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The Peter MacCallum fonds

The Peter MacCallum fonds at the Media Commons Archives consists of 40 black and white silver print photographs, as well as textual materials related to the Massey Hall Project. The digital images were also donated by MacCallum, and the complete fonds is stored at the Media Commons Archives in Robarts Library.

The fonds includes a total of 12 series; 10 series of photographs which can now be browsed on the Massey Hall Project page, as well as books, research, and digital images.

The three books in the collection reveal some of MacCallum's influences on the subject of Toronto urban photography, and we will delve further into these insights below.


Arthur Goss

One of the books in the collection was Arthur Goss: Selected Photographs. Arthur Goss was appointed as the City Photographer of Toronto in 1911. As an employee of the City’s Public Works Department, Goss documented the activities of all the City’s departments and agencies. He captured the cramped and unsanitary conditions of the Toronto's Ward neighbourhood in a series of 1914 photographs for the public health board. Goss' work is now cared for by the City of Toronto Archives, in the "Department of Public Works photographs" series in the "Former City of Toronto" fonds.


Slum interior, occupied - City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 32, Item 246


Toronto's Theatre Architecture

The second book in the fonds was Toronto's Theatre Block: An Architectural History by Paul Dilse. Peter MacCallum was the photographer for the Toronto Theatre Block project. Published in 1989 by the Toronto Region Architectural Conservatory, this book includes a detailed record of downtown Toronto's notable theatre block, with plans and photographs of buildings such as Massey Hall, the Elgin and Wintergarden Theatres, former banks, and the former Heritage Toronto offices. This resource is available through the University of Toronto Libraries.  

VI-1-1.JPG VI-1-2-.JPG VI-2-3.JPG VI-1-4.JPG

Victoria Street from the Theatre Block panorama of 1987 (Peter MacCallum)


Tadashi Kawamata

Kawamata: Toronto Project, 1989 was an outdoor public artwork by contemporary Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata, who is best known for his sculptural installations. This installation was located at the former Colonial Tavern Park on Yonge Street, focusing on the vacant space between the two adjacent buildings. The work also included an exhibition at Mercer Union's centre for contemporary art, featuring the artist's large-scale maquettes and three-dimensional working drawings. The catalogue on the project is available to borrow through the University of Toronto Libraries.

KAW-4,1989.JPG 16.KAW-8, 1989.JPG 15.KAW-5, 1989.JPG

Kawamata: Toronto Project, 1989 (Peter MacCallum)



ACO. (1989). Toronto's Theatre Block: An Architectural History. 

CBC. (2017). How shocking photos transformed Toronto's poorest neighbourhood.

City of Toronto Archives. (1980). Arthur S. Goss City Photographer Toronto's City Photographer, 1911-1940.

Flack, P. (2012). The Toronto photographs of Arthur Moss. BlogTO.

Mercer Union. (1989). Kawamata : Toronto Project, 1989. 

The Peter MacCallum fonds