Dovercourt village was founded in the 1870’s. The original residents were poor immigrants from England who lived in a “shanty town” of building made from tar paper shacks. Over the years a flow of immigrant groups settled in the village. In 1912 the city of Toronto annexed Dovercourt Village. Access to city services helped the village to grow, develop and prosper. The waves of immigrants who arrived brought their culture and prosperity. At one time the Village was a thriving business area. Two street car lines ran through the village. One streetcar line ran along Dovercourt Road and the other ran along Hallam.
The Italians who came to live here in Toronto created the biggest Italian population outside of Italy. They brought their wonderful food and culture and a lot of them settled in Dovercourt village. Frank the Tailor is also from Italy. He runs a business, sings with an amateur opera group and he continues to be the “acting” mayor of the village.
Progress Bakery sold Italian Baked goods for years and still carries some. Progress Bakery in recent years changed from being Italian to Portuguese. The most recent owners of Progress Bakery reflects Toronto’s diverse and multi ethnic communities. The husband is Portuguese and his lovely wife is Korean. Their sons works in the bakery too. You can eat Italian, Portuguese and Korean food in the bakery!
The old movie theatre on Dovercourt is now a Belarusian Greek Orthodox Church of St Ephrasinia. There are still people living in the neighbourhood who remember going to the movies before it became a church.
When the street car tracks were removed. The traffic flow changed. Dufferin Mall was built. Loblaw’s disappeared from Hallam St. What has happened in the countryside took place in Dovercourt village. Businesses declined; but the small independent entrepreneurs like Frank who raised their families here; stayed on.
Frank has a remarkable shop. He collects carvings. The walls are filled with sculptures, a large carved wooden gingerbread cookie press and even a painting of Frank portrayed as a native Canadian. He can make you a beautiful hand tailored suit, alter your clothes so you look like everything you wear was custom tailored.
The Recorder Centre is the only place in Canada which sells recorders and music for recorders. John Ferth supplies music and recorder to teachers in public schools to musicians who play Early Music.
There is a Yoga centre run by Archa Mati who teaches meditation, Kundali and Hatha yoga. South Pacific, Chinese and Polynesian Foods still has an outdoor sign with the old phone number of LE 4.6393. LE stands for LENNOX; who were the architects of Old City Hall and Casa Loma. The food hasn’t changes in years and neither have the people who come for their take-out orders. Spring, summer and fall are marked on the corners by the two corner stores which burst with plants for spring planting and pots of flowers for Mother’s Day. A have a friend who lives in Rosedale but buys her plants here because the plants are always fresh, last longer and are very affordable.
Sone’s Pharmacy has old fashioned delivery and friendly neighbourhood service! William Zaky the founder, is keeping the business in the family. His son-in-law is there to fill your prescription.