Constructing Beauty: The Photographs Documenting the Construction of the Bloor Viaduct

  • Anastasia Rodgers


This article is a case study that focuses on selected photographs taken by the late City of Toronto photographer Arthur S. Goss which document the construction of the Bloor Viaduct. The paper considers the importance of the political/bureaucratic context in which the photographs were taken and how this knowledge may affect the interpretation and appreciation of the photographic narrative. This paper contends that the City of Toronto's civic agenda in creating this photographic series -- to record construction progress and illustrate the growth of the City -- is just one part of the entire narrative, and it is when archivists and researchers take the functional context of creation into consideration that they can use the photographs for supplying a part of the story most effectively.

Cet article est une étude de cas mettant l'accent sur une sélection de photographies prises par le défunt Arthur S. Goss, photographe de la ville de Toronto, et portant sur la construction du viaduc Bloor. L'auteure examine l'importance du contexte politique et bureaucratique entourant la prise des photographies et se demande comment cette connaissance peut modifier l'interprétation et la compréhension de la narration du récit photographique. L'article soutient que l'objectif de la ville de Toronto en créant la série de photographies, c'est-à-dire documenter le progrès de la construction et illustrer la croissance de la ville, ne reflète qu'une partie du récit des faits et que ce n'est que quand les archivistes et les chercheurs prennent en compte le contexte fonctionnel de la création que les photographies peuvent le mieux être utilisées pour éclairer une partie de l'histoire.

Author Biography

Anastasia Rodgers
Anastasia Rodgers is an Archivist at the Archives of Ontario in the portfolio responsible for photographs and documentary art. Prior to accepting a position at the AO, she was the Archivist at the National Office of the YMCA in Canada. She is currently finishing her Master’s of Information Studies, specializing in Archives, at the Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto, and will graduate in the spring of 2003. She is an incoming member of the ACA Public Awareness Committee.
How to Cite
Rodgers, Anastasia. 2002. “Constructing Beauty: The Photographs Documenting the Construction of the Bloor Viaduct”. Archivaria 54 (January), 72-91.