The Dufferin Mall across the street from the park was the Dufferin Park Racetrack until 1956. A friend of Park Staff Mario Lourenco discovered these clippings from the Globe and Mail from 1953 while taking up some linoleum flooring in his house. One clipping is Appas Tappas' picks for the season opening horse race. The other is an advert for the races. The ad features the track's "Superb Cuisine" and "Excellent Service" full course meals from 75cents!! Today 75cents can still get you both excellent service and the superb cuisine of a mini-pizza at the Zamboni Cafe!
Dufferin Rink, as painted by Samuel A. Bietenholz:
Artist Samuel Bietenholz painted this scene at Dufferin Rink. We found it in the "City Streets 2006" calendar (published by the Artists Foundation) and asked Sam if we could reproduce it here. We are very pleased now to share this with the neighbourhood, with permission. Thanks Sam!
For the full size image, click here, and expand your browser window to fill the screen.
posted March 15, 2004
...in another time
Dufferin Race Track:
Before 1955, the Dufferin Mall was a popular horse racing track, called "Dufferin Park." Rube Marcus, the owner of the famous rice-and-bean stand at St.Lawrence Market (downstairs in the south market building) told us that he used to go there a lot as a boy (he's over 80 now). He said that when he was 12, he figured out a great way to earn some money: he would buy a pound of peanuts for 10 cents and divide it up into 7 bags, which he sold at the racetrack for 5 cents each, on Saturdays in the winter. He said the bleachers weren't heated, and he used to stand over by the bookmaker's fire. The bookmaker always had a big campfire near the bleachers, and people would come over there to place bets and get warm. Rube said he sometimes made $2 or $3 a day.
The racetrack is gone but the campfire refuses to leave. It just migrated across the street to our park.
posted Februrary 24, 2006
Dufferin Rink, 1935
This is Adrienne Trent's mom Vivienne on Dufferin Rink in 1935. Adrienne's family lived on Havelock Street.
From the January 22, 1913 edition of the Toronto Star:
Using City Parks
The Parks Commissioner yesterday drew attention to the insanitary
conditions under which the Salvation Army occupy Dufferin Grove for
camp meetings. It is said that one hundred people reside on the
grounds for a month, and that they have no other sanitary conveniences
than earth closets. Such a thing should not be tolerated for a moment.
The Medical Health Officer is compelling the poor of Toronto to
install proper lavatory accommodation, and cannot under the
circumstances countenance the conditions said to exist at Dufferin
There is another aspect to the question. Good citizens are inclined to
sympathize with the commendable aims of the Army, and other religious
institutions which hold camp-meetings at Dufferin Grove. But should
the city hand over a park for considerable periods of time to any
denomination? Why should they not rent vacant land and leave the parks
for the purposes for which they are maintained? It is a quesiton which
many people are asking, and it is not prompted by any hostility to the
sort of meetings for which parks are now used."
Found by Michael Monastyrskyj at the Toronto Archives