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Edited by Deryck Holdsworth. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, c1985. 246pp, paper, ISBN 0-8020-2542-0 (cloth) $25.00, 0-8020-6556-2 (paper) $12.95.CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Catherine R. Cox

Volume 13 Number 6
1985 November

This book is composed of a collection of articles by twelve men. Most of them have worked with the Heritage Canada Foundation on the board of governors, as a director, or co-ordinator of Main Street projects. The writers take it as given that downtowns can be revitalized. They discuss the mistakes that have been made in the past, and look at the successes in order to persuade and encourage municipal governments and merchants to give it a try, and to show how it can be done. The essays are arranged into three sections. Part one is about the history of "Main Street" in Canadian towns and the reasons for its demise. Part two gives us the history of downtown revitalization in Canadian cities during the 1970s and 1980s. Part three goes into more detail on how specific towns have restored, renovated, and revitalized their main streets. The two towns that are discussed in detail are Bridgetown, Nova Scotia and Nelson, British Columbia, since they are two of the first to have received Heritage Canada's attention. Some of the essays are quite technical, explaining, for example, how the street face of an old storefront can be stripped of its aluminum siding and restored to its former elegance. Elegance is not the only goal. Merchants are shown to reap economic rewards in the form of more customers and more business due to carefully planned renovations,appropriate sign placement, and effective window displays. This is an attractive and readable collection. The essays are of interest to the layperson as well as to the town planner and student of urban development. The numerous black-and-white photos show several Canadian towns in before and after displays. There is no index to aid the researcher but the essay titles in the table of contents are informative. There is a bibliography. Recommended.

Catherine R. Cox, Moncton H.S., Moncton, N.B.
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