Just over a year ago in “An Update From Madeleine McDowell", Friday, October 21, 2013, Clara’s painting, Houses in Snow, Raymond Ave was the subject of discussion. Madeleine thought she knew the site location:
“I have been examining the area around Clara's home and Raymond Avenue, including the slope down to Langmuir and "I think I've got it". Climbing the hill, from Langmuir and Humbercrest, illustration in hand, and a little local knowledge applied, I think that that is the site where she was when she did the study.
There are a few vintage buildings intact to the east, about a block. They are similar in flavour. The slope connects Raymond Avenue to Langmuir Crescent. This whole continuum was originally Raymond Baby's lane, which led from Jane Street to her home and orchard, in the Valley south of Baby Point.”
And this year on October 5th I received an email from a Raymond Ave resident, G.L. with a similar and detailed description of the location:
"Raymond Ave is not a long street and it ends to the west with a "T" intersection to a one way laneway called Humbercrest Lane. At this end of Raymond between Humbercrest Lane and Langmuir is a small park with a dedication plaque to those people who once had a way of life involving a portage across the Humber River (I am doing this by memory now and can verify shortly.) I know this area well as I run down this way to exercise along the Humber River quite frequently. This little park is a steep hill and connects what would be Raymond if it went through to Langmuir. Valleyview Gardens is adjacent, parallel and just a short distance north of Raymond.
"The park today has a set of old stone stairs going down the hill and less trees than the painting shows although there was a replanting just this past summer of new saplings in an area beside the stairs that was previously popular in winter for tobogganing.
"The homes at the top would be on Raymond on the south side of the street but today they are brick structures while these appear to be wood. Perhaps a photo would be of value to you.
Recent renovations on our home found a calendar behind a wall with a checked date in May 1939. The houses on the street seem to be from about the same era with the exception of a couple of recent entire rebuilds and other degrees of renovations. It is a thriving area of Toronto."
G.L. did some research and provided me with this photo. Now we can see Raymond Ave. in Clara’s time and ours.
This picture was taken in a small park running from Humbercrest Lane to Langmuir Cres just
north of Raymond toward Valleyview Gardens and facing east back toward Raymond Ave.
But “G.L.” isn’t convinced he’s got it right:
"Please tell me if you think we are on the right track here. To me, the houses do not look quite right, one, now being brick but perhaps now facing the opposite way if I assume the stairs now are where the toboggan path is."
What do you think?