The Magic Assembling: Metropolitan Toronto Storefronts and Street Scenes

The Magic Assembling: Metropolitan Toronto Storefronts and Street Scenes showed how immigration affected the streets of Toronto. Professor Robert F. Harney, founder and Academic Director of the MHSO, believed that “No great North American city can be understood without being studied as a city of immigrants, of newcomers and their children, as a destination of myriad group and individual migration projects.” Harney worked to increase understanding of the tangible impact of immigration. With this in mind, he commissioned a number of photographers, including David Coleman, Michael McMahon, and Vincenzo Pietropaolo, to document urban storefronts and street scenes in Toronto. Some of the results of the photographic work he directed were compiled into exhibits that were displayed in the MHSO gallery. An updated and enhanced version of a 1991 exhibit, The Magic Assembling: Metropolitan Toronto Storefronts and Street Scenes, was mounted, from February 1993 to May 1994, at the City of Toronto Archives. A website with images and associated articles can still be accessed. Culinaria, a University of Toronto Scarborough multidisciplinary research and community engagement initiative, is currently using the MHSO photographs in its ‘Mapping Scarborough’s Chinatown’ project.

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The Magic Assembling