Toronto 1960s

The cluttered beauty of Toronto streets in the 1960s

Toronto's main streets looked remarkably different in the 1960s. Even as the city is much denser and more vibrant today, the aesthetic of the urban landscape was at its busiest during this decade and the one that followed. Streets like Yonge and Bloor were a cluttered mess of irregularly shaped signs, flags and awning, but there was an undeniable beauty in the chaos.

This, no doubt, is why photos from the decade inspire such deep nostalgia these days. Toronto has grown up, but its lost much of its messy character along the way. Neon signs had burst onto the scene in the 1940s, and in the span of about 20 years it completely changed the North American streetscape.

Toronto 1960s

From movie marquees to towering restaurant markers to steel-framed rooftop ads for beer and cigarette companies, streets were packed with a dizzying array of visual stimuli that seemed to announce Toronto's arrival as a big city in a blaze of red light.

Business owners could get away with far more outlandish signage during this period, and they took advantage with ostentatious self-promotion that protruded onto the street and hovered atop many buildings. No one would endorse this type of urban planning today, but despite the overt commercialism, there was an energy that this bright hodgepodge lent to the city.

Behold, the cluttered beauty of Toronto streets in the 1960s.

Toronto 1960s

Looking up Yonge towards Queen St.

Toronto 1960s

Similar view during the holidays

Toronto 1960s

Yonge and Dundas

Toronto 1960s

Yonge and Gould streets

Toronto 1960s

Opposite view

toronto 1960s

Looking west on Bloor from Bathurst

Toronto 1960s

Looking east on Bloor from Lansdowne

Toronto 1960s

Looking north on Lansdowne from Bloor

Toronto 1960s

Bloor near St. Clarens

Toronto 1960s

Bloor near Havelock

Toronto 1960s

Looking east on Bloor at Dovercourt

Toronto 1960s

Looking north up Bathurst at Dundas

Toronto 1960s

Bloor and Islington

20161122-queen-parliament.jpg

Queen and Parliament

Toronto 1960s

Danforth and Coxwell

Photos from Chuckman's Toronto Nostalgia series.


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Rental of the week: 368 Osler Street

Toronto ferry terminal grounds getting major upgrade this fall

30 signs you grew up in Toronto in the 1980s

What's open and closed Canada Day 2017 in Toronto

Over $1 billion invested in revitalizing Toronto waterfront

Cost of Presto installation on TTC balloons to $385 million

House of the week: 316 Joicey Boulevard

Toronto ranked one of the best LGBTQ cities in the world