Queen Street East History

What Queen Street East used to look like in Toronto

A look back at Queen Street East has been a long time coming, especially insofar as I've already given the historical treatment to western portion of this most important of Toronto streets. That post is worth a look if you're unaware that prior to being named after the monarch, Queen was referred to as Lot Street and was crucial to the way that John Graves Simcoe laid out the Town of York. With possession of this information, you can spot remaining evidence of the old city and its sprawling lots all over the place.

But Queen East is interesting for other reasons as well. Amongst them (and there really are too many to name) is the general character of the street, which, for the most part, was every bit as developed and interesting as the west side even 100 years ago. Where Queen West has the Gladstone Hotel, Queen East has the Broadview Hotel. And while the current state of these buildings would come out in the former's favour, I make the comparison merely to underscore the degree to which an intersection like Queen and Broadview has posed as hub for over a century.

The presence of the old Woodbine racetrack should also be noted. Although it's a little difficult to imagine now, horse racing was a major draw in the 1920s, one that saw Toronto's monied residents bust out their finest attire. Old photos from Woodbine have a decidedly Great Gatsby-like quality about them, and offer a little portal into what this city was like so long ago.

Other highlights from the collection below include the various photos of the Queen Street Bridge over the Don River, the Don Railway Station, the ubiquitous streetcar tracks and the wonderful images of the Teck and Joy Theatres, neither of which remain. Watch out for some neighbourhood-specific posts on the east end in the coming weeks, but for now check out what Queen East used to look like back in the day.

PHOTOS

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Queen Street Bridge, 1899

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The view southeast from the Kew Beach Firehall, 1900s

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Queen looking east of Lee, 1906

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Woodbine, 1907

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Looking west toward the Queen Street Bridge, 1910

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Queen looking east from River, 1911

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Queen & Bellefair, 1912

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630-34 Queen Street East, 1912

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Queen Street Bridge, 1914

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Junction of King and Queen streets, 1915

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Queen & George looking east, 1917

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Leslie Farm, 1920

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Peter Witt streetcar near Queen & Woodbine, 1920s

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Bank of Montreal, 1921 (intersection guesses?)

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Queen & Kingston Road, 1922

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779 Queen Street East, 1930

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Teck Theatre, 1932

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Queen & Logan looking east, 1934

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Queen & Sherbourne looking east, 1934

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Queen looking east of Jones, 1934

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Queen Street between Leslie and Greenwood, 1937

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Dominion Hotel, 1945

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Broadview Hotel, 1945 (yes, this is now Jilly's)

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Queen & Ontario streets, 1947

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Joy Theatre, 1950s

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Queen & Berkeley, 1960

See also:

The history of Toronto in photos

Photos from the Toronto Archives


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