Harbord Village History is sponsored by the Harbord Village Residents' Association of Toronto. We are a group of local residents who share an interest in how our neighbourhood has grown and developed over time.
In 2012 the Ontario Trillium Foundation awarded us a grant for the Oral History Project. The grant allowed us to record stories from people who lived in the area prior to 1975. This website presents interviews with over 100 residents and makes them accessible in both audio and written form, with a searchable index.
The grant also enabled us to present an exhibit based on those interviews, and to install StoryPosts throughout our community that highlight residents’ memories of life in Harbord Village.
Our project has received several awards since its completion:
- In October 2013, our interviewer Eleanor Levine was honoured at the MPP's Second Annual Community Appreciation Event.
- In November 2014, Heritage Toronto gave the History Project both the Community Heritage Award for the Toronto/East York area, and also the Members' Choice Award as voted by the Toronto Heritage membership. Both these awards brought handsome cheques.
Also in November 2014, the History Project was recognized at Rideau Hall in Ottawa with an Honourable Mention in the competition for the Governor General's History Award for Community Programming.
- In October 2015, Heritage Toronto awarded the StoryPosts an Honourable Mention in the Media category.
- In April 2016, The Toronto Historical Association awarded the HVRA its Peggy Kurtin Memorial award for contributions to Toronto heritage, citing especially the Oral History project and its website.
With installation of the StoryPost plaques in Spring 2015, the project also received media attention: see the right-hand bar for links to a Toronto Star story by Katie Daubs and a CP24 video story by Tina Yazdani.
The results of our first project are now available for all who share our interests in local history. Those who wish to participate in future projects of the Harbord Village History group are warmly encouraged to contact us.
A few photos from our interviewees (see many more here):
1929. Charles Sharp, Jr., Norman Cook's grandfather, driving his new Ford. A note on the back of the photo identifies the others (from left to right) as Auntie Dot (Hazel Sharp), Aunt Dora (Dora Sharp), Grandma Sharp (Rose Holland Sharp), Cecil Sharp, and Mrs. Harris. Photo provided by Norman Cook. (See a collection of Norman Cook's photos here.)
1950. Sam and Rose Bronstein on the front porch at 169 Major St., where they lived with their six children and two tenants. Photo provided by Marsha Bronstein Ginsberg. (See more photos of the Bronstein family here.)
1959. Giuseppe Porretta in the meat and grocery store he ran for several years at 93 Harbord, shown with his sons Sal and Nick. This location became a barber shop, then a woodworking and hobby-supply business, then a psychiatrist's office, eventually a restaurant called simply 93 Harbord, and is now vacant. Photo provided by Mario Porretta. (See our collection of photos from Mario Porretta, with more from his sister-in-law Sylvia Porretta and from the related Giannone family.)