Photographers in the city archives

Bill James is kneeling at right.
Other subjects include Frank
O’Byrne (fourth from left in group),
Charlie Roos (centre, with dark
camera), Ren Roos (with Fox News
camera), and Roy Tash (standing at
extreme right).

Toronto. We often wonder (at least I do) how people lived a century ago; how the city looked back then; who was in power; what jobs prevailed. Some of the answers exist in our archives thanks to photographers and historians who anticipated our interests in the distant future.

City archives is slowly digitizing their extensive fonds and putting them online showing how people and places looked before we were born.

George Dunbar, is researching the archives for evidence of photographers from long ago, names that have become famous as we have grown more history conscious.

Here is one such example. It shows a group of photographers – still and movie – ┬árecording the provincially famous at Queen’s Park in the city in 1914, perhaps on the outbreak of the World War. Many names are familiar to PHSC members today from sources including our own journal: people like William James, the Roos, and of course Roy Tash, the subject of an article in our journal.

The photographers of that era had many things in common – all wore hats; ┬ácameras were big; film media was slow; all used tripods or held their cameras braced and steady; and those taking photographs and movies out-numbered those being recorded for history!

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