This should be invisible

toronto 1990s

This is what 10 major intersections in Toronto looked like 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.

toronto 1990s

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

Queen and Spadina

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.

toronto 1990s

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

Queen and Bathurst

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.

toronto 1990s

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

Yonge and Davenport/Church

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. 

toronto 1990s

Inside the Distillery District. Photo from the Toronto Archives. 

Trinity and Mill

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.

toronto 1990s

King and Strachan. Photo from the Toronto Archives. 

King and Strachan

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 That's been replaced by a modern glass building and the vista in the distance is starting to fill with condos.

Toronto 1990s

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

East Liberty and Lynn Williams

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

toronto 1990s

Front and Parliament. Photo from the Toronto Archives.

Parliament and Front

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

toronto 1990s

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

King and Bay

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

toronto 1990s

Yonge and Balmoral Ave. Photo from the Toronto Archives. 

Yonge and Balmoral

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

Toronto 1990s

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

Yonge and Queens Quay

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. 

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Ontario resident's $1 million lotto win is a reminder to always check your email

Inflation has left millennials in Canada worried about the future

The spring forecast is out for 2023 and looks like Canada is in for some rough weather

Canada releases $5 coin in honour of Queen Elizabeth and it's dazzling

These are Canada's most popular university degrees and some might surprise you

Doug Ford criticizes Toronto's response to violence on the TTC

Ontario is about to get another winter blast with up to 10 cm of snow this weekend

Members-only Granite Club in Toronto ordered to pay $35K for mistreatment of man