Baba and Didi at 21 Gunton Avenue.

 

Half a century ago my Baba and Didi (My grandparents) bought this little bungalow in Toronto where they added a pool and three kids, but not quite in that order. It’s where my Dad and his brothers grew up, and hockey equipment stunk up the basement. It’s where my Mom entered into the picture at a house party, and where the wallpaper in the kitchen has acted to the backdrop to many more family additions since. Eight grandkids, Thanksgiving dinners, family golf tournaments, christmas craft sleepovers with all the cousins, and a fridge of photos to prove it.

This past August marked a move for them out of that house where my whole family grew up and and into a smaller apartment with a view.

I was home visiting Ontario in June when the move became official, and it became the deadline I needed to ask to photograph them and their house before all the memories saved in each room, in every trinket, were packed away into boxes or sold at an inevitable garage sale. I’ve wanted to take pictures of my grandparents for a long time, but sometimes personal projects only happen when there is a push, and the move was it.

In June we had lunch and ice tea, looked through albums of photos, and my Uncle Trevor stopped in to pick up a ladder.  I learned my Baba had sewed the pillows in her bedroom, and she remembers which Christmas our family pooled our money to buy her the painting that hung above the kitchen table. That afternoon I tried to photograph the little things that made up my childhood – the pool, the snowman chef christmas ornament, and the tiny paper cups that were always stocked in the bathroom. I took photos of the post-it notes my cousin Shannon would leave as little presents, and of the book I’d crafted when I was eight full of trivia questions about each grandkid.

I spent hours after that searching through their archive of film shots that tied every era of my family’s living history to that house. It was the cookbooks, and powdered ice tea on the counter, that inspired the double exposures you’ll see below. Some things don’t change and I wanted to somehow combine the past and present. Every combined photo (because they aren’t true double exposures, they were done in photoshop) are from the same space – years apart, and I hope they tie all the photos together.

I wasn’t able to help on their actual moving day in August, I was on the other side of the country, so these photos are for my family, my little contribution. Zach, Bray and Mitch – thanks for picking up the slack and the boxes 🙂

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