Lansdowne Avenue History Toronto

What Lansdowne Avenue used to look like in Toronto

Lansdowne Avenue might not seem like the most interesting street nowadays, but beneath its bland residential veneer lies a rich industrial history that makes it one of Toronto's more significant thoroughfares. Named after the Marquis of Lansdowne, who served as the Governor-General of Canada in 1883, the street was the furthest westerly point divided up as part of John Graves Simcoe's 32 Park Lots, which determined the street plan for much of the city all the way back in the late 18th century.

Although somewhat sleepy at its southern end below Dundas, Lansdowne was part of a major manufacturing hub at current day Dupont Street, where companies like the Canada Foundry were located. Amongst the many iron and steel products made here were the streetcar tracks spread across the city in far greater supply in the 1900s. The Foundry was later sold to General Electric in the 1920s, but the heavy industrial character of this area would remain in place for 60+ years. Even as the buildings were abandoned in the 1980s, they remained an urban explorer's dream.

Thankfully, the old Canada Foundry buildings still remain a major presence on the street, having recently been converted into lofts. Elsewhere, the industrial element of the street has mostly faded, but there remain signs of it if you look closely enough. South of Dundas, Lansdowne is, however, rather well preserved it is original residential character. Relatively quiet through this stretch, development has most been held in check or taken place nearby rather than on the street itself. As you exit the railway overpass heading south, the street scape looks much like it did 100 years ago, curving to the left and leading straight down to Queen St.

PHOTOS

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Lansdowne south of Dundas, 1890s

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Muddy Lansdowne near the Canada Foundry Building, 1910

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Lansdowne looking north toward Davenport, 1911

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St. Clair and Lansdowne, north side 1913

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Development at St. Clair and Lansdowne, 1913

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Above the Lansdowne subway, 1915

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Lansdowne subway, looking south 1915

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Hallam (with streetcar tracks!) from Lansdowne, 1915

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Lansdowne CPR crossing, 1916

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Lansdowne and Davenport, 1916

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Lansdowne and Bloor, 1923

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Lansdowne from Dupont, 1930

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Lansdowne looking south to Dupont, 1930

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St. Clair and Lansdowne, southwest corner 1931

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Northwest corner Lansdowne and Bloor, 1931

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Lansdowne looking north from Dupont, 1932

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Lansdowne looking south from Seaforth, 1946

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Lansdowne subway, looking south from Dundas 1946

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Lansdowne subway (south of Dundas) looking north, 1946

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Lansdowne looking north from Queen, 1946

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Lansdowne looking south to Davenport, 1948

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Lansdowne looking north from Seaforth, 1950

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Lansdowne and St. Clair, 1959


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