Taking a Walk on Historic Danforth Avenue
By: Lindsay Reid Luminoso
Have you ever wondered just how the Danforth got its look and feel? Join us as we journey back in time examining some of Danforth’s more iconic features. Our exploration continues at Danforth and Greenwood.
Greenwood and Danforth – Linsmore Hotel and Tavern
Located at 1298 Danforth Avenue, the Linsmore Hotel has been a fixture on the northwest corner of Danforth and Linsmore Crescent since the early-twentieth century. Though the Linsmore no longer offers rooms to its patrons and the entertainment now is of a different variety, the liquor still flows and good times are still had by all.
The Greenwood and Danforth area had more brickyards than any other street in the city of Toronto and East York. From the 1860s to the 1920s, the Greenwood Avenue brickyard was a profitable business in the area. It not only generated countless jobs, but also brought businesses into the area. In the early-twentieth century, the rise of brickyards in the Danforth area grew exponentially. After a hard day, workers would often frequent local taverns and pubs, washing off the dirty soot of the day’s blasting.
One of the local hot spots was the Linsmore Hotel. Although the building itself dates to 1919, the Linsmore was established on December 7, 1934. It offered patrons a cheap beverage as well as the comforts of female companionship, and catered to visitors needing a room for the night. The Linsmore was one of the first taverns in the area to be licenced by the province of Ontario.
Max Bloom was the first owner. He and his nephew Lou Campul managed the tavern and the hotel above it. Bloom and Campul were keen on offering a safe and private locale for patrons to participate in activities that were not publically condoned. To stop nosy neighbours from snooping on clientele, there were initially no windows on the front entrance of the building.
City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 528
This photo dates back to 1945 and you can see the windows that were covered for privacy. At the side of the building, you can see another more private entrance where women and escorts entered. When work ended, customers made their way to the Linsmore for trays of 5 cent drafts in 6 ounce glasses.
Today, the Linsmore operates primarily as a tavern, with some rooms available upstairs. It is the last remaining hotel-tavern of its kind left in Toronto. It has changed owners since opening in 1945: Ryan Mangano has turned this old-style tavern into an inviting space for patrons to enjoy a very affordably priced beer and maybe a game of darts. The pool table can lead to a competitive atmosphere, and its faux-Tudor beams invite old-world intrigue. Just remember, if you are going to the Linsmore for karaoke on Fridays, arrive early or you may not get a seat.