toronto queen street 1980s

What Queen Street used to look like in the 1980s

Until now, the Toronto of the 1980s fell into something of a blind spot among the City of Toronto Archives' digital offerings. Street photos that had been digitized tended to stop in the 1950s and 60s, leaving a tantalizing multi-decade gap to the present day. But now, thanks to a recent dump of photographs from the late 1970s and early '80s, it's possible to fill in some of the blanks and recall a city that is at once familiar and alien (I mean, where is everybody?)

The early 1980s were a time of transition for streetcars and transit in general in Toronto. The old Presidents' Conference Committee streetcars (above) were gradually being replaced by the incoming CLRVs. Trolley buses - electric vehicles that drew power from overhead wires - were entering their final decade on the streets of the city. All three are visible in these photos, which are arranged in order from Queen and Roncesvalles in the west to Queen and Leslie in the east.

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Lead photo: Queen and Yonge outside Simpsons. August 31, 1983.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Roncesvalles, July 18, 1983.

toronto queen street 1980s

Two types of streetcar and a trolley bus on Queen just west of Shaw, July 13, 1983.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Shaw, looking east, June 6, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Gore Vale, July 13, 1983.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Bathurst, looking east, July 13, 1983.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Beverley, looking west, June 7, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Dead quiet Queen and Spadina in late summer. September 27, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Bay, June 7, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

A harsh and modern-looking Queen and Bay during a snowstorm. March 13, 1980.

toronto queen street 1980s

Overhead view of Queen near City Hall, July 8, 1980

toronto queen street 1980s

Bay Street trolley buses, July 18, 1983.

toronto queen street 1980s

Looking east on Queen across Church, May 31, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Drummer's Paradise on Church Street at Queen, July 21, 1982.

toronto queen street 1980s

Richmond's Trading Post on Church just north of Queen, July 21, 1982.

toronto queen street 1980s

Streetcar turning south onto Church past a Sears delivery van, February 13, 1980.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Sherbourne with St. Paul's Basilica in the background. June 2, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

An ice cold Queen and Parliament, looking east, February 6, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Sackville, looking east, June 6, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

The Dominion on Queen during the bad old days. June 6, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Intersection of Queen and King at the Don River, looking west. No Scotia Plaza, yet. Exchange Tower is under construction behind First Canadian Place. June 2, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Looking east from the bridge over the Don River, June 2, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

The New Broadview Hotel, a.k.a. Jilly's, as "Kicker's," August 31, 1983.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Broadview, looking east at the stores on the north side of Queen, April 2, 1982.

toronto queen street 1980s

Streetcars continue to operate at Queen and Broadview despite track work (Broadview Hotel is "Maxi's,") March 25, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Broadview, looking west, August 25, 1983.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and Saulter, looking toward the rail bridge, June 6, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Looking east from Queen and De Grassi under the rail tracks, June 6, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Queen and McGee near the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre, June 6, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Looking west from Queen and Carlaw in Leslieville, August 31, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Looking west through Leslieville near Queen and Carlaw, August 31, 1983.

toronto queen street 1980s

The many gas stations of Queen and Jones, June 6, 1981.

toronto queen street 1980s

Looking east at Queen and Leslie, June 6, 1981.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Images: City of Toronto Archives


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