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City

Vintage photographs of winter in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / January 4, 2012

Vintage Photograph WinterVintage 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.jpg12 horse team pulling snow sweeper Ca. 1890s

201214-winter-1904-skyline-coal-s0376_fl0004_it0039.jpgThat's a lot of coal! Skyline 1904

20101227-1906-Sleighing_party_at_Queen's_Park.jpgSleighing at Queen's Park 1906

201214-university-avenue-1908-f1244_it0516.jpgSnowy University Avenue 1908

201214-high-park-late-1900-f1244_it0437.jpgHigh Park late Ca. 1908-1910

201214-ice-fishing-centre-island-1909-f1244_it0445.jpgIce fishing, Centre Island 1909

201214-christie-pits-1909-f1244_it0462a.jpgApparently a huge toboggan at Christie Pits 1909

201214-city-hall-parking-1910-f1244_it2201.jpgParking at the Old City Hall quadrangle 1910

201214-beaches-1911-f1244_it1400.jpgKew Beach 1911

201214-snowball-rosedale-ravine-1912-f1244_it0472.jpgSnowball fight, Rosedale Ravine 1912

201214-propeller-sled-1912-f1244_it0482b.jpgA propellor sled! Toronto Bay 1912

201214-pier-eastern-gap-1912-f1244_it1406.jpgPier, Eastern Gap 1912

201214-ice-church-carlton-1912-f1244_it1394.jpgIce-encased church post-fire on Carleton Street 1912

201214-ice-boats-1912-f1244_it0444f.jpgIce boats 1912

201214-christie-pits-hockey-1912-f1244_it0476a.jpgHockey at Christie Pits 1912

201214-women-high-park-1913-f1244_it0381a.jpgHigh Park 1913

201214-hp-tobogganing-1914-f1231_it0563.jpgHigh Park tobogganing 1914

201214-high-park-toboggan-1914-f1244_it0441a.jpgHigh Park toboggan runs 1914

201214-wychwood-1915-f1231_it0448.jpgWychwood barns 1915

201214-trinity-gates-1916-f1244_it1516.jpgTrinity College Gates 1916

201214-viaduct-1917-f1231_it1902.jpgBloor Viaduct under construction 1917

201214-to-bay-1920-f1244_it0444b.jpgToronto Bay 1920

201214-ice-boats-harbour-1920-f1244_it0448d.jpgIce boats in front of Harbour Commission Building 1920

201214-glen-road-bus-1923-s0071_it1917.jpgGlen Road bus 1923

201214-snow-plough-1924-s0071_it2910.jpgSnow plough 1924

201214-richmond-snowstorm-1929-s0071_it7336.jpgSnowstorm on Richmond Street 1929

201214-casa-loma-1936-f1244_it4149.jpgSnowy Casa Loma 1936

20111026-snow-blower-night-1943.jpgSnow blower at night 1943

20101214-GTSS3.jpgThe great snowstorm of 1944

20101214-GTSS1 (1).jpgThe great snowstorm of 1944

201214-snow-1961-john-king-s0065_fl0024_id0002.jpgSnowstorm at John & King 1961

Images from the Toronto Archives

Discussion

115 Comments

thupp / January 4, 2012 at 10:03 am
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We need more ice boating! Does anyone do that here anymore?
jenny / January 4, 2012 at 10:31 am
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i don't feel so bad about our winters anymore
joe / January 4, 2012 at 10:32 am
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The first 1944 Snowstorm photo is Bay & College, looking at SE corner. :)
Fig / January 4, 2012 at 10:34 am
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These are great pics - thanks for digging them up. I'm kind of missing winter these days......rain in the forecast for Jan. 6th is depressing.
Benedict / January 4, 2012 at 10:34 am
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I C E B O A T S N O W
Rob / January 4, 2012 at 11:25 am
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Is it me or are winters in Toronto just not what they used to be?

Strange that its January and we've had literally 1 cold day and barely any snow.

Global warming?
Kieren replying to a comment from Rob / January 4, 2012 at 11:34 am
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No, it's Jesus answering our complaints- I er, mean prayers.
Dmitri / January 4, 2012 at 11:39 am
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Ice sailing? propeller sleds? Those were the days...
Jacob / January 4, 2012 at 11:50 am
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No, that propeller sled doesn't look dangerous AT ALL.
KaraG / January 4, 2012 at 11:52 am
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I love the picture of the ladies in High Park.
Alex replying to a comment from Rob / January 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm
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I think there was something about El Nina causing a milder winter again this year.
Justin / January 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm
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I miss the snow. global warming is only going to get worse. hope the polar bears are ok.
tinder / January 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm
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Fantastic series of photos, as always, thanks so much.
mark / January 4, 2012 at 12:48 pm
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That global warming sure took effect fast. Last year we were bitching about all the snow, now we haven't had much. Man that was fast.
Oryben / January 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm
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Very interesting to see the change in the span of 30-40 years...
Solabusca / January 4, 2012 at 03:22 pm
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I love these articles.
Classic winter / January 4, 2012 at 04:09 pm
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Bring back skating on the Don and ice boating!
Ed / January 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm
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They should totally bring back skating on the Don. Pretty pimpin' rims on that TTC bus lol.
Virginia / January 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm
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Fantastic photos.....wow tobogganing hills in High Park where outstanding.....we barely see people on the hills at all these days when there is snow :(
PineApple Dave replying to a comment from joe / January 5, 2012 at 10:07 am
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Actually, it's Adelaide St. SE corner looking North. :)
Bill / January 5, 2012 at 11:41 am
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Dave, Joe is actually right about the intersection. If you read the sign on the building, it says, "Eaton's - College Street". During my lifetime, the Eaton's College Street store was on the south WEST corner. So, unless there was an earlier store on the opposite corner, this is the south west corner of the intersection looking predominantly west along College towards University.
PineApple Dave replying to a comment from Bill / January 5, 2012 at 01:31 pm
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Im referring to the photograph below it with the same name...
Scott / January 5, 2012 at 01:34 pm
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Let it snow! I want to ice boat on the harbour, skate on a frozen pond and tobbaggan in High Park!
Julie / January 5, 2012 at 02:47 pm
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Regarding the first snow 1944 snow shot, I see it says "Eaton's - College Street" but I believe the art deco landmark called that was built to it's existing 7 stories back in 1929-1930. This looks like a one-storey building -- maybe it's been mislabeled.
Brenda / January 8, 2012 at 09:10 pm
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These are great winter time shots and I love the gathering places around the city hosted by snow and frozen water.
the lemur replying to a comment from Julie / January 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm
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It appears that Eaton's had a one-storey building extending from its Yonge-College site to Bay, as seen here:


https://gencat4.eloquent-systems.com/webcat/systems/toronto.arch/resource/fo1231/f1231_it1756.jpg
Sandy / January 9, 2012 at 09:57 am
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wonderful pictures. skating on the Don River would be a great activity to bring back.
Josh / January 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm
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I look at these pictures and it reminds me of where I grew up, Southwest Michigan, which always has a lot of lake front effect snow. I've been in Toronto for 10 years now, and honestly, there is no snow here by comparison. My sister had more snow in North Carolina last year than there was here in Toronto. It is mid January and we have had one inch of snow in the winter of 2011-2012. Surrounding areas such as Buffalo or London will continue to have significant snow, but without a lakefront effect, it seems the new reality in the GTA is minimal snow. I think we will have to redeploy all of our snow removal resources to surrounding areas. I know there are many places in Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado, where my brother lives, that require snow removal equipment. It's just amazing because this is becoming the norm now and it doesnt seem to be highlighted in the news.
Greg / January 11, 2012 at 11:24 am
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I remember that snowstorm in 1944. My mother worked at Geco
war plant and they kept all the ladies overnight in the plant
as no one could get home due to the storm.Our road was blocked almost a week before a plow came.
Jo Waites / January 13, 2012 at 05:01 pm
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I also remember that 1944 storm. I was six years old and I remember the schools closing in Toronto. My mother also worked at GECO inspecting the bombs. What a time.

Jo
Bev MacDonald / January 14, 2012 at 11:09 am
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Love looking at the city I love in the early years.
David Cameron / January 16, 2012 at 09:02 am
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You can relax Justin. The anthropogenic global warming panic is nothing but a scam. There's been no warming since 1998 while CO2 continues to increase and not because of man-made emissions. The polar bears have never been in danger and in fact have been increasing in numbers for decades. The only danger was from over hunting which has been curtailed and from chicken littles in a snit over something they know nothing about.
Rosemary / January 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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I grew up in Toronto and enjoyed seeing these photos and reading the comments. Can't say I miss the snow now that I am in San Diego California,a wonderful place to live with the snow only an hour away.
Tom Maw / January 16, 2012 at 03:41 pm
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I remember the storm of 1944.My Dad walked from Old Weston Rd. to the Massey Harris plant on King st. at Strachan Ave. Then back home again as there were no Street cars.Then we dug a tunnel under the snow right across the street. "Cloverdale Ave." It lasted a week when the brought in a D8 bull dozer to clear the snow
Leonie / January 16, 2012 at 06:26 pm
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re "That's a lot of Coal" - And the powers that be have the gall to complain about car exhausts ! ! ! (tongue in cheek)
Lyn / January 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm
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Eaton's College Street location was on the south west corner of College and YONGE, not Bay. A lovely old building rescued from the wrecker's ball and still functioning as a home for shops, courts, subway access, and an event space in the old Eaton auditorium.
Laurie Bradley / January 17, 2012 at 09:39 am
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Fantastic...really enjoyed seeing theses!
CATHERINE / January 18, 2012 at 01:00 am
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Nobody does these fun family snow things any more. Everyone's indoors watching big screen tvs and playing video games, and enjoying the fire.Been there, done that, prefer the warm toes.
jill clifford replying to a comment from Jo Waites / January 18, 2012 at 08:55 am
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Hi Jo, Is that you? I was 9 and started off to Williamson Rd. school but only got down the steps and it was up to my waist. My dad finally got a streetcar down to Bay St. but there was one that overturned and everyone abandoned the street cars and mostly walked home!
the lemur replying to a comment from Lyn / January 18, 2012 at 09:32 am
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The 7-storey part of Eaton's College Street location at Yonge/College was turned into College Park, but there was also a one-storey part at Bay/College where 777 Bay is now. The photo is taken from the northwest corner of Bay and College and shows the Bay streetcar.
Marlene / January 18, 2012 at 04:51 pm
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I remember the 1944 storm I was 7 and my Dad had to climb out the kitchen window to get outside as the snow was so high it blocked the door. Great photos .
gerri dawe / January 19, 2012 at 11:09 am
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I love the old photos I gave a book to my grandson with
old photos
gerri dawe / January 19, 2012 at 11:12 am
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I love the old photos of Toronto. I gave a book with old
photos of TO and surrounding areas to my grandson
larry replying to a comment from gerri dawe / January 22, 2012 at 02:16 pm
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ah yes, i surely do remember the great snowstorm of 1944, it was great, nothing moved at allm we made snowforts middle of our street, seems funny though, nothing moved that day, and nothing moving now even without snow , hah hah
Dianne / January 22, 2012 at 05:04 pm
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yes, I remember the 1944 storm. the city closed right down for 2 or 3 days - no school, no deliveries and my father walked to Royal York Hotel for work from Gerrard and Greenwood Ave and back each day as the streetcars were now running. For kids it was paradise but a worry for parents re finding food etc. Love all the pictures
Faye / January 23, 2012 at 09:04 pm
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Thanks for sharing. Lots of changes.





Eric Cornthwaite / January 24, 2012 at 05:23 am
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Thank you for showing pictures of Toronto in the past

Carnforth England
jack rosen / January 24, 2012 at 02:01 pm
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I have lived in Toronto all my life and thanks for the memories
but I remember mild winters befor. I was going to Dennis Avenue
Public School and one year they put up the boards for a hockey
rink and it was so mild they couldn't get ice then one day it
rained and that froze so they played hockey and it was surprising at which boys could really play good. Our school
had the boys school yard on one side of the school and the
girls school yard on the other side of the school. By the way
it was the boys from the portable room who were the best athletes. That year baseball started early.
Jack McKay / January 25, 2012 at 09:26 am
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I remember the 3 hills at Riverdale Park; what a thrill on a tobaggon going down these 3. Also the skating with change house and the hockey rinks too. Also just across the bridge the "icies" going down on a piece of cardboard!
Fergus Kyle / January 25, 2012 at 03:05 pm
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The winter storm of 1944: I was staying with my aunt on King and as a young elementary school pupil. The first morning, it was all just a blanket of snow - nothing moving. The second day the odd snowplow opened the streetcar lines somewhat. The third day we were told thatbread and milk was delivered to the local firehall and to go there if really necessary. That photo on Bay street was probably Day Four.
Fergus Kyle / January 25, 2012 at 03:10 pm
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Sorry that address should have read "...King and Jameson'
Fergus Kyle / January 26, 2012 at 08:56 am
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In Brown Public School years, I recorded the date of the first snow (flurries) inside the sliding window in our living room, and the first date of Permanent snow every year for ten years (in the 1930's). First snow = 10NOV, first permanent snow=10Dec
John F. Parker / January 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm
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Re. the 44 inch snowstorm in Toronto on 1944, I was serving on a motor gunboat off the coast of Burma. The powers that be, sent the news in clear, so that we got the news re the storm.
I got home on December 1946 and the family had pictures to show me, and they told me what a hard time they had getting around, and shopping. Food got scarse.
George La Prairie / January 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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1944 SNOWSTORM.I was 12years old and with my 13 yearold brother we delivered 200 Globe & Mail newspaper before 7am. It was the war years and every able body had a job to do. The storm gave us a 4 day holiday.Our home was just off Sadina road 3 blocks north of St. Clair Ave. Nothing was comming up spadina for 4 days. We were weined from drinking milk.One of the neighbours whose mother-in-law died had the body laid in a coffin at there livingroom window and which was the custom, one would enter the house for viewing,prayers and condolances.My send my brother and I over to pay our respect.The body had been there for a couple of days before the storm and since nothing wascomming up Spadina it was not possible to have the funural or to have the body removed.While in the living the husband came into the room and closed the coffin and said "even when alive she staid too long".So that is one of my memories of the 1944 snow storm.
rick Tomlinson / January 26, 2012 at 01:33 pm
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Wonderful pictures. Took me back to my youth.
rick Tomlinson / January 26, 2012 at 01:35 pm
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Great photos. Take me back to my youth and less stressful times.
Connie Tovell / January 26, 2012 at 07:18 pm
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In most of the early pictures, the populace seemed to be out in droves. No TV to watch???

C.T.
bill brady / January 27, 2012 at 01:37 pm
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hi i am almost 65 the best part of my life was on napier street, munro str., that area if anybody remembers would like to see photo s if yoy have some.sure brings back memories..
Paul Bawden / January 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm
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Hi - I remeber the snowstorm of 44, I was stranded at my grandmothers home on Glencastle Rd. in north Toronto.

And the pictures of the gates at Trinity are WRONG . They are the gates of UPPER CANADA COLLEGE !
Sam Markou / January 28, 2012 at 04:11 pm
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Terrific photos of bygone days. People were much more personal and communal then it seems before our electronic and digital age. I remember very well the 1944 snow storm. I was 6 years old at the time. There was so much snow that I was walking along the top of our backyard fence in the Junction when I fell off head first into the deep drifts. Everything went from white to black and I panicked and began to yell like a banshee, spitting out mouthfuls of snow. My grandfather plowed through the snow to pull me out, wet and scared as hell. The family had a great laugh for days!
Hugh Ramsay / January 28, 2012 at 04:25 pm
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January 4th, thupp asked if anyone does this anymore. Yes, there are still a few enthusiasts, the main venue now seems to be in Belleville, sailing DN single seat iceboats. The problem of course is lack of safe ice in most places.
A. Knappe replying to a comment from thupp / January 28, 2012 at 05:36 pm
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I don't know about ice boating but my Grandsons love the idea! Anyone get the feeling the "Great Snowstorm of 2012 is lurking out there somewhere? Be better than this depressing winter, I think!
Mike Markou / January 28, 2012 at 08:45 pm
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Was in my middle teens in 1944.Remember the storm well.
Toronto two of the most monstrous snow removal equipment.
Josh,as you mentioned what we should do with our latest snow
removal equipment now,Well,we did! One of those machines
was lent to Buffalo,in 1944,but it was trashed and to this day,I haven't heard what happened to the one we had left.
I suggest you contact Mike Filey at the Toronto Sun if you want to find out more.He is a Toronto historian!! He can tell
you more about that 1944 Snowstorm!!!
Memo / January 28, 2012 at 11:29 pm
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To all those wishing to skate on the Don river. You would have a better chance of skating on the Don in July and August.
Because of the pollution it would never freeze over. You could walk on it in the summer.
Danny Pavia / January 28, 2012 at 11:35 pm
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was only 4 but remember us being snowed in for 3 or 4 days -we lived on st.Paul st. at the time . We had great winters back then and we all had sleighs and toboggans and always had lots of outdoor activity tobogganing at riverdale. The winters were colder and longer than today and everyone walked mostly every where. Riding the street car was a big event for us kids I had to uncles that worked for TTC one a street car driver and one a bus driver and my dad also worked at Wynchwood barns. Great days thanks for the pics and memories.
MickMcC. / January 29, 2012 at 06:12 am
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Hi . In pic. #448D The 1920 Harbour Comm. Build. where the boats dock at the buildimg.It whis at the end of a 500f dock in 1888 for the boats to sine in to dock. It is now 1/2mi frome the lake to day the lake is 1mi. out frome where it whis. it is all landfill and a old stmmer bone yeard of boats thay hit 10 of tham when thay but in the Q.E.W.in the 1960....MIck McCready
Olga Gresko / January 29, 2012 at 01:37 pm
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I remember the snow storm of 1944. I walked out of the house to the corner and the snow was about three feet deep. I thought at the time I could walk to school which was at Dundas
& Bathurst. I was a teenager then. I never did make it.
Marion Schaffer / January 29, 2012 at 02:55 pm
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I didn't start coming to Toronto until 1949 but I really appreciate these pictures of the old TO. Ice boats! Tobogganing!
And this snow was nothing much compared to Northern Ontario!
Marion Schaffer / January 29, 2012 at 02:56 pm
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Hope to hear from others who went to the Royal Con. in early days!
Marge / January 30, 2012 at 03:12 pm
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My father was born in Toronto in 1886, mother, in Toronto, 1892 and me Toronto, 1935. Lots of changes eh! Great pictures.
anne weatherston / January 30, 2012 at 04:58 pm
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I have a pair of bearskin driving gloves that belonged to my
great grandfather (John Bromley) who was head of the Northern
Yards (city of Toronto.They are still very wearable which is
amazing considering their age. He died an old man in 1941, but
the gloves just keep going on, they're at least 100 yr old.
Bill McMillan / January 31, 2012 at 06:44 pm
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No one seemed to notice that the "Ice Fishermen" were dressed in suits and ties, and were wearing tophats. (seems strange)
Ruth(Chapman)McCreary / January 31, 2012 at 07:19 pm
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My grandparents farm was at the corner of Lawrence & Bathurst. I was born in '43 but I remember their farm well and the time the large barn was struck by lightning and burned. I lived in Weston and have a nice picture of my mom and grandfather in a horse & cutter on the main street with a big robe over their legs. Another uncle delivered milk in an ice block wagon. Lots of memories, and these are great pics. Thanks for putting them on the internet.
Tony phillips / February 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm
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i was walking in knee deep snow to my buddy's home on Bellwoods Ave from College and Crawford Sts day after that snow storm in 44, Reached College St, and saw dozens of street cars, both east and west of crawford st. stuck in the snow. Sams yonge St record store began as small Snidermans radio shop 4 doors east, north side of college, and even then was selling 78 vinyl records.
J. Carroll / February 1, 2012 at 06:24 pm
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Ah yes! I remember this storm only too well! It's burned into my brain.

I had just turned 6 in 1944 and we lived in Pickering Village, right on Hwy, 2, just outside of Toronto. It was day 2 after the big storm of 1944, and I remember going to school. The snow banks were over my head (being well over 6 feet), and the snow on the flat was probably over 4 feet deep. I was in grade one and had forgotten my pencil. The teacher, Miss Hood, sent me home to get the pencil.

My father had just returned from the N.W.T. and he carried me (and the pencil) back to school on his shoulders. He was a very tall man, and I was able to see over the banks of snow onto the highway 2 on the other side of the banks lining the highway. I don't recall there being any traffic that day or for another day or so.

When we arrived at the school, I was dropped off in classroom, and my father, the teacher and the Principal had a conference in the Principal's office. My recollection is that, when she returned to the classroom, Miss Hood's face was redder than usual, and she seemed quite flustered. Perhaps the strain of having to teach three classes (Grades 1, 2 and 3) was getting to her. To this day, I can't imagine why (she wrote with tongue firmly planted in her cheek).
connie farell / February 1, 2012 at 08:13 pm
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I was born in Erie Pa in 1937, moved to Lakefield Ontario in 1944. My grandfather Frank Westwater and his partner "MR" Sharp, built many of the homes in East York(Toronto) near the hospital. My grandparents lived at 70 Durant Ave. I LOVE Toronto and have lots of terrific memories which bring me back from Grand Haven Michigan (we have some pretty good snow storms here too) often to visit. I remember our home in Pa had a winter door, which was only used after lots of snow.
because it was on the second floor. Enjoy the rest of the season, eh?!!!
Grant Macdonald / February 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm
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It's nice to remember back to the days when we had Winters:)!
Esther / February 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm
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I wish they could recreate the toboggan runs in High Park. I lived near there and they disappeared before the 50s.
Rosalie Rising / February 2, 2012 at 02:26 pm
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With all the sad mad things that are happening in our Canada and world these days. It was a pleasure to see people together sledding in High Park for fun and not fighting.
Paul / February 2, 2012 at 02:41 pm
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High Park was quite a distance from us. We used to go to Riverdale Park. It didn't have as many Bob Sled runs but still lots of people spent many a winters day over there. I never knew the Don River to freeze like that but I do remember my Grandfather canoeing on the Don River.
Bill Burbidge / February 2, 2012 at 03:35 pm
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Iwas born dec.7/44.We lived in willowdale,my father could'nt get to see his new son for a week because the buses could'nt get up Hoggs Hallow hill.Igrew up fishing and swimming in the Don River.Great memories.
John / February 2, 2012 at 05:25 pm
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As a boy I remember the Bob Sled runs in High Park. Good healthy fun. Then the City of Toronto felt somebody may get injured and prohibited making the runs... Now kids have nothing free to enjoy themselves in summer or winter. Ever wondered why to-days kids get into trouble hanging out on the street.
PAULINE replying to a comment from Julie / February 2, 2012 at 08:35 pm
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I'm with you Julie!
Sheila Lennox Gatis / February 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm
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I remember the storm of 1944 as a grade 9 student at Vaughan Rd. Collegiate, Toronto (York Twp.) No exams that day! My friend Mary and I somehow walked from Dundurn Cres. down Winona Drive to St.Clair Avenue where we sat in the middle of the road where the street car tracks would have been. Great fun! Nothing was moving and very quiet. We were happy not to have to go to school.

The picture of Casa Loma brought back memories of school dances held there with popular dance bands of the 1940s and 50s.

HIgh Park pictures brought back happy memories of the 1930s when my father would takes us on a Sunday to either sleigh ride on the hills or skate on Grenadier Pond. I remember going to High Park in summer as well and climbing the trees and getting sap residue on my legs and arms. It wouldn't come off for days, much to my mother's annoyance. I was always fascinated by the wooden platforms in High Park that were for outdoor classes for crippled children-so I was told. There was also a house on the grounds with a large carved wooden snake as part of the verandah railing. I wonder what happened to it?

Growing up in Toronto was fun!
Olli Dignard / February 3, 2012 at 05:32 pm
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I moved from STuartburn, Manitoba to Grimsby,Ont in 1944. When that storm hit I thought nothing of walking to school. I was the only one there!! Stuartburn schools didn't close no matter the storms.
Phyllis / February 3, 2012 at 08:07 pm
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Phyllis/Feb,3/2012

Downtown Toronto 1944, I worked at Bay & Adelaide across
from the Laura Secord Store and shopped there many times.
Also, waited in the snow for a ride home on street cars
for many years after l944.
FRANK / February 5, 2012 at 06:23 am
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IT IS SO WONDERFUL TO GO BACK IN THE OLD DAY'S IT WAS VERY RELAXING TIME IN 1944-1945.ANYTIME I WOULD GO BACK TO THOSE OLDER TIMES FG.
Henry replying to a comment from Bill / February 5, 2012 at 07:19 pm
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This is looking south on Bay with College crossing the street.
The corner is the south east corner. Eatons ran towards the left of the picture that is, running towards the east. This part of the store is the one-story part which housed men's clothing.
Carol / February 5, 2012 at 11:18 pm
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I was only 2 years old at the time of this great snowstorm but I do remember my mother telling me in later years, of what happened to her. She was expecting my sister around January of 1945 and when the time came for her to go to the hospital, she called an ambulance.(My dad was overseas at that time, fighting/working in Holland in WWII.) We were living on Kingston Rd. near Main St. at the time. When the ambulance arrived, it stopped in front of our house. Because of all of the snow, there was only one lane open going east and and one going west. From what my mother told me, there were quite a number of cars, trucks, and maybe some streetcars lined up behind this ambulance. My mother came out of the house, heading toward the ambulance, with her purse swinging on her arm---as always. As she looked to the east, she couldn't believe the number of vehicles lined up behind the ambulance. She thought, "I just wonder what those drivers are thinking as they see me WALKING out of the house, swinging my purse, as I head toward the ambulance!!!" My sister, Margaret, was born, without any complications, on Jan. 15, 1945. Nothing has stopped her since, snowstorm or whatever.

To all of the Fyfalonians, Enjoy!!!
Hope the rest of the ten in all enjoy this story as much as I had in writing it!!!! ENJOY
Charles Dixon / February 6, 2012 at 03:59 pm
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There is an antique store, east of Broadview south side of Queen, it's still there... I was living there 68 years ago with my Grandmother, 2 brothers and sister in 1944. We were going to Queen Alexander school back then. I often tell the story of watching, from our second story window, the people on the street shoveling through the mountains of snow, a footpath along the middle of Queen Street. What a different world it was.
We were just emerging from the depression era and WW2 was coming to an end.
Great times, good times and a some hard times!
Mickey Oberman replying to a comment from joe / February 7, 2012 at 03:17 pm
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That building is Eaton's College Street on the south west corner, Joe.
Mickey Oberman / February 7, 2012 at 03:27 pm
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I was born in Toronto in 1932.
I remember many happy days spent with toboggan, sled or skis at Christie Pitts. I first ice skated - with bob skates - on a natural pond there about 1936.
Mickey Oberman replying to a comment from Mickey Oberman / February 7, 2012 at 03:32 pm
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Correction.
The south west corner of Yonge and College Streets.
the lemur replying to a comment from Mickey Oberman / February 7, 2012 at 03:43 pm
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Nope. Southeast corner of BAY and College:

https://gencat4.eloquent-systems.com/webcat/systems/toronto.arch/resource/fo1231/f1231_it1756.jpg
Derek 37 / February 8, 2012 at 06:05 pm
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Regarding the comments about photos of the Eaton College store, I must be missing something here. I don't see those photos amongst the 14 shown on this link.
About the cold winters. It is true, whether or not you believe in global warming, that winters used to be much much colder in yester years. I remember as a young lad from the mid 50th to the mid 60th the Toronto harbour basin used to freeze over almost every year. People used to drive out on the ice with their cars and setup ice fishing huts. Then went about ice fishing until the ice started cracking. The floating huts were left until the ice melted and then the owners picked them up with boats. I have not seen the harbour basin freeze over in the last 25 years.
Doug MacLennan / February 12, 2012 at 04:04 pm
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Hi Sheila...I too was a grade 9 student at Vaughan Rd. Collegiate in 1944 and I remember very clearly trudging all the way to school on the morning of the '44 snowstorm with my schoolbooks under my arm thru waist-deep snow only to find when I got there that the Christmas exams were temporarily canceled! I then had to trudge all the way back home again thru that incredibly deep snow...but happily...no exams!! I don't remember much these days but I sure do remember THAT morning! I lived on Glenhome Ave. about 2 blocks south of Vaughan Rd. Many fond memories of that area and era.
Gail replying to a comment from Benedict / February 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm
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Wonderful pictures and comments. My father stood in our back yard late at night every winter in the 1950s in order to make and maintain our hockey rink with a garden hose. Our neighbor would often join him with a huge black umbrella as it was a cold shower if there was any wind. We had no idea what a labour of love it was until we were older but our backyard was so popular! Out of self defense I learned how to handle a hockey stick and my brothers would let me play only if I played goalie. We had a large garden and a hill in our back yard which we would toboggan and skate down depending on the conditions. I remember breaking my arm on New year morning because someone dared me to skate down backwards. My poor parents! But those were sweet times when children were more in touch with nature and they spent time contemplating and imagining. The only down side was having to take off one's snow suit when nature called!
Thanks for reviving those lovely memories.
Gail replying to a comment from Benedict / February 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm
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Good call!
adela / February 20, 2012 at 08:23 pm
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ICE BOATS!! ahh. i love history. especially the wychwood barn photos. great choices from the archive!
Steven replying to a comment from George La Prairie / February 21, 2012 at 06:03 pm
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What gr8 pictures and even better the stories from some people who actually experienced this time and place..
Thank-you!
Samsquanch / February 24, 2012 at 01:46 pm
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These are magnificent photos. I came to Canada as a child in the 70s and appreciate Canadian history very much.

What strikes me about these comments is the average age of the posters; about 70-80 years old. I didn't think seniors were so Internet savvy. Kudos to you!

But what I do find strange is the child-like ignorance of some posters regarding the 1940s. They seem to forget how lucky they were to have been relatively untouched by the ravages of the world war going on at the time.
Denny replying to a comment from Virginia / February 26, 2012 at 01:00 pm
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I was born in a small hospital/clinic on the north side of bloor street across from high park. Year of birth was 1942. Anyhow, as a child my parents used to take me and my sister to high park to sleigh ride. We had great fun there. When I became an adult me and a friend along with our girlfriends decided to go tobogganing in high park, at night no less. It was mid march, not much snow but the hills were solid ice. The four of us went down the hill at great speed and we hit a tree near the bottom of the hill. The toboggan was destroyed, all of us had ripped clothing and cuts and brushes but it was worth it. After hitting the tree we all lpayed there laughing as hard as we could. This took place in march of 1966. Funny how you remember these things.

Kevin Mc Donald / February 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm
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I loved these pics.
Life seemed so healthy ( before perscription Drugs) and people appeared to be self reliant.
I lived near High Park for many years and the pics bring back great memories.
I noticed the Men all wore hats and many wore suits and ties. The Ladies so proper in Skirts .It must have been a delightful time k
Mr. Niceguy replying to a comment from the lemur / March 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm
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Thanks for the clarification, Lemur! So, this means that EVERYBODY who has posted on this message board is absolutely right, about former Eaton's College Street, now College Park! :-)
Yvonne Hawkins(King) / March 7, 2012 at 09:04 pm
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I remember the 1944 storm, we opened the door and it was a wall of snow. we could not get out. my Father and my brothers finally dug us out. We had to walk to work to St Clair and oakwood to work at the oakwood show. Needless to say it took us about 2hrs we were so cold, but we had fun doing it .
NostalgicMan / October 18, 2012 at 03:41 am
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I miss snow and winter, maybe we'll have them both again someday, before the whole shithouse goes up in flames.
Diane / October 29, 2012 at 01:38 am
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I remember tobboganing at Christie Pitts, lost a front tooth there after hitting a tree. lol Also at High Park. what memories I have
Diane / October 29, 2012 at 01:50 am
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@ Gail. I to had a father that would make me a skating rink in the back yard every year; it was really great to have that and be able to really learn to skate privately or with a friend or two. We had so much fun, family outings, all huddled up in out snowsuits. even going down to see the Santa Clause parade. And the way the windows were decorated at Eaton's. Any one remember going to see Santa in Eatons they had rides there as well as Punkinhead. on University they uses to have Santa with his sleigh all lit up and bobbing up and down then you went up to see santa you were given a candy cane and a coloring book. they also had live reindeer there as well, I think it was around the Shell gas co. as I remember seeing the shell sign all lit in orange. Any one else remember this?
Trials replying to a comment from thupp / November 5, 2012 at 09:17 pm
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My folks quit when they dredged out the property to make the eastern gap, I have an original working scale model of their Toronto Harbour Iceboat if you want to build one and try to fly her :)
Peter Dean replying to a comment from thupp / December 28, 2012 at 02:20 pm
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Yes, there are a couple of modern one-person ice boats on the Island, but we only get good ice (before it breaks up and then reforms into ice packs)for a couple of weeks every couple of weeks.
We had one of the original large four seaters in our backyard in the 1970s, but it went down to Burlington Bay where they have much more regular ice.
David R W Langley replying to a comment from Ruth(Chapman)McCreary / May 26, 2013 at 07:47 pm
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I was born In Toronto during the 44 storm,family moved soon after.I have a few pic,s but most are of family and dont show much of the city. This site has some great pics doesnt it. Iam looking basicly for any pic of old Toronto and surounding area as I amd trying to match them up with shots of same area as is now.
Fig / January 6, 2014 at 10:23 am
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I just reread this awesome post - great pics and for many of us, great memories. Get your parkas on for this winter too :)
Don Ellis / January 7, 2014 at 08:48 pm
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I can not believe all the comments about the 1944 snowstorm. I was born on Dufferin St. 1930. I remember my father walking all the way downtown to Eatons. He was a watchmaker and work on the 8th floor. They had closed the store and he had to walk all the way home. I worked in the Eatons College Street store for 5 years as a mechanic for the Seamstress Sewing Machine about 1950. Thanks for the pictures.
Bruce Marshman / February 26, 2014 at 07:01 pm
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Do you think this is the same church on Carlton , Derek?

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