Bell in Brief: Killer coal dust once darkened our Downtown

The burning of coal at the gigantic Consumers Gas complex—some of which still survives in the Berkeley and Front area—blackened the rich marble and brick facades of almost every building in Toronto.

It was also coal gas that killed thousands every year as it entered people’s lungs and put the city under a thick dirty fog for the next hundred years.

Today after much redesigning and urban renewal the former gas complex is home to 51 Division Police Headquarters, the Canadian Stage Company and the Canadian Opera Company with its lovely garden complete with a Victorian-inspired gazebo.

Ironically in the middle of this belching, pollution making gas works was the sweet smelling Dalton’s Jam factory.


Archival photos courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives. Contemporary photos taken by Bruce Bell!