Watching the Waterproofing Work on What was Once Gooderham and Worts

The nether regions just two feet under the cobblestones of the Distillery District have been uncovered and explored by contractors off and on for the last hundred years, but there’s always lots of little treasures here to uncover…

While fixing the drainage systems under the cobblestone lanes and passages in the Distillery District, the DryShield waterproofing solutions technicians doing this work were focused on excavating the site to install drainage systems, but I went looking for stuff buried under the cobblestones. I found railroad spikes and all manner of round and square nails, bullets, nuts and cotter pins and a key.

The work done here by Historical Restorations  inc is detailed on the Distillery District blog post about pointing bricks on the exterior of Victorian architecture and how that relates to wet basements and spring floods.

Roberrific on Bizcovering writes on how internal gutters are most common remedy for wet basement wall and they are dug below the wall , about eight inches wides or just wide enough to accommodate a course plastic pipe, wrapped in a nylon ‘hose’ filter.

The wall is covered with a thick plastic membrane which really does become a dry shield.

The barrier has specially designed nipples and rivulets that encourage water to flow straight down and into the freshly excavated gutter at the base of the wall.

The internal gutter excavation and ABS pipe installation is part of DryShield waterproofing solution in this residential house basement where waterproofing contractors install the membrane as remedy to moisture on cement walls and excessive run off during spring floods from a shared driveway above.;

Basement waterproofing article on Fuel Ghoul explains how contractors can do the work entirely inside the house. This is a common practice when floods have destroyed walls and water damaged drywall and wet and moldy fiberglass insulation  has to be removed anyway.

Tearing out these walls reveals everything that was in the wall (period newspapers) and used to make the wall or was lost in the wall.  

Experienced contractors look for pennies and coins used to level trim and rings and earrings swept under floorboards.

The Robert W Campbell Bottle

Dumpdiggers visits the Toronto Archives Three Tuesdays ago, Malcolm Mcleod surprised me with a Toronto druggist bottle on which my full name appears in the embossing. After beholding this relic, I set about a quest for more insight into my own genealogy.
Have a look at this 5 oz medicine bottle. Although a little dirty, its in good condition. The stain from the original contents is still visible inside, and that’s perfect. That’s just how I intend to preserve the treasures – as found. The slug plate on this transparent piece of Canadian history reads: ROBERT W CAMPBELL / PHARMACIST / TORONTO ONTARIO. It actually doesn’t surprise me that there are historic objects bearing my name. As one of Scotland’s most notorious clans, the Campbells dominated the Highlands for hundreds of years, and their great leaders included several Roberts, the most famous of which is Robert Campbell of Argyll. Today, when I type my name into Google, I find there are hundreds of contemporary examples – an actor, an architect, a fiction author and a real estate agent in southern Alabama are the most prolific; the latter owns the web domain Generally speaking, the Campbells were always pretty good soldiers, and the surname appears on the rolls of almost every British military episode from 1709 forward… In most cases however, the highlanders fought for King and Country with an eye on settling their own farms in the colonies. Indeed the Canadian government funded a popular TV show about a family of British settlers called The Campbells in the 1980’s. This particular pharmacist, Robert W Campbell lived and worked in the City of Toronto in 1895, and I found that information and more while visiting the Toronto Archives on Friday 13th of June, 2008. I was the first official visitor to sign into the building that morning – the doors open at 9am, and I was there at 9:05.

The City of Toronto Archives is located at 255 Spadina Road, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 2V3. This building is a short walk north of Dupont Station on the University subway line – TELEPHONE – To talk to an archivist anytime during business hours, simply call 416-397-0778. Fax the experts at 416-392-9685. Ask for an archivist named Steve Mackinnon – he’s terrific.

Are cameras allowed inside the archives? Don’t even mention the word ‘camera’ when you visit the Toronto Archives. It’s a bad word. It triggers a conditioned response of ‘No Cameras Allowed!’ This clause ‘special permission required’ is peppered with words like ‘appointment’, ‘request forms’ and ‘fees’… yes the Toronto Archives profits by making photographic reproductions. They charge $25 to lens each piece of public property. Robert W Campbell appears the 1896 City of Toronto records as a Druggist with a business at 398 Spadina Ave, and a house at 41 Willcock St. Below his name appears Sarah Campbell, the widow of another Robert Campbell at 1214 King st West. Then a lawyer named Samuel Campbell, and a school teacher named Sophie Campbell follows him . Thomas S Campbell was a buyer for the T Eaton Company, while another man simply known as Tom Campbell was the chef at the Rossin Hotel. In all, there were over two dozen professionals named Campbell living and working in Toronto in the summer of 1896. I’d like to think this little bottle represents them all, and how hard they each worked to make a name for themselves…