A picture of a street, with old red and yellow streetcars and the CN tower. The sky is blue and there are the electrical lines of the streetcar. The author's names "Brian Doucet and Michael Doucet" are written in white at the top. The title "Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto" is written in red and yellow. The subtitle "A Visual Analysis of Change" is written in white below that.

Streetcars Shifting Geographies Toronto

A picture of a street, with old red and yellow streetcars and the CN tower. The sky is blue and there are the electrical lines of the streetcar. The author's names "Brian Doucet and Michael Doucet" are written in white at the top. The title "Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto" is written in red and yellow. The subtitle "A Visual Analysis of Change" is written in white below that.

Cover of “Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto: A Visual Analysis of Change” by Brian Doucet and Michael Doucet, 2023 Heritage Toronto Book Award nominee. Cover photo by Edward Wickson.

Author: Brian Doucet and Michael Doucet

Publisher: University of Toronto Press

When looking at old pictures of Toronto, it is clear that the city’s urban, economic, and social geography has changed dramatically over the generations. Historic photos of Toronto’s streetcar network offer a unique opportunity to examine how the city has been transformed from a provincial, industrial city into one of North America’s largest and most diverse regions.

Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto studies the city’s urban transformations through an analysis of photographs taken by streetcar enthusiasts, beginning in the 1960s. These photographers did not intend to record the urban form, function, or social geographies of Toronto; they were “accidental archivists” whose main goal was to photograph the streetcars themselves. But today, their images render visible the ordinary, day-to-day life in the city in a way that no others did. These historic photographs show a Toronto before gentrification, globalization, and deindustrialization. Each image has been re-photographed to provide fresh insights into a city that is in a constant state of flux.


About the Authors:

Dr. Brian Doucet is the Canada Research Chair in Urban Change and Social Inclusion in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo. Doucet’s research examines the relationships between gentrification, neighbourhood change and mobility. He use a variety of methods including photography to better understand the challenges and complexities of contemporary cities, how they change, and how people experience them. Dr Doucet is particularly interested in understanding the stories, experiences and knowledge that are not visible within statistics.

Dr. Michael Doucet was a member of the Ryerson faculty in the Department of Geography from 1977 – 2010 when he retired to Emeritus status. Doucet received his PHD from the University of Toronto in 1977. During his academic career, his research interests included Immigration & Settlement Studies, Urban Land Development and the geography of Toronto. Doucet also served as President of the Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA) between 1998-2002 and as President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) between 2003-2007.