A Visual History of Bloor Street

Thursday Mar 05th, 2015


It's time Bloor got it's recognition, other than the Yonge & Bloor intersection.

Although much attention has been given to the intersection of Yonge and Bloor, the rest of the street hasn't received its well-deserved time in the spotlight. That's a bit of an oversight when you consider just how important an artery it is for this city. 

Bloor gets somewhat overlooked when talking about Toronto's grand streets because north/south corridors like Yonge and Spadina played a more important role in the early development of the city. When Lieutenant-Govenor John Graves Simcoe created Toronto's Park Lots in the 1790s, Bloor was the northern terminus of the long narrow estates that would eventually determine the general shape of the downtown streetscape. 

Looking at photos of Bloor in the early 20th century, one realizes that the street didn't become the busy thoroughfare we know today until around the 1920s - and even then, the density was limited to the central stretch between Sherbourne and Bathurst.

Further to the west near High Park, the area around Bloor was downright bucolic. But you'd have to pass the industrial hub around Lansdowne on your way to the tranquil looking Mineral Baths, which are sadly long gone. On the other side of the city, the street actually terminated at Sherbourne prior to the construction of the Bloor Viaduct, at which time a section of the Rosedale ravine was filled in, taking the street southeast to Parliament and then across the two valleys to the Danforth. 

Along with the completion of the viaduct, the other watershed moment in the street's history was surely the arrival of the subway in 1966 (subsequently to be extended further east and west in 1968 and 1980). Although Bloor was already an important street at the time, the presence of the subway still brought about profound intensification. Take a look at the Ellis Wiley photo looking west at Bay in 1970. The scene is almost unrecognizable. 

Other parts of the street retain a more obvious link with the past, like the dominance of Honest Ed's at Bloor and Bathurst (though the current sign dates back to the 1970s) or the newly restored Bloor Cinema. Bloor may not reveal much connection with the past along the unfortunately named Mink Mile, but further to the east and west, there's lots of the old character of the street still on display.


Gooderham Residence (pre-fence) at St. George and Bloor, 1892

Bloor and Sherbourne, 1907

Building up Bloor East towards Sherbourne, 1908

Avenue and Bloor, 1908

Meteorological office at Bloor & Devonshire, 1908

Bloor between Yonge and Avenue Road, 1912

Across from High Park, 1914

Looking west on Bloor to Keele, 1915

Filling in Bloor East to connect with the Viaduct, 1915

Looking east from Keele along Bloor, 1915

Bloor Viaduct construction, 1916

Bloor Viaduct construction, 1917

High Park Mineral Baths, 1917

Madison Theatre (later built as the Bloor Cinema)

Old house on Bloor between Yonge and Bay streets, 1920

Bloor Viaduct, 1920

UTS, Bloor and Huron, 1922

Looking west along Bloor at Lansdowne, 1923

Northwest corner of Bathurst and Bloor, 1922

Dundas West and Bloor, 1923

Parliament and Bloor looking east, 1923

Lansdowne and Bloor, 1923

Bloor looking west to Dundas, 1925

Southeast corner of Yonge and Bloor, 1926

Balmuto and Bloor, 1927

Looking east on Bloor at Yonge, 1929

Bay and Bloor, 1929

Looking west at the Humber Bridge, 1930s

Varsity Stadium, 1930

Looking west on Bloor towards Sherbourne, 1931

Bloor subway near Lansdowne looking west, 1931

Gates at Avenue and Bloor, 1932

Yonge and Bloor, 1938

Bedford and Bloor, 1947

Looking west towards Yonge and Bloor intersection, 1950s

Subway entrance at Yonge and Bloor, 1960

Bloor just west of Bathurst, 1960

Streetcars on Bloor, early 1960s

Looking east across Holt Renfrew and the so-called Mink Mile, 1960s

Honest Ed's previous sign, 1960s

Bloor Viaduct, Rosedale section, 1965

Bay and Bloor, 1970

Bay and Bloor, 1970

Tandem streetcar, 1970s

Royal Bank at Yonge and Bloor, 1970s

CIBC and the Pilot Tavern at Yonge and Bloor, 1960s

University Theatre on Bloor, now a Pottery Barn, 1980s

Post a comment