Thank you to my emeritus Geography Department colleague (and fellow Heritage Toronto Award finalist) John Warkentin for alerting me to a wonderful review of the Imagining Toronto book appearing in the October 2011 issue of the Literary Review of Canada.
LRC contributor Joe Berridge describes the book as “tremendously enjoyable” and adds (after invoking urbanist Jonathan Raban’s well-known book, Soft City),
Harris brings that “soft city” to life in such a comprehensive way that after reading her book it seems as real as its physical shell.
Berridge goes on to say many other lovely things about Imagining Toronto, but the best thing about the review is not what it says about the book but what it does with it. Berridge’s essay is motivated by the question, “How can a city this dysfunctional be so successful?” and he uses examples from the book to explore “why Toronto has never been able to undertake grands projets like the waterfront.”
Berridge’s essay, “Toronto Light and Dark,” also tackles (my former colleague) Gene Desfor and Jennefer Laidley’s edited anthology Reshaping Toronto’s Waterfront (University of Toronto Press, spring 2011), an essential read for anyone interested in the political, economic and ecological landscape of the city’s forgotten lakeshore. The review essay is not yet up on the LRC website, but you can pick up a copy at any local bookstore.