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Robertson Photo Service: Douglas S. Robertson, Victoria Harbour (4 photos)

Robertson operated from 1922 until 1943 when trachoma blinded him

Robertson Photo Service operated in Victoria Harbour from 1922 until 1943 after Douglas Robertson bought the H.L. Gardiner Photo business.

With war ending only three years before, the post-war depression reduced the capacity of shipyards and work was scarce. The Waldie lumber mill was in decline. 

Robertson photographed many of the local Victoria Harbour and area families, as well as local scenes all through this period.

Some of the scenes were sold as postcards in the shop. His cards aren’t always signed, but initials DSR appear on some. His views of Victoria Harbour, Port McNicoll and the area are unique.

He worked until 1943, when trachoma blinded him.

Doug Robertson’s courage and tenacity in the face of blindness is shown in the accompanying photo from after 1943 and Free Press archive piece from the Huronia Museum below.

René Hackstetter Oct 14, 2021.



Once upon a time, Douglas Robertson was on the other side of the picture - behind the camera — when he was a photographer in Victoria Harbour.

Now, however, he is one of the 44 sightless persons being given assistance by the Midland Penetanguishene District Advisory Committee of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

Mr. Robertson, who now lives with his wife on Ellen Street across from the Ernst Leitz factory in Midland, lost his sight in 1940 through trachoma.

He had started a photographic studio in Victoria  Harbour in 1922 but was forced to discontinue this by 1943. Following this Mr Robertson operated a cafeteria in Toronto for  three years, after which he moved to Orillia.

There he was well  known as the operator of the CNIB "dry stand" near the old town hall on West Street. Now, Mr. Robertson confines his activities to making baskets in a small workshop in his home.


Photo Credits:  

1) Wye River, Douglas S. Robertson Postcard. Authors Coll.  2) Port McNicoll, D.S.R. Author Coll.  

3) Martyrs Shrine. D.S.R. Aithors Coll.  

4) View From Lookout, Martyrs Shrine. D.S.R. Authors Coll.  5) Portrait of Douglas Robertson. Courtesy Helen ( Robertson)  French.