CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Patricia McHugh

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1989. 294pp, paper, $19.95
ISBN 0-7710-5520-X.CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Joan McGrath.

Volume 17 Number 5
1989 September

The first edition of Toronto Archi­tecture, published in 1985, was rightly hailed with delight. City watchers and city walkers alike enjoyed and profited by this excellent guide to a vibrant metropolis, an informative work divided into "walks" designed to reveal the architectural character of a par­ticular neighbourhood or area such as the Financial District, Yonge St., Old Yorkville or the University of Toronto, with precise directions to various outstanding landmarks, examples of particular periods of architectural development over more than 150 years, and even to one or two eyesores worth noting in passing.

The welcome second edition pro­vides additional material, including two new walks in the handsome Rosedale residential area, forty more pages of information, and fifty newly catalogued buildings. Some added entries celebrate attractive additions to the cityscape, while others mourn the demolition of buildings now lost to the wrecker's ball; there is mention of the efforts of conservationists, including the odd phenomenon of "one wall preservation," which preserves the facade though the rest of the building is demolished. There are in all twenty-two separate walks, with maps for each indicating all buildings for which photographs are included; with some nine hundred descriptive paragraphs and more than three hundred illus­trations (photographs of streets, buildings, or detail at close range).

Some few people and events are mentioned in passing {e.g. Honest Ed Mirvish and his timely rescue of the Royal Alexandra Theatre) but stones, bricks, and mortar are the stars in this must-buy title for senior students of architecture, residents of Toronto, visitors to the city who want to see more than the C.N. Tower and the Domed Stadium, and those interested in the social history of Upper Canada and Ontario particularly in relation to architectural movements.

Of interest too to social sciences students concerned with the powerful and often confrontational forces of urban developers and of history buffs determined to preserve irreplaceable historic landmarks. Includes glossary, index of architects, index of buildings, as well as listing sources for further information.

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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