The Great Toronto Fire of 1904 destroyed a large section of downtown Toronto, Ontario, on April 19, 1904.
The fire was first spotted at 8:04 p.m. by a constable on his regular street patrol. The flames were rising from the elevator shaft of the Currie neckwear factory at 58 Wellington Street West, just west of Bay Street. The factory was located in the centre of a large industrial and commercial area. The exact cause of the fire was never determined.
The fire began on the evening of the 19th and took nine hours to get under control. The glow of the fire could be seen for kilometres in all directions. Firefighters from cities as far away as Hamilton, Ontario and Buffalo came to Toronto's aid. The battle was made more difficult by strong winds and sub-zero temperatures. The temperature that night was approximately -4 degrees Celsius (24F) with winds at 48 kilometres per hour with snow flurries.
The fire destroyed 104 buildings on about twenty acres of land, but killed no one. It caused $10,350,000 in damage and put five thousand people out of work, at a time when the city only had 200,000 inhabitants. As a result of the fire, more stringent safety laws were introduced and an expansion of the city's fire department was undertaken.
It was the largest fire ever in the city, although a previous large fire had consumed many city blocks on April 7, 1849 when the city was much smaller and constructed mostly with wood.
The legacy of this fire includes Call Box 12, which was used to sound the alarm and now is the name for the volunteer canteen truck supporting Toronto Fire Services today.
Travis Erwin from Amarillo, Texas is the founder of My Town Monday here. As Travis is moving house this week, for other locations to visit please go to Jenn Jilks' site here while she temporarily holds the reins.