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Queen Street East History

What Queen Street East used to look like in Toronto

A look back at Queen Street East has been a long time coming, especially insofar as I've already given the historical treatment to western portion of this most important of Toronto streets. That post is worth a look if you're unaware that prior to being named after the monarch, Queen was referred to as Lot Street and was crucial to the way that John Graves Simcoe laid out the Town of York. With possession of this information, you can spot remaining evidence of the old city and its sprawling lots all over the place.

But Queen East is interesting for other reasons as well. Amongst them (and there really are too many to name) is the general character of the street, which, for the most part, was every bit as developed and interesting as the west side even 100 years ago. Where Queen West has the Gladstone Hotel, Queen East has the Broadview Hotel. And while the current state of these buildings would come out in the former's favour, I make the comparison merely to underscore the degree to which an intersection like Queen and Broadview has posed as hub for over a century.

The presence of the old Woodbine racetrack should also be noted. Although it's a little difficult to imagine now, horse racing was a major draw in the 1920s, one that saw Toronto's monied residents bust out their finest attire. Old photos from Woodbine have a decidedly Great Gatsby-like quality about them, and offer a little portal into what this city was like so long ago.

Other highlights from the collection below include the various photos of the Queen Street Bridge over the Don River, the Don Railway Station, the ubiquitous streetcar tracks and the wonderful images of the Teck and Joy Theatres, neither of which remain. Watch out for some neighbourhood-specific posts on the east end in the coming weeks, but for now check out what Queen East used to look like back in the day.



Queen Street Bridge, 1899


The view southeast from the Kew Beach Firehall, 1900s


Queen looking east of Lee, 1906


Woodbine, 1907


Looking west toward the Queen Street Bridge, 1910


Queen looking east from River, 1911


Queen & Bellefair, 1912


630-34 Queen Street East, 1912


Queen Street Bridge, 1914


Junction of King and Queen streets, 1915


Queen & George looking east, 1917


Leslie Farm, 1920


Peter Witt streetcar near Queen & Woodbine, 1920s


Bank of Montreal, 1921 (intersection guesses?)


Queen & Kingston Road, 1922


779 Queen Street East, 1930


Teck Theatre, 1932


Queen & Logan looking east, 1934


Queen & Sherbourne looking east, 1934


Queen looking east of Jones, 1934


Queen Street between Leslie and Greenwood, 1937


Dominion Hotel, 1945


Broadview Hotel, 1945 (yes, this is now Jilly's)


Queen & Ontario streets, 1947


Joy Theatre, 1950s


Queen & Berkeley, 1960

See also:

The history of Toronto in photos

Photos from the Toronto Archives

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