toronto missed businesses

Here are some of the lost gems and landmarks people in Toronto miss the most

The Toronto that many of us grew up with has vanished, landmarks of yesteryear replaced by a growing conglomeration of modern towers or lost to hard times. We all have specific spots we miss from the recent and distant past, our nostalgia ranging from restaurants to stores, to other landmarks erased by time.

But what are some of the places we miss the most? To get a better sense of which lost businesses and landmarks people still reminisce about, we asked Twitter to answer "What place is now gone, but you wished was still open in the city?"

It was a simple enough question, but it seems to have struck a chord with some, opening a floodgate of mentions of places that now only exist in photographs and our memories.

Anyone who grew up in the 1990s remembers Speakers Corner. It gave performers and randoms off the street a soapbox in an era before handheld digital devices made vlogging a thing.

Honest Ed's is almost universally missed, though the incorrect narrative that the landmark was axed for condos persists years later.

The towers will actually be rentals, including desperately-needed affordable housing, but I'm not going to sit here and pretend I don't miss that glowing beacon of incandescent bulbs and hand-painted signs.

The World's Biggest Bookstore, however, was torn down in 2014 to make way for condos, its replacement having recently wrapped up construction on Edward Street, just northwest of Yonge-Dundas Square.

Its mustard-yellow interiors and quirky advertising live on in the memories of local bibliophiles.

Businesses lost to redevelopment is a recurring theme in this Twitter thread, with another lost landmark near Yonge and Bloor also torn down to make way for condos in 2003.

The lost Uptown Theatre is still remembered though.

Lost restaurants proved to be a popular memory among locals, including "musical eatery" The Organ Grinder on The Esplanade.

A more recent loss in the dining scene, pizza joint Big Slice was a legendary place for university students to grab a cheap, late-night bite. It relocated from its decades-long spot at Yonge and Gerrard back in 2016 to make way for, you guessed it, condos. A few people mentioned the beloved pizza spot's lost location.

Also among the more recent losses mentioned, Cold Tea in Kensington Market was a late-night fave, and some are apparently just getting the memo that it has permanently closed.

Most of the responses pay respect to places lost in the last generation, but at least one commenter is looking further into the past at some of the lost architectural gems that graced our city in its earlier days.

Others mention lost chain restaurants like The Olive Garden and Chi-Chi's, while one even used the question as an opportunity to slam Toronto's lack of housing affordability.

But this writer is personally fuming after not seeing one single mention of proto-fusion restaurant Ginsberg and Wong, which operated at Village By The Grange until the early 1990s.

Lead photo by

Dominic Bugatto

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