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Preservation of the Wm. Thomson Freeland Panoramas - Title Banner

On May 16, 2003, Gillian Reddyhoff, the Curator of the Government of Ontario Art Collection was contacted by security staff at the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park concerning the discovery of two framed panoramic photographs of Niagara Falls. They had been hidden from view for years, lying face down under a sub-floor on the fifth level attic of the building. Workmen had accidentally uncovered them while doing renovations.

Photo: Security staff showing staff from the Archives of Ontairo the panorama photos discovered at Queen's Park

The photographs were both taken from the Canadian side of the Niagara river and picture the area from slightly south of the Honeymoon Arch Bridge upriver to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

Each photograph measures roughly .7 metres by 5.6 metres (28” x 18’ 8 ½”). One, dated November 1, 1912, shows the area under a cover of snow. The other, dated June 1913, was taken in the late spring.

Click to see a larger image (198K)
Security staff showing staff from the Archives of Ontario the panorama photos discovered at Queen's Park

Both panoramas bear an inscription that reads in part, the 'Largest One-Piece-One-Exposure Photo-Enlargement In The World' and also cites the Panoramic Camera Company of Canada.

Niagara Falls Panorama Inscription

To shoot his impressive views of Niagara Falls, Freeland may have used a cycloramic panoramic camera like the one patented by John R. Connon in 1887.

However, we have not yet determined Freeland's technique for enlarging and printing one-piece photographs of this enormous scale, a detail that adds to the intrigue of the artifacts.

Unfortunately, when they were discovered, both pictures were in poor condition. The Archives undertook a long term plan to stabilize and store the panoramas. This virtual exhibit follows the process.

To see scrolling images of the panoramas click the links to the right.