Fun and games on the Beach

Residential area was once home to an amusement park

The lakefront properties were built on the site of the Scarboro Beach Amusement Park, a destination spot for Torontonians in the early part of the 20th century.

Harry and Mabell Dorsey paid the Sisters of St. Joseph $165,000 in 1906 for the land between Leuty and Maclean Avenues and opened the $600,000 theme park in 1907.

This is where the young and old came to see “waltzing horses, comic bears and the first genuine monkey circus ever in Toronto,” according to The Beach in Pictures 1793-1932 by Mary Campbell and Barbara Myrvold.

People could see shows that replicated the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the first airplane flight at a Canadian public exhibition, or an infant incubator with tiny babies on display.

By 1913, the exhibition was taken over by The Toronto Railway Company and it closed for good in 1925.

Then Provident Investment Company bought up land with the intention to build the original residential subdivision here. But it was Eliza J. Furniss who actually developed several properties, including the late 1920s homes on Wineva Avenue and Hubbard Boulevard.

By 1930, the city bought most of these Edwardian Classicism and Art Deco homes, which were eventually converted into social housing and are now run by Toronto Community Housing.


About this article:

By: Kris Scheuer
Posted: Aug 20 2010 6:29 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto
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