Toronto’s architectural gems—the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen St. West

12 Oct


The northwest corner of Queen West and Yonge Street is slated to be redeveloped, a 65-story condominium tower to be built on the site. Fortunately, the facade of the historic structure that is now on the location is to be preserved. The building has already been partially destroyed by the demands of modern commercialism, and it is hoped the future development will respect the architectural integrity of the historic structure.

The Toronto Directories first list a building on this location in 1895. On the 1899 Goad’s Atlas maps in the City of Toronto Archives, its postal address is shown as #160 Yonge Street, where Mr. P. Jameson, a merchant operated a clothing store. The Eaton’s Store surrounded the site. On the map of 1910, the address is listed as #180 . The address today is 218 Yonge Street. In 1910, the “S. H. Knox and Company—Toys,” occupied the site. In 1913, F. W. Woolworth’s became the tenant. They remained on the premises until the 1960s.

The new condo to be erected on the site had chosen to use the postal address #2 Queen Street West.

Series 1278, File 100

The intersection of Yonge and Queen in 1935. The Woolworth’s Store is on the northwest (left-hand side) of the photo. Photo, City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 100.

                   Eaton's at Queen and Yonge

This undated photo from the City of Toronto Archives is likely from the 1960s. The Christmas lights can be seen on Yonge Street. The Eaton’s Store wraps around the Woolworth’s store. The floors above Woolworth’s are covered with metal siding, destroying the architectural beauty of the original structure. 

DSCN0683   DSCN0686

Rounded corner of the building on the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen West. The cornice has a row of dentils (teeth-like designs).


View of the intersection, gazing west along Queen Street West from Queen Street East (July, 2013).


Painting, acrylic on stretched canvas, gazing north on Yonge Street from south side of Queen Street, Xmas Eve, 1945.


                Site of the former Woolworth’s store during the summer of 2013.

To view the Home Page for this blog:

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  


                To place an order for this book: .

      Theatres Included in the Book

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)




One response to “Toronto’s architectural gems—the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen St. West

  1. Mark Longridge

    July 2, 2015 at 1:49 am

    If the Woolworth building was right across the street from the Bank of Montreal (173 Yonge) then the address of 180 Yonge would make a lot more sense (at least as a reference point). How could Woolworth’s be 218 Yonge?


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