Photographs provided by our interviewees

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Photos provided by Norman Cook

This page shows the range of personal and family photos provided by Norman Cook. They represent touching and dramatic moments in his relatives' lives as leaders in the black community in Canada and the US, and also reflect Norman's years growing up in Harbord Village and attending local schools. The accompanying notes are based on Norman Cook's interview and on subsequent conversations.

NOTE: These images may not be reproduced without permission. Contact to inquire.


To view larger images, move your mouse pointer over the thumbnails. To read or listen to the interview, click on the donor's name.

1909. Charles Sharp Sr., great-grandfather of Norman Cook, was pastor of the British Methodist Episcopal Church on Grace Street, and also worked as a teamster to support his family. The horses were stabled at the back of the Sharp family home at 306 Lippincott. Verda Cook, who describes her childhood enjoyment of wagon rides, was Norman Cook's mother. Story published originally in Cityspan magazine, exact date unknown; clipping provided by Norman Cook.

Year unknown. Portrait of Charles Sharp Sr., Norman Cook’s great-grandfather, in his more dignified role as a pastor.

1920s. Portrait of Charles Sharp Jr., Norman Cook’s grandfather.

Year unknown. Portrait of Buster Sharp, Norman's uncle and the son of Charles Sharp Jr.

1920s. Cassandra Holland was the older sister of Norman Cook’s grandmother Rose Holland Sharp. She became a teacher of classical music and opera and founded a conservatory of music in Cleveland, Ohio.

1929. Charles Sharp, Jr., Norman Cook’s grandfather, driving his new Ford. A note on the back of the photo identifies the others (from left to right) as Auntie Dot (Hazel Sharp), Aunt Dora (Dora Sharp), Grandma Sharp (Rose Holland Sharp), Cecil Sharp, and Mrs. Harris.

1934. Norman Cook’s great-grandmother with her three daughters, Dora, Hazel, and Helen, on the porch of her home at 306 Lippincott. The house was razed to create the playing field of Central Technical School.

1940. Rose Holland Sharp, Norman Cook’s grandmother, was the daughter of a pastor and member of a prominent family from Hamilton. She is on the back porch of her home at 306 Lippincott, since razed to create the Central Technical School playing field.

1943. Women workers who assembled shells and bombs at the Dominion Bridge Corporation, converted during the war to munitions production. Norman Cook’s mother Verda Cook (who later helped found the Canadian Negro Women’s Club) is at the left.

1945. Aubrey Sharp, Norman Cook’s uncle, who participated in the liberation of Western Europe. Aubrey went on to found and lead the Toronto Negro Colour Guard, a post-war association of African-Canadian Veterans.

1946. Joe Brown, Aubrey Brown, and Gary Smith on the west lawn of Central Technical School. The Lippincott Street houses in the background were razed to create the school playing field.

Late 1940s. Norman Cook’s aunt Hazel (“Dot”) Sharp married Thomas Pittman, who had fled racial violence in Florida. Hazel’s dress is like the ones worn for a southern Cotillion Ball.

Late 1940s. Hazel “Dot” Sharp Pittman and her husband Thomas Pittman in their back yard at 308 Lippincott, next door to Dot's parents. Both houses have since been razed to create the playing field at Central Technical School.

Date unknown. Rose Holland Sharp and her daughter Hazel (“Dot”) Sharp Pittman.

1953. Helen Sharp, Norman Cook’s aunt, in her induction robe to a high rank in the Order of the Eastern Star Lodge.

1953. Norman Cook hoisted by Jerry Shuman, with Taisto Tomisko to the right, in the schoolyard beside the old Lansdowne school.

1953. Seven boys in front of a car at the old Lansdowne School. In the back row: name unknown (born Estonia), Rainier (born Lithuania), Georges Cankier (born France), Mendy Bregman (born Toronto). Front row: Jerry Shuman (born Toronto), Norman Cook (born Toronto), Taisto Tomisko (born Finland).

1954. Class picture of Grade 6, King Edward School; teacher Mr. Alan Knight. The three black children, who all lived on Borden St., are (from left to right), Barry Trottman, Fern Escoe, and Joe Belfon. Frank Burgess is third from left at the back (see also his photo of the Grade 5 class in 1953).

1954. Two women in Ukrainian national costume (including Luba Goy, centre) and the president of the Canadian Negro Women’s Club at an event organized by the YM-YWHA (Young Women and Young Men’s Hebrew Association). Clipping from The Canadian Negro newspaper provided by Norman Cook.

1954. Charles Sharp Jr., and his wife Rose Holland Sharp, with their youngest daughter Verda Cook, Norman Cook’s mother, on the back porch of 306 Lippincott, since razed to create the playing field at Central Technical School.

Early 1960s. Verda Sharp Cook, mother of Norman Cook, with her wealthy aunt Helen Sharp in Detroit in the early 1960s. Helen was married to one of the designers of the breakthrough Studebaker automobile.

1960. Norman Cook playing basketball on the championship team at Harbord Collegiate.



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