NEWS

That Time Toronto Burned Down (PHOTOS)

10/23/2013 04:14 EDT | Updated 10/23/2013 05:01 EDT

Global warming, dwindling resources, nuclear proliferation -- the world today is a dangerous place.

Perhaps the state of affairs explains why apocalyptic fantasies are all the rage today. On TV and at the movies, zombies and ruined worlds are all the rage.

Just this week, an imagined image of a post-apocalyptic Toronto by artist Jonas Dero went viral.

But what would Toronto in ruins really look like?

Probably something like this.

toronto fire 1904

Looking north from the foot of Bay Street.

In April of 1904, a massive fire wiped out much of the core of the city.

It took nine hours to contain the blaze, which destroyed more than 100 buildings and put thousands out of work at a time when the population of the city was around 200,000.

Buildings constructed of wood were largely to blame.

toronto fire 1904

Fire insurance plan showing the extent of the fire.

Photos from the time, available from the City of Toronto Archives, look like something you would expect from the aftermath of the Second World War.

toronto fire

Looking west along Front Street West from Yonge Street.

Amazingly, only one person perished in the fire, John Croft. A street near Bathurst and Harbord is named in his honour.

You can further indulge your apocalyptic nightmares by looking at more photos from the Great Fire of Toronto.

That Time Toronto Burned Down