Toronto Book Awards

The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto's First Immigrant Neighbourhood

2016 Toronto Book Award Finalist

From the 1840s until WW2, waves of newcomers who migrated to Toronto landed in ‘The Ward.’ This area, considered by the city to be a slum and bulldozed in the 1950s, was a working class enclave bounded by College, Queen, University and Yonge streets that housed bootleggers, Chinese bachelors, workers from nearby Eaton’s garment factories, and peddlers.

What the judges said . . .

The Ward shines a light on one of Toronto's most historically significant and most forgotten neighbourhoods. Instead of a straight history, the book's editors opted to present the Ward through multiple short essays, each with its own unique point of view. The result is a fascinating and varied look at an area that once concurrently defined the city and acted as its biggest shame. As a result of the Ward's eventual razing, there are few artifacts left to teach newer generations about this important part of Toronto's history. This book helps correct that.

The Editors 

John Lorinc                                

John Lorinc is a Toronto journalist, author and editor. He has written extensively about urban and municipal affairs in general, and Toronto in particular, for a range of publications, including Spacing, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, The Walrus and Toronto Life. 

Michael McClelland

Michael McClelland is a Toronto-based architect working for E.R.A. Architects. He’s actively involved in promoting Canada’s architectural heritage and is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Professional Heritage Consultants (CAPHC). He received a certificate of recognition from the Ontario Association of Architects and the Toronto Society of Architects for his contributions to architecture.

Ellen Scheinberg

Dr. Ellen Scheinberg is the President of Heritage Professionals, a consulting company in Toronto that delivers archival, museum and information management services. Ellen has published articles about archival studies, women’s history, labour history, Canadian Jewish studies and immigration history, and was the recipient of the Ontario Historical Society’s Scadding Award of Excellence and the Alexander Fraser Award.

Tatum Taylor

Tatum Taylor is a writer and heritage specialist at ERA Architects. She holds a master's degree in historic preservation from Columbia University, where she worked on the editorial team for the Future Anterior Journal. She is actively involved with ICOMOS Canada and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario's Executive Committee.

Excerpt from The Ward: The Life of Loss of Toronto's First Immigrant Neighbourhood 

The streets of this ‘slum’ teemed with newcomers who were visibly, audibly and culturally different from the majority. Today, one might describe the area using journalist Doug Saunders' resonant phrase, ‘arrival city.’ In fact, that period marked an historic point of in inflection. It was the moment when ‘Toronto the good,’ a staunchly Anglo outpost preoccupied with defending its Christian values, came face to face with concentrated ethnic diversity and grinding poverty, all in one place.

Excerpted from The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto's First Immigrant Neighbourhood by John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg and Tatum Taylor. Copyright © 2015 John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg and Tatum Taylor. Published by Coach House Books. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.