Thursday, February 16, 2012

What Queen and Gladstone Looked Like in 1893

Wow. Well, here you go hipsters, this is what it looked liked right outside the Gladstone Hotel in 1893. The Gladstone (which isn't in this photo, just out of sight to the right) would have only been four years old when this was taken. But the awkward "Dufferin jog" was already in place -- created by the railroad running by over the bridge in this photo. The bridge only had an underpass built on Queen, not Dufferin, meaning traffic traveling up and down Dufferin had to take a detour up Gladstone Avenue instead. It would take more than 100 years for a second underpass to be built; it just opened back in 2010.

Maybe even more interesting than that, though, is that in 1893 Toronto was in the middle of switching for horse-drawn streetcars to an electric system. According to the Wikipedia, the very first electric streetcar had started running just the year before; the final horse-drawn streetcar would be retired the year after. This photo captures that brief transition. The guy in the foreground is laying down Queen Street's first streetcar tracks, with the soon-to-be-obsolete horse-drawn transportation behind him.

I came across this photo in a TTC gallery put together by the Toronto Star, which you can check out here. I'll probably post another couple of photos from it over the next few weeks.


  1. I don't think that's a streetcar; the wheels aren't riding on rails. I'm pretty sure that's an omnibus.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. I've updated the post.

  2. is true for the wheels would be an omnibus, however, apart from the wheels its shape is similar to that of a streetcar of the time