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Evocative Images of Lost Toronto

Urban Shocker

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St. Paul's Bloor Street used to have a rifle range in the basement - it has been the regimental church of the Queen's Own Rifles since 1910, but I don't think that's the building they're standing outside of.

Oooops! I see it says "Toronto Armories" at the bottom.
 

Goldie

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There's a story behind this photograph titled "Women Sharpshooters 1914", and I wish I knew what it was:

My story would suggest that they were sent to Europe to "snipe" at the enemy "for King and Country."
That was the rallying cry in those days and they all look tough enough to do it!
 

thedeepend

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There's a story behind this photograph titled "Women Sharpshooters 1914", and I wish I knew what it was:

It’s a surprising image….it seems that the years leading up to the war were a time of increasingly militaristic and patriotic sentiment in Ontario. The papers in 1914 are full of articles about home guards and sharpshooting organizations marching and mobilizing in Toronto, so I suppose that it makes sense that women would also have been drawn in, especially with the coming of the war that summer…





It is also possible that some of them were, at least in part, influenced by Annie Oakley—easily one of the most famous women of the early 20th century. Many of these gals would have been coming of age in the era of her greatest influence in the 1890s and 1900s. She was a genuine phenomenon and her philosophy and attitude were a huge inspiration to many women....



“Throughout her career, it is believed that Oakley taught upwards of 15,000 women how to use a gun. Oakley believed strongly that it was crucial for women to learn how to use a gun, as not only a form of physical and mental exercise, but also to defend themselves.”
 

Goldie

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Thank heavens this didn't become a discussion of "gun registry!"
 

thedeepend

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thedepend,

Since you may be a railroad buff, I wonder if you have seen the amazing 'train photos' by O. Winston Link.

some are found at:

http://images.google.ca/images?hl=en&source=hp&q=winston+link&oq=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=ZzucS9HFB4P78Abo3LWSDg&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQsAQwAA
thank you for that reference Goldie! fantastic images. i know the famous Drive In shot, but am not familiar with the others. surprisingly, there isn't a good monograph of his work in print right now. strange, for such an interesting artist...
 

Goldie

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Re: O. Winston Link - outstanding train photographer

I'm sure there is a new book regarding his work. He's referenced in many books on photography.
I highly recommend the documentary, "The Photographer, His Wife, Her Lover", which TVO presented last year.
The truly tragic but fascinating story of the late O. Winston Link and his unique career.
 

thecharioteer

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Thanks for the newspaper real estate ads, deepend. They add an extra dimension to the photgraphic record of the period in the same way as the various newspaper articles do. I feel the same way about the Goad Atlas maps. They provide in graphic form a representation of the world at the time, that can be "read" in the same way as photographs. One looks at all these maps, and one can "read" through solids and voids the nature of various neighbourhoods in terms of wealth, changing uses, growth, density, industrialization, as well as where the centres of urban energy resided. They document change in a static form. In the same way Nolli showed us Rome, Goad showed us Toronto.

These four, from the 1890 edition can tell us all these things:







 
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thedeepend

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Thanks for the newspaper real estate ads, deepend. They add an extra dimension to the photgraphic record of the period in the same way as the various newspaper articles do. I feel the same way about the Goad Atlas maps. They provide in graphic form a representation of the world at the time, that can be "read" in the same way as photographs. One looks at all these maps, and one can "read" through solids and voids the nature of various neighbourhoods in terms of wealth, changing uses, growth, density, industrialization, as well as where the centres of urban energy resided. They document change in a static form. In the same way Nolli showed us Rome, Goad showed us Toronto.

These four, from the 1890 edition can tell us all these things:








That’s a good point….It seems that there are a wide variety of media through which we ‘experience’ the past: historical texts like newspapers, magazines, letters, journals, memoirs etc; original maps; photographs and moving images; novels ‘about the past’; biographies; drawings and paintings etc.

Collectively, they are the media through which we learn to think about the past, and in every case they teach us something different about that past—because they operate in different ways. They offer different levels of description and employ different systems of representation.

They are also not ‘equally available to all’. To the untrained eye, reading a map may seem to be hard work, in that a map ‘doesn’t look like the world’, and because we don’t experience the world from above. On the other hand a photograph yields a wealth of ‘feeling’ and a ‘feeling of knowing’ with a minimum of effort. Novels are an extraordinarily powerful form of representation, but require a great deal of concentration etc. The easiest of all is probably the sweeping Hollywood epic about the past. For better or worse, films like Age of Innocence, Elizabeth or Saving Private Ryan are the way in which many of us learn to think about the past…

Since we are still waiting for the ‘big, sweeping historical epic’ about the early days of Toronto, these other media will have to suffice!

 

thecharioteer

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Great pictures, guys. The parts of Toronto you don't see in the guide books: the factory floors, the back alleys, the slaughterhouses, the sewers. The hidden, unseen Toronto; our collective subconscious.

Deepend: that great historical film epic of Toronto remains to be made. Where is our local Baz Luhrmann or Guy Maddin (am I the only one who liked "Australia" and "My Winnipeg"). Would Atom Egoyan be the right one to film "Consolation"?
 

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