Saturday 10 January 2015

Book ~ "A Toronto Album: Glimpses of the City That Was" (2001) Mike Filey

From Goodreads ~ Mike Filey's collection of pictures of Toronto from the earliest days of photography had gained a reputation as one of the most interesting visual archives of the city's history. 

This classic look at old Toronto portrays scenes of public life from 1860 to 1950, illustrating how dramatically the urban fabric and environment have changed. There are photographs of the beaches and the islands, of mud streets and gas lamps, of steam engines and trolley cars, amusement parks and the everchanging waterfront. Especially striking are the early photographs of downtown and the aftermaths of the fire of 1904. 

It will appeal to Torontonians young and old - and to anyone interested in the evolution of one of the world's fastest growing cities. 

Mike Filey had a column in the Toronto Sun for about 30 years and I read it for many years (I like learning about the history of Toronto).  I've read all his books where he compiles some of his columns.  In this book, Filey includes photographs with a description of what the picture is and what was going on at the time.

He starts by showing pictures of downtown Toronto (King/Yonge) about 1860 with dirt roads with most buildings no longer around.  He covers transportation, the growth of the city, Toronto Island, ships/boats, delivery trucks and more.

I thought the Police Commissioners' by-laws from the late 1880s re horse traffic were funny:
  • No owner of any licensed cab shall drive about the streets during the day-time any notorious bad characters, or women of ill-fame.
  • No driver of a cab shall appear on a stand or place for hire on Sunday.  No person licensed under this by-law shall abuse or ill-treat, or permit to be so, any horse or horses used by him.
  • All licensed cabs shall drive at the rate of six miles per hour at the least.  No person shall gallop.
  • Owners and occupants of livery stables shall not wash their horses in the streets and shall no permit more than two cartloads of manure to accumulate or remain at any one time between the first day of May and the first day of November.

Even though it was originally published in 1972 and reprinted in 2001, it was an interesting book because the pictures of older Toronto were great. If you live in Toronto or are from Toronto, you should check it out.

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