Time travel may not be possible (at least not yet), but thanks to photographer Avard Woolaver, Torontonians can step back the generations and see what the streets of Canada’s largest city looked like in the 1980s.
Woolaver’s latest photo book, Toronto Hi-Ficombines his two favorite loves of photography and music.
It showcases the liveliness of the city and the community that has existed for decades in Ontario’s capital.
“I moved to Toronto in 1980 to study photography at Ryerson. Coming from rural Nova Scotia, I had never lived in a city before, and was drawn to photographing scenes and of people who reminded me of my home,” Woolaver told blogTO.
“In a way, my vision was quite fresh and I was seeing the city through the eyes of the countryside. Everything was new and interesting and I tried to record things like a visual diary. My transition to city life has was facilitated by the friendship with like-minded people at Ryerson. I was fueled by all that creative energy.
Since then Woolaver has traveled the world, raised a family in Toronto and returned to Nova Scotia in 2005.
He recently began digitizing his old negatives and posting the long-neglected photos online, allowing others to bask in the memory of this growing city.
After documenting the city back then and seeing what it looks like today, Woolaver notes how technology and digital growth have changed the city.
“In the 1980s, Toronto felt smaller, with a more small-town vibe. There were more independent mom-and-pop stores, but fewer bike lanes and bike lanes,” says Woolaver.
With five books now published, Woolaver hinted he had enough material for at least one more, although he would like to return to the city he used to call home and re-photograph some favorite images. to highlight both places that have changed and those that haven’t.