“Sundaes & Hockey Cards: Once Upon a Time on College St. in the 50s”
Federal Grocers stood on the north-east corner of College St and Ossington, almost like a small size hockey rink. Always in a long, white apron the manager would move up and down the vegetable bins on the right-hand side of the store like a Maple Leaf checking winger of that era.
As a paperboy with a Toronto Star route from College to Bloor on Montrose and Beatrice, I appreciated his ongoing hustle with its interminable stops and starts.
Further down the north-east side of College, the White Rose Grocery Store was run by two Hungarian sisters. My mother constantly sent me there for small purchases, but the nuisance of my trips was always offset by the prospect of getting black diamond stamps. I pasted these stamps into small books and dreamed of the electronic miracles I could trade them for. In fact though, I only ever remember buying hockey cards with dry-wall squares of pink gum and comic books from Danny’s Candy Store with my paper-route earnings. After “collecting” from my paper route Saturday mornings, I would treat myself to a chocolate sundae at the Commercial Grill on the north side of College close to Roxton then amble over to Danny’s. Years before the current self-affirmation era I could have written a book on the topic, “Sundaes and Hockey Cards”
Once in a while I would savour a visit to buy eggs for my mom at Zucker’s egg store also on the north side of College close to Federal Grocers. Zucker’s inspired museum-like reverie in me. It was a store with nothing but eggs. Like the iceman and the popcorn man this store was about one thing only- a monoculture, a Platonic form. On the south side of College in the middle of the block, The Roxton Bowl was the noisy ying to Zucker’s yang. On one floor there were 10-pin lanes, on another, 5 pins. The building is now a staid medical centre. Most storefronts have changed on College but just south of College St., Fred Hamilton Soccer Stadium has disappeared. A beautiful forest canopy now stands where penalty kicks were once taken.
Richard Kuzniak, a former denizen of this neighborhood is looking for pictures of the dearly departed Ball’s Pharmacy, Kohl & Frisch Wholesale, Fass Leather Goods, Jimmy the Blind news agent, Blue Ribbon Stationers or Frank’s Barber Shop. The best haircut Frank ever gave me was for my senior prom in 1965.
If you have a picture of Frank’s or any of the other old storefronts mentioned in this article, please contact Richard Kuzniak at email@example.com.
Richard, a retired Upper Canada College high school teacher, is compiling a book of photography featuring College Street of the 1950’s.
If you send Richard pictures I will write another article about “the Real Saint of Ossington Avenue.”