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Vintage photos of winter sports in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / December 11, 2012

Winter Sports Toronto VintageWinter in Toronto can be the pits depending on your disposition. I know more than a few people who pseudo-hibernate during the season's coldest periods — and who can really blame them? Forgetting the mildness of last year, it tends to get rather unwelcoming out there. Our forebearers, it would appear were a braver bunch. The Toronto Archives are littered with photos of city-folk out and about in the ice and snow making the most the cold weather.

And while most of the things they got up to remain familiar to us — there's hockey, skiing and tobogganing, of course — other activities like ice-boating have disappeared over the years, despite the fact that they look like they were a whole lot of fun. The inner harbour was a more active recreational space when it was guaranteed to freeze over. That time has passed, but we still have the photos.

Ice boating!

20121211-ice-boat-1911.jpg20121211-ice-boat-1912.jpgIce-boating on the inner harbour

Outdoor skating

20121211-skating-high-park-1910f1244_it0455.jpg20121211-speed-skater-1930s-f1257_s1057_it3026.jpg20121211-skating-varsity-stewart-reburn-sonie-henie-1930s-f1257_s1057_it4109.jpg20121211-skating-don-1910.jpgWhile outdoor skating remains popular, the venues are decidedly less pretty


20121211-high-park-tob.jpg20121211-fancy-tob.jpg20121211-toboggan-line-1910as-f1244_it0438c.jpg20121211-group-toboggan-1909-f1244_it0478a.jpg20121211-toboggan-slides-1916-f1548_s0393_it13881.jpgTorontonians used to take their tobogganing very seriously (check out the one with the light on it!)


20121211-hockey.jpgYou didn't need artificial ice back then...


20121211-skiing-rosedale-ravine-1908-f1244_it0471a.jpg20121211-ski-hjump-high-park-1914-f1231_it0564.jpg20121211-skiing-riverdale-1913-f1244_it0471.jpg20121211-sking.jpgUrban skiing was a far more common site in the 1920s


20121211-curling.jpgOutdoor curling!

Ice fishing

20121211-ice-fishing-1908-10.jpgWhy dress down to ice fish?

And, naturally, snowball fights

201214-snowball-rosedale-ravine-1912-f1244_it0472.jpgSome things never get old...

See also:

Photos from the Toronto Archives



WC / December 11, 2012 at 01:46 pm
Thank you for finding these pictures. Made my day!
Bob / December 11, 2012 at 01:47 pm
Too bad you never see this Toronto nowadays. To cold, to chilly, too many excuses.
Me / December 11, 2012 at 02:00 pm
Not to mention, no snow!!
phuong / December 11, 2012 at 02:12 pm
great photos!
l3mur / December 11, 2012 at 02:18 pm
What a great collection of photos!
EC / December 11, 2012 at 02:58 pm
This is so badass.

Betty / December 11, 2012 at 03:10 pm
Who's with me to revive women's hockey with equipment consisting of black leather skates, a sweater, a long skirt, wool gloves and a toque?
Fig / December 11, 2012 at 03:50 pm
Awesome photos - great post!
The Lonely Troll / December 11, 2012 at 04:06 pm
Smiling wasn't legalized until the 1920's
Rick / December 11, 2012 at 05:09 pm
Amazing how cold it got back then....sigh...
sct / December 11, 2012 at 08:42 pm
get photos where is the snow!!
Canadas Boomergirl / December 11, 2012 at 09:30 pm
I'm with 13mur . Made my day too. Great pics / post. Thank you.
McKegs / December 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm
I would LOVE to be able to skate on the Don River in the winter. It would be my winter version of distance biking. I bike all year round, but sadly in the winter it's mostly a mode of transportation for me.
Jimmy / December 12, 2012 at 02:34 am
Everyone was so elegantly dressed in those days.
xe nang / December 12, 2012 at 03:55 am
nice pic, i'm very like it , great
Luis / January 30, 2014 at 11:59 am
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Fig / February 2, 2015 at 10:11 am
Wonderful post - perfect for today :)
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