A Glenn Gould Tour of Toronto and Area

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 23:00:17 -0400
From: Bruce Cross bcross@lara.on.ca
To: f_minor@email.rutgers.edu
Subject: Toronto

I can't help feeling that there isn't much to see in Toronto for the Gould enthusiast. His parents' perfectly ordinary house has a plaque in front of it; the old CBC building on Jarvis is abandoned, recently covered with yellow warning signs; his ordinary apartment on St. Clair has a plaque on it; the Four Seasons Hotel in East York is not worth seeing; Eaton's auditorium is closed (though not torn down, as Michael Stegemann says in the notes to Sony SK 52 620.) The organ at All Saint's church on which Gould recorded Art of Fugue 1-9 has burned. Perhaps I'm less interested in the Gould sites since I work in Toronto and pass these places frequently.

The places I would recommend you see are: Massey Hall, in which Gould played frequently (Listen to CBC PSCD 2005) also see a video clip of Gould performing the first movement of Beethoven Symphony #6 at Massey Hall, the Gould Yamaha in the lobby of Roy Thomson hall,(two more Gould pianos are in Ottawa) maybe have lunch at Fran's restaurant, near the apartment at Yonge and St. Clair.

I have sometimes wondered if there is any interest in having informal guided tours for visitors which would include all the sites without the visitor having to find his way around? Let me know. The places are fairly widely spaced, and it would take some effort to find some of them. See an excellent web page at www.uottawa.ca/~weinberg/gould.html and click on "A Tour of Toronto" for addresses, etc.

Bruce Cross

Date: Sun, 27 Apr 1997 15:41:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: Matthew C Gamber [mgamber@bgnet.bgsu.edu]
Cc: f_minor@email.rutgers.edu
Subject: Re: Eaton's No More

The Eaton auditorium where Glenn and Andrew Kazdin has been gone for quite some time. During the mid-seventies, Andrew and Glenn made a prolific amount of recordings in the auditorium at night when the store was closed. Some shopping centers then were built with fully equipped auditoriums and stages. Glenn didn't fly for nearly a decade at that point and didn't care for the trip to New York anymore. With permission, they set up a portable studio with equipment Glenn had purchased to replicate the recording process used in the Masterworks studio.

The doors were shut years later and the operations stopped. Eaton's announced its plans for a larger shopping center downtown to expand the store. Having two stores in operation was redundant, so Glenn and Andrew in the midst of their own operations, were made to look elsewhere.

Their were no recordings the following year due Glenn's physical difficulties with the control of his hands. Glenn and Andy returned to the gutted Eaton's center wheb they discovered the auditoium was still partially intact. The building had no heat or running water. There were a few lightbulbs, a few walls, and a fog of plaster dust. Portable heaters ran on high but were only used between recording sets since they emitted such a loud roar. Only a handfull of recordings were made here until Kazdin was fired for failing to use the new digital decks to record the concert of a different artist. Kazdin was allowed to continue to work producing Glenn's records though since they had a working relationship for over a decade and a half. Glenn preferred to produce on his own and ended abruptly the relaitonship. The point to this history: The building where Glenn made his recordings has not been an Eaton's department store for almost twenty years now.

An email from Daniel Burke - / Oct 25, 2010 Michael,

Attached are some pictures, as requested, of my self-guided GG tour.

A few notes: Gould's neighborhood looks to be largely unchanged in the time that's passed he himself did. The streetcar still runs right down St. Clair Ave, the building in which he lived is still lovely inside and out (with an easily public-accessible lobby, and a historical marker), and there's a park dedicated to his memory about a half-block west of the building. The park is home to a children's playset, a gorgeous old tree, and a lovely statue of Peter Pan, capturing, seemingly, Gould's innocence of spirit.

The Fran's Diner in his neighborhood is now a chain coffee shop/patisserie, but other restaurants in the Fran's chain are still around in Toronto and worth a visit for a decent burger and some sweet potato fries.

The Gould plot at Mount Pleasant Cemetery (a two-transit or cab ride from his home) is a bit of a hike to find, but touching - especially the opening notes to the Goldberg Variations engraved on his personal marker. A few fans have left behind mementos, including (on my visit at least) flowers and a small figurine of a squirrel.

The church where his funeral was held (St. Paul's Bloor Street) is a beautiful building unto itself and worth a visit for any of the faithful. Much of it has been recently modernized/added-to, but the main worship area is still as impressive as it must have been in 1982.

I missed stopping by the very-accessible statue of him outside the CBC studies in downtown (and missed the obligatory "I'm talking to Glenn Gould!" photo op) but if I ever return it would rank high on a list of places to visit.

Hope this helps. Let me know when/if you have a chance to update the webpage. I strongly encourage you to at least keep it live, since others must certainly be reaping the benefits of your work as I did.

Thanks again for all your efforts. Only through work like that can we fans help maintain the importance of Gould's history, to the wonderful blessing his music is in all of our lives.

Best wishes, Daniel

Daniel Burke's Glenn Gould Toronto Tour pictures, October 2010

Church of GG's funeral

Former Fran's near Gould's home

Fran's Toronto

GG grave marker

Glenn Gould Park, St. Clair Ave 1

Glenn Gould Park, St. Clair Ave 2

Glenn Gould Park, St. Clair Ave3 - Peter Pan statue

Gould family gravestone

Gould's condo building

Plaque at Gould's building

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