Parliament Street Shopping

Every Saturday morning I would tag along behind my mom to do our weekly grocery shopping on Parliament Street. Once there we would blend into the vibrant Saturday morning hustle and bustle. As usual the sidewalks would be crowded with people standing around chatting while others dashed in and out of the many shops with bundles of goodies clutched tightly under their arms. Some of the shopkeepers shouted out the front doors to passerby like carnival barkers trying to draw folks into their shops. Yapping dogs tied to fire hydrants and kids yelling, crying and laughing while cars drove up and down searching for non-existant parking spots. As you can well imagine, this caused the place to have quite a loud and electric atmosphere about it.

My mom would be eyeballing and memorizing the prices of all the specials in the well stocked windows as we proceeded on up the street. She would then know which stores we would stop into on the way back down. We weren't there to window shop, we were there to get the best deals on the street. The wonderful aroma of the bakeries, restaraunts and other food vendors would come wafting out the doors as we walked along.

Our first stop would be at Chainway's lunch counter for our weekly milkshake. Oh boy, those thick, delightful, four scoops of real ice cream milkshakes, the liquid rolled across the tastebuds like some magic elixer, I can still taste them. Next we walked the few steps up to Loblaw's which was the north terminus of our journey. This was the place to buy stuff that came in cans, jars and boxes. The fresh stuff would be bought on the way back down the street. By the time we got back home it was just about time for me to head out to the Saturday afternoon matinee movies. Now that was what I called a full day of fun.

This view of Parliament Street looking north from Gerrard Street shows Cabbagetown's main shopping area. Towering above the streetcar is the neon sign for the Parliament Theatre which was torn down not long after this photo was snapped to double the size of Woolworth's.

Other notable business establishments along the stretch were, Chainway's Five and Dime, Lablaw's, Carlton Theatre, Male Shop, Power Supermarket, Sip and Bite Restaraunt, John's Grill, Winchester Hotel and Wayne's Furniture, my favorite place to buy 45 RPM records.