Then and Now: Wallace Ave. Footbridge Deck

Here is the latest in the series of "Then and Now" photos. Do you have any old photos of this neighbourhood? Please feel free to get in touch if you're willing to share them!

This photo from 1916, taken on the Wallace Ave. Bridge, is one of my favourites from the City of Toronto Archives. It's pretty simple, and doesn't actually show all that much of our neighbourhood, but it has this great quality of instantly-recognizable timelessness plus a view back on a different era. It's not the kind of photo that one might expect to take. Wooden planks and anonymous legs/feet? But I guess someone in the City of Toronto's Department of Public Works felt the need to document this piece of local infrastructure, so the photo was born.

So, back in January this year, I brought my camera, tripod, and willing companion up to the bridge to try to re-create it. Maybe someone else can do the same in another 94 years from now. I hope the bridge is still around then.

The modern version of this photo was also featured on a postcard sent out to all neighbourhood homes earlier this year as part of the Fuzzy Boundaries neighbourhood naming initiative.

May 11 1916: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200  Series 372, Subseries 84, Item 213May 11 1916: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200 Series 372, Subseries 84, Item 213

January 23 2010: Photo by Vic GedrisJanuary 23 2010: Photo by Vic Gedris


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Nice foot work!

I have a sneaky suspicion the 1916 photo we are seeing is of tripping hazards on the bridge (ie worn out planks).

Great shot!


Public Works

Yup, that could be it. There are many photos in the archives documenting flaws in City infrastructure, homes that are falling apart, etc. So this could have been taken to document those gaps in the bridge. Some recent additions to the archives show cracked sidewalks on Wallace Ave., and broken asphalt on Perth Ave. doesn't look that bad in the photo, and in 1916 the bridge was only about 8 years old, I think.