A few caveats are in order:
In almost every home history wehave done, the year in which theaddress first showed up in the city directory is later than the yeargiven obtained by lawyers on theTitle Search. The reason, I think,is that most of the homes inOld East were built on specby property developersbetween 1885 and 1910.Consequently, the title search will reveal the date in whichthe properties were severedfrom the original land grants and sold to developers. But, of course,homes were not built and resold to the first occupants until sometime after this.Sometimes, you may run into problems with addresses that don'tseem to line up, though this is mainly a problem when you aredoing a block of homes. Interestingly enough, in a few locations, itappears that smaller homes were torn down at the turn of the 20thcentury to allow for the construction of the homes we now have. Ina few of these cases, we seemed to have dropped some addresses with the bigger lot sizes put in place. When you are out walkingaround, these sites are quite easy to locate. Look for jumps in streetaddresses; like from 810 Lorne Avenue to 814 Lorne Avenue. Twohomes now sit where three used to.The last caveat pertains to accuracy. Mistakes will be made in thehistory search. My opinion is that this is relatively unimportant.The aim of the project is to capture a snapshot of the neighbour-hood as it first existed; the age of the buildings, the people who firstlived here and their occupations. It's an exercise in social history nottitle searching.
Okay So I live in the East end, So what!
When my family and I decided to move to the Old East Villagethere were many different options expressed by our friends andfamily.Some wondered if raising a child in the village was a safe environ-ment, some felt that the investment was not a sound one, and some( mostly friends of our age and ilk) said cool! At least nobody willcomplain if you hang your laundry outside( unlike some of themore desirable suburban areas) Well we ve been here for 6 yearsnow and those opinions have changed.Now our friends ask us if there are any good houses for sale! They want to move here too! Our family oohs and ahhs over the heritagehomes in the area. People are envious of our garden club, commu-nity association, events at our school, and the atmosphere of theneighbourhood. We made this happen by bringing a community together, so getinvolved. Lets make this neighbourhood the envy of our friends andfamily, so when people ask where you live, we can proudly say, TheOld East Village!
by Susan Pedersonby Greg Thompson, OEVCA Past-President
A few years ago, Susan and I were driving through Fergus, Ontarioand noticed that many of the homes in the core had signs indicat-ing the year the home was built and the name and occupation of the original occupant(s). Having never been shy about using otherpeople's ideas, we thought this might be an interesting project forthis neighbourhood. Judging from the number of calls that we receive on these signs,people are noticing that these signs are proliferating. It's an inter-esting way for us to brand our neighbourhood and to draw atten-tion to the occupations of our first residents. We have arranged a bulk price for these signs with Print Studio avery good printing shop located at the corner of Dundas andDorinda Streets here in Old East Village. (1050 Dundas StreetEast, 519-951-9595, firstname.lastname@example.org ) They have a templatein place and they are charging $20 per sign. The signs are vinyllettering on sign-grade aluminum. We've had ours up for nearly two years now and have had next to no deterioration. In our expe-rience the best and safest method of installation is with closedS-hooks hanging from eyelet screws (pry open the S-hooks toattach the sign and the eyelet and then close them again, it's very difficult for someone to then remove). Chris Reid at the Old EastVillage Hardware Store on Dundas (at English) has the hardware instock.Now for the harder part; researching the history of your home.Susan and I have now done about 40 homes in the 'hood and it isquite easy (if a little hard on the eyes).The Central Branch of the London Public Library has the originalCity Directories on microfiche. These are located in the LondonRoom (3rd floor) and the reference librarians are eager to help getyou set up. The directories begin around 1885. Each year, there areusually 5 years worth on each microfiche reel. The city directory contains two major parts. First there is a Street Directory, in alpha-betical order. From the street directory, you will get the year of thehome and the name of the first occupant. Pick a year around whereyou think your home was built and look for the address in the streetdirectory section. If the number is not there, move forward to thenext year, and so on until the address first shows up. If it is therereverse the process; go back until the first year in which the addressdoes not appear and then move forward one year to the first cita-tion. This will be the year in which the first occupant moved in.Once you have located the year in which your street address is firstcited, proceed to the second section in that year's directory, whichis the Name Directory, again listed in alphabetical order. This willgive you the occupation of the first resident and, perhaps, theemployer. (Hint: several times we located year and first occupantfrom the street directory but there was no mention in the namedirectory of an occupation and/or employer. If this happens to you,check the name directory for the following year(s), you might getlucky).
Heritage House Signs - A Social History of the Old East Village