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Exploring South Etobicoke’s hidden stories through Postcards

As motor vehicles became more accessible and widely used, motor hotels (motels) became prominent tourism destinations.


Etobicoke Lakeshore’s prime motel era in the 1940s-1960s is preserved in these postcards, primarily featuring Mimico and New Toronto.

A blank postcard back
Exterior view of the North American Motel

Replacing the traditional cottage industry in Long Branch, local sites hosted waterfront beaches, attractions, and quaint motels with easy and affordable access for local tourists following Lakeshore Road as the main link between East (Toronto), and the West (Buffalo and Niagara Falls) along the shoreline.

Click through the gallery to explore postcards from the Etobicoke Lakeshore motel era!

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Construction of the 401 and QEW diverted traffic away from the Lakeshore, causing a steep decline in Mimico’s motel industry in the 1980s, with the last structure demolished in 2012. Many of these sites were replaced by condos as tourism moved away from the area.


Artefacts like these postcards provide a window to the past, beyond what occupies the site today. Perhaps you’ve passed these places in South Etobicoke before, or will after reading this exhibition. Consider the changes this land has experienced to become what it is today, and what stories will become hidden within the landscape.


Curated by:
Nadine Finlay
Sarah LeFresne

Virtual Exhibition Curated by:
Nadia Tagoe


Humber Lakeshore Campus is currently closed to visitors.

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416.675.6622 ext. 3801

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