Toronto and Niagara: Colourguide.


256 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 978-0-88780-760-2
DDC 917.13'541045




Edited by Mark Grzeskowiak
Photos by Breanne Thomas
Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



Both guides follow the same pattern in content and layout. Both contain a few maps and an index, lots of colour patches, and numerous essays. Content for both includes some transportation information, a brief history of the city, and notes on excursions, areas or neighbourhoods of interest, shopping districts, museums, galleries, theatres, nightlife, dining, sports, and major events such as festivals. The Toronto guide has a section on gay culture in the city. Both the Montreal and Niagara guides have notes on features of interest to naturalists.


The information is conveyed primarily through essays. This results in an amount of editorial content considerably greater than is traditionally found in a travel guide. This would be a bonus except for two consequences. First, the essays are, overall, uninspired, with the authors appearing to be laboriously chugging their way through yet another routine assignment. Secondly, the mass of editorial text means inadequate space is reserved for the logistics—the listings of accommodations, attractions, events, restaurants, shopping, and sports locations. Such listings are the heart of any practical travel guide and deserve enough space to be useable. Unfortunately, in these guides the listings are a near-illegible blur, with location, contact information (including, often, email and web addresses), key features, and a descriptive phrase or two all tightly packed together without spaces.


The guides are colourful, a positive characteristic outweighed by three equally pronounced negative ones—they’re cramped, cluttered, and confusing. Even the feeble attempt at colour-coding the various sections is too timid to be successful and merely adds to the layout clutter. Any impact the editorial essays might have is diminished by being run in a too-small type font, packed into pages littered with hundreds of tiny colour photos. There are clearer, easier to use guides available.


“Toronto and Niagara: Colourguide.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,