vintage photos winter toronto

What winter looked like in Toronto 100 years ago

Vintage photos of Toronto in the winter offer a reminder that snow, ice, and cold temperatures have always been a crucial part of the experience of living in this city.

There might be fewer ice boats today, but we still try to make the most of the harsh season by tobogganing in our parks, skating on Grenadier Pond, and heading down to the frozen harbour (please be safe). 

In any case, there's something about the sight of hundreds of people going down tobogganing runs in High Park that is rather exhilarating. 

Behold, what winter looked like in Toronto a century ago. 

vintage winter toronto

12-horse team pulling snow sweeper, 1890s.

vintage winter toronto

That's a lot of coal! Toronto skyline in 1904.

vintage winter toronto

Sleighing at Queen's Park in 1906. 

vintage winter toronto

Snowy University Avenue 1908. You can see Queens Park peeking out in the background. 

vintage winter toronto

High Park toboggan runs circa 1910. 

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Ice fishing, Centre Island 1909. 

vintage winter toronto

An apparently huge toboggan at Christie Pits in 1909. 

vintage winter toronto

Parking at the Old City Hall quadrangle in 1910.

vintage winter toronto

Kew Beach in 1911. 

vintage winter toronto

Snowball fight in Rosedale Ravine back in 1912. 

vintage winter toronto

A propeller sled! Toronto Bay in 1912.

vintage winter toronto

A frozen pier near the Eastern Gap in 1912.

vintage winter toronto

Ice-encased church post-fire on Carleton Street 1912. 

vintage winter toronto

Ice boats on the harbour in 1912. 

vintage winter toronto

Hockey at Christie Pits in 1912. 

vintage winter toronto

High Park in 1913. 

vintage winter toronto

High Park tobogganing in 1914. 

vintage winter toronto

High Park toboggan runs in 1914. 

vintage winter toronto

Wychwood Barns in 1915. 

vintage winter toronto

Trinity College Gates in 1916. 

vintage winter toronto

Bloor Viaduct under construction in 1917. 

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A frozen and very industrial-looking Toronto Bay in 1920.

vintage winter toronto

Ice boats in front of the Harbour Commission Building in 1920.

vintage winter toronto

Glen Road bus in 1923. 

vintage winter toronto

Snow plough in 1924. 

vintage winter toronto

Snowstorm on Richmond Street in 1929. 

vintage winter toronto

Snowy Casa Loma in 1936. 

vintage winter toronto

Snow blower at night in 1943. 

vintage winter toronto

The great snowstorm of 1944.

vintage winter toronto

Looking up Bay St. during the great snowstorm of 1944. 

vintage winter toronto

Snowstorm at John and King 1961 (can that driver see out of the back window?). 

Photos by

The Toronto Archives. Written by Derek Flack. 


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