transparent history

Elm trees in the fall on William Street. Taken on transparency film over 60 years ago.

Toronto. We think of history as the distant past. Not necessarily so. Slides, or colour transparencies taken by amateurs can sometimes be an historic record beyond the intended audience of the immediate family.

The slide here shows a hilly street I once knew. I took this shot over 60 years ago as fall was in the air with the leaves still (mostly) on the trees although no longer their deep green hue. The street may still be there, but the trees are most likely gone by now.

As a kid, I borrowed a friend’s sister’s bicycle for a ride. Zooming down this hill, I decided to try the brakes before I reached the first stop sign. To my dismay, the brakes were very poor and the bike hardly slowed its speed. Rather than risk hitting or being hit by a vehicle on the cross street, I swerved into the ditch stopping abruptly between the stop sign and the edge of the ditch with no lasting damage to either bike or person.

Now, over six decades later, the slide has taken on some historical interest beyond me and my family of the day (other than me, all have departed for better times better places …). It may be one of the few remaining photos of the once graceful trees and hill. Something to think about the next time you have an urge to trash some old slides.

Speaking of which, drop by our free Trunk Sale on July 16th. You may just find some  slides, film, cameras or lenses to complement your collection or passion for taking photos!

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