Donation of Toronto Photographs By Peter MacCallum

December 14, 2021 | Beau

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Earlier this year, TPL's Special Collections accepted a donation of photographs from Toronto-based documentary photographer Peter MacCallum. MacCallum specializes in documenting urban spaces. His photos capture industrial sites, street scenes and other architectural features in cities.

Children climbing on ladder of equipment looking off frame
Spectators of event on Elizabeth Street, Toronto. Peter MacCallum, approximately 1970. View on our Digital Archive.

About Peter MacCallum

Born in 1947, MacCallum started taking photos in 1968. He was inspired by the work of French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson. After a brief apprenticeship at a commercial studio, MacCallum spent 30 years carrying out large format documentary photography for a wide range of Toronto artists and galleries.

His work has appeared in the exhibit Spadina Avenue: A Photo history, as well as two books of his own, Material World and Documentary Projects: 2005-2015. His photos have been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows.

Donation to Toronto Public Library

The donated photographs consist of 12 subject or location-specific series plus a series of miscellaneous views. There are approximately 170 photos in total. Peter MacCallum owns the copyright for these photographic materials.

Original prints and negatives can be viewed in person by at Toronto Reference Library as part of the Baldwin Collection of Canadiana.

All of the photos will be scanned and added to TPL's Digital Archive. You can view MacCallum's photos digitized so far.

Below are examples from the first series. They depict scenes from a festive event on Elizabeth Street — filmed by the CBC — in approximately 1970.

In addition to Toronto Public Library, Peter MacCallum's photography is housed at City of Toronto Archives, National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Oakville Galleries and Les Archives de Montréal — as well as many private and corporate collections.