On the 19th of April, 1904, a large section of downtown Toronto burned for nine hours.

street map of downtown Toronto showing the buildings that were affected by the fire of 1904.

Map showing the area of Toronto affected by the fire of 1904. Bay Street from the Esplanade to Miranda Street (just south of King Street) was the hardest hit.  At the time, this was called the Wholesale District of the city.

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Historical photo of Bay street after the 1904 fire in Toronto.  There are people on the street.  The street is all mud.  There are many burned out buildings on both sides of the streets.  Brick facing of two to four storey buildings is all that remains.

Aftermath, Bay street, April 1904.

In part, because the fire started in the evening, there were no fatalities. As a result of the fire, 5000 people were left without a job.   In 1904, the population of Toronto was about 200,000 so the loss of employment on this scale had an impact on the city.

a very bright and colourful mural on the back of a brick building,  It shows, in reds, yellows ans oranges the burning of a couple of brick buildings, with flames coming out of the windows.

Mural painted on the back of the building on the northwest corner of College St. and Croft St.  (398 College St.), commemorating the fire of 1904.

Demolition of the ruins left by the fire took many weeks.  On the 4th of May, John Croft died while using dynomite to bring down the remains of the W.J. Gage building on Front Street.  His was the only known death associated with the fire.  What is now Croft Street was renamed in his honour.

The east side of 398 College St., at the south end of Croft St., is painted with a mural as a memorial to John Croft.

corner of a building showing parts of two murals.  On the back wall is the mural depicting the fire itself.  On the side wall is a memorial to John Croft.

northeast corner of the building

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1904

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Burned out brick buildings.  All that remains is part of the front facade of these two to six storey buildings.

Burned out buildings, April 1904

The images of the fire’s aftermath are available online.   The originals are kept at the City of Toronto Archives, located on Spadina Road., just north of Dupont Street.

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Comments
  1. […] at the corner of Croft and College that commemorated the fire of 1904.  Almost three years ago I blogged about it.   (3 years!)  John Croft died in that fire and it was for him that the street was named.  […]

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