Like much of Sir Henry’s life, things didn’t work out that way. There was a recession on, and too many subdivisions like this on sale around the city. Then, in 1914, war broke out. People invested their money in war bonds rather than in real estate and for many years not much happened in this part of town. Finally the Home Bank went bankrupt, and with it most of Sir Henry’s investments. He gave his home, Casa Loma, to the city and moved into the carriage house. He died in 1939, a poorer man, but still immensely popular.
Some houses were built here through the twenties and thirties but much of the area north of the ravine was not fully developed until the 1950s. One of the reasons for this delay was the fact that the paving on Bathurst Street ended just a block north of here. From that point a muddy dirt road slid down the ravine and crossed the Castle Frank Stream on a rickety single lane bridge.
That is what this area was like in 1923 when Ernest Hemingway rented an apartment just up the street from here. He first came to Toronto in early 1920, hired by the Connable family as a companion for their disabled son while the rest of the family went to Florida for the winter. Ralph Connable, president of F.W.Woolworth Ltd., got Hemingway his first writing assignments with the Toronto Star.
Three years later Hemingway, now working for the Star in Paris, returned to Toronto with his wife Hadley, who was eight months pregnant. They moved to a tiny one-room apartment here, and a month later their son was born. However, unhappy with both the city and his job at the Star, the Hemingways returned to Paris just four months later.
It wasn’t until 1927 that the first high level bridge was built, carrying the (Bathurst) street smoothly across the ravine. Only then did building begin in earnest on the lands north of here. The neighbourhood that evolved here is a far cry from the plan Sir Henry had in mind in 1913, and perhaps we can be grateful. What we have today is more varied, more spontaneous, and probably more livable because the developer’s plan was forgotten.”
April 24, 1998
In this picture, Margaret McCaffery, Gordon Ciglen and Howard Katz are shown next to one of the lanterns as it is being prepared to be craned onto the gates.
Here are the gates as they appear today.