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Artifact Display On Yonge Street – A Taste Of History

The property at 275 Yonge Street has been occupied continuously
since 1843. Prior to the renovations which took place here, an
excavation was conducted in order to document any
archaeological remains which might lie beneath the property.
During the project, an astounding 17,790 artifacts were collected,
representing over 170 years of Toronto’s history.

In 2006, Mr. Karsten Rumpf funded an archaeological study
conducted by Archaeological Research Associates Ltd. to ascertain
the viability of uncovering artifacts on the property. The early
assessment suggested there was a significant chance that
important archaeological remains might be present beneath and
around the mid 19th century commercial building. The study also
identified important people associated with the structure
including shoemaker James Usher, early Toronto builders Robert
Carroll and William Rogers, and politician John Bugg.

As a result of the the study’s findings, preliminary archaeological
excavations were undertaken in the spring of 2007. The goal of
the operation was to identify and re-locate the structures listed on
historic plans of the area. The artifacts and architectural materials
identified during this operation suggested that there was much
more to be found. Accordingly, more intensive excavations were
carried out with the goal of exploring and documenting the entire
archaeological history of the property. The materials found tell a
story which begins with a shoemaker in 1843, and continues with
The Three Brewers Restaurant today. In between, the businesses
operating at this location have included a grocery store, a general
store, a fancy goods store, a confectionary, a tailor shop, and
many others.

Sites like this are an important component of Toronto’s collective
history. The artifacts shown here evoke the period before Toronto
became the modern, concrete, skyscraper dotted city it is today.
They are the visible reminders of a simpler past whose points of
contact with us are fast disappearing. This display is the result of
the co-operation of Mr. Karsten Rumpf (who paid for the
archaeological assessments and excavations), city staff, investors,
business-owners, historians and archaeologists who are dedicated
to preserving our collective history.