Vintage Advertising Photographs from the Toronto Archives

On my most recent trip through the Toronto Archives I found some fun vintage advertising images that show the products and the type of ads that were run to promote them. Ads in newspapers, on billboards, and on buildings helped sell sodas, appliances and even Victory Bonds for The Great War.

Here are some of my favourite images from the collections.

1900 - R. Lewis & Sons, inporters of Brirish and American hardware - 41 King Street, corner of Toronto Street, Toronto
1900 – R. Lewis & Sons, inporters of Brirish and American hardware – 41 King Street, corner of Toronto Street, Toronto
1910 - 1920 - Billboards on south side of College Street, east of Bathurst Street
1910 – 1920 – Billboards on south side of College Street, east of Bathurst Street
1910 - 1930? - Toronto Harbour Commission billboard advertising Port Lands sites
1910 – 1930? – Toronto Harbour Commission billboard advertising Port Lands sites
1910 - Bay Street and Adelaide Street West, northwest corner, looking northeast
1910 – Bay Street and Adelaide Street West, northwest corner, looking northeast
1915 - South side Bloor St. opposite Russett Ave - advertisement hoardings
1915 – South side Bloor St. opposite Russett Ave – advertisement hoardings
1915? - Recruiting billboard at South African War Monument, University Avenue
1915? – Recruiting billboard at South African War Monument, University Avenue
1916 - besides serving as letter drops; they also dispensed stamps and had miniature billboards on top. This photo; taken at Yonge and Richmond Sts. in 1916
1916 – besides serving as letter drops; they also dispensed stamps and had miniature billboards on top. This photo; taken at Yonge and Richmond Sts. in 1916
1916 - City Dairy milk bottle water tower, Spadina Crescent
1916 – City Dairy milk bottle water tower, Spadina Crescent
1918 - City Hall - view from Bay Street just south of Queen Street - showing Victory Bond advertising - Original Negative by D.P.W.
1918 – City Hall – view from Bay Street just south of Queen Street – showing Victory Bond advertising – Original Negative by D.P.W.
1918 - Poster advertising Victory Bonds
1918 – Poster advertising Victory Bonds
1918 - Poster advertising victory loan drive
1918 – Poster advertising victory loan drive
1920 - Toronto Star radio-controlled boat
1920 – Toronto Star radio-controlled boat
1922 - North Toronto Book-Store
1922 – North Toronto Book-Store
1923 - Billboard advertising Ideal Bread showing artists conception of the first gas-fired traveling oven in Canada
1923 – Billboard advertising Ideal Bread showing artists conception of the first gas-fired traveling oven in Canada
1924 - Copy of Dunlop Tire Ad
1924 – Copy of Dunlop Tire Ad
vintage advertising toronto - 1926 - Commercial building with Dominion Express Advertisement on wall
1926 – Commercial building with Dominion Express Advertisement on wall
1926 - E.L. Ruddy outdoor sign advertising Radiant Gas Fire
1926 – E.L. Ruddy outdoor sign advertising Radiant Gas Fire
1926 - Ruud Autohot gas water heater and tank displayed on a truck
1926 – Ruud Autohot gas water heater and tank displayed on a truck
1926 - Truck mounted with commercial gas refrigerator and promotion signs
1926 – Truck mounted with commercial gas refrigerator and promotion signs
1927 - Home Economist and mobile display of gas appliances
1927 – Home Economist and mobile display of gas appliances
1939 - Anna Neagle and Herbert Wilcox, by sign advertising their movies
1939 – Anna Neagle and Herbert Wilcox, by sign advertising their movies
1945? - Election billboard for Progressive Conservative candidates George Drew and Dana Porter
1945? – Election billboard for Progressive Conservative candidates George Drew and Dana Porter
1948 - Election billboard for Liberal candidates Lionel Conacher and John A. MacVicar
1948 – Election billboard for Liberal candidates Lionel Conacher and John A. MacVicar
1950 - Joy Frocks Ltd.
1950 – Joy Frocks Ltd.
1952 - Advertisement for Ruspan Original buffet, Bride's Book
1952 – Advertisement for Ruspan Original buffet, Bride’s Book
1953 - Poster advertising the Queen being crowned
1953 – Poster advertising the Queen being crowned
1953 - Subway car and advertising posters
1953 – Subway car and advertising posters
1954 - Sign advertising Canada's first subway
1954 – Sign advertising Canada’s first subway
1954 - T. Eaton Co. and Robert Simpson Co. Ltd. window displays
1954 – T. Eaton Co. and Robert Simpson Co. Ltd. window displays
1954 - T. Eaton Co. and Robert Simpson Co. Ltd. window displays copy
1954 – T. Eaton Co. and Robert Simpson Co. Ltd. window displays copy
1958 - York Calvary dinner at Eagle Hotel, Weston, poster advertisement
1958 – York Calvary dinner at Eagle Hotel, Weston, poster advertisement
1959 - Ruspan furniture advertisement, Toronto Telegram
1959 – Ruspan furniture advertisement, Toronto Telegram
1961 - Advertising signs at Bloor
1961 – Advertising signs at Bloor
1961 - Advertising signs on rear of buses
1961 – Advertising signs on rear of buses
1961 - Advertising signs on rear of buses 2
1961 – Advertising signs on rear of buses 2
1963 - For your convenience - TTC tokens sold here
1963 – For your convenience – TTC tokens sold here
1970 - The E. L. Ruddy company has donated space on 100 billboards in Toronto to publicize the work of the police department. The normal coast for using the signs runs to $13;000 a month.
1970 – The E. L. Ruddy company has donated space on 100 billboards in Toronto to publicize the work of the police department. The normal coast for using the signs runs to $13;000 a month.
1971 - Rising unemployment figures are posted on a Toronto billboard by workman Chris Hansen while Opposition leader Robert Stanfield - on nationwide tour to publicize unemployment problem
1971 – Rising unemployment figures are posted on a Toronto billboard by workman Chris Hansen while Opposition leader Robert Stanfield – on nationwide tour to publicize unemployment problem
1972 - Corner of Bay St. and Dundas St., looking south-west
1972 – Corner of Bay St. and Dundas St., looking south-west
1972 - Corner of Church St. and Granby St., looking north-west
1972 – Corner of Church St. and Granby St., looking north-west
1972 - Corner of John St. and Richmond St., looking north-west
1972 – Corner of John St. and Richmond St., looking north-west
1972 - Corner of McCaul St. and Orde St., looking south-east
1972 – Corner of McCaul St. and Orde St., looking south-east
1972 - Corner of Sherbourne St. and Dundas St., looking south-west
1972 – Corner of Sherbourne St. and Dundas St., looking south-west
1972 - Corner of Spadina Ave. and Bloor St., looking north-east
1972 – Corner of Spadina Ave. and Bloor St., looking north-east
1972 - Corner of Spadina Ave. and College St., looking north-east
1972 – Corner of Spadina Ave. and College St., looking north-east
1972 - Corner of Spadina Ave. and Phoebe St., looking south-east
1972 – Corner of Spadina Ave. and Phoebe St., looking south-east
1972 - billboard opposite Maple Leaf Gardens asks hockey fans to petition Clarence Campbell; president of the National Hockey League; to put superstar Bobby Hull on Team Canada
1972 – billboard opposite Maple Leaf Gardens asks hockey fans to petition Clarence Campbell; president of the National Hockey League; to put superstar Bobby Hull on Team Canada
1973 - billboards originally were teasers referring to ACTE; but with the launching of a campaign to organize white-collar workers the name of the union is spelled out. King and Church.
1973 – billboards originally were teasers referring to ACTE; but with the launching of a campaign to organize white-collar workers the name of the union is spelled out. King and Church.
1974 - put up by Esther Shiner's Go Spadina Committee to catch the eyes of the Italian-Canadian construction workers. Mrs. Shiner; a North York alderman; says the area has traffic jams all day
1974 – put up by Esther Shiner’s Go Spadina Committee to catch the eyes of the Italian-Canadian construction workers. Mrs. Shiner; a North York alderman; says the area has traffic jams all day
1981 - innovation in the advertising field being installed at York St. and Lake Shore Blvd. by Steve Clark and Andy Dolan
1981 – innovation in the advertising field being installed at York St. and Lake Shore Blvd. by Steve Clark and Andy Dolan
1982 - View of fog around billboard at Yonge and Lakeshore
1982 – View of fog around billboard at Yonge and Lakeshore
1982 - View of large Levi's advertisement
1982 – View of large Levi’s advertisement

If you are interested in purchasing any of the images, you can visit the Toronto Archives or the Toronto Public Library: Digital Archive.

 

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1421 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography