Toronto Archives showcases the rise of playgrounds in the city

News Oct 10, 2016 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

While it may be unthinkable today, a century ago, the streets of downtown Toronto were teeming with kids who were running around, playing and even working unattended as newsies or at other jobs.

That element of the city’s history is being highlighted in a new Toronto Archives exhibit titled 'From Streets to Playgrounds: Representing Children in Early 20th Century Toronto.'

The exhibit combines historic photos from Arthur Goss and William James, artifacts and videos to offer a look at social conditions in neighbourhoods like The Ward in the downtown core.

Produced in collaboration with the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, Streets to Playgrounds provides a glimpse at a long-forgotten piece of Toronto’s history.

“It’s about children in public spaces, and because I come from a social work background, I wanted to look at a low-income part of Toronto,” said Adrienne Chambon, who headed up the project. “The Ward was a community full of immigrants and there are a lot of photos of the neighbourhood that show children everywhere.

“There weren’t really playgrounds at the time, so the street was a continuation of your house.”

Some of the photos in the exhibit have been “animated” to offer an immersive, three-dimensional glimpse into street life those days. An updated version of one of the photos taken in modern times reflects how much the area has changed since the 1910s.

“You wouldn’t imagine children in the street these days, but then they owned the streets – it was their space,” Chambon said.

Of course, the issue of kids on the streets changed with the advent of playgrounds back in the 1910s. J.J. Kelso, who first established Toronto’s Children’s Aid Society, was a leader in helping to bring about the phenomenon, though many at the time felt playgrounds served another purpose as well.

“There was an impetus to get kids off the streets so they could be monitored more and their health could be watched more closely,” said Vid Ingelevics, another of the exhibit’s organizers. “There was a thought for some that kids, particularly in poorer neighbourhoods, could be spreading diseases.”

Streets to Playgrounds will run at the City of Toronto Archives building, 255 Spadina Rd., through August, 2017.

Toronto Archives showcases the rise of playgrounds in the city

News Oct 10, 2016 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

While it may be unthinkable today, a century ago, the streets of downtown Toronto were teeming with kids who were running around, playing and even working unattended as newsies or at other jobs.

That element of the city’s history is being highlighted in a new Toronto Archives exhibit titled 'From Streets to Playgrounds: Representing Children in Early 20th Century Toronto.'

The exhibit combines historic photos from Arthur Goss and William James, artifacts and videos to offer a look at social conditions in neighbourhoods like The Ward in the downtown core.

Produced in collaboration with the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, Streets to Playgrounds provides a glimpse at a long-forgotten piece of Toronto’s history.

“It’s about children in public spaces, and because I come from a social work background, I wanted to look at a low-income part of Toronto,” said Adrienne Chambon, who headed up the project. “The Ward was a community full of immigrants and there are a lot of photos of the neighbourhood that show children everywhere.

“There weren’t really playgrounds at the time, so the street was a continuation of your house.”

Some of the photos in the exhibit have been “animated” to offer an immersive, three-dimensional glimpse into street life those days. An updated version of one of the photos taken in modern times reflects how much the area has changed since the 1910s.

“You wouldn’t imagine children in the street these days, but then they owned the streets – it was their space,” Chambon said.

Of course, the issue of kids on the streets changed with the advent of playgrounds back in the 1910s. J.J. Kelso, who first established Toronto’s Children’s Aid Society, was a leader in helping to bring about the phenomenon, though many at the time felt playgrounds served another purpose as well.

“There was an impetus to get kids off the streets so they could be monitored more and their health could be watched more closely,” said Vid Ingelevics, another of the exhibit’s organizers. “There was a thought for some that kids, particularly in poorer neighbourhoods, could be spreading diseases.”

Streets to Playgrounds will run at the City of Toronto Archives building, 255 Spadina Rd., through August, 2017.

Toronto Archives showcases the rise of playgrounds in the city

News Oct 10, 2016 by Justin Skinner City Centre Mirror

While it may be unthinkable today, a century ago, the streets of downtown Toronto were teeming with kids who were running around, playing and even working unattended as newsies or at other jobs.

That element of the city’s history is being highlighted in a new Toronto Archives exhibit titled 'From Streets to Playgrounds: Representing Children in Early 20th Century Toronto.'

The exhibit combines historic photos from Arthur Goss and William James, artifacts and videos to offer a look at social conditions in neighbourhoods like The Ward in the downtown core.

Produced in collaboration with the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, Streets to Playgrounds provides a glimpse at a long-forgotten piece of Toronto’s history.

“It’s about children in public spaces, and because I come from a social work background, I wanted to look at a low-income part of Toronto,” said Adrienne Chambon, who headed up the project. “The Ward was a community full of immigrants and there are a lot of photos of the neighbourhood that show children everywhere.

“There weren’t really playgrounds at the time, so the street was a continuation of your house.”

Some of the photos in the exhibit have been “animated” to offer an immersive, three-dimensional glimpse into street life those days. An updated version of one of the photos taken in modern times reflects how much the area has changed since the 1910s.

“You wouldn’t imagine children in the street these days, but then they owned the streets – it was their space,” Chambon said.

Of course, the issue of kids on the streets changed with the advent of playgrounds back in the 1910s. J.J. Kelso, who first established Toronto’s Children’s Aid Society, was a leader in helping to bring about the phenomenon, though many at the time felt playgrounds served another purpose as well.

“There was an impetus to get kids off the streets so they could be monitored more and their health could be watched more closely,” said Vid Ingelevics, another of the exhibit’s organizers. “There was a thought for some that kids, particularly in poorer neighbourhoods, could be spreading diseases.”

Streets to Playgrounds will run at the City of Toronto Archives building, 255 Spadina Rd., through August, 2017.