Toronto the flat, condo-full Toronto!
June 2, 2008 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Please help identify buildings in two photographs depicting the area around Toronto's CN Tower, in 1976 and 2008.

I've posted two photos of Toronto, both taken near the CN Tower, one from the mid-1970s, and one from this year. I would like help identifying the buildings in the photos. The photos are taken from slightly different vantage points, sorry about that!
Any help ID'ing the buildings - and specifically any buildings that are seen in both photos- would be much appreciated.

posted by pseudostrabismus to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
to answer one of the questions on the flickr page: yes, that short pointy building in the old photo is the royal york hotel.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 11:34 AM on June 2, 2008

also, maybe the smokestack to the right of the frame is the chimney of the power plant at harbourfront centre? it looks kind of the wrong shape, but who knows.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 11:45 AM on June 2, 2008

Have you disabled the ability to leave notes on the photos? Would be easier to point out buildings if you enabled it.

But yes, sergeant sandwich has it, that's the Royal York in front. Behind it I believe is the Royal Bank Plaza south tower.

For some reason I want to say that the "bridge" thing in front is Spadina St.
posted by impactorange at 12:39 PM on June 2, 2008

In the old photo, the office tower to the immediate left of the smokestack is One Yonge Street. It's not visible in the new photo.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 1:37 PM on June 2, 2008

The 1976 picture looks really weird to me, almost as though it were a composite—it's the tracks on the right that make the whole thing look weird. That said, the building behind the smokestacks on the right is the Toronto Star building at One Yonge Street. If you look really carefully you can just make out the words "Toronto Star" on the top-right of the tower.

The vantage points of the two photos are quite different, actually; at the bottom of the current-era photo, you can clearly see the edge of Fort York Blvd. where it meets Bathurst (the building with the billboard coming out of it and the angled roof sections is the headquarters of the Amsterdam Brewing Company). The train yard depicted in the 1976-era photo is off to the left of Fort York and Bathurst. Add in the fact that there are now a lot of condos and office towers where previously there were none (can't even see the Royal York in the current-era photo), and I'm thinking it might be tough to find more than a few buildings that are in both photos.

One key to unlocking the mystery would be if you could get a hold of railyard maps for Union Station and surrounding area from around 1976. I have the feeling the smokestacks in the 1976 picture are the same ones as shown in this 1927 view of John Street.
posted by chrominance at 1:57 PM on June 2, 2008

More pictures of the railyard. It does look like that long bridge is Spadina.
posted by chrominance at 2:02 PM on June 2, 2008

Response by poster: Notes are now enabled on the flickr page - thanks for pointing that out, impactorange.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:04 PM on June 2, 2008

By examining this airphoto from 1955, I think the 1976 photo was taken almost underneath the Bathurst st bridge looking east. The short building in the middle of the 1976 photo looks a lot like the one next to the Spadina bridge in the airphoto. That building no longer exists.
posted by maxpower at 2:55 PM on June 2, 2008

I don't think that's the Royal York Hotel - it's in the wrong place. I think that's the Canada Life Insurance building on University Ave.
Also, I believe the tall silver building behind it is the First Canadian Place/Bank of Montreal building - I think this photo must predate the TD Bank buildings, which are shorter and darker (incidentally, you could look on my website for a close-up photo of the sublime TD towers).
posted by Flashman at 3:32 PM on June 2, 2008

It is the Royal York, the clincher is the green copper roof. The Royal York has one, the Canada Life Building does not.
posted by Chuckles at 6:17 PM on June 2, 2008

Good heavens. I was indeed mistaken. In which case that may be, if the angle of the sunlight is setting the dark glass ablaze, one of the TD towers. I'll just shut up now.
posted by Flashman at 1:38 PM on June 3, 2008

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