Starkman Billiard Parlour

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355 COLLEGE STREET

Louis Starkman’s Billiard Parlour was a space for leisure and entertainment in early twentieth century-Toronto with two locations: one at 355 College Street and another at 318 Spadina Avenue. These two streets acted as the unofficial Northern and Eastern boundaries for the market. 

Unlike later in the 1950s, when families began moving to the suburbs and into larger homes with rec rooms and larger gathering spaces, Kensington homes were comparatively small and cramped. People often sought recreational spaces outside the home including billiard parlours, cafes, ice cream parlours, and bowling alleys. 

Both Starkman’s locations, on Spadina and College, were situated within walking distance of the market. Spadina Avenue in particular was concentrated with businesses that catered to the garment workers on lower Spadina and the after-theatre crowd of the nearby Yiddish theatre, the Standard Theatre, at Spadina and Dundas. Hubs like these allowed people to gather, discuss politics, and stay connected to the Old World.

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