THE BLOG

Photos of Toronto Through a New Lens

03/06/2013 05:45 EST | Updated 05/06/2013 05:12 EDT
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old analog photo camera close up

The Toronto skyline has changed dramatically over the last century, and that change is accelerating at a rapid pace. Low rise factories turn into medium rise housing which turn into 50-storey skyscrapers. The Toronto City Archives contain a treasure trove of images from early 1900 onwards, documenting the city, usually from the perspective of municipal administration. Over time, these images form part of the Public Domain. Among hundreds of photos showing traffic jams and parking problems (even in the 1920's) and cracks in the pavement are fascinating images of factories, the waterfront, early financial district bank towers. Even more fascinating is photographically (or more correctly through the magic of Photoshop) merging present day views with the archived views to dramatically highlight the changes in cityscape.

BLOG CONTINUES AFTER SLIDESHOW

Histographs

A series of images on display at the Papermill Gallery at Todmorden Mills, itself a historic building with several images in the archives, shows how downtown has changed.

We now think of union station as old, but there was an even older Union Station in 1927, about the place where the Rogers Centre now abuts the tracks.

The Royal Alex theatre existed in 1927, with street cars running in front of it at King and Simcoe, but the TIFF Bell Lightbox condos tower over the 1927 industrial buildings.

The Hockey Hall of Fame shows some vestiges of the Bank of Montréal it once was, but where Shopsy's gave way to Oliver and Bonacini there was in 1925 an ornate TTC head office building.

The distillery area was a very industrial area, right on the water before much of the waterfront was filled in. Now it is a collection of shops and towering condos.

The gentrification of the railway lands began only a few years ago, but a 1918 view of the Bathurst Street Bridge shows the factories that once employed thousands of Torontonians.

Some archived photos show that some areas have not changed at all. The North East corner of King and Yonge looks the same, except that horse drawn wagons have probably not been seen there is a long time.

These images are on display at the Papermill Gallery from February 27 to March 10. More images are shown in the linked slide show.