Toronto Sketches 4: “The Way We Were”

Toronto Sketches 4: “The Way We Were” by veteran Toronto historian Mike Filey was published in 1995. It comprises a year’s worth of Filey’s weekly columns about Toronto history that were published in the Toronto Sun from August 1994 to July 1995. Now knowing the kind of newspaper that these articles were published in–a tabloid format–they do not lend themselves to being of great length. Most of Filey’s stories were only three pages long, including photos. If you like local history as I do, anything by Filey is a must-read. I have several of his books, including those about public transit. 

These articles were a breeze to get through yet I always spent more time with them afterwards in order to get in real close and look at the pictures. My favourite shots were of the Canadian National Exhibition and its buildings from almost a century ago. I enjoy learning about history from Filey, and one business fact I didn’t know was that Mother Parker’s, the coffee producer, is a local company founded in 1912. His column on Hurricane Hazel was among the longest at four pages but the most profound. 81 people lost their lives during that storm in October 1954, including 36 on Raymore Drive alone.

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