The Garage that Never Was (Dufferin Street)

By Godfrey Mallion

During the Second World War the Toronto Transportation Commission recognized the need for another operating garage for west and north Toronto bus routes. On August 8, 1946 the General Manager reported that negotiations for the purchase of a site for a new operating garage on the east side of Dufferin Street, north of Eglinton Avenue, had proceeded to the point of purchase.

The Commission, at its meeting of July 25, 1946, informally approved the purchase of the property from the Watson estate at a price of $43,000.00 The property is an irregularly-shaped parcel located at the south-eastern corner of Dufferin Street and Ridelle Avenue, with a frontage on Dufferin Street of about 554 feet and a depth of about 744 feet on Ridelle Avenue.

The north-eastern corner of this parcel, with a frontage of 275 feet on Ridelle Avenue, by a depth of 325 feet, including a large brick residence was excluded from the purchase and retained by the Watson Estate. Subsequent investigations disclosed the fact that there was a private sewer, laid some years perviously, across the southerly 30 feet of this property, serving the Fairbank Lumber Company’s property to the south, which was also owned by the Watson Estate.

The excluded north-eastern corner property had the dimensions reversed, with the Ridelle Avenue frontage of 325 feet, and a depth of 275 feet. The southern strip of sewer line property was excluded from the agreement, and the final price of $41,500.00 for 3.7 acres of land was agreed to.

At the September 5, 1946 meeting, the Commission agreed to add an additional amount of land from the previously reserved northern section, measuring 325 feet by 125 feet, for $5,3000. During Commission meeting #1100, March 27, 1947, a contract for structural steelwork for the garage building, was awarded to John T. Hepburn Limited, in the amount of $131,000.

At its meeting on July 24, 1947 the Commission informally authorized that an offer in the amount of $305,000 (and, subsequently, raised to $400,000) be made to the War Assets Corporation for the industrial plant located at 289 Sorauren Avenue, in the City of Toronto. This was, formerly, known as the Dominion Bridge Company’s plant. The intention was to develop this property as an operating T.T.C. bus garage, and a heavy rebuild facility for Gray Coach buses.

An informal decision was reached by the Commission, at the July 3, 1947, to postpone the construction of the new garage on Dufferin Street, in York Township. The steelwork contract was informally cancelled on July 24, 1947 and formally cancelled on August 28, 1947.

The Parkdale Garage would be developed at a cost of $3,250 per vehicle, as opposed to $7,500 per vehicle costs at the Dufferin Street site. The existing garages of the day had been developed at a cost of $3,500 per vehicle.

The Dufferin Street Garage had become a memory.

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