About the Book

Along the Shore presents the story of the Toronto waterfront through the lens of four distinct lakefront districts that continue to retain a direct and immediate connection to Lake Ontario and the natural world. These communities, from east to west, are the Scarborough Bluffs, the Beach, the Island, and the Lakeshore. The book is scheduled for publication with ECW Press in the spring of 2013.

This detailed examination of the history and landscape, the geography and people of each of these waterfront districts reveals a rich waterfront heritage — one that from the second half of the twentieth century has largely gone unrecognized and for the most part is now forgotten. Relying on primary research and on an oral tradition still alive in each of these special places, Fairburn examines the interplay between the natural heritage of the Lake and the people who live, or have lived, “along the shore.” Her work brings to life the stories, many of which have never been told, of the lakefront and the people who have inhabited these communities, and highlights the historical links between the different shoreline areas of the city.

Along the Shore is a serious yet accessible book based on countless interviews with long-time residents of each of the featured waterfront districts. It records new knowledge of the Toronto shore, offering fresh insights to reconnect Torontonians with this central element of their cultural endowment.

The premise of the book is that to understand a place in any depth we must first take note of its geography, history, and in fact its prehistory, as well as of the communities that have taken root there and its people, both in the past and today. It is through this interlinking of time and place that we come to feel connected and know that we belong.

Historical, anecdotal, descriptive, and at the same time deeply personal — Along the Shore is more than a local history: It is a layered journey into time and place that explores one of the most significant, yet least understood, aspects of Toronto’s cultural heritage — its waterfront.

The appendix of interviews for Along the Shore may be downloaded here.