Hi there. This is Max, the Gladstone Intern, here with some super-great historical facts. Over the next few weeks, I will post some little bits of history related to the hotel, as well as our neighbouring neighbourhood, Parkdale.
What’s in a Name?
Originally a small settlement within York County, Parkdale incorporated as a village in 1879. The question is, have you ever wondered how Parkdale got its name? Well, some former villages around Toronto were named after a particular individual. An example would be Seaton Village, which was named after a guy called John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, who was a British Field Marshall. Other areas, like Cabbagetown, were (for one reason or another) given a more colloquial name.
So, how did Parkdale get its name? Really, it was all about marketing: Rosedale was already identified as a neatly upper-class neighbourhood, and the nearby High Park was becoming popular a spot for quaint picnics and other natural pursuits. Not to mention that by 1883 Riverside had changed its name to Riverdale. With all of this in mind, it is easy to see how the name “Parkdale” was selected to specifically illustrate the vision of a calm and remote suburb, away from the noisy city-centre.
This marketing angle is further expressed through the 1881 Parkdale Register, which lays out the history of the area, as well as sketching out the current state of the neighbourhood. The Register provides lush descriptions of the area, noting that “the site is higher than that of a major portion of Toronto, and is exceedingly picturesque, being surrounded by a landscape that possess all the varying attractions afforded by the beautiful Lake Ontario, and the diversified scenery of an undulating expanse of fertile country, wooded, watered, cultivated, and adorned with attractive homes”.
You can download a copy of the 1881 Parkdale Regsiter here.
Whitzman, C. (2009). Suburb, slum, urban village transformations in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, 1875-2002. Vancouver: UBC Press.
Scott, J. G. (1881). The Parkdale register containing a history of Parkdale, from its incorporation to the present time : comprising official statistics, population, climate, municipal officers and departments, railways, churches, schools, societies, public, religious and phi. Toronto: Bengough, Moore & Bengough.