toronto beach coloured

5 coloured historical photos from the Toronto archives

The City of Toronto Archives is chock full of pictures of Toronto in the summer time. My favourites are the candid scenes, where Torontonians of the past can be seen relaxing, playing games, and making a human pyramid. As you would expect, almost all the photos in the archive taken before 1960 are shot in black and white, which tends to make even sunny days look dreary and overcast.

As an experiment to celebrate the official summer opening of the city's swimming beaches, I spent part of this week digitally colouring monochrome summer scenes from the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Luckily, sand and sky take a layer of colour quite well.

toronto beach coloured

Colourizing is far from perfect; the pastel tones tend to make the pictures look strangely surreal and it's really impossible to accurately guess what colour people's clothing might have been (I found myself wanting to avoid repeating the same tone even though it's not strictly true to life).

The result is an interpretation, not an accurate recreation, of what the photographs might have looked like had they been taken in colour. Enjoy.

toronto beach coloured

Globe and Mail editor Jim Coleman smokes a cigar on the beach in the 1950s.

toronto beach coloured

Girls at Edgecliff Beach circa. 1926.

toronto coloured fishing

Girl sells Ontario fishing permits and tourist information in the 1930s.

toronto coloured baby

The wife of Gord Walker and baby circa. 1940.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: City of Toronto Archives


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