It’s back! I has been 3 years since I published my last Local History Advent Calendar! So much has happened since that last time—including the publication of my first book, Mount Pleasant Stories—that I figured it was about time to dust off the Local History Advent Calendar once again. Similar to a regular advent calendar but instead of chocolate treats, each day you “open” a new historical treat. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder– 24 facts or stories about local history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.
The Mason Block (2603 Main Street), named for owner W.H. Mason, was built from 1906 to 1907 and is an early example of mixed-use architecture. A building permit for the property was issued in 1906 for “cement stores and dwellings” at a cost of $10,000. Like the Hanna Block (Day 1, LHAC) it is constructed of reinforced concrete and cast concrete blocks, one of the first in the city. The Mason Block was built over the Brewery Creek ravine just like the Wenonah Building at 11th and Main was. In addition to the ground floor commercial space with apartments above, the building includes three 2-storey townhouses along 10th Avenue, all with private front and rear entrances – probably the city’s first set of concrete condominiums.
During the construction of the Mason Block there was a terrible accident that resulted in the death of one of the construction workers. In November 1906, carpenter Edward W. Walsh was nailing a board beneath some scaffolding holding two men when it suddenly gave way, crushing Walsh beneath it. When he was extracted from the debris it was discovered he had broken his back, Walsh died later that day in hospital. Ed and Elizabeth Walsh, along with their children, had only recently moved to Mount Pleasant, residing at 2724 Westminster Avenue (Main Street). One of the men on the scaffolding was building owner W H. Mason. He suffered only minor injuries.
You can find more Mount Pleasant stories in my walking tour book, Mount Pleasant Stories. Copies are available for purchase in Mount Pleasant at Pulpfiction Books – 2422 Main Street and in Chinatown at Massy Books – 229 E Georgia St. It makes a great gift or stocking stuffer for your favourite local history buff!