Toronto's Historical Plaques
2004 - Now in our 10th Year - 2014
The Palace Pier
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted September, 2006
This 1994 Etobicoke Historical Board plaque here on the Waterfront Trail, at the foot of Palace Pier Court just west of the mouth of the Humber River, is attached to what is left of the original Palace Pier dance hall. Posted on two of the other three sides are a photo and a drawing of the dance hall's past which you can see further down this page. The plaque says:
Plaque coordinates: 43.629871 -79.472845
The vision of a grand lakefront amusement pier was conceived in the 1920s as a rival for the neighbouring Sunnyside Pavilion. The pier was designed by Craig & Madill with various structures in a flamboyant Moroccan style of architecture, and was to project 550 metres into Lake Ontario terminating with a steamboat landing. Financial difficulties in the early 1930s delayed the construction. Only the first phase of the redesigned amusement pier, 90 metres long, was opened on June 10, 1941 and it became popular as a major dance hall of the big band era during World War II and the postwar years. The pier was destroyed by fire in 1963, and the site later redeveloped into condominiums and public park. The base of this monument is one of the original concrete pier footings, donated to the City of Etobicoke by the residents of the Palace Pier condominium.
> Posted April 20, 2013
When I was about 12, and living at the south end of South Kingsway Dr., my friends and I would sneak under the Pier to see what we could find. No one ever "caught" us. I think because it was so dark and eerie under the building, we frightened ourselves!
> Posted October 17, 2010
I had some interesting experiences at the Palace Pier, but the one that stands out was the night I hitchhiked from RCAF Station Trenton on the old Highway #2 on a weekday. There was very little traffic and as a conscientious l8-year-old airmen I thought I was talking an enormous risk in gambling on getting back for duty in the early A.M. It was all worthwhile, though, to see and hear the great great Stan Kenton Orchestra, making what I believe was its only visit to Toronto. (I could be wrong on this but don't recall another visit and I would have been looking for it!) What a thrill! About four hours each way and worth every second of it.
F James Smith, Puslinch ON
> Posted January 24, 2010
When I arrived in Canada in July 1957 I lived for a while in the motel next to Palace Pier> I went to all the Big Band shows and mainly the Country Music Jamborees and saw many of the top names in Country Music at that time, Johnny Cash, Hank Snow etc. The motel was the Lakeshore Motel and itself had a very interesting history.
> Posted October 3, 2009
I remember roller skating and diving off the end of the pier in the 40's. My family has lived in the Lake Shore area since 1894. Lots of good memories.
> Posted January 10, 2009
I remember going to the Palace Pier with my parents when I was a kid. All along the waterline, under the main level, was stuffed with old canoes, deck chairs and junk. My dad said that the place was a fire trap and we never went back. Sure enough it went up a few years later.
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Alan L Brown