College Street History Toronto

What College Street used to look like in Toronto

College has long been on my list of streets to give the historical treatment to. Although perhaps not as important a thoroughfare as University Avenue or as beautiful a street as Jarvis during its heyday, College isn't exactly a slouch when it comes to either designation. Named after King's College (now the University of Toronto), the street shouldn't be confused with College Avenue, the initial name given to what we now call University (presumably someone realized just how confusing that could become).

As is the case with Dundas below it, College doesn't exactly follow a straight line as it passes between Yonge Street and Lansdowne Avenue. Not only did a few landowners force rerouting around their properties, but as the street pushes west of Grace it crosses the area formerly occupied by the Garrison Ravine, which leads to some sweeping turns and dips in the road that are still obvious today.

Also noteworthy is the intersection of Yonge and College, which prior to the 1930s served as the street's eastern terminus. It still does by name, of course, but around the same time that Maple Leaf Gardens was being built, engineers realigned Carlton Street so that traffic could pass easily from one side of Yonge Street to the other. This, no doubt, pleased Timothy Eaton, whose flagship retail store (now College Park) occupied a prominent place on the southwest corner.

It was once expected that College would extend further west than Lansdowne, with a connection to High Park proposed by the influential Denison family. If you look at a map today, you can see how the street might have connected to Grenadier Road in Roncesvalles Village, but the railway corridor that sweeps between Lansdowne and Sorauren posed too great a barrier to such a plan. One suspects that this is ultimately a good thing, as a major east/west thoroughfare cutting through the heart of Roncesvalles would disrupt the vaguely insulated feeling the neighbourhood has.

PHOTOS

2012717-college-be-1876 (1).jpeg

College Avenue (not street!), 1876

20121024-university-college-1880s-f1478_it0040.jpg

University College, 1880s

20121024-college-1890s-s0376_fl0003_it0039.jpg

College Street, 1890s (any guesses as to specific location?)

20121024-fountain-1899-s0376_fl0002_it0049.jpg

Drinking fountain at College & Spadina (for horses, too), 1899

20121024-college-east-from-bath-1902-s0376_fl0003_it0042.jpg

Looking east along College from Bathurst, 1902

20121024-tpl-1900s-f1568_it0222.jpg

Toronto Public Library at College and St. George, 1900s

20121024-colege-spadina-east-1909-f1244_it7020.jpg

College and Spadina looking east, 1909

20121024-beverley-st-goerge-1913-s0372_ss0058_it0257.jpg

The foot of St. George at College, 1913

20121024-college-ossington-1915-s0372_ss0058_it0442.jpg

College and Ossington, 1915

20121024-college-montrose-1915-s0372_ss0058_it0443.jpg

College and Montrose, 1915

20121024-college-clinton-1915-s0372_ss0058_it0444.jpg

College and Clinton, 1915

20121024-bathurst-college-1919-f1231_it0754.jpg

Bathurst and College, 1919

20121024-billboards-college-robert-1922-f1244_it2536.jpg

Billboards at College and Robert, 1922

20121024-college-spadina-east-1927-f1231_it2108.jpg

College and Spadina looking east, 1927

20121024-college-mcCaul-looking-east-1930-s0071_it8016.jpg

College and McCaul looking east, 1930

20121024-college-east-yonge-1930-s0071_it7998.jpg

College street east of Yonge, 1930

20121024-yonge-college-aerial-1930-f1244_it10054.jpg

Aerial view of College and Yonge (Eaton's store), 1930

20101129-1930-CarltonViewofCollegeStreetStoreUnderConstruction.jpeg

College/Carlton and Yonge before realignment, 1930

20121024-college-beverley-news-s0372_ss0058_it1452.jpg

Newsstand at College and Beverley, 1937

20121024-college-lansdowne-1939-s0372_ss0003_it1398.jpg

College and Lansdowne, 1939

20121024-college-grace-1939-s0372_ss0058_it1409.jpg

College and Grace, 1939

20121024-1269-college-st-s0372_ss0003_it1413.jpg

1269 College, 1940

20121024-college-bay-west-1948-s0372_ss0058_it1821.jpg

College and Bay looking west, 1948

20121024-370-college-1958-s0372_ss0100_it0271.jpg

370 College, 1958

Photos from the Toronto Archives


Latest Videos



Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Doug Ford goes viral for swallowing and eating buzzing bee during live TV appearance

The Canadian government is hiring for a bunch of jobs in Toronto that pay six figures

Toronto is getting a bunch of new road signs to help stop drivers from speeding

Someone posted a huge sign looking for their Toronto Caribbean Carnival crush

Toronto woman harassed after releasing fish from fisherman's bucket back into pond

Hundreds of cyclists clog Toronto streets and block traffic to protest High Park policing

Power outage in Toronto leads to chaos at the Eaton Centre

Calgary somehow beat Toronto in a ranking of the best places to live in North America