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1837 REBELLION: A TOUR OF TORONTO AND NEARBY PLACES

Frank, Mark
Toronto, Red Robin Press, 1993. 75pp, paper, $7.95, ISBN 0-969148-1-7.
Distributed by Red Robin Press, 24 Shields Ave., Toronto, Ont. M5N2K2, CIP


Grades 6 and up/Ages 11 and up

Reviewed by Patricia Cooper

Volume 21 Number 6
1993 November


Mark Frank is a Toronto resident with a long-time love of history. He is particularly interested in the development of democracy in Canada. He is also the author of The Mackenzie Panels about William Lyon Mackenzie.

History buffs of all ages will find this pocket-sized guide (4 3/8 x 7 in.) to the landmarks, sites and monuments relating to the 1837 rebellion informative and entertaining. Frank packs a wealth of detail into seven tours of Toronto and places as far away as Kingston and Prescott. Some of the tours are walking tours, but others require a car.

Each tour is accompanied by a well-labeled map followed by a succinct description of each site, whether it is marked or unmarked, and, where appropriate, its significance. Frank has included many little-known historic sites. He tells brief stories of the leaders members of the Assembly, farmers and tradesmen who were involved in the movement for reform that culminated in the 1837 rebellion.

There are some cross-references between entries, but there is unfortunately no index. The tours are arranged geographically from sites in Toronto to those outside Toronto. They are also arranged in loose chronological order, from landmarks and monuments of overall significance to those connected more closely to the events leading up to and following the rebellion.

Since this guidebook is meant to be carried with one on the tour, there are only three sketches of original buildings accompanying the text. Unfortunately, Toronto has changed since 1837, and visitors will often have difficulty picturing many of the sites as they once were. I would have liked to have had additional information on some of the sites: for example, the Red Lion Inn, an unmarked site, was located at what is now Britnell's Bookstore, but the write-up does not say if Britnell's is in the original inn, or how much, if any, renovation has been done.

Following the tours is a brief historical background to and chronology of the events of the rebellion and its aftermath. For those who want more information Frank includes a list of sources.

Recommended for all those interested in the history of Toronto and in the struggle for democratic government in Canada, this guidebook offers a fresh perspective on our heritage.


Patricia Cooper is a children's librarian with the Brampton Public Library in Brampton, Ontario
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