The Market Gallery will present an exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of Roland Caldwell Harris’s appointment as the Commissioner of Works for the City of Toronto.
“The Water Czar: R.C. Harris Works for Toronto, 1912-45″ will run from September 15, 2012 to March 2, 2013. The exhibition will chronicle his unprecedented and unmatched 33-year career as head of the City’s works department through archival photos, maps and plans, and by artifacts rarely or never seen before.
“This exhibition is a wonderful tribute to a remarkable city builder,” said Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the City’s Economic Development Committee. “When Torontonians drink a glass of tap water or cross the Prince Edward Viaduct, they are benefiting from his work.”
Harris became Commissioner in 1912 after a series of water-related scandals caused the City Engineer to resign. Appointed for his administrative ability more than for his technical acumen, Harris quickly developed a civic vision that viewed public works as the cornerstone of a greater Toronto.
Harris spent over three decades tackling Toronto’s water challenges – bridging it, making the harbour accessible, obtaining a secure supply of tap water and getting rid of the city’s wastewater. When he died in office in 1945, Toronto was a safer, healthier, better functioning and more beautiful place. Toronto’s Prince Edward Viaduct and art deco architectural gem the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant are two of his legacies.
This exhibition is sponsored by international engineering firm CH2M HILL. In Canada, this company’s history includes merging with Gore, Nasmith and Storrie, a Toronto-based company that worked closely with Harris through his career.
The Market Gallery is a program of City of Toronto’s Cultural Services. It presents exhibitions dedicated to Toronto’s art, culture and history and offers educational programs for school groups and adults. Located on the second floor of South St. Lawrence Market, 95 Front St. E., the gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.