A Note on the Sources
Most of our research has come from primary sources, most of which can be found at the City of Toronto Archives, or the Ontario Archives. Very little of our information came from secondary sources, but that’s not for lack of trying. There simply isn’t very much information on the House of Industry available in anything other than primary source forms. This is a shame, and one of the reasons we are putting our efforts into this project is to get more knowledge circulating outside of the world of primary sources.
You may have noticed we haven’t said very much about the people who went to the House of Industry either. These Cabinet Cards, available at the City of Toronto Archives, are almost the only photos of people who went to the House of Industry. Worse, we don’t even know who these people were or what their purpose was. The cards state that these people “may or may not have visited the House,” which could mean any number of things.
Only one image could be found of those poor people who actually needed relief. These workers breaking rocks to earn their bread and shelter depict the harsh realities that poor and homeless people faced in the 1800s.
These nameless, faceless souls are the reason we are undertaking this project with such fervor. Through our research, we aim to bring knowledge of those who ran, visited, and lived in the House of Industry out of the darkness and into the light, where they can receive the compassion, understanding, and recognition they deserve.