Picturing the Ward Artwork

Artwork Inspired by Archaeology and Heirlooms

The Picturing the Ward exhibit features both life stories and contemporary artwork. Toronto-based artists PA System, an acclaimed artist duo, created the artwork, which includes images of artifacts recovered during IO’s archaeological excavation, as well as objects and family heirlooms contributed by former Ward residents and their descendants. The artists have used cyanotype, a turn-of-the-century photographic printing process resembling an X-ray to create this unique and exciting work.

From left to right: A hat mould uncovered from Lot 11 Chestnut Street (86/90 Chestnut Street), known to be the former location of the Fancy Hat & Cap Company (c. 1945-1955); An orange painted feather; A bronze horse sculpture made by Nelson Wong’s Uncle, Szeto Gie; A wire horse sculpture made by Nelson Wong; A comb from the dig uncovered from Lot 11 Centre Avenue (25 Centre Avenue), known to be a former Jewish working class residence with a wood frame dwelling.

From left to right: Miscellaneous glass medicinal bottles from the archaeological dig; A ring from the Rincover family; A miscellaneous glass bottle from the archaeological dig.

From left to right: A William Smith bible dictionary published in January 1884 that once belonged to Rosemary Sadlier’s grandmother, Clara “Rose” Smith. This book would have been important to Rosemary’s grandmother and to most at that time since Christianity and a thorough understanding of the tenets of the religion, as derived from the Bible, would have been common.  For Rosemary’s grandmother, as a member of the British Methodist Episcopal Church and a frequent visitor to the African Methodist Episcopal Church, she would have used this book to learn more the context of scriptures. It is common in the Methodist practice for those who are not ordained to receive training so as to serve as lay pastors and it would start with Sunday school.  Rosemary suspects that her grandmother was likely a Sunday School teacher and may have also used this book to teach Rosemary’s mother.  The fact that her mother still had the book, and others, also speaks to the importance and reverence that existed for books – they were to be kept and cherished for a lifetime; An orange-painted bookmark; Miscellaneous glass bottles from a privy on Lot 9 Centre Avenue (17 Centre Avenue, a Jewish/Irish working class household), including a late 19th–early 20th century medicinal bottle marked J.R. LEE DRUGGIST TORONTO ONT., and a glass violin bottle which may be a carnival or salesmen’s gifts or prizes; Dentures from a 20th century rear shanty floor.

From left to right: Gordon’s Dry Gin bottle from a privy on Lot 7 Chestnut Avenue (78 Chestnut Avenue, a Jewish working class residence), likely manufactured between 1904 and 1915, as the mould-blown method of manufacturing bottles such as this was replaced by machines by 1915; Miscellaneous pharmaceutical bottles; Miscellaneous white clay smoking pipes from a privy on Lot 8 Centre Avenue (13 Centre Avenue).

An arrowhead that was found during the archaeological excavation of the site. Its exact origins are unknown.

From left to right: A sculpture from Mavis Garland’s father’s gift shop, once located on Yonge Street; A piece of a broken cross, possible a Greek Orthodox cross from a privy on Lot 9 Centre Avenue (17 Centre Avenue, a Jewish/Irish working class household); A porcelain doll from Lot 9 Centre Avenue (17 Centre Avenue side yard shanty); An ornate white clay pipe with a naked woman, from a privy on Lot 10 Chestnut Street (84 Chestnut Street); A wooden crate from the Pasquale family that was used to transport olive oil from Italy . Prior to the advent of container shipping, all goods were hand loaded case by case from the boats.

Left to right: Porcelain dish from the Pasquale family that once belonged to Donna Pasquale, who spent the first 40 years of her life scrimping and saving – paying off her dining room set a few dollars a week. When she finally had a little more money she splurged on a Limoges porcelain piece from France, a real extravagance for an otherwise practical woman; Glass from the archaeological dig; Mahjong set that once belonged to Mavis Garland’s father.


PA System artists, Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson, have exhibited their work internationally in institutions such as the Royal Ontario Museum, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, the University of New Mexico Art Gallery, and the Guanlan International Printmaking Base in China.

 William C. Wong

William C. Wong

Edward & Donna Pasquale

John & Mary Colestock

Rev. Thomas Henry Jackson

Rev. Thomas Jackson

Mavis Garland

Mavis Garland in the Ward

Louis & Joseph Rincover

Louis Rincover