toronto 1950s

A 1950s Toronto photo extravaganza

The 1950s were a time of profound change for Toronto. In the boom decade following the second world war, the city built its first subway line under Yonge Street, welded together its downtown expressway, and created new downtown land by infilling south of Front St.

1954 was a particularly big year: the provincial act that created Metropolitan Toronto, the now defunct senior level of government, took effect in January, Toronto opened its subway in March, and Hurricane Hazel caused widespread destruction in October.

In short, the 1950s were a decisive time in Toronto. Here's a look at the decade in photos.

toronto 1950s

Toronto when the Royal York Hotel and Commerce Court still ruled the skyline. Photo by PJ's Deceased

toronto 1950s

The Toronto skyline from the Port Lands with a Mitsui Line ship at the docks. Photo via Chuckman's Nostalgia.

toronto 1950s

The Redpath sugar factory under construction on the waterfront. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

Malton Airport before the construction of Aeroquay One and its renaming for former prime minister and Nobel Prize for Peace winner Lester B. Pearson.

toronto 1950s

A colourized view down University Ave. when the median still had grass. Photo via Chuckman's Nostalgia.

toronto 1950s

Postcard view of Front Street outside Union Station when it was a 5-lane street.

toronto 1950s

Looking up Yonge Street from just south of Richmond. That's an S. S. Kresge store on the left.

toronto 1950s

"Bertie the Brain," arguably the world's first arcade game, at the CNE in 1950. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

Construction of the replacement Dufferin Gate at the CNE in 1959. The old one was knocked down to allow for construction of the Gardiner Expressway the year before. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

The Joy Theatre (formerly the Rex Theatre) in 1956. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

Men line up outside the Lux Burlesque theatre in the late 50s. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

The Maple Leafs battle it out against the Chicago Black Hawks at Maple Leaf Gardens in the late 1950s. The Leafs goalie is Johnny Bower and the two visible Hawks defencemen are Ron Murphy (#10) and Eric Nesterenko (#15,) according to Wikipedia.

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Marilyn Bell with trainer Gus Ryder after successfully swimming the English Channel. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

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The reception for Marilyn Bell outside City Hall after Channel swim in 1955. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

A man, woman, and dog abandon their home by boat in deep flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

A woman wades through waist deep water following Hurricane Hazel. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

Queen Elizabeth II during a royal visit to Toronto in 1959. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

Office building under construction at the southeast corner of Eglinton and Bathurst circa 1953. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

Power Supermarket on Eglinton Ave. around 1955. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

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The 401 — then the Toronto Bypass — near Midland Ave. when it was a four lane road. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

An empty Gardiner Expressway nearing the completion of construction in the late 1950s. Contrast with the same view today. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

A traffic-free Gardiner Expressway shortly after its opening in 1959. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

An unidentified man contemplates the Gardiner Expressway bridge over the Humber River in 1955. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

A PCC streetcar on Bloor outside the University Theatre. The building was mostly demolished (except for the facade) in the 1980s. It's now a Pottery Barn. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

A Peter Witt streetcar on Queen near the Russell yard. The model last ran in Toronto in 1965. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

The first Yonge line train leaves Davisville station in 1954. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

Toronto Mayor Allan A. Lamport (centre) and Metro Chairman Frederick G. Gardiner (second from right) at official opening of Yonge Street subway, 1954. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

A new Toronto subway car on a section of temporary track. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1950s

A bright red Gloucester subway train at Eglinton station. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

Lead photo by

PJ's Deceased


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