toronto long weekend

How Toronto used to celebrate a long weekend

Torontonians have been enjoying long weekends for over 150 years, which is sometimes easy to forget as we struggle to join the exodus to cottage country when these short holidays come around.

But, looking back, it's fascinating to recall the recreation activities of the past. These candid photos cast our forebears in a different light than you'll find in most historical photos.

Instead of the staged, often rather serious portraits found in the city archives, these images show the people of the 1910s, 20s, 30s, and 40s at play: goofing for the camera, fishing, enjoying games, and generally relaxing.

In honour of the Canada Day long weekend, here's a look at how Toronto used to take time off work.

toronto long weekend

Boy with fishing catch, 1934.

toronto long weekend

Miss Marjorie Laing at lunch. June 1, 1930.

toronto long weekend

Families relaxing at Crowes Beach on the Humber, circa 1926.

toronto long weekend

An elderly couple dancing in 1934.

toronto long weekend

Obligatory picture of the dog ("Tinker") wearing a hat, 1930.

toronto long weekend

Tinker the dog jumping for sausages, 1930.

toronto long weekend

Boyd family picnic at Islington, 1926.

toronto long weekend

Unknown group on a fishing boat. Exact date unknown.

toronto long weekend

Girl fishes from a bowl to promote the sale of Ontario fishing permits, 1930s.

toronto long weekend

Kids paddling at Hanlan's Point in 1907, Hanlan's Hotel and regatta in the background.

toronto long weekend

Roadside picnic in High Park. July 1, 1942.

toronto long weekend

Bathers in the lake at Sunnyside near the Humber River in 1912.

toronto long weekend

The Sunnyside swimming pool, nicknamed The Tank and reportedly the largest in the world when it opened, in the 1940s.

toronto long weekend

Clowns handing out prizes to all the participants in the Tiny Tots race at the annual TTC staff picnic in 1928.

toronto long weekend

Nail hammering competition (of all things) at the 1928 TTC picnic.

toronto long weekend

Clowns Sam Hill and Sam Cohen stage a pillow fight for the children of TTC staff.

toronto long weekend

Kids line up for a race. Hamburgers and frankfurters for sale in the background.

toronto long weekend

Italian women during a tug-of-war. August 1, 1932.

toronto long weekend

On Wasaga Beach. July 4, 1926.

toronto long weekend

Photographer Nat Turofsky (far right) and his family on a fishing trip to the French River region.

toronto long weekend

Woman and fish smiling in the 1940s.

toronto long weekend

Margaret Reycraft of the Globe and Mail at lunch, 1930.

toronto long weekend

Women fishing off a jetty, 1908.

Lead photo by

William James via the Toronto Archives


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