Toronto Sketches: "The Way We Were"


188 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps
ISBN 1-55002-176-1
DDC 971.3'541






Reviewed by Dean Tudor

Dean Tudor is a journalism professor at the Ryerson Polytechnical
Institute and founding editor of the CBRA.


These 92 sketches are taken from Mike Filey’s Toronto Sun column
“The Way We Were,” which has been published over the past 20 years.
Most appeared between 1986 and 1992, and some show evidence of updating
and correcting. Each sketch runs about two pages and covers some event,
building, street, or person, such as the opening of the Bay Street bus
terminal; the Tip Top Tailors factory; the “coffin” block (so named
because of its shape); the old Casino theatre (variously as a vaudeville
palace, movie house, and strip joint); and airmail delivery (late in

Stories about people include “Canada’s First Victoria Cross Winner
a Toronto Boy” about Alexander Roberts Dunn and his part in the charge
of the Light Brigade at age 21. The article “Sunday Laws Stripped Away
One by One” details the results of referendums in Toronto: the one in
1897 that allowed streetcars to run on Sundays; the one in 1950 that
opened the door to Sunday sports; and the one in 1961 that allowed
movies and performing arts to be seen on Sundays.

Two drawbacks to this collection are the uneven prose style and the
lack of an index.


Filey, Mike., “Toronto Sketches: "The Way We Were",” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,