1856 Toronto by photographers Armstrong, Beere and Hime

While browsing the Toronto Archives for a previous post, I came across this 25 photo collection which were taken by Armstrong, Beere and Hime for the City of Toronto in either late 1856 or early 1857.

King Street East, south-side between Yonge and Church streets, looking east

The collection most likely was one set of a series of “100 Views of Toronto”, (four duplicate sets of 25 photographs) that the City bought in July 1857 from Armstrong, Beere & Hime to accompany its submission to the Colonial Office promoting the selection of Toronto as the capital of the Province of Canada.

The 1856 Toronto portfolio also contains 13 views taken from the top of the Rossin House Hotel at King and York streets, which, when put together, create three multi-part panoramas, or a single, 300-degree vista.

Toronto from the top of Rossin House Hotel, looking north-west
Toronto from the top of Rossin House Hotel, looking north-west
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking north
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking north
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking north along York Street
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking north along York Street
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking north-east 1856 Toronto
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking north-east
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking north-west
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking north-west
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking northeast
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking northeast
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking northeast 2
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking northeast 2
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking south
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking south 2
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking south 2
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking southeast
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking southeast
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking southeast 2
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking southwest
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking southwest
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking west along King Street West
Toronto from the top of the Rossin House Hotel, looking west along King Street West

The 25 photographs reproduced from copy negatives are some of the earliest photographic views of Toronto.

In 1984, the original prints of the 1856 Toronto images, loaned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, were exhibited at the Market Gallery, and another copy of the prints were presented to the City as a Sesquicentennial gift from the British government.

The business Armstrong, Beere and Hime was located at 35 King Street East in downtown Toronto and was advertised as “Land Agents, Engineers and Photographists”.

The company was made up of William Armstrong, an Irish immigrant who opened his first studio with his nephew Daniel Manders Beere in 1855 and Humphrey Lloyd Hime who became the third member of the firm in 1857.

Bank of British North America, north-east corner of Wellington and Yonge streets
Bank of British North America, north-east corner of Wellington and Yonge streets
Booth & Son, north-east corner of Adelaide and Victoria streets
Booth & Son, north-east corner of Adelaide and Victoria streets
King Street East, south-side, looking west
King Street East, south-side, looking west
Normal School building, Gould Street, north-side east of Yonge
Normal School building, Gould Street, north-side east of Yonge
Osgoode Hall, Queen Street West, north-side
Parliament Buildings, Front Street West
Rossin House Hotel, south-east corner of King and York streets
Second United Presbyterian Church under construction
The Exchange, Wellington Street, north-side east of Yonge Street
The Exchange, Wellington Street, north-side east of Yonge Street
Trinity College, Queen Street West, north-side
Wellington Street East, north-side between Church and Yonge streets, showing the Wellington Hotel 1856 Toronto
Wellington Street East, north-side between Church and Yonge streets, showing the Wellington Hotel

 

Collection

The 25 original photographs were “re-discovered” in the 1970s by a Canadian archivist, and were added to the collection of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office library, London, where they remain.

 

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1394 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography