Happy 100 years Artscape Wychwood Barns 1914-2014

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

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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.

market square flyer barns opening anniversary  Weekend Star 1913 July 19 p 6 barns

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

barns anniversary salmon St. Clair carbarn July 31, 1913


3 Car barn site, Wychwood Ave. July 31, 1913 F. 1231 it 443

4 Car barn site Wychwood Ave. looking west to Christie St. July 31, 1913 F.1231 it 444

5 Car barn site Christie St. frontage July 31, 1913 F. 1231 it 442

6 Car barn site, Wychwood Ave, July 31, 1913 F. 1231 it 445



view south (left side of  The Toronto Star Weekly panoramic view above)


continuation of south view with Christie street at right (?)












7 Anniversary barns March 1914 SalmonThe 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.

barns anniversary Car barns at St. Claire Ave. 1915

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.

Goad's Fire Map 1910-1912Goad’s Fire Map 1910-1912

barns anniversary James 1244 it. 34 horse and wagon on muddy Helena Ave

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.

barns anniversary landmark visitor

barns anniversary landmark visitor 2

Barns anniversary market visitors


Read about artists’ use of landmarks in public art.

“Spadina Line” 1991 Brad Golden & Norman Richards

Toronto Urban Design, Percent for Public Art Guidelines, 2007 (Draft) examples–within typology of Toronto public art–works that celebrate site history pp. 5-9

Oh Dear! a temporary public art exhibition in and of North York, July 2- August 26, 2013

Public art and historical panels to mark place identity along the stops of the St. Clair ROW