photos
July 30th, 2014
A Drive Through The Port Lands


A Drive Through The Port Lands

Commissioners Street was one of the earliest roads established by the Toronto Harbour Commission for the Port Lands Industrial Area. It’s where the earlier history of the area took place. At one time, Commissioners Street carried a railway line for the Toronto Suburban Railway to Cherry Street.


39 Commissioners Street,
1928, Toronto Fire Fighters
Association Headquarters

225 Commissioners Street,
2008 Pinewood Production
Offices and Studios 1-3

Keating Channel (formerly Don Diversion Channel).

The Keating Channel runs east-west in the Port Lands, created in 1912 when the Don River was diverted, actually straightened, toward the harbour. The Channel was proposed by a city engineer in the 1890’s and was originally created to address unsanitary conditions in the bay. Keating Channel took over 20 years to complete but when finished, ships were able to access various Port Land industries and not get stuck in the silt and marsh of the river mouth.


Toronto skyline from bascule bridge on Keating Channel, with National Iron Works in the foreground, November 8, 1934, by Arthur Beales. Toronto Harbour Commission Archive, PC 1/1/1077 and 10776.

Looking east from Cherry Street, showing dredge at work in Keating Channel and freighters War Ontario and War Toronto under construction at yard of the Toronto Shipbuilding Company, June 24, 1918, by Arthur Beales. Toronto

Keating Channel, looking east along side the Gardiner Expressway.

Looking east from Cherry Street, showing dredge at work in Keating Channel and freighters War Ontario and War Toronto under construction at yard of the Toronto Shipbuilding Company, June 24, 1918, by Arthur Beales. Toronto

From Toronto's is the major north-south road and provided the most direct access to the Port Lands District. Cherry Street ran into the Port Lands along the route of an earlier road that led to the Toronto Islands lighthouse.

The second oldest building in the Port Lands is a warehouse, now used by Cherry Beach Sound/The Factory. It originally was the location of the former Queen‘s City Foundry, built in 1917. It has a two-storey center section with a gable roof and a one-storey, shed with roof wings on each side.

At 312 Cherry Street you can find a prominent landmark, tall silos that mark the Keating Channel entrance. These were completed in 1920. Although today they are known as Essroc Toronto Terminal, many would recognize their earlier names: Century Coal Company Limited and Lake Ontario Port Land Cement Company.

The historic building at 275 Cherry Street was built in 1907 as the Dominion Bank, one of the first banks to be established in Canada. It was first converted into a restaurant in the 1940s but underwent a complete restoration in 2010 before it reopened as the Cherry Street Restaurant. Today, the venue provides a unique scenic view of Toronto’s skyline and some of the best jazz music in the city.


281 Cherry Street, 1930,
Toronto Hydro Substation A

309 Cherry Street, 1920,
formerly the Bank of Montreal

275 Cherry Street, 1921,
formerly the Dominion Bank
Cherry Street (Bascule) Bridge

In 1899, a wooden drawbridge was used to cross the Don at Cherry Street (which became Keating Channel). It meant that you could cross the ship channel at Toronto Harbour and when ships needed to access the channel and the turning basin beyond, they could open. In 1931, a more substantial bridge was built by the company of Joseph Strauss and the Dominion Bridge Company.


Cherry Street bridge, horse-drawn vehicles, 1898.
City of Toronto Archives, Series 376

An intriguing part of the design
of the bridge are the 750 ton
concrete counterweights that rise
or fall as the bridge pivots open.
References

Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project Cultural Heritage Properties, Waterfront Toronto The Archaeological Master Plan of the Central Waterfront City of Toronto, Ontario Heritage Preservation Services, Toronto City Hall Urban Toronto Waterfront Toronto Toronto Port Lands Company Toronto Port Authority


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