Old Photographs of Christmas Displays in Toronto (Gallery)

In Iceland, they celebrate Christmas jolabokaflod style, which translates to book flood, where people gift books and then read them while snuggled up together drinking hot chocolate.

This year we have every reason to enjoy the holidays anyway we please. The season doesn’t have to include a hectic rush of last-minute shopping in a crowded mall or obligatory attendance to never-ending gatherings.

1908 - Christmas display at Old St. Charles Hotel Yonge Street
1908 – Christmas display at Old St. Charles Hotel Yonge Street

We have license to skip the office party, avoid the in-laws, camp out on the couch in our pjs, and binge-watch all the terrible holiday movies.

To get some fresh air, many seasonal activities have always taken place outside, making a socially distanced festive season even easier.

The upsides of the commercialization of December 25th are all the traditions provided, from looking at catalogues (RIP Wish Book!) to gathering outside freshly decorated department store windows.

1909-1929-Canadian General Electric Company Limited, night-time Christmas window display
1909-1929-Canadian General Electric Company Limited, night-time Christmas window display

It’s sad that many stores are no longer with us, but still, a nostalgic trip back in time in the Toronto Archives seeing the displays from Christmas past invoke joy.

An investment in pubic buildings is important to pick up the slack when retail drops the ball. If anything ever happens to the Bay and their windows go dark, places like Casa Loma remain decked out for the season.

1921-The Merchants Bank of Canada Christmas Club
1921-The Merchants Bank of Canada Christmas Club
1930-Christmas display of gas ranges with Father Christmas surrounded by cooking utensils
1930-Christmas display of gas ranges with Father Christmas surrounded by cooking utensils
1935-Christmas window display 55 Adelaide Street East various gas appliances Gas refrigeratorthe gift of gifts
1935-Christmas window display 55 Adelaide Street East various gas appliances Gas refrigeratorthe gift of gifts

Creator: Harvey R. Naylor
Date: December 26, 1958
Archival Citation: Fonds 1526, File 101, Item 19
Credit: City of Toronto Archives
www.toronto.ca/archives
Copyright was transferred to the City of Toronto by the copyright owner.
1962-Yonge Street Christmas December
1962-Yonge Street Christmas December
1962-Yonge Street Christmas
1962-Yonge Street Christmas
1963-Casa Loma at night Christmas
1963-Casa Loma at night Christmas
1963-Simpsons display windowChristmas
1963-Simpsons display windowChristmas
1977-View of Eatons Christmas sign just prior to demolition
1977-View of Eatons Christmas sign just prior to demolition
1981-View of Christmas decorated entrance to Simpsons Queen Street West side
1981-View of Christmas decorated entrance to Simpsons Queen Street West side
1981-View of Christmas window display in Simpsons Queen Street window
1981-View of Christmas window display in Simpsons Queen Street window
1983-1985-Honest Eds on Markham St
1983-1985-Honest Eds on Markham St
1983-1985-South side of Bloor west of Queens Park
1983-1985-South side of Bloor west of Queens Park
1983-December 24-Interior view of Christmas display in Simpsons looking out onto street
1983-December 24-Interior view of Christmas display in Simpsons looking out onto street