What strip malls used to look like in Toronto
The rapid suburban expansion of Toronto in the decades that followed the second world war brought many new and modern concepts to the city. Don Mills became the Toronto's first and the continent's largest planned housing development in 1952, increasing auto ownership led to the construction of the Gardiner, Don Valley Parkway, and 401, and car-orientated strip plazas popped up in the heart of numerous suburban communities.
News came yesterday that Toronto's first strip plaza is set for redevelopment as a denser vision for Eglinton Avenue is dreamed thanks to the Crosstown LRT. These plazas are not the most beautiful feature of the city's built landscape, but they're far more interesting than we sometimes give them credit for.
Here's what suburban strip malls used to look like in Toronto.
Another view of the glorious (and sadly deceased) Yonge Finch Plaza in 1972. That dairy bar is inside a Wimpy's Charcoal House.
Bloordale Service Centre in 1963. As the city archives note, the building survives as part of Bloordale Plaza at Burnhamthorpe and The West Mall.
Evan's Shopping Centre at Kipling Avenue and the Queensway in 1956, when it was a little over a year old.
A Grand Union Food at an unidentified plaza.
A Steinbergs, possibly at Thorncliffe Plaza on Overlead Blvd.
Humbertown Mall at Royal York and Dundas as it appeared in September 1961, complete with an S. S. Kresge store. Today the anchor tenants is Loblaws.
Another view of Humbertown Mall.
Richview Plaza off Eglinton in Etobicoke. The main tenant is a Rexall Pharma Plus.
Thorncrest Plaza at Islington and Rathburn around 1956.
A fresh looking Cloverdale Mall.
Shopping plaza on the west side of Jane, north of Lawrence. The centre is still home to a branch of RBC.
The same Jane St. plaza. The Diamond Bar B-Q Restaurant is now The Red Room Restaurant - All Day Breakfast $6.99. The unit occupied by the dry cleaners offering one hour "Martinizing" is also still being used for its original purpose.
Weston Plaza near Weston and Church in 1971.
More Weston Plaza.
Worth Building Plaza on Bathurst at Lawrence.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
Images: City of Toronto Archives
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