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Hippies To Hermès: The Transformation Of Toronto’s Yorkville

This neighbourhood in the 1960s looked nothing like it does now.

While many Torontonians may associate the city's Yorkville neighbourhood with high-end shopping the likes of Chanel or Hermès, five decades ago that association might have been hippies, coffeehouses, or Neil Young.

In this episode of Then&Now, Toronto historian Morgan Cameron Ross looks back at the popular area and its transition from a village to one of Toronto's most luxurious neighbourhoods.

Throughout the mid-1800s, the area we now call Yorkville was known as the Village of Yorkville and was not actually part of Toronto until its annexation by the city in 1883.

As the Yorkville area transformed, coffeehouses and the emergence of the Toronto hippie scene in the 1960s would coincide with a vibrant music scene where artists like Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot would perform.

But hippies would eventually give way to the luxury shops, galleries, hair salons, and fine dining restaurants that can be found peppered throughout the neighbourhood today.