Sidewalk Labs is making history. Literally. And while there may be no such thing as a time machine (yet), this comes pretty close.
The company has created a website that you can access — for free — which will take you back in time through the streets of Toronto. Locals and tourists can see the city’s past like never before.
It’s Canadian history class on steroids.
You’ll see Yonge Street in 2018 and a photo of the exact same corner from 1903. Your grandparents’ stories come to life.
The changes the city has undertaken will become more clear now. Because you can actually see it rather than just try to visualize it.
And this is just the beginning.
Sidewalk Labs‘ platform has endless possibilities. Some that we haven’t even come up with yet. Could photo recognition software in the future identify who is in photos from a century ago? (Maybe that’s a secret Sidewalk Labs’ project.)
Recognize this? Of course, you do. It’s where our beloved Toronto sign now stands at Nathan Philips Square.
Yonge Street then and now …
But whoever referred to the above photo as “congestion,” has no idea what we’re going through in this city today.
See below for a few more photos. But then you should really check out some other landmarks for yourself on OldTO.
This photo of St. Clair West is downright unrecognizable …
And finally, our favourite shopping strip has been just that since 1953. Some things are just meant to be — and Queen Street West was meant for shopping.
This tool maps more than 30,000 historic photographs using what’s called “geocoding.” You can pull up a photo, see a description, its location, and when it’s from — all available in The City of Toronto Archives.
Sidewalk Labs has revolutionized the way we see Toronto. And they’re only getting started.