Walking down Carlaw after I moved to the east end not long ago, I noticed something very strange – just south of Gerrard St. East and Carlaw, you pass ANOTHER Gerrard St. East, this one a little residential road.
Digging back in archival maps, it looks like the reason was that, at first, the tunnel under the tracks was at Carlaw, and Gerrard St. diverted slightly to meet the tunnel at Carlaw in a complicated intersection. You can see this in a 1913 map (click on section 41 to download the relevant part of the map).
By 1924, a tunnel had been dug so that Gerrard could be straightened. But the old Gerrard East diversion kept its name, resulting in parallel streets with the same name.
At some point, a small parkette was built to close off the intersection of Gerrard St. East and Gerrard St. East — I’m guessing to stop it being used as a shortcut for drivers going north on Carlaw who wanted to turn eastwards onto Gerrard, and also to remove a convoluted and not especially useful intersection.
But, according to a letter from local Councillor Paula Fletcher (PDF) to Toronto and East York Community Council considered this month, it still causes confusion as drivers going north on Carlaw turn onto the wrong Gerrard St. E. and find themselves trapped, having to circle around the residential neighbourhood to get out again. TEYCC agreed to ask staff to look into the matter.
The obvious solution, which I expect will be recommended, is to rename this little doppelganger Gerrard St. East to something else. A sensible solution, but the end of a curiosity that has persisted for almost a century.
1913 map section from City of Toronto archives, Goads Fire Insurance Plans