Remembering Sunnyside Amusement Park and Bathing Pavilion on June 28: Snapshots in History
On June 28 and beyond, take a moment to remember Sunnyside Amusement Park of which one of its components, the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, designed by architect Alfred H. Chapman, was opened on June 28, 1922 by then-Toronto mayor Charles Maguire. The Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion was intended to provide clothes-changing facilities for bathers wading into Lake Ontario. The cold temperatures of the lake water prompted the building of a nearby open-air swimming pool (aka the Sunnyside Pool, nicknamed “The Tank”) that opened on July 29, 1925; in fact, the pool was the largest outdoor swimming pool in the world at the time of construction. The Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion itself underwent renovations in 1980 to update its changing facilities as well as adding a garden and a beach-side café. Previously, the Bathing Pavilion had been declared an historic site in 1974 under the Ontario Heritage Act. More recently in 2014-2015, the Bathing Pavilion had been undergoing more restorative work following a 2012 structural audit.
The Sunnyside Amusement Park, also referred to as the Sunnyside Beach Park, existed from 1922 to 1955, after which it was demolished to make way for the Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway project. The amusement park had a large roller coaster (the “Flyer”), some merry-go-rounds, and a Derby Racer steeplechase ride. Additionally, the park hosted stunt events such as flagpole sitting, boat burnings on Lake Ontario, and fireworks displays.
Other facilities within/near the Sunnyside Amusement Park included: the Sunnyside Pavilion (offering a tea garden and two restaurants) that was torn down in 1956 to make room for the new westbound lanes of Lakeshore Boulevard; the Sunnyside Stadium (for lacrosse and softball) that opened on May 19, 1925 but was bulldozed in 1956 to provide parking for the adjacent Boulevard Club; and, the still-existing Palais Royale (designed by the architectural firm of Chapman, Oxley & Bishop) that opened in 1922 with a dance hall on the upper level and with Dean’s Sunnyside Pleasure Boats on the lower level – eventually, only the dance hall function remained.
Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion – August 7, 1922
Sunnyside, swimming pool, looking east – September 1925
Palais Royale 1930s
Sunnyside Boardwalk Toronto 1931
Sunnyside, showing demolition of pavilion – October 1956
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