Finally, a book worthy of the new urban Toronto -- a must have photographic portrait of the city we see but do not notice, featuring more than a hundred exquisite images from one of Canada's greatest photographers of place. For the last three years, Geoffrey James has stalked the parks and laneways of Canada's largest metropolis with his wide-angle panoramic camera, in search of the city's essence. Eschewing the obvious landmarks, he shows us pavilions on the lakeshore, billboards in Dundas Square, trees in High Park, hoardings in Kensington market, condo developments by the Gardiner Expressway and many other exceptional views. His astonishing photos are introduced by Mark Kingwell and accompanied by extensive notes from city historians and other notes experts.
About the authors
Geoffrey James has been a photographer since 1970. He has solo exhibitions around the world, and his work has appeared in many books, including, Running Fence, Toronto, and Place. He has received many awards, and in 2002 won both the Roloff Beny Award for photography and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize for lifetime achievement in the visual arts. Born in Wales and educated at Oxford, he lives in Toronto.
Mark Kingwell is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine. He is the author of eleven books of political and cultural theory, including most recently, Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City (2008) and Opening Gambits: Essays on Art and Philosophy (2008). He is the recipient of the Spitz Prize in political theory, National Magazine Awards for both essays and columns, and in 2000 was awarded an honorary DFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design for contributions to theory and criticism.
Patrick Turmel is an assistant professor of philosophy at Université Laval. His main research interests are in moral and political philosophy. He has published articles in ethics and on issues pertaining to cities and justice. He is also co-editor of Penser les institutions (Presses de l’Université Laval).
- Short-listed, Toronto Book Award
"...an entertaining book. Levine has made an energetic career -- I hope a successful one, he deserves it -- of popularizing Canadian history with a big reach...he writes chatty history...bringing it alive again."
Literary Review of Canada
"...Levine's shrewd and lively account of two centuries of Toronto history..."
"Ambitious in scope and masterful in execution, Allan Levine's panoramic portrait of our city from its beginnings to the present is sweeping and opinionated, judicious and clever, insightful and gossipy all at once. This is no dry academic survey, but a lively, popular-style "biography"...Levine excels at integrating large amounts of complex information into a flowing and satisfying narrative...bristles with insight...His summation of the Ford years (ending before Ford's dramatic withdrawal from his re-election campaign for health reasons) is simply superb...Let's face it: for a writer like Levine, a mayor like Ford is a gift from heaven. And, for all of us who love Toronto, so is this book. Toronto: Biography of a City is a timely, vibrant history of our modern megacity as it comes of age."
Canadian Jewish News
"I suspect most Americans know very little about Canada other than it forms our northern border and that its hockey team is one of the most valuable franchises in the NHL. You can repair that gap in your knowledge, for example, with Allan Levine’s Toronto: Biography of a City...For anyone who is interested in the development of a dynamic city this book will prove very entertaining."
"...a fond but not uncritical history of Canada's largest city...his handsome book...Toronto: Biography of A City reads well. It abounds with punchy portraits of the city's leading citizens: many scoundrels and a few tarnished saints. Levine is adept at linking historical events to today's news...Levine enlivens his tale with judicious helpings of sex, drugs and rock and roll...After reading it, many Canadians may agree with Levine's judgment: 'In short, Toronto is one self-absorbed fishbowl.' But it's our fishbowl."
Winnipeg Free Press
"His book...comes packed with such stories, moments from Toronto's odd history that prove the city was weird long before Rob Ford was elected."
"The subtitle of Allan Levine's ambitious history of Toronto may seem stolid as the city's British founding families, but it doesn't take long for the reader to realize how carefully chosen it is. Levine, who won high praise for his 2011 biography of Mackenzie King, treats the city as he would any biographical subject: as a constantly changing personality rooted to the historical moment by a set of defining passions, idiosyncrasies, blind spots, and complex relations with family members...This approach...serves Levine well. He announces his intentions in a very witty introduction...The book includes an excellent selection of archival images and photographs that highlights key themes and personalities...The text is also enlivened by dozens of highly quotable observations, appreciations, and put-downs from the last 200 years. The insults are especially good...Love it or hate it, Toronto is a slippery city to pin down Levine's excellent biography goes a long way to explaining why."
Quill & Quire
Other titles by Geoffrey James
Other titles by Mark Kingwell
The Adventurer's Glossary
Wish I Were Here
Boredom and the Interface
The Best Canadian Essays 2018
Why Baseball Matters
Measure Yourself Against the Earth
The Man with Six Senses
Essays on Democracy, Civility and the Human Imagination