The following images come from a series of fourteen watercolour and charcoal drawings by John DeRinzy, created between 1949 and 1950. They depict the construction of the Yonge Street subway line.

 

Men excavating in timber lined trench, 1950
Men excavating in timber lined trench
1950
City of Toronto Archives
Series 259, Item 2

 

Crane excavating with clam shell bucket, 1950
Crane excavating with clam shell bucket
1950
City of Toronto Archives
Series 259, Item 3

 

DeRinzy was a commercial artist employed at the Simpson’s Department store, with their advertising department. As an artist he believed that Canadian painting dwelt too much on landscape, and did not pay sufficient attention to portraiture. The drawings shown here reflect DeRinzy’s concern for the relationship between people and their work environment.

 

Welder, 1950
Welder
1950
City of Toronto Archives
Series 259, Item
Man breaks ground with jack hammer, 1950
Man breaks ground with jack hammer
1950
City of Toronto Archives
Series 259, Item 12

 

 

Man with jack hammer, 1950
Man with jack hammer 1950 City of Toronto Archives Series 259, Item 10
Man digging, 1950
Man digging
1950
City of Toronto Archives
Series 259, Item 14

 

They were first exhibited in 1950 in the lobby of the Towne Cinema at Bloor and Yonge streets. In 1979, DeRinzy provided several pieces for an exhibit commemorating the 25th anniversary of the subway line. He donated the works to the TTC on April 1st 1991, and they are held with the rest of the TTC collection at the City of Toronto Archives.

 

Underground utilities, Yonge Street, 1950
Underground utilities, Yonge Street
1950
City of Toronto Archives
Series 259, Item 4

 

The complete series of subway construction art work by John DeRinzy is available to view in ourĀ online catalogue.