toronto 1990s

10 Toronto intersections as they were in the 1990s

The Toronto of the 1990s doesn't seem like such a distant place at first thought, but the more you consider the sweeping changes the city has undergone over the last three decades, the more it seems bizarre that there were so few condos and so many undeveloped industrial sites.

There was an unfinished feel to this Toronto. You could ride a bike around places like Liberty Village, the Eastern Waterfront, and the Junction and feel like time moved very slowly.

Here's a look back at Toronto intersections before the ubiquity of condo podiums, big box retail, and the near-total elimination of our inner city industry.

Queen and Spadina

toronto 1990s

Queen and Spadina, looking east. Photo by David Wilson.

Yes, there were still PCC streetcars in service on Toronto streets in the 1990s. Here we're looking east along a much quieter Queen Street at Spadina Avenue.

Queen and Bathurst

toronto 1990s

Queen and Bathurst, looking southeast. Photo by the Toronto Archives.

Oh, the Big Bop. Before it was a furniture store targeted toward condo owners, this building at the southeast corner of Queen and Bathurst was a raucous live music venue.

Yonge and Davenport/Church

toronto 1990s

Yonge, Davenport, and Church, looking north. Photo from the Toronto Archives.

The view up Yonge Street at Church/Davenport hasn't changed that much—yet. But, it's right on the cusp of the trendy and bustling Yorkville neighbourhood. 

Trinity and Mill

toronto 1990s

Inside the Distillery District. Photo from the Toronto Archives. 

Before the Distillery District was born and became the tourist destination it is today, the old Gooderham & Worts site was used regularly as a film set.

King and Strachan

toronto 1990s

King and Strachan. Photo from the Toronto Archives. 

See that old warehouse-style building on the right side of the frame? That's been replaced by a modern glass building and the vista in the distance is starting to fill with condos.

East Liberty and Lynn Williams

Toronto 1990s

The area that would go on to become the intersection of East Liberty and Lynn Williams. Photo from the Toronto Archives. 

Neither of these streets existed in the 1990s, when Liberty Village was still somewhat industrial and only starting to draw in production companies. 

Parliament and Front

toronto 1990s

Front and Parliament. Photo from the Toronto Archives.

The old Consumers Gas Building at Front and Parliaments streets looked ready for the wrecking ball until it was restored as a Police Station. 

King and Bay

toronto 1990s

A streetcar and taxi on King Street at Bay. Photo by David Wilson.

This view of the Financial District at King and Bay streets doesn't look that different, but where's all the traffic? 

Yonge and Balmoral

toronto 1990s

Yonge and Balmoral Ave. Photo from the Toronto Archives. 

Pretty much everything in the foreground of this photo at Yonge Street and Balmoral Avenue has changed.

Yonge and Queens Quay

Toronto 1990s

Queen's Quay on the Toronto waterfront. Photo from the Toronto Archives.

Look at that! Not only does Captain John's look pretty good in this photo at Yonge Street and Queens Quay, but there's not a condo in sight. 

Lead photo by

the Toronto Archives. Written by Derek Flack. 

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

This is what needs to happen before Toronto enters Stage 3 of reopening in Ontario

Doug Ford says Ontario is preparing for a second wave of COVID-19

It could feel like 42 C in Toronto this weekend as stifling heat returns

Toronto aquatics employees speak out about unsafe conditions at public pools

These are the new gathering limits in Ontario for Stage 3

Win a staycation at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel

Toronto Pearson Airport cuts hundreds of jobs due to lack of travel

U of T scientists confirm effectiveness of new mask that deactivates coronavirus