You can see in the photo above I've deliberately shown the portable toilet solution on site today as I enjoy the juxtaposition of seeing space age privies on a property which more than likely once boasted the crudest of latrines. That's where the best stuff is buried... but the book schooled archeologists are instead combing the foundations for clues to culturally relevant stories, and various historical mysteries and they're not 'relic hunting' for collectibles as we would do, although they have found some bottles and coins as per a January 7th 2017 Toronto Star article about the archeological dig at St Lawrence Market by John Lorinc
This dig is happening before construction starts on a mega mall vendor complex which some experts, John Lorinc included, have pegged at costing just over ninety million dollars. That seems cheap - look at this thing!
This complex, plus construction on the north side of the Distillery District plus the new condo towers at Esplanade and Yonge are pushing developer interest in the St Lawrence neighborhood. Properties in the downtown core preferred bits in a premier matrix of pre construction condominium investments in the city.
Extreme property development in Toronto is commonplace as dozens of skyscrapers are erected all across the GTA every year. But the two futuristic-looking monoliths described next are special. These giant concrete condo towers, both scheduled to begin construction on Front St E this summer, are situated on two of the oldest lots in town, and even appear on the very first maps. Click the pictures - they expand.
In a recent article about the past, present and future of Front and Sherboune appears in Toronto Guardian 21 Jan 2017 and the author states that anyone walking south down Jarvis, George, Frederick, Sherbourne and even Princess will notice a pronounced dip down right after Front St.
You can see the sudden 'dip' downwards in this image below that I snapped on 16 Jan 2017 of the south west corner of Front and Sherbourne as it appears today. There was an Acura car dealership and Sobey's grocer store here not too long ago. See that smoke stack? Keep an eye on it.
Go back farther - here is a sketch from 1893.
Now on the 1880 Goad Fire Insurance Map, you can see the center of the complex is being used by Lyman Bros Chemical Works.
Lyman was listed in the 1851 Canada Business Directory - LYMAN, BROTHERS & Co., wholesale druggists, manufacturers and dealers in dye stuffs and clothiers’ materials-also in paints, colours, linseed oil, putty, &c., and importers of perfumery and chemicals, St. Lawrence buildings, King st., east. (the location of the retail store).
Given the industry on the property to date, its not surprising the soil quality assessment report revealed evidence of potential environmental contamination. They referenced the printing operation where chemicals were present in the buildings on site between 1950 to 1980. The report mentions the former oil storage and chemical supply company (Lyman Bros) that was located within the central portion of the property from 1880 to 1940. The document pinpoints the positions of four different USTs (Underground Storage Tanks) located on and near the site from approximately 1960 to 1990. Most of the soil will have to be removed to make way for what's coming...
Here's what's coming to the site in 2017. Time and Space Condos at 177 Front St E.
The other property that Dumpdiggers should be aware of is directly across the street, on opposite corner at 158 Front St E., the development is called St Lawrence Condos.
The St Lawrence Condos at 158 Front St E has an advanced design with a ‘staggered blocks’ style appearance that's certain to turn heads. This is what the future looks like today.
A photographer standing in this spot five years ago would have seen the Greyhound Bus Station that was just here. Demolished in 2011, that structure was built in the mid 1960s and for fifty years it was a prime conduit through which many people arrived in the city for the first time.
Roy F. Day was a locksmith - The B/A sign is the mark of the British American Petroleum company.
Behold there was a gas station / automotive service station on both the northeast and northwest corners of Front and Sherbourne back in 1958. (there is still an Esso on the NE.E. corner today) Scaller's Service Station started in the 1930s with some connection to the nearby British American oil company. The business would have removed or greatly disturbed the archeological record of the site when they dug their fuel tanks. I can only imagine what they unearthed.
Let's remember this old section of Toronto is where dozens of good bottles (highly collectible) are being filled with original contents in the 1880s. King St E is thick with druggist and apothecaries including Dr. Chase and Lyman Bros etc. Do you collect soda or mineral water bottles? The original bottlers are all around this property in the 1890 Industries of Canada book.
the property was surrounded by retail chemists, druggists, perfumers, soda pop manufacturers, breweries and distilleries back then and for a hudred years prior.
PDF - There's a report done by Archeological Services Inc on behalf of the city of Toronto for 154 Front St. E and the information inside is solid gold. The document recalls the original Toronto Purchase and lists the payment terms and treaty irregularities. It lists the population of the city at various ties throughout the 1800s and also there's a complete list of owners for 154 Front St E from 1833 - present day.
1833 Back when the road was still called Palace Street, a famous gentleman named Thomas Mercer Jones Esq., who was one of the Commissioners of the Canada Company lived at a house on the lot.
Ten years later, in 1846 a man named Lawrence Coffee, who was a flour dealer, and Abraham Koplik, jeweler were on the site.
Ten years later, in the middle 1850s, Boyd and Armstrong started a hotel at what is now 154 Front St E and called it the Grand Trunk Hotel which I suspect rented rooms on long term basis as the census records are thick with occupants' names from this point forward. The residents are middle aged blacksmiths, flour dealers, and pork packers who probably worked across the street at Wlliam Davies pork packing plant on Frederick St - that building still stands today too.
The Grand Trunk Hotel is called Ontario House in early 1870s and then becomes William Lennox's Hotel in 1875. Where there was a lodging house there usually a deep privy and so I've no doubt the property is loaded with little pockets of antique glass bottles today.
In 1895 we see the first mention of William S. Mahaffy as a blacksmith. A few years later he's listed as 'carriage manufacturer'.
Same as H.A. Wickett Co. Ltd., general contractors in 1930. Wicket specialized in demolition afterwards - the Wicket Demotion company appears after 1940, along with Roy F. Day, locksmith.
In 1957 The Dominion Linseed Oil Co. Ltd. had some facet of their operations here at 154 Front St. You can read all about their historic buildings on the other side of town. The Dominion Linseed Oil Co. Ltd on Wabash (at Sorauren).
In 1965 the Hart Battery Co. Ltd. was here along with Precision Air Conditioning Ltd., sheet metal contractors and the Scaller Service Station which was part of the British American Oil distribution network.
In 1975 the Greyhound bus building was here (Gray Coach Lines)
And we all know what's coming. In the summer of 2017 I will be there interviewing excavators, taking pictures, and maybe even buying bottles and relics from the excavators at the gate.