History was closer than we knew

grand-duchess-olga

John Robert Colombo has shared his discovery of a remarkable site by an equally remarkable man. Paul Gilbert has made himself an expert on Russia’s Romanovs.

Of particular interest to me was the Toronto connection to the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna. She escaped Russia when Bolsheviks assassinated most of the Russian Imperial family in 1918. Her first refuge was Denmark, but postwar dangers forced her to seek asylum in Canada. Fascinating tale. As it happened, she died in a tiny apartment above a beauty salon at 716 Gerrard Street East… a few blocks from the first house Danica and I bought. [See map below] We walked by that little building many, many times, oblivious to its history.

upstairs-apartment
Google Street View shot. The Grand Duchess expired in the small apartment upstairs. The building still exists.

street-view-and-map

One thought on “History was closer than we knew

  1. From the current street view I would surmise she died of embarrassment…pictures from the 60’s look a bit nicer. I have fond memories of our old neighbourhood but that was 27 years ago! Things change – the grand duchess would have to agree. Great story Bill, thanks for posting.

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