Toronto. My friend George Dunbar sent me an email recently with this massive image of a group photo taken here at the University of Toronto in 1913 of attendees to the International Geological Congress by the Dominion Photo Co., Toronto Can.
I wondered why the conference was held in Toronto and why it was put online at the UBC Library Archives in Vancouver BC. This lead me to do a bit of research.
Firstly, the Dominion Photo Co is not a Toronto firm. According to Memory BC, a website associated with the Vancouver Public Library (VPL), “The Dominion Photo Company was a commercial photography firm established in Vancouver in 1914 by Percy Bentley. The company was involved in photojournalism, theatre slides, timber surveying photographs, police photography, postcards, amateur developing and printing, commercial/industrial work, and portraiture.”
Interesting note, but just above it the site shows, “Dominion Photo Company (1871-1944)”.
The photo online has a size of 6516×4972 pixels! It was created by scanning a 25cm x 34cm (about 9.5 x 13 inches) print from the M.Y. Williams fonds. In comparison, my new iMac 5k screen, one of the highest resolutions available today, is only 5120×2880 pixels so the photographer must have used a large plate and a large view camera.
Secondly, who are these folk? In 1875, at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (I joined the AAAS briefly in the early 1960s when it met in Montreal) it was decided to consider an International Geological Congress (IGC). And the first congress was held in Paris France three years later. The only Toronto meeting of the IGC was held for a few days in August 1913. A second Canadian congress was held in Montreal in 1972. The IGC continues to this day, held world wide every few years.