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2005 04 01
imageSurveying is one part of the process by which new territory passes out of the realm of mystic, romantic symbols of the colonial quest recorded by writers and artists of the day. The view from the escarpment at the top of the Baldwin steps certainly evokes the sense of ‘controlling vista’ which our ideas about landscape usually contain.

In early Toronto, large land parcels were assembled folling the earliest surveys in 1793 and 1794. The First Concession ran from Queen to Bloor in long thin rectangles of 100 acre lots called Town lots. All lots from Bloor Street north were 200 acre lots called Farm lots. The Spadina/Dupont railway underpass is in the Second Concession of Farm Lots.

Spadina Avenue from the waterfront to Bloor Street was designed by Dr. William Warren Baldwin on the model of a grand Parisian boulevard, generously proportioned and lined with chestnut trees and gardens. Dr. W.W. Baldwin’s Spadina also entailed the construction of two perfect geometric figures inserted into the surrounding rectangular block system. Clarence Square, which borders lower Spadina on the east side, contains a vestigial grove of chestnut trees; Spadina Circle, originally planned as a garden centerpiece for the entire promenade, is now dominated by Knox College.

Robert Baldwin III continued the family interest in urban planning by registering the first Plan of Subdivision for the Annex which incorporated several Baldwin properties. Robert III’s surveyors worked from west to east in their layout, whereas W.W. Baldwin’s had worked east to west. Consequently there exists today a small jog in the alignment of Spadina road at Bloor Street.

From the files of the Community History Project
[email this story] Posted by Brad Golden / Lynne Eichenberg on 04/01 at 08:56 AM

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