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Sunday, July 28, 2013

What Parliament Street used to look like in Toronto

Parliament Street History TorontoA visual history of Parliament Street is a post that probably could have been compiled a long time ago given the stature and visual interest of the subject in question. Named after the provincial legislative buildings that once sat at the corner of Front Street, Parliament has its other legacies, from its history as an industrial hub to the role that it played in the construction of the Bloor Viaduct.

Parliament is one of the streets that has drag appeal. Like a few other streets I've written about, between Gerrard and Wellesely, Parliament has the character of a main street, serving a community which has been built around it. And this is, of course, the case for the most part. While the street originated as a trail that John Graves Simcoe would use to commute from the parliament buildings to Castle Frank, by the early 20th century it had developed a vibrant commercial scene to the north and a booming industrial presence to the south.

Along with the old Gooderham & Worts Distillery, which sprawled beyond the current confines of the "District" back in the day, evidence of former industrial activity can be spotted in the form of the Victory Soya Mills Silos, just to the south. Even in the aerial shot from the 1970s (or perhaps early 80s), it's possible to spot the degree to which the southern end of the street had a grittier character.

In general, Parliament was a fairly well to do thoroughfare until the post-war era, when it was surrounded by middle-sized single dwelling homes. With the arrival of large-scale housing developments, the street's character slowly changed to adapt to the residents who made up a more culturally and economically mixed group.

See Also:

A history of Toronto in photos


Parliament Street TorontoFormer Parliament buildings (Front & Parliament), 1856

Parliament Street Toronto660-664 Parliament, 1913

Parliament Street Toronto674 Parliament, 1913

Parliament Street TorontoPre-Bloor Viaduct, 1915

Parliament Street TorontoLooking south on Parliament from Howard, 1915

Parliament Street TorontoQueen & Parliament, 1917

Parliament Street TorontoBloor Viaduct near Parliament, 1917

Parliament Street TorontoParliament Street dump, 1926

Parliament Street TorontoParliament Street subway, 1927

Parliament Street TorontoOld CPR crossing, 1932

Parliament Street Toronto352 Parliament, 1937

Parliament Street TorontoLooking south from 243 Parliament, 1938

Parliament Street TorontoParliament near St. David, 1938

Parliament Street Toronto141 Parliament, 1940

Parliament Street Toronto287-307 Parliament, 1942

Parliament Street Toronto237 Parliament, 1943

Parliament Street TorontoJoy Oil Station at 317 Parliament, 1947

Parliament Street Toronto243 Parliament, 1947

Parliament Street Toronto325 Parliament, 1947

Parliament Street TorontoEclipse Theatre, 1949

Parliament Street Toronto375-379 Parliament, 1949

Parliament Street Toronto367-371 Parliament, 1949

Parliament Street Toronto307 Parliament, 1957

Parliament Street TorontoQueen & Parliament, 1959

Parliament Street Toronto151 Parliament, 1960s

Parliament Street TorontoParliament & Gerrard, 1962

Parliament Street TorontoAerial view of Distillery & Corktown, 1970s

Parliament Street TorontoFoot of Parliament, 1979

Parliament Street TorontoFormer Consumer Gas Building (now 51 Division), 1980s

Parliament Street TorontoKing & Parliament, 1994

Photos from the Toronto Archives

by Derek Flack via blogTO

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