Thursday, February 19, 2009

'Seeing Toronto' - A Carnival Cutout Photograph - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Here is a fun photograph from my grandmother's album showing a man who appears to be in a car rather clumsily marked "Seeing Toronto". Both his hat and his moustache look borrowed to me.

There is no identification with the image, but it is pasted on the same page as one of the few photographs from my grandfather's family - the photograph below on which his brothers, John Rogers (J) and Frank Rogers (F), and Susan Battice, née Peel (S), his stepsister, are identified with initials. All of them lived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Perhaps originally there was a letter or card that told why and when the 'car' photo was taken, perhaps at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition one year, but if so, that is long gone.

I was reminded of this photo last week when one of my favourite Internet people, Michael Quinion, of World Wide Words, answered a query about names for the painted displays used for these kind of photos. I think I've often called them 'carnival cutouts' but the term 'passe-têtes' that Michael mentions sounds very good to me (and of course appropriate for a Canadian to use).

I think this 'car' photo is of my great uncle John. What do you think? If it is John, it was really a joke photo as I know he didn't learn to drive until later in life (and that was likely a lot of fun for the neighbours, although perhaps not for his sister, Susan).

I did have a look on-line and don't see any other 'Seeing Toronto' passe-tête photos. If you have one, please let me know.


Janet Iles said...

What a great photo. I didn't know the term 'passe-têtes' but it makes sense.

I have awarded you the Kreativ Blogger Award. See my posting at

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

"Carnival cutouts" sounds like a great name to me! When I saw your photo one of my own popped into my head. Back in the late fifties one of my most exciting vacations was to Frontier Town in northern New York States. I remember posing with my younger sister behind a carnival cutout of a stagecoach with bandit cowboys attacking (we were the cowboys). Great fun!
Evelyn in Montreal