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Black Creek Pioneer Village Introduces New 19th Century Photography Studio


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Visitors to Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto's favourite living history museum, will be all smiles with the introduction of a unique19th century studio at the Bolton Shop, one of the Village's many heritage buildings. The new interactive space opens July 22nd, for visitors to learn about the history of photography and the techniques used in 1860s. The studio includes family fun activities and the opportunity to step into two studio sets to strike a pose and take a photo using their own camera.

"We added a photography experience to enrich the visitor's overall experience at Black Creek Pioneer Village," said Marty Brent, Manager, Black Creek Pioneer Village. "Studio sets were an important part of 19th century photography, when photographers experimented with various techniques. Visitors will get to immerse themselves in the studio to get a sense of how images were captured in this era."

The 19th century was often described as the age of discovery and invention, and photography was a novel, exciting and intriguing science that reached the Canadian public in the 1840s. Photographers were experimenting with a variety of light sensitive chemicals and image capture processes, the names of which reflect the era's fascination with science; camera obscura, daguerreotype, calotype, ambrotype, tintype and more.

It was important to be very still and patient when posing for a photograph in the 19th century. Due to the long exposures necessary to produce a suitable image, frequently up to 60 seconds, a head rest or arm brace attached to the set furniture was sometimes used. Studio sets were designed to be memorable and impressive. Backdrops and furnishings, such as ornamental gardens, hunting scenes and rich interiors, offered imaginary scenes that conveyed an often false sense of affluence and leisure time to the subject.

Early photographers were often civil engineers, surveyors, draughtsmen or real estate agents. They frequently documented their natural and man-made environments when working in the field. Photography was the new art form and brought discoveries, curiosities and wonders to a public eager to increase their world knowledge.

Visitors can learn more about the history of photography in Ontario at Black Creek Pioneer Village.


About Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek Pioneer Village is Toronto's premier outdoor living history museum. Visitors can explore heritage homes and buildings restored to re-create an 1860s Ontario village. Historic interpreters in period dress demonstrate how villagers lived, worked and played. The Village hosts learning programs and special events that highlight local heritage and culture. The tranquil setting, rural landscapes, heritage gardens and period farm animal breeds make Black Creek Pioneer Village the perfect place to break out of the modern world and journey into the past. Located in north Toronto, Black Creek Pioneer Village is owned and operated by Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). For more information please visit




Rowena Calpito
Supervisor, Media Management
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)
T: 416-661-6600 ext. 5632
C: 416-358-3446


Eric Philpott
Philpott Communications
T: 905-773-6651