A Historic Defense of Toronto’s Morals

Posted: April 30, 2012 - 09:02 , by royal
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Submitted by Virginia Van Vliet, Volunteer with ROM Walks

How could this building – the Spadina Gardens Apartments – ruin the morals of Toronto?

Unlike in cities such as New York and Montreal, apartment buildings were not built in Toronto until the early 1900s. By 1912, however, city councillors were becoming increasingly concerned about their proliferation. These buildings allowed single women – teachers, nurses and librarians for example – to rent apartments and live without the mature supervision of a father or landlady. Why, men might even come and visit them there! To solve this shocking problem, city council passed a by-law forbidding the construction of any more apartment buildings. This law remained in effect until 1916, when the need for housing for women working in manufacturing jobs for the war effort outweighed the scandalous potential of independent living.

To learn more about the history of the Annex join us on Sunday, May 6th for a ROM Walk.  We will meet at 2 pm starting across from the Bedford subway station at Bloor and Bedford.  To learn more about other ROM Walks, please download the ROMwalk brochure  (PDF).