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Old Posted Yesterday, 1:29 AM
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Streetview challenge: find a perfectly-preserved historic city block

So here's a bit of a game to play on Streetview.

Find one prewar city block in your city that is a perfect specimen of the era in which it was first built. So if the area was first built around 1910, then every house on that street should be original and built in the 1910s. Here are some other rules:

- The street must have been built before the Second World War;
- The street has to be 100% preserved and intact on both sides of the street;
- Exterior alterations have to be modest - the addition of new dormer windows to the roof or new porches are OK, but not a significant alteration like a new facade;
- Everything has to be original - so if a street built in 1890 has 1930 buildings on it, it doesn't count.
- A vacant lot or parking lot doesn't count, unless, bizarrely, that lot was originally there when the street was first built.

This is not a contest and there's no ulterior motive (e.g. "my city is more intact than your's"). It's just rare to find a single city block that's escaped any modernization in over 80 or more years.

I'm sure that you'll find an example in most cities, if not every city, but it's a harder task than it first appears.

Intact residential blocks may not be so tricky to find, but finding a perfectly intact commercial block will probably be really challenging.
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  #2  
Old Posted Yesterday, 1:59 AM
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All four blocks at this intersection are perfectly preserved.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@51.04559...7i13312!8i6656


Edit: Oh shit, forgot about the Scotia building to the west, and the one on the south. Really close though! The first old building you see to the right is from the 1800s, which is really uncommon in Alberta.
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  #3  
Old Posted Yesterday, 2:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
So if the area was first built around 1910, then every house on that street should be original and built in the 1910s.
If I'm interpreting this right, it pretty much disqualifies Saint John, which was subject to a Great Fire in 1877 that levelled most of the original city centre.

Much of the area, however was quickly rebuilt in brick and stone, so I'm going to cheat a bit for the sake of offering a couple contenders.

Princess Street from Prince William to Canterbury:


Source

This block technically fits the bill for an intact historic city block circa the late 1870s (though the street itself would have been laid out about 90 years earlier). I say "technically" because (1) It's a fairly short block and (2) several of the buildings have their main facades on other streets.

Turn 90 degrees to the left, however, and you have one of Canada's best preserved commercial blocks - Prince William Street from Princess to Grannan (somewhat obscured by foliage in Street View):


Source

This block almost makes the cut, however the presence of the mid-century Bank of Canada building at its other end means it can't fulfill all the criteria. Still an impressive set of buildings.

I'd consider these two blocks to be the top (commercial) contenders from SJ for this thread. Most other blocks have one or more holes, or buildings from different eras, or only one side of the street qualifies, etc. If I went through with a fine toothed comb I could probably find a few residential blocks on the Central Peninsula that fit the bill, but I'll leave that for another time.
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  #4  
Old Posted Yesterday, 2:35 AM
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Yeah, the requirement that the buildings match the age of the street is going to rule out pretty much every downtown area. The rules are mostly going to fit industrial scale developments that were built on the urban fringe.

One interesting area in Halifax is the Hydrostone. It's around 10-12 blocks of "English garden suburb" built after 1917 when that area was destroyed in the explosion. The streets were reconfigured then too. Even the street lamps are original, and I don't think any buildings have been torn down or redeveloped. Some of them have siding that probably would not have been original (maybe wood but almost certainly not metal and definitely not vinyl).

https://www.google.com/maps/@44.6640...7i16384!8i8192

It has a little neighbourhood market building too: https://www.google.com/maps/@44.6618...7i16384!8i8192
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  #5  
Old Posted Yesterday, 2:37 AM
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Does this count?

https://goo.gl/maps/t7bw38BVmG92 Dropped pin
Near Glazier CPA, 70 Arthur St #475, Winnipeg, MB R3B 1G7

https://goo.gl/maps/6BUWgqUgcaU2 Dropped pin
Near 227-239 McDermot Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3B 0S5


Would be pretty easy to find prewar residential blocks unchanged in Winnipeg. I could post a hundred of them.

Last edited by trueviking; Yesterday at 2:53 AM.
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  #6  
Old Posted Yesterday, 6:12 AM
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The Toronto subdivision I grew up in was built between 1900 and 1910 and that's one of hundreds in the city. Obviously, windows, doors, siding and shingles were replaced with whatever modern convenience so would that preclude them? I don't think you'd find a block anywhere that is 100% orginal.

Sorry. Dumb post.It's
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  #7  
Old Posted Yesterday, 6:59 AM
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This one in the Vancouver west end might qualify, north side only though.

https://goo.gl/maps/JZ7SPQyGcGJ2

https://goo.gl/maps/fzWT3Et8qQL2
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  #8  
Old Posted Yesterday, 12:45 PM
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South side of Queen from Jarvis to church comes to mind - though there is one new building.

Try any Main Street stretch in Toronto - queen west, Yonge street, dundas, college, etc. Lots have got to have all original blocks.
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Old Posted Yesterday, 1:56 PM
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Old Posted Yesterday, 2:56 PM
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In Toronto I'd say many of the more upmarket residential streets built immediately before or in the years after WWI would count. They are more likely to consist of higher quality brick masonry construction and be essentially preserved with minimal modern additions / alterations. Earlier areas were more likely to have some substandard woodframe buildings that have been replaced over time - or cases where the original buildings still exist but received godawful siding in the 1950s/60s.

Stuff like this: https://goo.gl/maps/CaPCLUVCj4A2 (couldn't find any infill or overtly new siding on that block!)


I spent some time looking for commercial examples but that's much harder.
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  #11  
Old Posted Yesterday, 4:04 PM
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For better or worse, it's actually really hard to find an entire unbroken block of original commercial buildings in Toronto. Just about any strips that I can think of have at least one newer building or major renovation.

Queen St. between Bathurst & Trinity Bellwoods would probably be the most consistent though, with at least a couple blocks of seemingly original structures - though all the paint, murals, and signage doesn't look too historically accurate: https://goo.gl/maps/g2ziTvCdJiT2

Further along in Parkdale is also a good bet: https://goo.gl/maps/KvfN3kNSqpQ2

There are a couple blocks on Dundas as well: https://goo.gl/maps/7t6vFPe2YSy

Downtown, the intersection of Duncan & Richmond comes close, but it too gets into newer towers not too far along: https://goo.gl/maps/v4soUxU3UNA2
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  #12  
Old Posted Yesterday, 5:24 PM
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Great examples from Montréal there !
It's hard to find homogeneity, though. Commercial streets such as St-Laurent, Beaubien and Jarry have lots of recent insertions / renovations.

Sainte-Hélène Street, Vieux-Montréal :
https://bit.ly/2CD8ztP

Le Royer Street
https://bit.ly/2FHV8Nl

Saint-Denis Street, Quartier latin
https://bit.ly/2CA18DY

Saint-Denis Street, Villeray
https://bit.ly/2Mpnb4J
-> the ground floors were conceived as offices for liberal professionals.
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Old Posted Yesterday, 5:31 PM
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Way too much infill here - some of it too good to identify at first glance (i.e. there were a couple of modern bungalows on Queen's Road that were forcibly replaced with heritage-style buildings. I was shocked to see old photos from the 1960s of these homes with carports and everything right in the protected heritage area.)

Anyhow, Gower Street is our most appropriate longer one. But there's infill there.

There are surely dozens of little short ones that fit the criteria but that's kind of boring.

Anyhow, typical example of those. This one from Georgestown, the city's first suburb:

13 Maxse St
https://goo.gl/maps/SXNvzhwnn432

Looks like infill there right now tho lol
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Old Posted Yesterday, 5:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laceoflight View Post
Great examples from Montréal there !
It's hard to find homogeneity, though. Commercial streets such as St-Laurent, Beaubien and Jarry have lots of recent insertions / renovations.

Sainte-Hélène Street, Vieux-Montréal :
https://bit.ly/2CD8ztP

Le Royer Street
https://bit.ly/2FHV8Nl

Saint-Denis Street, Quartier latin
https://bit.ly/2CA18DY

Saint-Denis Street, Villeray
https://bit.ly/2Mpnb4J
-> the ground floors were conceived as offices for liberal professionals.
The most uniform of the lot has got to be the Villeray streetscene. Villeray/Park-Ex, Cote St. Paul, Rosemont, Hoch-Maisonneuve, Verdun, Mile End, CDN, St. Henri, etc....the old working class districts still have a lot of uniformity of the building styles of 70-90+ years ago. Triplex-land.
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  #15  
Old Posted Yesterday, 5:57 PM
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Bit of a cheat but St Lawrence Market is it's own city block.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.64855.../data=!3m1!1e3
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  #16  
Old Posted Yesterday, 6:06 PM
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Almost every streets in Westmount and Outremont would qualify, at least the residential ones. Numerous blocks in Old Montreal as well, and of course, the residential streets of Le Plateau, Rosemont, le Village, Hochelagua... too many exemples to even begin to search and show. And most of them are pre WW1.
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  #17  
Old Posted Yesterday, 7:09 PM
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I didn't even think of residential areas. Toronto actually has a ton then.
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  #18  
Old Posted Yesterday, 7:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TorontoDrew View Post
I didn't even think of residential areas. Toronto actually has a ton then.
Yes, I'm sure it does. The challenge is too easy when you take it one block at a time.
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  #19  
Old Posted Yesterday, 8:26 PM
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That's why I think this is meant to be more about commercial areas and downtowns. It's a bit more of a challenge given that these are the areas that have seen the most development pressure over the years.
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Old Posted Yesterday, 8:43 PM
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I think this block of Prescott (only that single blog, there's older surviving buildings or more recent infill everywhere else) all dates to just after the Great Fire of 1892.

https://www.google.com/maps/@47.5671...!7i7680!8i3840

For commercial areas there's nothing. Lots of pre-war buildings but also lots of in-fill. This stretch of Water comes closest, just don't turn around:

https://www.google.com/maps/@47.5636...7i13312!8i6656
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