Toronto by Candlelight

Banner photo is George Morse’s Soap and Candle Factory, Don Station, in the 1870s.  Courtesy of Toronto Public Library. Tonight, millions of people around the world will pause at 8:30PM (in their respective time zones) to turn off their lights in observance of Earth Hour.  As you no doubt are aware, this annual event was […]

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Of Lives and Limbs

Banner image is a detail from A Treatise on Marks’ Patent Artificial Limbs with Rubber Hands and Feet, published in New York, 1894. In the late 1850s an enterprising Torontonian named Norris Black began a sideline business offering the city something it was sorely lacking: prosthetics. Though a great variety of prosthetics had been designed through the ages, […]

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By any other name …

Banner image is a rooftop view looking northwest towards Lombard St from the east side of Church in 1876.  Courtesy of Toronto Public Library. Back in the 1830s, when the city was still being carved from the immense, dark forest but was already gaining fame for its boggy streets, Toronto had a problem neighbourhood brewing: March St. Just two blocks long, it […]

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Christmas Catalogues

Banner image is a T. Eaton Company print, pre-1900, from the City of Toronto Archives. When I was growing up the Christmas season was heralded by the Consumer’s Distributing catalogue being tossed on your doorstep.   Of all the catalogues you were likely to receive, it was the thickest and could provide hours – days even – of […]

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Billiard Halls

Banner photo is of the exterior of the Orr Bros Billiard Academy, circa 1913, from the City of Toronto Archives. Growing up, I had an oddball idea of adulthood – though I suppose most kids do.  As I’ve mentioned here before, I’d steeped myself in old detective novels and film noir movies as a kid and […]

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Armistice Day

Banner photo is of Armistice Day celebrations at Bay and King streets on November 11, 1918.  From the City of Toronto Archives. From the distance of nearly a century, it’s hard to imagine the tumult of emotions unleashed by the armistice which ended the First World War on November 11th, 1918.  After four long, grim […]

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The T. A. Lytle Story

Banner photo is of the T. A. Lytle factory on Sterling Road in 1912.  From the City of Toronto Archives. When I first began this page, a year and a half ago, I wasn’t quite sure where to start.  For several years previous I’d been taking photos of old buildings I loved and feared for […]

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