Black's Was Photography

Black's (now stylized as BLACKS) was founded in 1930 with a store in Toronto on St. Clair Ave. Yesterday it was announced that the last 59 stores will be closed for good on August 8.

The digital revolution has most of us taking photos with our phones (count me in that group) and few of us printing pictures. Nobody is surprised by this news, but it's still sad to see it go. Black's was photography.

Did you spot a young Keanu Reeves in that 1986 ad? Big thanks to Retrontario for the tip!

Share this entry

Comments (5 - click here to join in!)

James Edgar

Yes they were. I bought my second camera there (the first was an inherited kodak brownie) a Nikon pocket camera I took on a couple of trips and to RV85.

I then bought my first SLR there a Nikon FG . With money I made on RV85 LOL. I ended up going back to Humber College for photography using that camera. It wasn't Nikon's finest but it did do the job first year.

I have actually had some digital prints made there but only once and only because i wanted to send them to my brother in the hospital before he passed away.

Generally i found them to be overpriced in the last few years anyway.

June 10, 2015 @ 9:19 AM


Black's was unable to adjust their business model to survive in the massive change in consumer habits in the past decade. I've seen many posts, and even one of my neighbours last night, claiming that Black's going out of business was the fault of government (they didn't say which, of course) policies. Let's be real. People take umpteen times more photos than ever, thanks to digital photography. The gratification is instant, since you can see the photo, and if it turned out okay, right away. Sharing is almost as quick, with over 90% of photo sharing also done digitally. About the only times that I ever print photos are to mail them to my father, who is in his late 70s. (Don't even think of mentioning computers to him. At least he has a cell phone, albeit a Doro PhoneEasy, a.k.a. "the senior's phone", but he does use it.) The sales of non-pinhole lens cameras has plummeted, as the use of cell phone cameras has become dominant. Some cell phones can take excellent photos - as long as you don't need to zoom. You need a real zoom lens to do that well; digitization cannot change the laws of physics.

Realistically, it was only a matter of time before Black's disappeared. Japan Camera is down to just 20 stores across Canada. I expect that the camera stores/chains that will ultimately survive by having a local advantage (the only camera shop in the area) or by being specialists for those who are looking for more than just a point and shoot camera that you can get in just about any electronics store, drug store, warehouse centre, grocery store, et al. Our world is always changing. Stores come and go. At least Black's corporate parent, Telus, is hoping and planning to offer all Black's staff jobs elsewhere in the Telus group, instead of just handing out pink slips.

June 10, 2015 @ 10:47 AM

Rick C in Oakville

Can't remember the last time I needed pictures printed. I only used Blacks for my passport photo a few years ago. Glad Telus is being a good employer and corporate citizen with their job placement offer.

June 10, 2015 @ 6:59 PM


Nice to see a pre-Neo Keanu there!

June 11, 2015 @ 9:07 AM

Somewhere Someone

Last time I went to Blacks, I went looking for an SD card for my camera. They sold one that was available at Walmart: exact same card, ten dollars more expensive...and the salesperson tried to claim that it was an exclusive Blacks product and it was perfect for what I needed.

No it wasn't.

June 29, 2015 @ 9:17 PM

Leave a comment

Only 5 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!

« Mike Kic's Voice Mail Greeting Christopher Lee, Dead at 93 »