Toronto is around 230 years young and it’s hard to imagine how much the city has transformed in that time. Well, The City has released the earliest known photographs of Toronto, revealing just how different our downtown looked back in the day.
There is an interesting backstory to the earliest known photographs of Toronto.
Back in 1840, Toronto along with Montreal, Kingston, Quebec City, and Ottawa, submitted a proposal to the Colonial Office to state why they should be chosen as Canada’s capital city.
In its report, Toronto included a series of images “championing the advantages of its streets, buildings and its physical situation on Lake Ontario,” says the City.
The photos provide a “fascinating glimpse into our past, clearly showing the street grid that still exists, but also showing how much has changed.”
Here are the fascinating photos below, as well as where and when they were taken.
This photograph shows the parliament buildings on Front Street West. It was taken in 1856 or 1867.
This photo is of King Street East on the south side, looking west, taken in 1856 or 1857.
This photo is of Trinity College on the north side of Queen Street West, taken in 1856 or 1857.
This photo is of the Second United Presbyterian Church under construction, taken in 1856 or 1857.
There you have it — the earliest known photographs of Toronto.
Despite how different our city looked back then, we can spot a few small similarities that still exist today.