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


144 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography
ISBN 1-55002-274-1
DDC 790'.06'8713541






Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


In his preface to this new edition, Mike Filey says that the original
book, which was published in 1982, was “the closest I ever came to
having a book on the national bestseller list. I have written many other
books on Toronto’s rich and fascinating history; nevertheless, I
Remember Sunnyside, now long out of print, continues to be the one book
for which I receive the most requests.”

Sunnyside amusement park was created and destroyed by the private car.
Increased mobility in the 1920s generated a demand for amusement, and
Toronto’s Sunnyside area—a former wilderness—became accessible
after a combined government road-building and land-reclamation project.
The amusement park flourished in the age of the flivver and the flapper.
At its peak, Sunnyside boasted a dozen rides, a bathing pavilion,
fast-food outlets, and a handful of nightclubs. Because of public
transit, Sunnyside even survived the Depression and World War II, only
to be sold for $335 and torn down in 1956 to make way for an expressway.

As usual, Filey tells the whole story and then some. First he explores
the history of early amusement parks in Toronto. Then he takes the
reader on a tour of Sunnyside’s attractions as they were when the park
was in its prime. The text is illustrated with hundreds of photos and
original advertising broadsheets, and material has been updated where
necessary. It is a tribute to Filey’s storytelling abilities that he
can still tantalize so many Torontonians with the memory of an amusement
park that ignominiously met the wrecker’s ball more than 40 years ago.


Filey, Mike., “I Remember Sunnyside: The Rise and Fall of a Magical Era,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/5610.