Vintage Glamour-The Historic Royal York Hotel, Toronto Canada

This Sunday I am going for High Tea at the Beautiful and Historic Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

I have been to this hotel many times in my life (staying there a couple of times with my family before I moved to Toronto) and every time I’m blown away by its grandeur. It truly is a sight to see when visiting Toronto, a vintage lovers dream.

Royal York Hotel Vintage Toronto

Source: Wikipedia

History

The Royal York opened it’s doors on June 11, 1929. It was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth and quickly set the hospitality standard of the day. The magnificent hotel became known as a city within a city, rising in 28 floors of architectural splendor and replete with mechanical genius and opulence never before seen in Toronto.

It boasted 1,048 rooms – each with radios, private showers and bathtubs. The 1.5 acres of public rooms included a 12-bed hospital, 12,000-book library and ten ornate passenger elevators. The Concert Hall featured a full stage and mammoth pipe organ weighing 50 tons, which surpassed anything else in Canada with 300 miles of copper wire. There was a glass-enclosed roof garden, the largest hotel kitchen in Canada with a bakery that could produce over 15,000 French rolls a day, a 66-ft.long switchboard manned by 35 telephone operators, its own bank and golf course (now known as St. George Golf & Country) (Source).

1929 Royal York hotel Opening Ad

1929 Ad for the opening of the hotel. Source: AdClassix.com

1930s Royal York Hotel Toronto

The Hotel on Front Street, 1930s.   Source: Toronto Archives

Thank you to the Fairmont Royal York for finding this AMAZING sketch of the fashions wore during the opening Gala Ball on June 11, 1929.

I will take…all the outfits!

1929 vintage fashion images

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Vintage Image of the Lobby

Postcard Royal York Hotel Toronto

The Lobby Today..pretty similar.

Royal York Hotel-Toronto Lobby

Below is a sketch of the Royal York Hotel ballroom, clearly in the year that it opened from the outfits I see.

According to the Fairmont Royal York Pinterest Page:

When the Royal York hotel opened its doors on June 11, 1929, it brought about a new social era, attracting a true “who’s who” list of royalty, celebrities, dignitaries and leisure travellers to the city of Toronto. On opening night, the Royal York hosted four grand balls where guests dined and danced until the wee hours of the morning. It set a new standard in luxury, elegance and entertainment.

Royal York Hotel Toronto Ballroom Vintage Image

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

The Ballroom looks exactly like it did when it first opened-Stunning!

Royal York Ballroom Toronto

Royal York Ballroom Toronto

The Hotel did everything top-notch. Look how stylish the Bartenders look in the 1940s?

I wonder what they are making, it looks delightful whatever it is.

Historic Royal york hotel 1940s Toronto

Source: Toronto Archives

What a Buffet! Can you see the Ice Sculpture Deer in the background? I love fun details like that.

1940s Royal York Hotel Toronto

Source: Toronto Archives

Image of the 66 foot long telephone switchboard that required 35 operators to run it.

Fairmont Royal York Telephone Switchboard Vintage Image

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Of course a hotel on this grand of scale also had to have amazing entertainment.

Quote from the Fairmont Royal York Pinterest Page:

The Imperial Room was once the most sought after show room in North America, when it opened in the hotel in 1929 it was the city’s newest and most elegant dining and dancing establishment. It defined the Toronto social scene as the meeting site of high society functions and big band shows. The stage of the Imperial Room has seen headlining acts such as Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Bob Hope.

Imperial Room Royal York Hotel toronto vintage image

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

The early bands often were employed by hotels, and many bore their employers’ names, eg, in Montreal, the Windsor Hotel Orchestra and Andy Tipaldi and his Ritz-Carlton Orchestra. The largest hotels in Canada had successions of orchestras which, by the 1950s and 1960s, also came to be used as showbands to accompany individual performers. Leaders at the Royal York Hotel (Toronto) have included Charles Bodley, Fred Culley, Rex Battle, Don Romanelli, Billy Bissett, Horace Lapp, Stanley St. John,Moxie Whitney, and Howard Cable (Source).

The band below is clearly the house band of the Royal York as the signs say “RY”. What kind of music do you think they are playing if the first row is all Violins?

Royal York Hotel Toronto Vintage Images

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Guests from all walks of life stayed at the hotel, like Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly (swoon) and even….Queen Elizabeth II (seen below).

Queen Elizabeth the 2nd at the Royal York Hotel Toronto

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Here is an adorable image of an Ice Follies performer in the 1940s who was staying there. How cute is that outfit??

Royal York Hotel Toronto Canada Historic images

Source: Toronto Archives

Royal York also had various advertising campaigns over the years. Here are some great vintage ads.

I adore this cute early 1960s ad (I think) for their meeting rooms. Reminds me of a Mad Men episode.

vintage marketing ads for the royal york hotel toronto

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Looking to get married? The Royal York I will do the job nicely.

This ad is clearly from the same illustrator as above, love it.

Vintage Wedding at the Royal York Hotel Toronto

Source: The Fairmont Royal York

The Royal York has even hosted fun events like this Direct Broadcast party of the Grey Cup (superbowl of Canada) in November 1956.

royal york hotel Grey cup 1950s

Source: Toronto Archives

Complete with Marching Girls.

1956 Grey Cup in toronto Royal York Hotel

Source; Toronto Archives

Many clubs and companies hosted events at the Hotel over the years, like The Electric Club from the 1930s-50s. Who apparently liked their menus to have pretty girls in swimsuits on the front (and lassie).

vintage Electric Club Menu's for Fairmont Royal York - date ranging from 1937 - 1952

Source: Fairmont Royal York

After looking thru all these photos, reading stories on the Royal York I’m thrilled the Fairmont and Toronto has seen value in keeping it standing after all these years because this truly is a fantastic piece of Toronto History.

royal york hotel 1929 vintage image

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

 

So Friends..have you been to the RY? Or do you have a favorite vintage hotel? Do Tell!

Liz 🙂

Toronto Pin Up Fashion Store Celebrates 20 Years!

-Repost from Toronto Vintage Society

DAMZELS have been helping Toronto celebrate our inner Pin Up girl for 20 Years!

Pinup/Rockabilly/Vintage Reproduction Clothing Store

The Damzels Themselves!

That is 20 years of designing and procuring women’s clothing for alt/vintage/pin up/rockabilly/repro scene.  Not only has their presence helped to solidify a place for us in Toronto, but they have given back to their alt/cult community time and time again.

Brief History (more info in the interview below)

Damzels in this Dress; designed by Kelly Freeman and Rory Lindo, were a vintage/rock n roll inspired dress label that before opening retail stores in Leslieville and Roncesvalles (popular neighbourhoods in Toronto), sold their dress brand wholesale to boutiques.  Their dresses were sold across Canada, the US, and internationally. The Damzel collections have been shown during Toronto Fashion Week, featured on Fashion Television, Canada’s Next Top Model and even Much Music (Canadian Version of MTV).

Vintage Reproduction Clothing Store Toronto

Damzels – past and present!

The Vintage Reproduction World Comes to Toronto

The ladies knew that by opening their brick and mortar stores it gave them not only a chance to build their house brand up locally but also bring great clothing, shoes and kitsch brands to Toronto.  Why pay for shipping when you can get brands like Pin Up Girl Clothing, and Trashy Diva right around the corner…while you are at it – pick up some fab shoes, accessories and cheeky gift items all in one shopping trip!!

Reproduction Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Girlie and Kitschy greatness!

The accessibility to these unique brands, allows us to live and breathe this unique style daily! Damzels also gives the “curious” (aka those who don’t dress regularly in retro styles) a chance to dress up and add a little sass to their lives.

Reproduction Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Some of their amazing (and loyal) clientele!

Damzel Events are always the talk of the town

You would think that running 2 stores and an international online business would keep them too busy to breathe…well Kelly and Rory never cease to amaze with their in-store events that help keep that cult community strong.  Their Back Lot Bonanzas, Beat Caves and Seasonal Extravaganzas give their clients, friends and fans a chance to celebrate what they’ve built on an intimate level.

Reproduction Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Everyone should attend a Damzels event at least once in their life!

Fantastic Designers/Owners and all around Cool Ladies

The Damzels let TVS get to know them…and if you have been lucky to meet these great, energetic, generous and often wacky ladies…then you will see why everything they have built is so infectious.  They are are as lovely and unique as the brand and community they have built.

Reproduction Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Kelly and Rory!

 

The Toronto Vintage Society sat down with Kelly and Rory to asked them a couple questions about turning 20:

1. How did you meet and how did Damzels get started?

We met in the fashion program at George Brown College Kensington Campus in 1991. We had sewing machines next to each other and shared the same taste in rock n’ roll, vintage clothing and beer! In 1993, we started buying rolls of fabric together and making clothing that we would sell at outdoor festivals, craft fairs…even a Medieval Festival (yes, when we went vintage we went really vintage like 1500’s ) We started building a following of gals that would come out specifically to buy our dresses.  Next thing we knew we were getting orders from local clothing stores so we decided to open our first design studio on Spadina and the birth of Damzels in this Dress in 1994.

2. What did the “scene” look like when Damzels got started?

That was 1994! Grunge, rave, glam, it was all part of the scene at that time.

However, around ‘96 we started Lindy Hop lessons and it became a way of life for us for several years. Our line had always been inspired by the past, and we fell in love with the fashions of the 30’,40’s and 50’s while part of the dance community. We were very fortunate because at that time the originator of swing dance, Frankie Manning, and his dance partner the “Queen of Swing” Norma Miller were regularly apart of Lindy Hop workshops that we attended. It was an incredible and special experience to get the opportunity to learn from the folks that basically invented the dance.

Pretty crazy because at the same time, the bright shabby chic of rave culture was in full force, so it was a fun challenge to try and incorporate our love of vintage into the mid 90’s  mayhem of wide leg pants and soother necklaces.

3. How does vintage inspire what you choose for your stores?

Our passion is being able to bring modernity to vintage styling. We love mixing periods to make something fresh and fun. Ultimately, we’re looking for styles that are going to be flattering on women of all shapes and sizes, and the vintage aesthetic fits the bill. Our brand specializes in dresses because we love the simplicity of being able to put on a single garment, and look great from head to toe effortlessly.

4. What has changed for Damzels over the last 20 years?

We opened our retail shops Doll Factory by Damzels in 2006 and now only produce the Damzels label for our stores instead of selling wholesale to other retailers. This gives us the opportunity to do small, unique runs, really get to know our customer base, and offer something that is exclusive to our locations.

5. What is up next for Damzels?

More dresses, more parties, more rock n’ roll!

Reproduction Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

This picture of Kelly kinda sums it up!

Party Time!

Join in the 20th Anniversary celebration in-store on Thursday, October 23rd at Damzels East or Damzels West and enjoy 20% off your purchase from 11am to 9pm.  Treats to be served after 6pm.

You can also submit a picture of you wearing Damzels (the older the better) to their Facebook page #Damzels20th

…AND if you were lucky enough to RSVP in time for their Gala Event…then TVS will see you there (P.S. Vintage Inn will be there, so be sure to follow me on Instagram to check out up to date pictures of this fashionable evening).
Reproduction Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

A Damzels timeline of awesome!

Social Media Tags: #Damzels #Damzels20th #DollFactorybyDamzels #HappyAnniversary

My Recent 1940s and 50s Vintage Finds

This past weekend I attended a new event in Toronto called “The Toronto Antique & Vintage Market” at the CNE grounds. I was attending on behalf of the Toronto Vintage Society and also for my own pleasure..hello Vintage Shopping! The event was a pretty good size with booths selling everything from vintage clothing to vintage postcards and antique furniture.

I had a very limited budget so I knew that I was not going to go all hog-wild on buying things, plus my closet is getting so jammed I really have no space to store any new clothing items until I do a purge (which is going to be almost impossible). So my plan..keep it small and easy to store. Well the show had lots of that so I scored a few awesome finds, and here is what I found….

————————————

One of my favorite finds from the show-a 1940-41 Fall & Winter Eaton’s Catalogue (stay tuned for a post on all the goodies inside!).

Eaton’s was once Canada’s largest department store retailer. It was founded in 1869 in Toronto by Timothy Eaton, and it grew to become a retail and social institution in Canada. With stores across the country, buying offices around the globe, and a catalogue that was found in the homes of most Canadians (we always had one in my home). Sadly in 1999 the company went bankrupt, so now finding pieces of history like this is means just a little bit more for vintage history lovers like me (Source).

1940s Eatons Catalogue

The jacket is absolutely DIVINE!

Find # 2: 1950’s Rosanna Knit Sportswear Bolero

This sweater has the most wonderful details as you can see below and is in MINT condition. I got it for a steal AND it’s small so it will fit in whatever remaining space is left in my closet.

1950s Sweater

Next Purchase a Vintage Brooch-It needs a bit of TLC but I actually don’t mind the fact that there is only a bit of green left on the palm trees. Adds Character 🙂

vintage brooch

Now my small but mighty finds-Several Vintage Photos from the 1940s and 1950s:

The below image has a story to tell and I love it! I believe that the couple is going on their honeymoon or something very important because air travel in the 1940s was not something you just up and did like we do today. Plus they look really really nice, which is nothing out of the norm for air travel in the early days but they just look like it’s a special occasion.

I think it is also great that the plane in the background is actually a Canadian airline (no longer around) called “Canadian Pacific Air Lines“. I love finding images like that this have a bit of Canadian history tied to them.

Lastly, lets talk about her outfit. Her hat is just amazing and so very different from what I normally see. She also has great peep toe shoes purse and her classic suit goes a long long way in the “simple but stylish” department.

1940s Vintage image of couple in front of Canadian Pacific airplane

1940s couple in front of Canadian Pacific Airplane

Next up we have this 1940s cutie in a double-breasted winter jacket, that just looks soooo warm! Hopefully warm enough to keep her exposed head and toes warm too. Aren’t her shoes great?!

I was drawn to this picture for the simple beauty coming off the paper. She looks very happy smiling for the camera, and I wonder what her story is? Maybe off to see a loved one return from war?

1940s women in a coat image

1940s Beauty

When I saw this picture my girlfriend and I tossed back and forth whether she was wearing a playsuit or not and finally after both agreeing that is was VERY clear that she was,  I had to buy it!

Her playsuit is just great and looks totally comfortable. I love how she paired the simplicity of the outfit with nice big flowing 40s hair, some sort of brooch and big bow peep toe heels.  Future Pinup Model? I think so 🙂

I am curious on where she is though? Those heels don’t look to easy to walk in for a stroll in the woods.

1940s woman in a playsuit

1940’s Playsuit for the Win!

Next up is a early 1940s (maybe late 1930s) beach photo from my hometown of Sarnia, Ontario. The beach was at Canatara Park a frequent hangout for those who wanted to catch some rays and go swimming in Lake Huron. I was super excited to find this picture because I have never really seen any cool “life images” from my hometown. So to stumble upon a postcard with this image was a wonderful surprise for me.

I’m totally digging the swimsuits and hair in this photo.

1930's swimmers on the beach

Next up we have the most stylish 1950s Housewife on the block. Lets call her Marge 🙂 Isn’t she just lovely?

What colour do you think her dress is? I can’t seem to decide personally.

1950s Housewife Image

1950s Housewife

I also found this super funny postcard that from what I can see was mailed in the 1950s (according to the back) from one woman friend to another. Isn’t it hilarious??!!

1950s funny postcard

Lastly I did NOT buy this at the show but I had to share it. I stumbled upon a 1930s Hair Perming Machine and had to take a picture of it. It was crazy cool and crazy scary at the same time! Can you imagine sticking your head under this thing?

1930s vintage hair perming machine

1930s Perming Machine-Made in Hamilton

And that was my finds friends! Did you do any recent shopping this weekend or week? If so what was your favorite find?

Liz 🙂

 

 

 

 

“Morgans Department Store”-Little bit of Canadian Vintage History

Recently I went and visited an antique show here in Toronto at a local mall called “Cloverdale“, there was lots and lots of items for sale but nothing mid-century for this gal until I saw a really cool hat box at one of the tables. Seen here…

1950s Vintage Hat Box

The box was not in great condition but after quickly searching the name on the box “Morgans” I discovered that it was a little bit of Canadian history, so I ran back and scooped it up for a steal and a history lesson from its owners.

Apparently, Morgan’s (formally Henry Morgan & Company) was a Montreal-based Canadian department store chain. The first store was opened in Montreal in 1845 by Scottish immigrant Henry Morgan with a second store not appearing till the early 1950s in the Snowdon section of Montreal. Other stores subsequently opened on the island of Montreal, and several Ontario cities (Wikipedia).

After being open for over 100 years, in the 1960s the Hudson Bay Company purchased Morgans and quickly converted the Ontario stores to “Bay’s”. By the early 1970s the Quebec stores followed suit and that was the end of the brand Morgans….until I found my box! Now we can share in a moment of Canadian history together and bring to life the department store once more.

The Early Days:

Morgans 1890

Morgan's 1890

Morgan’s department store in Montreal decorated for the 1939 Royal Tour of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. So Elegant.

I wish we could see setups like this again when royalty comes to visit.

 Morgan's department store decorated for the 1939 Royal Tour. Montreal, Canada

Here are some images of other Morgans in the 1950’s

Hamilton’s Greater Shopping Centers-Morgans

Morgan's 1950s

Source: henleyshamilton1.wordpress.com

Interior shots of the Hamilton store being prepared for opening

A miniature milk bar for the kids. Oh my how cute!!

Morgans Department store 1950s

Source: henleyshamilton1.wordpress.com

Male Mannequins for the store. Kind of creepy I think. Actually Really Really Creepy!

Morgans Department Store

Source: henleyshamilton1.wordpress.com

Group of Sales women attending a class to be able to work at Morgan’s.

What marvelous hair all these ladies have.

Morgans Department Store

Source: henleyshamilton1.wordpress.com

Learning how to use the Cash Register.

Morgans Department Store

Source: henleyshamilton1.wordpress.com

Morgans 1950’s ad for Schiaparelli Hats. Love this! How do I get this hat?

Schiapareli 1958

 

Hungry anyone? I will have the Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding (my fav!).

Gosh could you imagine if a Buffet (then called a Smorgasbord) was $1.19 today? Yikes!

Vintage Department Store ads

Source: torontoist.com

“As new as tomorrow”….How exciting, I love things that are as new as tomorrow!

vintage department store ad

Source: torontoist.com

Logo Designs:

1950s Morgans

1950s Morgans Department store

Source: The Department Store Museum

1970s Morgans after the Hudson Bay took it over (this would be its last logo change)

Vintage Department Stores in Canada

Source: The Department Store Museum

 Interesting Fact: It looks like Morgans was the first department store to move into family neighborhoods, as opposed to making a trip downtown to go shopping (as seen below). I’m sure this made many a family lives easier.

This ad makes me giggle. What is with the triangle people??

Vintage Department Store Toronto

Source: torontoist.com

And that interesting fact ties in with the knowledge that where I bought the hat box was actually where a Morgans Department store once stood in the 1960s at Cloverdale Mall.  It was under my nose the whole time and I never knew! How exciting!

——————-

There you have it friends, a little bit of Canadian History.

Do you have a department store where you live that has been around for years or maybe know of one like Morgans that has come and gone? I would love to hear about it.

Liz 🙂

 

 

Toronto’s “Rockin” Rockabilly Scene

If you have never visited Toronto then you might not be aware that we have an AMAZING music scene. It is 100% true that you can come and visit our city on ANY Night and find first class live music to listen too. As a Lindy Hopper I’m so spoiled on the live swing music I can dance to almost every night (especially in the summer time). As a Rockabilly fan I’m also equally lucky to have several amazing bands right on my door step and currently a regular monthly rockabilly night as well!

Rockabilly bands in Toronto

Our next Rockabilly Night-Sept 26th

For my blog post today I want to shed the light on some of the amazing Rockabilly Music right here in Toronto and surrounding cities (some are ones I know well and some are ones I don’t but they are all amazing).

(Note: I’m sure I missed some bands and I do apologize)

Millwinders

I love the Millwinders and have blogged about them before when they played at VIVA this past year. They have this great traditional rockabilly sound that is just fantastic. If you ever get to see them live they are loads of fun (and they are all super nice!) and if you like vintage style then Sarah (the only lady in the band) is your gal. Her vintage style is drool worthy AND she is a Toronto Vintage Society member too.

The Swingin’ Blackjacks

The Swingin’ Blackjacks was the first Rockabilly band I had ever seen live in Toronto and they quickly became a favorite of mine. With their sound being a blend of Rockabilly and Jumpin Blues you can easily dance the night away to them…and I have! Matt and the band always put on a top-notch show and you can usually catch them playing somewhere in the city, several times a month. Very hard-working band.

The Royal Crowns

Once again another favorite band of mine with an outstanding rockabilly sound that will keep the party going all night long. I try not to miss these guys when they are playing as they don’t play a ton of shows and they really are a must see band. Their sound touches on many genres of music-rockabilly, rock and roll, hillbilly jazz, surf, and rhythm and blues to name just a few. Also 2 of the members “Teddy Fury” and “Danny Bartley” have deep musical roots stretching back to the early ’80s, playing in key bands such as The Bop Cats and Shotgun Shack (source). So this band has a strong Rockabilly background.

Tennessee Voodoo Coupe

I think I’m going to become a broken record here in a minute…another favorite band! SEE how lucky Toronto is?? I’m only on band # 4 and I have already gushed so much. Anyways TVC is a band I have danced to and seen live too many times to count. They even performed at VIVA LAST Year and they were so good! TVC is headed up by the very talented and charismatic “Big Rude Jake” who has had a long and successful career in Rockabilly, Jazz, Swing etc. and it shows in his music. This band is always putting on a good show.

Video Note: The dancers in the “dark” in this video are friends in the scene.

Alistair Christl

Self described as the “Reigning Canadian champion of “Hillbilly Bop” – a style that combines the best of Honky tonk, Country Swing, Roots Rockabilly, Jazz and Blues Alistair is another show stopper. I have seen him play the Rockabilly Brunch at the Dominion on Queen many times (as well as many other events) and he always impresses every time. He is super fun to dance too as well.

The Kat Kings

The Kat Kings have this great Bluesy/Rockabilly (Bluesabilly?? lol) sound that is just so sweet to listen too and dance too. They are another hardworking band that perform all over the city and beyond. One of my favorite performances was a couple of years back at the Elvis Tribute night at Hughs Room. Kevin the lead singer was just so perfect to lead this tribute night and I think Elvis would have been proud.

Ginger St. James

I have only seen Ginger play once and it was awhile ago but I plan to change this very soon because she is an outstanding vocalist and great performer. To sum up her style there is a great quote on her website that says: “Raunchy, sassy, bluesy, rockin’ with a good-sized dash of jazz AND country, this is a total delight to the ears of any connoisseur of great music. – Tara Jennings

Hell Bent Rockers

The Hell Bent Rockers are an awesome band from just outside of Toronto in the city of Hamilton. There sound is high-energy mix of classic rock & roll and authentic 50’s rockabilly. Just the kind of Rockabilly I personally love and have enjoyed every time I have seen them perform. I’m looking forward to seeing them next Friday at the 3030.

Greasemarks

The Greasemarks according to their website describe themselves as Leaving a trail of stained pillows, broken hearts and busted amps in their wake.The Greasemarks have been doin’ 50’s rockabilly loud, nasty & right since 2007″. I have seen this band a few times and have to say this statement is true 🙂

The Diamond Drapes

Another great band from Hamilton, the Diamond Drapes are a well dressed band with a classic Rockabilly sound. I only recently saw this band perform about a year ago and I was kicking myself for not seeing them sooner, they are so good! I stayed on the dance floor all night long.

Ronnie Hayward

Ronnie has been playing his rockabilly brand of hobo country for years now. Prior to forming his own trio in 1989, he had already played and written songs on several albums and had been a member of Jimmy Roy’s 5 Star Hillbillies, Herald Nix, The Nervous Fellas, The Bughouse Five and countless other rockabilly and roots-based bands. He has released eleven albums of his own, nine of which are on European labels (Source).

Heather Ballentine

I will be honest I had not heard of Heather till I started writing this post, and that is a real shame because she has a beautiful voice and amazing retro style! Her signature sound appeals to country, rockabilly and bluegrass audiences alike. Check her out below, I know I’m a new fan now.

—————-

Extra Music Note: Toronto has also a number of Psychobilly Bands that have a real following as well and are very good if that is your favourite style. Bands like:

The Howling Bullets

Christian D and the Hangovers

Buzz Deluxe

Evil Elvis

————————————-

For regular updates on the scene here in Toronto make sure you visit “Toronto Rockabilly” or like the Facebook page “Rockhouse T.O.” AND of course make sure you follow the “Toronto Vintage Society” who is always up to date on all events Rockabilly and beyond in Toronto.

Elvis Presley 1950s

Do you have a favorite band? And it does not have to be in Toronto. I always love hearing about other bands in other cities (that is why I love VIVA for the chance to see new bands). Do Share!

Liz 🙂

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion – A Grand Piece of Toronto History

Toronto has a wonderful piece of history sitting on its waterfront called the “Sunnyside Beach Pavilion” that has been around since 1922. I have seen this structure at least a million times in my few short years living in Toronto and never ceases to amaze me on how beautiful it is. I even looked at is at a potential wedding venue 2 years ago that is how much I’m enamored with this structure.

Sunnyside Pavilion

1920’s Sunnyside

The name “Sunnyside” had been used to denote a beach and its surrounding area for 70-plus years before the amusement park and beach pavilion opened. The name may have been coined by George Howard, a prominent citizen whom in 1848 had built a home overlooking the shore on the sunny side of a hill (source).

By the 1920s, swimming at the foot of Roncesvalles Avenue had been popular for over thirty years, as there was a swimming area near a pumping station. This changed in 1913 when the pumping station was demolished to make way for the bridge connecting Lakeshore Road and the King/Queen/Roncesvalles intersection. A staircase was built for pedestrians to walk down to the shoreline. A slide was installed for bathers to slide down into the water (COOL!).

1912 Sunnyside Beach

1912 Sunnyside Beach Source: Toronto Archives

By 1920, this area was filled in and the beach was moved farther to the south. For the year 1921, the beach was recorded as having over 302,525 visitors (Source).

This influx of bathers to the area meant that there was a space needed where they could change, so on June 28th, 1922 the “Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion” was born.

Sunnyside Pavilion

Sunnyside Pavilion-Today

Sunnyside-bathing-pavilion-1922

Sunnyside-bathing-pavilion-1922

1920s Sunnyside Beach

1920s Sunnyside Beach and Pavilion

Sunnyside Beach 1924

Sunnyside Beach 1924

Information about the Beach building

The building, constructed of concrete, cost $300,000. Each wing held an outdoor changing area, lockers and showers, the women’s side on the east, and men’s side on the west. It offered over 7,700 lockers for patrons, a roof garden for 400. Admission fees were 25¢ for adults and 15¢ for children, and bathing suits and towels could be rented. In the center was a staircase leading to an upper terrace which overlooked the change areas leading to a rear terrace which ran the full length of the building and overlooked the beach.

The “Tank”

If you have ever been to Ontario and attempted to swim in the waters you would quickly realize that they are not the most ideal for swimming..cold! And so in 1925 a giant swimming pool called the “Tank” was built and could accommodate up to 2000 swimmers. It was considered at that time the largest swimming pool in the world and you can still go swimming in this pool today.

1920s Sunnyside Pool

Sunnyside Pool and Beach 1940s

1940s Sunnyside Pool

Bathing Pavilion Today

In 1980 the Bathing Pavilion was renovated with the outdoor lockers and changing areas being demolished and new changing rooms were built.

Sunnyside Beach Pavilion

Front of the Pavilion

Sunnyside Pavilion

Sunnyside Pavilion

Currently under construction to bring it back to former glory

The pool was rededicated as the ‘Gus Ryder Pool’, named after Marilyn Bell’s coach, the founder and coach of the Lakeshore Swim Club of New Toronto. I also just happened to find a plaque about Marilyn Bells near by as seen below…

Marilyn Bell Toronto

And that my friends is a brief history on the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion.

As a lover of history in Toronto it thrills me to the bone that Toronto has taken the time to preserve this piece of history. I sometimes find our city is so preoccupied with putting up millions of condos that us regular folks can’t afford that they forget that we don’t have tons of places like the Sunnyside Pavilion still standing that they should not so quickly discard.

I look forward to sitting by this structure for many more years to come.

Do you have something like this in your home town? Or a structure that has lots of history that your city takes pride in preserving it? Let me know!

Liz 🙂

 

Toronto Vintage Society: Pre-Opening Sneak Peak at Tatyana’s New Boutique

I’m about to share below a great post created by the Toronto Vintage Society about the amazing and fantastic “Tatyana Designs” (formally known as Bettie Page) that is opening in Toronto ASAP!

Tatyana Clothing Toronto

But before I do this I want to quickly share my own story about this brand.

I have been wearing Tatyana clothing for many years now. In fact the Bettie Page brand (as it was called originally at start-up) was my first entry into the world of “Vintage reproduction clothing”. I was in Las Vegas and was wandering lost in Planet Hollywood when all of a sudden I saw the iconic image of Bettie Page staring back at me with racks of beautiful garments just begging to be tried on behind her. I purchased 2 dresses (which I still wear today) and have not stopped buying since.

Now every time I visit Vegas I go to the store in the forum shops and buy something and catch up with the shop girls that have now become our friends. My husband is also noted as the “guy who gave a mini swing dancing lesson in the store” to the Tatyana staff 🙂 I have also gotten my mom addicted to the brand and she sports many wonderful pieces in her closet too.

To show you the love here is a picture of my collection!

Tatyana boutique clothing

My collection

NOW for the post I promised you….Toronto Vintage Society’s Sneak Peak Post:

Toronto has been buzzing for months around rumours of getting the golden-era inspired dress company behind the Bettie Page brand – Tatyana!

Vintage and retro style lovers – from swing dancers to rockabilly fans – have been dying to get their hands on the full range of clothing since they were dreamed up in 2006. The Tatyana company has chosen Toronto to be it’s 20th location AND it’s first international store….and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

 “Our newest Tatyana boutique is situated in the heart of Toronto,” notes Tatyana Designs co-CEO Jan Glaser. “We continue to be gratified by the enthusiastic acceptance of Tatyana’s designs by women from all walks of life. This is especially true as we have an enormous Canadian following with thousands wearing our dresses representing a disproportionate percentage of our customers. Now we have the opportunity to honor their patronage with our first Canadian outlet in an amazing location.”

The Toronto Vintage Society are huge supporters of any new company that wants to join our ranks in bringing the retro inspired lifestyle to this city…and there is room for everyone!!! To find out more we reached out to the company. The lovely Hayley from the NYC Boutique and new Toronto Store Manager Martha made time to let the Toronto Vintage Society have a sneak peek at what’s in store.

The first thing we found out is that the SOFT OPENING event will be THIS SATURDAY starting at 2pm! The FIRST 10 people through the door will receive a goody bag, there will be bubbly drinks and tasty treats…more importantly there will a 20% discount to anyone who mentions “TORONTO VINTAGE LOVES TATYANA

 Despite busily setting up for their opening weekend soft opening, they still managed to take the time to answer some questions for us!

 What is the company history of Tatyana?

Tatyana Designs is named after the founder and lead designer (Tatyana Khomyakova) who began designing retro inspired dresses when she founded her first clothing line, Bettie Page Clothing, in 2006. Born in northern Russia, Tatyana loved the arts and fashion from her earliest memories. After excelling at the University of Culture with degrees in theater and fashion, she began her modeling, Tatyana, after becoming a high fashion couture model, studied fashion design in France and London which led to her expertise in unique women’s vintage style design. Dismissing the “frivolous trends of the moment,” the high fashion model decided to bring into being a line that reflects the beauty and mystery of women without being vulgar or “Trendy.” Bettie Page Clothing was born.

 In 2006, we opened our first boutique at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the strip in Las Vegas, NV. Soon thereafter, we opened Hollywood, Forum Shops in Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, New York, Nashville and more so that we now have twenty Boutiques.

 In 2014, Tatyana emerged from the Bettie Page Clothing line to unveil her new company: Tatyana. The future of the line is as varied as women themselves. The nature of the dresses appeal to all demographics. Young people like the dresses because they are unusual and a “little crazy” so they can stand out in a crowd. Middle aged clients enjoy the elegance and “mystery” the dresses convey. Moreover, the older generation appreciates the nostalgia which reminds them of their youth. Everything from fabric content and design to the silhouettes themselves undergo constant change and evolution to meet the demands of clients.

Tatyana has found her place in the fashion world, which is fortunate not only for her, but for women everywhere.

 I feel you two are the main players in making this store come to life…tell us about yourselves!

Vintage Reproduction Clothing

Martha (Boutique Manager TO) and Hayley (Boutique Manger NY)

 

Hayley– Well I am just here in Toronto helping Miss Martha out, I actually live in Brooklyn and manage our Manhattan store at 303 Bowery. (Come say hi if you are ever in town!) I started with the company about four years ago when I opened our San Francisco location on Haight Street.  It was a fantastic time to join the team, because the company was really taking off.  We started opening boutiques all over the country, and I was fortunate enough to be involved in opening quite a few of them.  When the decision to open in New York City was made, I had to jump on it.  Obviously. I am a die hard vintage fan, and even more so just a fashion enthusiast. I love all things beautiful and retro.

Martha– I am from Prince Edward Island and new to Toronto!  Simply pleased and tickled to be the store manager for Tatyana Boutique first International location.  I have a background in retail & customer service that has allowed me to collect passport stamps from also being a retail buyer.  I feel like fashion is in my blood since my ‘Granny’ wore dresses everyday and taught me you can never be over dressed!.

Why did the Tatyana company decide to open its next store on Toronto? 

H-Martha, how many people did you say live here?  Toronto is fabulous city and full of energy.  Where else would we want to open our first international store?

M- 2.5 Million!

The line has vintage/retro inspired feel…are your clients only vintage / rockabilly / swing fans? 

H- Not at all.  Of course we have tons of clients that are into the scene (and we adore you!) but we also cater to a wide a range of clients, we literally have something for everyone.  In NYC I have a great mix of rockabilly pin up gals, professionals, and just girls into fashion.  Our clients are women from all backgrounds that just want to feel beautiful in what they wear.

M- I am just learning about all the vintage styles. I have more of a classic or lady-like look so I appreciate the cut and style that Tatyana Boutique offers to suit a real women’s body.  I plan to mix in circle skirts and get a few make-up lessons so that I fit right in here.

Tell us about the most iconic Tatyana dress and how it was inspired and designed. 

H- That is a tough one!  I would have to say the Brigit, the Alika and the Captain are our most iconic dresses.  All three of these have been in to many magazines and tv shows to name. My personal favorite at the moment though is the Shirlee Tegee! We had a “bring it back contest” last year where clients sent in photos of their mothers and grandmothers in beautiful garments.  One of the winners was this little number, a dress that the first Miss USA wore in 1947.  I am obsessed with the fabric, cut, and the print was so ahead of its time! Oh, and it has pockets!!

M- I have my eye on a few!  I think that Annie’s Garden with a bow belt is the new one I will purchase!

Vintage Reproduction Clothing

Shirley Tegge Dress

Vintage reproduction clothing

The Stunning Creator of TVS-Jacquie at the recent “Hats and Horseshoes” event

What do you hope to happen for Tatyana in Toronto specifically?  Do you see it as a simple walk-in Queen St W business or do you seeing it having an impact on the community?

H- If this city falls in love with Tatyana the way we have fallen in love with you, we hope to make this Boutique a destination shopping location.  Yes, tourists will shop with us… but we really want to get involved.  The city has so much to offer and we are thrilled to be apart of it.

M- Toronto has been patiently waiting for these dresses with the correct mixture of bright, fun, and flirty…we are all going to look like ladies!

What else will Tatyana have to offer in Toronto other than great clothes and accessories?

H- Exceptional customer service.  We pride ourselves in taking client satisfaction to the next level.  Our prices may not be that of a high-end designer store, but our mentality is. Oh, and we are also having a fabulous party mid September! Have you heard of Tempest Storm?  We have something killer in the works…stay tuned!

One that note, we will be helping out Hayley and Martha to make their Grand Opening happen in true Toronto Vintage style!  A little bit of everything should do the trick! You DO truly want to stay tuned!

Here are some fun sneak peek pictures of what to expect from Tayana’s Toronto Boutique:

Tatyana Boutique Toronto

Lines ups…inside and out!

Tatyana Boutique Clothing

Some studio lighting…perhaps for some in-store pin-up shoots??!!
The “Archie” Dress in Diamond Blue

Tatyana Boutique

Martha with the “Sweet Berries” dress

Tatyana Boutique Toronto

Stairs to the upper levels which may include “community space”!

Tatyana Boutique Toronto

Colour…and lots of it!

Tatyana Boutique Toronto

Steaming the “Captain’s Circle” in Navy

Tatyana Boutique Toronto

Hayley looking glamorous no matter the task in the “Ping Pong” dress!

Tatyana Boutique Toronto

Nautical Playsuit!

Vintage 1950s lamps

Vintage lamps picked up at Courage my Love in Kensington Market!

Tatyana Boutique Toronto

Almost ready to go!

Don’t Forget! SATURDAY, AUGUST 2nd at 2pm
Location: 322 Queen St. West- Goody Bag for the first 10 people through the door
– bubbly drinks and tasty treats for everyone
– 20% off if you remember to tell them that….
“TORONTO VINTAGE LOVES TATYANA”Stay tuned for news about their Grand Opening Event in September!Toronto Vintage Society Team!
———————–
On a side note…I think I want to buy this dress and channel my inner urge to be Anita from West Side Story. -Liz-
Tatyana Cubana Dress