Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vintage Path Racer

My new old vintage path racer.
Last year I became quite obsessed with the new Pashley
bicycle, but at a price of $2,300.00 it was
beyond my reach. I decided the next best thing would be to build my own. It's not finished yet but almost there.

Muirhead's Grill/The Silver Rail

A postcard of Muirhead's Grill before the Silver Rail took over the space.
Another postcard showing the Silver Rail Bar (upstairs) and the more formal restaurant in the basement.

Silver Rail Update

The same building at Yonge and Shuter today.....

The Silver Rail

Some vintage postcards form Chuckman's .

The Silver Rail first opened in 1947 and was the first bar in Toronto with a liquor licence from the LCBO. A grand New York style bar on the ground floor and a very respectable restaurant in the basement.
Always a favourite of mine, we were there the night it closed in 1997. It's been replaced by a rather boring clothing store. I did go to the auction after it closed and bought a couple of light fixtures that are now stored in my basement. The best manhattans in the city.

From the historical plaque:
The Silver Rail was one of Toronto's first licensed cocktail lounges. It has remained at the same location on Yonge Street since April 2, 1947. Curious Torontonians would ride the streetcar along Yonge Street to catch a glimpse of patrons lined up, waiting to enter. For the first time in Toronto, it was possible for diners to drink a glass of wine or enjoy a cocktail with a fine meal. The interior has remained almost unchanged for 50 years while the face of Yonge Street has changed. The Silver Rail took over the space originally occupied by Muirhead's Grill and Cafeteria. The interior was designed by architect N.A. Armstrong in 1934. The Silver Rail is an early example of mixed use, incorporating a bar upstairs and a restaurant downstairs. It became a central fixture of downtown Toronto night-life.
During subway construction.

St Patrick's Market/A. Stork and Sons/Then and Now

This watercolour seems to show an even earlier version of the market.
The property was bequeathed to the city by D’Arcy Boulton in 1837 and it was expressly provided that it was to be used forever as a public market and that if the city ceased to use it for this purpose, the property should revert to the heirs of the Boulton estate.

The original St Patrick's Market was built in 1854 stood here until 1912 when it was
replaced by the building below.

Here's a couple of photos (again from the 80's) of A.Stork and Sons
Fresh Killed Poultry on Queen West.
To the left is the Beverly Tavern and to the right
an empty lot where the Christmas tree lot
from "A Christmas Story" was filmed in 1982.
On several occasions I remember hanging out back of
the Bev late at night and watching the police round
up stray chickens that had escaped the slaughter.
Sometime in the mid 1980's.
As seen in the movie. The empty lot has since been filled in.
 Sometime in the 1980's as seen by P.Cummins.
A somewhat current view.
The building has since been re-purposed as the Queen Street Market but remains mostly vacant. I wonder how much time needs to pass before the ownership reverts back?

The Spadina Hotel/Then and Now

An early shot of the Spadina Hotel, then known as the Falconer on the N/W corner of Spadina and King Street West
The same view in 2010.
Here's a shot of The Spadina Hotel as it appeared in the 80's.
Several well known bands (and 100's of lesser known) played their
first shows upstairs at the legendary Cabana Room on the second floor..
In 1973 several scenes form The Last Detail were filmed here in Toronto
including one where Jack Nicholson slams his gun on the bar.
The Spadina Hotel is now a backpacker's hostel
but the bar remains in the lobby.
Now used as a check in desk the dents in the
formica top remain.
The Spadina Hotel today.
Handbill from 1983.
A vintage matchbook cover from Chuckman's Postcard Collection.