Mike Filey brings the stories of Toronto, its people and places, to life.
Mike Filey’s column “The Way We Were” first appeared in the Toronto Sunday Sun not long after the paper’s first edition hit newsstands on September 16, 1973. Now, almost four decades later, Filey’s column has had an uninterrupted stretch as one of the newspaper’s most widely read features. In 1992, a number of his columns were reprinted in Toronto Sketches: “The Way We Were.” Since then another eleven volumes have been published to great success, with over 5,000 copies sold.
In his latest compilation, Filey recounts the story of the controversial (though not altogether surprising) renovations at Union Station, as well as the history of Toronto’s own Kennedy family.
About the author
Mike Filey was born in Toronto in 1941. He has written more than two dozen books on various facets of Toronto's past and for more than 35 years has contributed a popular column, "The Way We Were," to the Toronto Sunday Sun. His Toronto Sketches series is more popular now than ever before.
Excerpt: Toronto Sketches 12: “The Way We Were” (by (author) Mike Filey)
Here’s to Our Kennedys
What today are acknowledged as two of our city’s busiest thoroughfares, Kennedy and Ellesmere roads, began as a couple of dusty pioneer roads in the wilds of what had been established as the Township of Scarborough back in 1850. According to Scarborough archivist Rick Schofield, Kennedy Road was named in recognition of the Kennedy family, many of whom were prominent in the early development of the township. Two of the best known Kennedys were brothers Samuel and William, who owned several hundred-acre farms on the west side of Kennedy north of Sheppard. Other family members farmed on Church Street, a thoroughfare that was subsequently renamed Midland Avenue after the Midland Railway of Canada, an early transportation company that was to become part of the new CNR when the latter was established in 1923. Much of the Midland Railway’s original right-of-way through Scarborough still exists between Kennedy and Midland and is used by GO trains on the Stouffville route.
Another prominent member of the pioneer Kennedy family was Lyman Kennedy, who served as Scarborough Township Reeve from 1896 to 1901.
The name Ellesmere was selected for the small community that developed in the early 1800s in and around this same dusty crossroads by settlers who had arrived in the New World from Ellesmere, Shropshire, England. Helen Foster, the Archive Assistant with the Shropshire council government (great thing, this email and Internet stuff) the word Ellesmere, or more correctly Ellesmeles, dates back to the eleventh century. It’s believed that the Elles portion of the word refers to a Saxon personal name, while meles or mere refers to a lake defined as being “broad in relation to its depth.”
This eclectic compilation contains much in the way of Toronto facts on any number of subjects, and makes for informative and fun reading.
Ontario Historical Society Bulletin
Other titles by Mike Filey
Mike Filey's Toronto Sketches, Books 10–12
Mike Filey's Toronto Sketches, Books 1-3
Mike Filey's Toronto Sketches, Books 7-9
Mike Filey's Toronto Sketches, Books 4-6
Toronto Sketches 11
"The Way We Were"
Toronto Sketches 10
"The Way We Were"
Trillium and Toronto Island
The Centennial Edition
The Way We Were
Toronto Sketches 9
"The Way We Were" Columns from the Toronto Sunday Sun
Toronto Sketches 8
The Way We Were