Next time you step around a pile of upchuck in front of the Brunswick House, take a moment to let it remind you of how the history of Bloor Street is inextricably linked with the history of beer in the city.
The street’s namesake, Joseph Bloor (sometimes spelled “Bloore”) was not only an innkeeper who used his savings to buy tracts of what was then suburban land where Yorkville currently stands, he was also a brewmaster whose beer was made and bottled around what is now Sherbourne station. Soon, however, citizens of the city will be able to remember him by something more than that.
Better recognition is on the horizon in the shape of a new home on Bloor Street for a 150-year-old stone tablet that hails “an exemplary and useful Christian,” who “calmly fell asleep in Jesus.”
Bloor died Aug. 31, 1862, and the heavy, 105-by-30-centimetre commemorative tablet was engraved soon after, then placed in the Bloor Street Methodist Church, across the street from where he lived. Two church amalgamations and a demolition later, the tablet ended up in storage. Heritage Toronto – then the Toronto Historical Board – rescued it in 1993.
Bloor and his family lived on Bloor Street just east of Yonge, where St. Andrew’s Church and an adjoining office building stand, and that’s where the Bloor tablet will be installed. Earlier efforts failed, reflecting cost and because so many players are involved, but Toronto historian Stephen Otto is optimistic the memorial will be in place by year’s end.
“Bloor was… a local worthy citizen and he was recognized for his good deeds,” Mr. Otto says. “He did a lot of philanthropic stuff, mostly related to his church, the Yorkville Methodist Wesleyan Church.”
As for that mysterious “e,” which his family members also display on their gravestones, Mr. Otto offers an explanation.
Bloor without the “e” was the original, correct spelling, he believes, because many times its owner signed his name that way.
“I think it was a kind of affectation,” Mr. Otto suggests. “Maybe Bloor was trying to notch up his gentility by putting an ‘e’ on the end of it.”