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Whatever Happened to Old Toronto?

There is a vast part of this city with mouths buried in it. Mouths capable of speaking to us. But we stop them up with concrete and build over them and whatever it is they wanted to say gets whispered down empty alleys and turns into wind. People need to be given a reason to listen.

- From Michael Redhill's Consolation.

In the short time I've been actively reading Toronto literature, one of my favourite books has been Michael Redhill's Consolation. The book, which weaves between mid-nineteenth and late-twentieth century Toronto, is about many things, but to me the most important is its discussion of the way the city engages with (i.e. erases) its past.

It should go without saying, then, that I'm excited to have this Thursday, March 15 booked off for a lecture on the very subject. I hope it's packed, because with Toronto as embattled in heritage issues as it ever has been (48 Abell, the half-round Riverdale Hospital, Walnut Hall...), it's a subject everyone who cares about Toronto should be concerned about. We are being given a reason to listen.

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Beginning at 7pm in the East Common Room of the University of Toronto's Hart House, urban affairs writer John Lorinc, Toronto writers Sally Gibson and Barry Callaghan, and the aforementioned Michael Redhill will be discussing "how space design, human behaviour and culture interact and foster new relationships between people and their environments" as part of the University's Grand Design series.

With the subject being "Whatever Happened to Old Toronto?" there should be some interesting discussion on Toronto's past, present, and, maybe most importantly, its future.

Images by alad1n, the blogger behind Toronto Before: A Step into the Past.


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