Toronto Carved in Stone
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
Mike Filey, a Toronto historian, is author of Like No Other in the
World: A History of Toronto’s Skydome and co-author of Pantages
Theatre: Rebirth of a Landmark.
You can say what you want about Toronto’s “sesquicentennial” year celebrations in 1984, but the best and most lasting legacies of our 150th birthday celebration are the books spawned by the occasion. Toronto Carved in Stone, one of the better creations, is a welcome addition to the written record of Toronto architectural landmarks. Structures such as “old” City Hall, the Parliament Buildings, Casa Loma, and Union Station are described, not only from the historical perspective but with a critical eye focused on the building materials used to create these landmarks. A full chapter tells us how such buildings are born with the sweat and creative expertise of stonemasons and carvers. Then the authors take the reader on a tour of the city to uncover relics of “dead” buildings displayed in sculpture parks or in use as elements of newer structures.
An interesting mix of contemporary and “old-time” photos makes this an entertaining and educational volume. One minor criticism — a portion of the authors’ royalties should be invested in a wide-angle lens: a few of the contemporary views are awkwardly cropped and these mar an otherwise fine look at a little-known piece of Toronto history.