Happy 100 years Artscape Wychwood Barns 1914-2014
Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
Below, a view of the car barns site in the summer of 1913, before their construction. The south and west edges of the site are visible in the background; the photograph was taken from the intersection of Benson and Wychwood (then Bracondale) Avenues. The caption text is reproduced below.
The Toronto Star Weekly, July 6, 1913 p.6
THE SITE OF THE CIVIC CAR BARNS FOR THE CAR LINE ON ST CLAIR AVENUE TORONTO–The corner of Bracondale and Benson avenues, on Bathurst Hill, Toronto, which the city is about to expropriate as a site for the St. Clair avenue line. The St. Alban’s Cricket Club is opposing expropriation. The building at the right is the Edwards factory. Bracondale avenue, the street on the left, leads south to Wychwood Park the beautiful little private estate.
Photos taken in the summer of 1913 (below) offer a panoramic view of the open area that served as a playing field for Bracondale Village. Landmarks link these six views to that of the Toronto Star (above).
A brick house facing Bracondale Avenue and a windmill visible over the trees mark the south edge. The Edwards leather factory marks the west edge (Christie Street). And, the brick two-storey farm house flanked by an orchard, the north edge (Benson Avenue) of the site.
Each landmark symbolizes one component of the local economy:
windmill=agriculture factory=light industry
orchard=agriculture houses=residential development
view south (left side of The Toronto Star Weekly panoramic view above)
continuation of south view with Christie street at right (?)
The first of the four barns opened on April 4, 1914 but the date on the lintel, 1913, commemorated the inauguration date of the St. Clair Civic Line. The photo above was taken in March 1914, just before the opening. The one below shows the barn in August 1915. The Edwards Leather Factory remained in place for some years (see below); this explains why the tracks were laid and barns oriented to Wychwood as opposed to Christie Street.
The photographs above, in conjunction with Goad’s Map detail below help to visualize the site and its immediate surroundings as it was a century ago. Of the four edges the missing view is that of Bracondale (Wychwood) Avenue.
Could the photo above be the missing view? Although the City of Toronto Archives caption indicates that it was taken on Helena Avenue: “Horse and wagon on muddy Helena Avenue, Wychwood”, given the relative position of the plank sidewalks, street light and electricity poles, could it instead be a view from Benson looking south-east with Bracondale Avenue in the background?
Examine the Toronto Star wide view and Benson Avenue view above and use the comment window to offer your opinion.