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Great Fire of Toronto (1904)


Great Fire of Toronto (1904)

Part of a series on the
Town of York (1793–1834)
City of Toronto (1834–1954)
Metropolitan Toronto (1954–1998)
Toronto (Amalgamated) (1998–present)
Toronto Purchase 1787
Battle of York 1813
Battle of Montgomery's Tavern 1837
First Great Fire of Toronto 1849
Second Great Fire of Toronto 1904
Hurricane Hazel (effects) 1954
First Amalgamation 1967
Second Amalgamation 1998
Toronto portal

The Great Fire of Toronto of 1904 was a great fire that destroyed a large section of Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada on April 19, 1904. It was the second of such fires for the city in its then short history.


  • Incident 1
  • Legacy 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • External links 6


Front Street after the Toronto Fire of 1904

The fire was first spotted at 8:04 p.m., on April 19, 1904, by a Toronto Police constable on his regular street patrol.[1] The flames were rising from the elevator shaft of the E & S Currie Limited's neck wear factory at 58 Wellington Street West, just west of Bay Street (now TD Bank Tower).[1] The factory was situated in the centre of a large industrial and commercial area. The exact cause of the fire was never determined, but a faulty heating stove or an electrical problem is suspected.[2]

With 17 fire halls alerted, two engine companies and one hose company, the fire took nine hours to get under control. The glow of the fire could be seen for kilometres in all directions. Firefighters from cities as far away as Hamilton, Ontario and Buffalo came to Toronto's aid. The temperature that night was approximately -4 degrees Celsius with winds at 48 kilometres per hour and snow flurries.

This fire insurance map shows the area damaged by the fire.

The fire destroyed 104 buildings, and claimed one victim, John Croft, who was an explosive expert clearing the ruins from the fire. It caused CA$10,387,000 in damage[3] and put five thousand people out of work, at a time when the city only had 200,000 inhabitants. As a result of the fire, more stringent safety laws were introduced and an expansion of the city's fire department was undertaken.

A few buildings nearby survived including the Bank of Montreal building at Yonge and Front Streets, Customs House and their warehouse (demolished in 1919), Toronto Evening Telegram Building.


The fire remains the largest fire ever to have occurred in Toronto. A previous fire on April 7, 1849, consumed many city blocks when the city was much smaller and many more structures were wooden.

Call Box 12, which was used to sound the alarm, is the name for the volunteer canteen truck supporting Toronto Fire Services today.

Toronto Fire Services Public Education Centre and Museum at Station 233 has a model displaying the area of the fire.

See also


  1. ^ a b Flack, Derek (April 19, 2011). "The great Toronto fire of 1904". BlogTO (Toronto). Archived from the original on October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Mayers, Adam (August 5, 2008). "The Great Fire of 1904". The Toronto Star (Toronto). Archived from the original on October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Oil Fire Menaces Toronto".  


  • Lasiuk, Jon; Friebe, Marla (2003). A History of the Toronto Fire Services 1874-2002. Toronto: Toronto Fire Department.  

External links

  • Silent footage of a wagon responding to the alarm, buildings on fire, and demolition of damaged buildings
  • Pictures of the fire's aftermath from the City of Toronto Archives site
  • The Great Toronto Fire, the Archives of Ontario remembers this significant event in the city's history
  • Croft Street, Toronto

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