THE POSTCARD TOUR:
I HAVE A SMALL COLLECTION of old postcards, started as research for a novel, added to out of a growing obsession with what places I know intimately looked like years ago. I've tried to re-create these postcard views, a sometimes illuminating, often depressing document of urban history.
(Click here for index to postcards.)
- MOUNT DENNIS: The old stomping grounds.
- SILVERTHORN, FAIRBANK & EARLSCOURT: The working-class west end.
- CORNER STORES: A vanished economy.
- BACK ALLEYS: The parallel streetscape.
I'LL PROBABLY NEVER KNOW ANOTHER PLACE AS WELL AS I KNOW TORONTO. This is my hometown, and while I don't know every inch intimately, I can, for instance, identify it in the background of movies shot here but set in Chicago, or New York, or some American anytown. Give me half a minute of film, and I'll tell you the neighbourhood. Two minutes and I'll tell you the street.
This site began literally down the street, when I found an almost century-old postcard view of the nearest intersection to our apartment. I've begun this ongoing project of documenting Toronto with my neighbourhood, and plan to expand outward - to Mount Dennis, where I grew up, through the rest of the west end, then finally taking in the downtown and some of the more conventional landmarks and views, with a couple of diversions along the way.
I don't know when I'll be done. Perhaps, one day, if I finally leave here; probably never. There's nothing official or definitive about this site, no logic or agenda. I hope you enjoy it.