christmas toronto

Christmas photographs from the last 100 years in Toronto

You won't find too many Christmas-themed photos in the Toronto Archives, but the collection that does exist offers a window into the way the holiday used to be celebrated in the city. 

Even in year's past, Casa Loma was a major draw for its festive decorations, the holiday window displays were a highlight at the Simpson's building by Yonge and Queen streets, and people loved to toboggan on a snowy Christmas day. 

One quirky thing that has changed, however, is the absence of the TTC's holiday lights tours. These were just what the sound like: a bus in festive livery would tour folks around the city to check out the best light displays. Can we please bring this back? 

Behold, what Christmas used to look like in Toronto.

vintage Christmas Toronto

Christmas display at the St. Charles Hotel, 1908.

vintage Christmas Toronto

Tobogganing in High Park, 1910.

vintage Christmas Toronto

James family festive dinner, 1913.

Christmas Toronto

Christmas decorations at the North York Market, 1920.

santa claus parade torontoSanta Claus Parade in 1930.

christmas eve torontoHoliday traffic on Yonge St. in 1935.

vintage Christmas Toronto

City Hall Christmas Tree, 1950s.

vintage Christmas Toronto

TTC Christmas Light Tour, 1957.

vintage Christmas Toronto

TTC Christmas Bus, 1950s.

vintage Christmas Toronto

Noma lights model, 1950s.

casa loma christmas

Casa Loma in Christmas garb, 1963.

vintage christmas toronto

Holiday traffic on Yonge St. in 1962. 

vintage christmas toronto

Simpson's all decked out for the holidays in 1963.

vintage christmas toronto

Star Wars toys at Simpson's in 1981.

vintage christmas toronto

Display window advertising the great place on earth in 1981: Toytown on the fourth floor of Simpson's.

Photos by

Toronto Archives. Written by Derek Flack.


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

The history of Speakers Corner in Toronto

People in Toronto raise money to give man living on sailboat a place to dock for winter

This is how people in Toronto used to get their news in the 1800s and 1900s

The longest and shortest TTC subway stops

This secluded forest in Toronto is perfect for a nature stroll

One of Toronto's most colourful bridges is being demolished

Someone just noticed an amazing hidden detail in Toronto's dog fountain

54 cannabis delivery and curbside pickup options in Toronto