If you look up the definition of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne, you will probably see a photo of the Hamilton GO Centre. Clean lines, steel and limestone, glass, and a typeface speak to the future view of the 1930s. The GO Centre is the station that inspired my love of art deco and the look and feels of the graphics for this project, especially the font choice. For almost the entire time that the city of Hamilton has had rail service, most services were outside the city’s downtown core. First with the Great Western Railway and then later Grand Trunk. Despite being the biggestRead More →

We’re used to modern multi-element, multi-group lenses regarding optics. But it hasn’t always been that way; some of the earliest cameras used only a single element. But this often caused quality issues, so adding a second element limited the effects of chromatic and spherical aberration. The earliest applications of these Achromat lenses were in telescopes that trace back to the 18th Century. But Charles Chevalier’s (a noted name in early photographic optics) creation of his Daguerrotype Achromat lens changed the face of photography in those pioneering days. While Chevalier’s lenses are still sought by modern wet and dry plate photographers for us who shoot film,Read More →

Sitting as the main building at the Fort Erie Railway Station, the former station that once served the village of Ridgeway is a prime example of Grand Trunk’s plan to modernise the railway at the start of the 20th Century. It is also interesting that a village as small as Ridgeway would warrant such a large station. The railway first came to Ridgeway thanks to Brantford, Hamilton and the Great Western Railway. As a result, the Buffalo, Brantford & Goderich Railway, which eventually became the Buffalo & Lake Huron Railway despite its financial instability through the first half of the 1850s, finally reached Paris, OntarioRead More →

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years today since I married my best friend. I don’t often put a lot of my personal life here on my blog, but today is a special day so it deserves something special. And since photography has always intertwined in my relationship with my wife it only makes sense to put it here on our fifth wedding anniversary. I guess it all started on a rainy day in Arras. So today I present a set of photos from the past five years of our marriage and the adventures we have had together! And while we haven’t been ableRead More →

Ever since the invention of the automobile and aeroplane, the way people moved changed rapidly. Henry Ford’s Model T put the dream of a personal car within reach; improvements in planes through the inter-war period into World War Two and the post-war period allowed long-distance travel at an even faster rate. While steam motive power continued to drive many railroad operators through the war, the rise of diesel began to reshape even the train industry. Through the war, fuel and material shortages spiked passenger train services, but even now, those were starting to decline. It became clear that the golden age of rail had comeRead More →

In about three decades, the railway in Ontario had grown from a small collection of operators to the principal means of moving people and cargo around the Province and, by extension, Canada. But the one thing that it still lacked was a complete link across the entire length of British North America. While some efforts had been made in 1873, the resulting scandal ousted the MacDonald conservatives, and the new Liberal Government made some efforts to start the construction in 1875. Despite completing 1,000 kilometres of track by the time they were voted out in 1878, not enough had been done. MacDonald returned to power,Read More →

History is far more complicated. And when it comes to the history of the railroad in Ontario, there are many more moving parts to the story than most people think. The history of the railroad does not begin in the 19th Century; rather, the events of the early 19th Century are simply a culmination of a vast array of the human need to improve our own mobility beyond that of our own two feet or the control and domestication of animals. As I am fond of saying, there has to be context to understand. While this is not the furthest I’ve gone back in time,Read More →

When it comes past projects related to history which I have written, the foundations of the events which I planned to explore are relatively modern happening some three to two hundred years in the past. A small drop in the bucket of the history of our planet. But when it comes to the Welland Canal, the foundations of that canal take place in the dark distances of prehistory. The need for a canal across the Niagara Peninsula is related to a massive limestone cliff that cuts across the modern province of Ontario known today as the Niagara Escarpment. Today the cliff runs from the NiagaraRead More →

Here we are, there is always a certain bittersweetness about completing a project. And for me, this one was an eye-opener. It challenged not only my world view but my view of my own country and our history. But that is what history is supposed to do, challenge us to learn from the past and see how we can change the future. And here is the trouble with history, we can only see it through the eyes of those who wrote it and our personal bias. And trust me, it is hard to overcome your own bias. But the biggest problem with history that isRead More →

One of the first History courses I took in High School was Canada in the 20th Century. Most Canadian history texts that are used in schools start at this point. And there’s no surprise. As a nation, Canada came into its own in the 20th Century. Many point the crucible of World War One as the focal point. Others state the post World War Two era leading up to the 100th Anniversary of Confederation. But everything that happened in the 20th Century built on what happened before and the sins of the past were going to come back to haunt. As Canada emerged from theRead More →