The idea of capturing an entire city in a single view, or panorama,originated with the painted cycloramasof the mid-nineteenth century: enormous, circular trompe l’oeil scenes that gave the illusion of being there. Soon after the introduction of the daguerreotype in 1839, photographers began assembling multiple viewpoints to create a single, wide image. They saw potential in the wider format, realizing that the panoramic photograph could capture and celebrate the rapid urban development of the age by exaggerating a town’s size and accentuating its landmarks. Photography quickly replaced painting as the popular method for creating panoramas.
The photographic panoramas in this exhibition, drawn from the collection of Library and Archives Canada, were used to promote Canadian towns and cities. Reproduced and circulated in Canada and abroad, they were included in promotional material, souvenir albums, exhibitions and publications.