A walk in the park

Heritage York Poster
Humber talk

Toronto. Joy Cohnstaedt wrote me recently about the presentation “Walk the Six West: History on the Humber”. This talk and show will be of interest to everyone, especially to those living in the west end of Toronto near the Humber river. The event was written up recently in the Villager – a local newspaper covering the Bloor West Village and Parkdale communities.

I learned from genealogy rersearch that history and geography are important. Historic processes and photographers must be put in context to appreciate the challenges they faced.

Joy writes, “On August 5th a free theatrical experience takes place in Étienne Brûlé Park. Walk along the historic Humber River to encounter Pauline Johnson, Tom Thomson, Joshua Glover, Geraldine Moodie, Sir William Pearce Howland, Mrs. Brown, Anne Leung, and A. B. Rice as presented by Ars Musica, Cheri Maracle, Mixed Company Theatre, Neil Ross and Sara Moyle.

“Heritage York, in collaboration with partner organizations Swansea Historical Society, West Toronto Junction Historical Society, Etobicoke Historical Society, York Pioneer and Historical Society, and Sunnyside Historical Society, with financial support provided by the Government of Ontario through its Ontario 150 Community presents Walk the Six West: History on the Humber.

“To register for free tickets please visit our event link here:


Information: www.pvhs.info/historyonthehumber/ or call (647) 675-1792″

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Have you heard?

Toronto. Word on the street is that we will be joining PhotoEd magazine to participate in this fall’s annual celebration of books

The book & magazine festival will take place on Sunday, September 24, 2017 down at the Harbourfront Centre from 11 am to 6 pm. Come down and enjoy the books, authors, and excitement in Toronto’s usually balmy fall weather.


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It’s a dog’s world out there…

Just Second Place!
Globe Archives September 28, 1964

Toronto. Recently the Globe and Mail opened its massive news archive to its subscribers in celebration of Canada’s 150th.

This photograph was shot back on September 28th, 1964 at the Scarborough kennel show by Harry McLorinan of the Globe. It features a sad Buffalo NY owner and his Afghan hound when they learned they had finished second in the show.

I mentioned the archive in a post nearly a month ago on June 25th of this year.

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A sign of the times 21 years later

Summer 1996 photograph by “Goldie” with an Eaton’s store in the background. Three years later the Eaton’s chain was gone.

Toronto. My thanks to George Dunbar who reminded me about the site Urban Toronto. On that site using the nom de plume “Goldie”, George posts many of his personal photographs. As many of you may know, the long retired gentleman was once the industrial photographer for IBM Canada.

This photo taken July 1st in 1996 shows the nearly vacant parking lot of a local plaza on the Canada Day holiday.  Sadly the photo also shows an Eaton’s store. The once famous Canadian department store chain first entered bankruptcy protection a year later in 1997 and died two years later in 1999.

When George snapped this happy youth skate-boading in the empty mall parking lot, the Eaton’s store in the background had only a year to survive. When the grand old name finally folded there was much discussion about the fact that family businesses rarely survive the third generation after the founder since his (her) business acumen would have been seriously diluted in the grand children.

I was once at Eaton Hall for a seminar and earlier, an uncle of mine worked there during a renovation. As a kid I helped a friend research the Eaton steamer built in 1904 by the Toronto Iron Works and used by the family in the Lake of Bays region of Muskoka.

The old family-run photographic businesses seemed to suffer a similar fate. Bottom line: a professionally managed company has a better chance of survival and growth than one run by emotionally attached family members.

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Annie, get your gun

Annie Leibovitz (right) and her famous photo of Demi Moore at the  Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2006. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Toronto. My friend (don’t know what this site would do without his terrific input) George Dunbar writes, “This CBC news story regarding Annie Leibovitz and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia should certainly interest PHSC members.”

Annie was one of my favourite photographers a few years back. When we had our store on Bloor, I can remember seeing her then shocking cover photograph of a very pregnant Demi Moore displayed on a local newsstand.

I was sad to learn that her exceptional photographs were mired in a CRA battle over cultural value and tax implications and may never see the Halifax daylight as intended.

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A Broken Arrow and Photography

Toronto. In the late 1950s as I sat on a runway waiting for takeoff, the pilot announced that we could look out a cabin window and see the famous Avro Arrow about to take off. I was thrilled to see the tiny pointed machine in action. It was a shock when a short time later our Prime Minister, John G Diefenbaker, killed the entire project.

The project and all the models and aircraft were literally taken off the face of the earth. Over the years one story or another would announce the efforts underway to raise an aircraft said to be at the bottom of Lake Ontario.

My good friend George Dunbar suggested the CBC link shown here and the idea of researching a photographer associated with Avro Arrow project. The recent (July 14th)  CBC News article raised the question again about finding and raising one of the Arrows but with a greater probability of success using modern technology. Part of the article covered the photographer 83 year old Jack Hurst who first joined the Avro Arrow project when he was 17. Continue reading

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Graflex Journal Issue 2 for 2017 published

10 year old Maxine Sullivan on a Melbourne beach in the 1960s

Toronto. East coast American Graflex affectionado Ken Metcalf deserves a round of applause for his attractive and informative quarterly “Graflex Journal” which is offered free in pdf format.

In his latest issue, 2-17, Ken provides a photo essay by our friend George Dunbar of Graflex advertisements. The lead article reviews the first 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 Graflex and its range of lenses. The smaller camera allows smaller sensitive material to be used and prints made by enlargement.

Take a look at the interesting articles Ken has compiled of the second issue of 2017.

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Come Fly with me – Falcon 1946 Ad

Falcon Camera c1946. Click camera to see the LIFE magazine ad.

Toronto. The other day my friend George Dunbar sent me an ad from a June, 1946 issue of LIFE magazine. For many years various vendors offered this and similar cameras to attendees at our fairs. The cheap plastic cameras used readily available 127 film so they could be used or collected.

George’s ad brought back memories of the days after the war when these cameras let an owner pretend to be using a miniature 35mm camera instead of what was basically a box camera dressed up as a more desirable minicam. There are lots of details about Falcon cameras on the web. For example, Camerapedia has this article on the American Falcon miniature camera.

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Monkeying About with Selfies

Selfie taken by a Macaque Monkey for photographer David Slater back in 2011

Toronto. My thanks once again to the curiosity of George Dunbar who awakened my interest in this article from the Guardian. You may remember photographer David Slater. Back in 2011 David spent many hours training monkeys to keep their eyes open and snap a photo with his camera. This particular selfie by a macaque proved to be very popular and David initially earned some good money from its use.

To his dismay, the image was considered public domain by Techdirt  and Wikipedia. His lengthy fight over ownership of the image resulted in him being sued in 2015 by the macaque over copyright ownership (actually “People for Ethical Treatment of Animals – PETA” filed the suit on behalf of the monkey). Impoverished by the legal costs, David is ready to pack it in and become a dog walker!

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Have you ever seen a Portrama?

A Portrama Polaroid camera sold in Germany.

Toronto.  Have you ever heard about or seen a strange  Polaroid camera called the Portrama? I had a call the other day from John Linsky, one PHSC’s founders. John found this odd looking camera at our trunk sale last Sunday.

After a lot of unproductive Google searches, John found the site CATAWIKI which lists items for auction. The site listed the owner as AARTS POLAROID which is the user name chosen by Aart Schippers of Driethe Netherlands.

You can see more photos of this camera here. It is also called a Happy Card camera. If you insert four 35mm slides in the camera using its special tray. Perhaps they appear on your portrait.

One site said it uses Polaroid Spectra 339 film (ISO 600, 3-5/8 inches by 2-7/8 inches).  Another site claims it uses 1200 film – same speed and measurements as 339 film. Neither film (339 or 1200) is available today…

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