The Curt Frey / Pat Lavallee Photo Collection

Text by James Bow

In the very early days of Transit Toronto (the late 1990s), we were very fortunate to obtain a donation from the late Curt Frey. Curt Frey was a rail enthusiast and a collector of rail and transit slides, and he was kind enough to scan well over a hundred images and give them to Transit Toronto on a CD-ROM. The images dated from the early 1950s, were taken by such photographers as Julian Bernard and Peter Lambert, and covered such historic moments as the early days of the Yonge Subway, the final days of the Church and Yonge streetcars, and in general a time rail enthusiasts today can hardly picture. As a young site just starting to cover the depth and breadth of the history of public transportation in Toronto, this was manna from heaven.

As this was the late 1990s, however, during a time when website owners thought that 640 pixels was all that was needed to show a decent image on the world wide web, the images were all of fairly low resolution. Since then, the Internet has moved on, and the images we have on site have dated in their appearance; the low resolution has not shown them in the detail they deserve. Unfortunately, Curt Frey passed away soon after donating his CD-ROM, and we were never able to obtain the slides he used, or get scans of them… until now.

Thanks to the hard work and generosity of Pat Lavallee, the contents of most of Curt Frey’s CD-ROM have now been rescanned in high resolution, and we can begin the work of replacing the old pictures with versions that show off Toronto transit history in all its glory.

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