The property also includes the addresses 2 to 6 Brock Avenue along its Brock Avenue (east) elevation.
1354-1356 Queen Street West was originally 2 storefronts that were combined together during the 20th century.
1354-1356 Queen Street West contains squash-themed terra cotta elements near its 3rd floor, south elevation (Queen Street West) windows. Squash was notably one of the "Three Sisters" crops. The squash-themed design elements have representative significance to the cultures of regional Indigenous peoples, including the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Wendat.
The City of Toronto Heritage Preservation Services has identified that both 1354-1356 Queen Street West and 1358-1360 Queen Street West are heritage assets per the Parkdale Main Street Heritage Conservation District.
1354-1356 Queen Street West, Toronto
Located at the northwest corner of Brock Avenue and Queen Street West, many will be familiar with this site through its role as the former home of Designer Fabrics. The building is presently under threat of demolition, as a Developer - KingSett Capital - has bought out 1354-1360 Queen Street West and 2-14 Brock Avenue. The current redevelopment proposal proposes demolition of 1354-1356 Queen Street West. However, there is significant community and public interest - including advocacy from the Parkdale Village Historical Society / Sunnyside Historical Society - to save these buildings from demolition.
The earliest commercial business at the northwest corner of Brock Avenue and Queen Street West was likely John Wanless & Son(s) - a hardware merchant and store - which opened at this location in 1881. John Wanless was also the father of Sir Dr. William James Wanless (1865-1933) - a major historical figure - who lived above and worked at the Wanless & Son(s) hardware business prior to moving to New York City for medical school. John Wanless & Son(s) later moved east to near the intersection of Gwynne Avenue and Queen Street West in the mid-1880s.
Immediately following the annexation of Parkdale in 1889/1890, the tenants of the building in 1891 were Stewart and Kirkup- a grocer at 1354 Queen Street West; and William T. Hearn - a furniture merchant at 1356 Queen Street West. The 2 separate ground-floor units have since been consolidated together, along with units in 1358-1360 Queen Street West to the west.
1354 Queen Street West - the corner unit - remained in use as a grocers until 1912/1913. Interestingly, Stewart and Kirkup were in operations only for 1 year, after which the grocers was under the management of Pettigrew & Farrand, which was later known as John Pettigrew. As of 1914, 1354 Queen Street West was the site of Milton J. Dedman - a "Gentleman's Furnishings" store; which later became William G. Hay - also a "Gentleman's Furnishings" store. The change from Milton J. Dedman to William G. Hay occurred partway through World War I. William G. Hay suffered a catastrophic fire in their store on 14 Febraury 1923. Despite this fire, William G. Hay remained at 1354 Queen Street West through the mid-to-late 1920s. Later uses of the store included a clothiers; another grocers; and a furniture store. By 1960, 1354 Queen Street West was home to Château-Gai Wines - an Ontario-based winery and wine store chain; which was based in the corner unit through he 1980s and until Designer Fabrics consolidated the storefront.
Following the annexation of Parkdale, 1356 Queen Street West was in use as the site of William T. Hearn from 1891 until 1908. William T. Hearn was operated by William Taylor Hearn and family. William Taylor Hearn (1860-1928) was born in 1860 in Kingston (Canada) to William Hearn (1830-1911) and Jane Taylor (1828-1903). His father was an English immigrant who operated a pharmacy in Ottawa, whereas his mother was originally from the Barbados. On 30 December 1879, William Taylor Hearn married Jane Taylor (1860-1929) in Gimli, Manitoba. The Hearns spent time as homesteaders near the New Iceland Settlement in Manitoba - where Jane Taylor's uncle was the Government Administrator. After Manitoba, the Hearns moved to St. Augustine, Florida to operate an orange farm, although an unseasonal frost destroyed their crops and they relocated back to Ontario. The family settled in Parkdale in 1889 and originally lived only a few doors away from 1356 Queen Street West. Interestingly, William Taylor Hearn historically had a reputation for being the strongest man in Parkdale and was rumoured to be able to carry 100 pounds of flour for 25 miles. In 1909, the Hearns relocated their business to 1369 Queen Street West, near to the intersection of Close Avenue and Queen Street West. Around this time, William T. Hearn had expanded to additionally offer cartage and plumbing services alongside the selling of furniture. The Hearns maintained a business and residence at 1369 Queen Street West until 1928/1929. William Taylor Hearn died in June 1928 of stomach carcinoma . Jane Hearn (née Taylor) died less than a year later in May 1929. The Hearns had a business and residence in Parkdale for over 40 years and were an important fixture in Parkdale during the late 19th and early 20th century. Of additional note is that William Taylor Hearn was the uncle of Richard Lankaster Hearn (1890-1987) of who Toronto’s prominent R. L. Hearn Generating Station is named after.
In 1909, 1356 Queen Street West became the site of a liquor store operated by Edward Ireland and Charles Rose (also spelled Ross). The liquor store - under various managements - remained in operation at 1356 Queen Street West until approximately 1917/1918. The store then became a tobacconist shop which was in operation under various managements until the mid-1930s. After that, various uses of the store included as a tailor shop; a cleaning service; and a jewelers.
Designer Fabrics - originally known as the Central Bargain House - opened on this block in the 1950s. The business - first based at 1360 Queen Street West - was operated by Sheldon Fainer and Beverly Fainer. The Fainer's expanded their business and consolidated several storefronts between 1354 and 1360 Queen Street West together. Designer Fabrics closed in 2018 after Sheldon Fainer retired at the age of 88 - after 64 years in business in Parkdale.
1354-1356 Queen Street West is presently under threat of demolition. A Developer - KingSett Capital - has bought out 1354-1360 Queen Street West and 2-14 Brock Avenue. The current redevelopment proposal proposes demolition of 1354-1356 Queen Street West. However, there is significant community and public interest - including advocacy from the Parkdale Village Historical Society / Sunnyside Historical Society - to save these buildings from demolition.