Canada’s cities and provinces have a wealth of old photos and art, yours for the searching.
Buttonville Airport 1960 aerial photo Buttonville Airport 1960. Photo: Northway/Photomap/Remote Sensing Ltd.

Looking back is fun. I arrived in Toronto from Montreal in 1959, In the Sixties, I remember that a drive from my home in Bathurst Manor to Buttonville airport with my kids was an outing. A genuine event. Buttonville was out in farm country north of Toronto.

Buttonville Airport 1960 aerial photo

Buttonville Airport 1960. Photo: Northway/Photomap/Remote Sensing Ltd.

Now the airport is being overwhelmed by growth. A mixed-use development may replace it in the near future.

Buttonville Airport 2017. Photo: Courtesy Google Maps

Arial photo Buttonville Airport 2017. Photo: Courtesy Google Maps

What about your Toronto? Or your home town?

The Toronto Archives are so rich, looking back can fill days. Just to get you started, enjoy the old photos the archivists have chosen as their own favorites – Toronto Archives’ own favorite photos.

One of their choices: the Bloor Street Viaduct, under construction 100 years ago! Here’s their 1917 archival photo:

Photo: Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, looking east, July 18, 1917

Photo: Bloor Street Viaduct, looking east, July 18, 1917
City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub-series 10, Item 841

Photo: Bloor Street Viaduct, looking east, July 18, 1917
City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub-series 10, Item 841

Today, the viaduct, properly called the Prince Edward Viaduct, brings together a much different Toronto:

Prince Edward Viaduct System, commonly referred to as the Bloor Viaduct,

Prince Edward Viaduct System, commonly referred to as the Bloor Viaduct, photo courtesy Paul Dexxus

Having whetted your appetite, you can learn everything there is to know about the Archives of Toronto here.

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Find your home town’s archive and rekindle memories of your childhood.

What if you feel like looking back to Winnipeg? I’m sure you’d recognize this photos of the Bank of Montreal building at Portage and Main (above), taken in the late Thirties.

Bank of Montreal building at Portage and Main

Bank of Montreal building at Portage and Main Photo courtesy of Photo: Archives of Manitoba, C.1938

I’m also pretty sure that famous corner looks more like this to you:

Bank of Montreal, Main and Portage. Photo courtesy Google Street View

Bank of Montreal, Main and Portage. Photo courtesy Google Street View

Or was your home province British Columbia? Well then, while away a little time in the Archives of the Royal B.C. Museum.

Halifax, you say? Do a little looking back in the Municipal Archives of Halifax.

The aerial photo of Halifax Municipal Airport, below, brought back memories of my first flight, a trip to Halifax to visit an aunt. I noticed the tower of the Dingle in the background. If I remember correctly, we used to go to the beach there. I was about ten, shortly after the end of WWII.

Aerial Photo: Halifax Municipal Archives photographic collection CR 6-077o/s by Atlantic Air Survey

Aerial Photo: Halifax Municipal Archives photographic collection CR 6-077o/s by Atlantic Air Survey

I couldn’t recognize it. Can you? The photo was made between 1931 and 1945.

I tried to match the view in the photo to the area on Google Earth.

Old Halifax Airport today, image courtesy of Google Maps

Old Halifax Airport today, image courtesy of Google Maps

Wherever you may be from, in Canada or elsewhere, there’s an archive (or several) that can fill your day with adventure and recollections. Just to show you, how about the archives of Liverpool, England?

Looking back isn’t only for photos.

All the archives can help you trace your family’s history if they lived somewhere and owned property or paid taxes, had children or passed away. There’s a record of everything recordable!

So start your time traveling ASAP. The time capsule departs any time you’re ready.

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