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May 11, 2006
From Scorchers to Alley Cat Scrambles
“From Scorchers to Alley Cat Scrambles: the amazing history of the bicycle in Toronto” opens at the Market Gallery on May 20 and runs until October 1. The exhibit tells the story of the revolutionary changes to transportation in Toronto and how the bicycle contributed to improving our roads, liberating women and modernizing consumerism, tourism and professional sport.

“From Scorchers to Alley Cat Scrambles” features items from the collections of the City of Toronto Culture Division, Museum & Heritage Services and the Toronto Public Library. It also highlights Lorne Shields’ exceptional collection of historic bicycles, related posters, memorabilia and ephemera. Mr. Shields, a collector for over 50 years, donated much of his collection to the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa. This exhibit is the first occasion that items of this scale and quality have been gathered together.

The Market Gallery, in partnership with the Community Bicycle Network, presents the fascinating history of the bicycle in Toronto from “scorchers,” the pioneering daredevils of the 1800s, to the late-night “alley cat” races of today’s bicycle messengers. Featuring personal histories, compelling stories and beautiful old bicycles, “From Scorchers to Alley Cat Scrambles” chronicles how the bicycle has influenced the social, political and economic life of Toronto residents since 1869.

The Community Bicycle Network is a community-based bicycle organization with the goal of promoting and stimulating healthy, active, and neighbourhood-friendly sustainable transportation initiatives within the City of Toronto. Among their award-winning programs are BikeShare, an innovative community bicycle-lending program, and Wenches with Wrenches, a series of bicycle-repair workshops run by and for women.

The Market Gallery is a program of Toronto Culture and presents changing exhibitions dedicated to Toronto’s art, culture and history, and offers educational programs for school groups and adults. Located inside the South St. Lawrence Market, in Toronto’s oldest neighbourhood, the main gallery occupies the 19th century City Council Chamber, which is all that remains from the City Hall that stood on this site from 1845 to 1899.

Admission is free to the Market Gallery on the second floor of the South St. Lawrence Market,
95 Front St. E. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information on the Culture Division’s museums and art centres visit

Live With Culture is a 16-month celebration of Toronto’s extraordinary arts and cultural communities. Visit the guide to Toronto’s culture scene

Media contacts:

Anne Shropshire
Exhibit & Outreach Technician

Steve Brearton
Community Bicycle Network



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