Faces on Places: A Grotesque Tour of Toronto by Terry MurrayFaces on Places: A Grotesque Tour of Toronto by Terry Murray

Faces on Places: A Grotesque Tour of Toronto

byTerry Murray

Paperback | May 31, 2006

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 125 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Faces on Places takes us into the fascinating world of mythical and historical persons and icons that have been watching over Toronto and its inhabitants for centuries.

If you look up with author Terry Murray, you'll see beyond glass and steel and stone to spy Gargoyles, Griffins, Dragons, Angels, Portraits of Important Personages (and Caricatures of those same folk). Murray has photographed over sixty Toronto buildings, interviewed architects, stone carvers, and building occupants, and scoured archives for original architectural plans, to discover who these creatures are, and why they exist.

Faces on Places is organized by type of sculpture, and contains street addresses and maps for suggested walking tours. It is an elegant and reliable guide to the city's most silent and intriguing citizens.

Terry Murray has been a medical journalist for more than 35 years. She has held staff positions at Canadian Family Physician and the Medical Post, and been a consultant for the World Health Organization. Murray has done freelance writing for medical and general interest publications in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia, and New Zeala...
Title:Faces on Places: A Grotesque Tour of TorontoFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8 × 4.25 × 0.6 inPublished:May 31, 2006Publisher:House Of Anansi Press IncLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0887847412

ISBN - 13:9780887847417

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Faces! I had to write this review when I read Susan Mason's review. This book doesn't pretend to be about the *buildings* as much as it is about the *faces* on the buildings. So she shouldn't have expected to get pictures of the buildings. The book's strength is the close-up pictures of gargoyles and other faces that you can't see well from the street. Still, there is a lot of history about the buildings, as well as fascinating information about the carvings on the buildings. Susan - if you want a book about Toronto architecture per se, you want to read another book. If you're a gargoyle/grotesque enthusiast, this is the book for you.
Date published: 2006-07-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Where to look! I have other books on Gargoyles, Grotesques etc., and was looking forward to this one as it was about my very own city! But, I have to say I was a little bit disappointed....I'm not exactly sure what it was, but I found myself wishing for more information and trying to picture the building or the story behind the building or "art work" more. Maybe this is because I have more knowledge and attachment to the city, whereas with other books this is not so. I also found the format a little disjointed even though "like" things were together. Perhaps building by building would have been better ? Nice little book to have as a starting point if you want to check things out, but I would probably want to add other brochures and material to build on this foundation to fully appreciate the information and buildings' history.
Date published: 2006-07-21

From Our Editors

From the foreword by Christopher Hume "Toronto is a cityof secrets. It reveals itself slowly, bit by bit, detail by detail. This is as true of the physical landscape -- with all its hidden ravines -- as it is of our cultural topography. Toronto's architecture is no different. Just ask Terry Murray, whose book, Faces on Places, will come as a revelation to even the most diehard city explorer. Who knew Toronto possessed such a rich heritage of carved stone buildings? Who knew the city and its buildings were so alive with dragons, griffins, and grotesques, let alone cherubim, seraphim, and plain ordinary angels?" "The subtext of Faces on Places is our continuing struggle to create a distinctly Canadian mythology, to develop a language, architectural and aesthetic, that enables us to tell our own stories." "The modernists insisted that architecture was simply a matter of form and function. How wrong they were! To read Murray's welcome volume is to be reminded that the buildings we love are those that speak to us. The stone in which they are writ may be worn down by wind, snow, and rain, but the tales they tell never lose their appeal." From the foreword by Joe Chiffriller "Jump in anywhere within these pages and you will come to suspect that Terry Murray was herself a stone carver in a former life. With a passionate interest in Toronto masters who have come before her, she has unearthed old documents and then fearlessly scaled the rooftops to inspect and record their work. Now she has climbed back down and caught her breath. The result is a completely modern look at stone carving. In addition to bringing the subject down to earth, Terry also includes a bit of mystery and colourful historical background, as well as tales of the backbiting politics, time constraints, and money concerns that went into the creation of these carved faces. Unlike the authors of most books on the subject, Terry does not speak in historical riddles or attempt to preserve the subject -- cue the dramatic choral music -- as A Work for the Ages. This is a lively story expertly told and, as such, Faces on Places may just become a stone carving classic." "From an insider's viewpoint, these works in stone symbolize the best characteristics of the trade itself, capable of inspiring future generations in ways of courage, laughter, craftsmanship, and a sense of wonder. Today, when we least expect it, architectural stone carvings jump out at us with eternal truths of beauty, courage, and good battling evil. But real estate and economic interests continue to force a showdown between modern aesthetics and what we want to preserve, especially when it comes to those historic faces that for a century or more have benignly watched over us all. Now, face to face, it may be our turn to watch over them."