Vintage Toronto Night Photo

Vintage photographs of Toronto at night

Vintage photographs of Toronto at night are a somewhat rare sight in the City's online archives. Despite the hundreds of historical photos we've shared over the last year or so, the number of night shots that have found their way into these posts could probably be counted on one hand. That's rather astonishing when you think about it for a second.

One of the reasons for this, no doubt, is that prior to the rise of the single-lens reflex camera and faster film in and around the 1950s, night photography wasn't that common in general. Sure, accomplished photographers did use their view cameras to take night shots prior to that period, but the excruciatingly long exposures made the prospect of crisp images quite challenging.

Nevertheless, when you set out to look for them, there's a hauntingly good little collection of night photographs that are available online. Photos like the one above — taken from the Canada Life Building in 1934 — testify to just how fantastic these images can be. Other captures of Old and New City Hall in Toronto featured below are equally stunning.

Credit for this admittedly belated discovery on my part should go to the Toronto Archives Flickr stream, which was recently populated with a number of the images that appear below. Although I've sourced numerous additional photos, the inspiration for this post sits squarely with the archivist who manages that page.

PHOTOS

20111026-Night-1910-Auditorium_Theatre_in_Toronto.jpg

The Auditorium Theatre Toronto (382 Queen Street West), 1910

20111026-Night-1910-ComiqueTheatre.jpg

The Comique Theatre (Yonge south of Dundas), 1910

20111026-hydro-electric-1911-f1244_it0323l.jpg

Toronto celebrates Hydro Electricity at Old City Hall, 1911

20111026-old-city-hall-1919-s0372_ss0041_it0097.jpg

Wow. Old City Hall, 1919

20111026-376-dupont-1923.jpg

376 Dupont, 1923

20111026-cne-ferris-1924-f1244_it2017a.jpg

CNE Ferris wheels, 1924

20111026-sunnyside-night-1925-f1266_it5170.jpg

Sunnyside at night, 1925

20111026-Night-1928-Concession_stand_at_Hanlans_Point.jpg

Hanlan's Point concession stand, 1928

20111026-whitney-block-night-1929.jpg

Whitney Block at night, 1929

20111026-stclair-christie-night-1933.jpg

St. Clair approaching Christie, 1933

20111026-davenport-garage-ttc-night-1934-s0071_it10486.jpg

Davenport TTC garage, 1934

20111026-night-coach-terminal-1935.jpg

Toronto Coach Terminal, 1935

20111026-midtown-bloor-night-1941.jpg

Midtown Theatre (now the Bloor Cinema), 1941

20111026-snow-blower-night-1943.jpg

Snow blower, 1943

201110-university-night-lighting-1945.jpg

University Avenue gets streetlights, 1943

20111026-midway-cne-night-1952-f1257_s1057_it5687.jpg

CNE midway at night, 1952

20111026-clubonetwo-night-1952.jpg

Club One Two, 1952

20111026-night-bbq-1957.jpg

Yikes. Check out the apron. Barbecuing in 1957

20111026-arch-cne-night-1950s-f1257_s1057_it5686.jpg

CNE arche, late 1950s

2011222-BloorSoYoungSoBad.jpg

So Young, So Bad at the Midtown (now the Bloor) in the late 1950s — image via Silent Toronto

20111026-glenholme-stclair-1958-s0372_ss0100_it0691.jpg

Glenhome and St. Clair, 1958

20111026-okeefe-wide-2-f1257_s1057_it0815.jpg

The O'Keefe Centre opens, 1960

20111026-Okeefe-opening-night-1960-f1257_s1057_it0788.jpg

Ditto

20111026-eglinton-1962-s0648_fl0118_id0003.jpg

Eglinton and Yonge from above, 1962

20111026-city-hall-night-1965.jpg

Stunning. Opening week at New City Hall, 1965

20111026-uni-queen-night-1969-f1257_s1057_it6562.jpg

University looking south to Queen, 1969

Photos from the Toronto Archives. To purchase prints of archival photographs from the City, check here.


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Toronto startup wants to solve city's parking lot woes

5 underrated neighbourhoods to rent an apartment in Toronto

New development could completely transform King and Bathurst

Someone is putting up poop flags in Toronto

Toronto might get its first big snowfall of the year this weekend

House of the week: 182 Wanless Avenue

Confusion after plane spotted flying Sorry Toronto banner

Presto has more problems at Toronto subway stations