Stunning Photos from the 1970s in Toronto Showing Street Scenes and Everyday Life

Toronto underwent significant social, economic, and cultural changes that would shape its future trajectory. From the rise of the city’s financial district to the flourishing of its arts and music scenes. One of the most notable changes in Toronto during the 1970s was the rapid development of its skyline. The construction of the CN Tower, which began in 1973 and was completed in 1976, forever altered the city’s silhouette. Standing at 553.33 meters (1,815.4 ft), the CN Tower became an instant icon and a symbol of Toronto’s growing prominence on the world stage. Other significant additions to the skyline during this period included the First Canadian Place (1975), the Eaton Centre (1977), and the Royal Bank Plaza (1979). However, this progress came at a cost. Many heritage buildings were demolished to make way for the new, leaving some to lament the loss of architectural character.

The industrial legacy left the city feeling grimy, with many buildings sporting a brown, orange, and beige color palette. Smoking was prevalent, and the air quality reflected it. Socially, there were struggles. While the late 60s spirit lingered, bigotry remained an issue.

Music lovers embraced the shift from disco to punk, with legendary venues like The Horseshoe hosting up-and-coming acts. The arrival of the Metropolitan Zoo (now the Toronto Zoo) and Ontario Place, a man-made island park with futuristic vibes, offered exciting new recreational options for families.

#1 Looking east to Old City Hall along Queen St. W., Sept. 1975.

#2 TTC PCC streetcar 4741 (acquired secondhand by Toronto, originally build for Birmingham Alabama) stops at the corner of King & York to pickup westbound passengers in June 1970.

#4 Store front on Queen Street West near Jameson in about 1972.

#7 View looking north on Yonge St. near Edward St. with Christmas lights up, about 1972.

#8 TD Centre, Commerce Court, Royal York Hotel, etc., view looking north east from C.N. Tower, Aug. 1976.

#9 Toronto, view looking northwest from the C.N. Tower, Aug. 1976.

#10 West Island, Ontario Place. Photo by Ellis Wiley, August 1972.

#11 Exhibition Park, view looking west from Ontario Place, Aug. 1975.

#12 An alley behind King Street East off of Church Street, 1970s

#13 TTC PCC streetcar 4545 heads westbound on St. Clair Ave. East near Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church on a sunny Summer afternoon in 1972, after coming down Mount Pleasant Ave. from Eglinton loop at the end of the St. Clair route.

#17 Does anyone remember turning Yonge Street into a pedestrian mall in the summer in the 1970s

#19 Dad at Nathan Phillips Square, probably mid 1970s

#22 Gray coach bus at st clair stn rear exit. Training bus – Credit Leonard Jacks‎, 1972

#32 TTC GM bus 3718 at Passmore and Midland – Credit Leonard Jacks‎, 1973

#44 West side of Yonge between Front & Wellington, 1974

#45 West side of Yonge between Front & Wellington, 1974

#47 This is what 4 Bancroft looked like after it was moved, 1979

#48 This is 4 Bancroft Avenue in 1976. This house was cut in half and the main part was saved and moved west to be part of Bancroft Hall.

#56 Northeast corner of Avenue Road & Davenport, 1976

#57 The Old Vienna Bookshop – 112 Avenue Road, 1976

#60 Auberge Gavroche – 90 Avenue Road – Surprisingly this building is still standing, 1976

#61 The Irish Shop – Gerald Campbell Studios – 84-86 Avenue Road, 1976

#63 127-129-131-133 Amelia Street – Before Renovations, 1975

#67 Looking north on Lisgar Street towards 2-4 Afton Avenue, 1979

#69 Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford signing books at a Toronto book store, 1977

#72 TTC GM bus 3763 Steeles near Old Kennedy Road – Credit Leonard Jacks‎, 1973

#73 Summerhill Gardens – Credit Pamela Bolan‎, 1979

#74 Here we have the CHUM Satellite Station set up in front of the O’Keefe Centre, 1970s

#77 Leslie bus at freshmeadow st. Near don mills and steeles, 1973

#79 This year marks the 50th anniversary of GO Transit bus operations. Here is a great Ted Wickson shot of General Motors GO Transit 1120 bus from around the mid-1970s.

#80 Alice Cooper makes his Toronto debut at the Toronto Pop Festival at Varsity stadium 51 years ago, 1970s

#82 A TTC PCC streetcar on the Carlton route (possibly on diversion or detour) heads north on McCaul Street between Dundas and College, 1975

#83 Fineberg’s Delicatessen at 648 Queen St. West, 1972

#84 TTC Rosedale bus nb on Glen rd at Highland Avenue, 1973

#85 King st west of simcoe st. – Credit Leonard Jacks, 1973

#87 TTC Streetcar 4440 Kingston line Southbound on Roncesvalles about to turn east on Queen Street West – 13 July 1970.

#88 TTC Streetcar 2766 travelling eastbound on Queen Street West, near Bay Street, July 1973.

#90 Queen Street, looking east towards Bay Street. Time lapse photo taken from the bridge connecting Nathan Phillips Square to the Sheraton Hotel, 1974

#92 Downtown view from the Bulova Tower – C.N.E., 1974

#95 Bob Benns (seen on the ground) managing the last antenna piece lift by Olga the Sikorsky helicopter, 1975

#96 Paul Mitchell, CANRON, (RIP) getting ready to place the last piece of the CN Tower’s antenna on April 2nd 1975 (before the snow storm came in later in the afternoon).

#97 March 1975 signing of the CN Tower’s top antenna segment at Harbour front but this time from the ground.

#98 The top segment of the CN Tower’s antenna and signing it in person, here’s a photo you will not have seen before, 1975

#99 Toronto Skyline in April 1975. The CN Tower and the BMO building at King and Bay are under construction.

#100 Old school streetcar on Queen Street between Yonge and Bay, summer of 1975.

#101 St. Clair West looking east towards Yonge Street, 1978.

#102 SMITH BROS. PIONEER WAGON AND CARRIAGE WORKS est. 1843 corner of Duke and Parliament St. – Credit Beverley Whitbread

#103 The Canadian Railway Museum at Harbour front, 1977

#105 The Hong Luck Kung Fu Club, Dundas St., West of Spadina, 1970s

#108 Hollywood Theatre, shortly after the exterior was extensively renovated, March 16, 1975.

#109 Hollywood Theatre on Yonge Street just south of Heath Street, June 2, 1974.

#110 Brown Derby Tavern, north east corner of Yonge & Dundas Street intersection, June 23, 1971.

#112 The Eaton Centre Under Construction, Summer, 1975

#116 St. Clair Ave. East looking east towards Birchmount Road, 1973

#119 Re configuring the CNE Grandstand into CNE Stadium in 1975

#124 Carling-O’Keefe British-built blimp powered by twin Porsche engines, 1970s

#127 This man would roam and play all these instruments at the same time at the CNE, 1975

#130 Police in Toronto with Gary Cormier and Gary Topp, 1979

#131 Looking west on Front Street from Princess Street, 1970s

#133 A charter of TTC Peter Witt streetcar 2766, TTC 7528 is a 1972 General Motors Diesel Division T6H 5395 model bus and is doing Ontario Place express duty, 1976

#135 Forest Hill bus on Lonsdale wb at Baker st., 1973

#140 Voyageur Colonial 1834 is a former Colonial Coach Lines 1962 General Motors PD 4106 model bus with the Eaton’s College Street Store in the background 1970.

#143 TTC 3938 was a General Motors New Look bus purchased in 1966. It is seen on the former Keele 41B route, 1970.

#144 Sportsmen’s Show 1976 Exhibition Place photo taken from Bulova tower

#145 Sportsmen’s Show 1976 Exhibition Place photo taken from Bulova tower

#146 This is Eglinton Ave East looking south with Danforth on the left and Brimley on the right in 1974.

#147 TTC Bathurst hillcrest yard. Ex Nova Scotia trolleys in photo bought for TTC Trolley coach Rebuild program, 1970

#149 Brampton Transit 7820 at the time a rare 35 foot 1978 Flyer D800B on a private fan charter to the Halton County Radial Railway. ‎

#151 Yonge night bus northbound at Bloor Street – Credit Leonard Jacks – 1971

#152 The old Hotel Morrissey also known as The Morrissey Tavern at 817 Yonge Street, Toronto, 1970

#158 Queens Quay just west of York Street looking east, 1970s

#159 C.N.E. – Concord flying by – Credit Olympia Russo‎, 1979

Avatar of Aung Budhh

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *