A walk in the west end and how Toronto has changed. Roxton Rd…at the corner of Harbord, Max Brown‘s dad had a schneider shop—Yiddish for tailor. Maxie like many smart Ashkenazi jews fulfilled his father’s dream by becoming a lawyer. We knew him as the trainor who took over from Bob Abate at Lizzies(Central Tech in 1953).20 years later we found Max and thanked him.
Up Roxton toward College St where Frankie Busseri lived—he of the 4 Lads fame, a grad of St.Mike’s choir school in 1950 and still singing. At the corner of Dundas and Shaw, maybe at the site of this flower shop Mr. Freisner’s store. The owner came out one day in the 40s and handed Carmen Bush some free groceries, “Thank you for taking my boy on your ball team. Carmen told me that “That was the thanks I got from men like Mr Freisner.I didn’t care if the kid was Jewfish, he needed a place to play ball. Long live the memory of our hero Carmen.
Hey, some thought Columbus Boy’s Club 121 Bellwoods was only for Catholics! A narrow group of Micks went to Cardinal McGuigan trying to get Carmen fired for taking non RCs on his sports’ teams. Jimmy McGuigan was too shrewd; he knew CB was “the man”.
Walking along Dundas and we come to 962 where that creep James Earl Ray who shot my hero Martin Luther King Jr. took a room in April of 1968. It was a boarding house and he checked in under the name Ramon Sneyd.
Just south of Dundas on Shaw is the Slovak Catholic church,the Byzantine Catholic Slovak Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God at 257 Shaw Street. Just look at it and you knew it used to be a synagogue (known as “the Shaw Street synagogue) left behind in the 60s as the Jews headed north( all the way to Eglinton!) on another exodus from the downtown.
Up Shaw near Queen this picture. a hymn to inclusivity. People would have gagged in 1954 when we walked these streets to play ball at Fred Hamilton and C.G. Fraser on Manning Ave near Dundas. The Presbyterian morality police would never have tolerated this…nor baseball on Sunday!
O tempora, o mores said Cicero.”O, the times o, the customs.”
The changing face of my Toronto.
As for Shaw street,,,named after Aeneas Shaw, a Scotsman pal of Simcoe’s who came to toronto in 1793 to developthe new site. Aeneas…who names their kid Aeneas? Only those who had a classical background as in Virgil’s Aeneid