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Exploring the TRL's Toronto Collection — seminal reports & park histories

December 9, 2013 | Shawn Micallef | Comments (0)


This week I'll make a series of posts on some of the bits and bobs (and books) that can be found in the Toronto Reference Library's great Toronto Collection. These are all open shelf — you can browse on the 2nd floor, and discover things you didn't think you were looking for. Sometimes what appear to be dry statistics elicit heretofore-unknown facts and stories about the city. It's also interesting to look at older volumes, and compare to the city now as a way to gauge how much and how fast the city has changed. Wandering through the shelves like this is how writing ideas are generated sometimes.


Here's a copy of what's known as the "Golden Report," named after Anne Golden, chair of the GTA Task Force in the mid 1990s when the province began to seriously think about the future of this expanding region. It was a blue print for Metro Toronto and surrounding cities in the coming decades, but was shelved by the newly elected Mike Harris government. City Hall watchers with long memories look back at this report wistfully and think "what could have been".



Hard bound for posterity, the original pamphlet produced for the Village of Yorkville Park reveals some great information on how the park came about (subway line construction required tear downs, resulting in a parking lot for many years), interpreting what's there now (the park is divided along former lots and each section represents a different Canadian landscape) and some neat facts, like where the big rock came from and how they got it to Yorkville. I would like to go find the hole in Muskoka where it came from as I've always pictured a local standing by it, shaking a fist at the air yelling "Toronto!"


There are a 1000 stories in the naked city, as the saying goes, and you should be writing some of them. Writer in Residence Shawn Micallef will be encouraging people to write about their city. Follow along here on city explorations and journeys into the library stacks. Shawn will also be posting some of the city-writing that he receives from people like you.

Your comments, posts, messages and creative content are welcome, provided they encourage a respectful dialogue and comply with the Library's mission, values and policies.
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