Blog 18 Marketplace Culture and Urban Expansion Part 2

In response to public pressure, Premier William Davis withdrew provincial support on June 3, 1971 stating that “If we are building a transportation system to serve the automobile…the Spadina Expressway would be a good place to start. But if we are building a transportation system to serve the people, the Spadina Expressway would be a good place to stop.”[i] Since 2004, Kensington residents and local businesses have taken active measures to preserve the market’s distinct pedestrian culture through the organization of monthly pedestrian Sundays. During these events, sections of Augusta St., Baldwin St. and Kensington Ave. are closed to vehicles, transforming the streets into a pedestrian mall and stage for live entertainment and games.[ii]


[i] Bradburn, Jamie. The Canadian Encyclopedia, “Toronto Feature: Spadina Expressway.” Last modified 2012. Accessed February 7, 2013.

[ii] Levin, Laura, and Kim Solga. “The Drama Review.” Building Utopia: Performance and the Fantasy of Urban Renewal in Contemporary Toronto. 53. no. 3 (2008): 37-53. utopia: performance and fantasy of urban renewal in contemporary Toronto&rft.jtitle=TDR (Cambridge, Mass.)&, Laura&, Kim& Press Journals&rft.issn=1054-2043&rft.volume=53&rft.issue=3&rft.spage=37&rft.externalDBID=n/a&rft.externalDocID=208299404 (accessed February 7, 2013). 47.

Blog 17 Marketplace Culture and Urban Expansion Part 1

As early as the 1960s, homeowners, tenants and merchants faced external threats to the historical landscape and distinct marketplace culture of the neighbourhood. An early example was the 1966 Metro Expressway Plan, a joint initiative between the federal, Ontario Provincial and Toronto Municipal governments to construct a network of freeways for Metropolitan Toronto.[i] Particularly concerning to residents of Kensington Market and surrounding neighbourhoods was the proposed Spadina Expressway which was expected to direct heavy traffic through the Cedarvale Ravine and down Spadina Avenue to Bloor Street.[ii] If completed, this new route would have carried traffic off of the expressway causing congestion on local streets. Grassroots opposition began in October 1969 when a coalition of students, academics, politicians formed the “Stop Spadina, Save Our City Co-ordinating Committee” (SSSOCCC) and launched a public campaign against the expressway project.


[i] Shaw, Jennifer Lyn. University of Toronto, “Resistance amidst disorganization:Understanding the nature of community organizing in Toronto’s Kensington Market.” Last modified 2005. Accessed January 25, 2013. 63.


[ii] Bradburn, Jamie. The Canadian Encyclopedia, “Toronto Feature: Spadina Expressway.” Last modified 2012. Accessed February 7, 2013.

Final Project Update – Blog #6

So things have been going well with the website. I was in charge of putting images found so far online, but the real challenge emerged when trying to find a format or layout to display them. Issues with files sizes, layouts, complex plugins, etc., started to emerge, which became a real pain. Finally though I was able to come across a gallery plugin called wp Dreamwork that was exactly what I was looking for. Acting like a slideshow, images are on a timer to change every so often, but also have a tumbnail gallery so that users can free choose which ever one they want to explore. There is also an option to full screen images and zoom into a document to view smaller objects and words, which otherwise might be hard to see. Overall I am very pleased with this plugin and am awaiting further images from my group members to upload.

I also tinkered with the layout of the website, changing page names, and putting the about section now on the front page so that the user can become aware of the sites intent right away, rather than having to go digging for it otherwise. Follow this link to check out the progress!

Another late update

Matt reminded us in class that the blogs have been neglected so I’m updating mine, even though it’s late.  This week we made a l0ot of progress but also had some frustration.  Eva and I scheduled to go to the MHSO and finish uploading images that we could then put up on our website.  Unfortunately, someone has the scanner booked solid until tuesday so our work will have to wait until then.  However lots of other things have been completed.  I helped Anesty a bit with his Joe Romanov information and it gave me a good idea on what to create for mine.  I want our interview descriptions to be symmetrical so this really helped.  I also went through an insane amount of photographs trying to figure out what would look good oin the website.  On top of that Paul and I found a plugin called flipbook that makes the images in our gallery appear as though they are being presented in a scrapbook instead of the typical boring gallery display.  It’s down to the wire on this thing, but we have everything besides our popcorn app and scanning complete.  Really looking forward to see how the website looks!

Reinvigorating Research

It’s march and staying on top of all my obligations have been tough. But trekking out to the sheppard and Bathurst with my bff liz today was certainly worth it.

In the period of research I was assigned, I had a really hard time getting enough information to form a sufficiently substantial piece of writing. More importantly, the historical narratives I was able to synthesize made a lot of sense, but i couldn’t find a personal stories, specific details, to anchor my writing.
At the Archivist the person who was helping us was great, and introduced me to a book about a bakery at spadina and dundas. The history of the bakery illustrates perfectly the historical narrative I tried to making in my piece of writing and will be the first of many specific stories that I can use to anchor my writing for the 10s and 20s in Kensington.
So now that I have new information, I can do some serious revision and reorganization of my section in the coming week and I might try to trek out one more time to find some other sources like that.

Attending the inaugural event for the KMHS was great fun today too. The turn out was great, we got a nice compliment from dennis in his opening remarks, and the speakers were fantastic. I was certainly reinvigorated today about our project and ready to hit the home stretch in stride.

KMHS/ Team Cobra Update IX: Inauguration

Liz, Sam, Anneliese, and I attended the KMHS’s Inaugural Event tonight at the Lillian H. Smith Library. (In the basement, which is kind of like an underground cathedral – check it out sometime, it’s pretty cool.) It was really exciting and a full house – maybe 2 or 3 empty seats only! The speakers were really great and it just really inspired me to want to keep working on our project: getting photos for the website, fleshing out the history with details about groups, individuals, and events. It was a really great way to get more ideas for content. Listening to Jean Cochrane, author of one of the books we used (a lot), was just like reading her book. I really, really liked the second speaker, Rosemary Donegan, author of Spadina Avenue. She was a really good speaker and her talk was filled with really interesting anecdotes and micro-histories of buildings still standing today. For me, she  provided a sense of other avenues* we could explore in order to create a fuller, richer picture of the Kensington area over time and as a part of a larger Toronto. Liz and I spoke to her afterwards and she had a lot of good ideas about where to look for images for our website. It seems to me like we are going to have to talk to the KMHS about having a copyright budget for photos – they aren’t going to be free.

We also were introduce to Sasha Knight who is a post graduate student at Willowbank School of Restoration Arts who is doing a project on Kensington Market for a class but through the KMHS. I really liked talking to him (and his program sounds super cool) because a lot of what he is studying is about the balance between conservation, restoration, and modernization: allowing for change. This is a tension that really interests me (exhibit A: my blog from 2 weeks ago) in general and particularly in terms of thinking about Kensington Market. For public history initiatives, I think this balance is a really important problem to consider. How can we preserve places of historical value, like neighbourhoods or even particular buildings, without eliminating or restricting the living element which demands the ability for change?

Moral of the Story: I just want to pour all of my energy into this project. It feels so much more real than all the things I am doing for my other classes. It doesn’t even feel like work.

Reality: I have two fairly important papers I need to be writing for other classes… ugh.

* Literally? This is a pretty great pun if you choose to read it that way… unintended but acknowledged.

Final Project Update – Blog # 5

Team Amazing’s project continues to take shape progressively. Individually we are in the final stages of collecting information that we will be putting on our website shortly; it already has the desired layout. For my end of the research, I primarily did my work on-site at MHSO, looking through their archives of images, newspapers, clippings, etc. It is truly fascinating to explore that side of history, getting close and personal with the subject matter you are covering. I was mostly looking for information of Ukrainian business operations and their progressions in Canada, with a specific focus of business co-ops and credit unions. Looking through the different pictures, advertisements and articles associated with this topic, I was able to collect some and scan them on file so as to be able to put on our website.

In regards to finding specific images and additional information for my oral interview, I found out that a lot of information exists at the Archives of Ontario. I will be visiting this location later this week, so as to acquire more information and images that will complement any previous information I have acquired, as well as provide more depth of understanding for perspective users. I have also almost finished transcribing my oral interview into digital format and broken it into sections that I want to include online. Later this week I will be working with the group to add that material online, as well as an associated written portion, so that users can read and hear the interview both at once, making for a much more interactive experience.

I think overall progress is being made, but there is still much to be done. Hopefully this week the group and I can make inroads and have most of our information put online.