our city’s first photographer

Poverty in the Ward
Arthur S Goss 1913
click to enlarge

Toronto. The Saturday, March 3rd Globe and Mail had an interesting article (A little girl in Toronto lost to history – and now found) about discovery of the identity of a child photographer by Arthur Goss while on assignment to record the extreme poverty in the city’s area called the Ward – right across from city hall!

This got me thinking about one of my favourite photographers – Arthur S Goss. I remember chasing down some of his photos at the Toronto Archives which were at city hall in those days. The article appeared in our journal Photographic Canadiana (12-3) as Arthur S. Goss – City Photographer –  Toronto’s City Photographer, 1911-1940.  The article, written by Victor Russel and Linda Price of the City of Toronto Archives complemented a Market Gallery exhibition of his work in the period March – May 1980. We published the article and photos the end of 1986 when Douglas Gilbertson was the editor and Larry Boccioletti was our president. The next issue, 12-4 included a brief Oops correcting a paragraph we accidentally modified in the original.

Goss was given many topics over the years – poverty, TB sanataria, the Bloor Viaduct, etc. bringing art to the rather pedestrian tasks he was assigned to record. He was not only the first city photographer but one of the longest running.

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