20 vintage photos of what Toronto looked like in the 1950s

Apr 19 2021, 2:24 pm

The 1950s was a decade of big change for Toronto: the Yonge subway line opened, the Gardiner Expressway was finished, and the official Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto was formed.

Looking back at photos from the time, the city feels entirely different — and it’s not just because none of the Leafs players are wearing helmets in the game photos. There’s noticeably fewer tall buildings, old-school newspaper stands, retro TTC cars, and even photos of a wholesome community dance held in the Don Mills Shopping Centre parking lot.

So if you’re feeling nostalgic for the old days of Toronto, here are 20 photos from the city in the 1950s, courtesy of Toronto History’s photo archive.

506 Queen Street West – 1958

Howard McDonald/City of Toronto Archives

Toronto Daily Star news stand – 1950

toronto 1950s

Alexandra Studio/City of Toronto Archives

Crowds entering the CNE through the Princes’ Gates – 1954

Harvey Naylor/City of Toronto Archives

North-east corner, Dufferin Street and Eglinton Avenue West – 1955

Alexandra Studio/City of Toronto Archives

Santa Claus Parade – 1956

toronto 1950s

Gilbert A. Milne Co. Ltd./City of Toronto Archives

PCC streetcar 4107 on Queen Street East – 1954

Earnest Edgar Strathy Smith/City of Toronto Archives

Crowd at Sunnyside Beach – 1950

toronto 1950s

Alexandra Studio/City of Toronto Archives

Power Supermarket, 2055 Danforth Avenue – 1953

Alexandra Studio/City of Toronto Archives

Barclay Hotel – 1955

Ellis Wiley/City of Toronto Archives

Hockey game, Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Chicago Black Hawks, Maple Leaf Gardens – 1958

toronto 1950s

Alexandra Studios/City of Toronto Archives

Golden Mile Plaza, north-east corner of Eglinton Avenue East and Victoria Park Avenue – 1954

toronto 1950s

Gilbert Milne/City of Toronto Archives

Government House, Chorley Park, main entrance

Dorothea Skinner/City of Toronto Archives

Glen Road bridge over Rosedale Valley Road – 1955

Canada Pictures Ltd/City of Toronto Archives

Lansdowne and St. Clair Avenue – 1959

Howard McDonald/City of Toronto Archives

Crowds at transfer terminals – 1955

toronto 1950s

Canada Pictures Ltd./City of Toronto Archives

Ossington Avenue and Queen Street West – 1958

Howard McDonald/City of Toronto Archives

Community dance, Don Mills Shopping Centre, south-west corner, Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue East – 1955

toronto 1950s

Gilbert Milne/City of Toronto Archives

673 Mt. Pleasant Road – 1953

Howard MacDonald/City of Toronto Archives

141-147 Queen Street West – 1953

toronto 1950s

Howard McDonald/City of Toronto Archives

Laura HanrahanLaura Hanrahan

+ Urbanized
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