Monthly Archives: May 2012

Photos from Jane’s Walk May 6, 2012

Here are a few photos from the Jane’s Walk on May 6 – The Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood – since 1793. Thanks to Dhruv and Calvin.


Site of the first Ashbridge log cabin (1794). Archeological digs found evidence of Native inhabitants from 6000 B.C. and around 1400 A.D. In her diary, Lady Elizabeth Simcoe described visiting the Ashbridge family here in 1796, at the “settlement below the town (of York).” She made other references to the Pennsylvanians (Ashbridge family) who lived east of the Don. At that time, there were few settler families – like the Ashbridges, Scaddings and Playters – east of the Don.

The stones here are the foundation of the Ashbridge’s second home, built in 1809. Family members continued to live in this house until the 1920s; the foundation was preserved as a rock garden.

The third Ashbridge home, built in 1854. (See the top of this page for a photo of the front of this house.) The family lived in this house for the next 143 years, until 1997. The Ashbridges left it to the Ontario Heritage Trust, which rents it as office space to the Ontario Society of Artists, Ontario Archeological Society and other organizations.

Duke of Connaught Public School opened in 1912 – 100 years ago. The school site is 6.5 acres, largest in Toronto when the school was built. This land had been the Ashbridge orchard for the previous 118 years.  On November 30, 1911 the Governor-General of Canada came to “turn the sod” for the new school. He was the Duke of Connaught, a son of Queen Victoria, known as Prince Arthur in his youth. Find out about the events celebrating Duke’s 100th birthday.

On the “new” wing of Duke of Connaught, which opened in 1960, we look at the “reading, writing and arithmentic” sculptures by E.B. Cox. These are referenced in a book on the work of Mr. Cox, who passed away in recent years. His studio was on Broadview Avenue.

This copper beech tree on the Ashbridge Estate is sadly at the end of its very long life.

East Riverdale Recreation Centre was a community hub for 40 years on this site in Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen Street East. Built in 1915 it was closed in the 1950s and recreational activities moved over to S.H.Armstrong Recreation Centre which was built as an annex to Duke of Connaught School at 56 Woodfield Road.

Where the parking lot beside Le Papillon on the Park restaurant is now, Bob Greer remembers skating on Ashbridge’s Bay when it extended that far north – almost to Eastern Avenue. Bob and lifelong friend Rick Rae (back to camera) graduated from Duke of Connaught in 1949 — thanks for your great stories throughout the neighbourhood walk.

Who would have thought we’d be climbing hills? This is the second hill we climbed en route to Ashbridge’s Bay. Until the 1950s this was still water. All the “land” has been brought in.

From the top of that hill, we had this view of Ashbridge’s Bay Skateboard Park, which opened in 2008. Because this was originally open water and marsh, construction took much longer than originally planned.

Also from that hill, looking south to Ashbridge’s Bay. The bay was much larger originally – it stretched from present-day Kew Gardens to Cherry Beach, separated from the lake by a kilometres-long sandspit. In her diaries of 1796 Elizabeth Simcoe wrote about riding her horse along the sand, which was beyond the bay water seen here. In the 1800s, the Coatsworth Cut was opened across the sandspit to give boats access to Lake Ontario. The other remaining part of the original Ashbridge’s Bay is the ship channel south of Commissioners Street.

Come to the History Harvest on May 26, 2012

Ashbridge Estate 1444 Queen East Toronto

Duke of Connaught Public School and Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood
“History Harvest”

Saturday May 26, 2012
10 2 p.m.

Duke of Connaught Public School, 70 Woodfield Road
Parent Resource Room (through front door of “old” school, first door on left).

  • Share your local history stories, photos and artifacts with neighbours and students from the community
  • We will be collecting and documenting your stories as part of the Duke of Connaught’s 100th anniversary archive project
  • View the neighbourhood timeline on Robert Miller’s blog (this site)

Tell your story

  • Bring your family photos, old newspaper articles and neighbourhood memorabilia (baseball uniforms, medals, artifacts, etc.)
  • Join us and share your stories about the Duke of Connaught school and the Ashbridge’s area

The collection will become part of an ongoing school archive to celebrate our community.

Organized by: Duke of Connaught’s 100th Anniversary Committee and Think Tank Toronto.

If you cannot attend this event and have a story or artifact you would like to share, please contact us at 416-463-6933.

History Harvest flyer-PDF

Royal occasion at the Ashbridge’s Bay fireworks on Victoria Day May 21

Photo from Toronto Star:
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, watch Victoria Day fireworks with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at Ashbridge’s Bay, Toronto. (May 21, 2012). There is also an exciting shot of the royal couple walking past a candy floss vendor.

Original post on May 18:
From a list of things to do over the long weekend:

Toronto Victoria Day Fireworks, Ashbridge’s Bay Park, May 21 — Join Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall for a traditional Victoria Day fireworks celebration over Lake Ontario.

fireworks Victoria Day

From the royal tour itinerary:
Monday, May 21, 2012
Victoria Day fireworks display at Ashbridge’s Bay
Their Royal Highnesses join Ontarians to celebrate Her Majesty’s 60-year reign at the largest Victoria Day celebration in the province.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will join emergency services workers and their families.

Come to the Fun Fair June 9 at Duke of Connaught School

Duke of Connaught School Fun Fair  June 9-2012Duke of Connaught School hosts its third annual Fun Fair on Saturday June 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Games, Inflatables, Activities and Food! Great fun for everyone!

All proceeds support Duke activities. This event happens rain or shine. If it rains, the day will be moved indoors to the Woodfield gym, otherwise it will be in front of the school.

Duke of Connaught Fun Fair
Saturday June 9
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
70 Woodfield Road
South of Dundas, north of Queen.
Between Greenwood and Coxwell.

Applegrove Spa Night is May 17

Applegrove Spa NightWith the support of local practitioners, Applegrove Community Complex welcomes you to an evening of pampering at Spa Night.

Take part in this exceptional evening of relaxation and fun while raising money to support Applegrove’s work with young children and families. Bring your friends!

Besides a choice of services and classes, you will :

  • have complimentary access to the café where you can enjoy a delightful array of healthy nibbles and beverages
  • indulge in a chocolate fountain
  • have access to henna or paraffin wax treatments
  • enjoy retail therapy at the Silent Auction!

Tickets are only $50, but are limited in number … Act quickly to treat yourself, your mother, sisters and friends!

Spa Night proceeds will support children’s early development.

Applegrove Community Complex
60 Woodfield Rd.

See all the details about Spa Night.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Jane’s Walk

It was a great day for a walk through the community. Thanks to the 45 people who joined me on Sunday May 6 for the Jane’s Walk: The Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood – Since 1793.

Thanks for your stories about the neighbourhood, and your participation. Thanks to Umar, Dhruv and Calvin for helping out. I’ll look through photos and post some here.

A special thanks to Robert and Rick (Duke class of ’49 I believe they said), our guests from out of town who drove all the way here just for the walk around their old stomping grounds. They had such great tales to tell – I had never heard that there had been a park on the south side of Queen between Jonathan Ashbridge Park and Coxwell, and that it was a major place for ball games in the east end. We learned that after the park came the wartime houses, which in turn were disassembled and rebuilt in Ajax, which Robert and Rick told me at Voulez-Vous over coffee. Those houses were replaced by the apartments and other buildings that are on that block today. Lots of different uses for that piece of ground over the decades.

Also kind of amazing: their memories of the East Riverdale Rec Centre that used to be in Jonathan Ashbridge Park; that they skated on Ashbridge’s Bay just on the south side of Eastern Avenue, when it came up that far; that Steve Stavro helped Robert home one day after he had broken his arm; that Rick was married in St. Stephen’s Church, that had been at the foot of Greenwood Avenue, and Robert was his best man. Buddies from Duke school days and pals they remain. And then there were the stories about crawling under fences to pilfer apples from the trees that were prevalent in the neighbourhood.

– Robert Miller

If you weren’t on the walk, and have stories to tell, there are still ways to get involved.

Thu. May 24 – 4 to 6 p.m. Digital Archive Day, Duke of Connaught School, 70 Woodfield Road. Bring photos of the neighbourhood and school to Duke of Connaught to be scanned; they will be returned. If you can’t make it that day, come to the History Harvest May 26 or the following photo day on June 15 (also 4 to 6 p.m.). Help identify, organize or scan the existing piles of photos, or bring items (letters, report cards, newspaper clippings, old outfits, logos, awards, etc.) to be scanned! Light refreshments will be provided, and there are sure to be plenty of stories and laughs.

Sat. May 26 History Harvest – bring your stories, photos, memorabilia to Duke of Connaught School, 70 Woodfield Road between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Enter by the main door (old school) and the first room on your left, Parent Room, is where the Harvest is being held.  This will be your chance to tell stories about your experience in the school and / or the neighbourhood.  You don’t have to be a former Duke student to come and tell your story.

See for more details about all the events celebrating Duke of Connaught School’s 100th birthday.