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CHARLES DOBIE : LOCAL HISTORY
TORONTO, ONTARIO
Photos by Charles Dobie

The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op,
Toronto, 1970

This series of photos was shot at 201 Beverley Street during a major crisis caused by the impending eviction of the tenants by Toronto Hydro. It was a devisive issue in Toronto because the tenants were without exception poor, and many were American draft resisters and their families. The series starts with a scan of the information leaflet issued by the co-op, general views of 201 Beverley Street, people with their children, co-op meetings, the officials serving the eviction papers, people moving their belongings out, media and at least two sympathetic politicians outside the house with residents, officials tearing down the signs, and finally a crowd in front of the co-op at night, possibly that night or soon after. I forget what happened that night but possibly someone tried to re-take possession of the houses. If you can identify anyone or provide more details

The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Document courtesy of Peter Zorzi.

HYDRO DENIES PEOPLE A PLACE TO LIVE

1. Ontario Hydro has bought 39 of 40 houses in the block bounded by Beverley, Cecil, Henry, and Baldwin Streets. In two years they plan to tear down all 40 houses to build a huge transformer station. In the meantime, 20 houses are vacant, and the rest will be vacated soon.

2. The McCaul Street Memorial Co-operative (started by tenants ousted from McCaul Street by a developer, and who will have no place to live this Tuesday) presented a detailed plan for renovating the houses to city standards with volunteer labour at cost of materials, which would relieve Ontario Hydro of responsibility as a landlord, and would supply co-operative housing and meaningful community participation to 300 people. This proposal is supported by the Metro Tenants' Association and the Central Committee of the Toronto Area Social Planning Council.

3. At the beginning, we were led to believe that Hydro was going to adopt our proposal, as Mr. Gathercole, the Chairman of the Ontario Hydro-Electric Commission called our proposal a "fine, workable idea", which needed only the "fine details" attended to. We worked out a lease, our hammers and saws and paint brushes were ready to move in -- and then Hydro suprisingly turned us down. They said we were "financially unfeasible"; they said we were a "social experiment without any Hydro control".

4. We believe that what they really mean is that they are afraid of change -- they do not like the idea of people having a say over their own lives. Hydro says it will rent the houses to welfare recipients, where they have control over the houses but where they will also have control over other people and their lives. And how many of the 40 houses will they renovate and rent? And when?

5. We now bring our case to the public. Hydro has denied us a place to live. We want action, or we will be living on the streets. We encourage people to write to Mr. Gathercole, Chairman of the Commission, asking him why we were turned down. You will hear his answers, but you might also get him to reconsider.


Hydro Block History to 1975. A document signed by Wes Lore, Chairman of the Hydro Block Working Committee, and by Kay Parsons, Vice Chairman. This .pdf file was sent me by Ceta Ramkhalawansingh and the document was provided by Kay Parsons.


The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Photo 24. Bob McArthur at right.


The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Photo 25. Bob McArthur.


William Kilbourn at The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Photo 26. In centre, facing the camera and smiling is William Kilbourn.


The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Photo 27.


John Phillips at the McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Photo 28. John Phillips is at left with a camera.


The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Photo 32. This is probably Dan Heap standing at left.


The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

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The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Photo 37.


John Sewell, William Kilbourn at the McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Photo 38. John Sewell is front & centre, in the leather coat; William Kilbourn is farther to the right and further back, in the black sweater.


The McCaul Street Memorial Co-op, Toronto, 1970.

Photo 39. This is the best of a bad lot taken at night in front of the Co-op after the evictions. I don't remember why the crowd was gathered here, unless they tried to re-take possession of the houses. I naively thought that an f:1.2 lens and Tri-X could take good hand-held photos lit only by streetlights.


Photographs Copyright © 1970- by Charles Dobie.


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