Your Cabbagetowner for many years has known what a treasure-trove of historic photos are preserved through the City of Toronto Archives.
And now, you can peruse photos block-by-block around the city, from 1850 to today, using an online tool called Old Toronto: Mapping Historic Photos.
We found the above photo from 1934 of the northwest corner of Parliament and Gerrard streets. And there are hundreds more from Cabbagetown, and thousands upon thousands over the rest of the city.
Old Toronto is an open-source map tool “that provides block-by-block browsing of historic Toronto photographs,” according its creator, Sidewalk Labs, a start-up owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet. This is the company that won a competition in October 2017 to partner with Waterfront Toronto to develop the Quayside neighbourhood. The plan, according to a recent Global News Report, will map this development “from the Internet up with features including roads designed for driverless cars, environmentally friendly design and innovative infrastructure.”
But never mind the future: this is a journey back to the past. The tool maps more than 30,000 historic city photographs from the Toronto Archives, which holds more than 1.7 million photographs dating back to 1856.
“Our goal is to help Torontonians discover something new about their street or city,” the Sidewalk Labs site states. “We think Old Toronto provides a powerful way to visualize the changes that have taken place on a given city block over time.”
Get a look at this photo of a pharmacy at the corner of Gerrard and Parliament from 1947 – complete with huge cigarette advertisements on the side.
We’ll share more Cabbagetown gems in future but, in the meantime, follow this link to Old Toronto yourself to explore favourite streets around the city.