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March 3, 2009
Toronto Archives book launch celebrates the City’s 175th anniversary
As part of the 175th Anniversary celebrations in the City Hall rotunda on March 6, Mayor David Miller and the Archives will launch the City's commemorative book entitled Toronto's Visual Legacy: Official City Photography from 1856 to the Present. The launch will take place between 5 and 6 p.m.

The book will be on sale that day from noon to 9 p.m. City Hall will be transformed by 25 images from the book -- images greatly enlarged and suspended over the rotunda. In addition to that impressive display, more photographs from the book will be exhibited on panels in the rotunda.

Toronto's Visual Legacy is based on the Archives’ extensive photographic holdings and tells the story of the City’s use of photography. This book provides an impressive and visually rich history of 140 years of urban development, municipal initiatives and major civic events.

In 1857, as part of its bid to convince officials in Britain to select Toronto as the capital of the Province of Canada, the City acquired a set of photographs, 13 of which show a panoramic view of the young city’s downtown. These fascinating images mark the beginning of the use of photographs to document Toronto’s growth, its achievements, its great civic works and its citizenry.

Over the years, official City photographers documented the city’s changing infrastructure and its fine public buildings, many of them familiar landmarks today, including the Bloor Street Viaduct, the R.C. Harris water filtration plant, and the old and new city halls.

At times, in an effort to raise public concern about poverty and poor housing conditions, the photographer documented conditions of residents in neighbourhoods such as the Ward. Some of these photographs are included in the book in an impressive series of poignant images.

For more information, call 416-397-5000 or visit

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Karen Teeple, City Archivist, 416-397-7393,
Steve MacKinnon, Archivist, 416-397-4568,
Michele Dale, Supervisor, Collections Management & Standards, 416-397-7975,



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