Toronto Historical embroidery

Toronto Historical Embroidery

(The quotations are taken from a speech given by Marie Fenwick, TGS president when the Toronto Historical Embroidery was unveiled and presented to Mayor Art Eggleton for the people of Toronto at the Sesquicentennial of the City of Toronto, March 4, 1984.)

“In the summer of 1977, two of our Guild members, May Horn and Ivy Clark, went to England and saw the famous British Embroideries. Later, Ivy and May suggested to the Toronto Guild that we should undertake a major work of stitchery in which all members could take part. They recommended that an embroidery be stitched, based on the history of Toronto and presented to the City on its 150th anniversary.”

A study group was formed of TGS members. Several artists were invited to submit designs, and the design submitted by Barbara Gordon was selected by the membership.

“The T.H.E. is approximately 24 feet by 6 feet. It is divided into three sections in a contemporary style depicting the development of the City of Toronto. The largest section is the background. This shows the progress from forest, water and sky through the early settlement of York to the present skyline. The forest gradually diminishes as the number of buildings increase.

“The main focus of the Embroidery is the centre section. It is called the Frieze. Here there are 96 figures representing specific events and individuals who have contributed to the human element of the City.

“On either end of the T.H.E. are canvas stitched panels representing the coat of arms of the City of Toronto. These form a border and give a finished look to the piece.”

The T.H.E. was worked by 140 members, volunteering 11,000 hours of time. The names of all these members are embroidered on the reverse. There are samples of the orginal materials used in the stitching encased in the backing of the embroidery.

The embroidery hangs in the lower rotunda of Toronto City Hall, Queen Street.