Category Archives: Ashbridge neighbourhood history

Three Jane’s Walks in the Ashbridge’s neighbourhood – Saturday May 6, 2017

On Saturday May 6, take part in a Jane’s Walk to learn about interesting parts of our city, including our neighbourhood. There are three walks in our area on May 6 — two starting at 10 a.m. and another one at 1 p.m.

Living in our laneways
Meet at 1374 Queen Street East – The Sidekick Cafe
Saturday May 6, 2017, 10 a.m., two hours
Led by Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon

Take a stroll down some quaint lanes in Toronto’s east end with Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, Councillor Ana Bailao’s Executive Assistant, City Planning, Lanescape, and Evergreen as we discuss our initiative to create a Laneway Suites policy in the city of Toronto!

Where Will the Next Generation Live?
Meet at 151 Hiawatha Road
Saturday May 6, 2017, 10 a.m., two hours
Led by Joy Connelly

Blue collar workers used to live on my east end street. Now houses sell for $1.2 Million and up. I couldn’t afford to buy or rent on my own street today, and neither could my kids. We can’t go on like this. While the Federal and Provincial Governments discuss tax policy and rent controls, let’s talk about what local governments and local citizens can do — from second suites to inclusionary zoning to community land trusts — to make housing

Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood – since 1793.
Meet at Ashbridge’s Bay skatepark, Coxwell at Lake Shore Blvd.
Saturday May 6, 2017, 1 p.m., 1.5 hours
Led by Robert Miller

Take a stroll up Ashbridge’s Creek – one of the hidden streams of east end Toronto. We will stroll up from the bay. What is Ashbridge’s Bay today? What was it in 1793? Who were the Ashbridges? Why is there a historic house on Queen East with a huge expanse of lawn? Guess a few of the names that the Ashbridge’s neighbourhood has been called in the last 100 years.

See a complete list and map of Jane’s Walks in Toronto.

The Ashbridge’s baby willow lives on – photos of the giant willow that went down September 29, 2016

If you go by the Ashbridge Estate on Queen Street East, and you see a large willow tree, you might wonder: didn’t I hear that the big willow tree fell down? Yes it did, on September 29, 2016 in high winds. For years, its trunk was showing signs of severe rot, so its fall was a matter of time.

It lived for 97 years, about 20 more than the average lifespan for a weeping willow. At least that’s what a forester friend told me.

What about the tree you see now, in the photo below? It’s the baby of the old tree, but the baby is more like a teenager now, already taking its place on the estate, growing in the moist earth above the Ashbridge’s Creek, now buried under its roots.

Scroll down to see a couple of photos of the old tree, taken today September 30, 2016.
Also see the article in the Toronto Star by Evelyn Kwong, who I enjoyed speaking with last night:
Beloved 97-year-old weeping willow crashes on Ashbridge’s Estate

And a photo of the old tree about a year ago, by our local ace photographer Diane Walton:
The Great Toronto Tree Hunt – vote for your favourite tree, such as the willow on the Ashbridge Estate

And:
The Ashbridge Estate’s giant willow has gone down – September 29, 2016

Ashbridge willow down - photo September 30, 2016 by Robert Miller

Ashbridge willow down – photo September 30, 2016 by Robert Miller

"Baby" willow, now a teenager, growing strong in front of the empty space left behind by its now-deceased parent.

“Baby” willow, now a teenager, growing strong in front of the empty space left behind by its now-deceased parent.

Ashbridge Estate willow, planted 1919, down September 2016.

Ashbridge Estate willow, planted 1919, down September 2016.

In March 2016 the giant willow was showing deterioration in its trunk. Looking north to Duke of Connaught School from the back yard of the Ashbridge Estate.

In March 2016 the giant willow, right, was showing deterioration in its trunk. Looking north to Duke of Connaught School from the back yard of the Ashbridge Estate.

The Ashbridge Estate’s giant willow has gone down – September 29, 2016

Photos by Elayne Crilly-Gauthier

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The mighty willow has gone down.

The majestic willow on the Ashbridge Estate - sadly today is on the ground, barely missed Duke of Connaught School on the left.  Photo taken looking east from the front of S.H. Armstrong.

The majestic willow on the Ashbridge Estate – sadly today is on the ground, barely missed Duke of Connaught School on the left. Photo taken looking east from the front of S.H. Armstrong.

Farewell to the gracious giant willow on the Ashbridge Estate.
See more on the Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood Facebook page.

Here is an appreciation of the tree written in 2015, when this blog entered the willow in a “favourite Toronto tree” contest:

This amazing willow tree, almost 100 years old, is a striking feature of the Ashbridge Estate, a green oasis on Queen Street East. The tree is one of many gorgeous specimens on the Ashbridge Estate, which is a green remnant of the much larger Ashbridge Estate (farm) which extended from Ashbridge’s Bay to Danforth Avenue, between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenues.

A September 2014 tree tour of the Ashbridge Estate was led by Philip van Wassenaer of Urban Forest Innovations, an arborist who has worked to preserve the trees on the property over the years:

“A central stop on the tour was this amazing willow tree. We know from diary entries that it was planted by Emma Rooney (married to Jesse Ashbridge) way back in 1919. Willows are water-loving trees, and back then, a stream ran through the area to nearby Lake Ontario. This tree has been slated for removal several times, but Philip has fought to keep this striking specimen alive. To ensure it does not pose a hazard, he has removed some of the larger branches and put a fence around its base to keep people away from where branches might fall.”

(excerpted from this article about the tree tour.)

The stream where the willow stands is the Ashbridge’s Creek, now buried below ground, but its “valley” is still visible. Damp areas are of course a favourite of willows.

Learn about archaeology of the Ashbridge Estate – September 27, 2016 at St. Matthew’s Clubhouse, 550 Broadview Avenue

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Riverdale Historical Society presents
Marti Latta
Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

Archaeology of Ashbridge’s Estate

Professor Marti Latta will discuss discoveries from her archaeological dig in Ashbridge’s Bay seeking information about some of Toronto’s first settlers, the Ashbridges, who arrived in 1793 from Pennsylvania. The family’s last heritage home still stands prominently on Queen St. East.

Dr. Latta will describe her search for the foundations of the Ashbridge’s earliest log home and artifacts from their daily life in Upper Canada.

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016
6:30 pm
Admission $5, FREE for members of Riverdale Historical Society
St. Matthews Clubhouse, Riverdale Park East
550 Broadview Avenue, Toronto

See event details on the Riverdale Historical Society website.

Jane’s Walks May 7 and 8, 2016 – Craven Road and Coxwell Avenue

Joanne Doucette led a very interesting walk up Craven Road from Queen to the railway tracks on May 7, 2016. And the next day a photo from the walk down Coxwell, to the new plaza to be installed on the northwest corner of Dundas and Coxwell.

Joanne Doucette with Jane's Walk participants at 247 Craven Road, May 7, 2016.

Joanne Doucette with Jane’s Walk participants at 247 Craven Road, May 7, 2016.

Jane Doucette at 701 Craven Road.

Joanne Doucette at 701 Craven Road.

City of Toronto designers of Raindrop Park, the plaza to be constructed at the northwest corner of Dundas and Coxwell.  it will take the place of concrete and pavement there now.

City of Toronto designers of Raindrop Park, the plaza to be constructed at the northwest corner of Dundas and Coxwell. it will take the place of concrete and pavement there now.

Your chance to comment on the city planning report: Ashbridge Precinct, Queen Street East

2015-QueenEast-study-Leslie-to-CoxwellThe city’s Ashbridge Precinct urban design guidelines will have an impact on future development on Queen Street from Leslie to Coxwell. You can comment by e-mail or in person at City Hall next Tuesday January 19.

Some of you may have participated in community meetings on this topic at S.H. Armstrong. See the city’s Ashbridge Precinct page for the history of this study. One of the city staff recommendations: “research and evaluate properties on Queen Street East in the Ashbridge Precinct, located between Leslie Street to Coxwell Avenue, for inclusion on the City’s Heritage Register.”

See the city staff report: Queen Street East/Ashbridge Precinct Planning Study-
City-Initiated Official Plan Amendment and Urban Design Guidelines– Final Report

It will be on the agenda at the January 19 meeting of Toronto and East York Community Council, 10 a.m., Committee Room 1, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen West.

See the Ashbridge Precinct agenda item which says:

“This report summarizes the outcome of the Queen Street East/Ashbridge Precinct Planning Study; provides a draft City-initiated Official Plan Amendment for the study area; and recommends approval of the area-specific Queen Street East/Ashbridge Precinct Urban Design Guidelines to guide development within the study area.”

“Recommendations
The City Planning Division recommends that:

1. City Council amend the Official Plan, for the lands fronting on Queen Street East between Leslie Street and Coxwell Avenue substantially in accordance with the draft Official Plan Amendment attached as Attachment No. 4 to the report (December 15, 2015) from the Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District.

2. City Council adopt the Urban Design Guidelines attached as Attachment No. 5 to the report (December 15, 2015) from the Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District.

3. City Council request the Senior Manager, Heritage Preservation Services, Urban Design, City Planning Division to research and evaluate properties on Queen Street East in the Ashbridge Precinct, located between Leslie Street to Coxwell Avenue, for inclusion on the City’s Heritage Register.

4. City Council authorize the City Solicitor to make such stylistic and technical changes to the draft Official Plan Amendment as may be required.”

These are the guidelines that will shape the future development of the area. This meeting is your last chance to be heard regarding this very important issue. You may also submit written comments.

To address the Toronto and East York Community Council in person or in writing contact : City Clerk, Attention Rosalind Dyers, Administrator, Toronto and East York Community Council, 100 Queen St. West, 2nd floor,Toronto M5H 2N2 email: teycc@toronto.ca fax 416 397-0111.

If you plan to make comments at the meeting call the City Clerk’s office by 12 p.m. on Monday January 18, 2016 — 416-392-7033.
Next step would be consideration by City Council on February 3, 2016, subject to the actions of the Toronto and East York Community Council.

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