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Architecture Urban & Land Use Planning

Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto

A Visual Analysis of Change

by (author) Brian Doucet & Michael Doucet

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2022
Urban & Land Use Planning, Post-Confederation (1867-), Geography
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price

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When looking at old pictures of Toronto, it is clear that the city’s urban, economic, and social geography has changed dramatically over the generations. Historic photos of Toronto’s streetcar network offer a unique opportunity to examine how the city has been transformed from a provincial, industrial city into one of North America’s largest and most diverse regions.


Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto studies the city’s urban transformations through an analysis of photographs taken by streetcar enthusiasts, beginning in the 1960s. These photographers did not intend to record the urban form, function, or social geographies of Toronto; they were "accidental archivists" whose main goal was to photograph the streetcars themselves. But today, their images render visible the ordinary, day-to-day life in the city in a way that no others did. These historic photographs show a Toronto before gentrification, globalization, and deindustrialization. Each image has been re-photographed to provide fresh insights into a city that is in a constant state of flux.


With gorgeous illustrations, this unique book offers an understanding of how Toronto has changed, and the reasons behind these urban shifts. The visual exploration of historic and contemporary images from different parts of the city helps to explain how the major forces shaping the city affect its form, functions, neighbourhoods, and public spaces.

About the authors

Brian Doucet is the Canada Research Chair in Urban Change and Social Inclusion in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo.

Brian Doucet's profile page

Michael Doucet is an emeritus professor of geography at what was long known as Ryerson University.

Michael Doucet's profile page

Other titles by Michael Doucet