Skip to content

Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Why are there no lamp posts on Yonge?

Read more articles by

The apparent lack of lamp posts south of Charles and north of Grosvenor on Yonge Street is at first unsettling, suggesting that the stretch of sidewalk has been neglected by either the City or Toronto Hydro.

At night however the street is washed in light — both multi-coloured light, radiating from electronic signs mounted to adjacent buildings, and white light, from metal halide street luminaries mounted above and around those signs.

Known as "wall packs," the circular or rectangular fixtures are the same as those used to light tunnels or the spaces under bridges, and in this application are lit with high-pressure sodium bulbs. Some of the packs were installed by the City, and are now owned by Toronto Hydro, while the landlords of the buildings along that stretch mounted others.

Although a similar lighting strategy was used further south of Grosvenor on Yonge in the past — the remnants of which is still visible on buildings around Gerrard Street — the utilitarian wall packs have since been made redundant by more decorative lamp standards. Yet there is no plan at this time to replace the wall packs north of Grosvenor and south of Charles. This is in part because, unlike the area south of College that had the lighting upgrade paid for by the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, this stretch of Yonge does not fall under a BIA, and so lacks the leadership to spearhead a similar undertaking.