Snapshots of Change: The Influence of the CNE on Toronto

2018, Canadian National Exhibition, Culture, History, Photography
agriculture, CNE, entertainment, exhibition, history, midway, photography, recreation, technology, Toronto
About This Project

Project Members: Bretton Weir, Marlee Yule


Venue: Withrow Common, Canadian National Exhibition


Dates: June 21 – September 29, 2018


The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) continues to change our perceptions of culture and community within Toronto. Through the photographic record we see a reflection of our personal and collective identities: identities defined by the diversity of people, the progress of technology, and the celebration of community. Visitors will be inspired to engage with their lakefront community, participate in community events, and demonstrate pride in our changing city.


This exhibition is intended to be for community members from the surrounding neighbourhoods of Parkdale and Liberty Village. The exhibition will also interest attendees of the CNE’s summer programming (The Ex). Written for an adult audience with the expectation that there would be some family visitation, this exhibit is presented at a grade 8 level.


The exhibition is located at the CNE’s new gallery space Withrow Common, on the CNE grounds in downtown Toronto, near the neighbourhoods of Liberty Village and Parkdale. The gallery boasts 2,000 square feet of space, with 200 linear feet of hanging space. This exhibition is the third installation to go up in the gallery.


The Canadian National Exhibition, and our project lead Alicia Cherayil, provided the guidance and funding to make this project possible. Archival photos and artifacts come from the Canadian National Exhibition archives. Printing and design was provided through the CNE’s preferred partner, GES. The iSchool also contributed funding and resources to help this project to fruition.


This project began in October, 2017. Our research and planning process took five months. At the end of March, 2018, we started selecting photographs and writing our draft text. The design and production of our didactics took approximately two months. Installation took place over two weeks, starting June 7. The exhibition opened on June 21, 2018, and closed on September 29, 2018.


Snapshots of Change includes approximately 60 archival photographs, printed from archival scans and framed. There are 5 artifacts that are on display to accompany the photographs and text panels. Our text includes one large introductory panel, five large text panels on the themes of landscape & architecture, fashion & entertainment, sport & recreation, agriculture & technology and nostalgia & influence. There are also twenty extended sub-theme text panels, and twenty tombstone labels. The nostalgia & influence section utilizes interactive techniques by featuring a marble vote station and response area for visitors to interact. There are also two televisions featuring silent reels of archival CNE footage for visitors to enjoy and respond.


As part of the agreement, the CNE asked us to provide potential programme plans that they would then implement throughout the run of the exhibit. Some of these programme plans include: community tours, school tours with curricular connections, millennial beer night, paint night with exhibit themes.


All our marketing was provided by the Canadian National Exhibition who advertised on their website, and part of Doors Open. This exhibition has a catalogue, a page on the Withrow Common website, and event on the Withrow Common facebook page.


We would like to thank the Canadian National Exhibition and our project lead Alicia Cherayil for helping this project come to fruition. We would also like to thank our Exhibition course director Matt Brower and the iSchool for providing guidance and funding for this project.