Jarvis Street Toronto History

A visual history of Jarvis Street

I've been wanting to add Jarvis Street to our visual histories series for a while. As much as every street in the city has changed over the years, the measure of difference on Jarvis is something to behold, particularly because there remain just a few hints at what it all used to look like. Prior to the 1940s, Jarvis Street was probably the most beautiful in all of Toronto, lined with the mansions of some of Toronto's wealthiest families.

And then, in 1947, the street was forever changed when many of its trees were ripped out to widen it for increased automobile traffic. Take a look at the before and after photos below to see what I mean. While the project might have been necessary to accommodate a growing city, it's sad to think of what was lost in the process.

From that point forward, the transformation on Jarvis continued until the street became five lanes wide and marked by a mostly soulless-looking a mix of commercial and high-rise residential properties. Nevertheless, traces of its former glory can still be spotted in the form of Euclid Hall (now the Keg Mansion) and the Gooderham residence (now a restaurant). Contemporary additions like the National Ballet have brought noteworthy architecture back to the street, but, as a whole, it still leaves much to be desired.

1890s

St. Lawrence Market

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Old (old) City Hall

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Jarvis south from Carlton

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Horticultural Gardens (between Jarvis and Sherbourne)

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1900s

Jarvis in 1903

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The first Jarvis Collegiate

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1910s

Jarvis Street Baptist Church (via the McCord Museum)

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Allan Gardens Palm House

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1920s

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Juvenile Court Building at 311 Jarvis

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The (then) new Jarvis Collegiate in 1924

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1930s

Jarvis and Maitland

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Jarvis and Carlton (northwest corner) 1931

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1940s

Jarvis and Carlton pre-street widening 1947

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Jarvis north of Carlton post-street widening 1947

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1950s

Jarvis north of Lombard Street

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1960s

Jarvis south of Bloor

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Jarvis and Queen (looking south)

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Jarvis and Queen (looking north)

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The birth of the Gardiner 1963

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Contemporary

Euclid Hall (the Keg Mansion via the Wikimedia Commons)

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Jarvis looking south (via the Wikimedia Commons)

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Former Gooderham House (via the Wikimedia Commons)

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From above (Photo by Jennifer Tse)

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Other posts in the series:

Photos from the Toronto Archives unless otherwise noted.


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