Historical Maps of Toronto

A selection of significant historical maps of Toronto. These maps connect us to our past and give us a glimpse of what our city used to be like. Check out the collection at oldtorontomaps.blogspot.com!
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1892 Map of Toronto & Suburbs Shewing the Location of the Toronto Belt Line Railway “The Toronto Belt Line was supposed to be Toronto's first commuter railway. A real estate boom in the 1880s encouraged businessmen to form the Belt Land Corporation to speculate on opening up undeveloped land in northern Toronto. The Belt Line would link the suburbs to downtown Toronto with a railway that would encircle the city.

1892 Map of Toronto & Suburbs Shewing the Location of the Toronto Belt Line Railway

1893 Fisk and Co. Map of Toronto  These Atlas maps represent in a certain sense an ‘outsider’s’ view of Toronto. They are straightforward and unadorned with the loving details of maps intended for local usage.  The utilitarian street map of Toronto shown below notably indicates steam-driven railway lines and horse-drawn transit (streetcar) routes. Also of interest are the very clearly labelled wharves along the waterfront.

1893 Street map of Toronto showing steam-driven railway lines and horse drawn transit routes

1859 University of Toronto Campus / Queen’s Park. University College was opened in 1859 and some of the curving drives were added in that year. Taddle Creek, prominently shown in the middle, was polluted with sewage from Yorkville by the 1870s and remained a bone of contention between city and university until it was covered over in the 1880s...

1859 University of Toronto Campus / Queen’s Park [Plan of the University Park]

1886 Wesbroom: City of Toronto [Bird’s Eye View]. This bird’s eye view [...] shows more clearly than either maps or streetscape photographs the congestion of the downtown core and the unrelenting zeal with which the grid pattern of streets—first laid out for Simcoe in 1793—had been stretched across the landscape on either side of the arrow-straight line of Yonge.

Antique City of Toronto Map. Toronto Litho Co.

1833 Bonnycastle No.1 Plan of the Town and Harbour of York Upper Canada. This reconnaissance plan is rich in information about the surroundings of the town and the peninsula. By 1833 Fort York was in such disrepair that new fortifications to the west were planned as shown here.   Several plans made in the 1830s, including this one, were oriented to the south, probably under the influence of military map-makers whose attention was always focused on the harbour and its defense...

1833 Bonnycastle: Plan of the Town and Harbour of York Upper Canada

1872 Wadsworth & Unwin Map of the City of Toronto - Tax Exemptions ‘The coloured additions to this map show the land exempt from taxation in Toronto in 1878. The table in the upper right corner [of the 3rd panel] indicates the total assessed value of exempt property - one-seventh of the value of all city property. Below this is the legend which indicates categories of exempt land. Note the high proportion of church property...

1872 Wadsworth & Unwin Map of the City of Toronto - Tax Exemptions

1834 Alpheus Todd Engraved Plan of the City of Toronto. Alpheus Todd was an English-born Canadian librarian and constitutional historian.  When he was still a young boy, his family emigrated to York, Upper Canada in 1833. The following year, York was incorporated as the city of Toronto. Todd -- at the precocious age of 13 -- produced the following Engraved Plan of the City of Toronto, by walking through the streets and converting his paces to a scale.

1834 Alpheus Todd Engraved Plan of the City of Toronto

1892 Toronto Railway Company's Map Showing Street Railway Lines “This bird’s-eye view illustrates streetcar service provided by the Toronto Railway Company shortly after it took over operations in 1891. In spite of continued city growth, the company refused to extend its single-fares, build new lines or buy additional cars to service the area beyond the city limits of 1891. This inflexibility eventually led to the establishment of the publicly-owned Toronto Transportation Commission in…

1892 - Toronto Railway Company’s Map Showing Street Railway Lines

1857 Fleming Ridout & Schreiber Plan of the City of Toronto. This map shows the boundaries of the city, all streets, ward boundaries, parks and some notable buildings. Printed at the edges of the map is information concerning fire alarms and cab districts and fares.  Both Sandford Fleming and Collingwood Schreiber were railway engineers as well as surveyors, so it is no surprise their map is the benchmark for recording the railway building in the 1850s.

1857 Fleming Ridout & Schreiber: Plan of the City of Toronto

1882 City Engineer's Office: Plan of the city of Toronto, shewing proposed system of parks and boulevards to accompany Mayor McMurrich's report to council What I find remarkable about this map is the presence and formative power of Toronto’s rivers.  In less than a decade, Garrison Creek and Taddle Creek would begin to be covered, while the straightening of the Don River would turn out to be a massive engineering undertaking that cost twice as much as originally estimated.

1882 City Engineer's Office: Plan of the city of Toronto, shewing proposed system of parks and boulevards to accompany Mayor McMurrich's report to council

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