Toronto taxis history

This is what Toronto taxis were like way before Uber and Lyft came on the scene

Toronto taxis have been a staple in the city for a century, but rarely become the focus of photographic endeavours. 

Given the ubiquity of cabs in the city, one would think they'd play a more prevalent role in Toronto's visual record.

Between 1931 and 1971 the number of taxis in Toronto increased from just below 1,000 to around 3,000, and yet it's only recently that they've become a more common feature in photographs. 

Nevertheless there are fascinating tales to be told about Toronto's cabs and cabbies, including that of Thornton Blackburn, the former slave who escaped to Toronto from Kentucky and set up the city's very first taxi service in 1837. 

Blackburn's first cab was reported to be red and yellow, a colour scheme that's still seen on the streets today in the form of Co-Op cabs.

Here's a visual history of Toronto's taxis.

toronto taxi history

The 1990s, in the Yonge and Summerhill area

toronto taxi history

Chinatown, 1990s.

toronto taxi history

The late 1980s, around Yonge and Eglinton

toronto taxi history

Downtown on Yonge Street, in the 1980s

toronto taxi history

Yonge and Gould in the 1980s

toronto taxi history

A Metro Cab, 1980s

toronto taxi history

Near Avenue and Bloor, 1980s

toronto taxi history

In the 1970s, near College Park

toronto taxi history

Metro Cab on Queen West, 1970s

toronto taxi history

The 1970s, in front of a very dirty Union Station

toronto taxi history

Richmond and Victoria, late 1960s

toronto taxi history

Bay Street in front of the Temple Building, in the 1960s

toronto taxi history

Bay Street again, 1960s

toronto taxi history

The 1950s, in a bit of traffic

toronto taxi history

On Ossington, 1950s 

toronto taxi history

Near Davenport and Dupont, in the 1950s

toronto taxi history

A small taxicab office, 1950s

toronto taxi history

Taxi stand in front of Union Station, in 1931

toronto taxi history

Taxi stand by Union Station, 1930

toronto taxi history

Reed's taxis, on Victoria Street, in 1911

Photos by

The Toronto Archives. Written by Derek Flack. 


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