A Collection of Vintage Yonge Street Photographs from 1850 – 1950

On my latest visit to the Toronto archives I fell in love with the Yonge street of the 1850s up until the 1950s. The buildings and the shops had so much character, the people had such interesting attire and the machines and vehicles throughout the ages make you wonder about how aspects of people’s lives differed from our current generations’.

The 86 kilometre street predates Canada and was used as a major artery to support new settlements throughout Ontario as well as provide military communications between York (Toronto) and the upper lakes.

1856 - Normal School building Gould Street, north-side east of Yonge - Vintage Yonge Street
1856 – Normal School building Gould Street, north-side east of Yonge

Ontario’s first colonial administrator, John Graves Simcoe, built the roads mainly as a strategic play worried that the United States would enter British North America in support of their French allies. He named the street after his friend Sir George Yonge, a British Secretary at War.

The construction took place in the 1790s and began with the building and connecting of two roads. The first would run north from York (Toronto) to Lake aux Claies (Lake Simcoe). The second would join Lake Simcoe with Georgian Bay. This allowed easy land transport to the upper lakes while bypassing the U.S. strongholds in the area. These streets were named Yonge Street and Penetanguishene Road.

1856 - The Exchange Wellington Street, north-side east of Yonge Street
1856 – The Exchange Wellington Street, north-side east of Yonge Street
1856 - Wellington Street East north-side between Church and Yonge streets, showing the Wellington Hotel
1856 – Wellington Street East north-side between Church and Yonge streets, showing the Wellington Hotel
1880 - Front Street East and Yonge Street
1880 – Front Street East and Yonge Street
1885 - Yonge Street north of Queen Street - Vintage Yonge Street
1885 – Yonge Street north of Queen Street
1890 - King Street looking east across Yonge Street
1890 – King Street looking east across Yonge Street
1890 - Queen Street West looking west from Yonge Street
1890 – Queen Street West looking west from Yonge Street
1890 - Yonge Street Wharf, Toronto
1890 – Yonge Street Wharf, Toronto
1892 - Yonge Street crossing looking south from 25 yards north of the track
1892 – Yonge Street crossing looking south from 25 yards north of the track
1900 - 1919 - The New Carlton Hotel, Leslie and Co., proprietors, 155 Yonge Street at Richmond St. E., s.e. corner
1900 – 1919 – The New Carlton Hotel, Leslie and Co., proprietors, 155 Yonge Street at Richmond St. E., s.e. corner
1900 - Board of Trade building north-east corner of Yonge Street and Front Street
1900 – Board of Trade building north-east corner of Yonge Street and Front Street
1900 - Lollar Building, Queen City Oil Co. north-west corner of Yonge Street and King Street
1900 – Lollar Building, Queen City Oil Co. north-west corner of Yonge Street and King Street
1901 - Boer War, C Company return, King Street east from Yonge Street
1901 – Boer War, C Company return, King Street east from Yonge Street
1901 - Yonge Street opposite Belmont Street
1901 – Yonge Street opposite Belmont Street
1903 - Preparing foundations for new J.J. Foy building, Front Street
1903 – Preparing foundations for new J.J. Foy building, Front Street
1903 - Yonge Street looking south
1903 – Yonge Street looking south
1904 - Yonge Street crossing
1904 – Yonge Street crossing
1904 - Yonge Street crossing looking south
1904 – Yonge Street crossing looking south
1904 - Yonge Street looking east first lane south of Front Street
1904 – Yonge Street looking east first lane south of Front Street
1904 - Yonge Street looking west first lane south of Front Street
1904 – Yonge Street looking west first lane south of Front Street
1904 - Yonge Street wharf
1904 – Yonge Street wharf
1906 - Lavatory Cottingham Street and Yonge Street
1906 – Lavatory Cottingham Street and Yonge Street
1907 - Flagpole painter with view looking west on Front Street from Yonge Street
1907 – Flagpole painter with view looking west on Front Street from Yonge Street
1907 - Muddy Yonge Street, looking south to Hillsdale Avenue
1907 – Muddy Yonge Street, looking south to Hillsdale Avenue
1907 - Road repairs on north Yonge Street at Eglinton Avenue
1907 – Road repairs on north Yonge Street at Eglinton Avenue
1910 - Car on muddy Yonge Street north
1910 – Car on muddy Yonge Street north
1910 - Waterfront at foot of Yonge Street
1910 – Waterfront at foot of Yonge Street
1911 - Man hoeing muddy road smooth, Yonge Street at Davisville Avenue
1911 – Man hoeing muddy road smooth, Yonge Street at Davisville Avenue
1911 - Oct 18 Yonge Street north from King 130PM
1911 – Oct 18 Yonge Street north from King 130PM
1911 - St. Clair Widening, Yonge Street
1911 – St. Clair Widening, Yonge Street
1912 - 301 Yonge Street condition of building
1912 – 301 Yonge Street condition of building
1912 - Bloor Street, Yonge to Avenue Road - track
1912 – Bloor Street, Yonge to Avenue Road – track
1912 - Ferry docks at foot of Yonge Street
1912 – Ferry docks at foot of Yonge Street
1913 - 7 Rosedale Lane (south side, first house off Yonge Street)
1913 – 7 Rosedale Lane (south side, first house off Yonge Street)
1913 - King St., looking east, from west of Yonge Street
1913 – King St., looking east, from west of Yonge Street
1914 - Wagon on St. Clair Avenue West, looking east to Yonge Street
1914 – Wagon on St. Clair Avenue West, looking east to Yonge Street
1917 -Yonge Street grading north from Woodlawn Avenue
1917 -Yonge Street grading north from Woodlawn Avenue
1919 - view of Toronto from south of Yonge Street
1919 – view of Toronto from south of Yonge Street
1919 - Yonge Street Beaver Recreation Club
1919 – Yonge Street Beaver Recreation Club
1919 - Yonge Street north from Front Street
1919 – Yonge Street north from Front Street
1920 - April 1 - Re Yonge Street Subway
1920 – April 1 – Re Yonge Street Subway
1920 - Bay Street or Yonge crossing
1920 – Bay Street or Yonge crossing
1920 - Green Bush Inn, Yonge Street, Steele's Corners, North York Twp
1920 – Green Bush Inn, Yonge Street, Steele’s Corners, North York Twp
1920 - Re Yonge Street Subway
1920 – Yonge Street from Alcorn Ave
1920 - Re Yonge Street Subway copy
1920 – Re Yonge Street Subway
1920 - Re Yonge Street Subway Northwest corner Yonge and Birch
1920 – Yonge Street Northwest corner Yonge and Birch
1920 - Yonge Street and Alexander Street
1920 – Yonge Street and Alexander Street
1923 - Rear of 309 Yonge Street
1923 – Rear of 309 Yonge Street
1925 - Toronto from foot of Yonge Street
1925 – Toronto from foot of Yonge Street
1926 - Yonge Street slip looking north
1926 – Yonge Street slip looking north
1930 - Yonge Street and Adelaide Street at night
1930 – Yonge Street and Adelaide Street at night
1930 - Yonge Street and Dundas Street West
1930 – Yonge Street and Dundas Street West
1930 - Yonge Street and Queen Street
1930 – Yonge Street and Queen Street
1930 - Yonge Street and Shuter Street
1930 – Yonge Street and Shuter Street
1930 - Yonge Street near Shuter Street
1930 – Yonge Street near Shuter Street
1930 - Yonge Street near Shuter Street copy
1930 – Yonge Street near Shuter Street copy
1930 - Yonge Street near Trinity Square
1930 – Yonge Street near Trinity Square
1930 - Yonge Street near Wilton Square
1930 – Yonge Street near Wilton Square
1930 - Yonge Street near Wilton Square copy
1930 – Yonge Street near Wilton Square copy
1939 - Yonge Street near Adelaide Street
1939 – Yonge Street near Adelaide Street
1940 - Street lamp, Yonge Street, steel pole
1940 – Street lamp, Yonge Street, steel pole
1940 - Yonge Street near Glenview Avenue and Glen Grove Avenue West
1940 – Yonge Street near Glenview Avenue and Glen Grove Avenue West
1950 - King Street East and Yonge Street
1950 – King Street East and Yonge Street
1950 - King Street East nearYonge Street
1950 – King Street East nearYonge Street

 

Visit the Toronto archives for more vintage photographs from around Toronto.

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 799 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography