Book suggestions for Torontonians

BlogTO: The Top Ten Books on Toronto 

TPL: Toronto in Literature: Neighbourhood Book Lists


Walking Home by Ken Greenberg
Before the Gold Rush by Nicholas Jennings 
Local Motion The Art of Civil Engagement by Dave Meslin

Kicking the Sky by Anthony De Sa 
Magnified World by Grace O'Connell 
The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels 
The Ravine by Paul Quarrington 
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam 
Where We Have to Go by Lauren Kirshner 
Unless by Carol Shields 
Cabbagetown by Hugh Garner

DEREK FLACK’S LIST for blogTO The top 10 books on Toronto

The top ten books on Toronto that make up this list shoudn't be confused with some of the excellent fictional narratives that are set in this city.  In other words, what you won't find included here are the now-famous portrayals of Toronto in Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion, Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye or The Robber Bride (to mention only two of her novels set here), or the more recent Consolation by Michael Redhill. Worthy of their own list to be sure, with this collection I'll confine myself to non-fiction offerings.

Perhaps surprisingly, a number of the entries here have been published in the last five years or so. That's not to deride books published in the past, so much as to underscore the mini-boom of Toronto-based books that have come out of presses like Coach House and DM Publishers. And, for pragmatic reasons, it doesn't make much sense to recommend books that have become somewhat difficult to find or that focus on subject matter that's no longer as relevant to current readers.

Historical Atlas of Toronto - Derek Hayes
Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City that Might Have Been - Mark Osbaldeston
A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto - Margaret and Phil Goodfellow
Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto - Shawn Micallef
Concrete Toronto: A Guidebook to Concrete Architecture from the Fifties to the Seventies - Michael McClelland and Graeme Stewart (editors)
The Shape of the City - John Sewell
HTO: Toronto's Water from Lake Iroquois to Lost Rivers to Low-flow Toilets - Christina Palassio and Wayne Reeves (editors)
Toronto: A City Becoming - David McFarlane (editor)
Toronto's Visual Legacy: Official City Photography from 1856 to the Present 
Toronto: No Mean City by Charles Montgomery


In the Skin of the Lion by Michael Ondaatje 
All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman 
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood 
Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley
The Happy City by Charles Montgomery

The Sky is Falling, Kit Pearson (Puffin Classics, 266 pages, $10.99, ages 9-13). Pearson’s story of Norah and Gavin, two war guests sent from England to live out the Second World War under the care of a wealthy widow and her daughter in Toronto, is newly issued in a special Puffin Classic edition, along with its sequels Looking at the Moon and The Lights Go On Again. Now’s the time to introduce this popular Canadian classic to a new generation of readers.

Even Wikipedia has a list of fiction set in Toronto