Photographs have always, always, always been a gigantic part of my life. Since getting my first pink round Le Clic when I was about 13, I have been a serious photo-taking shutterbug. Thumbing through the stills in Life Magazine always fascinated me and to this day, I love photos way more than video. Photography exhibits are my absolute fave and I could easily stare at a photograph all day — taking in its single moment in time; the looks on faces, whether those of shock or happiness or discovery; and the natural and built environments. I’ve passed by the Toronto Archives on many an occasion. I’d heard it was lovely, but was not at all prepared for the bigosity of it! It’s an enormous space filled with huge range of documents and photographs documenting the city’s heritage. The best part is that you can either spend tons1 of time in the building proper or you can plop down on your sofa in your comfy pajamas like I am right now and surf the archives in the privacy of your own home! There’s just nothing better than using all the tools in the nerd kingdom to make life easier. Le happy sigh.
I had an interest in seeing photos from the area of Toronto in which I’ve lived for the last two and a half years, and there were a plethora of them available. It’s so cool to see how cities change and grow, and Toronto is no different. While you may not know the area, I hope you appreciate the photos as much as I have.
As an aside, I checked to see if the city of Houston had a similar archive, but was unable to find anything. Rather, they have an archive of only modern day photos, but that is definitely worth a look.
1 or “tonnes”, if you’re Canadian
Spadina at Front Streets, ca 1960.
A TTC bus, ca 1935. Not much has changed. 🙂
- Looking east from the Fairmont Royal York hotel, ca 1930
Lake Ontario in the Beach, frozen. 1924.
Queen Street West at Spadina, ca 1935
Front at Peter Streets, 1926
Filed under photos, Toronto
Away from the light of day, there exists nearly an entire self-sustaining city. The tunnels, stations and people that encompass the three1 subway lines of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) are daily staples of the third most heavily-used urban transit system in North America2. It is also now officially3 the most expensive and least government funded urban transit system in North America, as well. I, along with 1,499,999 of my fellow TTC riders, could likely go on a diatribe that the likes of even Herman Melville hasn’t seen, but I’ll spare you the colour commentary and keep my nose planted firmly where it belongs, i.e., in my Wordpress blog.
Political opinions aside, beauty can be found in plenitude in subterranean Toronto. I am lucky enough to have a car5, so I don’t take the subway that often; certainly not daily and usually only when it snows, so I don’t run down animals or small children with my non-snow-driving-Texas-girl-self. However, I’ve seen my share of subway stations in Toronto and am always awed by some of the thought and cleverness that I see in the art underground. Also, I’ve seen some very odd things down there and clearly, when people are kept from sunlight day after day, weird things happen. But I digress.
My goal is to see, and photograph, each and every subway station before I leave Canada, so to that end, I’m posting a few snaps from some of the stations I’ve seen to date. I hope you the whimsy as much as I do.
1 Yep. Only three. And I could literally walk between two of them in about 10 minutes.
2 Behind New York City Tranisty Authority and Mexico City Metro
3 As of November 17, when the fares were (yet again) increased thusly.
4 By which I mean “Dear TTC, stop hiking your fares and your ridership just may increase organically”.
5 Yet unlucky enough to have to pay the city of Toronto $60 annually just for the privilege of owning a car in a postal code that begins with an “M”.
- Spadina Summer Under All Seasons
There’s something seriously special about Fall. Growing up in Texas pretty much guarantees that you’ll never see real fall foliage, since the trees there stay green nearly year-round. Something about living on the face of the sun. Anyway. I have very fond memories of being a rosy-cheeked, pigtailed little girl chillin’ out with my Highlights magazine and exhibiting my wicked colouring skills by shading in the trees of the Goofus and Gallant section in bright oranges, reds, and yellows.
Fast forward 30 years and I’m living in Canada. No longer do I have to use my crayons to colour between the lines; rather, driving around all the live-long day allows me to feast my eyes on the stunningly coloured trees that make Toronto even more beautiful than it already is.
Now, lucky for my fair readers, I get to use all the tools in the nerd kingdom to show you the stunning colours of my favourite season. All hail the monstrous photo nerd!
Georgian Bay in Collingwood, Ontario
The Don Valley
Part of my drive to work
Moi, frolicking in the leaves
The only downfall of Fall is that it means Toronto is preparing to turn into the vast, frozen wasteland into which it turns six months a year. Which also means that I need to get off my laptop and get myself outside so I can soak in the last remaining non-snow-on-the-ground-rays. Enough of this online nonsense — now if you’ll excuse me, I have a maple tree to cuddle.