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Toronto as Community: 50 Years of Photographs by Vincenzo Pietropaolo


On the occasion of the Scotiabank Contact Photo Festival, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto is pleased to present

Book Launch and Photo Exhibition 

Toronto as Community: 50 Years of Photographs

by Vincenzo Pietropaolo

Istituto Italiano di Cultura

496 Huron Street | Toronto

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 | 6:30 PM EST

Exhibition at the Istituto will be on display May 17 to May 31 during office hours

Monday to Friday | 9 am to 1 pm and 2pm to 5 pm

Pietropaolo will present his new book followed by a panel discussion and book signing.


Vincenzo Pietropaolo

James Rottman – Curator

Carolyn Combs – Executive Director, Mayworks Festival



The event is organized in collaboration with the James Rottman Fine Art Gallery, Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts and with the support of Cormorant Books.

The full exhibition will be on display at the James Rottman Fine Art Gallery, 830 St. Clair Ave. W,  from May 3rd to May 31st. The exhibition will open with a reception on Saturday May 6th, 2:00-5:00 p.m. for both Vincenzo Pietropaolo and Rafael Goldchain.


Toronto as Community represents more than fifty years of photography by Vincenzo Pietropaolo, whose life’s passion has been to photograph Toronto, its people, and its buildings. Pietropaolo, described by Canadian Geographic as “one of Canada’s pre-eminent documentary photographers,” grouped the photographs around short essays that explore his observations and view of the city, which in turn, inform the photographs themselves.

The photographs document the diversity and sense of community of ordinary citizens, at work, at play, in celebration, in protest, and in mourning, including many parks and natural areas, the city’s architecture and the pandemic.

These images will provoke the reader’s sense of nostalgia, inviting reflection on the city that once was, how it became the city it is, and how it continues to develop and grow into a city of our imaginations.

“This beautifully photographed and well-written book showcases Toronto both in its gritty reality and its beautiful glory.”

(David Miller, Former Mayor of Toronto, 2003-2010)


Vincenzo Pietropaolo is a photographer and writer based in Toronto, where he immigrated as a child with his family. Self-taught, he became active in photography in 1970, documenting the people of his newly adopted city. He attended York University and the University of Toronto before he interrupted his studies to pursue a career in city planning. After fifteen years as a planner with the City of Toronto, he returned to his first love and passion — social documentary photography.

Vincenzo has published over a dozen books and numerous other publications, including seven monographs of personal work, and has received numerous awards including the Heritage Toronto Award. Vincenzo collaborated with Jane Jacobs by providing photographs for an exhibition based on her seminal book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. He has also published two acclaimed books on the Italian community, Not Paved With Gold, and Ritual.

His work has been featured in about one hundred solo and group exhibitions, in North America, Latin America, and Europe. He has produced extensive photo essays on, workers across Canada, migrant farm workers from Mexico and the Caribbean, the piazzas of Italy, religious ritual, architecture, historical preservation, and a variety of social justice issues such as refugees, disadvantaged youth, and disabilities.