toronto 1990s

This is what Toronto streets looked like in the 1990s

The 1990s doesn't seem so long ago, but after browsing through photos of Toronto from the period, the decade is sure to feel strangely remote. The clutter of the 1960s and the sleaze of the 1970s is absent, but with these sanitization efforts, the city feels rather empty.

Perhaps more than anything, Toronto appears like a city in transition during the 90s. The condos were coming, yes, but neighbourhoods like West Queen West, Liberty Village, and the Distillery District were entirely different than they are today.

Throw in film processing shops, tons of newspaper boxes, Speakers Corner and MuchMusic on Queen West, gas stations that only sell gas, a lack of big brand stores on downtown streets, as well as the perpetual presence of squeegee kids, and you have a recipe for some potent nostalgia for those born in the 1980s.

This is what Toronto streets looked like in the 1990s.

toronto 1990s

Trolley bus at the foot of Bay St. Photo by mightyleap.

toronto 1990s

Looking east on Queen at Spadina. Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990s

Looking east on King at Yonge St. Photo by mightyleap.

toronto 1990sDundas just west of Yonge. Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990s

Looking east on Queen from the intersection of Roncesvalles and King. Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990s

299 Queen West. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Abandoned Gooderham & Worts Distillery. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Southeast corner of Avenue Road and Eglinton. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Film lab at the corner of Britian and George. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Roncesvalles just north of Queen (former Edgewater Hotel to the left). Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990s

Bay looking north beyond College. Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990s

Looking south on Bathurst from King. Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990sNorthwest corner of Queen and Bathurst. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Parliament and Front. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Lakeshore Boulevard at Superior. Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990s

Queens Quay looking toward Rees. Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990s

Queen West at Markham. Photo by Ivaan Kotulsky via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

King and Bay. Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990s

Yonge at Balmoral. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Queen and Connaught. Photo by David Wilson.

toronto 1990s

Southwest corner of Parliament and Front. Somehow, still a Budget lot. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Yonge just north of Millwood. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Front and Princess. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Union Station. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Queen West and Walnut. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

toronto 1990s

Squeegee kid on Spadina north of Queen. Photo via the Toronto Public Library.

Photos by

Toronto Archives, unless noted. Written by Derek Flack. 


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Canada's richest people have increased their wealth by $63.5 billion since the pandemic hit

Doug Ford wants to close down the Canadian border to all non-residents

People living in Toronto's banned tiny shelters share how they've changed their lives

Toronto Police laid 40 charges for large social gatherings over the weekend

Ontario extends state of emergency and stay-at-home order for at least 2 more weeks

Toronto is about to be blasted with up to 10 cm of snow

Toronto warns pet owners not to leave animals alone outside after coyotes kill two dogs

Canada Post warns of delivery delays following outbreak at Mississauga facility