Article by Wayne Reeves

HILE THREE-DIMENSIONAL depictions of buildings and towns date back to antiquity, terrain models (or raised-relief maps) became popular only from the 1890s onward. Laser-cut models based on digital vector files are now common, but hand-carved maps-such as John George Howard’s-are a rare thing.

Howard (1803-1890) brought skills as an architect, engineer, surveyor, and art instructor to Upper Canada in 1832. In 1836, he acquired 165 acres west of Toronto and built ‘Colborne Lodge,’ where he lived until his death. The model was among Howard’s possessions passing to the City of Toronto, which operates the lodge as a museum.

Excerpted from Fall/Winter 2015 Ornamentum. Click here to subscribe.

Wayne Reeves is Chief Curator, City of Toronto Museums & Heritage Services.

Hand-carved topographical model of High Park painted green and brown. This model was created after an actual survey by John Howard.
Circa 1864 25” H x 12-7/8” W x 1-3/8” D
Photograph: City of Toronto Museums and Heritage Services