toronto shopping plaza

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.

toronto shopping plaza

Another view of the glorious (and sadly deceased) Yonge Finch Plaza in 1972. That dairy bar is inside a Wimpy's Charcoal House.

toronto shopping plaza

Bloordale Service Centre in 1963. As the city archives note, the building survives as part of Bloordale Plaza at Burnhamthorpe and The West Mall.

toronto shopping plaza

Evan's Shopping Centre at Kipling Avenue and the Queensway in 1956, when it was a little over a year old.

toronto shopping plaza

A Grand Union Food at an unidentified plaza.

toronto shopping plaza

Soon-to-be demolished Parkwoods Plaza on York Mills Rd. The Dominion eventually gave way to a Food Basics.

toronto shopping plaza

A Steinbergs, possibly at Thorncliffe Plaza on Overlead Blvd.

toronto shopping plaza

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.

toronto shopping plaza

Another view of Humbertown Mall.

toronto shopping plaza

More Humbertown.

toronto shopping plaza

Richview Plaza off Eglinton in Etobicoke. The main tenant is a Rexall Pharma Plus.

toronto shopping plaza

Thorncrest Plaza at Islington and Rathburn around 1956.

toronto shopping plaza

A fresh looking Cloverdale Mall.

toronto shopping plaza

Shopping plaza on the west side of Jane, north of Lawrence. The centre is still home to a branch of RBC.

toronto shopping plaza

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.

toronto shopping plaza

Weston Plaza near Weston and Church in 1971.

toronto shopping plaza

More Weston Plaza.

toronto shopping plaza

Worth Building Plaza on Bathurst at Lawrence.

See also:
What malls used to look like in Toronto

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

Images: City of Toronto Archives


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