Comment from Norm Kennedy regarding request for Etobicoke Creek “Flats” photos. Norm Kennedy also enjoyed David Webster article.

I’m pleased to share with you the following message from Norm Kennedy, which has been posted as a Comment at a recent blog post:

Hello Jaan;

It was very interesting to read your article about my old friend David Webster. This led me to reading a number of other posts. I lived on 41st street from 1949 to 1962.

However, I am actually writing in response to your request for photos of the “Flats”. I have recently been doing a little research related to my own biography. While doing so I discovered the Toronto Archives. In the archives are aerial photos of the “Flats” (actually the entire Toronto area), taken in 1947, 1953 and 1955, among others. The 1947 photo shows the original route of Etobicoke Creek with its mouth considerably west of its current location. I lived on the south side of Lake Promenade right at the bend. The aerial photo also shows the old access road on the north side of Lakeshore leading to the Toronto Golf Course.

Because of the bend in the creek flooding in the spring was a regular thing. After the 1949 flood the creek was pushed straight through, isolating a portion of Lake Promenade which was then connected to Island Road. The house we lived in was not an old summer cottage, therefore it survived both the ’49 flood and Hurricane Hazel. Also, the golf course road was discontinued due to the unsafe condition of the access bridge north of the railway tracks. This new configuration can be seen in the 1953 aerial photo.

Of course, in 1954 Hurricane Hazel sealed the fate of the “Flats” and Marie Curtis Park was born. I believe that at this time the old golf course road was renamed 43rd street because the name no longer existed south of the Lakeshore. Our former house was moved to 31st street, where it stands to this day.

I hope that this information is useful to you.

Regards,

Norm Kennedy

Comment

This is great information, Norm! I will check out the Toronto Archives photos.

As well, Robert Lansdale has shared with me information about Logbook No. 6: Etobicoke, South Part, for which the Archival citation is Fonds 79, Series 442, File 2. This is also exciting to know about.

I’m really pleased to be learning, through emails and comments, about the tremendous resources available at the Toronto Archives. I look forward to spending time at the archives in the coming year.

The Toronto Archives and other archival resources were key to the success of the Parkview School project, described elsewhere on this website. People with an interest in local history informed us of key archival and archaeological resources that were essential in the letter writing campaign associated with the Parkview story.

These were resources that I did not know about when I learned, on Oct. 26, 2010, that the Toronto District School Board was in the process of selling the school. Fortunately, people with experience in archival research quickly brought the community up to speed. Archival resources – such as stored at the Toronto Archives and Ontario Archives – are of tremendous value.

I’m also delighted that so much information about local history can be shared through Internet resources as well as face to face meetings.

 

2 replies
  1. David Webster
    David Webster says:

    Really good to hear from Norman Kennedy. I have often wondered if he was still in the area. I think his memory may be faulty in only one area. The Golf Course road bridge was washed out during hurricane Hazel, not during an earlier flood.

    I recall that the cleanup of the Flats began in 1955. The Boy Scout troop that I belonged to were involved in a cleanup of brush and scrap lumber in the spring of that year. I believe that the remains of homes with basements (very few) were simply bulldozed into the basements, or foundations prior to being covered with soil and seeded with grass.

    Reply
  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    This is great information!

    A few years ago, one of the residents who helped with the cleanup after Hurricane Hazel explained, at a meeting related to the redevelopment of Marie Curtis Park, that pipes were inserted into the ground near the shoreline of Lake Ontario to ensure that methane gas from whatever was buried underneath would be able to escape.

    A visitor to the Preserved Stories website, who used to live on James Street across from the Smith homestead, a year or so ago mentioned by email that as a child, he and friends would build tunnels and play under the rubble where the Smith house had stood before it was bulldozed in 1955. He mentioned that the earth was very loose, and if I remember correctly he said that kids who played there inserted pipes into the soil to ensure the air supply was kept fresh.

    Reply

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