Wednesday 3 March 2021

Book ~ "The Toronto Book of Love" (2021) Adam Bunch

From Goodreads ~ Toronto’s past is filled with passion and heartache. The Toronto Book of Love brings the history of the city to life with fascinating true tales of romance, marriage, and lust: from the scandalous love affairs of the city’s early settlers to the prime minister’s wife partying with rock stars on her anniversary; from ancient First Nations wedding ceremonies to a pastor wearing a bulletproof vest to perform one of Canada’s first same-sex marriage ceremonies. 

Home to adulterous movie stars, faithful rebels, and heartbroken spies, Toronto has been shaped by crushes, jealousies, and flirtations. The Toronto Book of Love explores the evolution of the city from a remote colonial outpost to a booming modern metropolis through the stories of those who have fallen in love among its ravines, church spires, and skyscrapers. 

I live in Toronto and I'm always looking for books about the history of Toronto so that's why this one caught my eye.

The stories are all focused on love with a Toronto connection.  The first story tells the story of a French soldier named Louis-Armand de Lom d'Arce de Lohontan, a baron who centuries ago had been sent to Canada to wage war again the first First Nations.  He published a series of books about his travels through the Indigenous lands of North America.  The last story is about "The Michaels", Michael Stark and Michael Leshner, who in 2003 entered into the first legal same-sex marriage in Canada.

Other stories include Lieutenant-governor John Graves and Elizabeth Simcoe, the duel between John White and John Small because White had spread rumours about Small's wife, the leaders in the War of 1812, John and Jemima Howard and their tomb in High Park, Ernest Hemingway hating Toronto, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the Napalm Girl (Phan Thi Kim Phuc), Margaret Trudeau, and more.  At the back of the book, there is an extensive bibliography and suggestions for further reading.

I found this book interesting and liked the writing style.  It was written in a straight-forward manner with not a lot of details but just enough.  When I came across something especially interesting I wanted to know more about, I would stop and Google the subject for more information.  I think anyone living in Toronto (and elsewhere) would find this book worth reading.

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