Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Cottage Years: A nostalgic photographic exhibit about the historic Etobicoke community of Long Branch

The Cottage Years is a show being held at Humber College's South Etobicoke campus that combines local history, photographs and art. It "provides a nostalgic trip through photo albums of years past as a means of exploring the tourism industry that shaped the community of Long Branch 135 years ago. The exhibit brings together photographs, maps, artifacts, and illustrations from across seven decades of local history set alongside paintings of Etobicoke Creek by local artist, Pat Rice."

Long Branch was an early satellite community of Toronto and is now a part of Etobicoke. It was centered around Long Branch Ave. (which still exists) and was known for its beaches, cottages and summer attractions.

There are some incredible photographs and the Exhibit Guide -- which is free as is the show itself -- is remarkably comprehensive providing a considerable amount of historical context and information.

Among the many exhibits are photos of the great historic houses of the area, cottages on stilts to spare them from flooding, a tiny little newlywed's cabin, recreational grounds, and photos of early streetcars and the boats that would take 40 minutes to ferry travelers to downtown Toronto.

One bit of local history that I had never heard of was the story of the Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Park which had 367 permanent residents at its height in the late 50s.

To me the most striking photo is the powerful, though tragic, shot of the Long Branch Hotel fire in 1958.

Here we look at some of the pieces you will find. See the end of the post for details on the location and hours of the show which ends September 28.

The show is on the 3rd floor of the Humber College Student Welcome and Resource Centre, 2 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive which is at the southwest corner of Lake Shore Blvd W, and Kipling.

It is on the 501 streetcar line and the 44 Kipling South bus route. 

The show runs until September 28 and is open to the public. While you are visiting be sure to check out the spectacular Sam Smith Park that is just to the east and south and that is one of Toronto's waterfront gems. You could even make a trip to the amazing Whimbrel Point. 


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