News from the Archives v02-2
- Created by: Albert Fulton
- Date: 1993-06-01
- Provenance: Collected by members of Toronto Island Connections group, scanned by Edward English, OCR by Eric Zhelka, PDF by Eric Light
- Notes: v02-2
JUNE 1, 1993
ALBRECHT GUSTAV HERMANN SCHOENBORN (1905-1993)[11 Clandeboye (1951), Chetwood Terrace, 622 Lake Shore, 28 Omaha, 13 Ojibwa)] On a beautiful sunny day, Sunday, May 16, the Church was filled to capacity as Al’s Island friends gathered to celebrate his life. Following is an abridged transcript of his son Michael’s tribute.
“Dad was a positive thinker, and he didn’t waste time looking back and worrying that things might have been different. From age 9 to 13 he lived through World War I in Germany, and when he was 19 the big inflation hit. He was in his early 20s during the Depression and in his early 30s when Hitler came to power. World War II ended when he was 40. At 43, he left East Germany and left everything behind, and at 46 he left West Germany and again left everything behind.
“Dad began work in Canada at $35 a week, and he never complained that there was not enough money or that life had been hard on him. I don’t think he ever gave up his dreams. He’d always wanted a sailboat, and he finally got one at age 50. When he was 60 he took up pottery, something he had wanted to do for a long time He waited until he was 76 before he got his first grandchild! I t was a blessing that he lived to enjoy his 4 grandchildren and to know them very well.
“I want to tell you how Dad went about making a very important decision. In 1958we had to decide whether to stay on the Island or to move to Don Mills where they were building a new development. We had a family conference to decide what was best, whether to buy a house on the Island for $10,000 and risk losing it in 10 years or to buy a house in Don Mills for $13,000 and have the security of owning real estate. At the time Dad was53, didn’t have a pension plan and didn’t own much of anything, but he put the decision to the family to decide what was best. It certainly turned out to be the best decision, but for the first time, 35 years later, I’ve been thinking about what he must have gone through in making that decision. In terms of what his future looked like, it must have seemed awfully risky.
“He always wanted to do what was best, and I’m sure he would want us to focus now on all the good that is in this community. So many people have been so important to us, and I know he would be absolutely thrilled and delighted that you are planning to plant a tree in his memory. That is something that will grow, that is nature, that is the future, and that is once again doing what is best.”
Other remembrances of Al were voiced by Al Junior, Bill Roedde, Terry Maher, David & Vivian Pitcher, Pam Mazza, Doryne Peace, Charlie Millen, Chris Thompson, and Liz Amer. The Seat of the Pants Singers contributed a lovely rendition, in German, of Abendstille Uberall (Evening Quiet Everywhere). After the service, a cluster of white birches was planted at the M A Building in memory of Al, and a Greg Holman photograph of Al & Lu was presented to Luise. Rev. David Mulholland, organist Isabelle Gamble, and a committee o f 20 headed up by Enid Cridland and Sheila Murray helped create a memorable occasion for the Schoenborn family and for their community.
In his remarks, Bill Roedde referred to Al’s career as a professional photographer with Imperial Oil, which involved travelling to all parts of the country. Al had photographed some children on an Indian reserve near Thunder Bay where Bill was operating the
bookmobile, and Al’s skill as a photographer was summed up by Bill’s observation, “Those children whom Al captured on film are now in their forties, but in Al’s pictures they are forever young, forever children.” Old issues of The Imperial Oil Review abound with Al’s photos, and we know his beautiful work from the various Island publications during the past four decades. To end on a personal note, when we began rebuilding 5 Ojibway in the early 1980s, Al brought over a book titled The Engineered House. I read every word, and Al & I subsequently had many spirited discussions about building design, including an interesting example which we watched take shape behind his house! His talents and interests were wide-ranging, and he was a cheerful, friendly, and caring neighbour. I miss him.
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION, April 25 – May 2, May 9
Many, many Islanders, past and present, helped make the Exhibition a success. A wealth o f photos, postcards, clippings, and other materials were provided by Rona Sutherland (Manitou Hotel), Anne-Marie Couchman (14 Hiawatha), Ethel Rubin (who moved from 115 West Island Drive to 14 Omaha along with her house!), Ken, Ron & Greg Butler (8 Mohawk), Jane Hodgson (35 Iroquois), Bill Duman (68 Hiawatha), Alice Aitken (290 Lake Shore), Joan McDonald (5 St Andrew’s), Adam Zhelka (164 Lake Shore), Dudley Davey (172 Lake Shore), Rose Wilson (4 Hiawatha), Babs Lye (18 Chippewa), Len Barnett (11 Cherokee), Peggy Russell (262 Lake Shore), Ray Putt (320 Lake Shore), Frank Sibley (254 Lake Shore), Marg Burrows, Sandy Krzyzanowski, Peter Holt, Jerry Englar, Lynn Purves, Barb Roerick, Kathleen Roe, Jim Fraser, Klaus Bock, Jim Belisle, Gail Labonte Smith, Barry Lipton, Enid Cridland, Carl Bregman, Anne Kotyk, Gertie Weinhart, David Hustler, Luisa Butscher, Vivian Pitcher, Chris Gay, Marilyn McHugh, Kay Avery, Bill Ward, John Hunter, Mary Hay, Mitch Fenton, the A.I.A., the Montessori school, and St Andrew by-the-Lake. (Apologies to anyone I’ve neglected to mention — please remind me!)
On opening day we were greeted by a deluge of rain which miraculously let up at precisely 1 pm, our opening time! Nevertheless, the Church and Montessori shuttle buses to and from the ferry were greatly appreciated; they were driven by Len Barnett, Martin Earle, and Peter Freeman. The three main display rooms were graciously hosted in one hour shifts by Alexandra Poore, Joan McDonald, Babs Lye, Dudley Davey, Enid Cridland, Sandy Krzyzanowski, Bill Roedde, Paulette Pelletier-Kelly, Kay Walker, Peter Holt, Peter Dean, and Peter Newman. Opening day ended with champagne, courtesy of Leida & Jerry Englar. A most sincere thank-you to you all, and to those who attended the Exhibition. And lastly, a big thanks to Emily, who looked after the refreshments, was on duty throughout the 9 days,and patiently put up with a considerable amount of disruption in her household during the past few weeks!
Greg Holman Photos: Greg photographed 423 Islanders during a marathon session at the WIA Building on August 5, 1991. If you did not get a chance to view the results of his excellent work at the Exhibition, you may still do so at the Archives or by contacting Greg at 469-8202. Copies of his prints start at $35.
Photo Squad Pictures: Copies o f these photos taken on January 27, 1974 o f determined looking Islanders standing in front of their homes are available. Contact Peter Holt re the Ward’s houses and myself re Algonquin.
BILLY COLLINS (1932-1993) 242 Lake Shore
Billy spent most of the last Exhibition Sunday afternoon, May 9, chatting with Old Islanders and adding information to the albums. He was especially interested in some photos of himself and his Centre Island friends which Joan McDonald had provided. As a child Billy lived on the Sandbar with his parents Joseph & Mary and his siblings Betty & Larry at 105 West Island Drive (house moved to 8 Omaha in 1938). Billy died on May 22.
Glenn McArthur & Annie Szamosi and sons Daniel & Jeremy have taken on the task of rehabilitating 2 Ojibway, a house which is possibly in even worse condition than 5 Ojibway was in 1980! They have kindly donated to the Archives a number of photographs, clippings, and newsletters left by Hazel Buzza (1912-1989), her husband Max Buzza (1908-1965),and her stepson and his wife, Ralph & Maryan Buzza. Most of the people in the photos are unidentified; any assistance by those familiar with the Buzza family would be welcome!
Market Gallery June 12-Sept 26: “Engineering Toronto: City Maps 1834-1900”. Toronto Historical Board June 19: Open house at their beautiful new headquarters in the E.1 Lennox bank building at 205 Yonge St.
Dragon Boat Festival June 26,27: Long Pond.
Marine Museum June 30-Sept 7: “Toronto’s Historic Harbour”. Juried art show & sale. Toronto Bicentennial August 7: Re-enactment of the landing of John Graves & Elizabeth Simcoe, on the shores of Harbourfront.
Art Gallery of Ontario July 30-Sept 26: Exhibition of Elizabeth Simcoe’s original drawings on birch bark. Island scenes included?
Mariposa Festival August 13-15: Olympic Island.
For sale: cement mixer with motor, $100. Free to good home: 1/2 Cu. yd. coal, bathtub on wheels, bathtub with feet. 203-0921.
TORONTO STAR, March 8, 1974:
Islanders fry a stitch in time
A huge quilt which Toronto I s l a n d e r Sandy Kryzyza nowski said “represents the park we know and love,” was presented to the City Commit- tee on Parks and Recreation yesterday for hanging in City Hall. “We want the people of To ronto t o see it , ” said Miss Kryzyzanowski as she and 11 others in the delegation from the Islands unrolled and held up the brightly colored quilt, which is 10 feet wide and
seven feet long, and is made up of picture squares.
The quilt represents the ef- forts of about 70 families on the islands who have been working on it since mid-Janu ary.”It has been a community project all the way through,” said Miss Kryzyzanowsld, who initiated t he project. “We ,
block that would represent a
how they feel about the is land.”
Some d i d t ypical island scenes with houses, and trees, and ducks in them. Two old time residents printed t he names o f those who have lived the longest on the is- lands, and embroidered these. Members of the junior play school produced a hand printed square. Alderman John Sewell sug gested the art advisory com- znittee be asked to consider having the quilt displayed in City Hall.
Two of the highlights of our Exhibition were the famous Island quilts of 1974. Of topical
interest, one of the squares of the Winter Carnival quilt announced,”Sandbagging Today at
5″, referring back to the spring of 1973!Sandy displayed a diagram listing the creators of a
the squares of this quilt, but her list for the “Long Live the Toronto Island Community” quilt c
is incomplete. I t was assembled a t the Ontario Science Centre by the Island Quilt h
Association. Known contributors are Sandy, Julie Ganton, Barb Ferguson, Ute Lutz, Alice
Aitken & her granddaughter Susan Buck, Louise Chisholm, Wendi Hanger, and Maureen
Smith. Sandy would apprcciate hearing of any others who provided sections for this quilt.
To help celebrate the hanging of the quilts, Canada Postissued a series of 5 large 6-colour l
quilt and robe stamps on April 30! They will be on sale until October 29. The bittersweet y
article overleaf appeared in The Globe & Mail on July 19,1975. The author, James Purdie,
lived in and wrote about another “Island in the City”, Wychwood Park.o
Aquilt sewn in a community’stwilight
BY JAMES PURD!E
hands i n t he medieval manner, ap- pears at first to generate its own soft i
by pictures of old paddlewheel ferries, a turn-of-the-century photograph of the sum mer tent conuminity on Ward’s Island from the lifesaving tower, a videotaped inter
land continued to develop as changes posed from the mainland favored first one group then another. The archives exhibition demonstrates the pace of community disin
twilight f r o m sources wit hin it s neatly
view with Frank Ward, great-grandson Of David Ward, who was one of the first Is
tegration as the character of the show itself changes from a slow, nostalgic, even lyri
Closer inspection reveals that the imag G
land settlers,’ and an action picture of J. Woodman’s Amazing Diving Horse.
cal, presentation of the quality of commun ity life to a documentary of debate and de- struction.
ined aura is no more than an afterglow. I t R
comes from all the parlor lamps now going E
out on the Toronto Islands, and it lingers A
on at A Space, the non-conformist gallery on St. Nicholas Street, while the last 254
households of the island community count
the days to eviction.
• As we move from picture t o picture, through the years leading to 1914 and the Great War, we find the tent community applying for permits to build small rooms for their stoves. The rooms grow bigger, bedrooms and liv ing rooms are added, houses emerge.
Even the most bitter third-generation is- land residents who v is it the show find themselves chuckling at the sheer bulk of • t h e “mimeograph art” that begins t o re
place “snapshot art” in the sixties. These include studies, reports, analyses.
The quilt, an tmusual example of com I
By 1913 it becomes necessary. to lay out
recommendations and all the charts and
munity art, hangs as the centrepiece of•a L
historic exhibition. Each of its 75 patches .was made in a different island household. T
It is surrounded by memories of mandolin
surnmers, shadows from the fires of Sep tember corn roasts and a host of flash
backs reaching through the generations all s
the way to the paddlewheelers of 1832.
streets, althongh, then as now, nobody at City Hall hod sanctioned ,,the devtloprnent of a perrnanent community. The politicians of that distant time simply found it neces sary for their survival to follOw rather than direct the evolution of the community.
CHANGE OF PACE
graphs that make up the abstract pictures sif the statistician Some
forms of elitist or avant garde a r t are vaguely recognizable t o the average gal lery visitor, but most can only be fully un derstood by those visually educated in the medium—other statisticians. Even the evic tion notices that were “delivered” last year
These are The Toronto Island Archives, a
One surprising revelation of the archives
by nailing them on doors were standard
mixed-media exhibition that follows none of
the conventions/of art yet fulfils all its prin cipal functions by immersing the viewer
for an hour or two in 150 years of commun e
ity experience. Peter Holt is archivist.,
Is the fact that the Toronto Islands—and later generations of city dwellers—actually benefited from demands for more recrea tion and living space. Algonquin Island was created between 1907 and 1909 to form a
form letters from a machine.
At this point, the only relief for the eyes lies i n the slide presentations and video tapes. The television screen tells more about the community Toronto is about to
The show includes hundreds of the usual d
protected channel for small boats—those of
lose than most of the pictures that have
faded photographs and documents—neither
art nor history when considered in isolation y
—but they share space with videotape, con m
tinuous color-slide projections a n d t he a
quilt. The over-all effect, the art experi ence, is about equal to what a child feels
in the family attiC.
visitors as well as residents. I n the nine teen-thirties Frank Ward helped float 30 homes from Hanlan’s Point to Algonquin.
From 1832 until the late nineteen-forties, everyone connected with the islands was content to Eve and let live. These were the
gone before. ‘ •
Old men share their memories, children ;talk about schools and trails shared with •rabbits, housewives recall their ferry rides in the dead of winter to give birth in the safety of Toronto General Hospital. We see the emergence o f resistance t o Metro’s
As most of us know, the last of the island
years when this handful of offshore dunes
‘plans to introduce with its own bulldozer
residents were ordered back to the main land b y the government of Metropolitan Toronto last year. The 29 acres they occupy was required f or parkland. A t the l l t h hour, Mr. Justice John Osier found ambiguities in the eviction notices and ruled that the leases could not be officially termi nated until Aug. 31 this year. •
STAY OF EXECUTION
Though many island residents hope the display of the archives wi l l rally public opinion to the cause, somehow reversing the victory won by Metro in the courts, the history of big-city politics indicates that a brief stay of execution is all that can be hoped for.
If art reflects the quality of life in the so ciety that produces it, some cOnsideration must be given to the changes in the art of living documented in this exhibition.
The oldest records and pictures are rela tively simple. We drif t backward in our own memories to the security of childhood, th;t, time when fathers were the only law to be feared and mothers doubled as doc tors and defence lawyers. Community rules were followed by custom. The machinery. of government came under the discipline of the people, not the other way around.
This time is represented in the archives
represented for the rich the languor and white-flannel picnics o f summers t h a t would never end, for the families of work ing men a place to live and build on a budget and for the day visitors a place for canoeing and courting.
The visual record of these years changes slowly. Hotels rise and are burned down, to be replaced by other hotels.
The pace and character of the exhibition begin to change as the first color photo graphs of the fifties appear. The handful of winter residents had grown to a community of 1,800 during the housing shortages of the
, Second World War. By 1948 the population of summer residents had reached 8,000. The “main drag” of, Centre Island, wit h it s stores and services, was firmly established and used as a common ground for visitors and residents.
At about the time when big municipal government became fashionable, perhaps necessary in some ways, the evolutionary drift of the islands began to give way to management, controls, planned improve ments. The shadow of the bulldozer crept along the beaches and it helped introduce dissent to an ad hoc democracy that had once made everyone equal from the mo ment they arrived at the ferry dock.
Divisions and quarrels among the perma nent and temporary populations of the is
art the geometry of flower beds and fences to the islands illogical circulation system for the masses.
And at this point, the surprising truth !about the island takeover begins to take shape. All of us over here on the mainland —the masses deprived of decent parkland by the presence of housing on the islands— are not responding as predicted to the new open spaces being created.
Statistics show that 2.3 million passengers boarded ferries from the mainland in 1940. Although the population of Metropolitan Toronto has more than doubled since then,the passenger increase was only about 125,000 in 1970. •
The exhibition, then, is an event of immersion and involvement, a successor to the “happenings” that became fashionable in the art world a decade or so ago. The difference now is that the viewer, for once, finds art doing a better job than debate or oratory in defining and clarifying complicated public issues. This, surely, is a service necessary to the quality of life in a modern metropolis, which in itself is nothing more than a collection of communities very much like the handful of houses on Ward’s and Algonquin Islands.
ALGONQUIN ISLAND ARCHIVES c/o Albert Fulton 5 Oibwa Ave Toronto M5J 2C9 203-0921 or 537-5006