Long before Toronto was named host city for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Torontonians reading the Toronto Star might have caught dramatic glimpses of a runner crossing the finish line or a daring fencing match.
A curator of an upcoming photography exhibit at Ryerson University hopes to let more people soak up what he describes as the “rich” photographic history of games by exploring the Toronto Star’s Pan Am coverage since 1955.
Paul Roth, director of the Ryerson Image Centre, said he worked with his assistant Natalie Spagnol, the Star and the Toronto Public Library — to which the Star donated photo archives in 2014 — to go through decades of Pan Am photos. They’ll be whittled down to about 150 shots in the final slide show.
“What we found was that there was a really excellent history of Canadian athletic endeavour of the last half-century,” Roth said.
Torontonians were gifted with some “incredible” photography of everything from equestrian events to archery to training for track, he added.
Roth said he hopes people who pass by the wall projection, slated for display on the second floor of the Mattamy Athletic Centre (in the former Maple Leaf Gardens) by July 11, teaches the public and Pan Am-goers about the history of the games themselves and how they were captured in host cities such as Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Winnipeg.
“The opportunity to look up and see the history of our country and its relationship to the games as captured at the moment by news photographers — it could be a wonderful thing for people to look back (on),” he said.