1980s Toronto

Toronto of the 1980s

Toronto of the 1980s is a place that I thought I remembered well. After putting together photo posts on Toronto of the 1960s and 1970s, however, I was surprised to find that images from the 80s seem almost as distant to me as those from decades I didn't live through.

Well, sort of. It's actually a bit more complicated than that. Given that my formative years were spread over this period, photos like the ones below offer certain things that are easy enough to recognize. The buses, the cop cars, the relative lack of density all comes back even at just a quick glance, but it's difficult to place the scenes in a wider context. I don't, for instance, remember walking down Yonge St. during this period, though I would have done it countless times. Ditto for the skyline. Aside from the ubiquity of the CN Tower, I can't recall taking note of any of the other buildings or the rise of Scotia Plaza in 1988. Of course I knew they were there, but at the time I referred to that entire area as "downtown."

So needless to say, this little trip down memory lane has been more introspective than the last two. I find myself questioning the nature of my memories and wondering about the raw materials upon which they're based. Far less mobile as a child, I suspect that a good bit of the city that I remember must have come to me via images in newspapers and magazines. And yet, despite that, it's unquestionable that there's a certain 80s "feel" to certain images that immediately sparks an emotional response. Tough to pin down, it's probably the closest I get to the experience of "authentic" nostalgia, which technically speaking, isn't authentic at all.

Finding specific dates has proved a challenge, so I've only included those that I know. If you can place one of the photos or if the the decade is incorrect, feel free to let me know in the comment thread.

1980s TTC



Trolley Bus at Dupont/Annette and Dundas

The monorail!

1980s monorail toronto


Ontario Place from the CN Tower

1980s Ontario Place


Coming into Union Station

1980s trains toronto


Yonge Street

1980s Yonge Street


1050 Chum

1980s Chum FM

(Card likely pre-dates the 80s, but not the host)

Bloor Street near Bay

1980s Toronto


The Flatiron building with Derek Michael Besant's mural looking quite fresh

1980s Toronto


Bellair Street

1980s Toronto


Skyline 1986

1980s Toronto

(labeled by the source as 1988)

Exhibition Stadium

1980s Toronto


Not taken in the 1980s, but the car fits the bill!

Toronto 1980s


For more images of 1980s Toronto, please see this previous post (no repeats) or check out Urban Toronto's thread 1980s Toronto (very few repeats).

Image credits: Those photos sourced from the Toronto Archives have series and fond information at the bottom. The majority of the other images come from the Wikimedia Commons with the exception of: Yellow Police Car (unknown/google), Exhibition Stadium postcard (auction screen cap) and the 1050 Chum Poster (unknown/google) and the TTC Bus (barp.ca).


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