(source: blogTO) For all the historical photos of Toronto that we’ve posted to the site over the last few year’s, little recognition has been given to the profound contribution of the City Engineer’s Office to our city’s archive. Although not the earliest official city photography, the work the Engineer’s Office did to track various infrastructure projects — starting in the early 1890s — offers us a thoroughgoing portrait of what Toronto looked like at the turn of the 20th century.
Cameras were anything but common at the time so there’s isn’t an abundance of other images that survive from this period. Although ostensibly pragmatic in nature, the office made sure to hire expert photographers to track the development of the city over a period between 1891-1911. As such, there’s a keen compositional eye on display throughout the more than 600 sepia-toned images that make up this particular collection. Elevated vantage points, in particular, help to establish the relative size and density of the city at this time. Read More.