Yonge Street has been changing and evolving for years, and we’d like to think we’re next in line to make a statement on this iconic street. Everything from the construction of the Yonge subway line, the development at Yonge and Eglinton, Aura rising to be the tallest residential building in Canada, and of course the creation of Yonge-Dundas Square, have all played a part in making our street a popular place to be.
As much of a staple that Yonge-Dundas Square is in this city, you’d be surprised to know that it hasn’t been around for that long. The square only officially opened in 2003, making it just 12 years old. So, what was there before? A number of private businesses were expropriated by the Toronto City Council to make way for the new public space, which would require the buildings on the site to be demolished.
As you can imagine, before the demolition things looked pretty different down at Yonge and Dundas. We dug deep into the City of Toronto Archives to give you an idea.
Dundas Station under construction in 1953.
The old “Dundas Square” and Hard Rock Cafe in the late 1970s.
The Hard Rock Cafe in the late 1970s.
Now, Yonge-Dundas Square sees over 50 million people pass through it every single year and is host to some of our city’s biggest events like Pride Week, NXNE, and Luminato. Next time you’re in the square, remember these photos and try to picture what it looked like before!
All photos via City of Toronto Archives