Parliament Street History Toronto

What Parliament Street used to look like in Toronto

A visual history of Parliament Street is a post that probably could have been compiled a long time ago given the stature and visual interest of the subject in question. Named after the provincial legislative buildings that once sat at the corner of Front Street, Parliament has its other legacies, from its history as an industrial hub to the role that it played in the construction of the Bloor Viaduct.

Parliament is one of the streets that has drag appeal. Like a few other streets I've written about, between Gerrard and Wellesely, Parliament has the character of a main street, serving a community which has been built around it. And this is, of course, the case for the most part. While the street originated as a trail that John Graves Simcoe would use to commute from the parliament buildings to Castle Frank, by the early 20th century it had developed a vibrant commercial scene to the north and a booming industrial presence to the south.

Along with the old Gooderham & Worts Distillery, which sprawled beyond the current confines of the "District" back in the day, evidence of former industrial activity can be spotted in the form of the Victory Soya Mills Silos, just to the south. Even in the aerial shot from the 1970s (or perhaps early 80s), it's possible to spot the degree to which the southern end of the street had a grittier character.

In general, Parliament was a fairly well to do thoroughfare until the post-war era, when it was surrounded by middle-sized single dwelling homes. With the arrival of large-scale housing developments, the street's character slowly changed to adapt to the residents who made up a more culturally and economically mixed group.

See Also:

A history of Toronto in photos

PHOTOS

Parliament Street Toronto

660-664 Parliament, 1913

Parliament Street Toronto

674 Parliament, 1913

Parliament Street Toronto

Pre-Bloor Viaduct, 1915

Parliament Street Toronto

Looking south on Parliament from Howard, 1915

Parliament Street Toronto

Queen & Parliament, 1917

Parliament Street Toronto

Bloor Viaduct near Parliament, 1917

Parliament Street Toronto

Parliament Street dump, 1926

Parliament Street Toronto

Parliament Street subway, 1927

Parliament Street Toronto

Old CPR crossing, 1932

Parliament Street Toronto

352 Parliament, 1937

Parliament Street Toronto

Looking south from 243 Parliament, 1938

Parliament Street Toronto

Parliament near St. David, 1938

Parliament Street Toronto

141 Parliament, 1940

Parliament Street Toronto

287-307 Parliament, 1942

Parliament Street Toronto

237 Parliament, 1943

Parliament Street Toronto

Joy Oil Station at 317 Parliament, 1947

Parliament Street Toronto

243 Parliament, 1947

Parliament Street Toronto

325 Parliament, 1947

Parliament Street Toronto

Eclipse Theatre, 1949

Parliament Street Toronto

375-379 Parliament, 1949

Parliament Street Toronto

367-371 Parliament, 1949

Parliament Street Toronto

307 Parliament, 1957

Parliament Street Toronto

Queen & Parliament, 1959

Parliament Street Toronto

151 Parliament, 1960s

Parliament Street Toronto

Parliament & Gerrard, 1962

Parliament Street Toronto

Aerial view of Distillery & Corktown, 1970s

Parliament Street Toronto

Foot of Parliament, 1979

Parliament Street Toronto

Former Consumer Gas Building (now 51 Division), 1980s

Parliament Street Toronto

King & Parliament area, 1994

Photos from the Toronto Archives


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