WONDERLAND THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Ronald Bordessa and James M. Cameron.
Volume 11 Number 1.
Co-authors Cameron and Bordessa are colleagues in the geography department at York University. Cameron also resides in Maple and as a Town of Vaughan councillor had more than a citizen's or urban geographer's interest in the development of Wonderland.
An overview of the theme park industry in North America constitutes Part One. The second part contains the chronicle of events that led ultimately to the park's approval. The last section is an examination of the theme park phenomena with Wonderland as the case in point. The epilogue contains a powerful summation that "as long as Ontario's Government allows economic considerations to have first priority... betrayal of culture puts in jeopardy the very identity of Ontario as a culturally distinct entity."
While Cameron and Bordessa point their fingers at some as villains and others as facilitators; the real villain in the Wonderland scenario is American capital. Ultimately, this text may have more importance to economic historians than urban geographers: "Wonderland is only one of a continuing series of skirmishes in the march of American capital into Ontario."
Parts One and Three are quite readable and may have some application in secondary level history or geography courses. Part Two, the chronology of the park's approval, is the core of the book in numbers of pages and importance to the authors' thesis. However, this section is tedious reading even for someone familiar with the events.
The jacket design is inspirational: a beaver on a hill surveying the Wonderland mountain and a roller coaster festooned with the stars and stripes. The small number of black-and-white figures and poor quality photographs complement the text, but do not enhance it; an ironic comment perhaps on the fantasy world subject of the book?
This book is well organized and can be read in parts or as a whole. The footnotes document the sources well so that they could easily be used as a bibliography.
Recommended for adult readers interested in the American cultural invasion and university level courses with limited application in secondary history and geography courses.
Murray Heslop, Greenbriar S. P. S., Brampton, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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