Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category
When Charles Dickens visited Canada during his 1842 tour he didn’t stay in Toronto for very long. In fact, he only stayed two days before moving on to Montreal. Since Toronto is my hometown, I wish he had stayed longer so that the observations he made about my city would’ve been a little more exciting. Instead they make Toronto seem sort of dull, which I assure you it is not:
“…the town itself is full of life and motion, bustle, business, and improvement. The streets are well paved, and lighted with gas…” Dickens also made mention of a “good stone prison” and the footways that were “kept in very good and clean repair.” Pretty boring, right?
Luckily, when I watched the DVD series Dickens in America, the bit about Toronto focused on something a bit more interesting than the condition of its streets.
In the Toronto episode, host Miriam Margolyes visits collector Dan Calinescu who has over 5000 Dickens items in his tiny Toronto apartment. That makes his one of the largest private Dickens collection in the world.
She is, of course, very jealous of his collection, and you’ll understand why after you watch the episode. It’s incredibly impressive.
If you’re looking for a Dickens-themed afternoon in Toronto, A Taste of the World offers a tour called In The Footsteps of Charles Dickens, where guide Shirley Lum will take you and your group out to see the Toronto that Dickens would have seen in 1842. Clean footways and all.
The King Edward Hotel was Toronto’s first luxury hotel. It was built “to meet the demand in the rising metropolis for a grand hotel,” according to the plaque outside. The King Edward, or King Eddy if you prefer, opened in 1903 as an eight-storey building. In 1920, an 18-storey tower was added, complete with Crystal Ballroom on the top floor, which went on to host many literary events.
With all the authors that visited Toronto back in the day, it’s not surprising that the King Edward has such a rich literary history. It was, after all, THE place to stay while in the city.