Representations of Small

This selection of drawings by Toronto architect Don Loucks documents some of Toronto’s built heritage in row houses, semis, and cottages. These drawings call us to pay attention to the older buildings in our neighbourhoods and consider what housing within the modest income of a labourer could afford over a century ago.

Loucks highlights the architectural details of these cottages and shows the viewer how the labourer’s skills manifest in their family home. Although small in scale, these homes are not lacking in quality of craftsmanship or design, and there is great attention given to the details. His drawings give some insight into the lives of the skilled labourers who migrated to Toronto in the 19th century and built this city into the early part of the 20th century.

The presentation of these drawings of heritage homes beside Max Allen’s “Getting to Small” exhibit is an examination of what “small” or “modest” spaces represent then and now. We invite you to consider ideas of affordability, accessibility, and class as you look at Loucks historical sketches alongside a survey of the current need for smaller living spaces in cities.

Curated by: Karen Carter

The conversation below is between the founding curator of the Textile Museum of Canada, Max Allen, and Toronto architect, Don Loucks, and their exhibitions “Getting To Small” and “Representations of Small” at Urbanspace Gallery from Thursday, November 4, 2021 to Saturday, January 30th, 2021.

MODEST HOPES: Homes and Stories of Toronto’s Workers 1820s-1920s


401 Richmond Street West
Ground Floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Monday to Saturday
10:00 AM to 6:00 PM


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