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Toronto Street Names: An Illustrated Guide to Their Origins [Paperback]

Leonard Wise , Allan Gould
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Dec 2 2000 --  
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Book Description

Dec 2 2000

Street names provide a highly visible record of a city's past, commemorating the people and events that have shaped the place. Now comes a book for everyone who has walked along or driven by a Toronto street and wondered, "Where do you suppose that name comes from?"

Toronto's street names hold the city's past: the trails and portages of the First Nations inhabitants; the arrival of the early explorers; the founding of the town of York at the end of the 18th century; the growth and political turmoil of the 19th century; and the expansion and modernization in the 20th.

The street names in Toronto collectively tell the story of a city that is steeped in history and is surprisingly rich in colorful characters. Chicora Avenue recalls a steamship that sailed the Great Lakes for 60 years. Harrison Road was named after William Harrison, a Reformer who died from wounds inflicted in the Rebellion of 1837. Viscount Julian Byng, who led Canadian troops to victory at Vimy in the First World War and served as Governor General in the 1920s, left his name on Byng Avenue. The Ojibway word for little hill, 'espadinong,' became Spadina (Avenue and Road). Edith Boulton, the beloved wife of piano magnate Samuel Nordheimer, was her husband's inspiration for naming their beautiful house and estate Glen Edyth, now recalled in Glen Edyth Drive. The eloquent Thomas D'Arcy Magee, a Father of Confederaton who was assassinated in a Fenian plot, is honored by D'Arcy Magee Crescent.

In all, the stories behind the naming of 350 streets - familiar, and not so familiar - are presented here. The lives of brewers, politicians, architects, royalty, explorers and farmers can be traced in the city's street names. So can the villages and homes that immigrants left behind in Great Britain, and the grand estates of Toronto's early upper class.

Reading this charming book is like taking a trip through time, along the way meeting many of the people who shaped the city. The mini-stories open little windows on the past, presenting fascinating glimpses into not only where people lived, but how. Easy to read and yet intriguing enough to send you off to the library to find out even more, this book is illustrated with period photographs and is fully indexed and cross-referenced.

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Product Description


What emerges is an intriguing, humorous and sometimes downright strange history of Toronto ... Fun to read, the book traces the witty history of a city born of conflicting traditions, ideals and personalities. Walking the streets of Toronto will never be the same again. (Annemarie Brissenden Toronto Annex Gleaner 2001-03-01)

Deserves a place on every Toronto history buff's bookshelf. (Steve Pitt Canadian Book Review Annual 2000-01-01)

About the Author

Alan Gould holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from York University. He has taught courses on theater at York, U of T, Guelph and the Ontario College of Art, and he has written and performed in numerous radio and television shows. Gould has written over 700 newspaper and magazine articles, and has more than two-dozen books published (as author, co-author or editor) including: Fodor's: Toronto and The Toronto Book. Allan lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.

Leonard Wise has authored several books on Toronto including Toronto Eats, More Toronto Eats and Making Out in Toronto. He has also been a columnist for the Toronto Star where he wrote about food specialty items. A lawyer, Leonard first turned to writing in 1970. Leonard and his wife live in Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trip down Memory "Lane" Nov. 20 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a Torontonian and there are streets here that I've never heard of. This book with pictures brings back those nostalgic memories
while gowing up in the Greatest City in the World.
A Must read to stir the senses and memories!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Oct. 21 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A wonderful book for lovers of Toronto!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars July 17 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting basic history of Toronto street names.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for locals and local historians Aug. 7 2013
By Toronto416 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoy reading through this book to see how so many of our street names got their names, and this is really the first compilation that illustrates this so well. Keep it around whenever you have a few extra minutes to read about those streets you've always wondered about (Avenue Road, Gould Street, Dundas Street, etc)!
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