Toronto: Spirit Of Place

August 21, 2019|
Toronto: Spirit Of Place by Mike Filey
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By John Tory

If ever I am in need of being reminded of the dramatic change that has taken place in the City of Toronto over the past two hundred years, I can look behind my desk and see Owen Staples’ painting portraying Toronto in 1854. And then look out the window to see the Toronto of the 21st century.

This book, Toronto Spirit of Place captures that incredible transformation over and over again through remarkable photography drawn from the past and the present. It puts modern day Toronto on display in a way its people rarely appreciate and for those who aren't lucky enough to live here, it offers a glimpse into history and a stunning portrait of today.

Toronto Spirit of Place goes well beyond pictures with words tracing the history and offering a guide to the Toronto we know today, with lots of emphasis on the positive but with some gently delivered criticisms and warnings.

A reader is struck by the heritage portrayed in the photos and the history, heritage that doesn't exist anymore except in books like this. The places we have preserved whether the Flatiron Building, Old City Hall or Campbell House remind us of what could have been, not everywhere, but in more places. And hopefully these words and photos motivate us to do a better job of protecting and preserving as the years pass.

And the colour you see most in this book is green, whether our ravines, the Toronto Islands, High Park or the Scarborough Bluffs. With trees, lots of trees, even in very close proximity to one of North America's most dynamic downtowns.

Again, no lectures in Toronto Spirit of Place but the photos and the words describing our natural heritage should be enough to convince us we have many treasures that are always at risk and make the case for measures necessary to protect them.

We are reminded of days past when a funeral was held for the Don River and many people back then would have agreed it was dead. But while we still have a long way to go, the Don is very much alive today and in better health though not completely "out of the woods."

We are reminded of the waterfront as a place of industry and how it is undergoing a careful transformation to a place for people.

It is actually quite remarkable just how green the city still is given the massive growth this book chronicles. Now, the challenge becomes one of keeping it that way, especially given the crucial role we know that greenery has in addressing broader environmental issues including climate change.

This book is an obvious testament to the love the authors and the photographers have for the City of Toronto and its remarkable history. It is a love shared by the people who live here. They treasure the place and its heritage and its natural gifts, but more so than anything else they treasure our way of life and the people they share this city with.

While there are lots of things which distinguish Toronto, none are more important than the respect, acceptance and caring for one another which lie at the center of our way of life. It is virtually certain that if we hadn't enjoyed the arrival of people from around the world who make up more than half of today's population, the city wouldn't look and feel the way it does. It wouldn't be the magnet that it is to people from all corners of the earth who are seeking acceptance and a chance to be the best they can be.

Toronto Spirit of Place shows and tells us all about the place, where it came from and where it is now. I hope it will also cause many readers to give some thought to where it is going, and to the future of not only the place, but the people who live here. Because it is the people, diverse as they are, who make this historic and beautiful place remarkable by any standard. —Mayor John Tory

Title:Toronto: Spirit Of Place
Product dimensions:224 pages, 9 X 11.5 X 0.68 in
Shipping dimensions:224 pages, 9 X 11.5 X 0.68 in
Published:August 21, 2019
Publisher:John McQuarrie Photography
Appropriate for ages:All ages
ISBN - 13:9781894673877

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