Even When It’s Not Planned

I didn’t have a post planned for today’s Thursday Doors.

I had an appointment this afternoon in my old neighbourhood in Greektown and the next thing I knew, I was searching through the area for heritage buildings.  That usually means great doors can be expected.

I found several wonderful old industrial buildings during my impromptu tour, but today I’m going to share Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute which was built in 1922.

Danforth Tech

I developed a fascination with this high school when I moved into the neighbourhood back in the late 1980s.  It is a behemoth of a building and what’s not to love about a school which has a pair of towers flanking the entrance way.

According to Wikipedia, there have been extensions added onto the school in every decade since it was originally built.

Danforth Tech3

The result is a building of imposing presence in a neighbourhood of small semi-detached homes.  It is said to have 3 gymnasiums, a swimming pool, a huge 1920s auditorium, and a maze-like basement with sections restricted from the student body.  That restricted area is rumoured to include a bomb shelter and rifle range.

Sadly, I can’t help but worry that the future of Danforth Tech may be in question.  The facility can accommodate over 2,100 students, yet in 2017 enrollment is less than 900.

Danforth Tech2

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0

91 comments

  1. What a fabulous building, and interesting post. I know very little about Toronto, and it is so beautiful. In our little town, we have none of the grandeur of that school, but we do have declining enrollment. Much of our decline in the K-12 system is due to charter and online schools. I love the way you are researching your buildings, and how wonderful to get a little help. I’ll look forward to learning more about Toronto. 🙂

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    • Thanks Marsha.

      After years of travelling far and wide, I discovered that there was so much in my own backyard that I knew virtually nothing about.
      Discovering the city I live in has been an amazing experience … and there is so much more to explore!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You remind me of Leanne Cole who photographs buildings in her backyard of Melbourne, AU. My back yard is beautiful, too, but because of the mountains, not the buildings. We live about 40 minutes from the Sequoia National Park. If you ever get down here and need a place to stay we have a place with a view. 🙂

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  2. Sometimes I’ll go to an area having done some research and having rough plan, other times I’ll go in completly blind, usually through a sporadic decision to just explore. I haven’t decided which is the better approach (if one is indeed better)

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  3. I love castle turrets and these twin brick towers are gorgeous! ❤
    Technical education is a very relevant topic now that so many have high college debts. I wish my son had chosen another profession than cooking but he thrived at our local joint vocational school, both in computer science and culinary arts. My youngest daughter has $84,000 college loan debts which were based on two professional parents incomes. Sadly, divorce didn't bring responsibility. I help out as well as I can. 🙂
    I have only featured one older school building which just last year had to close due to safety concerns and health code violations, Joanne. I am proud to say it immediately became an extension of the Delaware City Schools (Ohio) administration offices! It is called Frank B Willis Middle School on an older post but alas, I blog from my cell phone and only once a week visit library to discard literally thousands of emails without reading. . . Occasionally, I will find a link to an older post and am able to reconnect people to a post. 🙂

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    • There is so much in here! First, your daughter has $84,000 in student loan debt?! Wow. That’s a scary number.

      You do all your blogging from your cell phone? THAT’S dedication! I think if I had to do that, I wouldn’t bother. I guess I’m saying that because it would make my hands cry.

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  4. It certainly is an imposing building, I love the towered entrance, Joanne. With not many students enrolling it’s difficult to keep a college going. I hope things pick up in the future. Maybe they should introduce unusual courses – like studying to be a trapeze artist (with those facilities).

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  5. That is a gorgeous building Joanne. Good choice. Declining enrollment in trades is starting to slow here. There’s such a shortage in some fields, welders, furniture finishers, carpenters, plumbers, that they’re becoming very high-paying skills again.

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  6. That’s an impressive building. I too, love those towers aside the arches. I hope enrollment takes a surge, I’d hate to see all those improvements and additions wasted.

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  7. Oh, interesting. We also used to live in Greektown for a while (actually in East York north of the Danforth but that street was our playground. Then we moved down to Leslieville but we would still find ourselves quite frequently on the Danforth. A very nice neighbourhood. (Suzanne)

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    • I’ve noticed that my old neighbourhoods are attracting me back and I’m realizing how little I noticed when I actually lived there.
      I was in Leslieville as well yesterday and just getting to know what an interesting neighbourhood this is!

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      • Leslieville is indeed a very interesting area though it only became so 6-7 years ago. We moved in before the gentrification process and some of the areas were pretty run down and there weren’t many stores or restaurants on Queen Street. But that changes when they started developing condos in old factory buildings and suddenly the area was booming. We do miss it!

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        • I was in the area along Carlaw with the refurbished factories – now condos. Wow! I would love to get a peak at some of those lofts.

          I could just imagine the hum in this area when these were functioning factories.

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  8. Toronto sounds like such an interesting city. The name “Greektown” made me curious, I assume a lot of Greek people settled there? That means great food. 🙂

    I love the two towers that frame the doors on either side. Very impressive building.

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    • I don’t know if it was deliberate or accidental, but Toronto is carved into dozens of distinct neighbourhoods – Little Italy, Little Poland, Chinatown, Greektown, etc.
      Greektown was heavily populated by Greeks, although that has been changing. There is still a heavy concentration of Greek restaurants and other small businesses in the area.

      One of the largest and most popular summer festivals occurs in this area in August called Taste of the Danforth. Danforth Road is closed for a couple of kilometers and it becomes a massive street party attracting (reportedly) over one and a half million people over the weekend.

      If you like Greek food, the Danforth is the place to go 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a beautiful building and thanks to your post it’s been added to my “must see” list for the next time I’m in Toronto. Only 900 students – can’t even imagine the cost to the education budget of this building. Better get to Toronto before it becomes million dollar condominiums!

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    • Those ubiquitous condos!! I guess I don’t mind so much when the space is preserved and gracefully incorporated into the new building.
      It’s so sad that we are now in a day and age when schools are restricted zones. I would have loved to go in and walk around.

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  10. Such a beautiful building. Impressive entry way! It reminds me of my high-school in Kitchener, especially the part about the indoor swimming pool. We students only ever heard about it, never saw it.

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  11. That’s an impressive building. Tech high schools are suffering here too. It’s a shame, because those skills are in high demand, and many are likely to remain in demand for many years to come. A friend’s son dropped out of engineering school, became an electrician. He now owns his own business and has more work that he can handle.

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  12. What a fascinating building and impressive facade. I wonder too why the enrolment is so low. Is it because nowadays everyone feels they have to have a degree and so they skip the tech schools in favour of University for a degree that they will never use? I know this is very much the case in the UK, where tech colleges were once all the rage and have now slipped into virtual non-existence? In France the tide is still very much in favour of doing what suits the individual, long may it last. Have a lovely weekend xx

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    • I think it’s caused partly by changing demographics and partly due to the ‘stigma’ attached … that technical school is somehow ‘inferior’ to academic studies. I hold the school system itself to blame.
      The shortage of skilled labour in the trades like electricians, plumbers, and carpenters will hopefully cause a renaissance of the technical schools.

      I know it was a long time ago, but I attended a high school that was combined technical and academic. However there was a large invisible wall between the two. I had wanted to take a few technical courses – in particular, drafting – but wasn’t allowed to because I was in the academic stream.
      I hope this mentality has now changed.

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    • I was surprised to discover the enrolment was so low. I don’t know if it’s just a commentary on the changing nature of families in general and the neighbourhood.

      This is a technical school and with so much emphasis lately on the growing needs for tradespeople, I hope this declining school population turns around.

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  13. I absolutely love your Toronto Thursday Door posts, Joanne. I’m glad that you had an appointment in Greektown today…and roamed the old heritage buildings. I too fear for this under-enrolled school.

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    • As the weather gets nicer, it’s easier to roam around and explore for an hour or two. Unfortunately today was a lot chillier than I was expecting and I wasn’t dressed nearly warm enough!!

      School boards are under so much financial pressure and I look at this large inner city schools and wonder how they can be sustained.

      Like

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