"Tales of pioneer hardship and deprivation have been told many times. Yet still we remember in wonder, that people accomplished so much with so little; that men and women with simple tools, their bare hands, and their own inventiveness cleared the land, drained the swamps, made their own clothing and provided their own food. Through all these difficulties God was with them and they wanted their children educated intellectually and spritually." from Norfolk Street United Church history

Friday, June 22, 2012

City Archives opens photo exhibit portraying early 20th-century Toronto immigrants

photo credit: City of Toronto Archives

TORONTO, June 21, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - This evening, City of Toronto Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22 St. Paul's), City Clerk Ulli Watkiss, City Archivist Carol Radford-Grant, and co-curator Sarah Bassnett joined community members to officially launch a new exhibition at the City of Toronto Archives: "Picturing Immigrants in the Ward - How photography shaped ideas about Central and Eastern European immigrants in early 20th-century Toronto."

Using photographs taken from the press, municipal government reports, social service agency publications and immigrants' personal documents and other archival items, the exhibit looks at how photography played an important role in shaping both the public perceptions and the varied social identities of Central and Eastern European immigrants in the Ward in early 20th-century Toronto.

Historically, the Ward is recognized as the downtown neighbourhood that included the area around Old City Hall and was bounded by College, Queen and Yonge streets and University Avenue.

"This exhibit provides visitors with a unique and fascinating insight into the portrayal of people who lived in Toronto during the early 20th century, and how our neighbourhoods have changed since then," said Councillor Matlow.

The exhibit includes four new large-scale panoramas depicting contemporary scenes of what was once the Ward neighbourhood, commissioned by contemporary artist Susan Dobson. This free exhibit continues to May 2013.

More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/archives/.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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