Some History of the St. Andrew's Area
Highway 401 (and before) historical photographs from the City of Toronto archives
This is a really interesting photograph. In the foreground is the intersection of Wilson Avenue and Avenue Road, with north to the left.
- This photograph was taken in 1949, before Highway 401 was built. North is to the left
- Wilson Avenue runs up (east) and to the right. Just after the intersection with Avenue Road, Armour Heights Public School is on the north side of Wilson Avenue, and appears the same as it does today.
- Wilson Avenue continues east, Yonge Boulevard crosses, then De Vere Gardens and Mason Boulevard run off to the south, and Wilson Avenue then ends (that is, it does not meet Yonge Street, as it does now).
- The interesting part is what happens to Avenue Road as it runs north (to the left) of Wilson Avenue. Avenue Road curves east, Yonge Boulevard joins it (Sandringham Drive crosses it), and this becomes a bridge over the valley, curving north to join Yonge Street on the far side.
- Looking at Sandringham Drive, running along the west side of the valley, lined with trees, as is the intersection of Yonge Boulevard with the bridge over the valley, it must have looked magnificent.
- There is a road running into the valley from Sandrigham Drive, and this is now a private driveway.
This aerial photograph is from 1954 (click for a higher-resolution image, press Ctrl "+" to zoom in), with the intersection of Yonge Street and Highway 401 in the centre:
- Compared to the above photograph (taken 5 years earlier) and this photograph from 1940 (14 years earlier), there has been a huge amount of development. Highway 401 has now been built and extends east of Yonge Street.
- Perhaps the most interesting observation is that the Yonge Street exchange with highway 401 is a full cloverleaf intersection with standard on and off ramps for all four directions. As shown here, Yonge Street no longer has a cloverleaf intersection with highway 401. The reasons for removing 3 of the 4 ramps likely include needing the space for additional lanes to widen the highway, and needing longer ramps as needed for vehicles accelerating and decelerating.
- It appears that the regrading of the hill down to York Mills Road has been done, so Old Yonge Street no longer connects with Yonge Street, and Upper Canada Drive has been extended down to Old Yonge Street for traffic to get to Yonge Street along Lord Seaton Road, as we now do.
- The entire area north of the golf course is now built – Lord Seaton Road, Aldershot Court, Yorkminster Road, and so on.
- The beginning of Lower Links Road has been built, this section is now the only straight part of Lower Links Road, and being older, is the only section which has a sidewalk on only one side.
Here is a view of that entire photograph.
- Most of the St. Andrew's Golf Club can be seen, and therefore, Montressor Drive, the lower part of Fifeshire Road, the Links Road, Tournament Drive, Carnwath Crescent, Danville Drive, Didrickson Drive, Foursome Crescent, and Breen Crescent are not build yet.
- To the left, we can see that the Highway 401 exchange for Avenue Road is also a full cloverleaf with four ramps. Now there are only two full ramps, likely for the same reasons of needing to add lanes to the highway so there just wasn't enough room. Avenue Road no longer joins with the bridge over the valley, it is just an interchange and ends in the residential area to the north.
Compare this to the photograph at the top of this page, which was the same view 24 years earlier:
- Highway 401 is now as wide as it is today and the Avenue Road and Yonge Street interchanges are also as they are today.
- The Toronto Cricket Club has now been built south of Armour Heights Public School, and the apartment buildings on Avenue Road north and south of Wilson Avenue have been built.
- Wilson Avenue has been extended to Yonge Street, by curving north slightly, the bridge (which was built in 1972) over the Don River (just west of Yonge Street) would have been much less work to build.