Banner photo is 215 – 219 King St. E. in 1885. Courtesy of Toronto Public Library.
215 – 219 King St. E., South side. Photo by K Taylor.
Snuggled between the Patrician Grill and the George Brown Chef’s House is a building beyond paper thin. It’s long gone, but its lines are as visible and strong as if it were still standing.
Built in 1914, the George Brown building was originally home to Muirhead Co. Ltd., a paint manufacturer. Its little neighbour, which is now the Patrician Grill, came along in the 1950s. But as for the lovely ghost building that looms over the Patrician’s lot, well, it belongs to something much older than its host..
Looking to the far left of this photo, I believe we may be seeing it fleshed out, as it were, in 1885. At this time it was Louis Bernstein’s home and clothing store. This was flanked, as you can see, by John Stinson’s crockery and fruit store. The two became neighbours in 1873 and would remain so until 1894 when Bernstein moved on. Stinson would hold onto his corner until 1906. After that, a couple of clothing and furniture stores came and went in the space until the building was finally razed to make way for Muirhead’s grand factory. But the original 219 King E. appears to have held on long enough to make a lasting impression on its new neighbour.