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March 6, 2009
Celebrating today by looking at the past City photography exhibit takes Torontonians back in time
John and Fiona McGrachan walked back through time as they toured a collection of City Archive photographs along the walls and display boards of the City Hall Rotunda.

“We came here (moved from Scotland) in ’64 when City Hall was being built,” said Fiona. “We like seeing the photographs from the ’60s. We remember it (the era) well.”

The Scarborough couple met in Toronto. Fiona eventually worked in the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower and was able to see photos of the building from the time, while John had a close look at an image of the R.C. Harris water filtration plant. He had involvement with it years ago when he worked for the provincial environment ministry.

“The architecture jumps out at you and the building is near the beaches. The view is fantastic,” John said. “You get great drinking water from that facility. It’s ‘A’ quality.”

The photos on display are in the City’s commemorative book launched at the event, 'Toronto’s Visual Legacy: Official City Photography from 1856 to the Present'. It is based on the extensive photographic holdings of the City's Archives. Copies were on sale in the Rotunda, with Toronto’s Craig Hunter stopping to pick one up.

“I love books on the history of Toronto and thought I’d pick one up,” Hunter said. “I love looking at the history of Toronto, its evolution, because sometimes that gets lost.”

Out on Nathan Phillips Square, there was a bit of role reversal as Mayor David Miller played the role of photographer. Known for communicating over Twitter, the Mayor heard a group of students call out to him so he stopped them and had them pose for a photo with his phone camera. He then moved into a series of media interviews on the 175th celebrations.

It was Nina Schmidt’s Grade 7 class from Cosburn Middle School that posed for the Mayor. There was more fun on the square as her students checked out the many displays - from an antique horse-drawn fire wagon, to old ambulances from previous eras, to the police R.I.D.E. vehicle where one of her students jokingly asked to use the phone inside the vehicle. “The officer warned that was the one phone call he’d get,” Schmidt said.

Throughout the day the City will profile interesting, candid moments from the event. They will be written by Rob Andrusevich from the City's Strategic Communications Division. Rob is a former newspaper reporter.



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