Books about Toronto ///

Since moving to Berlin, I’ve been reflecting more and more on my ‘hometown’ Toronto. For all its foibles, it really is a great place. However, as I’ve left most of my Toronto books back in Canada, and while my Berlin book collection is continuously growing, I’ve sought the advice of friends and colleagues on what their favourite Toronto-related books are.

Here is the growing list:

  • In the Skin of a Lion – Michael Ondaatje
  • Historical Atlas of Toronto – Derek Hayes
  • Fugitive Pieces – Anne Michaels
  • What We All Long For – Dionne Brand
  • The Edible Woman – Margaret Atwood 
  • Smart Address – Alec Keefer
  • uTOpia – edited by Jason McBride and Alana Wilcox
  • GreenTOpia – edited by Alana Wilcox, Christina Palassio and Jonny Dovercourt
  • Local Motion – edited by Dave Meslin, Christina Palassio and Alana Wilcox
  • HTO – edited by Christina Palassio and Wayne Reeves
  • Stroll – Shawn Micallef and Marlena Zuber
  • Everyday Law on the Street – Mariana Valverde 
  • Making Toronto Modern: Architecture and Design, 1895-1975 – Christopher Armstrong
  • The Ward – edited by John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg and Tatum Taylor
  • Concrete Toronto – Edited by Michael McClelland and Graeme Stewart 
  • Full Frontal T.O. – Patrick Cummins and Shawn Micallef
  • Toronto Modern – various 
  • No Mean City – Eric Arthur 
  • Shape of the City – John Sewell
  • Shape of the Suburbs – John Sewell 
  • Unbuilt Toronto I and II – Mark Osbaldeston
  • Some Great Idea – Edward Keenan
  • Accidental City – Robert Fulford
  • Toronto’s Ravines and Urban Forests – Jason Ramsay-Brown 
  • Toronto: Part 1 – Elaine Benwell
  • Toronto: Biography of a City – Allan Levine
  • Toronto: Transformations in a City and Its Region – Edward Relph
  • The New Urban Agenda: The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area – Bill Freeman
  • The Toronto Carrying Place: Rediscovering Toronto’s most Ancient Trail – Glenn Turner
  • Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story – Robyn Doolittle 
  • How We Changed Toronto – John Sewell 
  • Toronto, The Belfast of Canada – William J. Smith
  • The Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore – Ron Brown
  • Lost Breweries of Toronto – Jordan St. John
  • Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  • Fifth Business – Roberson Davies
  • The Incomparable Atuk – Mordecai Richler
  • How Should a Person Be? – Sheila Heti
  • Lie With Me – Tamara Faith Berger 
  • Paying for It – Chester Brown 
  • Headhunter – Timothy Findley
  • Lost Between Houses – David Gilmour
  • All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Toews
  • Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen – Kate Taylor 
  • King Leary – Paul Quarrington 
  • How Happy to Be – Katrina Onstad 
  • Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel 
  • Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town – Cory Doctorow
  • The Chaos – Nalo Hopkinson
  • Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto – Shawn Micallef
  • Army of Lovers: A Community History of Will Munro, the Artist, Activist, Impresario and Civic Hero Who Brought Together Toronto’s Club Kids, Art Fags, Hardcore Boys, Drag Queens, Rock ’n’ Roll Queers, Needlework Obsessives, Limpwristed Nellies, Stone Butches, New Wave Freaks, Unabashed Perverts, Proud Prudes and Beautiful Dreamers – Sarah Liss 

Thanks to people for the suggestions/ideas on Facebook and Twitter – if you have more suggestions, tweet me or send me an email at I hope to grow the list and perhaps start an international Toronto book club – to be decided!

  1. bobgeor said:

    Glad I could assist with this! If local history is part of your scope, I can list off those too.

    • Sheraz said:

      Thanks Bob! and yes – go for it! You can list them all here in the comments section if you’d like?

  2. Kathryn Grond said:

    Hey Sheraz,

    I read Cabbagetown, by Hugh Gardener, when I lived there. A neat piece of historical fiction.

    Stunt by claudia dey, is another toronto based novel.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: