Historic College Street In Toronto

College Street / Little Italy

We're big fans of BlogTO, the online purveyor of all that's happening here and now in Toronto. Plus they do some pretty great historical pieces on the city, including showcasing how different streets have evolved over time using photographs from various archives.


Here's one on College Street that we love. Named after King's College (now the University of Toronto), the street shouldn't be confused with College Avenue, the initial name given to what we now call University (presumably someone realized just how confusing that could become).


Photo courtesy of City of Toronto Archives and the University of Toronto


As is the case with Dundas below it, College doesn't exactly follow a straight line as it passes between Yonge Street and Lansdowne Avenue. Not only did a few landowners force rerouting around their properties, but as the street pushes west of Grace it crosses the area formerly occupied by the Garrison Ravine, which leads to some sweeping turns and dips in the road that are still obvious today.

Also noteworthy is the intersection of Yonge and College, which prior to the 1930s served as the street's eastern terminus. It still does by name, of course, but around the same time that Maple Leaf Gardens was being built, engineers realigned Carlton Street so that traffic could pass easily from one side of Yonge Street to the other. This, no doubt, pleased Timothy Eaton, whose flagship retail store (now College Park) occupied a prominent place on the southwest corner.


Photo courtesy of City of Toronto Archives and the University of Toronto


It's definitely a premier street for those subscribing to a hip urbane life. Could you see yourself living here in your very own loft? Check out our newest unique urban space – An Ethereal Vintage Movie House Loft In Little Italy – currently offered for sale for $729,000.

Be sure to check out the history of other thoroughfares – like Dundas Street. It's really quite amazing to discover how the downtown core has been shaped over the years, and why.

If you're curious about the pocket of Toronto that you live in, read our blog on the History of Toronto's Neighbourhoods. And if you want to learn more about your neighbourhood as it stands today, pop over to our Neighborhoods Pages which includes flavour videos, the city census data, plus several past blogs on area amenities!


~ Steven and the urbaneer team


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