Yonge Street 1970s

This is what Yonge Street looked like in the 1970s

Yonge Street in the 1970s was at the height of its seedy glory. From Gerrard down to Queen, the central artery of the city was an eclectic mix of bars, live music venues, theatres, small retail shops, and fast food joints. It was loud, cluttered, and a bit dirty, but it was always alive.

Today you can see little pockets of buildings that recall this period — some of which still bear signs that date back decades — but the street is increasingly becoming a haven for a different kind of ostentatiousness: that of the tall condo.

Everything about these photos is evocative of a Toronto that is, for the most part, already lost. From the big cars to the neon signs to the record and book shops everywhere, it's amazing to imagine how quickly urban paradigms can shift.

Behold, this is what Yonge St. looked like in the 1970s.

Yonge Street 1970s

The Hard Rock Cafe arrives on the scene (having replaced the Friar Tavern). Wow, that's a mop.

Yonge Street 1970s

Dundas Square before the square.

Yonge Street 1970s

Alternate view looking towards the freshly built Eaton Centre.yonge street 1970s

Coming down Yonge toward Dundas.

yonge street 1970s

Tops Restaurant and Tavern and holiday shoppers, ca. 1972.

yonge street 1970s

Looking north up Yonge at Dundas. The Brown Derby Tavern occupies the northeast corner of the intersection.

yonge street 1970s

A closer look just north of Dundas with the Biltmore Theate in plain view.

Yonge Street 1970s

Edison Hotel at Yonge and Gould.

Yonge Street 1970s

Looking north up Yonge and Gould. The Ryerson Student centre now occupies the northeast corner.

Yonge Street 1970s

The classic hodgepodge of the Lower Yonge strip.

yonge street 1970s

The towering Odeon at Yonge and Carlton.

Yonge Street 1970s

Bustling traffic beside Eatons at College Park.

yonge street 1970s

Looking east along the north side of Gerrard from Yonge. The buildings here still remain, even as the signage has been wiped out.

Photos by

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