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History General

Toronto: City of Commerce 1800-1960

Stories of a city’s factories, businesses and storefronts

by (author) Katherine Taylor

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2021
General, Economic History
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price

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In its early years, Toronto was a city of small businesses of astonishing variety. Unlike today, manufacturers held a prominent place in the city. Enterprising Torontonians ran and worked in factories making suits, carpets, home appliances, shoes and much more. The city also boasted lively retail and entertainment sectors. There were confectionaries, barbershops, burlesques, sports arenas — and many others.

While many of these businesses are long gone, their histories live on in paintings, archival photographs, and preserved signs and storefronts still scattered across the city.

In this book, photographer and blogger Katherine Taylor recounts the stories of these old businesses and their owners and workers. Each is richly illustrated with a variety of archival images and occasionally contemporary photographs of lingering signs, buildings and storefronts. Familiar places in the city take on new meaning as she explores both famous and forgotten businesses from Toronto’s past.

This book offers a new take on Toronto’s rich commercial history.


About the author

Katherine Taylor has spent several years documenting Toronto's historic buildings and businesses through photography and research. Her work bringing this history to life has been featured in NOW Toronto. She blogs about her research and findings, and offers unique insights and views of the city, at

Katherine Taylor's profile page