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culture

Vintage Toronto Ads: The Case of the Disappearing Bachelors

When 555 Sherbourne opened in St. James Town, it offered all the conveniences any 1970s apartment dweller could want.

Source: the Toronto Star, September 17, 1977.

Following a police investigation into the sudden disappearance of bachelors at 555 Sherbourne Street, two one-bedrooms and a three-bedroom suite were held for questioning. All three were released, though the suite’s kitchen was charged with kidnapping after it was found to be hiding the Loblaws produce department.

Based on the evidence in today’s ad, 555 Sherbourne was likely one of the last apartment towers in St. James Town to market itself to upwardly mobile singles, tempting potential renters with only-in-the-1970s touches like an onsite disco. Who wouldn’t want to live in a complex overseen not by a mere project manager but a smiling “den father” who you may never need to meet?

While the site no longer offers meals in an exclusive restaurant prepared by a smiling chef, you can still buy groceries provided by Loblaws at the long-ago rebranded No Frills. Based on a plan approved by city council last October, the future may bring up to 409 new rental units and the demolition of the outdoor podium over Earl Street that connects 555 with its neighbouring apartment towers. Any new bachelors will be under 24-hour watch, so they don’t vanish as quickly as the originals.

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