Ward’s Island Association Clubhouse, Toronto (1918)

Posted in: Snippits of History | 0

The Ward’s Island Association Clubhouse was destroyed in a massive fire last night.

The Ward’s Island Association (WIA) was established in 1913, the same year the city started to regulate the increasingly popular and haphazard tent city on the site. Wooden sidewalks laid out in a grid pattern started to serve as de facto roads and the city began to require licenses to erect a tent.

In 1918 the WIA built their first small clubhouse. In 1931 the city began to allow permanent structures to be built on the tent sites. The majority of homes on Ward’s today were built in the 1930s, their closeness a relict of the original “Tent City”. The WIA built their new larger clubhouse in 1937-1938.

Though it was a private community facility, the historic Clubhouse was a popular rental facility for weddings and events. The Island Café on the east side of the building was open to the public.

The front of the 1918 clubhouse was preserved as the front of the WIA Administration building (aka the “Little Clubhouse”).

The community is devastated, but they are strong. I hope they rebuild.

Follow Jocelyn Gordon:

I have been interested in history for almost as long as I can remember. My mother and grandfather took me to see the King Tut exhibit at the AGO in 1979 when I was six years old. An interest in “Dead Canadians” might seem a far distance from ancient Egypt, but not really when you consider that both relate to the study of funerary practices and remembering the deceased.

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