Toronto Sketches 3: "The Way We Were"


207 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps
ISBN 1-55002-227-X
DDC 971.3'541






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.


Mike Filey has been writing local-history columns for the Toronto Sunday
Sun since the early 1970s. This is the third collection, drawn from the
author’s 1982-94 period.

Many of these selections, however, end abruptly, as if shut down in
mid-thought by a pressing deadline. Filey is also prone to inaccuracy.
He lists Hart Massey as an immigrant from Great Britain; he was not. And
he locates the Fred Victor Mission on the southwest corner of Queen and
Jarvis; it is not.

But where most professional historians are not interested in the small
and mundane matters of yesteryear’s Toronto, Mike is. Filey’s sheer
love of anything historical excuses his shortcomings as a writer or
historian. While professional historians tend to concentrate on great
people and great places, Filey consistently examines his city from the
perspective of the everyday Torontonian. He can write a column about
someone who pumped gas for 40 years and fill it with genuine awe and
admiration. Filey does not condescend to common Torontonians; he
celebrates and writes for them. With more than 1000 columns in reserve,
it appears Filey has plenty of trips to the well yet to go.


Filey, Mike., “Toronto Sketches 3: "The Way We Were",” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,