wellington street toronto

This is what Wellington Street used to look like in Toronto

Wellington Street tends to get lost in historical overviews of Toronto, wedged as it is between Front and King streets.

And yet, if you go far enough back, it's obvious that it was every bit as important to the burgeoning city, particularly as it plays a role in one of our most famous intersections.

wellington street history

The Bank of British North America, northeast corner of Yonge and Wellington, 1856.

Is there a more iconic historical building in Toronto than the Gooderham Building, our own Flat Iron?

wellington street history

The Coffin Block (precursor to the Gooderham/Flat Iron Building), 1872.

It'd be tough to live in the city for too long without confronting this red brick marvel, constructed in 1892.

wellington street history

Aftermath of the Great Toronto Fire of 1904, Wellington and Bay streets.

Apparently George Gooderham Sr. could see to his distillery from the office on the top floor at the turn of the century.

wellington street history

128 Wellington St., 1932.

It wasn't the first building at this intersection with such a footprint, though. The first three-storey iteration dates back to before 1838, and was called the Coffin Block.

wellington street history

Looking east from Church and Wellington, 1913.

We live with the remainder of this idiosyncratic cartography and recognize it implicitly with things like the recent Berzcy Park revitalization.

wellington street history

Wellington and Windsor streets, 1950.

But, of course, Wellington's importance extends beyond this intersection. The street was one of the major victims of the Great Fire of 1904.

wellington street history

Wellington and Scott streets, 1960s.

The event would reduce the city rubble, and the street would never be the same through its central section.

wellington street history

Yonge and Wellington streets, 1960s.

Wellington was rebuilt through the core, but the biggest changes the street witnessed came decades later, when its western reaches were redeveloped as the density of downtown pushed westward.

wellington street history

Wellington and Bay streets, 1960s.

The view towards downtown in the 1970s and 1980s showed a parking lot-strewn path toward the Financial District that seems completely foreign now.

wellington street history

Wellington and Front streets nearing intersection at Church (pre-Berczy Park), 1960s.

This was before the CBC Building filled the souther part of the frame, and the eventual rise of South Core.

wellington street history

Wellington and Leader Lane, early 1970s.

It's actually quite stunning, this empty Toronto along Wellington. What is this city with so much space?

wellington street history

Looking north toward Wellington from Front. St., early 1970s.

Let's remember the buildings that still remain.

wellington street history

The beginnings of Derek Michael Besant's mural at the rear of the Gooderham / Flat Iron Building, 1979.

Lead photo by

Toronto Archives


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