RSS

Home Page

        Doug Taylor 

CANADIAN AUTHOR AND ARTIST—THE BOOK “THE VILLAGES WITHIN,” NOMINATED FOR THE TORONTO HERITAGE AWARDS

my-photo

Even when I was a young boy, I was captivated by history. It contained romance, adventure, murder, and travel. As I became older, my interest never waned. Choosing teaching as a career, at both the elementary and secondary school levels, I shared my fascination with the students. The ancient Romans and Greeks likely never recovered from my treatment of their noble history.

When I became a member of the faculty of the Lakeshore Teachers’ College (York University) and the Ontario Teacher Education College, I had the opportunity to share my love of history with promising young teachers-to-be. Today, I hope that they have forgiven me for the sin of believing that history, especially Toronto’s, is fascinating.

During the 1970s, I conducted walking tours of Toronto’s historic districts for university students, during the days when such tours were rare. I also lead tours of Chinatown, the Kensington Market, and the Necropolis Cemetery.  Now retired, I live in downtown Toronto, within walking distance of Toronto’s historic neighbourhoods. Since retiring, I have written eight books, all of them employing the history of my native city as either the subject or the background for the story. My most recent publication is a history of Toronto’s old movie houses. Thus, I continue to promote the history of a city that I love.

Six of the books about Toronto are available on Amazon.com and at Chapters/Indigo sites:  All books are also available in electronic and paperback editions. 

!cid_6E1BDA0D-74B3-4810-AB4C-AC5CC5C0BE31@thehistorypress

Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen.

The story of the old movie houses of the city, from the early days of the nickelodeons to the grand movie palaces that followed them. There are over 80 photographs, both archival and modern, depicting the facades and the interiors of these theatres. Relive the days of these wonderful theatres, through anecdotes from those who attended them.

Theatres in this book include the Odeon Carlton. Imperial, Loew’s Uptown and Loew’s Downtown, University, Odeon Humber, Odeon Fairlawn, Odeon Hyland, Odeon Danforth, Tivoli, Nortown, Biltmore, Eglinton, Kent, Colony, Grant, Paramount, St. Clair, Lux, Victory, Astor, Oakwood, Broadway, Town Cinema, Oriole, International Cinema, Bay, Ace, Photodrome, Bedford, Hudson, Park, Belsize, Royal George, Oakwood, Vaughan, Scarboro, Donlands, Scotiabank, Paradise, State, Beach, Madison, Shea’s Hippodrome, Downtown, Willow,Metro, Kingsway, Royal, Runnymede, State, Hollywood and many others.

To purchase this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

 

Never Was

There Never Was a Better Time

A humorous story of young immigrant brothers and their mischievous grandfather in Toronto during the 1920s. The young men arrive in the city during one of the most dynamic decades in its history. They explores the sinful entertainment venues that confront them daily, much to the chagrin of the prim and proper mother.

 

 

To learn more about this book:

tps://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/there-never-was-a-better-time/

To order this book:

http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000056586/THERE-NEVER-WAS-A-BETTER-TIME.aspx

 Villages

The Villages WithinAn irreverent history of Toronto that no school student should be allowed to read. On a more serious vein, the book contains detailed studies of The Kings West District, the Kensington Market, Queen Street West, and the  historic St. Andrew’s Market. This non-fiction book was nominated for the 2011 Toronto Heritage Awards.

 

 

To learn more about this book:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/the-villages-within/

To order this book:

http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000175211/The-Villages-Within.aspx 

 

9781450205313-Perfect.indd

Arse Over Teakettle – Toronto Trilogy- Book One

A mischievous tale of a family coping with the horrors of the Second World War, while their son, Tom Hudson, struggles to learn the secrets of “the big boys.” It is a humorous tale of a boy coming-of-age in Toronto during the 1940s. The book contains many historic photographs of Toronto during the 1940s.

 

To learn more about this book:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/arse-over-teakettle/

To order this book:

http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

 

Reluc. Virgin

The Reluctant VirginToronto Trilogy- Book Two

A Chilling Toronto murder mystery, where a serial killer haunts the streets and dark laneways of 1950s Toronto. The police discover that the blood has been drained from the victims. The convoluted plot leads to a surprise ending that most readers will not expect.

The book can be ordered from any Chapters/Indigo Store and electronically from the Chapters/Indigo and Amazon.com web sites. It may also be ordered directly from the publisher at the following link:  

 

http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

 Virgins No More – Toronto Trilogy – Book Three

The third volume in the trilogy will not be available until next year.

 DSCN4190

When the Trumpet Sounds

In the first decade of the 20th century, the Mercer family resides in a picturesque village in Dorset, England. The oldest son, Billy, is particularly mischievous , his pranks on the pious Reverend Wilmot creating many humorous situations. Because of Billy’s ability with his fists, he is known in the village as “fighting Billy Mercer.”

Difficult economic conditions force his family to immigrate to Toronto, Canada, where he confronts diverse and amusing characters, as well as difficult decisions. Eventually, Billy attends a local Salvation Army church, where he trades his fists for a trumpet. The Salvation Army becomes an integral part of his young life as he ponders the great God/mystery.

The dramatic tale climaxes on the decks of the ill-fated Empress of Ireland, which is rammed by a collier in the St. Lawrence River in 1914. It sinks in fourteen minutes, 840 passengers losing their lives. It was to be the nation’s greatest maritime disaster—Canada’s Titanic

“When the Trumpet Sounds” is an emotionally powerful story of an immigrant family, their struggles to survive in their new life in Canada, and their attempts to understand why God did not prevent the sinking of the Empress.

This book can be ordered at Amazon.com and at Chapters Indigo. Electronic copy of the book are available at $7.99. 

 

Toronto: Then and Now®

“Toronto Then and Now” explores 75 of the city’s historic sites, using archival images to portray the way they were in past decades and modern photos to show how they appear now. A concise text tells the story of each site and its relevancy in the modern era. For further information follow the link:  here.

 

Doug Taylor can be contacted at: tayloronhistory@gmail.com 

 

 

image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[1]    

Another book about the old theatres, published by Dundurn Press, contains 80 of Toronto’s former movie theatres. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs and relates interesting anecdotes about these grand old theatres and their fascinating histories.

 

Link to order this book: https://www.dundurn.com/books/Torontos-Local-Movie-Theatres-Yesteryear

                                                               * * *

Canadian Landscape Paintings and Toronto Scenes

Writing books exploring Toronto’s history has not been my only attempt to preserve the city’s past. In the late-1960s, I commenced sketching scenes of Toronto and transferring them onto canvas. In many instances, I painted on location, setting up an easel on the sidewalk or any spot that provided a view of the subject I wished to capture. I employed a similar approach for painting Ontario landscapes. In the 1970s, I left teaching for two years to paint full time. Then, requiring money, I returned to teaching and taught art for several years, as well as history.

                   24.  18x24  massonite  - 2005  Caledon Hills

Autumn Hills  18×24  acrylic on stretched canvas, painted in 2005

18.  20x24  2002  Huron Street     65.  16x20  1992  Queen St. W, east of Bathurst, north side

Huron St. houses 20” x 24” (2002)   Fruit market on Queen St. West near Bathurst (1992)

6.  16x20 -- 1989  Toronto Skyline

View of the Toronto skyline from Centre Island in 1984—16” x 20”, acrylic on stretched canvas, painted 1989.

Though self-taught, I commenced exhibiting professionally at the Ampersad Gallery on Avenue Road and the Hidden Gallery in Yorkville in the 1970s. Both of these have since closed. As well, I exhibited at a few other galleries throughout the city, including the York Woods Library Gallery and the Mississauga Central Library Gallery. I also mounted a 30-piece exhibition in the main gallery of the Toronto Dominion Bank Building.

A quote about my art from a promotional pamphlet prepared by a Toronto art gallery:

Many have compared Doug’s style to the Group of Seven. This is true only in the sense that he paints landscapes in a Canadian Impressionistic manner. Any comparison ends there. Although obviously influenced by Lawren Harris and A. Y. Jackson, Doug has developed his own method of translating the living landscape onto canvas.

The paintings are fresh and bold. He is not afraid to use raw colour, and even black, if the effect achieves the desired mood. Lines flow in obvious rhythms. Other paintings are smooth and flow effortlessly over the canvas.”  

“Intense Canadian landscapes”—Barney McKinley—The Toronto Sun

“Artist with tremendous potential”—Victoria Basca—curator of the Hidden Gallery, Toronto    

Autumn colours abound in Doug Taylor’s Canadian landscapes—Jill Wright—Toronto Star

2. 16x20--  1981 Mountain Vista     4.  16x20-- 1981 Light and Shadow, Muskoka

Mountain Vista – 16”x20”              Light and Shadow—Muskoka 16” x 20”

11.  16x20   1993 Humber Valley

       Hidden Grove, Humber Valley—“16 x 20”, acrylic on stretched canvas.

Doug Taylor can be contacted at: tayloronhistory@gmail.com 

 

26 responses to “Home Page

  1. Eileen Stone

    December 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I remember fondly the Simpson store’s Christmas windows when I was a child and we’d travelled into Toronto for the Santa parade once or twice, and would get a short glimpse of the enchanting windows – always so many children trying to view them! My great uncle was an elevator operator
    for Simpsons until they installed automatic ones. Thanks for the books, I’ll look them up for some good enjoyable reading and history of my ‘home’ town.

     
  2. Ruth Orr , Littlemore

    July 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Hi I am so happy to see your site.
    Our family The Littlemores lived at 494 Lauder Ave. and we went to D B Hood too.
    I am 78 this year so I have all the same memories as you. You probably knew my brother Ron.
    There were three kids in our family Ron 1933, me Ruth 1935, and Mary 1936.
    I well remember the 44 storm. Ron went to the top of the street to collect milk and bread off of a wagon. We built a huge pile of snow in the back yard and hollowed it out.
    Remember the wooden street cars on Rodgers Rd.?
    I am going to read your books on my Kindle .
    Sadly my brother died last year he would have loved them I know. bye for now Ruth.

     
    • Doug Taylor

      July 17, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Hi Ruth,

      Thank you for sending me your comments. I am continually amazed at the contacts I derive from my web site. I don’t recall the name Littlemore. Perhaps I knew you and your siblings as children and I don’t recall. I am now 75, so we are in the same age group.

      You indeed have many of the same memories as I do, I can easily picture the wooden streetcars on Rogers Road, as well as on Oakwood. I suppose you likely have fond memories of the Grant Theatre too. I am presently writing a book about Toronto’s old movie houses, and found great photos of the Grant, including the interior of it.

      I hope you enjoy the book “Arse Over Teakettle”. It centres on the streets around Lauder. I had fun writing it, and although many of the stories are fiction, the settings are real.

      Doug

       
  3. Ruth Orr , Littlemore

    July 18, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Good morning. Going to the show was an important part of our lives. I remember which theater I saw specific movies. I saw Bambi at the Paramount, The wolfman at the St. Clair, Snow White at the Oakwood and so on.
    Its wonderful to make this contact and remember that area.
    Even though I only lived there until grade three those were the things I remember the fondest.
    I only remember one teacher’s name from Kindergarden. Miss Mainprize.
    I tried to get the first book on Kindle but could not .I will keep trying.
    We live near Kingston now. bye Ruth

     
    • Doug Taylor

      July 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Ruth,

      If you departed Lauder Avenue after grade three, then I possibly did not have much contact with you. I went to D. B. Hood all eight years of elementary school. I too remember the theatres where I viewed specific films. I saw Bambi at the Radio City.

      You may not be able to get the first book of the trilogy on Kindle. However, it can be ordered and mailed to you from the Chapters/Indigo web site. The second book in the trilogy is a murder/mystery. The characters remain living on Lauder Avenue in the story, but it is a brutal tale ( be warned).

      It is a pleasure to share memories with you.

      Best of luck.

      Doug

       
  4. Ruth Orr , Littlemore

    September 4, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I enjoyed ” Arse Over Teakettle” and wanted to send you some pictures of us on Lauder. Is there a way to do that? Am I missing your email?
    I was born on Northcliffe ave.
    I will include my email wworr2@live ,com

    Ruth ORR

     
    • Doug Taylor

      September 6, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Ruth,

      I would very much enjoy seeing the pictures of Lauder Avenue.

      Doug

       
  5. donna kennison

    September 21, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    hi,
    i’m wondering if yo have any pictures of the ymca on yonge street from the 1970’s. my brother & sister-in-law were “married” on the steps in september 1970. would love to have a picture to give them on their anniversary
    thank you much
    donna

     
    • Doug Taylor

      September 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      Hi Donna,

      Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the YMCA. The place to find such photographs would be to search the Toronto Archives on Spadina Rd.

      Doug

       
  6. quillfyre

    October 30, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Oh my goodness, the memories you’ve stirred here! I was looking for the name of the Nortown theatre because I was having a senior moment. Then to find the Oakwood and others. I remember seeing Ben Hur at the former, and House on Haunted Hill at the latter, tickets purchased by an adult as my friend and I were too young to get in at night. I went to Duncan B. Hood (DB Hood) for Grade 1, then switched to JR Wilcox for the rest of my grade school. I lived on Livingstone Avenue, just north of Eglinton, and not far from Oakwood. I attended Vaughan Rd. CI till grade 12 when I switched to Harvey for the 1 yr commercial program. I often went skating at Cedarvale rink, and saw movies at the Nortown, the Eglinton, the Oakwood and the Colony. (Remember Saturday matinees with Roy Rogers and Hop a long Cassidy, and Flash Gordon.) I am 66, and lived in that area till I was 21. My parents continued to live there another 9 years until they died. I haven’t lived in Toronto since 1987, now in Ottawa, but remember it so well.
    I always loved the films and columns about 1960’s Toronto, when I was a teen. Attended the Club Bluenote while Al Steiner was still with us. But that’s a whole other story!

    Carol

     
  7. Jason Atwell

    June 24, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Hi Doug, just stumbled a cross your site as I’m a “lover” of history, especially of my hometown! I really enjoy all that I’ve read and am going to look for your books! Your first blog on the corner of King and John, the “unmentionables” warehouse, was a great read! I’m a firefighter in the big Adelaide station right in behind there and that’s our main Tim Hortons stop! Lol. It was great to find out more about the building I’m in all the time! The side story about the York hospital in the peice and the Irish famine victims was a great touch! I’m a lover of Irish history as well and it’s great you used your story to tell the important tale of those poor souls! If your interested, there was a really good two part documentary done by RTE in Ireland called “Death or Canada” about the hospital and the Irish emigration to Canada! It follows the dig that was preformed on the site before they broke ground for the TIFF building. I’ve had it for a few years in my collection of Irish programs! Like I said, great work, I’m going to explord a little more!

    Jay

     
    • Doug Taylor

      June 24, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      Hi Jay,

      Many thanks for your comments about a post on my blog. I was born in Toronto, love the city and I am fascinated by its history. It is always gratifying when I learn that someone else feels the same about Toronto.

      Doug

       
    • Theresa

      August 20, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Hi Jay

      I just came across this site and read your message. Seems like you are very interested in the Irish. I am as well….being that my grandparents on both sides came from Ireland. I will have to read Doug’s book on that history of the Irish. What is the name of it? Also, there is St. Paul’s Basilica, located near Parliament and Queen, which has a cemetery at the back for the Irish immigrants who came over by boat and unfortunately died. Again, lots of history in Toronto. I love hearing and reading about it.

      Theresa

       
  8. Steve

    July 6, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Doug, I saw a link to your post on Toronto Theatres from FB Vintage Toronto. I, too, am fascinated by Toronto’s history and don’t understand the decision making for destroying such great architecture. I’ve managed to see films in some of these theatres while they were still around.

    I can’t wait to get a copy of “Toronto Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen”.

     
  9. Mike

    July 9, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Hi Doug,

    Being an employee of a big cinema chain and a history buff; I am also looking forward to your new book, it will be a perfect addition to my library.

    Mike

     
  10. Maureen Kimmett

    August 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    So glad I found this site. I came to Canada in 1953 as a 6 yr old with my parents, and lived in the Weston Rd./Humber Blvd. area. It was nice to see the old Mount Dennis theatre, and was wondering if you have any information of the Mount Dennis history. In the meantime, I look forward to reading your books.

     
  11. Theresa

    August 20, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Hi Doug

    I just came across this site and so glad I did! I was born and raised in Toronto and love delving into it’s history. As they say – “if walls could talk”. I will certainly read some of these books and will check back often.

     
  12. Laurence siegel

    September 7, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I spent many weekends in the projection booth of the Casino Theatre where my grandfather was the projectionist. Any knowledge of photos of that theatre or it’s workers?

    Thanks,

    L. Siegel 416.963.4470

     
  13. Angie

    September 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Doug,

    I had a comment on one of the TIFF posts about using some of your images. I look forward to your response. Thank you.

     
  14. George

    January 26, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Hi Doug!
    Re the Mayfair Theatre. We lived in the Junction during the ’50’s, attended Annette P.S. & Western H.S. but had many friends who attended school at Runnymede, Humberside, Parkdale, Royal York, Etobicoke, C. I., etc. Enjoyed times at Mayfair and others (Runnymede, Parkdale Odeon, Humber Odeon, Kingsway, State, Beaver, Apollo, West End, Crescent, etc) on several occasions. Always recall the Mayfair as the Mayfair during that decade at least. Spent several hours in the Dairy Dell and I vaguely recall the family name of the then-ownership as Dimitroff?? Nearby Baby Point clubhouse was a site for some special birthday occasions. If you attended Runnymede C. I. at one point, do you recall names of any school mates??

     
  15. anglicanparisheskawarthalakesColine Bettson

    February 27, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you for this work, Doug !

    My Grandparents were at the opening party of the Royal York hotel. I have the table favour given to all female guests. It is lovely.
    My Aunt played piano at the Victory Theatre on Spadina for silent movies.
    Hurricane Hazel was both terrifying & fun.

    Sadly, I can not offer you a single photo.

    Best,
    Coline

     
  16. Bruce Beaton

    March 4, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Hey Doug. Awesome site. Pretty sure that the portrait of the woman next to Mackenzie in the Queen Street subway station is Nellie McClung and not Mackenzie’s wife Isabel. It was painted by John Boyle and commissioned in 1980. Loved your Villages Within.

     
  17. Bob Wright

    April 3, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    I enjoy seeing the old parts of Toronto where I was born and raised at, I do remember the prince of wales theater at woodbine and danforth I watched my first Elvis movie there girl happy along with the movie the collector it is sad to see you do not have any pictures of it from my era 1960

     
  18. Larry Lalonde

    April 8, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Hello Doug,
    Wondering if you have anything dealing with the old Kew Beach Fire Hall. 1904 Queen St East.

    I am research the history of this old station or if anyone out there has information, photos even the old Kew Beach Fire Brigade that was down near the Lee Ave & Queen st E Park.

    Larry

     
  19. Rick Wallace

    May 15, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Hi Doug,
    I am wondering if you might have any information about the old York County Police force. My father was on that force as a clerk when he was 20 years old, and eventually he was a detective and fingerprint expert, if my poor memory serves me correctly. I vaguely recall a story from my youth about his having to put a corpse’s skin over his own fingers to roll the prints. I believe the headquarters was in downtown Toronto. My father, in 1938, compiled the ‘First Annual Report of the Chief Constable of the County of York’. He left the force in the mid ’50s and became a taxi cab owner of 3 cabs, and one of the drivers. He had his own small company, originally working out of a gas station basement at St. Clair and O’Conner Drive. There may have been other names at one time, but the one I remember was Grover Taxi (or Cabs). He made his own rooflights…..an upside down triangle. As kids, my older sister and I delivered calendars for his business in East York.

     
  20. Izzy's Dad

    July 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Hello. Here’s a strange thing: We live in an apartment on St. Clair at Lauder. We have had some strange occurrences since moving in three+ years ago. Being so richly steeped in local lore, I was wondering if you had ever come across a history of a murder or tragic death at this address (we are above the Fox and Fiddle). We’re not scared, per se, more curious. Any info would be nice. Thank you, Adrian and Aspurçe.

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s