For those who didn’t know, Bathurst and Bloor St. in Toronto have a fascinating Black history dates back over 100 years.
Sometimes referred to as “Blackhurst Street”, the area became a safe space where black families and black businesses could grow and prosper from the 1860s.
One such location was 860-864 Bathurst Street, which is now up for sale.
Since the 1970s, the building has housed beauty salons, barbershops and cosmetic shops, including the World Wide Hair Clinic, World Wide Cosmetic Center, Golden Barber Shop, Golden Hair Clinic and the West Indian Barber & Beauty Supply Corporation Ltd.
These businesses primarily cater to Black communities in Toronto.
And in this particular stretch of Bathurst Street, there are a lot of nearby businesses that are owned by the black communities in Toronto and adapted to the black communities in Toronto, thanks to the influx of immigrants from Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean in the mid-1900s who settled there.
And as cool as the history of “Blackhurst” is, 860-864 Bathurst Street also has a remarkable past.
According to Adam Wynne and the Architectural Conservation of Ontario (ACO), the buildings at 860-864 Bathurst Street were originally two-storey townhouses in the late 1880s.
They housed George B. Robarts, accountant at Polson iron factory; John Angus, carpenter; and Frank and Sarah Grimsley, brickmaker and machine operator respectively.
Today, you can still see the original roofline of the 1880s homes above the storefront addition, which was added in the 20th century. according to the ACO.
In 1907, 862 Bathurst Street became the residence of F. Ottaway, who founded the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Hangers of America: No. 219and the Painters’ District Council – both of which had their headquarters on the property, according to Wynne.
During the 1960s, 862 Bathurst Street housed a certain Gordon W. Lightfoot, an employee of the Pullman Corporation – not the famous Canadian singer.
The building has changed a lot from its townhouse days. Not only was there the addition of storefronts, but there was also a large rear addition and internal consolidations that make the building what it is today.
860-864 Bathurst offers nearly 16,000 square feet of space on three levels of the building with a beauty supply store and hair salon on the ground floor.
There is a hair and makeup salon on the second floor and an additional room in the basement.
And sure, the building may not be Toronto’s most glamorous historic building, but it still holds an important place in Toronto’s history and provides an important space for the city’s Caribbean community for decades. .
There are no current plans for the building that blogTO could find, but it would be a bit of a shame if a condo development took over this place.
Hopefully whoever ultimately buys the property does its story justice.