toronto car crash

What car accidents used to look like in Toronto

As long as cars have been driving on Toronto's streets, drivers have been crashing into things: unyielding lampposts, streetcars, bridges, and other immovable, fixed objects. In the days before airbags, crumple zones, and other safety features the risks were higher, even if the speeds were lower.

The images here capture the aftermath of fender benders and other spectacular accidents from 1920s to the 1960s. Some were deliberately staged, like the one above, for grandstand events at the CNE or by the Ontario Safety League to promote good driving skills. One, showing a car "crashing" in to a pole at the sight of two girls, was taken as part of an ad campaign.

I tried my best to find accidents that didn't result in serious injuries, so as to placate historical curiosity without being morbid.

toronto car crash

An early electric automobile hangs precariously off the Glen Road Bridge in the winter of 1912. Another view of the close call below.

toronto car crash

Alternate angle

toronto car crash

A crowd looks on as the back of a truck pokes out of a sinkhole on Margaretta Street.

toronto car crash

A driver and passenger look forlorn at the side of their truck, which is missing a wheel.

toronto car crash

The tangled wreck of a car on Bloor Street near Walmer Road in March 1918.

toronto car crash

An Overland car undergoes repairs on Coxwell Avenue following a fender bender.

toronto car crash

A burnt truck and streetcar on the Danforth at Glebemount in 1935.

toronto car crash

A truck sits beside a highway following an accident.

toronto car crash

An Ontario Safety league staged shot warning against battling streetcars.

toronto car crash

Cars crash, wagons, stop and men leer as two girls stroll down the street for a photo shoot.

toronto car crash

A wrecked Buick following a collision with a motorcycle at Dundas and Gerrard.

toronto car crash

A rainbow of Tide laundry detergent covers the tarmac of the 401 in Toronto.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Images: City of Toronto Archives, Toronto Telegram.


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Overcrowding turns nasty on the King streetcar line

Rental of the week: 930 Dundas Street West

Experts say Toronto home prices will just keep going up

You can now call and text on the TTC subway but there's a catch

Toronto temperatures expected to dip to -27C

House of the week: 18A Westmount Park Road

Toronto's new subway line is all lit up and ready to go

It's going to feel like -20C in Toronto tonight