Old Toronto: Then and Now (Photos)

Honest Ed's, Casa Loma, and more.

Toronto has a huge history. this city has always been full of diverse cultures, amazing architecture, and so many people that are proud to call this city their home. Whether you grew up here or just moved recently, let’s take a look through the City of Toronto Archives and see what the city looked like a few generations ago.

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TTC HEAD OFFICE

THEN:
This photo shows the TTC Head Office under construction in 1957. Toronto-based photographer Eric Trussler captured nearly 3,000 pictures for the TTC between the years of 1957-1974. This was one of the first.

Source: Photo by Eric Trussler

NOW:
The TTC head office is still in its original Davisville location. However, the company is looking to relocate to a different spot in the city. The building has seen some damage over the years, according to the Toronto Star.

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JANE AND FINCH

THEN:
This photo was donated to the City of Toronto Archives by the construction company that helped create the roads in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood, between 1960-1965. The image shows the Jane and Finch intersection when it first began, with very few stoplights or cars on the road.

Source: Road construction photos donated to City of Toronto Archives

NOW:
Jane and Finch has seen a lot of construction since it first began. We currently see the intersection is busy with people and businesses. Earlier this summer, it was announced that the neighbourhood would be adding a new light rail transit system, stretching from Humber College to Finch West, connecting it to the Yonge-University subway line.

Source: Photo via Google Images Streetview


 

CN TOWER

THEN:
This picture was taken on August 18, 1973, just six months after the CN Tower’s construction began. According to the city’s archives, this photo was taken when Harvey R. Naylor was standing outside of the Royal Alexandria theatre. We can see that there are trains in front of the camera, possibly passing through the nearby Union Station.

Source: photo by Harvey R. Naylor

NOW:
This is the current view of the CN Tower from just outside the Royal Alexandria Theatre. There are huge skyscrapers everywhere, but you can still see the tower peeking between the buildings.

Source: Photo via Google Images Streetview


 

EATON CENTRE

THEN:
This photo was published as part of a series by the Toronto Planning and Development Department, with images dating from 1979-1991. It shows the Eaton Centre in its early days, with fewer people and fewer businesses involved.

Source: Donated by the Toronto Planning and Development Department to the City of Toronto Archives

NOW:
The Eaton Centre is still structurally the same, but a lot busier now than ever. There are advertisements on the walls and decorations hanging from the ceiling. Now managed by Cadillac Fairview, this gigantic mall was originally named after Eaton’s, one of Canada’s biggest retail department store chains, until 1999.

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CASA LOMA

THEN:
After Casa Loma was built in 1913, owner Sir Henry Pellatt lived in the castle with his wife, where they were known to hold lavish parties. However, by the time this photo was taken in 1962, after accidentally making several bad investments, Pellat died penniless. The city actually seized the castle in 1924 due to unpaid taxes. In this photo, we see tourists getting off a bus to see the huge castle.

Source: Photo by Eric Trussler

NOW: As we can see in this modern day photo, Casa Loma looks basically the same on the outside. The garden has been remodelled, but internal construction of the walls and flooring has been done as well. It is still a huge tourist attraction, as well as a popular filming sit. Films such as X-Men, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Chicago, Strange Brew, and Descendants.

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HONEST ED’S

THEN:
Honest Ed’s has always been a huge landmark for Toronto. As we can see from the photo, people are lined up out the door and all the way down the street. People came from all over to visit the bargain store, not only for its amazing prices but also catchy gimmicks like “Come in and get lost!” and “Only our floors are crooked!”

Source: Alexandria Studio for the City of Toronto

NOW:
After being in business for nearly 70 years, the historic store permanently closed on December 31, 2016. The store had a huge sign advertising it’s name, with over 23,000 bright lightbulbs. This sign became synonymous with the Honest Ed’s name. Thankfully, it was saved in the demolition. The sign will be placed above the Ed Mirvish Theatre, and we can see some of the transportation happening in the photo.


 


 
Image courtesy Alexandria Studio for the City of Toronto Archives