Kodak Canada down at the RIC

TorontoOur January 2019 meeting was a week later – 4th Wednesday – a couple of hours earlier – 6:00 pm – with no tables or chairs. Wayne was tied up so Clint generously drove Bob Lansdale and me to the meeting. It took 75 minutes to get there using the back streets for most of the way, arriving at the nearby parking garage on Victoria street off Dundas just a few short blocks from the RIC.

The PHSC sponsored one of the three exhibits opening January 23rd. It was a Ryerson Students exhibit of Kodak Canada artifacts selected from the vast collection held by the University’s archives. PHSC member, author, and photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo sent me this notice of the exhibition “True to the Eyes” in the main exhibition area.   

With Ed Warner unavailable that evening and the non arrival of Mark Singer, I thought I would have only my memory and some photos available. Then Mark suddenly arrived in heavy snow boots and a bright yellow coat looking every bit like an old Atlantic sailor in a violent Sou’Wester who had lost his hat in the gale. The night before, his part of the world (Orillia) had over a foot of snow fall making driving treacherous. Mark quickly set up his recording equipment at the podium. A few days later he sent me this recording of the speeches below.

Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi and crowd at the RIC – Courtesy of Robert Lansdale

In quick order the large crowd heard Mohamed Lachemi (above), President of Ryerson, the Tanenbaums (Howard and Carole) and Paul Roth, Director of the RIC. It was Paul who made mention of the contribution of the PHSC to the student exhibit on Kodak Canada. The majority of the talks – and rightly so – dwelt on the massive Tanenbaum exhibition in the main hall with photographs  from their huge image collection dating back to the earliest days of photography.

The students provided an excellent free booklet on their display done with the utmost professional work. There was some comment amongst our members as the title indicated “The Early Years (1899 – 1939)” while the textural essays in the booklet addressed the company policy as it would be viewed today without taking into account the mores and population profile of that era in Toronto and its surroundings (viz: overwhelmingly white, mostly male employees, trivial jobs for females, wage and job imbalances, etc. was the norm not the bias of one company).  PHSC offered free button mementos to visitors.

After the enthusiastic review of all three exhibits, Clint called an impromptu meeting and nearly a dozen of us (including representatives of both the ROM and Ryerson) met just a few doors down Yonge from the RIC at the “3 Brewers” restaurant.

select members of the PHSC, ROM, and Ryerson – Courtesy of Robert Lansdale

The return ride home included delivery of two people living in the west side of downtown, followed by another trip along back streets. It was a memorable evening at the RIC for our many members who attended this opening event (and our January meeting). 

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