Friday, 31 May 2019

International Archives Week: Designing the Archives in the 21st Century

As we bid farewell to the month of May this weekend, we start Monday off with International Archives Week. Running from June 3-9, this year's week long campaign focuses on Designing the Archives in the 21st Century:
"The campaign theme will focus on how in the 21st Century our profession - data and information managers, records managers and archivists - can provide opportunities for human-centred design approaches to ensure we deliver benefits to citizens, customers, stakeholders and communities."

Since the 1970s, the responsibility of caring for the archives of the Archdiocese of Toronto has fallen to a full-time archivist. The first Archdiocesan Archivist, Rev. Gordon Bean, was appointed by Archbishop Philip Pocock in 1969. Following this, the archives were designed with the intent of better serving the Chancery's own reference needs and the needs of historians.

Portrait of Rev. Gordon A. Bean
[after 1955]

Special Collections: Photograph Collection

In April 1996, the Archdiocese of Toronto consolidated their administrative offices and moved to 1155 Yonge Street, our current location. A section of the 5th floor was reserved for the archives, which includes a reading room, processing room, administrative offices and storage facilities.

Photograph from the blessing of the fifth floor. The newly designed archives are through the door in the upper left corner.
May 27, 1996

Special Collections: Photograph Collection

The photographs below were created and used in the very first archival display at the new Catholic Pastoral Centre in May 1996.

They depict our previous building at 355 Church Street:

Chancery Office at 355 Church Street
May 1996

Special Collections: Photograph Collection

And our new Catholic Pastoral Centre at 1155 Yonge Street:

Catholic Pastoral Centre at 1155 Yonge Street
May 1996

Special Collections: Photograph Collection

Much was accomplished in the 20th century in terms of designing the Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. As we move into the 21st century, we look forward to expanding beyond serving the needs of Chancery Staff and historians, to engaging all members of our community.

As the physical design of our archives may be set in stone for the next little while, we look forward to turning our attention to designing programs, displays, and outreach initiatives that ensure we are delivering benefits to our users, staff, community members and stakeholders.

Our new display case on the 5th floor of the Catholic Pastoral Centre

For more about the history of ARCAT, click here.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Passport to Man and His World: Expo '67 and the Christian Pavilion

From April to October 1967, Canada's centennial year, Montreal hosted 62 countries and over 50 million visitors for a world's fair: the much acclaimed Expo '67.

Though large fairs were held before it, the first world's fair is commonly considered to be London's Great Exhibition of 1851. Nations and manufacturers from around the world contributed cultural and industrial displays for the six million visitors. Canada sent a canoe. Over almost two centuries these fairs have been a place to wow crowds with the latest technological advancements, exchange ideas, and share cultures.

The theme of Expo '67 was 'Man and his World,' addressing "universal problems of humanity" and "man's social responsibility and environmental consciousness." Attractions included the space capsule in which the first man orbited the earth, and the geodesic dome that can still be seen on its island location in the St. Lawrence River.

Toronto's Bishop Allen kept his season's pass that allowed him unlimited visits during the expo. It had pages to collect stamps from the various national exhibits.

Bishop Allen's Season's Pass to Expo '67

AL AA12.05
Bishop Allen Fonds

Instead of building their own display, the Catholic Church in Canada chose to participate with six other Christian groups to erect the Christian Pavilion. Their endevour is best described in their own words:

(April 14, 1967. PO SU 35.30, Archbishop Pocock Fonds)

The organizing committee provided missalettes for Catholic congregations to promote the Pavilion and raise funds: 

"Expo '67 will be an unprecedented achievement in the history of Christianity. This is the Christian Pavilion. Seven Christian churches, after several months of meetings and exchanges, have decided to erect together a Christian Pavilion which can proclaim to the world that God has made himself flesh to live among us and that he is present at everything that happens on the land of men.

"Today Catholics are called upon to do their part in this common endeavour which gives rise to much hope. Give according to your means but generously."

May 29, 1966

PO SU35.26
Archbishop Pocock Fonds

The architecture of the pavilion was described this way:
"The architecture of the Pavilion has been entrusted to the associated architects, Roger d'Astous and Jean-Paul Pothier of Montreal. These two architects are well-known throughout Canada ... The shape of the roof, which recalls that of arms uplifted to the Lord, tries to signify that the Christian welcomes the entire universe so that he might offer it to God in a perpetual Eucharist. The cross at the entrance is not identified with the Christian religion any more than with any other religion; it is the "taw" (Greek) which is found among the most primitive Christian symbols. The small building at the extreme right is to welcome visitors and to house the administrative services. It covers a little more than a thousand square feet. There is a garden in front of the central portion. Fed by a fountain with a water spout, a little pond adds to the peaceful atmosphere of the entrance of the Pavilion. The part of the building devoted to the Exhibit itself consists of three levels: a first level, almost square with the entrance, a second level lower, and a third level reached by a slight incline. These architectural data serve the setting itself. Indeed, the visitor is welcomed as he is; then led to take consciousness of the great problems of mankind, by himself passing through a kind of crucible, and finally invited to that burst of hope provided by the gospel of Christ. The presentation takes place on a surface of 7,800 square feet. The walls are in white stucco. The roof is in laminated wood." (February 14, 1966. PO SU35.24. Archbishop Pocock Fonds)

A poster asking parishioners to do their part to support the Christian Pavilion at Expo '67.

PO SU35.34c

Archbishop Pocock Fonds

The Christian Pavilion was well-received by visitors. One reviewer claimed, "it is not only one of the best exhibits at the fair but a moving example of how the Gospel can be presented to late 20th century man in a vigorous contemporary idiom" (Harvey Cox: Commonweal, May 26, 1967). It was truly a reflection of growing ecumenism combined with contemporary media practices.

Expo 2020 will be held in Dubai. In just one trip you'll be able to see over 190 countries. Time to start planning your vacation! 

Friday, 17 May 2019

A Tale of Three Archdioceses : ARCAT goes to Winnipeg

This past week, some of us here at ARCAT attended the Catholic Archivists Group Annual Conference. The conference is a great opportunity for some professional development and an occasion to meet with fellow archivists working in Catholic environments.

This year, the conference was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Having just celebrated 200 years of history in Manitoba, the Roman Catholic Church has a rich history in Winnipeg. The structure of the church in the city is also rather unusual as there are three archdioceses in the city area: the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, and Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg - all with their own Archbishop and own Cathedral.

The logo for this year's conference incorporated silhouettes of all three Cathedrals in Winnipeg: Sts. Vladimir and Olga Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, St. Boniface Cathedral, and St. Mary Cathedral

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting St. Boniface Cathedral. The current Cathedral is built in the ruins of the older, imposing Cathedral building that was destroyed by fire in 1968. Built in 1908, it was the fifth church building on this site and would have seated 2500 people.

Architect Étienne Gaboury designed the new Cathedral which opened  in 1972. The new church is half the size of its predecessor, incorporating an outdoor square into the ruins as well.
 Now that we're back in Toronto, I was interested in seeing if we had any photographs of St. Boniface Cathedral in our own collection. I was pleased to find one photograph of Cardinal McGuigan in the Cathedral, showing what the interior looked like before the fire:

Cardinal McGuigan participates in a Boy Scout Jamboree procesion in St. Boniface Cathedral, April 1948.


ARCAT Photographic Collection

Friday, 10 May 2019

Cartooning Around

A cartoon is an illustration in a non-realistic or semi-realistic style. Long before we came to know a cartoon as something on your television every Saturday morning, "cartoon" was first used in the Middle Ages to describe the preparatory drawings used for a painting, fresco, tapestry, or stained glass window. In the 19th century, a cartoon came to refer to humorous illustrations in magazines and newspapers that poke fun at current events and/or individuals. The use of cartoons in print media is still a popular way to send a message today. The New Yorker, for example:

New Yorker cartoon by Lila Ash

Please enjoy a selection of print cartoons from our collection, featuring five artists:

1. Leslie Ward (1851-1922)
Born in London, England, Sir Leslie Matthew Ward was a portrait artist and caricaturist who produced 1,325 cartoons for Vanity Fair between 1873 and 1911 under the pseudonyms "Spy" and "Drawl". He is regarded as the most famous Vanity Fair artist and the genre is often named after him, referring to any Vanity Fair caricature as a "Spy cartoon".

Below is a print of a Spy cartoon given to Archbishop Carter for Christmas in 1955.

Print of a cartoon by Leslie Ward ("Spy"). John Henry Newman is written in pencil on the bottom left corner referring to the subject of the print. John Henry Cardinal Newman (February 21, 1801 – August 11, 1890) was an English convert to Roman Catholicism, later made a Cardinal, and in 1991 proclaimed 'Venerable'. The "Tracts for the times" was written by John Henry Newman and initiated a movement known as Tractarian.
Original drawing from Jan. 20, 1877. Given to Archbishop Carter Dec. 1955

Special Collections: Artwork Collection
AW 59

2. John Wilson Bengough (1851-1923)
Born in Toronto, J.W. Bengough was an editor, publisher, writer, poet, entertainer, and politician. However, he was most remembered for his cartoons for Grip, Canada's first major English-Canadian satirical magazine, which he founded. Grip ran in late-Victorian Toronto from 1873 to 1894. Looking back, the magazine helped develop this young country's identity, as well as its taste for satire.

Here is a Grip Bengough cartoon we have in our collection:

"The Controversial Kitchen - Too Many Cookes Spoil the Broth"
Featuring Archbishop Lynch
Sketch by John Wilson Bengough for Grip
January 9, 1875

Archbishop Lynch fonds
L AE19.01

3. Merle Tingley (1922-2017)
Known as "Ting", Tingley was a Canadian cartoonist for the London Free Press from 1948 to 1986. He was recognized extensively for his work, receiving the National Newspaper Award for editorial cartooning in 1955 and the National Headliner Award for Editorial Cartoon for 1965. He was eventually inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame in 2015. His contributions have been commemorated every year since 2014 with the Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival in London, Ontario.

Tingley's mascot is a worm character called "Luke Worm" who was often present in his illustrations. See if you can spot him in these four drawings gifted to Archbishop Carter from Merle Tingley himself.

Pen and ink cartoon by Merle Tingley depicting some sort of current event relating to a road encroachment on a grave near St. Peter's Cathedral in London.

Special Collections: Artwork Collection
AW 21(a)
Pen and ink cartoon by Merle Tingley depicting some sort of current event relating to a road encroachment on a grave near St. Peter's Cathedral in London.
March 17, 1975

Special Collections: Artwork Collection
AW 21(b)
Pen and ink cartoon by Merle Tingley depicting some sort of current event relating to a road encroachment on a grave near St. Peter's Cathedral in London.
April 3, 1975
Special Collections: Artwork Collection
AW 21(c)
Pen and ink cartoon by Merle Tingley depicting some sort of current event relating to a road encroachment on a grave near St. Peter's Cathedral in London.
May 24, 1975
Special Collections: Artwork Collection
AW 21(d)

4. Ben Wicks (1922-2000)
Born in London, England, Ben Wicks moved to Canada in 1957 and travelled to Toronto in 1963 to work as a cartoonist for the Toronto Telegram. His simply drawn and witty cartoons became very popular, most notably his cartoon The Outcasts, which was syndicated in over 50 newspapers. He was picked up by the Toronto Star in 1971 and his illustrations would go on to be carried by 84 Canadian and more than 100 American newspapers.

He was a frequent guest on television and radio shows, eventually landing his own show on CBC in the 1970s. He created a series of children's books called Katie and Orbie, which was turned into an animated show for Family in Canada and PBS in the United States. He also created a boardgame, opened a pub in Cabbagetown, and was actively involved in humanitarian work. In 1986, Ben Wicks was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Felt tipped cartoon of Archbishop Carter standing in the forefront with another man and in the background two clerical looking men are walking away. The quote is: "Don't worry your eminence. He's just mad that he hasn't got one."

Special Collections: Artwork Collection
AW 63

5. Bob Monks (1927-2011)
Born in Michigan, Monks worked a commercial art job in Detroit and eventually moved to Windsor to work as a high school art teacher in the 1950s. By the 1970s, he became the editorial cartoonist for The Windsor Star. He hosted his own TV series called Bob Monks' Inside Outside and went on to publish a book in 2011 titled Bob Monks History of Windsor.

Below is a drawing given to Archbishop Carter from Bob Monks.

A cartoon of Cardinal Carter done by artist Bob Monks. In the foreground: Carter holding a crosier like a javelin he’s about to throw, quoting "My role as bishop is somewhat akin to being a crosseyed javelin thrower. Gerald Cardinal Carter" - presumably a quote from Carter. In the background: two priests, "2500 bishops in the world and we get a handicapped jock".

Special Collections: Artwork Collection
AW 58 

Friday, 3 May 2019

May Day 2019: Parish Flood Preparation

May 1st was the Society of American Archivist's May Day, a time for archivists to do something to protect their holdings in the event of a disaster. May 5th to 11th is Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada, when we should all think about what we would do in a dangerous situation. It's good to plan for different events like fires, power outages, and storms, but at the moment there are a lot of communities in our province that are being affected by flooding. Here in the Archdiocese of Toronto we encourage parishes to keep their own archives, so we thought we'd write a few tips for parishes on how to prepare for and react to flooding to keep their records safe.

Flooding at College and Bathurst Streets, Toronto

April 7th, 1929

City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 16107

According to Conservation Ontario, "flooding is the leading cause of public emergency in Ontario." Many parts of the Archdiocese have been affected by flooding in the past, so everyone can benefit from planning ahead. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure that the records in your parish will survive this type of emergency.


  • Think safety first. Your records aren't worth an injury.
  • Work with a plan, not in panic.

Before a Flood:

  • Know your risk: You can check the website of your local conservation authority to see if your parish lies within a floodplain; but, even if it's not in a flood plain, your church is not immune to flooding. Keep an eye on the news for warnings and alerts.
  • Make a plan: Include your archives in your disaster plan. Having a plan ahead of time reduces the mistakes that come with panic. Make sure that key people like the pastor and other parish leaders are familiar with the plan and their roles and responsibilities. Practice your plan!
  • Maintain your building: Your records are safer if your space is properly cared for. Clear gutters and downspouts to make sure water is directed away from the building, and make sure street drains are clear of ice or debris. Inspect for leaks or cracks that could let water in. 
  • Make a list: Knowing what records are in your parish and their location can help you prioritize what to move if you have warning of a coming event, or help you prioritize what to recover after an event. A list also helps you keep track of where records have been moved so you don't lose anything.
  • Store records properly: Keep vital records in a secure fireproof and waterproof cabinet. Do not store records in the basement or on the floor. Vital records are those that are essential to continuing operations. In a parish these would include sacramental registers, legal documents, financial documents, property records, insurance documents, contracts, leases, and anything else you need to function. 
  • Back up important records: 
    • Your electronic records should be backed up regularly on an external drive and stored in a secure location. The archdiocesan department of Management Information Services can provide advice. 
    • Vital records on paper should be copied and kept in an secure location. Sacramental records are already microfilmed by the Archives, but other important documents should also be backed up and kept in a secure location. The Archives can provide advice.

During a Flood:

  • Safety is number one! Don't walk into flooded areas until you have the OK to do so from maintenance personnel to reduce the risk of electrocution.
  • Assess the situation. Communicate with disaster recovery team members and ensure that everyone knows what the plan is.
  • If water is dripping from the ceiling, cover shelves and cabinets with plastic sheeting.
  • If records are moved to higher ground or offsite, keep impeccable notes of their location. 

After a Flood:

  • Call the Archives for advice and assistance.
  • If your documents get wet they can be salvaged, but action needs to be taken quickly to reduce the risk of mould, which can cause permanent damage. 
  • If mould is present, always wear protective equipment such as gloves and masks. Move mould-affected items away from other items to prevent spreading.
  • If there's too much material to handle quickly, use your list of records to prioritize treatment.
  • Remember to record where records have been moved.
  • Drying documents:
    • Handle documents with care to reduce the risk of tearing.
    • Gently rinse dirt off before drying.
    • Move documents to a space where the temperature and humidity can be controlled. A cool, dry space with lots of air flow is best. Use fans to circulate air.
    • Lay documents flat on a clean, sturdy surface lined with clean paper towels, and replace towels as they become soaked.
    • Put paper towel or clean white paper in between leaves of books.
    • Don't try to pull apart paper that is stuck together. Freeze and consult a conservator.
    • Don't blot water-soluble ink.
    • Hang photographs from a clothes-line or dry face up on paper towel. If photos are stuck together, don't try to separate them. Freeze them and consult a conservator.

  • Freezing documents:
    • If records can't be dried within 48 hours, freezing is an option. 
    • If possible, pack items in milk crates or something that will allow air to circulate.
    • Pack documents flat with freezer paper every few inches or between folders with bigger documents at the bottom
    • Pack books spine down with freezer paper between each book. Don't pack too tightly, but don't allow books to sag.
    • Place records in an industrial freezer, or a frost-free model household freezer on its coldest setting to avoid the formation of ice crystals.
    • When time allows, thaw and follow drying procedures.

Documents are gently rinsed to remove dirt and debris during a training exercise.

ARCAT staff photo

Photos are hung to dry on a clothes-line.

ARCAT staff photo

Wet documents are laid on paper towel.

ARCAT staff photo

Paper towel is placed between pages to wick moisture away.

ARCAT staff photo

Remember! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! We're always here to help with planning and response, and there are lots of resources available to help you learn about what to do in an emergency: