Fort York and Garrison Common Maps – apps-related information

Nathan Ng has shared with me the following information:

Date: Sunday, 14 April, 2013
To: Jaan Pill

Subject: Fort York and Garrison Common Maps

Hello! I’m sending this note because you had previously referenced a mapping project of mine, Historical Maps of Toronto, on your Preserved Stories blog.

I’d like to draw your attention to another online historical mapping resource I have also just recently launched, which you may find of tangential interest, given your penchant for Toronto history.

The site is Fort York and Garrison Common Maps ( A collaboration with The Friends of Fort York, the project visually explores (through maps) the evolution of usage and ownership of Fort York and the surrounding Military Reserve over the past 200 years.

I’m just in the process of spreading the word about both of these sites, so any assistance you can provide in that regard via social media or other channels would be delightful 🙂

That is, feel free to share this information with any friends, colleagues or readers who might find the two resources of utility or interest.

Kind regards,

Nathan Ng

I was pleased to share the following message with Nathan Ng:

Date: Monday, April 15, 2013
To: Nathan Ng

Hello! This is highly valuable and most interesting information. I will feature it on my website.

Are you involved with Jane’s Walks? One of the Toronto Jane’s Walk 2013 walks is entitled “NOT a history of Liberty Village” or a similar title. I attended a social event last week for Jane’s Walk leaders, held at the Centre for Social Innovation on Bathurst near Bloor.

At the event the walk leader for the Liberty Village event spoke of her planned walk. I was very impressed. In my blog post I will relate the Fort York and Garrison Commons walk to the content of her talk.

Peter Foley at Jane’s Walk is especially interested in mapping of Jane’s Walks as a way of recording and sharing information online and in other ways (e.g. via GPS positioning for smartphone). One of my contacts among the Centennial College staff has also shared extensive information with me about a project he developed some time back focusing on the potential in this area. The Heritage Resources Centre at the University of Waterloo is involved with similar initiatives, as you very likely know.

I look forward to learning more about mapping resources. I have a strong interest in this area. I’ve learned a bit about Google Maps and Google SketchUp and seek to learn much more. I would be interested if you could share any advice or pointers about how I can get up to speed in this area.

I like to organize vast amounts of information and present it briefly in blog posts and events (as part of a conversation) such as Jane’s Walks. Much of the information that interests me involves change over time – change in whatever form. Mapping is such a powerful way to succinctly represent change over time.

I was very pleased to read the following message from Nathan Ng:

Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
To: Jaan Pill

I hope you find the site(s) of utility. One of the goals is to enable simple access to the maps and to promote discovery.

I am not overly technical, but also find many recent attempts at interactive maps quite fascinating. When I released my Goad’s Atlas of Toronto site a couple of years ago, Patrick Cain (who used to write a mapping column for the Toronto Star) wrote up this short post on doing overlays of Goad Atlas plates, in Google Earth:<

Wendy Smith has done some interesting overlay work with historical maps in her Park Lots Project (; you might want to touch base with her to ask about her approach /what she has learned.

Alas I don’t really have any other pointers on this subject. There’s a fair amount of reading to do on the subject of geo-referencing, but I’ve found a lot of the discussion is software-specific and thus a bit out of reach for me (lacking access to the software).

There is probably one or two geography courses offered at the U of T which would probably go a long way towards learning about (modern) mapping resources…

As you have noted, maps can be invaluable in observing change over time. An example of this sort of approach can be found on the Fort York site here:

where if we compare plates we can see the evolution of the Exhibition Grounds over the course of 40 years…

I am not involved with the Jane’s Walks (though I have attended some in the past) — they are a great way for people to learn about the city.

Anyway — I would be happy if you did mention the site(s) on your website and again I hope they prove to be of use to you and others.

[End of apps-related messages]

Using your phone to connect with urban nature

A March 25, 2013 article in the Utne Reader comes to mind.


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