I Remember Sunnyside: The Rise and Fall of a Magical Era


144 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-919275-08-7






Reviewed by Toby Rupert

Toby Rupert was a librarian living in Toronto.


This engaging book not only serves as a momento of the Sunnyside Beach and Amusement Park (1922-1955) but is also a good local history on the variety of amusement parks that have popped up in Toronto over the past hundred years or so (Scarborough Beach Park, Hanlan’s Point, Canadian National Exhibition, etc.).

Sunnyside was a jumbled state of affairs; the famous “Boardwalk” predates the rides and games, while the dances, food, and canoe club came later. It sprawled west of the CNE, edging over to the Humber River, and it was formed largely on land that was reclaimed from Lake Ontario after the Toronto Harbour Commission began to fill in the shore with sand. It was open from spring through fall (at least the rides were) and it relieved some of the pressure to have the CNE run all summer long. Unfortunately, the amusement section of Sunnyside was not well maintained, and there was a series of fires. In 1948, the desirability of a cross-Toronto expressway emerged, finally culminating (in 1955) in the end of the rides as the city prepared for the Gardiner Expressway (with its own exciting thrills and spills). With the rotting Boardwalk, the decline of the big bands, dancing, and canoeing, and the demolishing of the rides, Sunnyside ceased to exist virtually overnight. In a few more years the Gardiner Expressway and the modified Lake Shore Boulevard ran through the park. Filey has done us all a favour by compiling this short history revealed through 175 pictures (taken from the Toronto Harbour Commission, City of Toronto Archives, Metro Toronto Library, etc.) identified with sharply detailed captions.


Filey, Mike, “I Remember Sunnyside: The Rise and Fall of a Magical Era,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/38250.