“This bird’s-eye view, with its three-dimensional depiction of the city, gives us a different kind of information on the buildings and topography of Toronto. Obvious here are the varying densities of development and the varied sizes and shapes of buildings. Building projects in Toronto, as in other North American cities, tended to be small so that there were no large expanses of consistent residential architecture, as there were in Britain at the time.
The harbour, the trains, and the factory smoke, together with the types of buildings shown in the margin, testify to the growing commercial and industrial interests of the city in the 1870s.
Peter Alfred Gross (1849-1914) was an American artist and lithographer established in Toronto between 1874 and 1878. He first produced illustrations for the Wentworth County atlas and then prepared and published this bird’s-eye view of Toronto in 1876. The view is as if seen from a point 5000 feet above the southeastern part of the island. A year later he published J. Timperlake’s Illustrated Toronto which was to accompany the view and which included a key to major buildings.”
– Isobel Ganton & Joan Winearls, MAPPING TORONTO’S FIRST CENTURY 1787-1884