As Toronto continues to steam up, we thought it would be good time to take a refresher and see how city citizens spent the lazy, hazy days of summer in days of yore. Though Hog Town residents are a lot less likely to take a dip in Lake Ontario than we were back then, some things, like the popularity of playing the midway at the Ex, never change. Here’s our roundup of our favourite summer pictures of Toronto.
If you thought Trinity Bellwoods Park was crazy-busy on warm weekends, Sunnyside Park was the place to be in 1925.
The Humber River was fair game for swimming too. The water levels look higher than they are today in this photo of the Bloor Street Bridge from the mid-1920s.
Turn of the 20th century Torontonians often enjoyed water sports on the Toronto Islands, such as rowing out to Hanlan’s Point. Back then, it was equipped with a pretty impressive looking hotel (as seen in this postcard from the 1910) so you didn’t have to run for the last ferry into the city at night. Naturally, this was way before Hanlan’s was famous for having a “clothing optional” beach.
Etobicoke was also prime for canoeing. This shot was taken in 1911 and is believed to be the Etobicoke Creek.
Back in the day, Etobicoke was cottage country. Seriously, you could buy yourself a wooded lot along Lake Ontario in Long Branch, 64 miles away from the dust and heat of Yonge Street and, as the ad from 1887 points out, only “40 minutes sail by steamer.” The resort included amenities such as a “commodious modern summer hotel, picnic pavillion, rustic summer arbours” and a whole lot more.
Though that didn’t stop famous residents, like Lady Flora Eaton, booting it up to Muskoka for the hotter months. Here she is with family, at Lake Rosseau, in 1929. We can only hope that weekend traffic to cottage country was better back then, even if the rickety cottage furniture wasn’t.
Nothing says summer (or the end of summer vacation) quite like a trip to the CNE, seen here in 1939.
Though these unfortunate children, pictured in July 1922, didn’t seem to have a summer vacation at all. They did get to attend the admittedly awesome “Forest School” in High Park at least.
All photos are public domain, accessed through the Toronto Public Library’s digital archive.