Vintage Photograph Winter

Vintage photographs of winter in Toronto

Vintage photographs of what winter used to look like in Toronto make up only a small portion of the images collected in the many historical posts previously published on this site. Although there's plenty to choose from in the City's digitized archival holdings, unless one is specifically looking for winter scenes, he's likely to pass them over in favour of those images that present the city without the presence of snow.

The funny thing about this is that the experience of winter has always been a crucial aspect of life in Toronto. One might say it's part of the reality of living here. So why the relative scarcity of such images? It stikes me that something akin to the pathetic fallacy might be at work here in some way: snow = forgetting. In blanketing the city, snow obscures the very buildings and streets that (archival) photos aim to shed light upon.

There are pragmatic reasons as well. Carting around a view camera and wooden tripod in two feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures just isn't much fun. The majority of wintery photographs that survive from Toronto's past thus tend to be specifically dedicated to capturing winter itself, rather than subject matter that could just as well have been shot during the warmer months. What one finds below, then, is images of skating, tobogganing, iceboats, sleds and snowstorms — in other words, people trying to make the best of what was surely an uncomfortable season.

PHOTOS

20110103-1891-Twelve_horse_team_pulling_snow_sweeper.jpg

12 horse team pulling snow sweeper Ca. 1890s

201214-winter-1904-skyline-coal-s0376_fl0004_it0039.jpg

That's a lot of coal! Skyline 1904

20101227-1906-Sleighing_party_at_Queen's_Park.jpg

Sleighing at Queen's Park 1906

201214-university-avenue-1908-f1244_it0516.jpg

Snowy University Avenue 1908

201214-high-park-late-1900-f1244_it0437.jpg

High Park late Ca. 1908-1910

201214-ice-fishing-centre-island-1909-f1244_it0445.jpg

Ice fishing, Centre Island 1909

201214-christie-pits-1909-f1244_it0462a.jpg

Apparently a huge toboggan at Christie Pits 1909

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Parking at the Old City Hall quadrangle 1910

201214-beaches-1911-f1244_it1400.jpg

Kew Beach 1911

201214-snowball-rosedale-ravine-1912-f1244_it0472.jpg

Snowball fight, Rosedale Ravine 1912

201214-propeller-sled-1912-f1244_it0482b.jpg

A propellor sled! Toronto Bay 1912

201214-pier-eastern-gap-1912-f1244_it1406.jpg

Pier, Eastern Gap 1912

201214-ice-church-carlton-1912-f1244_it1394.jpg

Ice-encased church post-fire on Carleton Street 1912

201214-ice-boats-1912-f1244_it0444f.jpg

Ice boats 1912

201214-christie-pits-hockey-1912-f1244_it0476a.jpg

Hockey at Christie Pits 1912

201214-women-high-park-1913-f1244_it0381a.jpg

High Park 1913

201214-hp-tobogganing-1914-f1231_it0563.jpg

High Park tobogganing 1914

201214-high-park-toboggan-1914-f1244_it0441a.jpg

High Park toboggan runs 1914

201214-wychwood-1915-f1231_it0448.jpg

Wychwood barns 1915

201214-trinity-gates-1916-f1244_it1516.jpg

Trinity College Gates 1916

201214-viaduct-1917-f1231_it1902.jpg

Bloor Viaduct under construction 1917

201214-to-bay-1920-f1244_it0444b.jpg

Toronto Bay 1920

201214-ice-boats-harbour-1920-f1244_it0448d.jpg

Ice boats in front of Harbour Commission Building 1920

201214-glen-road-bus-1923-s0071_it1917.jpg

Glen Road bus 1923

201214-snow-plough-1924-s0071_it2910.jpg

Snow plough 1924

201214-richmond-snowstorm-1929-s0071_it7336.jpg

Snowstorm on Richmond Street 1929

201214-casa-loma-1936-f1244_it4149.jpg

Snowy Casa Loma 1936

20111026-snow-blower-night-1943.jpg

Snow blower at night 1943

20101214-GTSS3.jpg

The great snowstorm of 1944

20101214-GTSS1 (1).jpg

The great snowstorm of 1944

201214-snow-1961-john-king-s0065_fl0024_id0002.jpg

Snowstorm at John & King 1961

Images from the Toronto Archives


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