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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.

Details

  • Title: View of King Street, Toronto
  • Date: 1844/1844
  • Physical Dimensions: w55.9 x h28.9 cm
  • Provenance: Gift of Miss. Isobel Howarth
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Royal Ontario Museum
  • Medium: oil on paper, laid down on canvas
  • Painter: John Gillespie
  • Accession Number: 955.175

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