A Butcher, a Baker, a Candlestick Maker
It is interesting to note who lived in our neighbourhood some 100 years back, how they lived and earned their keep and how the street looked on a summer’s eve. The neighbourhood appears from census data to have been home to a merchant class. Levi Beemen on Gerrard Street made his living as a jeweller. Samuel Lenn on Ontario Street was a tailor. Benjamin Jollards on Seaton Street was a safe manufacturer. There was also police constable Grant on Ontario Street, a barrister on Gerrard, a baker, a butcher and no doubt a candlestick maker.
A storefront on Ontario Street.
As the City of Toronto grew north into our area, builders would often build semi detached houses or row houses, living in one while finishing and selling the adjoining house, then moving on to the next residential development. The area was home to carpenters and cabinet makers and trades of all kind. On a warm summer evening neighbours would sit on their front porches talking with passersby on their way home from the commercial/industrial areas along Queen and King Streets. Widows would often let out rooms to travelling salesmen or gentlemen or young women who worked as clerks in the city's downtown. The various houses of worship along Church Street would be an active spiritual and social hub for the community.
Ontario Street had no shortage of clergy residing on the street. A Presbyterian Minister, a Curate and Reverend helped keep the neighbours in check.