toronto night

This is what Toronto looked like at night from the 1910s to the 1980s

Photos of Toronto at night have a cinematic quality that's both eerie and beautiful all at once. While the collection of nighttime photos that pre-date the 1960s isn't so robust, the ones that we do have to marvel at reveal a city that's both mysterious and alluring.

The old streetlights and neon signs might have been less efficient, but boy did they ever look majestic cutting through the blackness. Let's not forget the tungsten-lit movie theatre marquees and widening beams of streetcar headlights in the fog. 

Behold, the sublime beauty of Toronto at night.


The Auditorium Theatre Toronto (382 Queen Street West) in 1910.


The Comique Theatre (Yonge south of Dundas) in 1910.


Toronto celebrates Hydro Electricity at Old City Hall in 1911.


Wow. Old City Hall in 1919.


376 Dupont in 1923.


CNE Ferris wheels in 1924.


Sunnyside at night in 1925.


Hanlan's Point concession stand in 1928.


Whitney Block at night in 1929.


St. Clair approaching Christie in 1933.


Davenport TTC garage in 1934.


The Toronto Coach Terminal in 1935.


Midtown Theatre (now the Bloor Cinema) in 1941.


Snow blower in 1943.


University Avenue gets streetlights in 1943.


CNE midway at night in 1952.


Club One Two in 1952.


Yikes. Check out the apron. Barbecuing in 1957.


CNE arch in the late 1950s.


So Young, So Bad at the Midtown (now the Bloor) in the late 1950s — image via Silent Toronto.


Glenhome and St. Clair in 1958.


The O'Keefe Centre opens in 1960.


Eglinton and Yonge from above in 1962.


Stunning. Opening week at New City Hall in 1965.

toronto 1960s

Postcard view of New City Hall in 1965.

toronto 1960s

Aeroquay One was considered one of the nicest airport terminals in the world when it opened in 1964. This view dates from shortly thereafter.

toronto 1960s

The towering Odeon Theatre sign on Carlton near Yonge. Photo by Robert D. McMann via John Bromley's Archives.

toronto 1960s

This anonymous intersection is actually Bloor and Dundas back in the 1960s.

toronto 1960s

The Sutton Place Hotel was the lap of luxury when it opened in 1967.

toronto 1960s

A streetcar entering the Queensway from Queen/King/Roncesvalles. Love that CIBC sign. Photo by John Bromley.

The Regency Towers Hotel on Avenue Rd. (now a crappy Howard Johnson).

toronto 1960s

The Glendale Theatre on Avenue Rd. north of Lawrence in 1968.

toronto 1960s

Looking north from Dundas to Gould St. On the right is the Biltmore Theatre in the 1970s.

toronto 1970s

The Rio and Sam the Chinese Food Man on a much seedier Yonge St. strip.

toronto 1970s

A&A Records and Peter Dunn's Vinyl Museum in 1982 (the year Dire Straits released "Love over Gold."

toronto 1970s

The Wintergarden Theatre and Diana Sweets further south on Yonge St.

toronto 1970s

Elm St. just west of Yonge. You can bet the interior of Barberian's Steakhouse (left side) looked pretty much the same back then.

toronto 1970s

A lost Toronto tradition. Chess games outside Sam the Record Man on Gould St.

toronto 1980s

The marquee at the Royal Alex Theatre in the 1980s.

toronto 1980s

A perfectly moody looking Dundas West between Beverley and Spadina in the early 1980s.

Photos by

Toronto Archives (unless otherwise noted)

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Self-replicating predatory 'water fleas' are taking over Ontario lakes

TTC will shut down a large stretch of subway this weekend

Another Toronto highway is about to become a gridlocked mess due to lane closures

Outrage after Ontario student explains how to use food banks for free groceries in viral video

Invasive 'zombie plant' species is wreaking havoc across Ontario lakes

Almost nobody believes Toronto's Eglinton Crosstown LRT will open this year

5 million people transferred from TTC in under 2 months with One Fare program

Toronto is giving away free trees for you to plant outside your home