Heritage Toronto is unveiling two new historic plaques honouring former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and Cabbagetown housing development.
Listen to our interview with Kaitlin Wainwright, the Plaques and Markers Program Coordinator with Heritage Toronto:
The first plaque will adorn 12 Admiral Road near Bloor and St. George. It was there that future Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson lived from 1925 to 1928 while he was teaching at the University of Toronto.
“Pearson is very much identified as a national figure,” describes Wainwright, “So to have this local Toronto story and to be able to tell that story is really great and we’re very excited about it.”
The marker is part of the Legacy Plaques program that was started in 2009. The program was inspired by the Blue Plaques program operated by English Heritage in the United Kingdom.
“We try to find one identifier that really matches with the individual that we are commemorating. They are about acknowledging the life of the individual as it took place in a certain spot in the city.”
To date there are just over 20 legacy plaques that have been posted around the city marking Toronto luminaries such as writers Robertson Davies and Anna Jameson, artist Tom Thomson, and broadcaster Lorne Greene.
The second new plaque recognizes a different type of history in the Cabbagetown area. Spruce Court Apartments, located 86 Spruce Street, began in 1913 as one of the earliest publicly-supported affordable housing in Canada.
“It’s a local community building that has been a source or a site of affordable housing in the city now for a hundred years,” Wainright explains. “It fits within this larger conversation that we’re having right now in Canada about affordable housing and what it means for low income families.”
The site will join more than 200 other municipally designated sites around the city with a bronze or enamel plaque.
Wainright explains how they are “really about interpreting our history – the people, the places, the events – where they happen. That’s what really excites me about the plaques program. You get to see these layers of history where you may be standing outside of a condo and yet six feet below you is the foundation of one of the largest earlier Toronto railway stables.”
The public is invited to the Spruce Court Apartments plaque unveiling. The event takes place at 86 Spruce Street at Nasmith Avenue, Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. Find more information here.
The Heritage Toronto Awards are also taking place October 15th. You can find more information about the awards and purchase tickets to the event here.