Toronto’s Sunnyside Beach on a hot summer’s day during former decades


This Sunnyside photo was taken on a July morning in 2011. The beach was quiet and there were few strollers on the boardwalk. It is obvious that the sandy stretch of beach does not have the same appeal as it did in former years, as most people now own automobiles and depart from the city on weekends and holidays. However, after Sunnyside officially opened in 1922, until the amusement rides and food stands were demolished in 1955-56, it was the most eagerly sought summer retreat in the city.

The following pictures from the City of Toronto Archives may bring back a few memories for those who remember Sunnyside, and for others, provide a glimpse into the past.  Today, it is difficult to imagine the appeal of Sunnyside and the crowds that once gathered beside the lake each summer to escape the hot humid streets of Toronto.  

f1548_s0393_it0011[1]  1920s 

Crowds at Sunnyside Beach during the 1920s. In the distance, out in the water, the break wall is visible.f1548_s0393_it17475a[1]  1922

People enjoying the beach in 1922, the year that Sunnyside opened. The attire of the people seems quite quaint, in the modern era. The man on the far left-hand side of the photo, sitting in a deck chair with a canvas shade over it, has set up a telescope. He appears to be eating an ice cream cone. The child beside the woman on the left is gazing longingly at the water.

f1548_s0393_it18138[1]  1923

Sunnyside Beach in 1923. The deck chairs are rentals from a concession located near the beach. In the background (right-hand side) is the Bathing Pavilion, which has survived into the modern era. To the left of the bathing Pavilion are the rollercoaster and the domed-roof of the merry-go-round.The formal attire of the people seems so quaint compared to today, when bathers display more skin than cloth.

f1548_s0393_it18138c[1]  1923 

This charming photo, taken in 1923, is from a pavilion or tea room that was located close to the boardwalk. The wide beach is in the background, on the right-hand side, and to the left of it is a strip of grass where people are sitting. To the left of the grass is the famous 20-wide boardwalk. The rollercoaster can be seen on the far left, and the houses on King Street are visible above the slope that today is on the north side of the Gardiner Expressway.

s0071_it3272h[1] Bathing streetcars 1924

The TTC provided free streetcars that brought children to Sunnyside Beach. This photo of the children was taken on 14 July 1924. One of the free streetcars can be seen. I pity any TTC employee that was a conductor on one of these streetcars. The noise level must have been ear-splitting. In the background, on the right, the Bathing Pavilion can be seen. The lamp posts are on the south side of the boardwalk.

s0071_it3272a[1]  Bathing cars 1924

Children waiting for their return ride home on the free Sunnyside Bathing Cars, on 14 July 1924. They appear considerable more subdued than in the previous photo. Again, the bathing Pavilion can be seen in the background.

Sunnyside 1929

People going for a swim in 1929 at the Sunnyside Pool. This view faces east toward the downtown area. In this year, none of the city’s tall downtown buildings can be seen. In the right-hand corner of the picture, on the beach a gazebo is visible.

            f1231_it0653[1]  beach 1935

                                    Sunnyside Beach on 21 August 1935


                                                   Sunnyside Beach in the 1940s.

I am grateful to the City of Toronto Archives for the photos employed in this post.

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view other posts about Sunnyside beach in former years:

A pictorial journey to Toronto’s Sunnyside of old – 1900 to 1922

A pictorial journey to the Sunnyside of old – 1922-1956

In mid-winter, recalling the sunshine of Toronto’s Sunnyside Beach of old.

Memories of Toronto’s Sunnyside on a sweltering hot summer day

To view other posts about Toronto’s past and its historic buildings 

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

The 1920s Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

The 1822 Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

A glimpse at the 1829 Osgoode Hall and its surroundings

Toronto’s first City Hall of 1845, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

Trinity Bellwoods Park’s past

Toronto’s famous old ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

Toronto’s 1899 Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets



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