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

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

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

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

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#3 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.

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.

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#4 Toronto from the Cayuga, 1900s

Toronto from the Cayuga, 1900s

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

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

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#6 Jack and Jill’s and the Cafe de la Paix, 1970s

Jack and Jill's and the Cafe de la Paix, 1970s

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#7 Street Vendor on Yonge Street, 1972.

Street Vendor on Yonge Street, 1972.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#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.

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.

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#14 Toronto Skyline, September 1976.

Toronto Skyline, September 1976.

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#15 Drive in Toronto, 1970s

Drive in Toronto, 1970s

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#16 38-40 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1978

38-40 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1978

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

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

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

Dad at Nathan Phillips Square, probably mid 1970s

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#19 Dundas St. near Kipling Ave., 1970s

Dundas St. near Kipling Ave., 1970s

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#20 TTC Lansdowne garage 50, 1970s

TTC Lansdowne garage 50, 1970s

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

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

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#22 Don Mills & Lawrence looking west early 1970s

Don Mills & Lawrence looking west early 1970s

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#23 61 Binscarth Road, 1979

61 Binscarth Road, 1979

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#24 TTC Birchmount garage, 1972

TTC Birchmount garage, 1972

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#25 70 Berkeley Street – 1970

70 Berkeley Street - 1970

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#26 55-79 Berkeley Street – 1972

55-79 Berkeley Street - 1972

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#27 26 Berkeley Street – 1973

26 Berkeley Street - 1973

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#28 95 Bellevue Avenue, 1979

95 Bellevue Avenue, 1979

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#29 87 Bellevue Avenue -1991

87 Bellevue Avenue -1991

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#30 87 Bellevue Avenue, 1979

87 Bellevue Avenue, 1979

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

TTC GM bus 3718 at Passmore and Midland - Credit Leonard Jacks‎, 1973

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#32 39 Beaty Avenue, 1976

39 Beaty Avenue, 1976

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#33 39-43 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

39-43 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

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#34 35-37 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1970

35-37 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1970

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#35 32-34 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

32-34 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

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#36 28-30 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

28-30 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

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#37 27-29 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

27-29 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

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#38 14 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

14 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

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#39 19 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

19 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

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#40 9-11 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

9-11 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1976

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#41 8-10 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1979

8-10 Beaconsfield Avenue, 1979

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#42 222 Bay Street (Toronto Stock Exchange), 1976

222 Bay Street (Toronto Stock Exchange), 1976

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

West side of Yonge between Front & Wellington, 1974

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

West side of Yonge between Front & Wellington, 1974

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#45 Bathurst & Lakeshore looking northwest, 1979

Bathurst & Lakeshore looking northwest, 1979

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

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

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#47 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.

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.

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#48 124 Baldwin Street, 1976

124 Baldwin Street, 1976

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#49 110-112 Baldwin Street, 1976

110-112 Baldwin Street, 1976

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#50 19-21 Baldwin Street, 1979

19-21 Baldwin Street, 1979

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#51 50 Baldwin Street, 1970

50 Baldwin Street, 1970

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#52 50 Baldwin Street, 1970

50 Baldwin Street, 1970

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#53 100 Bain Avenue, 1975

100 Bain Avenue, 1975

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#54 240 Avenue Road, 1973

240 Avenue Road, 1973

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#55 Northeast corner of Avenue Road & Davenport, 1976

Northeast corner of Avenue Road & Davenport, 1976

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

The Old Vienna Bookshop - 112 Avenue Road, 1976

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#57 Lillian Weiss Antiques – 110 Avenue Road, 1976

Lillian Weiss Antiques - 110 Avenue Road, 1976

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#58 Pottery Shop – 100 Avenue Road, 1976

Pottery Shop - 100 Avenue Road, 1976

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

Auberge Gavroche - 90 Avenue Road - Surprisingly this building is still standing, 1976

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

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

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#61 Bobbe Logan Salon – 88 Avenue Road, 1976

Bobbe Logan Salon - 88 Avenue Road, 1976

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#62 127-129-131-133 Amelia Street – Before Renovations, 1975

127-129-131-133 Amelia Street - Before Renovations, 1975

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#63 36-40 Amelia Street – After Renovations, 1979

36-40 Amelia Street - After Renovations, 1979

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#64 36-40 Amelia Street – During Renovations, 1979

36-40 Amelia Street - During Renovations, 1979

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#65 36-40 Amelia Street – Before Renovations, 1979

36-40 Amelia Street - Before Renovations, 1979

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

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

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#67 Afton & Lisgar looking northeast, 1979

Afton & Lisgar looking northeast, 1979

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

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

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#69 Admiral Road – 1973

Admiral Road - 1973

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#70 Admiral Road, 1973

Admiral Road, 1973

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

TTC GM bus 3763 Steeles near Old Kennedy Road - Credit Leonard Jacks‎, 1973

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#72 Summerhill Gardens – Credit Pamela Bolan‎, 1979

Summerhill Gardens - Credit Pamela Bolan‎, 1979

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

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

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#74 Ontario Place, 1976

Ontario Place, 1976

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#75 De Havilland family day, 1970

De Havilland family day, 1970

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

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

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#77 TTC mini bus – Credit Leonard Jackes, 1973

TTC mini bus - Credit Leonard Jackes, 1973

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#78 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.

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.

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

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

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#80 Sam’s Cigar Store sign, 1970s

Sam's Cigar Store sign, 1970s

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

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

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

Fineberg's Delicatessen at 648 Queen St. West, 1972

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

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

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

King st west of simcoe st. - Credit Leonard Jacks, 1973

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#85 Yonge st below st clair last Saturday, 1973

Yonge st below st clair last Saturday, 1973

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

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

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

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

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#88 CN Tower Construction, 1975

CN Tower Construction, 1975

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

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

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#90 Yonge and eglinton looking north, 1973

Yonge and eglinton looking north, 1973

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

Downtown view from the Bulova Tower - C.N.E., 1974

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#92 Rush at Massey Hall, January 10, 1976

Rush at Massey Hall, January 10, 1976

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#93 Coal Tower Scene Spadina, Toronto, 1978

Coal Tower Scene Spadina, Toronto, 1978

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

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

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#95 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).

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).

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

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

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#97 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#102 The Canadian Railway Museum at Harbour front, 1977

The Canadian Railway Museum at Harbour front, 1977

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#103 TTC Bay and Queen st., 1973

TTC Bay and Queen st., 1973

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

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

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#105 Gray coach bus 1973

Gray coach bus 1973

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

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#106 Toronto, 1973

Toronto, 1973

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#110 Toronto, 1975

Toronto, 1975

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

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#111 The Eaton Centre Under Construction, Summer, 1975

The Eaton Centre Under Construction, Summer, 1975

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

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#112 The Eaton Centre Under Construction, 1975

The Eaton Centre Under Construction, 1975

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

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#113 The Eaton Centre Under Construction, 1975

The Eaton Centre Under Construction, 1975

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

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#114 The Eaton Centre Under Construction, 1975

The Eaton Centre Under Construction, 1975

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

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

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

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

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#116 At the 100th Anniversary of the CNE, 1975

At the 100th Anniversary of the CNE, 1975

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

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#117 Greaser Day, Birchmount Park Collegiate, 1975

Greaser Day, Birchmount Park Collegiate, 1975

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

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

Re configuring the CNE Grandstand into CNE Stadium in 1975

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

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#119 Popcorn Vendor’s Cart, 1977

Popcorn Vendor's Cart, 1977

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

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#120 Toronto Ice cream vendor, 1977

Toronto Ice cream vendor, 1977

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

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#121 Miles For Millions Walkathon, 1975

Miles For Millions Walkathon, 1975

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

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#122 Warden below Eglinton, 1973

Warden below Eglinton, 1973

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

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

Carling-O'Keefe British-built blimp powered by twin Porsche engines, 1970s

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

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#124 CNE, The Flyer, around 1975

CNE, The Flyer, around 1975

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

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#125 The CFTO Studios at 401, 1975

The CFTO Studios at 401, 1975

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

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

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

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

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#127 Queen and Spadina 1974.

Queen and Spadina 1974.

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

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