history of toronto

Man takes photo in the same spot in Toronto 40 years later

If you could travel through time and see what a specific spot in Toronto looks like 40 years from now, what spot would you pick? And what do you think would have changed about it?

One man was, in a way, able to do just that by returning to a Toronto park 40 years later and recreating a photo taken of him in the late 1980s.

The photos were taken of the man in Riverdale Park, the first one in 1987, and then in August 2021. More than the way the person in the photo has aged, it's quite something to see the transformation of Toronto's skyline in the background.

Most notable is how the CN Tower is now almost completely blocked from view from that position in the park, whereas before it was clearly visible without the Scotia Plaza skyscraper towering in front of it.

The man notes in the caption of the photo that he attended Sprucecourt Public School from 1985 to late 1989 and lived in a "terrible" high rise on Oak St. that he felt took advantage of its mostly new Canadian tenants.

He also shares more positive memories of the park along with other nearby places like East Chinatown and Gerrard Square, which have also changed a lot.

"I decided to do that comparison photo because this year, February 2022, marked 40 years my family immigrated to Canada. I was only nine months old when we arrived, and I was nostalgic last summer and shaking my head at how fast time flies," William Ha, the subject of the photos, tells blogTO.

"Life has had ups and downs as I experienced growing up as a kid to immigrant parents and in my adult life, and even though our country has a lot of issues recently, I still feel incredibly grateful Canada accepted our family."

His family often went to the park as a kid, so Ha felt it would be the perfect place to return to in order to celebrate the milestone.

"The park has a special place in my heart, and comparing the photos represents change and the passage of time for me and for our great city," says Ha. 

"Our city is also a home to many immigrants, and one of the many elements that make Toronto so great is the diversity of our population."

Ha now lives in Milton, but has been able to reconnect with people from Toronto through the photo comparison, with lots of people commenting on it on Facebook. The photo has been engaged with by around 7,000 people, has almost 400 comments and has been shared almost 100 times.

"My heart felt full reading all the responses from other people sharing their memories of the area and receiving kind messages from them, which made me feel even more nostalgic," says Ha.

Lead photo by

Emily Delyea

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