Parkdale is an interesting little place, isn’t it? Once a separate suburban village, now the former municipality is just one piece in the Greater Toronto puzzle. When the village was young, Parkdale was often covered by The Globe, or the Toronto Star, mostly in the form of a “here are some neat things happening in that quaint little ‘burb to the West”-type article. As an example, see a little excerpt from the July 17 edition of The Globe in 1888, where the subtitle reads “Temperance Summer Campaign — A Flower Service and other Parkdale Notes”. Also be sure to note the headline’s use of Parkdale’s oft quoted nickname.
A specific item that made the headlines in old Parkdale was the controversy surrounding the village’s “subway”, and no, it was not that kind of subway.
Really, it was just a pedestrian underpass to limit the danger involved in crossing the train tracks at the Queen street rail crossing. In 1883 there was a significant concern over the safety of pedestrians, and so either a subway or some other safety measure would need to be implemented. Who would pay for it, and what the ramifications would be, is a story for an other time.
What other sort of things made the headlines in Parkdale?
Above is a somewhat humorous little clip: in a an effort to reduce the amount of people offering portions of there home to be rented out by tourists, a by-law was passed which forbade residents from posting signs in the window. This had the adverse side effect of making difficult to find your doctor’s office. Also, as the article points out, one of the major proponents of the law was later fined for breaking the by-law.
And of course, Parkdale related headlines eventually gave a strong focus on the village’s glut of multiple dwelling, and bachelorette residents. This, coupled with a large numbers of discharged psychiatric patients gravitating towards the low-cost accommodation in Parkdale, resulted in articles about the village more less falling under the “paradise lost” category. In the 1970s-80s those who wrote about Parkdale were trying to understand how this once affluent village had fallen from grace, while a number of Toronto’s other “dales” did not see a similar downward transition. Of course, the reasons for this are complex, and nothing can be gained by chalking it up to “bad luck”, or by painting too pretty a picture of Old Parkdale.
To explore all the archives of the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, you just need a Toronto Public Library card and an internet connection.