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Filey, Mike.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1982, 1985. 144pp. paper, $19.95, ISBN 0-7710-3141-6. C1P

Grades 5 and up
Reviewed by John Harkness

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

As a coffee table book for the Toronto local history buff Mike Filey's I Remember Sunnyside is an ideal choice. John George Howard built a villa called Sunnyside in the early nineteenth century. This name stuck to the area, and when Toronto's new "playground on the lake" opened in June 1922, it was natural to call it "Sunnyside Pavilion and Amusement Park."

This new playground was to be a prominent feature of the city of Toronto's leisure life until the mid-1950's, when deterioration set in as crowds, with the growth of automobile traffic, dwindled. The paint began to peel and the lovely old merry-go-round was sold to Walt Disney for his Anaheim theme park, Disneyland (where it still operates). Major fires in November 1955 sealed its fate. Demolition was ordered, and by late February 1956 Sunny-side was dead.

In this book of black-and-white photographs, mostly with text underneath, which opens with an evocative foreword by Robert Thomas Alien, Mike Filey provides a prologue surveying early Toronto amusement parks. Then he takes a look through John George Howards Sunnyside before devoting the remaining three sections to "the Birth," "Golden Days," and "Death" of this much loved landmark. He finishes with a photograph of the park's re-incarnation of Canada's Wonderland.

The approximately 175photographs are great fun and a treasure house of memories, especially the centre-fold showing all fifty-six of the contestants for the first Miss Toronto contest in 1926. A local historians treat, for all ages.

John Harkness, Emery C.I., North York, Ont.
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