A Visual History of Bloor Street
Thursday Mar 05th, 2015Share
A VISUAL HISTORY OF BLOOR STREET
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