Toronto of the 1990s
The Toronto of the 1990s is just distant enough to make a nostalgic exercise like this one worthwhile. I had originally planned on starting this series of photo tours of Toronto history in the 1980s and heading backwards, but after some determined searching, I was able to come up with a selection of 1990s images that give a decent representation of what the decade looked like in Toronto.
Perhaps surprisingly, photographs from the 1990s aren't the easiest to come by. One becomes accustomed to the digitization of the present day and almost forgets that something like Flickr is a relatively recent invention (2004) and that loads and loads of images shot on film still sit in boxes out there never to be scanned and uploaded online. That's a bit of a shame, but it also helps to establish just how much has changed.
For some reason, when I hear references to '90s culture, none of it seems rooted so far in the past, despite the 20 some odd years that have passed since the beginning of the decade. No doubt a function of my age -- these were my high school years -- I still have relatively crisp memories of the Jays World Series wins, U2 bringing the ZooTV tour to Maple Leaf Gardens, what Yonge and Dundas looked like before the square, watching movies at the Uptown theatre, the snowfall of 1999, and a whole host of other things.
But, as the photos below show, Toronto was a very different place in the 1990s. For the better part of the decade, the megacity didn't exist, the so-called cultural renaissance had yet to arrive, and most LCBOs and Brewers Retail locations were closed on Sundays.
Here's what it all looked like. Lead photo by billcummins (subsequent captions above each photo).
Um, is that Jack Layton? (photo by scott3eh)
Near Avenue and Davenport (photo by skaliwag66)
Toronto Life Fashion (photo by the MagazineShop)
The Skyline (photo by gaymay)
Skyline again (photo by cliffordstead)
Honest Ed's (photo by Sgeulachdan)
El Mocambo (from Sgeulachdan)
PCC streetcar were on the tracks until 1996 (from Sgeulachdan)
Lichtmans (from Sgeulachdan)
MLG was still home to the Leafs (from Sgeulachdan)
Kensington Market (from Sgeulachdan)
Eaton Centre (photo by Neal1960)
New Terminal (photo by CanadaGood)
Chinatown (from CanadaGood)
Ditto (from CanadaGood)
Doug Gilmour (from dougglimour.com)
The winning home run (photo from the Philadelphia Inquirer)
Certainly not as dense in the core (photo by Court_Jester_Creative)
From the CN Tower (photo by anver44)
Inside Maple Leaf Gardens
Yonge and Dundas (photo by Olga S)
Pride Parade (photo by hypersapiens)
Dundas West (Photo by Travelawyer)
Queen looking east (Photo by nothingtoseehere)
Royal York (from nothingtoseehere)
Metropolitan Toronto (from the Wikimedia Commons)
Canary Restaurant (photo by collations)
Lastman wins the megacity mayoralty
Check out the rest of the series: