In the 1900s, Toronto burned. On the night of April 19, 1904, a small fire broke out in a necktie factory near the northwest corner of Wellington and Bay, lighting up the chilly April night. Thanks to a stiff southeasterly wind, within a few hours the blaze had penetrated south of Front St. Many of the wholesale stores and factories that dominated the area were completely gutted. Many collapsed into the street or in on themselves in great thunderous crashes.
By morning, 20 acres of downtown was a smouldering wreck. 5,000 workers were put out of work, some permanently. Total losses were estimated at $10 million--somewhere upward of $200 million in today's money. The photos above and below were taken from roughly the same location on Bay St. about a year apart.