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What Toronto looked like in the 1920s Through these Fascinating Historical Photos

Toronto in the 1920s was a bustling and growing city. It was a time of great change and progress, as Toronto saw significant development in industry, transportation, and the arts. The population of Toronto grew rapidly during this time, with many new immigrants arriving in the city. This influx of people brought with it a diverse array of cultures, which contributed to the vibrant and cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city.

The economy of Toronto in the 1920s was driven by industry, particularly manufacturing and processing. Toronto was home to many factories and industrial plants, which provided jobs for many of the city’s residents. The development of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in the 1920s also contributed to the city’s economic growth, as it made it easier for people to travel around the city and connect to suburban areas.

The 1920s was also a time of cultural growth in Toronto. The city was home to a thriving arts scene, with many galleries, theaters, and concert halls. The University of Toronto also played a central role in the city’s cultural life, as it was a hub of intellectual and artistic activity.

The 1920s were also a time of social change in Toronto. Women’s suffrage was a hot topic, and women in the city became more involved in the political process. Overall, Toronto in the 1920s was a dynamic and exciting time as the city continued to grow and evolve. It was a period of great change and progress, which laid the foundation for Toronto’s development into the vibrant and cosmopolitan city it is today.

Here are some spectacular historic photos that offers a glimpse into the 1920s in Toronto.

#1 Yonge Street looking north at Lawrence Avenue, 1922

#2 Sweet Nectar Orange Drink – North side of Danforth Avenue, just west of Woodbine Avenue, 1920s

#4 “Late 1920’s at the CP Lunch on Runnymede north of Dundas.

#6 St. Clair Oakwood Motors, De Soto Six Motor Cars – Electric overhanging sign on a building at 900 St. Clair Avenue West, opposite Alberta Avenue, 1920s

#7 Sunday School at St Brigid`s in Toronto, 1921 – John North and Ernie Catling.

#9 Bedford Park Presbyterian (United) Church (1921-1924).

#11 Garage at the corner of Kingston Rd & Cornell Ave., 1920

#12 Military Burying Ground, Strachan Avenue, west of Fort York, 1926.

#13 Liberty St., looking west from Strachan Avenue, 1926.

#14 Bathurst Street and St. Clair Avenue west. View is looking west on St. Clair Avenue West towards Bathurst Street, 1920s

#15 Richmond Parking Station. An electric overhanging sign on a building located on the south side of Richmond Street West, west of Bay Street. View is looking east, 1920s

#16 St Brigid’s RC Church, Toronto – Credit Marlene Catling Koenig, 1922

#17 Bedford Park Presbyterian (United) Church (opened 1924), Ranleigh Avenue, north side, between Yonge St. and Mt. Pleasant Rd.

#18 Danforth Avenue, looking west towards Donlands Avenue. Visible in the image is Donlands Battery and Tire Service, 1920s

#19 South-west corner of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, adjacent to a building occupied by Nash Undertakers, 2284 Yonge Street, 1920s

#20 Brand new Maple Leaf Stadium – Bathurst & Fleet, 1926

#21 Stop 3 is listed as Sweeney’s Side Road. This view is looking south on Yonge St. from approximately the south side of the 401 down into Hogg’s Hollow, 1920s

#22 Bloor Street East and Church Street, southwest corner, 1920s

#23 Spadina Avenue, south of College Street. View is looking north-west on Spadina Avenue, 1920s

#24 Dr. T.N. Scott, Dentist 692 Bloor W at Clinton looking east, 1920s

#25 Orange Maid Drink – Danforth Avenue, south side, west of Coxwell Avenue.. View is looking east, 1920s

#26 Gotfredson Trucks – 242-244 Spadina Avenue. View is looking north-east on Spadina Avenue, from south of Grange Avenue, 1920s

#27 Arthur-Jones Printing 585 Adelaide W, looking west towards Bathurst Street, 1920s

#30 South-west corner of Yonge Street and Yonge Boulevard, 1920s

#31 West End Y.M.C.A., College Street, at Dovercourt Road, south-east corner, 1920s

#35 1126 Weston Road, Mount Dennis looking northwest, 1926

#36 1323 Weston Road, Mount Dennis, Rutherford Avenue in the background. Looking northwest, 1926

#37 Morris House, Morris Cars and Trucks 674-680 Bay Street, 1920s

#38 Bentley’s Fish and Chips on the north side of Danforth Avenue, near the Grover Theatre, at 2714. View is looking east on Danforth Avenue, 1928

#39 Arnold’s Bakery – 369 Roncesvalles Avenue, 1928

#40 Dundas Street & Milan Street looking southeast, 1920s

#41 Queen Street East looking west towards River Street, 1920s

#42 L.J. Applegath & Son Limited. A storefront with signage advertising Craig Hats, 22-24 Queen Street East, at Victoria Street, north-west corner, 1920s

#44 Brown & Percy Motors Limited 1415 Bloor St. W., Willys-Knight Whippet Motor Cars, 1920s

#45 National Taxi Limited, 23 Adelaide Street West, at Johnson Street, 1929

#46 Dundas Street West and University Avenue, site for a new nine-story addition to the Maclean-Hunter Building. View is looking north-east across University Avenue, 1926

#47 Dundas Street West & Chestnut Street. View is looking west, towards the Maclean-Hunter Building, 1929

#49 Royce Theatre – 315 Royce Avenue (1621 Dupont Street) South side of Dupont between Edwin & Franklin, 1929

#50 Procession of clowns at the gates of Sir Henry Pellalt’s, 1922.

#51 Casa Loma, Sir Henry Pellatt’s Castle, Toronto, from the stables water tower, north side, 1922.

#52 Princes’ Gates, Canadian National Exhibition, 1927.

#54 Military Burying Ground, Strachan Avenue, west of Fort York, 1926.

#56 Donlands Battery & Service Station on the south side of Danforth just east of Donlands, 1920s

#57 Harry Horne’s Double Cream Custard – Queen Street West, at Cowan Avenue. View is looking east on Queen Street West, 1928

#58 South side of College Street, near Bay Street. Visible in the image is the De Lestard’s School of Languages, 53 College Street, and Marcella Beauty Parlour and Physicians & Surgeons Hospital Supplies, 1920s

#59 Henry Wray Drugs Sodas 896 Kingston Road looking west, 1920s

#60 Olympia Bowling Club – Yonge and Gerrard streets, south-east corner. View is looking south-west towards the west side of Yonge Street, 1920s

#62 Palace Theatre, 664 Danforth Avenue, near Pape Avenue, showing its overhanging electric sign. View is looking east on Danforth Avenue, from Pape Avenue, 1920s

#63 Rutherford Avenue viewed from Weston Road, Mount Dennis looking northwest, 1926

#64 Owl Drug Stores Limited. A signage on a storefront located at the north-west corner of Bloor Street West and Spadina Road, 1929

#65 Petrie’s Parking Place – Electric overhanging sign on a building located on the south side of Front Street West, west of York Street, 1929

Petrie's Parking Place - Electric overhanging sign on a building located on the south side of Front Street West, west of York Street, 1929

The building, occupied as a parking garage, was built as the Cyclorama. View is looking east on Front Street West

#67 Old Toronto Hydro Scott Street plant, 1928

Old Toronto Hydro Scott Street plant, 1928

The Toronto Terminals Railway began building the Central Heating Plant at the northwest corner of York Street and Fleet Street (now Lakeshore Boulevard). The new facility replaced the old Toronto Hydro Scott Street plant, which was expropriated by the TTR for the building of the railway viaduct. When the Central Heating Plant was completed in 1929, it was the largest such facility in Canada. At its peak, the CHP could produce 330,000 pounds of steam per hour or an average of 600 million pounds annually. The plant provided steam heat piped through underground tunnels to a wide variety of railway facilities including Union Station, the CNR and CPR express buildings and the CPR John Street roundhouse, as well as supplying heat for individual passenger cars stored in the coach yard. The steam required for the Roundhouse's much vaunted "Direct Steaming Process" also came from this source. Moreover, the CHP also heated the Royal York Hotel, the Dominion Public Building, the Postal Delivery Building and the CN/CP Telecommunications building at Front and Simcoe Streets. Later the plant was converted to natural gas. In the 1980s the Toronto Terminals Railway decided to purchase their heating capacity directly from a commercial supplier and the Central Heating Plant was demolished in 1990.

#68 Spick and Span Cleaners – 2011 Yonge Street, 1929

#69 McColl-Frontenac Service Station – Lake Shore Road, at Spadina Avenue, 1929

#70 Driscoll’s Cartage – 2068 Dundas Street West, 1929

#71 McLaughlin Canada Buick, 1920s

McLaughlin Canada Buick, 1920s

This building was torn down in 2010 to be rebuilt into the condo at 832 Bay Street - Item is a photograph of a rooftop billboard atop the McLaughlin Building, located at the north-west corner of Bay and Grenville streets.

#72 Feinsod’s Delicatessen – 691 Yonge Street view is looking southeast, 1929

#73 McIlroy’s Sandwich Shop, Turret Cigarettes – 1590 Danforth Avenue, 1929

#74 Sherwin-Williams Company of Canada Limited Paints & Varnishes – 580 Danforth Avenue, 1929

#75 Yardley’s Lavender Soap, located at the south-west corner of York and Harbor streets, 1929

#76 Hunt’s Candies, Ice Cream and Grill – West side of Yonge just south of Bloor, 1929-30

#78 Eastern end of Clouston Avene at the train tracks, 1929

#79 Adams Wedding Decorations – 1635-39 Yonge St., 1929

#80 Eastern Avenue looking east to the bridge over the Don River, 1929

#81 A rooftop electric sign, atop the Dominion Rubber Company Ontario Limited building located at the south-east corner of Yonge and Front streets, 1929

#82 The ‘Miss York’ motor launch plying its way around the Toronto Islands during a tour, July 29, 1929.

#83 Pumps at George Tompkins station on 2261 Queen St., 1920s

#84 Gledhill Public School, 1924, Room 13, Senior Fourth.

#85 Toronto Police Band outside Massey Hall, Feb. 2, 1923.

#86 View looking north on Bathurst St. from Dupont St., 1929.

#88 View of part of Stanley Barracks from top of ride at the C.N.E., 1923.

#89 Night view looking north to The Superior Fried Fish Shop, 1887 Yonge Street, Mar. 9, 1923.

#90 The Superior Fried Fish Shop, 1887 Yonge Street, Feb. 22, 1923.

#91 Ideal bread wagon on Woodbine Ave., Nov. 5, 1921.

#92 View looking west on Bloor St. W., to Dundas St. W., Canada Bread Company’s Factory No. 2 stands prominently here, 1929

#93 View looking east on Bloor St. W., from Dundas St. W. to Canada Bread Company’s Factory No. 2, 1929

#94 New Method Laundry Company Limited building, 725 College St., at Crawford St., south west corner, 1929

#95 New sign for Petrie’s Parking Place, 1929. The main part of the building, now converted into a parking garage, was built in 1887 as the Cyclorama. View is looking east on Front St. West from Simcoe St.

#96 Looking east from the tower of the Canada Life on University Avenue, 1929.

#97 View looking east on Louisa St. to James St., the T. Eaton factory looming in the distance, 1920

View looking east on Louisa St. to James St., the T. Eaton factory looming in the distance, 1920

Louisa St. no longer exists, it used to run parallel to Albert St, just north of it. The Eaton factory was demolished, now the site of the Eaton Centre.

#98 Eaton’s mail order building from Dundas Street West, 1925.

#99 View looking south east from the north west corner of Danforth Ave. & Donlands Ave. intersection, 1920s

#100 McMillan, Neil Lamont, drug store, 1920. Located on the south west corner of Vaughan Rd., & Ellsworth Ave. intersection (36-38 Vaughan Rd.)

#101 Doherty, Frederick J., ‘Abbey Court’, in 1928. Yonge St., southwest corner Orchard View Blvd.

#102 Cutting the ribbon at the formal opening ceremony for the CNE’s Princes’ Gates, Aug. 30, 1927.

#103 C.N.R. shops at Leaside, view looking northwest, 1920

C.N.R. shops at Leaside, view looking northwest, 1920

Only the locomotive shop building (photo centre left) survives to this day, currently housing a Longo's grocery store just east of Laird Drive, north of Esandar Drive.

#104 Mount Pleasant Road with cemetery in background, 1928

#107 New Method Laundry Company Limited building, northwest corner of Queen St. E. and River St., 1929

#108 Toronto ferry S.S. Bluebell, as photographed by Alfred Pearson, June 6, 1927.

#110 View looking west on Front St. W., towards York St., 1929. The Walker House Hotel stands prominently to left of photo.

#111 Aerial View of Toronto take during Industrial Exposition. 5 Sept, 1928

#112 Aerial View of Toronto take during Industrial Exposition. 5 Sept, 1928

#113 Aerial View of Toronto take during Industrial Exposition. 5 Sept, 1928

#114 Aerial View of Toronto take during Industrial Exposition. 5 Sept, 1928

#117 Parliament Buildings, Queen’s Park, Toronto, 1920.

#118 A scene in High Park, view looking west to the primary farm of the Rennie Seed company, 1920.

#119 Government House, also known as Chorley Park, 1920. Demolished in the 1960s, a City of Toronto park bearing its name now marks the site where it once stood in Rosedale.

#120 Casa Loma, 1920.

Casa Loma, 1920.

Sir Henry Mill Pellatt still owned this famous landmark at the time the photo was developed, he was forced to leave in 1923.

#123 Camera assembly area inside ‘Kodak Heights’ factory, 1923.

#126 This row of homes has survived somehow. Blackburn Street looking southeast from Gerrard Street East. Across from the Don Jail, 1928

#127 Domestic Gas Service Station. The building behind is part of the Lever Brothers complex, 1920s

#128 An excited group boards the Miss York motor launch for a tour through the lagoons of Toronto Island, July 29, 1929.

#129 Aerial View of Toronto take during Industrial Exposition. 5 Sept, 1928

#130 Future location of the Canada Life Building, University Ave. and Queen St. W., looking northwest, 1924.

#131 University College entrance, University of Toronto, 1920.

#133 Engineering building, University of Toronto, 1920.

#135 Looking north to the Prince Edward Viaduct from Riverdale Park, 1920.

#136 Looking north on Rosedale Valley Rd., underneath the Bloor St. E. viaduct, 1920.

#137 Registry of Deeds and Land Titles, Queen St. W., c, 1920. Demolished to make way for Toronto’s current City Hall building in 1957.

#139 Empire Day parade, Morse Street School flower party – May 23, 1929

#140 Colonial Theatre, south side of Queen Street, east from Bay Street, constructed from fragments of old Customs House – February 22, 1923

#141 Kids playing on the ice. Riverdale West side north of Gerrard Street – February 24, 1925

#142 Victoria Park Forest School, Halloween party, group of six, October 28, 1929.

#143 Victoria Park Forest School, Halloween party, group of nine, October 28, 1929.

#144 York Memorial Collegiate, Toronto, ON. Built in 1929, this iconic landmark in the City of York experienced a horrific fire last May.

#145 Canadian Kodak Co., Ltd., King Street Premises, (1901-1917) 588 King Street W., 1926

Canadian Kodak Co., Ltd., King Street Premises, (1901-1917) 588 King Street W., 1926

This portion of the factory, bordering Adelaide Street, was constructed during Kodak’s King Street expansion. The image was taken nearly ten years after Kodak had completed its move to Kodak Heights. - Credit: Ryerson Archives and Special Collections.

#146 Canadian Kodak Co., Ltd., King Street Premises from 1901-1917, Frontal view, 588 King Street West, Toronto, 1926

#147 Canadian Kodak Co., Ltd. Headquarters (1899-1901), 41 Colborne St., Toronto, 1920s

#148 Yonge Street looking southwest from CPR North Toronto Station, 1920

#149 Northwest Corner of Dundas and Mutual streets, 1920

#152 Eglinton Avenue looking west from Yonge Street, 1922

#155 Toronto Transportation Commission car near Queen Street and Woodbine Avenue, 1923

#156 Queen Street looking east from James Street, 1924

#158 Front and Church streets looking southeast, 1924

#159 Yonge Street looking north from Charles Street, 1924

#163 Riverdale Bowling Alley – 907-909 Queen Street East, 1920s

Riverdale Bowling Alley - 907-909 Queen Street East, 1920s

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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