George Hunter, Dofasco and Stelco steel mills

George Hunter, Dofasco and Stelco steel mills, Hamilton, Ontario, 1954. Dye transfer print, 31.2 x 42.1 cm. Gift of George Hunter, R.C.A, 2010. 2010/260

Songs of the Future: Canadian Industrial Photographs, 1858 to Today

August 20, 2011 – April 29, 2012


The practice of photography in Canada closely parallels the development of its industries. As railroad tracks were laid and bridges were built to allow access to remote forests and mineral-rich territories, photographers followed, as they did when mining and lumber interests developed.

These industrial activities have undeniably shaped the Canadian landscape – for better and for worse. And photographs of these activities – whether made on commission by those eager to document their contribution to national progress, or for the photographer’s own interest – continue to feed our imaginations, shape our opinions and make us aware of what is at stake.

Songs of Future: Canadian Industrial Photographs, 1858 to Today includes more than 100 photographs – by such figures as William Notman, Alexander Henderson, Richard Maynard, J.C.M. Hayward, John Vanderpant, E. Haanel Cassidy, George Hunter, Bill Vazan, Ralph Greenhill, Geoffrey James, Edward Burtynsky, Peter MacCallum, Steven Evans, Jesse Boles, and Isabelle Hayeur – most drawn from the AGO’s permanent collection, and many of which have never been shown.

Featuring sites from the west coast to the Maritimes, the exhibition showcases this other landscape tradition in Canadian art and the Canadian photographers who have described, evoked, celebrated, and cast a critical eye on our industrial landscapes for more than 150 years.

Organized by

The Art Gallery of Ontario

We are deeply grateful for the late Mira Godard’s support of the Photography Collection at the AGO from 2007 to 2011.

Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program

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