonge St. Gloucester Mews / Masonic Block ?
    Mark Moore.

  2. Hey Mark,
    I just lifted that text from the Wikipedia site but you're right, Akroyd was the police Chief at the time.I remember reading the papers about the murder and years later worked with a guy who had also been a shoeshine and had worked with Emanuel.
    Try replying to this comment and include the link.

  3. Hey Greg
    A friend of mine wrote a song about Emanual at the time. Very touching.
    Here is a link re- 601 Yonge St., does not have enough info. or good pictures but you might have more luck.

  4. Excellent link Mark, and Thank You.