In Toronto, as with many places in the past few years, we’ve been undergoing a lot of gentrification. Much of the quirkiness, vibrancy and grittiness (yes, even Toronto has some grit) that make a city unique, are disappearing. In its place: steel, glass and $5 lattes.
To be sure, not everything that’s come along with development has been bad. And to a certain extent, a city is never 'finished' - it is a living breathing organism that's constantly changing. This churn is what lends a city a certain amount of it's vitality and makes it an interesting place to live. However, there have also been some changes, in recent years, that would have previously been unthinkable. For ages, I’ve put off photographing the Honest Ed’s store at the corner of Bathurst & Bloor. Either too many lights were out, or I’d left my camera at home, or the lighting wasn’t quite right that day, or, or, or. Moreover, I figured that that corner would always be the home of Honest Ed’s - so no need to rush. However, that opportunity has passed me by.
Those of you who didn’t grow up in the city may wonder why an eyesore would be so sorely missed…but no matter where you grew up, or live now, I’m sure you can think of a local landmark. A landmark that was once regarded as an untouchable institution - that’s now shuttered its doors. There isn’t anyone who has roots in this city, that doesn’t have some kind of memory about Honest Ed’s. And that’s how that corner of the city is preserved, in memory and in photographs. And a photograph can certainly outlive a memory and bring the past to life for future generations.
For those of you who live in Toronto, I would encourage you to follow this page or this one to read up on (and see!) the history of this city. Some of the photos are a marvel, simply because of the time that has passed between when they were made and now.
But more than having a resource to satiate your curiosity, don’t delay in documenting the world around you - wherever you are. You never know when you are making a picture, not only for yourself, but for posterity.
I would love to hear from my readers on what sources they use/follow to look up historical photographs (especially those of you who may not be in Toronto)! I’m always curious to learn about new places and interesting websites - so please share those in the comments.
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Bonus points if your read the title of this post to the tune of Stevie Wonder's Love's in Need of Love Today! You're in my head!