Exhibition at the City of Toronto Archives

September - December 2017  |  March - August 2018

Living on Elizabeth Street at a time of transition

A section of Elizabeth Street, the main north-south axis of the neighbourhood, is reconstituted here from continuous snapshots made by Goss (relating to the planned demolition of the row of houses for a new Registry Building). The buildings are linked to the household information found in the 1909 and 1912 Tax Assessment records. The apartments were mostly rented. There were single lodgers, groups of lodgers, and there were families, often times with boarders to complement the household income. Houses were typically run down; rents were high; there was rampant real estate speculation. Yet, the area was central, with City Hall and major businesses just around the corner. It is important to note that there were likely more people living within each apartment than the number reported in the Tax Roll Assessment. The high turnover in occupancy and growing rate of vacancies, over these five years, shows a neighbourhood in transition. The area was moving towards demolition and redevelopment to make room for civic buildings and large businesses.

34-36, 38-42, 42-46, 48-54 Elizabeth Street, New Registry Office Site 

Arthur Goss, May 23, 1912, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 55, Item 41, 44, 42, 43, City of Toronto Archives

1912 TORONTO TAX ROLL ASSESSMENT 

The 1912 Toronto Tax Roll Assessment, page 141, shows the original hand written entries profiling the residential houses and businesses on the west side of Elizabeth Street. They correspond to the panorama photo series displayed on the wall in the section Living on Elizabeth Street at a time of transition. 

 

Assessment roll, City of Toronto, ward 3, division 5, page 141

1911 for 1912

City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 612

 

1909 & 1912 Tax Roll Demographics   

34-54 ELIZABETH STREET, TORONTO

34 & 36 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 | 1912 - Property listed as private land owned by National Trust

 

38 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property rented to John Merino, a 35 year old Catholic Boarding House Manager | Tenancy - 8 Adults

1912 - Property listed as vacant

40 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property rented to Maise Molet, a 33 year old Jewish Cabinet Maker | Tenancy - 2 Children, 3 Adults

1912 - Property listed as vacant

42 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property rented to Joseph Lazarous, a 33 year old Jewish Tinsmith | Tenancy - 6 Adults

1912 - Property listed as vacant 

42 ELIZABETH STREET (REAR ADDRESS) 1909 - Property rented to Skel Solsberg, a 24 year old Jewish Laborer | Tenancy - 4 Adults

1912 - 12 Catholic tenants reside in the 49.5’ x 46’ space

44 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property rented to Harry Abraham, a 24 year old Jewish Tinsmith | Tenancy - 4 Adults

1912 - Israel Kindler, a 33 year old Carpenter, along with 11 adults, live in the 20’ x 66’ space

46 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property rented to Issac Benovich, a 35 year old Jewish Laborer | Tenancy - 3 Children, 2 Adults

1912 - Property listed as vacant 

48 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property rented to Lee Hong, a 21 year old Chinese Laundromat Owner | Tenancy - 3 Adults

1912 - Hong continues to reside at this address

48 1/2 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property rented to Wolf Angelehick, a 32 year old Jewish Tinsmith | Tenancy - 4 Children, 2 Adults

1912 - Property rented to Jake Lenasky, a 38 year old Jewish Bicycle Mechanic | Tenancy - 6 Adults

50 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property owned by Samuel Levine, a 36 year old Jewish Grocer | Tenancy - 5 Adults  

1912 - Levine and his family continue to reside at this address

52 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property rented to Alfred Watts, a 28 year old English Laborer | Tenancy - 4 Adults

1912 - Harry Brasher, a 42 year old Anglican Tailor, along with 6 adults, live in the 15’ x 55’ space

54 ELIZABETH STREET 1909 - Property rented to Daniel Small, a liquor store owner

1912 - Property listed as vacant

Roots

ERNIE LIGHTMAN