20 to 1 against good smell in Keele-St. Clair district
By Leslie Millin
There’s a good smell in the Keele-St. Clair area. To enjoy it you must stand on the sidewalk at about the midpoint of the Central Bakery Ltd. at 130 Cawathra Ave.
But stand anywhere else – a foot or two to port or starboard – and the fine effluvia of the area roll down and cudgel that bakery smell like half a dozen thugs mugging a little old lady.
As the Metropolitan Works Department said in its report last week, there are 20 industrial plants near the intersection of Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue West contributing to the smell handing over the area.
“And those,” the man with the crimped nostrils said yesterday as he waited for a bus at that intersection, “are only the big ones.”
Besides the 10 meat packing and rendering plants, the four industrial chemical plants, the two barrel and drum incinerating and reconditioning plants, the two fertilizer manufacturing plants, the municipal garbage incinerator and the stock yard, there are smaller factories and workshops in the area, and every one of them sends some special aroma up into the atmosphere.
Even a nose slightly anesthetized by yesterday’s stinging winds found Keele-St. Clair area had to take.
On the northwest corner of the intersection is the vast, tomb-like building of Swift Canadian Co. Ltd., a giant among meat packers
On the sothhwest corner, the Ontario Stockyards sprawl for many a yard.
These establishments contribute what perfumers call the base of a fragrance, the lasting odors that go on and on and on.
Anyone who stands in the middle of the intersection will realize that over the sharpness of the packing plant, and the solid body blow the stockyards, there is another scent, what perfumers call the top notes of a fragrance.
This is supplied by the kindly operators of an automobile body and paint shop on the southeast corner, who send a shrill resinous tang of epoxy and spray paint into the atmosphere.
Stand in the intersection until a locomotive rolls by on the nearby tracks (they cut Keele just a few feet south of the intersection) and you may pick up the heady bouquet of diesel fumes.
Hardly more than a stone’s throw to the southeast is a paint plant. In that vicinity he solid bolts of stockyard smell are blunted by a smell reminiscent of boiled sheet steel.
Not far away is an outfit that produces soda water, and in that area the base smell is gently percolated with something far more pleasant.
Near that, in turn, is a fish plan, with all that that implies.
Behind the Swift plant, where Keel Street jogs into Weston Road, passengers alighting from buses and street cars get the full packing-house blast.
Plant workers on their way home, however, don’t seem to notice.
“Try working over there,” John Ragazza of Scarboro, said, waving his arm toward the Swift plant. “The air here is fresh. The real smell is inside.”
“I’ve worked in this area for years, and I used to live not far from here,” Henry Cotton said as he left the stockyard gates yesterday.
“As soon as I could afford it, I moved a long way away. Of course it smells, particularly in summer. It’s a stockyard. What do you expect?”
A baker feeding loaves into the oven at Central Bakery yesterday would not give his name but was free with his comments. “I live as far from this area as I can,” he said.
Nestled among the wheel shops and scarp metal dealers, the auto body shops and the occasional fertilizer manufacturer, are houses. Many of them are well cared for, and a respectable number of them bear the marks of renovation, and as the woman sweeping her sidewalk said: “We don’t like to complain about the smell. After all my husband works for Swift’s.”
A lot of complaints have been received, however.
Harry Belyea, Toronto’s director of air pollution control, has pointed this out in a letter to each of the companies whose fumes contribute so much to the Keel-St. Clair atmosphere. The letter requests co-operation in each case, and gently hints that the Ontario Government may shortly be throwing a little more weight around regarding air pollution.
The woman brushing her sidewalk, however, said her neighbors are more than slightly concerned over the Keele Centre, the industrial mall that will occupy the ground just south of the stock yards.