Vintage photographs of Toronto at night have a cinematic quality that’s both eerie and beautiful all at once. While the collection of nighttime photos that pre-date the 1960s isn’t so robust, the ones that we do have to marvel at reveal a city that’s both mysterious and alluring.
The old streetlights and neon signs might have been less efficient, but boy did they ever look majestic cutting through the blackness. Let’s not forget the tungsten-lit movie theatre marquees and widening beams of streetcar headlights in the fog.
Behold, the sublime beauty of Toronto at night.
The Auditorium Theatre Toronto (382 Queen Street West) in 1910.
The Comique Theatre (Yonge south of Dundas) in 1910.
Toronto celebrates Hydro Electricity at Old City Hall in 1911.
Wow. Old City Hall in 1919.
376 Dupont in 1923.
CNE Ferris wheels in 1924.
Sunnyside at night in 1925.
Hanlan’s Point concession stand in 1928.
Whitney Block at night in 1929.
St. Clair approaching Christie in 1933.
Davenport TTC garage in 1934.
The Toronto Coach Terminal in 1935.
Midtown Theatre (now the Bloor Cinema) in 1941.
Snow blower in 1943.
University Avenue gets streetlights in 1943.
CNE midway at night in 1952.
Club One Two in 1952.
Yikes. Check out the apron. Barbecuing in 1957.
CNE arch in the late 1950s.
So Young, So Bad at the Midtown (now the Bloor) in the late 1950s — image via Silent Toronto.
Glenhome and St. Clair in 1958.
The O’Keefe Centre opens in 1960.
Eglinton and Yonge from above in 1962.
Stunning. Opening week at New City Hall in 1965.
Postcard view of New City Hall in 1965.
Aeroquay One was considered one of the nicest airport terminals in the world when it opened in 1964. This view dates from shortly thereafter.
The towering Odeon Theatre sign on Carlton near Yonge. Photo by Robert D. McMann via John Bromley’s Archives.
This anonymous intersection is actually Bloor and Dundas back in the 1960s.
The Sutton Place Hotel was the lap of luxury when it opened in 1967.
A streetcar entering the Queensway from Queen/King/Roncesvalles. Love that CIBC sign. Photo by John Bromley.
The Regency Towers Hotel on Avenue Rd. (now a crappy Howard Johnson).
The Glendale Theatre on Avenue Rd. north of Lawrence in 1968.
Looking north from Dundas to Gould St. On the right is the Biltmore Theatre in the 1970s.
The Rio and Sam the Chinese Food Man on a much seedier Yonge St. strip.
A&A Records and Peter Dunn’s Vinyl Museum in 1982 (the year Dire Straits released “Love over Gold.”
The Wintergarden Theatre and Diana Sweets further south on Yonge St.
Elm St. just west of Yonge. You can bet the interior of Barberian’s Steakhouse (left side) looked pretty much the same back then.
A lost Toronto tradition. Chess games outside Sam the Record Man on Gould St.
The marquee at the Royal Alex Theatre in the 1980s.
A perfectly moody looking Dundas West between Beverley and Spadina in the early 1980s.