Blake Fitzpatrick and Robert Del Tredici talk about their investigations of Port Hope in a conversation moderated by Louise Désy, CCA Curator, Photographs. Port Hope is Canada’s premier atomic town and the nation’s conduit to the nuclear world. In 1932, Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. built a radium refinery a stone’s throw from the town’s Main Street. After shifting to uranium production, the refinery became a Crown Corporation supplying the United States government for its first atomic bombs. Port Hope still supplies uranium hexafluoride to commercial nuclear reactors worldwide. At a cost of $1.2 billion, the town is now undergoing the most expensive nuclear cleanup in Canadian history. Its historic radioactive waste is being consolidated in a long-term storage facility, several kilometers outside town, in quantities equivalent to forty-eight truckloads a day, six days a week, for approximately five years.
Blake Fitzpatrick is a photographer, curator, and writer as well as the Chair of the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University. Since the 1990s Fitzpatrick has documented the nuclear contamination of the homes and landscapes of Port Hope as well as the current efforts to contain the town’s nuclear waste.
Robert Del Tredici is a photographer, artist, and teacher who has documented the many manifestations of the nuclear age worldwide, including the Port Hope story, which he has tracked for a decade. He has published two books, The People of Three Mile Island (Sierra Club Books, 1980) and At Work in the Fields of the Bomb (Douglas & McIntyre, 1987). He founded The Atomic Photographers Guild in 1987.
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition It’s All Happening So Fast: A Counter-History of the Modern Canadian Environment.