Wednesday, October 26, 2016Overcast 6°C

Vintage photographs of snow in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / January 13, 2012

Snow TorontoYou could be forgiven if you had almost forgotten what Toronto looks like covered in snow until waking up this morning to see a fresh dusting laid across the city. Although not a major snowfall event, it seems like winter was due 'round these parts, so more than a few people will likely welcome the precipitation despite the inconveniences that come along with it. I'd count myself among this group, not the least of which because I can skip making a trip into the office if I'm not up for a messy commute.

Even if the last couple seasons haven't served up a whole lot of winter precipitation, it's probably fair to say that the experience of dealing with snow is still somehow crucial to understanding what life is like in Toronto. From the massive storms of 1999 and 1944 to navigating slippery streets to the simple act of shovelling, snow is hardwired into the city's historical consciousness.

For proof of this, I've put together a collection of vintage photographs of snow and snowstorms in Toronto. I intentionally kept the majority of these photos out of my look back at various winter activities in this city, believing that each deserved its own entry in our ongoing history of Toronto in photos. For those complaining about today's accumulation, some of the shots below might provide some comforting perspective on how much worse it can be.


2012113-snow-brock-1896-s0376_fl0003_it0006a.jpgStorm damage on Brock Street, 1896

2012113-cherry-street-1908-f1244_it7015.jpgCherry Street, 1908

2012113-old-city-hall-1910-f1244_it0323j.jpgOld City Hall encased in frost, 1910

2012113-Broadview-riverdale-1917-s0372_ss0058_it0727.jpgBroadview near Riverdale Park, 1917

2012113-manning-ulster-1920-f1244_it7249.jpgManning and Ulster, 1920

2012113-snow-queen-1922-f1266_it0058.jpgSnowy Queen Street, 1922

2012113-snow-queen-1924-s0071_it3011.jpgSnowy Queen Street, 1924

2012113-snow-plough-1924-s0071_it2910.jpgSnow plough operated by the TTC, 1924

2012113-snow-gerrard-1924-s0071_it3008.jpgGerrard Street, 1924

2012113-high-park-1932-f1548_s0393_it23932b-2.jpgWinter pastoral in High Park, 1932

2012113-college-st-george-1936-s0372_ss0070_it0496.jpgCollege and St. George snow removal, 1936

2012113-barton-1936-s0372_ss0070_it0498.jpgBarton Avenue snow removal, 1936

2012113-snow-blower-1940s-f1257_s1057_it1371.jpgSnow blower, 1940s

2012113-snow-blower-1943-f1257_s1057_it1372.jpgSnow blower, 1943

20101214-GTSS6.jpgThe great snow storm of 1944

20101214-GTSS5.jpgThe city shut down, 1944

20101214-GTSS4.jpgYonge looking north at Richmond, 1944

20101214-GTSS2.jpgYonge looking north at Adelaide, 1944

2012113-snow-car-1944-f1257_s1057_it0087.jpgBuried, 1944

Snowstorm Toronto 1944George Street north to Adelaide, 1944

2012113-parking-lot-1944-f1257_s1057_it0085.jpgGood luck digging out, 1944

2012113-opp-1960-QEW-s0065_fl0159_it0003.jpgThe OPP helping out on the QEW, 1960

2012113-highway-snow-1960-s0065_fl0159_it0002.jpgTotally safe driving conditions, 1960

2012113-snow-king-john-boy-1961-s0065_fl0024_id0003.jpgShovelling out, 1961

2012113-snow-king-john-1961-s0065_fl0024_id0001.jpgMore shovelling, 1961

2012113-snow-king-1961-f1257_s1057_it0025.jpgWaiting for the bus, 1961

2012113-king-john-area-1961-s0065_fl0024_id0004.jpgNear King and John streets, 1961

2012113-king-john-1961-f1257_s1057_it0024.jpgNear King and John streets, 1961

2012113-snow-removal-1965-s0065_fl0157_it0009b.jpgSnow removal, 1965

2012113-snow-removal-1965-s0065_fl0157_it0006b.jpgSnow removal, 1965

2012113-old-mill-snow-1968-s0648_fl0232_id0006.jpgSnow at Old Mill Station, 1965

Photos from the Toronto Archives



Alden C / January 13, 2012 at 11:06 am
burr... makes today still seem warm.
KP / January 13, 2012 at 11:27 am
The Spadina Bus?
Erica / January 13, 2012 at 11:44 am
Fascinating! The more things change, the more they stay the same!!
magarets / January 13, 2012 at 11:53 am
Love this series. Keep up the good work!
Denise / January 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm
I remember once in Parkdale in the late '60s the snow up to HERE and the power lines being down almost touching the snow, needless to say, the schools were closed and the parents had a heck of a time keeping us in the house!! great pics bringing back great memories, thanks!!
The Other Neil / January 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm
The Cherry St. shot!!!
Cyril Sneer / January 13, 2012 at 01:06 pm
Man, it's been ages since we've had good huge-ass snowstorm =(
W. K. Lis / January 13, 2012 at 01:29 pm
Before the automobile, snowplows were used just by the railways (including the street railways for their streetcars). People did shovel their sidewalks though, and sometimes fights happened because the street railways were plow their own tracks and store owners who did like the resulting windrows.
Jenn / January 13, 2012 at 01:47 pm
I love this city even more when it's under a blanket of snow. Especially on quiet Sunday mornings.
Alina / January 13, 2012 at 02:20 pm
Amazing post, thank you! Look at all those old automobiles.
terry / January 13, 2012 at 04:46 pm
fantastic !
Joanne Bailey / January 13, 2012 at 05:06 pm
Thank you for the beautiful pictures. I am enjoying them very much.
avp / January 13, 2012 at 05:14 pm
blogto has been straight up killing it with these old toronto pics lately
Terry / January 13, 2012 at 11:51 pm
I can never tire of looking at these - makes me love and appreciate my city so much the more...
Mr. Onion / January 14, 2012 at 08:47 am
They don't make winters like that anymore... classic snow!
Rosslyn Picton / January 20, 2012 at 02:24 pm
We have nothing to complain about!!!!!!!
roxanne Taylor / April 24, 2012 at 10:29 am
Amazing photo's. My grandparents would have remembered day's like those. Toronto had that huge ice storm a couple winters ago,not that long ago...this is why I live in BC. lol
Johanna Booker Walker / December 30, 2012 at 01:06 am
I remember a few of the later snow pictures, early 60's on.
Are there any pictures of the January 1968 ice storm? Many of the electrical wires were down for about a week and we cooked on our fire place and used candles. My grandfather was removed to the hospital due to his age and frailness. There were no classes at the schools including the U of T.
Lois Vyse Churchill / January 25, 2013 at 03:04 pm
I certainly remember that snowstorm in 1944. I walked all the way from River and Gerrard St. to King and Ontario Sts. to work. When I got there no one was there and had to walk all the way back home. Everyone got paid for not showing up, but I decided to take the next day off, but didn't get paid. Unfair or what?

Plan It Toronto / February 8, 2013 at 03:37 pm
Great images from our great city. We started a Pintrest board for our storm today collected from Twitter, instagram all about our city. Take a look
Blodoe / February 10, 2013 at 01:03 pm
Wonder why city never put snowploughs on the front of garbage trucks, as they do in NYC, Chicago and Boston
Other Cities: Montreal