Ghost ads – 439 Spadina Avenue

Banner image is from the 1902 Toronto City Directory.

Photo by K Taylor

439 Spadina Ave, East side.

Several generations of ghost ads blanket the side of this lovely old Spadina Ave. building, built circa 1890 – so many it’s hard to believe there was a time the paint was so fresh that one ad silenced the others.  Most visible to my eyes are the words “Cigars 5 cents” and “Derby Plug.” Beyond that, it’s alphabet soup to me.

A wider view of the building taken on a balmy summer night a few years back:

439 Spadina - far view
Photo by K Taylor

Here’s a view of the block, circa 1908, which features a sliver of our subject on the right hand side.  … I know, I wish 439 Spadina was featured more prominently too, but it’s the best I can do without getting in my time machine and taking the picture myself.

Spadina near College
Spadina near College, with 447 visible on the right, circa 1908.  Courtesy of Toronto Public Library.

Naturally, many businesses have warmed the interior of this building block over the years but some early, longer term residents included the William Wharin Jewellers, the Harkley Bros. Plumbing, Joseph Tedd, Shoemaker and James Geddes’ Frames.

… Speaking of James Geddes and his frame shop, here is an ad he placed in the 1902 Toronto City Directory.  The address has been corrected, I believe, as he wouldn’t move to 431 Spadina till 1903.

JW Geddes Picture Framing 1902
From the 1902 Toronto City Directory.

And yet another he placed in 1905:

Geddes 431 Spadina 1905 From the Toronto City Directory.
Geddes from the 1905 Toronto City Directory.

Unlike many advertisers of the era, he really seemed to want to put a face to the name.  And why not?  That’s a pretty genial mug he’s got.

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