After the end of the First World War, life became more pleasant for awhile. There are two ‘flapper girls’ of whom only one is included here. Their gowns and hairstyles are elegant. The depression and soup kitchens followed. This photo was taken from one of the stitching frames. You can tell this by the extra fabric at the top and bottom edges. 5″ were included so that there would be adequate for the framing and construction of the frieze.
The next group of figures represent those who served in the Second World War. Rosie, the Riveter, is not included here.
Meet Tony, Luigi and Mario, who were named by the stitchers who worked on them. Note the rock fragments and the light in this scene.
The Italians came to Toronto to work on building the subway line in the 1950s. This Italian community increased hugely and have built large sections of our modern city. It is now, or was, the fourth-largest Italian city in the world. Our city is now home to large populations from multiple countries. We are a multinational and multicultural city and are proud of it. Immigrants have enriched Toronto in more ways than I am aware of or can imagine. When you come here, you will be able to enjoy restaurants that feature the cuisine of almost every country in the world.
The final scene on the frieze is of Kensington Market as it was in the 1980s. The market is still there though it has become more organised than it was 40 years ago. The buyers and the seller, as portrayed here, are new Canadians selling canadian apples. The scene includes children as well as a cat and a dog which you will see when you visit.
Some, but not all of the sections of the frieze have been joined together. Note all the extra fabric all around the embroidery to allow for mounting. Still in the basement!
There are many historical embroideries in existence all of which are unique. This series gives you a close view of what is involved in making a large embroidery. The considerable amount of planning and preparation was successful in precluding problems during the creative process. In fact, I do not recall hearing of problems prior to the stage of assembly.
Next, the assembly of the Toronto Historical Embroidery.
Margaret Wilson says
Thank you so much for telling us all about the making of the Toronto embroidery! It’s fascinating to have a behind the scenes glimpse into all the planning and stitching that made it happen. It’s made me consider whether it could be possible to do something similar for my home town of Darwin, which not long ago passed the 150 year mark from when the English surveyors marked out the town on maps. Many similarities between the two places, though Toronto is a much more populated place than Darwin. Would be good to include a large pre European secton… has my brain ticking over…Am in awe that you and your group were able to create this stunning work – bravo! Thanks again for posting the story.
Ann Bernard says
Margaret, Wonderful to receive your letter and to hear that THE might inspire a Historical Embroidery in Darwin. Being involved was a wonderful experience and a really good memory. It was well made and assembled and is in impeccable condition after 37 years since installation. The designing and planning stages were very important. I did not join until after all the panels were completed and the frieze was half completed. That was during the 6th and final year of creation.
All good wishes to you and the stitchers in Darwin.