SCENE & UNSEEN

 

Exploring South Etobicoke’s hidden stories through Postcards

As motor vehicles became more accessible and widely used, motor hotels (motels) became prominent tourism destinations.

 

Etobicoke Lakeshore’s prime motel era in the 1940s-1960s is preserved in these postcards, primarily featuring Mimico and New Toronto.

Exterior of the Lynne Arms building
Exterior of the Lynne Arms building

Copy: "Old English Atmosphere where Finest Food is Served. Lynne Arms Ltd. - Fine Cuisine - 639 Lakeshore Road, Mimico, Toronto 14."

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Exterior of the Lynne Arms building
Exterior of the Lynne Arms building

Copy: "Old English Atmosphere where Finest Food is Served. Lynne Arms Ltd. - Fine Cuisine - 639 Lakeshore Road, Mimico, Toronto 14."

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A blank postcard back
Exterior view of the North American Motel
Postcard back
Postcard back

No written message. Copy: "North American Motel, 2147 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Toronto 14, Ont. On the shores of Lake Ontario. At Western Approach to or from downtown Toronto via Queen Elizabeth Hwy. at Gardiner Expressway take Lakeshore Rd. exits to Scenic Hwy. #2 and Lakeshore Blvd. Modern Air Conditioned Units, 4 piece Bath, Phone, T.V. in all units - Open year 'round - 10 minutes to downtown. For reservations phone (Zone 416) 255-1127"

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Postcard back
Postcard back

No written message. Copy: "North American Motel, 2147 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Toronto 14, Ont. On the shores of Lake Ontario. At Western Approach to or from downtown Toronto via Queen Elizabeth Hwy. at Gardiner Expressway take Lakeshore Rd. exits to Scenic Hwy. #2 and Lakeshore Blvd. Modern Air Conditioned Units, 4 piece Bath, Phone, T.V. in all units - Open year 'round - 10 minutes to downtown. For reservations phone (Zone 416) 255-1127"

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Replacing the traditional cottage industry in Long Branch, local sites hosted waterfront beaches, attractions, and quaint motels with easy and affordable access for local tourists following Lakeshore Road as the main link between East (Toronto), and the West (Buffalo and Niagara Falls) along the shoreline.

Click through the gallery to explore postcards from the Etobicoke Lakeshore motel era!

City of Toronto information building for visiting motorists
City of Toronto information building for visiting motorists

Copy: "Lake Shore Boulevard Office on the Boardwalk - Western City Limits - Toronto, Canada."

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Postcard back
Postcard back

No written message. Copy: "FOR FREE ILLUSTRATED FOLDER OF TORONTO, WRITE TORONTO CONVENTION AND TOURIST ASSN."

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Postcard back
Postcard back

Copy (continued): "...Beach and lawn overlooking Lake Ontario and Toronto Bay, Member Hilton Carte Blanche. Open year round. Phone 255-7711"

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City of Toronto information building for visiting motorists
City of Toronto information building for visiting motorists

Copy: "Lake Shore Boulevard Office on the Boardwalk - Western City Limits - Toronto, Canada."

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Construction of the 401 and QEW diverted traffic away from the Lakeshore, causing a steep decline in Mimico’s motel industry in the 1980s, with the last structure demolished in 2012. Many of these sites were replaced by condos as tourism moved away from the area.

 

Artefacts like these postcards provide a window to the past, beyond what occupies the site today. Perhaps you’ve passed these places in South Etobicoke before, or will after reading this exhibition. Consider the changes this land has experienced to become what it is today, and what stories will become hidden within the landscape.

CREDITS

Curated by:
Nadine Finlay
Sarah LeFresne


Virtual Exhibition Curated by:
Nadia Tagoe

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