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Yorkville: From hippies to highrises

Flowers and free love. Antiwar marches and acid tests. In the mid to late 1960s, youth across North America and Europe began to "turn on, tune in and drop out." Fed up with the establishment — parents, schools, police — they went looking for a new way of life. To Toronto's Yorkville and Vancouver's Kitsilano district they came, preaching peace, love and non-conformity.

Another winter has come to Yorkville. The streets are empty of summer's youthful crowds. But this coming spring may not bring the customary return of the longhaired set. Yorkville is changing, and changing fast. As CBC Television reports, the quaint boutiques, happening coffeehouses and cheap hippie housing are all losing ground to new upscale shopping plazas, parkades and luxury apartment hotels. Are the hippies gone?
. Some of Yorkville's hippies moved to the Rochdale College area. Others joined communes in rural Ontario. Then there were those who advanced to a more sophisticated form of counter-rebellion: they cut their hair and got jobs. The new revolution was going to be conducted from within.
. Yorkville is now home to many of Toronto's most exclusive stores, including Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana and Vera Wang.

. Hippie migrations occurred in every major city. By January 1968 there were only about 100 to 150 full-time hippies left in Vancouver, and these had moved from Kitsilano to the West End, closer to Stanley Park. The rest had returned home for the winter, moved elsewhere, or given up.
. San Francisco's hippies conducted a mock funeral ceremony in 1967 to symbolize the death of the hippie movement.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television Special
Broadcast Date: Jan. 29, 1969
Guest(s): Judy Johnson
Reporter: Bill Casey
Duration: 2:35

Last updated: February 6, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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