During the early years of the 20th century, there were no bridges over the railway tracks that crossed Yonge and Bay Streets. During the summer months, many pedestrians frequently crossed these roadways to reach the ferry docks on the waterfront to board a ferry to cross to the Toronto Islands. It was an ideal place for vendors to sell popcorn and peanuts as the people were often trapped for five or ten minutes while a lengthy freight train trundled along the level crossings. When bridges finally spanned these streets, people no longer were forced to wait for the trains to pass. The vendors dispersed throughout the downtown area, sometimes peddling their treats at downtown street-corners and along residential avenues.
The above picture of a popcorn man was taken in 1965 on the west side of Yonge Street, a short distance north of Queen Street. I do not remember when he disappeared from the streets, but I have not encountered him for many years. I suppose that with the opening of the Eaton Centre, where there are gourmet popcorn shops, his business was no longer profitable. I was very surprised to see a popcorn this year (2012) on the southwest corner of Yonge and Dundas, across from Dundas Square. The pictures below were taken on a mild evening in December. The sight of the vendor brought back fond memories of yesteryear.
To view other posts about Christmas in Toronto throughout the years.
Photos with the Eaton’s Santa in 1941 and 1943
A church Christmas pageant in Toronto in 2012
Downtown Toronto’s lights and Christmas displays – 2012
The Christmas windows at the Bay Store are magical at night
Christmas at the historic St. Lawrence Market in 1921 and in 2012
The Christmas windows at the Bay Store on Queen Street, 2012
The amazing gingerbread houses on the underground Pathway in Toronto
The gigantic metallic reindeer in the Eaton Centre
Christmas cards mailed in Toronto during the years 1924-1926
The Christmas buffet lunch at the Arcadian Court at the Simpson’s Queen Street Store in Toronto (the Bay)
Christmas at Mackenzie House on Bond Street.
Christmas at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market
The Christmas Market at the Distillery District
Memories of the Christmas windows of the Simpson’s store on Queen Street
Christmas at the Kensington Market
Memories of Toyland on the fifth floor of the old Eaton’s Store at Queen and Yonge Street
The Christmas lights on Yonge Street in the 1950s
The history of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade
The 1940s Christmas radio broadcasts featuring Santa Claus
Christmas at Toronto’s historic St. Andrew’s Market
Christmas trees and seasonal decorations in Toronto
Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas in old Newfoundland
A humorous account of a Christmas concert in old Newfoundland
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