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View of King Street, Toronto

John Gillespie (active 1841-1849)1844

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto, Canada

This view of King Street looking west from Jarvis reveals the entrepreneurial spirit of Thornton Blackburn, an African American slave who with his wife Lucie fled Kentucky via the Underground Railroad, arriving in Canada in 1834. Blackburn had built and operated the first taxicab in Upper Canada. In 1837, “The City”, a yellow and red one-horse cab – visible in the centre of the painting – was put into commission.

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