1960s Original Air Canada Toronto Travel Poster

Today Toronto celebrates it’s 184 Birthday! Happy Birthday!!! As many of you know my adopted hometown is Toronto and I have lived here since 1999 when I moved here for school and instantly fell in love (with the city and later with my husband). Where I live in the city, I can walk to local grocerers, bars, restaurants and public transportation (that takes us to all the fun things in the city). Our little piece of paradise is perfect for our lives and it’s also a GREAT place to visit. So for today’s post I wanted to showcase some cool vintage sourvenirs/items from Toronto’s past that one might of collected to remember their visit or time in the big city (p.s. the items below are all for sale at time of this post, if you wish to take a piece of Toronto history home with you).

Lets begin!

When you visit Toronto, attending the theatre was/is a must! Here is a vintage program from the Royal Alexandra Theatre (still standing) stating the upcoming announcements for the week of Dec 2, 1929.

Royal Alexandra theatre toronto vintage program 1929
Source: Etsy


Royal Alexandra theatre toronto vintage program 1929 inside page
Source: Etsy

Soldiers at Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, Canada, which is showing the British film Balaclava (1928) after it was reissued as a talkie (Source).

Soldiers at Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, Canada, which is showing the British film Balaclava (1928) after it was reissued as a talkie
Source: Wikimedia

Postcards were once a very popular way of communicating with friends and family about the fun you were having on vacation (my husband and I still send postcards on our trips). This 1930s Toronto postcard featuring our city hall (this building still stands but is no longer our city hall), is a beautiful example of this mode of communication.

1930s vintage postcard Toronto, Canada
Via Etsy

1920/1930’s Felt Pennant for St. Hilda’s College. St. Hilda’s was founded in 1888 as a women’s college & residence affiliated with the University of Trinity College. Initially St. Hilda’s students took separate pass lectures, but in 1894 all Trinity classes were opened to women. By 1904 the colleges merged with the University of Toronto and eventually would cease to be used as a building for education (Source). The building still stands today.

Vintage Original 1920s Felt Pennant Sewn Letters for St. Hilda's College, University of Toronto
Via Etsy

Sweets for your Sweets-Signed 1930’s Willard’s Chocolates Box. Willards is a Toronto brand that opened it’s doors in 1917 (In 1954 Willard’s was purchased and their named remained till 1968).

1930s Willards Chocolates Box Vintage Toronto History
Via Etsy

Canadians love their hockey but we also love our Baseball and in Toronto it’s all about the Toronto Blue Jays.

The below item is a Vintage 1930s Novelty Popcorn & Salted Peanuts Glassine Bags – Toronto Made, used at Maple Leaf Stadium. Now the Jays were not around to play at this stadium in the 1930s but the Toronto Maple Leafs were and they played there for 42 seasons (1926-1967).

RARE Vintage 1930s Novelty Popcorn & Salted Peanuts Glassine Bags - Toronto Made, Used at Maple Leaf Stadium
Source Etsy

Photo of a young boy with 2 members of the 1950’s Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs baseball 1950s vintage image
Source: Pinterest

Local magazines are a great way of taking home a piece of the city or country you were in. The Star Weekly magazine was founded by J.E. Atkinson, the publisher of the Toronto Star (newspaper) and began it’s life in 1910. It was an attempt to create a Canadian counterpart to the popular British type of Sunday newspapers. Initially the Weekly was a grab-bag of features, articles by the daily paper’s reporters, advertising and pieces purchased cheaply from syndicates. Before long, however, the Weekly had comic strips, good illustrations and cartoons, and by 1920 it was lavishly using colour (Source).

Vintage (March 17, 1945) RARE! The Star Weekly | Toronto Star magazine WWII-era issue. Cover of a female soldier.
March 17th, 1945. Source: Etsy

Getting around the city is pretty simple (most times) because of our TTC system, the Toronto Transit Commission. We have streetcars, buses and subways to get you where you need to go and when you need to transfer onto another route, you need to take a ticket transfer. These tickets have been around for years like the vintage 1940s one seen below.

TTC 1940s Vintage Ticket - Instant Collection- Toronto Transit
Source: Etsy

The T. Eaton Company (Once Canada’s largest department store chain) welcomes you to early 1950’s Metropolitan Toronto. The below guide was created for the American tourist to easily get around the city and point them to the direction of the Eaton’s flagship store.

Eatons guide to Toronto 1950s
Source: Etsy

One more city guide from 1953 calling Toronto, The “Queen City” (never heard this nickname before).Cover Art: Toronto skyline as seen from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club.

1953 Metropolitan Toronto Vintage Visitor's Guide
Source: Etsy

The Canadian National Exhibition is the last 2 weeks of the summer and is beloved by residents and visitors alike. It’s basically a giant fair, with rides, food building, exhibitors, shows and animals and so much more. The 1950’s souvenior scarf below is a marvelous way to remember the fun that was had.

Canadian National Exhibition 1950s vintage scarf
Source: Etsy

Just like how the CNE marks the end of summer, it also ends today’s blog post. I hope you enjoyed browsing souvenirs of Toronto’s past. Happy Birthday Toronto!

Lastly, if you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I like to post about cool and fun vintage history posts on my city. I have done several over the years, and if you click on the link HERE you can check them all out.

Question Time: When you travel what things do you like to bring back that will remind you of your trip? Let me know in the comments below!

Liz 🙂

Disclosure: Some of the links on my blog from Etsy are Affiliate Links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 



5 comments on “Happy 184th Birthday Toronto! Souvenirs of Toronto’s Past”

  1. What lovely souvenirs from Toronto’s past! I particularly love the program from the Royal Alexandra Theatre. The adverts are just wonderful. xx

    • Great minds think alike, but I do don’t get any back. Hmmmm maybe that is something we can setup in the future. A Postcard Pen Pal exchange? Bring back the art of Postcard sending….

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