From Horse Power to Horsepower


112 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55002-200-8
DDC 388'.9713'541






Maurice J. Scarlett is the editor of Consequences of Offshore Oil and
Gas: Norway, Scotland, and Newfoundland.


Recent years have given us a spate of books featuring photography of
people, places, and events of the past. This latest addition depicts
Toronto from 1890 to 1930. The emphasis is on cars, trucks, streetcars,
and buses and their effect on the city. The illustrations are mostly
drawn from the City of Toronto Archives and consist of advertisements,
newspaper cartoons, and conceptual drawings.

For the most part, the text neatly complements the illustrations. As
the introduction implies, the focus is on the internal combustion engine
and the changes it brought to the city from 1890 to 1930. There are also
excursions into aviation (British airship R–100, and the
Curtis–Jenny bioplane), lake shipping, and the CNR’s oil-electric
locomotive No. 9000, which arrived in 1929.

The book is rather rambling and diffuse. The authors seem unable to
decide whether they are writing about the changing cityscape, the
photographers who depicted it, or the socioeconomic changes over 40
years of Toronto history. Their book is a trip down memory lane for
longtime residents. With careful editing and a sharper focus, it could
have been much more.

Mike Filey is a former member of the Toronto Historical Board and
Ontario Heritage Foundation. Victor Russell is manager of the City of
Toronto Archives and a former managing editor of the Urban History


Filey, Mike., “From Horse Power to Horsepower,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,