Heritage Toronto will be honouring the history of former Firehall No. 4 at 70 Berkeley Street, which has been the home of Alumnae Theatre since 1972.
The earliest firehall on this site was built around 1859, and replaced in 1905 by a building designed in the Edwardian Classical style by architect A. Frank Wickson. It remained a firehall until 1971, when it was decommissioned by the City when Firehall 333 on Front Street was constructed. The Alumnae Theatre (formerly the University Alumnae Dramatic Club, founded in 1918), led by Molly Thom and Norma Crawford, petitioned the City to take over the property.
The building was renovated by architect Ron Thom in1972, and now houses two performance spaces, dressing rooms, rehearsal space, a wardrobe room and a woodworking shop. The new design incorporates original building elements: the garage doors on Berkeley Street where fire engines once entered became the theatre’s lobby display windows; the tower where fire hoses were dried now contains stairs to access the second and third floors; the original firemen’s lockers hold patrons’ coats. A photo of the early 20th century firemen of Firehall No. 4, with horse-drawn fire engine, is displayed in the lower lobby above the bar. A mural of the firemen with a mechanized engine, some years later, appears in the upper lobby.
Heritage Toronto (founded in 1949 as the Toronto Civic Historical Committee) is a charitable organization and agency of the City that works with the citizens of Toronto to advocate for, preserve, and promote a greater awareness of and appreciation for our city’s rich heritage. Its Plaques and Markers Program was initiated in 1969, and has helped to raise awareness of local history across this city. http://www.heritagetoronto.org/
The plaque presentation ceremony at 4:00 pm on Saturday, November 20 will include brief speeches from Robert Prowse of Heritage Toronto, Alumnae Theatre’s Molly Thom and Norma Crawford, and Alumnae Theatre Company President Barbara Larose.
Hors d’oeuvres will be catered by The Danish Connection, and mulled wine and mulled cider will be served.
For more information or to RSVP to this event, please contact GoAlumnae@gmail.com by Nov 15.
At 8pm, Alumnae Theatre Company’s production of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (translated & adapted by Judith Thompson) continues its run in our intimate 3rd floor Studio space. Saturday tickets are $20, and can be reserved at 416-364-4170, box 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org