Toronto skyline 1970s

The transformation of Toronto's skyline from 1880 to today

There's few more obvious ways to track the growth of a city than by charting the transformation of its skyline. Perhaps this is especially the case with a city like Toronto, where developments have seemed to come in major stages, whether this be the rise of the Royal York Hotel in the late 1920s, the Toronto Dominion Centre in the late 60s or, of course, the addition of the CN Tower in the mid-70s. And even if such documentation fails to tell an in-depth story about the nature of the city, it remains intriguing to examine the process by which Toronto grew up on a macro level.

The photos below speak mostly for themselves in this capacity, but a few provisos are worthy of mention. In a perfect world, an exercise like this one would compare depictions of the skyline from the same vantage point so as to give the most accurate representation of its growth. Unfortunately, however, this is not strictly the case with the images below. While an attempt has been made to be consistent, there is quite a bit of variance from one angle to another.

This is noteworthy because certain vantage points from the east and west tend to make the skyline look more populated (as they include buildings not generally seen from more direct angles like Toronto Island). Nevertheless, with a sharp eye, comparisons can still be drawn from decade to decade -- particularly during those periods in which major additions make their appearance on the skyline.

But, enough preamble. This isn't supposed to be a scientific comparison, so much as a visual demonstration of the profound development Toronto's core has experienced over the last 130 years or so.
(When the specific year in which an image was taken/produced is unknown, I've used the decade as a label).


Toronto skyline 1875


Toronto skyline 1893


Toronto skyline 1910


Toronto skyline 1920


Toronto skyline 1930


Toronto skyline 1940


Toronto skyline 1950


Toronto skyline 1968


Toronto skyline 1973


Toronto skyline 1987


Toronto Skyline 1999


Toronto Skyline 2007


Toronto Skyline 2010

What it might look like in 2014

Toronto Skyline 2014

The above image was created by Scott Dickson and posted on Urban Toronto a while back. Dickson took to the task of rendering the skyline with buildings scheduled to be built in the upcoming years. For a high resolution look at his images (one of which is labeled), please follow the link.

All images but the first and last two are sourced from the Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons licence. The second last photo is from steve colwill of Flickr and the last is by Scott Dickson.

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