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then & now: toronto’s university avenue

September 19

Toronto, like most large cities, is an evolving, growing place whose character has matured and changed over the years, sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse. Back about 50 or so years ago, my late uncle captured a number of photos of neighbourhood and street scenes around Toronto. I recently went back to the very spots he took some photos of University Avenue. This unusually broad and grand thoroughfare (by Canadian standards), was formed back in the 1800s by combining two streets which ran parallel one another: College Avenue and Park Lane, later called University Street.

Toronto went through a period of ‘urban renewal’ in the years after my uncle took his photos, evident in my photographs. A positive change in this time is that the boulevard was planted, creating an urban garden park straight down the centre of this expansive roadway (likely after the University subway line opened in 1963).

University Avenue looking south from Queen Street at the Sir Adam Beck memorial.

University Avenue looking north from Queen Street at the South African War Memorial.

University Avenue near Armoury Street looking north, with The Armouries (1894 – 1963) visible to the upper right, and Queen’s Park (Ontario’s provincial parliament building) in the distance.

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