35 Colour Photographs of Mid-Century Canada Looking Fabulous

Slim Aarons, the American photographer who made his career out of what he called “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” didn’t take any of these colour photographs of mid-Century Canada. And for the most part, we don’t know you did.

Many of these pictures show us people working in Canada in the 1950s. Others show glimpses of what could be the celebrity and socialite life Aarons captured so well.

All these photographs are housed at the Library and Archives Canada (LAC), which collects and preserves Canada’s documentary heritage.


Mid-Century Canada in colour

Man, woman and young girl playing with a beach ball in the water at the beach, 1950

Mid-Century Canada in colour

Two men and two women have drinks under an umbrella at an outdoor table, Fundy National Park, New Brunswick

Mid-Century Canada in colour

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip and another elderly man stand before a crowd of spectators, 1951

Mid-Century Canada in colour

A man and a woman on bicycles consult a road map on the bank of the Ottawa River, Rockcliffe Park, Ontario, June 1952

Mid-Century Canada in colour

ean Paul Lemieux teaching at the École des Beaux Arts, Quebec

Mid-Century Canada in colour

Girl sitting at desk flipping through textbook pages at Putnam School

Mid-Century Canada in colour

Woman kneeling with bow and arrow in her hands. Archery in Stanley Park, 1954

Mid-Century Canada in colour

Woman and three children outside in winter clothes, May 1956

Mid-Century Canada in colour

Guests on the lawn at Fern Cottage summer resort, Lake Couchiching, Orillia, Ontario

Visitors relax on the lawn at the Star Cabins resort in Ontario

Captain Peter Troake cuts mate Ches Pelley’s hair while Gerald Drover jokes around on board the MV Christmas Seal, Newfoundland and Labrador

Shirley Emerson of Saint John, New Brunswick, lines up her gear to go fishing with her father, R.B. Emerson

Father, mother and two little girls fly-fish in a boat on Story Lake, Ontario, 1951

Visitors examine hooked rugs, Québec, Quebec

A couple fishing from rocks at Burleigh Falls, Ontario

A woman uses machinery to make cups at Maple Leaf Plastics, Toronto, Ontario

Coffee is served outdoors to guests at the Laurentide Inn winter resort in the Laurentians, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, 1953

Inuit child sailing his toy boat with caribou skin sails

Howard Robbins has a quick coffee and sandwich during harvesting operations, Matador Cooperative Farm, Saskatchewan, 1953

Interior, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Montréal, Quebec 1967

Inspecting paper currency, Canadian Bank Note Company, Ottawa, Ontario, 1957

Montreal street at night, Quebec

A man and two women rest on a hill above MacLaren Pond while hiking in Fundy National Park, New Brunswick ,1950

Ulaajuk (left) and Kaqslui (right),

Two women feeding a black bear at Nuisance Grands, Banff National Park, Alberta, 1951

Mid-Century Canada in color

A conveyor belt with peaches on it. In the background can be seen a young woman placing peaches in baskets. Grimsby, Ontario, 1957

Lowering car onto production line tracks, Ford Motor Company of Canada, 1961

Mid-Century Canada in color

An automobile exits a drying oven after being painted, General Motors, Oshawa, Ontario, 1959

Mid-Century Canada in color

Colonel and Mrs. G.E. Leprohon, patrons of Au Lutin, Montreal, feeding the restaurant pig with a baby bottle, Quebec

Mid-Century Canada in color

Three women in the Canadian Army paddling a canoe, Canada

Betty Chan admires Pipe Major Bill MacLeod’s tie, made from the MacLeod tartan, at a festival, Kildonan Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Paint technician Jean Bedard is tinting in the Control Laboratory at Ottawa Paint Works, Ontario ,1955

Mid-Century Canada in color

Inuit boy [Saviarjuk Usuarjuk] in front of rack of drying fish, Ivujivik, Quebec, 1951

Mrs. Merle K. Stier, Stampede Queen (centre), and two attendants watch riding and roping events at the Calgary Stampede

Mid-Century Canada in color

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