On the street at night, a smiling Chinese man waves a Chinese flag, and a Caucasian man waves a Union Jack.
V-J (Victory in Japan) Day celebrations at the Active Service Canteen, Adelaide Street
August 14, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
Fonds 1266, Item 98384

 

When news came of the Japanese accepting Allied surrender terms, the city’s entire population seemed to head downtown to celebrate. Chinatown was particularly jubilant, full of music, dragon parades, and fireworks. Japan had occupied China in part since 1931.

 

University students cheer in a car decorated with flags and streamers.
V-E (Victory in Europe) Day celebrations, University students, St. George Street
May 7, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 96210
Six men and women, some in uniform, stand in a row, smiling and cheering at the camera. Some are waving flags. The street is covered in tickertape and other paper.
V-E (Victory in Europe) Day celebrations, Bay Street
May 7, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 96245

 

Although V-E Day was officially set for May 8, rumours of Germany’s surrender started the previous day, and many people left work and school to celebrate. The downtown core was packed with revellers, and Bay and Yonge streets were both virtually shut down.

 

A Chinese Canadian man in military uniform has his arms around an older man and woman.
Sergeant H.G.P. Con and relatives
January 16, 1946
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 101527
A soldier kisses a woman. In his arm he holds a small dog that has a card attached to it reading 'Welcome home George!'
F/O George Nettie and family
February 4, 1946
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 101874

 

A soldier and a woman embrace cheek to cheek. A baby looks on from the side.
Corporal and Mrs. Roger Nuttal
November 19, 1944
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 93460
An older man in military uniform holding a little girl points at the camera.
Sergeant E.G. Freer and family
March 1, 1943
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 85751

 

Throughout the war, the Globe and Mail regularly ran photographs of soldiers leaving for and returning from the front.

 

About this exhibit

The photographs in this exhibit come from the Globe and Mail collection (Fonds 1266). This collection contains 140,000 images that the paper’s first staff photographer, John H. Boyd, and other photographers took between 1922 and 1953. The photographs record events of all kinds: parades, visits by celebrities and politicians, fashion shows, crime scenes, extreme weather, yearly celebrations such as the CNE, and more. They are invaluable evidence about life in the Toronto of the past.

The ephemera in this exhibit comes from the Larry Becker collection (Fonds 70). Larry Becker was a dedicated collector who gathered postcards, tickets, pamphlets, maps, posters, and everything else to do with Toronto’s history. After his untimely death in 1998, his family generously donated his life’s work to the City of Toronto, allowing us all to share and learn from this astounding collection of Toronto memorabilia.