Rush Hour in Toronto is Nothing New!

Diagram Showing Homeward Passenger Movement.  Civic Transportation Committee, Toronto: 1915.  From the digital collections of the University of Toronto
Diagram Showing Homeward Passenger Movement. Civic Transportation Committee, Toronto: 1915. From the digital collections of the University of Toronto

Construction on the tunnel borer launch site for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway expansion is really picking up along Steeles, east of Jane Street. While waiting in traffic this morning it reminded me of an interesting map I’d seen in the University of Toronto digital map collection. Dating from 1915, this diagram shows the movement of passengers between 4:30 and 7 p.m. during the mid-week. It shows that some 57 000 people were departing from the downtown area on their way home. Toronto’s first subway didn’t open until 1954 so all of the traffic was at street level. The map includes data for passengers who travelled on the civic line of electric street railways, car passengers and jitney passengers. Jitneys were a brief fad in Toronto, as David Wyatt of the All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems notes, “private automobile owners began using their cars to pick up fare-paying passengers. In some cities hundreds of cars were engaged in the trade, jitney associations were formed, routes established, and service hours announced. Operators serious about profitability began modifying their cars to carry more passengers, and the motor bus was born. Nearly everywhere the activity was eventually stamped out by municipal or provincial legislation.”  The map doesn’t cover our location at Jane Street and Steeles, but it’s an interesting archival document that demonstrates that gridlock is not a new concern for Toronto!   You can check the progress of the subway expansion on the TTC website.

Opening Day at the Village!

Border-Leicester lambs at Black Creek Pioneer Village Photo Credit: Geri Smith
Border-Leicester triplets at Black Creek Pioneer Village
Photo Credit: Geri Smith
Black Creek Pioneer Village officially opens for the season at 9:30 a.m. on May 1st, 2013. As an added bonus, our historic brewery will have growlers of IPA and Porter ready for sale on opening day! Growlers are priced at $18 each (including a $4.00 refundable bottle deposit) and are available on a first come, first served basis in the brewery.  Ed, our trusty Brew Master, will be in brewing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season.  Interested in a tour?  Check out the options and times on our website.  Interested in spending a day brewing with Ed? Then check out our Brewing with the Brew Master program here.  And while you’re here, why not stop by and visit our nine Border-Leicester lambs including our adorable triplets and two sets of twins!  Happy Spring everyone!

Save the Date – A Spirited Affair

SpiritedAffair-OnPupleBlack Creek Pioneer Village and Historic Brewery is thrilled to announce our first annual fundraiser: A Spirited Affair. Take part in this unique event and help us preserve our cultural heritage! Guests will be transported back in time to the 1860s and 1920s as these two time periods come to life with live music, dancing and character actors. The event showcases craft beers, whiskeys and wines, paired with local foods. Proceeds from the evening will help preserve Toronto’s culture and heritage at Black Creek Pioneer Village, so that future generations can continue to experience first-hand, Ontario’s rich history.
Location: Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: Thursday, September 26th, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Ticket information and details to follow!

Ale for the Ailing

After the vicious storm in Toronto last night you might be feeling a bit under the weather!  If so, grab a bottle of ale and start on the road to recovery!  During the Victorian period, beer was seen as an appropriate drink for the ill, invalids and women nursing infants.  For example, in the treatment of fever, the Cycopaedia of Practical Medicine (London, 1833) recommends spruce or ginger-beer be administered to the patient.  Beer was considered a fortifying beverage that was an ideal drink for invalids and people with weak constitutions.  Lady Mary Anne Cust in her book The Invalid’s Own Book (1853) recommends recipes for spruce, treacle and ginger beer as supplements to the invalid diet.  Beer was also recommended to nursing mothers.  Charles Routh in his book Infant Feeding and its Influence on Life (1879) notes “Ale and Porter have so high a reputation as milk generators.  From Aetius downwards all authors recommended them, and there is no doubt of their efficacy with many nurses.  Many of these will tell you that they cannot do without them.  To stout, and double stout especially, the preference is given, and in my own experience I have found the double stout of Barclay, Perkins & Co., most efficacious in many cases.”  This quote makes me imagine a maternity ward full of new mothers each with a baby in one hand and a pint of stout in the other!  As a side note, Barclay, Perkins & Co. was one of the longest running breweries in London, England, operating continually under the same name from 1781 to 1955.  It’s even mentioned in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield!

So, next time you’re at work and feel a cold coming on, skip the medication and grab a pint.  It’s good for what ails you!