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Category: Arts & Humanities, Toronto Public Library

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A Case of Considerable Interest An exhibition celebrating the 35 th anniversary of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection of the Toronto Public Library “Well, my boy, what do you think of this lot?” he asked, smiling at my expression. “It is a curious collection.” “Very curious, and the story that hangs round it will strike you as being more curious still.” - Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson in “The Musgrave ritual” by Arthur Conan Doyle Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) is best known for his detective stories about Sherlock Holmes, but he was also the author of many other works and one of the best known public figures of the late Victorian age.

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344 reads

The Osborne Collection encompasses the development of English-language children's literature, ranging from a 14 th -century manuscript of Aesop's fables through 15 th -century traditional tales, 16 th -century school texts and courtesy books, Puritan works, 18 th -century chapbooks, moral tales and rational recreations, Victorian classics of fantasy, adventure and school stories, up to 1910 – the end of the Edwardian era. The Collection is enriched with the Lillian H. Smith Collection of modern notable English-language books and with Canadiana materials that together illustrate the links between the early and modern books, and provide a rich resource of our vibrant Canadian heritage, preserved for future generations.

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293 reads

Soon after their appearance in the 1840's, stamps became the focus of collectors. They developed a life of their own, apart from their official role on letters and parcels. Canada's first stamp, the Three penny Beaver, designed by Sandford Fleming, was printed in 1851. Thirteen years later, Canada's first philatelic pamphlet, The Stamp Collector's Record, was published in Montreal, only a year after a similar one in England. Stamp collecting's appeal is universal. With a vast array of stamps available, collectors tend to narrow their scope to specific categories-concentrating for example on stamps with certain themes, or from particular countries. Governments try to tempt collectors (and generate revenue) by issuing a host of stamps and stamps sets.

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250 reads

Kabuki is a performing art that combines music, dance, pantomime, song, drama and comedy. In the early 1600s kabuki emerged from traditional Japanese classical theatre and puppet show traditions, incorporating elements of both.

While classical plays are quiet, refined and slow-paced, kabuki is full of spirited action and outsized emotions. Kabuki plays portray characters from Japanese history, legend and folk tales. Great heroes, beautiful princesses, evil spirits, loyal retainers, vengeful warriers and benevolent lords populate the stage. These stories have continued to grip the Japanese imagination, embodying as they do the much-valued ideals of loyalty, courage and strength.

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341 reads

 Foreword The Group of Seven style of painting captured the rhythm and mood of the nation???s landscape. From Algonquin to Algoma, Lake Superior to the Rocky Mountains, Quebec to Nova Scotia, the artists traveled in search of the quintessential Canadian landscape painting. Armed with canoes, boards and paints, they interpreted the chaotic mass of nature in a bold, modern approach that differed from the Academic convention. To finance their expeditions, many of the artists worked in commercial art firms, designing illustrations, advertisements and elegant illuminated texts.

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235 reads

Opera Atelier holds a unique place in the North American theatre community, producing opera, ballet and drama performances that draw upon the aesthetics and ideals of the 17th and 18th centuries. Featuring acclaimed international soloists, period ballet (Artists of Atelier Ballet), original instruments, elaborate stage décor, exquisite costumes and most importantly, an imaginative energy, Toronto-based Opera Atelier has attained international recognition.

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245 reads

Pictures came before books, printing or writing, and were our first expression of stories. The Canadian artist Marie Day celebrated the power of cave art in her picture book Quennu and the Cave Bear , an imaginative recreation of how a young girl of the Stone Age conquered her fear of a ferocious cave bear by drawing him. The Stone Age makes a fitting start to an exhibition celebrating Canadian picture books, within which there are no boundaries of place or time. In chronological terms, the earliest painting in this exhibit is 42, the latest, only three years old. The earliest artefact shown here is nearly 3,000 years old, and the story of Quennu depicts a period over 20,000 years ago.

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Introduction The second half of the nineteenth century was a time of wealth, optimism and growth in Toronto. Architecturally, it was an era that would drastically change the appearance of Toronto forever. A small but dedicated number of architects would infuse Toronto’s landscape with a variety of structures, possibly, the most striking being the churches, with their soaring spires, ornate towers and other Gothic Revival attributes. This exhibition honours one of these architects, Henry Langley, and features the Toronto churches that he designed, built and completed. Henry Langley, 1836-1907, was born in Toronto. He obtained his architectural training by apprenticing for seven years with an established architect, Scottish-born, William Hay, 1818-1888.

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343 reads

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) has long been committed to an active exhibition program for its Special Collections in the Canada Trust Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library. The virtual version of Footprints of the Hound recreates in part the exhibition on display in our Gallery from October 20 – December 2, 2001.

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320 reads

Discovery at your fingertips.... Come explore the Curator’s Showcase. We have digitized seven treasures from the Toronto Public Library’s rich and varied special collections, and added pictures, maps, notes and more. Using the Library’s interactive software, you can virtually turn the pages of the books. You can zoom in on the digitized images and also find related texts, images and sounds. Other features specific to individual books are provided, such as transcriptions of handwritten pages. This project was inspired by the British Library Turning the Pages program. To experience a touch sensitive version of the Showcase, visit the Special Collections Digital Kiosk at the Toronto Reference Library .

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373 reads

The circus is a theatrical spectacle that is international in scope and appeals to all ages. With a cast of performers including acrobats and jugglers, aerialists, equestrians, clowns, wild animals and sideshows, the circus is the United Nations of popular entertainment. Thrilling to some and terrifying to others, it has the ability to overwhelm, delight and inspire. This exhibition features an array of images that range from the lavish and decorative designs of the late 19th century to the gritty social realism of the early 20th century. The photographs, posters, artist prints, illustrated books, and heralds from the Toronto Public Library’s collections bear witness to changing cultural values.

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258 reads

Welcome to Local Flavour. This virtual exhibit surveys the various aspects of eating in Toronto over a span of 125 years. To turn the pages of Toronto's, click your mouse near the edge of the page to the right and then drag the mouse across to turn page. Or use the 'Next page' and 'Previous page' buttons at the top to flip through pages. You can also use the 'Go to page...' dropdown menu to quickly jump to any section of the exhibit.

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Introduction The 19 th century was a period of expansion and development in Canadian history. The century brought unprecedented change, from the Union of Upper and Lower Canada and the Confederation of the Canadian colonies, to the establishment of the western provinces. Fortifications and other military structures were erected and roads and railway networks constructed, ushering in waves of immigration as colonization and settlement pushed westward. In its wake the face of the Canadian landscape was altered, and to some extent the vast wilderness was diminished. In the era before the camera, artists, surveyors and engineers preserved on paper and canvas a record of the landscape.

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Introduction This virtual exhibit presents a small selection of items taken from the Osborne Collection’s sixtieth anniversary exhibit, When Cinderella Went to the Ball: Five Hundred Years of Fairy Tales , held from September 12 to December 12, 2009. Celebrating one of children’s literature’s most enduringly popular genres, the exhibit progresses from a fifteenth-century Venetian wonder tale ( Historia di Lionbruno , 1476), through “classic” stories and collections by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and others, to today’s spin-offs, spoofs and “post-modern” interpretations.

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261 reads

Gone Fishin’ Torontonians have a long and happy tradition of heading north to cottage country during the long, hot days of summer. In the 1860s the Muskoka Club was established by a group of Toronto adventurers who led annual expeditions to the Muskoka wilderness. By the 1870s several of the members had purchased land on Lake Joseph, and the tradition of summer cottaging was born. In 1898 a group of professors and alumni from the University of Toronto joined together to purchase recreational property in Go Home Bay, on Georgian Bay, held as shares in the Madawaska Club. Many of the cottagers in Go Home are descendants of those first Madawaska Club members.

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Blessed with many ravines, wooded lots and parklands, early Toronto residents were able to enjoy many winter outdoor activies right in their own neighbourhoods. Sleighing, tobogganing, bobsledding, skating, curling, hockey, skiing and snowshoeing were all popular forms of winter recreation. As the city grew and prospered, clubs and associations formed, championships were organized and new facilities were built to meet the demand. Horse drawn sleighs were used to transport goods from farm to city stores in wintertime and wealthy businessmen had them in their stables. Toronto companies would occasionally decide to reward their employees by organizing group horse sleigh rides in High Park. Letter, 29 December 1883 Tobogganing became a popular sport in the late 19th century.

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Panorama of the City of Toronto, 1857 Rossin House Hotel In 1857, the roof of the hotel provided the ideal vantage point from which Armstrong, Beere & Hime photographed their Toronto. The Rossin House, on the southeast corner of King and York streets, was the tallest building in the newer commercial district of Toronto when it opened that year. It was one of the city’s pre-eminent hotels, with an 1866 guide claiming: “What the Fifth Avenue Hotel is to New York, and the Windsor is to Montreal, so the celebrated Rossin House is to Toronto.” The Rossin House was destroyed by a fire in 1862, and was rebuilt in 1863.

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250 reads

Sidney Paget: Iconic illustrator of Sherlock Holmes 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sidney Paget (1860-1908), an illustrator closely associated with creating a visual identity for Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes. The lean, elegant Holmes Paget presented to readers of the Strand magazine worked beautifully with Conan Doyle???s text, and formed the basis for the image of Holmes that remains popular in the public mind to this day.

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Garden City: Public and Private Gardens in Early Toronto Early Toronto residents, politicians and local entrepreneurs transformed the City by creating public gardens and offering services and supplies to the gardening industry. As a result of their efforts, nineteenth century Toronto emerged as a more liveable community and a popular tourist attraction. By the late 1800s, guidebooks were referring to Toronto as the “Queen City”, the “Holiday City”, and the “ideal summer city”. In the fall and winter, city residents and visitors congregated for social events and recreation in churches, hotel dining rooms and concert halls.

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251 reads

Toronto Public Library’s Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books is one of the world’s foremost historical collections of English-language children’s literature. Located in the Lillian H. Smith branch, the Osborne Collection holds over 80,000 items, including manuscripts, books, book-related art, archives, ephemera and book-related games.
Our holdings

Our collection ranges from a 14th-century manuscript of Aesop’s Fables through medieval books of manners, moral tales of the Puritan era, 18th-century chapbooks and hornbooks to Victorian classics of fantasy, adventure, and school stories up to 1910. We also collect modern notable books published after 1910.

Osborne includes:

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266 reads

The Osborne Collection Toronto Public Library’s Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books is one of the world’s foremost historical collections of English-language children’s literature. Located in the Lillian H. Smith branch , the Osborne Collection holds over 80,000 items, including manuscripts, books, book-related art, archives, ephemera and book-related games. Our collection ranges from a 14th-century manuscript of Aesop’s Fables through medieval books of manners, moral tales of the Puritan era, 18th-century chapbooks and hornbooks to Victorian classics of fantasy, adventure, and school stories up to 1910. We also collect modern notable books published after 1910.

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259 reads