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Toronto, No Mean City

Toronto, No Mean City

Revised by STEPHEN A. OTTO
Christopher Hume
Catherine Nasmith
Susan Crean
Mark Kingwell
Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Toronto, No Mean City
    Book Description:

    This reprint of the third edition, prepared by Stephen Otto, updates Arthur's classic to include information and illustrations uncovered since the appearance of the first edition.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2113-8
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Toronto, No Mean City
    (pp. vii-x)
    Christopher Hume
  4. Build Well
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Catherine Nasmith
  5. Le Toronto Imaginaire
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    Susan Crean
  6. Toronto in Season: 1986 and After
    (pp. xix-xxii)
    Mark Kingwell
  7. Preface to the Third Edition
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. Foreword
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)

    Too little has been written about the early development of Toronto and the reasons for its growth. When my grandfathers came to live here about one hundred years ago, one from Scotland, the other from what was once known as Lower Canada, Toronto was a city of some sixty or seventy thousand people. At the beginning of that century it was nothing but a frontier village of no more than four or five hundred inhabitants. Today the population exceeds one and a half million, and there is no end in sight.

    In writing this book, it was not Eric Arthur’s...

  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxvii-xxx)
  10. Introduction
    (pp. xxxi-2)

    This architectural history of Toronto has been in the mind of the writer since the time, many years ago, when he first made it a habit of wandering with no fixed objective through the streets of the old town. Thirty-five years ago one could enjoy many thoroughfares that still had about them an air of colonial Upper Canada – a quiet Georgian peace created in part by the low horizontal lines of the two-storeyed, terraced houses. Those streets are now slums or ruins and can be enjoyed, like Ruth Draper with her imaginary garden, only in memory.

    But if the...

  11. 1 The Village and the Ancient Trails
    (pp. 3-9)

    The pre-British story of Toronto is stimulating enough for the people of Canada, but it is a moving, almost a personal one for those of us who call Toronto home. We can still tread the principal path of the great explorers. It is broken, it is true, and is no longer a trail, but the basic elements remain unchanged. With eyes closed to the structures that have appeared only in this century, we can stand where Etienne Brule stood on a September morning in 1615. To the south he would look on the great lake, its waves sparkling in the...

  12. 2 ‘As it was in the beginning …’
    (pp. 10-32)

    When one studies the late eighteenth-century history of Toronto, it is clear that two men played a great part in guiding the destiny of the future city. They were Sir Guy Carleton, the first Lord Dorchester, and Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe. History has shone a bright light on the latter, and someone in Toronto daily recalls him in Simcoe Street (once Graves) and John Street, but it was Lord Dorchester as governor-in-chief of Canada who arranged the Toronto Purchase, the first step in the negotiations for a site for the future capital of Ontario. Even if his preference was for...

  13. 3 A Late-Flowering Georgian
    (pp. 33-66)

    A grave weakness in Aitkin’s plan was that it lacked a focus. Had there been provision for a school, a church, or, more particularly, a village green, the plan of Toronto today would have been different. It also lacked direction, so that when expansion became inevitable, the town grew merely by adding more squares, a practice we have followed ever since except in the labyrinth of Rosedale. Before the original ten blocks were occupied, it had become apparent that the site near the Don was undesirable for a residential district. Visitors to York and the correspondence of the early settlers...

  14. 4 Prosperity and Eclecticism
    (pp. 67-156)

    Both politically and architecturally the year 1834 was a significant one in the story of Toronto. The population had grown to 9,254, and a change had come over its building. There must have been some loyal souls who in that year would have thought of Toronto as ‘no mean city,’ but there were many who found it, in another sense, indescribably mean. Mrs Jameson had this to say of it in 1836: ‘most strangely mean and melancholy. A little illbuilt town … some government offices, built of staring red brick, in the most tasteless, vulgar style imaginable; three feet of...

  15. 5 Romanesque and Cast Iron
    (pp. 157-222)

    In the evolution of taste over one hundred years, the last phase, which takes us to the end of the nineteenth century, might seem to the casual observer in Toronto to be hardly worthy of study. He would be wrong, because even a marked deterioration in taste is not uninteresting, and what there was of clutter in the flocked and claustrophobic drawing-rooms of the well-to-do was offset by architectural movements of great significance. A new and virile architecture that was to culminate in the Toronto City Hall (1889) was in the making, and even the seventies showed an awareness of...

  16. 6 Epilogue
    (pp. 223-232)

    The reader has come on a long and, I hope, not too arduous journey since we looked behind the palisades of the ancient village at the end of the well-troddenpassage de Toronto. We were there in spirit when the lieutenant-governor and Mrs Simcoe sailed into Toronto harbour, and we heard with pride the salute of guns that heralded the founding of York, the capital of Upper Canada. We saw the town prostrate before the guns of the American flotilla in 1813, and we saw it rise again, in two critical decades, as Toronto, the incorporated city.

    Toronto never looked...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 233-236)
  18. Appendix A The Architectural Profession in the Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 237-264)
  19. Appendix B Builders and Contractors
    (pp. 265-271)
  20. Appendix c The Origin of Street Names in Toronto
    (pp. 272-294)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 295-300)
  22. Index
    (pp. 301-312)
  23. Picture Credits
    (pp. 313-315)