Heritage Toronto Book Award — Shortlisted, Non-Fiction Book
Illuminates Toronto’s early history through its small heritage museums.
A portrait of William Lyon Mackenzie stares from a mural at Queen subway station, his face as round and orange as a wheel of cheese. He served as Toronto’s first mayor, led the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, and was grandfather to William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s tenth prime minister, whose own orange-pink visage graces the Canadian fifty-dollar bill. Three blocks from the station, Mackenzie died in the upstairs bedroom of a house now open as a heritage museum, part of a network of such homes and sites from early Toronto. Inside the Museums tells their stories. It explains why Eliza Gibson risked her life to save a clock, reveals the appalling instructions that Robert Baldwin left in his will, and examines how the career of postmaster James Scott Howard shattered on the most baseless of innuendos at one of the most highly charged moments in the city’s history.