295 George Street
"Who you takin' a picture of? Better not be takin' a picture of me."
George Street north of Dundas, just around the corner from Filmores - Good Club, Bad Girls - has its share of characters.
It's in a rough and tumble part of Cabbagetown, where life's lived on the edge.
There are many rooming houses here, mostly filled with wayward and wandering souls - a few, judging by the garbage and broken windows, kick up around 295 George Street from time to time.
The once stately three-storey, abandoned in mid-reno some years back, is all at once a bit of a mystery and cherished part of our city's history.
It's among a dozen of the city's lesser known heritage buildings - although, it does not have a formal heritage designation - that Heritage Toronto is featuring in a photo exhibit a the Gladstone February 17-22.
Once owned by William Gooderham of Gooderham and Worts fame, the home was donated, eventually to become the Fegan Boys' Home, a shelter for destitute boys brought over from the UK.
Judging from news reports in the then Toronto Globe, the boys were considered as much outsiders as the young people who use the building from time to time as a squat today.
One article from April 1899 reports a train load of 48 boys being stopped and quarantined at Leeside (Leaside?) station, after one of them was suspected of being ill with scarlet fever.
"It was found on examination that no member of the party had developed any symptoms of the fever, " the Globe report went on to say, "but having been subjected to infection, it was decided that they should be quarantined for ten days, the usual period in such cases."
In the mid 1930s, the Fegan Boys' Home became the home for the Society for Crippled Civilians, a non-profit training disabled people for work by funding itself through the sale of donated goods.
That's probably because the society later became known as Goodwill.