Sunday, September 11, 2011

Downsview United



Downsview United is probably the last real remains from the old Village of Downsview. Very close to my office. In a way this area has had too much prosperity to preserve anything. The Air Force arrived in WWII, and what was already a growing airfield became huge. De Havilland started building planes in about the 1920s; their plant has been bought out by Bombardier, but some kind of Dash-8 or whatever is still built there, and you can see them going for test flights. (Presumably this has to be cleared with the tower at Pearson, which is not far away).

The military is almost completely gone, and the feds are slowly building a park with different kinds of amenities. Ben and I went to an aviation museum, which has a full-size model of an Avro Arrow, among many other things. The city has built a "parkette," which commemorates the manufacture of planes over the years.

Anyway, the village as it was ca. 1939 is long gone, except for the church. Unfortunately, poor photography and camera again, but what I was thinking was: the sign in front says "Established 1830," and the white "headstone" or whatever over the front door says something like Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1870. So the building is 1870, but there was another building on the site going back to 1830.

The English info sign is now complemented by something that looks like Korean underneath, and one in Spanish on the sandwich board closer to the sidewalk. My guess is the United Church crowd is elderly, and dying off--I saw a couple of very elderly people while I was looking around--and they are making arrangements for other groups to use the building.

I don't really give a sense of the depth: it goes back quite far.

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