Friday, May 5, 2017

Toronto Working Class and Immigrant Life 1910 - A Photographic Exposition

Rear of  Centre Avenue

This is a remarkable portfolio of photographs taken of Toronto in 1910 that was put out in the 1960s.

Unlike many photographic looks at the city's past, this one is not nostalgic or glamorous in anyway, but is rather a portrait of working class and immigrant life in the city.

Spare and revealing, they display a side of the city's history all too often forgotten.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Kitchen in Central Toronto

Kensington Avenue

Sewer Construction

Workers in a Barton Ave. Storm Overflow Sewer

Women's Dispensary, Seaton Street

 4 Dwelling Common Yard

Cellar Dwelling, Terauley Street

Immigrant Family

Macedonian Lodging House, Front Street

Bulgarian Lodging House, King St. E.

William Street (now Simcoe)

Immigrant Child

Virgin's Lane (runs into Cherry St.)

Unidentified Mission Hall

10 cent Lodging House on Front St. E.

Humber Valley

Rear of Chestnut St.

Front St.

Terauley St.

Measuring the Ice Depth in Humber River
(What a lousy job!)

Excavation, Yonge & Grosvenor Streets

Cheap Lodgings, Front St. E.

Bulgarian Lodging House, Front St. E. 

St. Clair Ave. W.

High Park

Toronto Island Filtration Plant Installation Site

The Humber Valley


  1. very reminiscent of the slums in industrial Britain at the time. The descriptions of how workers lived with their families are in a wonderful and shocking book by an amateur social worker, and a Fabian, Maud Pember Reeves called "Round About a Pound a Day." worth reading.

  2. i notice that the children are happy in picture number one. not beaten down by poverty===yet. reminds meof the old gaelic poem about a child born in prison. her mother is sad and depressed but the child know no other life and is happy. but also reminds me of the poor in nova scotia in the sixties. i went to school with kids who got ricketts and scurvy, especially in winter. almost no social services back then.