Monday, January 9, 2012

Junction Dodge Plant that was...

A storage facility at Osler and Pelham in Toronto went up in flames on January 9th, 2012 and continued to burn for two days. This was not the first time in recent history that the building's structure had been challenged. In 2006, the building was hit by a grain train when it derailed from the neighbouring railway tracks. Here are some photos from John (aka Krunkwerke) of the aftermath of that derailment:

While the building is currently one of many storage facilities in the neighbourhood, the building and the site are historically significant to the Junction area. Here is a photo from 1948 of the building, from the Toronto Archives :

Here is the archival photo draped over the current google streetview of the building

To view this image online, click on

According to the Old time Trains web site, the "Dodge Manufacturing Company of Toronto Limited; manufacturers of the Dodge Wood Split Pulley and other factory equipment including grain elevator machinery moved to Pelham Avenue in 1888 from Toronto. It expanded in 1901 spending $40,000 building additional factories and office buildings and going from 200 workers to 500." from:

This is what the site looked like in 1889. The map is a Goad fire insurance plan of West Toronto Junction.

click on image for closer view
From a 1914 Fire insurance plan, here is the site again.

click on image for closer view
This is the site again in 1964 from an Insurance Underwriters plan map. The Dodge manufacturing plant site had now made way for a few different manufacturers including a camping trailer manufacturer, a wool factory, and the Aristocrat Manufacturing Co. Ltd. where commercial wash basins were produced.

click on image for closer view

click on image for closer view
click on image for closer view

This is what the area looked like the first morning. On the left is a shot from St. Rita's School Parking Lot on Edwin Avenue. On the right is a photo of the area from the laneway just East of Osler

Interestingly, Google maps displays quite an error for the site. They have labelled the site and the buildings immediately to the East of the building as being St. Josaphat's school. St. Josaphat's is further to the east. See this link.

Here are a few photos of the building on January 14th, 2012.  Old bricks and other parts of the historical structure are now becoming visible through the bad stucco and 1970's/80's looking windows and cinder block "curtains".

Police and fire trucks remain on the scened even 5 days later.

Here is where you start to see the old bricks that have been covered by stucko and cement blocks

Marcel Fortin
University of Toronto Map and Data Library

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