What sports stadiums used to look like in Toronto
Despite the technological advancement of Toronto's biggest pro sports facilities — the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre — there remains something to be said for what it was like to watch a game at the ballparks and arenas of the previous era. I hate to get wistful just for the sake of it, but modern stadiums tend to lack the unique character of their predecessors.
Case in point: there will never be as good a place to watch a hockey game as from the seats in the red balcony section at Maple Leaf Gardens, which seemed to place the viewer almost on top of the goaltender. Interestingly, those seats didn't exist when the building was first completed in 1931 but were added during one of the many renovations undertaken in the 1950s and 60s to increase seating capacity.
Nowadays, professional hockey arenas are all designed around the bowl concept, which leads to a certain homogeneity across the league. The same can't be said for baseball stadiums, which tend to be more varied, but be that as it may, the Rogers Centre isn't exactly the most intimate place to watch a game. I'll thus indulge in a little bit of longing for the "good old days," even though I wasn't around to take in a game at Maple Leaf Stadium, which looks like it was a prototypical urban ballpark.
Here's a look back at Toronto's stadiums and arenas of yore.
Toronto's first baseball stadium, 1893
Lacrosse in 1910
Bloor Street and Bedford,1906
The TTC hockey team, 1927
Christie Pits or Riverdale Park
Pro hockey outdoors, 1912
Boxing match, 1915
Liberal Party meeting, 1913 (via the Wikimedia Commons)
Arena interior, 1920s
Under construction 1921
Game action, 1937
From Fort York
From the bleachers (date unspecified)
Crowds (date unspecified)
Just prior to demolition
A gem on Carlton in 1934
Ice Show, late 1930s
The Circus, 1940s
Basketball, (ca. 1950s)
Hockey game, Johnny Bower in goal
New escalators! 1955
Daryl Sittler, 1970s
Harry Jerome, 1950
Miss Toronto contest, 1951
Queen Elizabeth II, 1959
The SkyDome in all its early glory (postcard)
Photos from the Toronto Archives unless otherwise noted.
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