The recently published book, “The Reluctant Virgin” is a suspense filled story of a serial killer that haunts the streets of 1950s Toronto. The following passage is from the preface of the book, which allows the reader to gain insight into the setting of the novel, a decade when Toronto was considered “Toronto the Good.”
In every decade, deeds are committed in dark places that are unknown to those that tread life’s well-lit paths. This was true as the 1950s dawned in Toronto. The city’s residents viewed their insular world as relatively staid and secure, even though they knew that crime existed, and that it was a part of daily life. However, no one suspected that a serial killer was soon to roam the quiet residential avenues and forested river valleys of Toronto. Crimes of this scope did not happen in “Toronto the Good.”
Torontonians thought of their city as a place that embraced and maintained traditional values, even though they were mindful of the shifting morals and new attitudes that were creeping into their neighbourhoods since the war years. Despite this, they remained blissfully unaware that the changes would sweep away the last vestiges of the city’s innocence, and that by the end of the decade, Toronto would be a vastly different city.
Every written journey into the past, whether fictional or scholarly, includes truth, delusions, and exaggerations. This story is no exception. It unfolds in a decade when a well-connected businessman carried a gold-tipped fountain pen in the breast pocket of his pinstripe suit, rather than a Blackberry or cell phone. If men and women wished to be successful and enjoy the respect of their neighbours, their life needed to reflect the values espoused by the local churches or synagogues. Despite the increasing number of immigrants from non-English-speaking countries, respect for the traditional Canadian way of life, allegiance toward Britain, and loyalty to the royal family were important. This was the reality of Toronto in the year our tale begins.