Along the Shore (2013)
Jane Fairburn, author of Along the Shore, focusing on the waterfront communities of Toronto, has posted a vintage postcard on the radials through Long Branch on the Along the Shore Facebook page.
Here’s the text accompanying the photo, on Jane Fairburn’s Facebook page:
“In the late nineteenth century, as the middle class emerged with time and money to spare, so did a leisure and tourism industry that was concentrated along the lakefront, from east to west. These areas, including Long Branch Park near Etobicoke Creek, were made even more popular and accessible with the appearance of mass transit: the electric streetcar, and in the Lakeshore and Scarborough shore areas, their country cousin, the radial.
“Another popular area, noted by the Toronto Railway Company in a brochure entitled ‘Toronto as Seen from the Streetcars,’ was Mimico Creek: ‘A short distance west is another little river, too small for boating, but just the thing for bathing; it has a fine sandy bottom and is deep enough for a swim without fear of drowning’ — if you have a chance, get out in the unseasonably warm weather and experience the rejuvenated mouth of Mimico Creek today!
“Lakeshore and Long Branch Car – Conductor on side – Near lake – 1909
“Chuckman’s Other Collection (Toronto Post Cards) Volume 02”
1909 Middle Road Bridge
The reference to 1909 brings to mind the Middle Road Bridge – discussed in a previous blog post – which crosses Etobicoke Creek between Mississauga and Etobicoke north of the Queen Elizabeth Way. As you walk east across the bridge you arrive at Sherway Gardens.
Dave Cook describes the bridge in Chapter 12, A footbridge and the QEW, in Apple Blossoms and satellite dishes: Celebrating the golden jubilee of Applewood Acres (2004):
“According to the Ministry of Transportation Ontario, the need for the QEW [Queen Elizabeth Way] arose after the Toronto-Hamilton Highway (built in November 1917), and later known as Highway 2, became overloaded and a new route had to be considered. The Dundas (Hwy.5) was also at its capacity. As a result, planning began for the Middle Road, which became the Queen Elizabeth Highway.
“At this point it should be noted that the Queen Elizabeth Highway did not follow along the original alignment of the Middle Road. The best example of the Middle Road can be seen at the eastern limit of Sherway Drive. The bridge that spans the Etobicoke Creek is in fact the historic Middle Road Bridge. It was also nicknamed ‘White Bridge’.
“This particular bridge stands out above all others as it was the first of its kind ever built in Canada, and only the second of its kind ever built in North America. The bridge was designed in 1909 by Frank Barber and C.W. Young. It’s a concrete truss or tied arch bridge and was celebrated for its light weight and strength. The bridge was tested on opening day when 40 cattle were herded across its span. On October 14, 1986, I had the pleasure of co-officiating the ceremony with Etobicoke Mayor, Dennis Flynn, that designated this bridge as a heritage structure. This bridge became the only structure in Ontario to be designated and renovated jointly by two municipalities. Applewood Acres resident and artist, Leonard Crump, who lives on Courtland Crescent, presented me with one of his outstanding drawings of this bridge that he did in 1978, prior to the restoration.
“The QEW was designed as a four-lane divided highway having a median strip which would vary from three feet to 10 feet in width with the remaining less traveled sections as undivided roadway. It wasn’t until 1940 that a 4-mile (6.4 km) section from the Humber River to then Highway 27 (now the 427 Highway) was opened.”