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A picture of us: A century’s worth of painstakingly curated photos tell tales of the city

Stephen Bulger, the gallery owner and co-founder of the Contact Photography Festival, has been actively collecting photographs of Toronto for the past 15 years at auctions, in antique shops, from pickers who find quality snaps at garage sales, or directly from the photographers themselves. With his current show, Bulger, a native son, wanted to express his enthusiasm for a city that has survived everything from revolutionary war to cholera epidemics to the Great Fire to amalgamation, getting better all the while. And photography has kept track of that history. Louis Daguerre announced his development of a chemical process for capturing images in 1839, when Toronto had just turned five. As a result, our civic album starts, more or less, at the beginning. The Toronto Show is an unabashed mash note delivered via some 50 images, vintage and contemporary. Our city presents as seedy and stolid and rambunctious and glisteningly ready for a future that is, thankfully, never quite predictable. See the slide show »

ART
The Toronto Show
Jan. 20 to Feb. 26, Stephen Bulger Gallery