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Smoggy (er, Mysterious) Toronto, looking west from Queen's Park, Dec. 5, 2006. In the foreground are the spires of 1 Spadina Crescent, formerly a school and now belonging to the University of Toronto. Photo & graphic design by Karen Bennett

Fantastic Toronto:
A Survey of Toronto in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Literature


By Karen E. Bennett

Introduction

Authors, A-Z

Alexis, André

Kachmarsky, Eugene

Reeves-Stevens, Garfield

Armstrong, Kelley

Kahar, Andres

Robinson, Spider

Ashton, Cat

Kates, Lorne

Rogers, Ian

Atwood, Margaret

Kaufman, Andrew

Rooke, Leon

 

Kay, Guy Gavriel

Rowen, Michelle

Baird, Alison

Kelly, Bernard

Ruth, Elizabeth

Baker, Nancy

Kelly, Michael

Ryman, Geoff

Bassingthwaite, Don

Kilpatrick, Nancy

 

Bear, Elizabeth

King, Stephen Graham

Sagara, Michelle

Bedwell-Grime, Stephanie

King, Thomas

Sands, Lynsay

Begamudré, Ven

Kirkpatrick, David

Sawyer, Robert J.

Berniker, Sara Joan

Kuitenbrouwer, Kathryn

Schlosser, S.E.

Bobet, Leah

 

Schroeder, Karl

Bow, James

Lapeña, Shari

Schultz, Emily

Boyczuk, Robert

Lawrence, W.H.C.

Scott, Keith

Brand, Dionne

Lee, Dennis

Scrimger, Richard

Bujold, Lois McMaster

Lowachee, Karin

Sedore, Mark

Burgess, Tony 

Lunn, Janet

Senese, Rebecca M.

 

Serravalle, Dean

Carey, Peter

MacCharles, Randy

Skeet, Michael

Carter, Anne Laurel

MacDonald, Ann-Marie

Smith, Douglas

Carter, Timothy

MacDonald, Jude

Smith, Vern

Chapman, Stepan

MacEwen, Gwendolyn

Spencer, Hugh A.D.

Chen, E.L. (Elaine)

Mackay, Scott

Stanton, Steve

Church, Suzanne

Mak, Derwin

Starrett, Vincent

Colalillo-Katz, Isabella

Malan, Violette

Story, Kate

Cooper, Douglas

Maloney, Amanda Bloss

Such, Peter

Cooper, Susan

Marshall, Helen

Sumner-Smith, Karina

Cottrill, Jeff

Marshall, Tom

Sword, Joanna

Cresswell-Jones, Jonathan

Matchett, Robin

 

 

Matheson, Michael

Taylor, Dena Bain

Danylak, Karen

May, Julian

Thawar, Tasleem

Davies, Robertson

McBride, Sally

Trudel, Jean-Louis

Deacon, Valerie V.

McCurdy, J. FitzGerald

Turtledove, Harry

Dent, John Charles

McMahon, Donna

 

Dey, Claudia

McNaughton, Janet

van Belkom, Edo

Difalco, Salvatore

McNicoll, Sylvia

Virgo, Seán

Dimaline, Cherie

Meier, Shirley

von Kampen, Bettina

Doctorow, Cory

Melling, O.R.

 

Dorsey, Candas Jane

Moore, Brian E.

Wan, Michelle

Dowding, Philippa

Munroe, Jim

Waring, Wendy

Drew, Wayland

 

Watts, Irene N.

 

Nelson, Frederick

Wehrstein, Karen

Files, Gemma

Nickle, David

Weiner, Andrew

Findley, Timothy

Nichol, Barbara

Weiss, Allan

 

 

West, Michelle

Gardiner, Scott

Oakley, Ryan

Willis, Alette J.

Gardner, James Alan

O'Donnell, Darren

Wilson, Robert Charles

Garner, Hugh

Wynne-Jones, Tim

Garvie, Maureen

Panhuyzen, Brian

 

Giron, Sèphera

Patton, Fiona

 

Glaze, Sandra

Payne, Rob

 

Goodfellow, Roben

Pedley, Hugh

 

Grant, Glenn

Pflug, Ursula

 

Green, Robert

Pohl-Weary, Emily

 

Green, Terence M.

Powe, B.W.

 

Greenwood, Ed

Powell, James

 

 

Pyper, Andrew

 

Harvey, Alyxandra

 

Heinonen, Sara

 

 

Holmes, B.C.

 

 

Hopkinson, Nalo

 

 

Howell, Robert

 

 

Huff, Tanya

 

 

Humphrey, Stephen

 

 



Thematic Index
Acknowledgements
Banner Art


INTRODUCTION

As far as I know, nobody tried to compile a bibliography of science fiction/speculative fiction, fantasy and horror that was set in (or has major mentions of) Toronto before I contracted the insane ambition to research and write an annotated survey in June 2003 for the souvenir book of the Torcon 3 World Science Fiction Convention (August 28–September 1, 2003). The present document was extensively updated (with an index of stories by theme) to prepare for my participation on a panel on Toronto-based SF on Sunday, March 4, 2007 at the annual Toronto SF literary convention Ad Astra. The survey has since been updated to early 2014.

I've added a few children's books as I've stumbled across them, but I made no systematic search for them, and none for poetry. My emphasis is on prose fiction meant for adults and (to a lesser extent) young adult readers. When the abbreviation "YA" occurs in the survey, it stands for "young adult," while I use "SF" to mean "science fiction" (it must be scientifically plausible) rather than "speculative fiction," which is a term that encompasses the entire genre.

A more wide-ranging bibliography (minus the annotations) is available at the comprehensive site Imagining Toronto ("Imagining Toronto: The City Made of Stories"), maintained by Amy Lavender Harris of the York University Geography Department. Her book of the same name was published by Mansfield Press in 2010, although I was disappointed to note that my original-research contribution was not acknowledged. Ms. Harris is now (July 2011) at work on a non-SF novel set in Toronto.

As I did the research for the survey, I realized I was looking not just for material for a bibliography of Toronto-set SF; I was looking for a Toronto that the writer had evoked through more than the dropping of street and landmark names—evoked the way Michael Ondaatje did in his 1996 novel In the Skin of a Lion and as Bob Wilson did in "The Inner Inner City" (contained in The Perseids and Other Stories, Tor, 2000). And, since I became curious to see how many ways authors could find to trash Toronto ("uh-oh; a heap of burning ruins again") and/or knock down the CN Tower, I started compiling a thematic index with headings like "Toronto the So-Bad-It's-a-Dystopia" and "Toronto the Pre- or Post-Apocalyptic." Other themes include Architecture, Epidemics and Infestations, the Toronto Transit Commission (especially "lost" subway stations), Ravines and their Bridges, Cabbagetown, and Queen St. and Parkdale. My curiosity also led me to include works that are not set in Toronto but contain enough references so that the city's condition (generally, really bad) can be deduced.

As to the geographical limits of the survey, I've erred on the generous side. I've included works that take place outside the present city limits, in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), a.k.a. "the 905" (after one of the telephone area codes used in those areas). Toronto will continue to inexorably expand, anyway, as it has since its founding, so it's perfectly conceivable that the 905 will be inside Toronto in a few decades. But in this survey, by "Toronto" I mean the city with its 2007 boundaries. If a story takes place in the GTA, I'll say so.

Addendum re "the 905": I note from a CBC.ca story of April 13, 2010:

"The fast-growing areas surrounding Canada's largest city will get a new area code starting in 2013.

"The area around Toronto is known colloquially as 'the 905,' after the area code that was added in 1993 and covers such areas as Mississauga and Niagara Falls.

"The 289 area code was overlaid over the 905 four years ago and the CRTC announced Tuesday [April 13 that] the new 365 code will make its debut in March 2013."

So I'll eventually have to overcome inertia and start using the awkward phrase "the 905, 365 and 289."

I also note (in a CBC.ca news story of July 22, 2011) that as of March 2013 Toronto itself had three area codes: 416, 647 and 437.

The earliest publishing date for a work in this survey is 1888 (for John Charles Dent's The Gerrard Street Mystery and Other Weird Tales), followed by 1889 (for W.H.C. Lawrence's The Storm of '92: A Grandfather's Tale), 1908 (Frederick Nelson's Toronto in 1988 A.D.) and 1913 (Hugh Pedley's Looking Forward: The Strange Experience of the Rev. Fergus McCheyne). Vincent Starrett's short story "The Tattooed Man" was published somewhere between 1980 and 1932 in a pulp magazine. In 1962, Gwendolyn MacEwen's Noman collection came out, with Noman's Land appearing in 1985. The 1980s also saw a flurry of short stories from authors such as Robertson Davies, Timothy Findley, Terence M. Green and David Kilpatrick, as well as Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry novel series. The "boom" for Toronto SF started in the 1990s—and in 2011 has shown no sign of abating. That adds up to more than 120 years of Toronto speculative fiction—and counting.

In the summer of 2007 I began to add indications of literary quality in cases where works are so defective I'd like to spare someone else the aggravation of reading them. There's still no "recommended reading" list (although a partial "essential reads" list is in this 5 June 2007 article on the Reading Toronto site). To some entries I've added "recommended reading"—or "not recommended reading." If the latter, I try to supply brief reasons for giving a negative review. This is still intended to be primarily a bibliographic survey. Some books may not be sub-genres that I usually enjoy (such as horror or paranormal romance), but I wouldn't pan them for that reason.

An article on Toronto in the May 18, 2008 Sunday New York Times (entitled "O Canada, Where Have Your Bargains Gone?", by Matt Gross) provoked some "YEAH!" and "Huh?" reactions:

"Queen Street West is not, however, solely a yuppie playground. Plenty of less upscale businesses thrive among the boutiques, including Bakka Phoenix Books, which was founded in 1972 and calls itself the oldest science-fiction bookstore in Canada. Bakka Phoenix isn't just for geeks—Toronto sci-fi can be quite literary (see Margaret Atwood) and trendily mainstream (see Cory Doctorow).

"The employees and I couldn't agree on exactly why Toronto produces so much sci-fi, but they suggested Spin, by the Hugo Award winner Robert Charles Wilson, as an exemplar of the city's style...." (p. TR 7, in the Travel section).

Bob Wilson's Spin (2005) is not set in Toronto (see the entry under his name for what is), and neither is Margaret Atwood's best-known SF (such as The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake), but some of her work is, as is a great deal of Cory Doctorow's work. As for the phrases "Toronto sci-fi can be quite literary" and "why Toronto produces so much sci-fi" that were in the quote above, I found them quite risible. To the first expression, I reply, "Duh," and to the second—this isn't a sensible question. We produce a lot of everything, as one would expect from a city of 3.5 million.

A June 1, 2008 Library Journal article called "The City Fantastic" discusses urban fantasy. Kelley Armstrong's Bitten does all the heavy lifting for Toronto in the annotated bibliography.

An article by Geoff Pevere posted on March 7, 2010 on the Toronto Star site and headlined "Toronto's Literary Landscape Defies Shaping" provoked a "sigh" moment. Pevere had recently interviewed author Jonathan Lethem about his 2009 novel Chronic City, "which is an epic, hallucinatory riff on the past and possible future mythologies of New York City," and Lethem said: "You're lucky. Toronto is a city that's just comfortable being a city." Pevere continued:

"Why lucky? As I read books that trade in the particular histories and mythologies of cities—as Chronic City does with New York's, William Boyd's Ordinary Thunderstorms or Ian McEwan's Saturday do with London, or Brad Leithauser's The Art Student's War even manage for Detroit—I'm always struck by the scarcity of this kind of literature sprung from Toronto. I'm not talking about books merely set here, though even those are conspicuously under-represented considering the city's size and state of constant flux, but those that spring from a certain shared idea of what the city is.... In this regard, Michael Redhill's Consolation remains one of the most astute fictional accounts of what living in this city is like.... Projecting a city's future is only possible if the past is sufficiently present. Without it, the Toronto of tomorrow remains as murky as the skyline of a March dawn.

"This doubtless accounts for the dearth of speculative fiction about Toronto, those visions of what living here might be like in generations to come."

Don't these journalists use Google? The search phrase "speculative fiction Toronto" works a treat. And by the way, I highly recommend Consolation as well, and there's more about Jonathan Lethem's New York fiction (and its relation to Toronto) in the footnote to the Thematic Index to this essay and in my 24 May 2011 blog entry.

AUTHORS, A-Z

Alexis, André

*** "The Third Terrace," Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa (Coach House Press, 1994; McClelland & Stewart, 1998). Horror story with erotic overtones that starts in Ottawa but takes place for the most part in Toronto when the narrator, a wannabe artist, moves there. Says he on arrival: "It was my first experience of Toronto, and I couldn't help thinking of it in terms of fabric. The clouds were flocculent, the leaves linen, and the streets seemed to unfurl" (pp. 110–11, McClelland & Stewart edition). Downtown Toronto street names mentioned include Carlton (misspelled "Carleton," an easy mistake for someone who lived for a while in the Ottawa-Carleton area to make, but one I would've expected the Toronto editors to catch), Church, Denison, Dundas, Jarvis, Ontario, Parliament and Queen. [The other seven stories in the collection—most of them with strong fantasy elements—are concerned, as the book title suggests, with Ottawa.]

*** Ingrid and the Wolf (Tundra Books, 2005). Children's fantasy about an 11-year-old Toronto-born girl, Ingrid Balazs, who is sent to Hungary to learn more about her family history—which includes a talking wolf.
    Ingrid lives on Cowan Avenue in Parkdale and finds her life isolated and lonely.

"Ingrid was one of the few children at Queen Elizabeth Public [School] who were not allowed to visit with friends after school, not so much because her parents didn't wish it but because Parkdale was a neighbourhood that made her father nervous" (p. 3).
    [Queen Elizabeth Public School is fictional; the real school in the neighbourhood is Parkdale Junior and Senior Public School.] Ingrid's father works as a gardener for a Rosedale architect.
    The novel's first seven chapters take place in Toronto, as do the final two. Ingrid finds her initial time in the family mansion in Hungary (apparently Ingrid's full name is Countess Ingrid Montesquieu von Puffendorf di Turbino de la Louve des Balazs) to be quite odd, not to mention creepy. "Just think ... days ago she'd been at home in (wonderful) Toronto, with her parents...." (p. 74). Among the people she's introduced to is the Baroness von Rund und Zaft, whose name is amazingly appropriate. The wolf of the book's title ("Gabor"), who's not a werewolf but just happens to talk and live for centuries, pledges to accompany Ingrid home and be her protector. But first he has to learn how to behave in Toronto.
"He listened closely when Ingrid explained why some women wore dresses and men pants, and he was amazed by her knowledge of the world. (Of course, he was, later, offended when he saw a man in a kilt and would have torn the kilt from him had Ingrid not told him it would be wrong to do so.)....

"And they went on talking about Ingrid's home: Toronto, fish on the shore of a lake, houses built so close together you could—as her father said—spit in your neighbour's window, snowmen, iceboats, iceberg lettuce....

"'Save for the spitting, it sounds marvellous,' said Gabor" (pp. 123–24).

The author's work is recommended reading—especially Ingrid and the Wolf, which was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Awards. (I loved the book, in fact. Any girl who wants to borrow my copy can Go Jump in the Lake or, as an alternative, Get Her Own Copy, Gosh Darn It.)

Armstrong, Kelley

*** Bitten (Seal Books, 2001), Book 1 in the Women of the Otherworld fantasy series, is about a female werewolf, Elena Michaels, living in a waterfront condo and working in the Bay-Bloor area in Toronto. "Werewolves weren't meant for urban life. There was no place to run, and the sheer crush of people often provided more temptation than anonymity. Sometimes I think I chose to live in downtown Toronto simply because it was against my nature, one more instinct for me to defeat" (p. 41). "Ninety-five per cent of the time I lived like any normal human. I got up, went to work, took the subway home, ate dinner, spent the evening with my boyfriend, and went to bed. A perfectly normal routine interrupted by the occasional need to change into a wolf, run through the woods [in a ravine], hunt down a rabbit, and bay at the moon" (p. 44). Her (human) boyfriend has a more conventional reason for living in Toronto: "It's a great city, really. World-class amenities with a decent cost of living, low crime rate, clean streets" (p. 414). Other city features mentioned include Queen's Park (the park, not the Legislature), King's College Circle at U of T, the TTC, the Blue Jays ball team, Chinatown West (i.e, the one west of Yonge), St. Michael's Hospital and Toronto East General Hospital. The prologue is reprinted in the final book of the series, 13 (2012), and includes an exhilarating run through a ravine ("a sanctuary, a perfect oasis in the middle of the city") in wolf form; however, she's forced to kill one of two coyotes she meets.

Notes: Book 2 in the Women of the Otherworld series, Stolen (Seal Books, 2003), is not set in Toronto; the same goes for Book 3, Dime Store Magic (Seal Books, 2004), Book 4, Industrial Magic (Seal Books, 2004), and Book 5, Haunted (Seal Books, 2005).

*** Broken (Seal Books, 2006) is Book 6 in the series that started with Bitten. In 2004 (the year after the SARS outbreak, which is referred to), Elena and other members of her Pack go to Toronto in search of a letter allegedly written by Jack the Ripper. She inadvertently facilitates the opening of an interdimensional portal—the other end of the portal: late-Victorian London—that lets loose into Cabbagetown such illegal immigrants as rotting zombies, typhus-infected psycho killer rats, and chlorine-defying cholera. When she phones the sorcerer who commissioned her to find the letter (and who has visited the city in the past), he advises:

"'Send the letter, go on home and relax.'

"After unleashing hell on Toronto?'

"'From what I saw, Toronto could use a hell portal or two'" (p. 136).
    The area that Elena and Co. so usefully enliven in Toronto the Dull is bounded by Bloor on the north, River St. on the east, Spadina on the west and the train tracks on the south. Landmarks include Allan Gardens Conservatory, the Royal Ontario Museum (many scenes are set there), Queen's Park, the Eaton Centre and the Church of the Holy Trinity, and the CN Tower.

*** "Learning Curve," Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead (Edge, 2010), ed. by Nancy Kilpatrick. Set in the Otherworld universe and narrated by vampire Zoe, who sets herself a mission to teach self-defence skills to vampire hunters. The story takes place in downtown Toronto ("'Haven't I seen you on campus?' he asked. It was possible [the narrator thinks]. I took courses now and then at the University of Toronto" [p. 16].)

*** "Beginnings," Tales of the Underworld (Random House Canada, 2010). Novella about the romance between human Elena Michaels and werewolf Clayton Danvers. Elena is a journalism student at the St. George campus of University of Toronto (aside: the St. George campus at U of T has no journalism program) who decides to sit in on the anthropology classes of a visiting professor, Clayton, whose home is in upstate New York. Toronto references include the Eaton Centre; Chinatown; Grosvenor Street; the Royal Ontario Museum; and High Park. The Toronto ravine system plays an important role in the story. Some scenes take place in New York State.

*** "The List," Evolve Two: Vampire Stories of the Future Undead (Edge, 2011), ed. by Nancy Kilpatrick; reprinted in Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (ChiZine Publications, 2012), ed. by Sandra Kasturi and Halli Villegas. The further adventures of vampire Zoe (see the 2010 story "Learning Curve") include the "discovery" that she can't be a "real vampire" because her name is missing from a Toronto Sun article headlined "24 Vampires Call Toronto Home, Researcher Claims" (p. 12, Evolve Two). She fails to take alarm at this "news."

Notes: Book 7 of the Women of the Otherworld series, No Humans Involved (Random House Canada, 2007), is set in Los Angeles, Chicago and Portland, Oregon. Book 8, Personal Demon (Spectra, 2008), is also set in the States, as are Book 9, Living with the Dead (Random House Canada, 2008), Book 10, Frostbitten (Random House Canada, 2009), Book 11, Waking the Witch (Random House Canada, 2010), and Book 12, Spell Bound (Random House Canada, 2011). Book 13 (Random House Canada, 2012), last in the series, is set in the States and Russia, with the exception of the reprinted prologue to Bitten (2001), first in the series, which is set in Toronto.
    Exit Strategy (Seal Books, 2007) is a stand-alone thriller that is not SF-related; it stars Nadia Stafford, a former cop who's now a hired killer. Her home is near Peterborough, Ontario. Scenes are set in the States (including Atlanta and New York City) as well as Canada.
    Buffalo, NY, is the domicile of the heroine of The Summoning (HarperCollins, 2008), which is Book 1 in the Darkest Powers series, a YA urban fantasy trilogy set in the same universe as the Otherworld series but with new characters. Book 2, The Awakening (HarperCollins, 2009), begins in Buffalo, New York and moves downstate; Book 3, The Reckoning (HarperCollins, 2010), does the reverse.
    The linked tales in Men of the Otherworld (Random House Canada, 2009) are set entirely in the US (Louisiana, California and New York State) and provide backstories for male werewolves such as Malcolm, Jeremy and Clay, who played roles in Armstrong's Women of the Underworld series.
    The novella Counterfeit Magic (Subterranean Press, 2010), in which Paige Winterbourne and Savannah Levine investigate mysterious deaths in a fight club, takes place entirely in the US.

Ashton, Cat

*** "Piece Corps," On Spec Vol. 15 No. 2 (#53), Summer 2003. SF story set in the mid-21st century, by which time Canada is a republic. The protagonist lives in Toronto (there's a reference to Pape Avenue), but otherwise the city is a generic urban background for the story.

Atwood, Margaret

*** "Giving Birth," Dancing Girls (McClelland & Stewart, 1977; reprinted in Black Water 2: More Tales of the Fantastic (Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1990), ed. by Albert Manguel. Surreal tale of a woman who repeatedly sees "the ghost of the mother" (the harbinger of death) during her pregnancy and on her way to and inside the hospital to give birth. Toronto references include "Simpson's Basement" (the old Simpson's department store at Queen and Yonge, now The Bay) and the tar sands exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.

*** The Robber Bride (McClelland & Stewart, 1993). Mainstream novel with a fantasy element. Three middle-aged women—Tony, Charis and Roz—seem to have little in common except Zenia, an untrustworthy femme fatale who stole their significant others. They are having lunch in a restaurant on Queen St. West when Zenia, thought to have been blown to bits in Beirut, walks back into their lives. The novel in set in Toronto between 1945 and 1991, and it could be considered "urban fantasy." Other local references include Mount Pleasant Cemetery, where Zenia's ashes were supposedly interred; Chinatown; Spadina; Kensington Market; U of T, where Tony works (and got her degrees); Ward's Island, one of the Toronto Islands, where Charis lives; Queen St. West again, where Charis works; Rosedale, where Roz lives; and Huron Street, where Roz grew up in her mother's rooming house. The "Arnold Garden Hotel," where the three women meet Zenia separately towards the end of the novel, and where Zenia apparently dies again, is fictitious. (One of the models for Zenia was said to be Gwendolyn MacEwen.)

*** "Freeforall," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. Speculative fiction (wording carefully chosen) about a dystopia. "Each city now had a Freeforall of its own, or two or three, depending on how many were needed. Toronto had two: one was in a large area to the west that had once been a park, the other was to the north, in an abandoned adventure playground; abandoned since the time of the epidemics, when people habitually avoided large groups of strangers" (p. 22).

Baird, Alison

*** "The Dragon Door," On Spec Vol. 5 Issue 3 (#14), Fall 1993. Fantasy set in downtown Toronto. Mentions of and scenes at the University of Toronto and "a small Victorian house near the Chinatown area, close enough that the street sign was in both English and Chinese letters" (p. 46). Recommended reading; beautifully written.

Baker, Nancy

*** "Cold Sleep," Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison. The lead character is vampire Dimitri Rozokov, who also appears in "Exodus 22:18," The Night Inside and Blood and Chrysanthemums (which see). Toronto is not mentioned by name, and there are no internal clues to suggest that setting—but nothing to rule it out, either.

*** "Exodus 22:18," Northern Frights 3 (Mosaic Press, 1995), ed. by Don Hutchison. Set in an unnamed city.

*** The Night Inside (Viking Canada, 1993). First in the dark-fantasy Ardeth Alexander series, about the relationship between a young Toronto woman named Ardeth Alexander and the vampire Dimitri Rozokov. Reprinted as Kiss of the Vampire by Ballantine/Fawcett in 1995. The introduction to Baker’s story "Cold Sleep" says that The Night Inside "is set in contemporary Toronto, a city which, it appears, is doomed to suffer a series of vampiric infestations—at least on the printed page" (Northern Frights, p. 145).

*** Blood and Chrysanthemums (Viking Canada, 1994). Second in the Ardeth Alexander series; most of it is not set in Toronto (Banff, Alberta, figures prominently instead).

Bassingthwaite, Don

(some of entry written by the author)

*** Breathe Deeply (White Wolf, 1995). A tie-in to the urban primitive themes of the Werewolf: The Apocalypse RPG, Breathe Deeply is partly set in the upscale Annex neighbourhood. The local werewolves gather in a group called the Taddle Creek Sept, named for a real buried creek running under the Annex and U of T. A minor character, Old Moses Yonge-and-Queen, is a loose homage to media mogul Moses Znaimer (CITY-TV, MTV and Space: The Imagination Station ... among others).

[Addition written by Karen Bennett] In the few chapters set in the city (most of the book is set in Brazil), Toronto mentions not noted above include Towns Road and Kipling Avenue in the west end, and Yonge and Bloor, downtown.

*** Pomegranates Full and Fine (White Wolf, 1995). Drawing on the vampires and changelings (fairies) of White Wolf's World of Darkness setting, Pomegranates takes Toronto's reputation for politeness and makes it sinister. The book covers locations across downtown, including a then-derelict 1980s apartment building on Jarvis Street (now a seniors' complex) and Massey College at U of T. A changeling court disguised as a pool hall is located in an imaginary cellar off Old York Lane in trendy Yorkville.

[Addition written by Karen Bennett] Chapter One of Pomegranates Full and Fine takes place in San Francisco, but the rest of the novel is set in Toronto (and its airport in Mississauga). City references include Beverley Street; the club scene on Queen St. West (which is the northern boundary of an underdog vampire sect, the Camarilla; the other boundaries are Bathurst on the west, University on the east, and King on the south); Yonge Street; Gloucester Street; Church Street; College Park; Bay Street; Queen's Park; High Park; Scarborough; the club scene in Yorkville; the Robarts Library at U of T; and a Rosedale mansion next to a ravine. It's clear that Toronto is infested with otherworldly creatures, including faeries (changelings) and satyrs as well as murderous vampires, and mere mortals don't stand a chance. "The gray-haired commentator on a third [TV] station had been sanctimoniously lamenting the loss of decency, morals and manners in Toronto the Good" (p. 272). At the book's climax, a demonic ritual in Union Station aims to manipulate Torontonians into rioting and bring them awake from their "cold, mannered sleep" (p. 320) so they realize the horror in their midst. The subway tunnels on the Yonge-University line to Union station are used by a band of allied otherworlders seeking to stop the ritual.

*** As One Dead (White Wolf, 1996); co-written by Nancy Kilpatrick. Carrying on with themes from Pomegranates Full and Fine, As One Dead deals with two sects of vampires in Toronto: wild Sabbat (rulers) and hidden Camarilla (defeated captives). It imagines the party district of Queen Street West as both a haven and a prison for the Camarilla, and features cameos by several clubs, including Cameron House (located on Queen west of Bathurst), which is given a gothic turn as the Decameron.

[Addition written by Karen Bennett] Other Toronto mentions in As One Dead: Bloor Street and the Danforth; Sherbourne; Front Street; Scarborough Bluffs; Chinatown; Mount Pleasant Cemetery, where many scenes, including the novel's climax, are set; and, as in Pomegranates Full and Fine, the Yonge-University subway line.
    When two vampires from the dominant sect, the Sabbat, take a walk near University Avenue, passersby look away from them.

"That wasn't unusual in itself. Toronto was a cold city even in the summer, icy with defensive politeness. Nobody stared. Nobody made eye contact. People had a tendency to ignore those around them, not even acknowledging their presence. That cold politeness made it easy for the Sabbat to exist in Toronto. Nobody noticed anything" (p. 166).
    As One Dead has a good feel for Toronto.

Bear, Elizabeth

*** Hammered (Spectra, 2004). It's the year 2062. Climate change has affected Canada less than Europe (which is freezing) or the U.S. (which has had the triple whammy of a devastating famine, worsening civil disorder and a Fundamentalist government), and surprise! Canada is a major player on Earth and in space (although with a lot of help from the devil—er, the private sector). In the 2030s, Canada fought a very unpopular war with PanChina, the other space power. Toronto is the capital of the country, which is now the leader of the Commonwealth. The Toronto scenes in Hammered take place in the National Defence Medical Center (formerly Toronto General), a research facility on St. George St., a café on Queen Street, a restaurant in the west end, and a condo on Bloor W.

*** Scardown (Spectra, 2005). Sequel to Hammered. It’s still 2062. Most of the on-Earth scenes take place in Toronto, where Prime Minister Constance Riel is trying to avoid another war with PanChina. The climate change (including the failure of the Gulf Stream and dying-off of coral reefs) is worsening, raising the spectre of famine and the imperative colonization of space. (Britain is turning to ice; Florida is half under water, Houston all under water; Manhattan and Boston are behind dikes. Toronto's just having a colder winter than usual.) On board the HMCSS Montreal as pilot, Jenny Casey is trying to get used to having a porthole in the floor of her cabin:

"[I]t's a little weird to walk across the optically perfect, quadruple-glazed bubble[,] like standing on the glass floor of the CN Tower and looking all that endless long way down" (p. 25).
    As well as "Government Center" in Toronto, there are scenes in upscale apartments and bistros on Bloor Street; on McCaul Street, outside a government office that blows up ("You wanna stay away from government offices today," a character is told. "Guy Fawkes Day" [p. 33]) as part of a protest/conspiracy against Unitek, the corrupt corporation that makes it possible for Canada to have a space fleet; on St. George St. (references to yellowing pine trees and dying oaks); downscale apartments on Wellesley St. E.; the Marriott Inn (Eaton Centre?); Yonge Street; and the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line, where
"Casey coughed into her hand, and a couple of pedestrians wearing fashionable color-coordinated face masks edged away. People were more cautious about public displays of illness than they had been when antibiotics worked better. Anything could be the disease of the week" (p. 267).

*** Worldwired (Spectra, 2005). Third in the series that began with Hammered. The year is 2063. In December 2062, an asteroid flung at Toronto (hey!!) by a PanChinese government starship has killed tens of millions in Ontario, New York State and Ohio. Nuclear reactors damaged or destroyed in the impact are spewing radiation. Vancouver is the new capital of Canada. Understandably, there are few scenes in the "Toronto Evacuation Zone." A government helicopter overflies it in September 2063, and a passenger forces himself to look,

"to really look, at the unseasonable snow that lay in dirty swirls and hummocks over what looked at first glance like a rock field, at the truncated root of the CN Tower rising on the waterfront like the stump of a lightning-struck tree. Surprisingly, the tower had survived the earthquake, according to the forensic report of the engineers who had toured the Evac during the recovery phase. It had not survived the tsunami, nor the bombardment with meter-wide chunks of debris. Around it, lesser structures had been leveled to ragged piles of broken masonry and jutting pieces of steel.... The frozen water of Lake Ontario would have been blinding in the sun, if the light that fell through the haze weren't watery and wan, and if the ice itself weren't streaked brown and gray like agate with ejecta" (p. 35).
    In the spring of 2077, HMCSS Montreal pilot Jenny Casey visits the Toronto Impact Memorial. (The world's climate is on its way back to "normal," thanks to alien technology.) Thinks Jenny,
"I won't find [a friend's] name anywhere on the black stone paving the bottom of the shallow reflecting pool. Won't find it carved in the dolomite inlaid with stars of steel that surrounds the rippling water, or on the pale green-veined marble obelisk that commemorates the uncounted dead.... because here there are no names.

"Only the water silver over black stone, and the splashing of quiet fountains, and the obelisk yearning skyward like a pillar of light. Like a pillar of desire, rising from an island at the center of the pool. An island the faithful have littered with offerings and farewell gifts" (p. 394).
    And the HMCSS Toronto is about ready to fly.

*** "Gone to Flowers," The Chains That You Refuse (Night Shade Books, 2006). The year is 2042, and it's Jenny Casey of the Hammered / Scardown / Worldwired trilogy telling some backstory. She's in the National Defence Medical Center (formerly Toronto General), recuperating from the surgeries and the prostheses needed after she was seriously injured during a peacekeeping mission in South Africa. An Army friend visits her.

"Then I realize what his presence in Toronto must mean. My face goes slack in hope and the fear that hope is in vain. 'Gabe—it's over? Tell me it's over.' I'm pleading, even knowing it doesn't have to mean ceasefire [in South Africa]. He could have been recalled for security detail. They don't let tourists up the CN Tower since the last round of bombings. Bloody shame. Bloody isolationists" (p. 16).
    Jenny painfully dresses herself in order to go outside, where
"Gabe is ... surrounded by his usual court: two second lieutenants and another noncom today, standing under bare trees and streetlights. A smaller population has been a mixed blessing: Canada's stayed more civilized than most of the world, but my generation went almost entirely to the military to keep it that way. Especially since the troubles down south closed the border: even the less-radical isolationists admit Detroit and Boston are uncomfortably close to home" (p. 17).
    After visiting a bar, Jenny leaves the others and wanders "in and out of the PATH when it gets too cold on the street, and I spend a long time just standing on the corner of Yonge, watching the traffic go by, stippled by the lights of a garlic-noodle shop and a fetish store" (p. 19). She also visits Gabe's condo on Bloor West.

*** "War Stories," The Best of Jim Baen's Universe II (Baen, 2008), ed. by Eric Flint and Mike Resnick. More backstory for Jenny Casey. Scenes 2, 4, 6 and 8 are set in Toronto in the year 2053, the rest in Hartford, CT in 2030. The Toronto scenes tell of the death of Gabe Castaign's wife from leukemia, and contain no local information (not even where in the city the Castaigns live).

*** Carnival (Spectra, 2006). Some of the backstory in this SF novel set hundreds of years in the future is that virtual intelligences called Governors, programmed by radical environmentalists, have carried out an "Assessment" of and then a "Great Cull" on humans in order to reduce their ecological impact.

"Once, there had been many governments on Old Earth. Industrialized nation-states and alliances had used more than their share of resources and produced more than their share of waste. But Assessment had ended that, along with human life in the Northern Hemisphere.... nine and a half billion citizens had been reduced to organic compounds, their remains used to reclaim exhausted farmland, reinvigorate desertified grassland, enrich soil laid over the hulks of emptied cities...." (pp. 10, 12).
    There are about 50 million people left on Old Earth. (There's a New Earth, too.) Toronto is not mentioned. But it used to be in the Northern Hemisphere.

(Aside: Elizabeth Bear, asked what her thought processes were in setting up that in Carnival "there are basically no white people left on Earth," replied, "There's a not-unjustified perception that SFF is overwhelmingly white, both the readership and the characters. And I wanted to write a book in which race is absolutely not an issue, not even of interest to the characters. That was one of the ways in which I tried to set that up." [From "An Interview with Elizabeth Bear" by Lyda Morehouse, The Internet Review of Science Fiction, March 2007.])

Elizabeth Bear's work is recommended reading, especially for military-SF aficionados. (I'm not a fan of military SF, but I like Bear's. And Tanya Huff's. Note: None of Huff's military-SF Confederation series is set on Earth, but the name "Confederation" has resonance for Canucks.)

Bedwell-Grime, Stephanie

*** "Transfer," Northern Frights 4 (Mosaic Press, 1997). Horror story set in the Toronto subway system (Yonge-University line).

*** The Bleeding Sun (New Concepts Publishing, 1999 [e-book format], 2001 and 2005 [expanded trade edition]). The subway and Lower Queen station play vital parts in this vampire fantasy. One vampire has built luxurious "living" quarters reminiscent of Lex Luthor's in the 1979 Superman movie on the same level as Lower Queen, and uses a specially-built subway car to find victims to feed on. Rampageous vampires use highways and the subway for killing sprees, and the biggest spree of all ends at Lower Queen. Other Toronto locations include a condo apartment at Harbourfront, a Victorian house in Cabbagetown, the street level above Queen and Union stations, a Queen streetcar, and Parkdale.

*** Guardian Angel (Telos, 2003). Guardian Angel Porsche Winter takes a shine to a mortal who lives in modern-day downtown Toronto. A comic adult fantasy.

*** "Family Secrets," TransVersions: An Anthology of New Fantastic Literature (Paper Orchid Press, 2000). The story begins, "Uncle Peter had tons of dough. But when he died, he bequeathed to me the care and feeding of the family vampire" (p. 126). The narrator, also called Peter, discovers this unwelcome legacy (Baron Von Valentijn) in a country cemetery and has to transport him home to his tiny condo downtown. Although the city isn't named, most of the details fit Toronto (including references to the subway and stock exchange) except for the reference to Memorial Day, which is an American holiday. (See the Note below, where the author says she always has Toronto in mind even when not all the story details fit.) Recommended reading.

*** Witch Island (ImaJinn Books, 2003; Cerridwen Press, 2008). Paranormal romance variation on "Beauty and the Beast" about a Toronto woman, Roxanne, who's offered a contract to teach a rich man, Aidan, computer technology in his home. She accepts the generous offer because, "For three years she had struggled to run her own business and pay the mortgage on her cramped, downtown Toronto loft" (p. 7, 2003 edition). The island (the Witch Island of the title) is on a small lake many hours north of the city. Except for part of Chapter 1 and most of Chapter 17, when Roxanne returns to her loft, all the action takes place outside Toronto.

*** Fallen Angel (Telos, 2004). The no-longer-immortal Porsche Winter notices portents (plagues of locusts, etc.) that presage Armageddon ("Wait a minute.... We can't just wage war in downtown Toronto. We'll be seen!"). The city may be close to a smoking ruin by the time Porsche gets through saving the day, but hey, it's a world-class smoking ruin.

*** "And Not a Drop to Drink," Blood & Water: Resource Wars of the Near Future—Canadian Tales of Conflict and Cooperation, Peril and Promise (Bundoran Press, 2012). SF story in which Torontonians disappear, leaving only one or two shoes behind. The narrator, who first witnesses such a vanishing of a complete stranger on Queen Street West near a streetcar stop, is out of a job and so has time to investigate. She sees another pair of untenanted footwear at the corner of Yonge and Gerrard, and then a single shoe on the platform of the Yonge subway station. She finds many more shoes, but also those of a friend, just recently sucked out of "reality" (again, on Queen Street West) and follows her friend into a desert dimension, where lies the explanation for the abductions. (Aside: When the author autographed her story for me, she wrote, "To Karen: Keep your shoes on!")

Note: In a conversation I had with the author on March 28, 2009 at the Ad Astra convention in Toronto, she told me that even when her work isn't explicitly set in Toronto, the city is still the template for the setting.

Begamudré, Ven

*** "In the Beginning, There Was Memory," Divine Realms: Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy (Ravenstone, 1998), ed. by Susan MacGregor. Using mindpower, a Toronto man can (re)create his favourite places, such as a children’s park in India or the Bishop White Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Berniker, Sara Joan

*** "My Mother in the Market," Neo-Opsis, Issue 4, 2004. Canada has an out-of-control Werewolf Situation (source of the contagion, unknown), but a new section of the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects werewolves at the expense of humans. When a young woman's mother is killed by a werewolf in broad daylight in Kensington Market, she knows there's nothing she or the law can do about it. The Toronto police were accustomed to the carnage "of such scenes; weekend mornings were prime Feeding times, especially now that the prisons and hospital were practically empty. People were afraid to get sick, afraid to commit even the smallest of traffic infractions. The government couldn't keep up with the demand for food, and werewolves were always hungry" (p. 41).

Bobet, Leah

*** "Midnights on the Bloor Viaduct," On Spec Vol. 16 No. 2 (#57), Summer 2004. A fantasy set before "The Veil"—the metal web to stop people from committing suicide by jumping—was added to the Bloor Viaduct. A woman who does jump finds that she can ... fly.

*** "Lagtime," On Spec Vol. 18 No. 2 (#65), Summer 2006. Near-future SF in which a young man from England with an uplink in his head and a habit of lying when he's online is lured to Toronto by a former girlfriend. He goes to meet her on the Bloor Viaduct.

"It's a pretty bridge, as they go: a darkened expanse below hides the vague shapes of trees spreading along a riverbank, the darting lights of the highway next to it. There's a suicide barrier blocking the view, thin metal filaments on a girder-like structure that bend and sing with the wind. The bridge rattles slightly as I walk along its sidewalk: the guidebook said that was the subway running underneath, the cars zooming overhead with their engine fumes and loud music and voices" (p. 27).
    A note taped to the bridge tells him he's broke and stranded. Busted. So he makes a Real Time life in Toronto.
"It's funny here. Nobody looks at me like I don't belong. Nobody clutches their purse when I walk by, even if it's three in the morning and the streetlights aren't working. Nobody starts at hearing a London accent come out of a brown mouth. And I can go to Chinatown or Little Italy or Scarborough and just disappear in a haze of languages I don't know, alien languages and unfamiliar faces" (p. 28).

*** Above (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2012). Novel with fantasy elements that is set, as best I can tell, in an alternate-history version of Toronto in the early 1990s, when the derelict former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital is deliberately set afire (in our reality, it did not burn down; see below for details). Deep below Toronto, in a tunnel refuge called Safe, live various creatures—some of them human, some of them human-animal hybrids, some of them ghosts and other supernatural entities—who have fled the city above, which they've found too harsh to tolerate. The reasons for fleeing include mental illness that has been inadequately treated at various psychiatric hospitals in the south of Toronto, including Lakeshore Psychiatric and, when that closes, Queen Street Mental Health Centre; "deformations" such as wings and claws; and other vulnerabilities. As well as a tale of psychiatric survivors, Above is a coming-of-age tale narrated by Matthew, a teenager who was born in Safe and who's in love with Ariel, a frail girl who can grow bee's wings. (The fantasy elements are unexplained; their existence is taken for granted by the young and "sheltered" narrator.) When the leader of the Safe community dies, Matthew has to learn to lead and to figure out a more adaptive way to co-exist with "Above," the city over his head, and to trust more of its inhabitants, most of whom are either cruel—if well-meaning—or oblivious.

"The first rule of Above: denying all the dark things that live inside. Sending those who bear shadows, who bear the marks of them down and down, into the hospitals, into the pits so everyone else can live their lie" (p. 307).
    Other Toronto references include Toronto General Hospital and Queen and Bathurst.
    Some "true" history, for the curious: The Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital opened in 1890 as the Mimico Branch Asylum of the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, 999 Queen St. W. It closed in 1979 but most of its buildings are still there, including the main one (which Matthew and others burn down in Above). At the time of the closing, there were 280 in-patients and a staff of 675. Some patients were released onto the streets and others were transferred to Queen Street, Whitby and Hamilton Psychiatric Hospitals. In 1991, Humber College signed a 99-year lease on the buildings of the former hospital and began to restore them. The hospital had tunnels, which are important in the history of the Above character Ariel. (In the cover art, visible above right, Ariel gazes unafraid at the CN Tower, although such an action would be out of character for her, and the Tower is not referenced in the text.)

Leah Bobet's work is recommended reading. The characters and setting in Above are especially well done.

Bow, James

*** The Young City (Dundurn Press, 2008). Young-adult fantasy novel. While helping Rosemary's brother move into an old house in downtown Toronto, Rosemary and Peter fall through a hole in the floor into the Taddle Creek storm sewer. They struggle upstream and emerge into the Toronto of 1884.
    Wrote James Bow in his Author's Note,

"By all accounts, [Taddle Creek] was a treasure. The University of Toronto was originally built with prime views of the creek and its associated wetlands, but encroaching development polluted the Taddle, and gradually the City of Toronto built over it, transforming the creek into a series of bricked-up storm sewers. The stretch through the university grounds, a great portion of which is known as Philosopher's Walk, was the last to be covered over in 1884.

"There is a mystique about this buried river. Garrison Creek was longer, and still has a greater impact on the city's topology, but Taddle seems to capture the imagination, much like the Fleet [River] in London, England. Perhaps because of its downtown course, the Taddle is a symbol of both the folly and might of industrial progress. For locals, we remember the Taddle with a strange pride: here was a river we built over. Here was a great watercourse that we killed. Urban legends built up around the Taddle. I was told that there were caverns associated with the buried river beneath Queen's Park. I was told that the University subway line made use of these caverns during construction. Most of these tales are probably apocryphal, but they are a part of my identification with this river" (p. 257).
    The Young City is third in the Unwritten Books YA series, preceded by The Unwritten Girl (2006) and Fathom Five (2007), both of which feature the characters of Rosemary and Peter but are set in the fictional small town of Clarksbury.

Boyczuk, Robert

*** "Horror Story," Northern Frights 4 (Mosaic Press, 1997), ed. by Don Hutchison; reprinted in the author's story collection Horror Story and Other Horror Stories (ChiZine Publications, 2008). The opening sentence of the story, whose central character is a Toronto police detective: "The third murder happened at a dumpy motel on Lakeshore Boulevard, just off the Gardiner Expressway" (p. 245, Northern Frights).

*** "Doing Time," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant; reprinted in the author's story collection Horror Story and Other Horror Stories (ChiZine Publications, 2008). Vampire fantasy. There's a reference to "St. James Town," which has the same name and characteristics as the area on Wellesley east of Sherbourne: rundown, densely populated; and also a mention of Wellesley itself.

Brand, Dionne

*** "At the Lisbon Plate," Sans Souci and Other Stories (Williams-Wallace, 1988; Three O'Clock Press, 1989). Fantasy story ("magic realism," says the book's back cover) narrated by a woman while she sits outside a Portuguese bar in the Kensington Market. Across the street from the bar is

"a parkette, in the centre of which there is a statue of Cristobal Colon. Columbus, the carpetbagger. It's most appropriate that they should put his stony arse right where I can see it. I know bitterness doesn't become me, but that son of a bitch will get his soon enough too. The smell from the market doesn't bother me. I've been here before...." (p. 99, Three O'Clock Press edition).

*** "Blossom: Priestess of Oya, Goddess of Winds, Storms and Waterfalls," Sans Souci and Other Stories (Williams-Wallace, 1988; Three O'Clock Press, 1989); reprinted in Other Solitudes: Canadian Multicultural Fictions (Oxford University Press, 1990), ed. by Linda Hutcheon and Marion Richmond. Fantasy story ("magic realism" is the mainstream term) in which Blossom, an immigrant to Toronto from Trinidad, is possessed by the spirit of the goddess Oya and finds her life improved thereby. Toronto references include Vaughan Road, on which Blossom runs a apeakeasy; Oriole Parkway; Balmoral Avenue; Church Street; and Roselawn Avenue.

Bujold, Lois McMaster

*** "Dreamweaver's Dilemma," Dreamweaver's Dilemma: Short Stories and Essays (NESFA Press, 2002). In the SF title story, a man who lives on an estate in Ohio (he's an ancestor of Lieutenant DuBauer of Beta Colony in Bujold's 1986 novel Shards of Honor) is visited by a woman from Rio de Janeiro, who says,

"'I took the shuttle into Toronto this morning, and rented a lightflier to come down here.... It was a pretty trip. Say, I noticed a lot of new farming in that radioactive strip by the big lake north of you—'

"'Cleveland,' he interposed with private dryness. 'They're doing a lot of oilseed production up there with the new radiation-resistant hybrids. Sunflowers that really shine.'" (p. 76)
    Toronto is used as a transportation hub many times in the story. Evidently it was not damaged in the war. But... it's located in Greater North America, not Canada.

Burgess, Tony

*** Pontypool Changes Everything (ECW Press, 1998). A viral plague that drives people insane and then turns them into violent zombies spreads across Ontario. A number of scenes take place in Toronto in "one of the city's meaner parts of town," Parkdale.

"On September 7 strange new edicts are passed in the Ontario Legislature ... [and] by late afternoon the instructions are handed over to heavily armed teams. They are directed to use maximum force immediately. To combat contagion all form of communication is banned....

"Besides an armed and helmeted military, the only other active organization is the hugely augmented social services, now responsible for the welfare of very living person....

"The entire Don Valley, deemed to be a hotbed of cannibal activity, is sprayed with a molten plastic.... The Toronto Islands, which have reported only rare cases of the disease, are carpet-bombed" (pp. 254, 258)

"By January the population of Ontario is only two-thirds of what it was, and there are no zombies left alive" (p. 261).

Pontypool, which is not recommended reading, is second in a trilogy that began with The Hell Mouths of Bewdley (ECW Press, 1997), which has no scenes in Toronto, and ended with Caesarea (ECW Press, 1999), ditto.

Carey, Peter

*** The Big Bazoohley (Henry Holt and Company, 1995), illustrated by Abira Ali. Children's fantasy; reading level, ages 4–8.
    Sam Kellow, 9, knows a lot more than his parents suspect. "[W]hen the family arrived in Toronto in the middle of a blizzard, he knew they were there to sell his mother's latest painting to the mysterious Mr. Edward St. John de Vere. He also knew they were down to their last fifty-three dollars and twenty cents" (p. 3), an amount insufficient to pay for even one night in the upscale "King Redward Hotel" on King Street (the real-life hotel is the King Edward).

"His father loved new cities, new games, new people to gamble with. Sam did not understand why they couldn't stay at home in Australia and just gamble there. Instead the family travelled the world ... from Sydney to Paris to Tokyo to London to Toronto, seeking what his father called the Big Bazoohley, which meant the Big Win, the Big Prize, the Jackpot" (pp. 8–9).
    After many adventures, Sam himself wins the Big Bazoohley (but not by gambling). Toronto references include the Yonge and Bloor subway station, the SkyDome, the La Fenice Italian restaurant on King St. W., and the fact that the city has no casinos. The one puzzling thing among all the correct Toronto scenes and references is when Sam's family gets off the subway at Osgoode station (at Queen and University) in order to walk to a restaurant on King St. Why not get off at St. Andrew, the station at King Street?
    The author, who was born in Australia but now lives in New York City, has said about his book, "One night in Toronto, my son Sam sleepwalked out of our hotel room. We were sound asleep and didn't hear him knocking. That's how The Big Bazoohley was born. The book is scarier, happier, and funnier than the real adventure" (from the back cover flap of the book).
    Recommended reading. A wonderful book.

Carter, Anne Laurel

*** "The First Assignment: Fear," The Horrors: Terrifying Consequences, Book Two (Red Deer Press, 2006). YA horror tale told by the diary entries of a girl who goes to the Toronto School for the Arts. In drama class, students are asked to explore their worst fears ... which start coming true. Other Toronto locations mentioned: North Toronto Collegiate, Laurier Middle School, Pearson Airport, St. Joseph's Hospital, and Canada's Wonderland and Buttonville Airport (which are in the Greater Toronto Area, outside the city).

Carter, Timothy

*** Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters (Llewellyn Publications, 2005). In this children's novel, 10-year-old Conrad is hunted by aliens who need his memories of a past space-going life in order to seize control of the galaxy. Conrad lives in Toronto. We know this because of reading, on p. 38, that an alien "stood on the corner of Yonge and Bloor, one of Toronto's busiest intersections." A little earlier, when the alien had arrived in the city, he had stolen the body of a local man, "a native who was open to being taken over....

"The man was short, fat, and very miserable. He stood on the concrete railing of a bridge that spanned a valley. He was planning to jump" (p. 31).
    There's also a reference to the subway (p. 40) and to the Christie station (p. 100). While fighting one of the alien hunters, Conrad kills her, and "then she fell backwards into the stream at the bottom of the ravine" (p. 152).

*** Epoch (Llewellyn Publications, 2007). YA apocalyptic fantasy in which demons seek to end the epoch of humans on Earth. Toronto references include Dufferin and Steeles and Highway 400. A few chapters from the end of the novel, Toronto has been wrecked by earthquakes, tornadoes and volcanoes, but it doesn't matter much as the world ends soon after. Some people manage to escape via "Portals," one of which is in Brampton (a city which is referred to on p. 100 as "the Toronto suburb of Brampton").

*** Section K (Burning Effigy Press, 2007). A looming apocalypse is the subject of this comic novella, all of which, except for the opening scene, takes place outside Toronto—in Ottawa and environs, in Hull, and on an alien planet. Canada's best defence? Howard Plank and Johnny Tall, agents of the RCMP branch dedicated to all things paranormal and weird: Section K. The sole Toronto scene takes place in and around Union Station.

*** Section K: Kasefile 42—The Demon Subway of North York (Burning Effigy Press, 2009). Story spun off from the 2007 novella Section K and issued as a chapbook. Howard Plank, agent of Section K, RCMP, visits Toronto to investigate supernatural occurrences on the Sheppard subway line.

Chapman, Stepan

***"A Guide to the Zoo," Zutique (Ministry of Whimsy Press, 2003), ed. by Jeff VanderMeer. In this story, the Tenth Muse Memorial Zoo and Nature Museum contains unique creatures named after film directors and authors, such as The Gorey (Chiroptera Gashlycrumb). Also among the honoured humans is Canadian film director David Cronenberg; "his" creature, The Cronenberg, is a dancing tapeworm (Cestoda Terpischorea). In the voice of the zoo tour guide:

"Please enter the theater rotunda and seat yourself in one of the red plush seats. Wait for the lights to dim. When the red velvet curtain rises, you will witness a delightful entertainment featuring the talents of our resident Cronenberg. It tap-dances! It counts to ten! ... It turns itself inside out! Nothing could prepare you for this educated tapeworm from Toronto. Therefore we will say no more. In case of sudden nausea, a vomit bag is tucked into a pouch on the back of the seat in front of you" (p. 16).
    Despite the extremely ephemeral nature of the above Toronto reference, I wanted to include it as Chapman's story is such a hoot. (Aside: Ursula Pflug's story "Python," also to be found in Zutique, is set in New Orleans.)

Chen, E.L. (Elaine)

*** "More than Salt," On Spec Vol. 14 No. 4 (#51), Winter 2002. A modern take on King Lear, as a Toronto girl comes to terms with her upbringing with the help of an old man who thinks he's King Lear and she's Cordelia.

*** "The Moment of Truth," On Spec Vol. 16 No. 2 (#57), Summer 2004. Near-future SF in which Toronto is at the mercy of a highly addictive drug called karma. A dealer explains it to a man who wants a one-off dose to incapacitate his wife:

"'Look, there's a fifty-fifty success rate [for an injection of karma].... She'll either lose her memory—or she'll die. You ever see a karma junkie at the moment of truth?'

"The moment of truth ... and then you succumb to either ignorant bliss or a death rattle. If it's the former, you're no longer accountable for all the shit you pulled in your past life. Instant good karma.

"If it's the latter, however—" (p. 7).
    Downtown Toronto is described as
"a junkie on karma, frozen in the moment of truth, wondering how it'll turn out this time—whether it'll be reborn, or end with a whimper. The city still shows evidence of its last hit: empty coffeehouses, boarded-up theatres, steel-and-broken-glass storefronts that once sheltered ritzy boutiques. Only the ground remains the same, no matter how many times the city once known as Toronto the Good reinvents itself—concrete, asphalt and grass in smoggy shades of grey and brown. The color of a karma junkie's tongue.... [the city] is lean, stretched, hungry" (pp. 6–7).
    Most karma junkies are American ex-soldiers ("Pats") who've escaped across the border and seek to forget their experiences in a recent war in Africa—and so is the narrator, we discover. His dream is to start again, to "move out of this city, maybe to the west coast, somewhere far from the U.S. border and the steady stream of drug tourists and Pats. Somewhere without snow" (p. 22).
    Named locations in the story include Chinatown and University Avenue.

*** "Fin-de-siècle," Tesseracts Nine (Edge, 2005), ed. by Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman. Fantasy set in the summer of 1999. Libby, a member of a band, returns to her hometown of Toronto after two months away.

"No one refers to Toronto the Good anymore. Now that Libby's back from recording the new album, she notices the sounds that never bothered her before: the purr of tattered posters peeling from construction hoarding, the monotone hum of her old haunts in the Annex, the smog that drones on the horizon like a church organ. And everywhere she goes, she only hears restless boredom—not only in the conversation of passers-by, but in their heightened pulses as well. Toronto's decadence reaching mythic levels, Libby thinks" (p. 59).
    "Mythic," indeed; there are vampires in the city now. The story's climax takes place in the Don Valley ravine.

*** "The Story of the Woman and Her Dog," Tesseracts Twelve (Edge, 2008), ed. by Claude Lalumière. Fantasy novella about a young woman named Natasha who lives in a modern-day condo at Dundas and University. Parades, protest marches, tales-within-tales, multiculturalism and mysterious canines all play a role.

*** "Threes," The Dragon and the Stars (DAW, 2010), ed. by Derwin Mak and Eric Choi. Apocalyptic story narrated by a young woman, Sara, of Anglo-Chinese ancestry who grew up in a residential neighbourhood in the Beach. Things are going seriously wrong with the environment: birds are falling from the sky, fish are dying... Sara expects things to occur in threes (and she has two sisters), and soon the third thing begins to happen...

*** "Nocturne," Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories (Tyche Books, 2013), ed. by Claude Lalumière and Camille Alexa. In this fantasy story contained in an anthology about superheroes, a man called Doug believes he has a secret life as a Superman-like figure: the Grey Hoodie. The references to Toronto (which is named) include St. Jamestown, Wellington St. (where there's a new condo development) and numerous neighbourhoods such as Chinatown, Greektown, Parkdale, Leslieville, Roncey, the Annex, and "the Beach (or Beaches, whichever you prefer)" (p. 5). The city is well evoked. While talking about a video caught of the superhero's exploit, an acquaintance of Doug's named Brandon says, "'He's definitely from another planet. No-one from Toronto would ever step in to help a stranger.' Brandon grew up in Montreal, if I recall correctly," Doug reflects (p. 9).

Church, Suzanne

*** "Synch Me, Kiss Me, Drop," Clarkesworld, Issue 68, May 2012. Seemingly-near-future SF story (there are nanites, but not much else of higher tech) concerning drug addiction. Although the city that the story is set in is unnamed, it feels like Toronto—especially the subway.

Colalillo-Katz, Isabella

*** "Leticia Blackmoor," In the Dark: Stories from the Supernatural (Tightrope Books, 2006), ed. by Myna Wallin and Halli Villegas. The title is the name of a psychotherapist and psychic who's haunted by a patient. The phrase "her Toronto house" crops up more than once; another city reference is Oriole Road. Not recommended reading; poor writing and boring plot.

Cooper, Douglas Anthony

*** Amnesia (Random House Canada, 1992). This mainstream novel contains many elements of horror (including some borrowed from Frankenstein) and magic realism and is set in a viscerally unpleasant Toronto. Custom-built family houses that are key to the narrative are set in the Annex and on the Rosedale (probably Vale of Avoca) ravine.

"The ravine was a place where the city combined with the darkness, a place of confrontation. It was part of a network of wild spaces that laced the body of the city like a net of veins. Men would throw bridges over the ravine, effortless bridges; they would walk the air between the edges of the ravine and tell themselves that they had tamed it" (p. 8).
    Deliberately, most locations are inadequately identified in some manner (renamed, missing part of the name or not named at all), such as the City of Toronto Archives ("The Archives"); St. Michael's College ("the most Catholic college"), U of T; private girls' school Branksome Hall ("Fulsome Hall"); Lower Queen Station, an abandoned east-west streetcar stop constructed underneath Queen subway station (although the author describes Lower Queen as a "subway" station and even invents a ghost train); and Mount Sinai Hospital on University Avenue, in whose cafeteria the narrator does volunteer work: "I was invisible among (the patients). Where cleanliness is a cardinal virtue—Zurich, Toronto, hospitals—waste becomes something shameful, and the collectors of waste a class of untouchables" (p. 128).
    Izzy’s father had been a developer.
"I never had the perception that we were rich, but we must have been: developers in Toronto have traditionally done very well. Nothing in Toronto is thought worthy of preservation, and growth is almost a religion. The aldermen, almost uniformly soft in taste and scruples, will do anything to increase the size of a building. I am told this has something to do with a corresponding increase in the size of campaign contributions; my father was always donating money to worthwhile political causes" (pp. 36–37).
    The multi-ethnic mix in Toronto the Good did not automatically mean that multiculturalism was welcome too. Izzy's developer father is Jewish.
"I never realized how hard he had fought for simple respectability, for the right not to be excluded from the most basic institutions. His desire for a clean, homogeneous city, in which he might become a full member if he sufficiently erased his personal history, was not snobbery, not was it greed; it was a response to a brand of hatred whose subtlety and virulence I had never experienced except in books, and certainly never associated with Toronto" (p. 88).

*** Delirium (Random House Canada, 1998). A kind of sequel to Amnesia, but with only the characters Izzy Darlow and the ghost of his dead brother, Joshua, carrying over. Insane architect Ariel Price had dreamed of creating a Toronto that would match the structural marvels of Paris but instead built "a tombstone growing from the heart of a labyrinth" in the (fictional) Letztesmann Tower. A similar tower he'd built in New York had failed his ambition to "freeze the heart" of the city by constructing "a sign of death in its midst....

"Canada, however. Newer than the new world. No story yet, no city to speak of, nothing. Here was a raw place, eager for the knife. Price made for it a monument, a stone, a celebration of the stillborn, a marker to memorialize the unlived. You will look at my buildings, minions, and despair" (p. 143).
    Most of the scenes take place in Toronto. One of the characters has moved there from London, Ontario, which "was a small city, perpetually shamed by invidious comparisons with Toronto, which itself shrank, detumescent, in its proximity to New York" (p. 14).
    The abandoned Lower Queen station that figured in the plot of Amnesia recurs in Delirium, but now it's part of a much bigger structure, the labyrinth mentioned earlier, one likened to the mythic Minotaur's in Crete. Says the ghost of Joshua (who takes it upon himself to tell the "stories of Toronto") to another character:
"You are entering the city that Toronto dreams. This is the form the city takes in its mind at night: a city of garbage, narrow and evil and tall, dark in its ways and hard to know, the dream. When I was alive in that place above us, I knew—we all knew—that there was something more, that our steps on the cold streets were echoing something much vaster, a place we couldn't see but could only sense" (p. 131).
    Among street names mentioned are King, Queen, Shuter and College. In addition to Greek mythology, the mythologies of the Old and New Testaments play a large part in Delirium. The novel seems to be part of an in-progress multi-volume work.

Amnesia and Delirium are not recommended reading. The plots are incoherent, the lead characters are psychopaths, and the vicious misogyny is very disturbing. Some aspects of the Toronto setting are accurate, and I've indicated what they are.

However, Douglas Cooper has also written a light-hearted and witty YA fantasy novel, Mulrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help (Doubleday Canada, 2007), that I can recommend. (Its intended audience, however, had better be some very precocious, well-read and articulate teenagers.) Since the city, its streets, and the school that the story mostly takes place in are nameless, it's impossible to determine the novel's "real-life" setting other than to say it's an anglophone, multicultural city with an upper-middle-class private school—co-ed, so the school isn't Upper Canada College, Bishop Strachan, Havergal or Branksome Hall.

Cooper, Susan

*** The Boggart (Macmillan McElderry, 1993). Children's/YA fantasy, set in the modern day. When the Volnik family inherits a Scottish castle, 12-year-old Stephanie has an old desk from the castle shipped to her Toronto home, a house that's only a few leafy streets away from her father's theatre "in a converted Toronto broom factory" (p. 16). Another Toronto reference is to a psychiatrist with an office on Avenue Road. A mischievous Scottish spirit, the Boggart, has been hiding in the desk; his release is also the release of all sorts of trouble. When winter arrives, it drops snow "for two days and nights, whirling in the wind that blew off Lake Ontario, muffling the trees and ravines of Toronto." It "was followed by what the weather forecasters called 'a frigid blast of Arctic air,' which spread a murderous coating of ice over streets and sidewalks where the snow had been cleared. Most of the schools closed down, and a great many offices" (p. 141). The Boggart, unable to tolerate the cold, eventually asks to go home to roasty-toasty Scotland. (The sequel, The Boggart and the Monster [Simon & Schuster/McElderry, 1997]), has no scenes set in Toronto.)

Cottrill, Jeff

*** "How I Freaked Out the Spiderman Guy," Voices Under the Guise of Darkness, Vol. 5, May 2004; reprinted in the chapbook collection Guilt Pasta (Burning Effigy Press, 2007). Fantasy about a fanboy with a lethal talent who invites "Spiderman Guy" to visit him in Toronto. Locations include Yorkville, the subway, and the bus terminal on Bay north of Dundas. Also mentioned is "the Old Firehall on Lombard Street" (p. 23, Guilt Pasta).

Cresswell-Jones, Jonathan

*** "Surveillance," On Spec Vol. 21 No. 2 (#77), Summer 2009. SF story set in a 21st-century dystopic Toronto with high-security "Zones" whose existence is related to the fact that Canada is on its second generation of soldiers serving in Afghanistan. There are other ominous changes to daily life as well.

Danylak, Karen

*** "Shadows," North of Infinity II (Mosaic Press, 2006), ed. by Mark Leslie. Dystopic SF narrated by a "proxy," a biological version of a bot, "a safe way for the wealthy to experience a dangerous world" (p. 42). A video news announcement says that "next month will mark the twentieth anniversary of the 2021 attacks in Toronto. The perfect storm of terrorist activity caused the death of thousands and forced the eventual abandonment of Toronto's financial district" (p. 42).

*** "Green Is Good," Urban Green Man (Edge, 2013), ed. by Edria Laycraft and Janice Blaine. The Green Man is in the financial district of Toronto, the prisoner of a mentally unstable chief investment officer, Gina, who uses him to detect investment patterns and growth opportunities. "In the few weeks since Gina had called him, he'd come to understand that this place reaped a different kind of harvest, one in which dollars multipled and bank accounts ripened and swelled. It fed on the workers streaming up into the buildings, consuming their energy and devotion" (p. 246). Besides Bay Street, other Toronto mentions include the underground PATH system; streetcars; and subways. The Green Man does manage to escape his imprisonment, but he has to use the same method as many people did who had no other way to get out of the top floors of the burning North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. However, he will be reborn, free, in the Spring.

Davies, Robertson

*** The Rebel Angels (Penguin, 1982). Francis Cornish, a wealthy art patron, has left his enormous, disorganized collection of art, books and rare manuscripts to the National Gallery and the "University Library," and the three executors of the will, all academics, have to inventory and, as it turns out, fight over the bequest. Covetousness, greed, treachery and murder become part of the legacy. There is a minor fantasy element in the character of Mamusia, a Hungarian gypsy woman who's the mother of a university student, and possibly in the character of John Parlabane, a charlatan who temporarily moves into and "infests" the university. But in the main, Angels is a satire on the idealism, jealousy and competition of a modern university (assumed to be the University of Toronto, though it's never named [but the city is]. The main viewpoint character (and one of the executors) is a professor and clergyman at the fictional College of St. John and the Holy Ghost, a.k.a. the Spook. Toronto references include Rosedale, St. Lawrence Market and the Ontario Legislature. Angels is first in the Cornish Trilogy.

*** What's Bred in the Bone (Macmillan of Canada, 1985), second in the Cornish Trilogy. Francis Cornish's nephew commissions a biography of his uncle. Some of the Toronto setting and many of the characters (including the gypsy Mamusia) carry over from Angels, although the fantasy element is much stronger in this book: The main part of it is narrated by the Recording Angel, interspersed with comments from the daimon in charge of Francis Cornish's life, who explains how he worked to make Cornish a great man.

*** The Lyre of Orpheus (Macmillan of Canada, 1988), third in the Cornish Trilogy. The mainly-Toronto-setting and the characters of the first two books continue, with the addition of a music student who's commissioned by the Cornish Foundation to complete an unfinished opera by E.T.A. Hoffmann. A parallel story concerns the mounting of a professional production of the opera in Stratford, Ontario. A new fantasy element in the series is the ghost of Hoffmann, who overlooks all of the events and tells some of his own story.

*** Murther & Walking Spirits (McClelland & Stewart, 1991). In the first sentence of the novel, narrator Connor Gilmartin, entertainment editor for a fictional Toronto newspaper ("The Colonial Advocate"), is murdered by his paper's film critic. The rest of the novel is narrated by him, as his ghost can't leave; his fate is tied to that of his murderer and requires his joining the critic at a film festival. But the films Gil sees are personal, and depict his ancestral history in the United States, Wales and Scotland as well as what happens in Toronto after his death. The scanty "real" Toronto references include the "Toronto Exhibition" (p. 247) and the University of Toronto and St. Michael's College.

*** The Cunning Man (Penguin Canada, 1995) is both prequel and sequel to Murther & Walking Spirits. The death of an Anglican priest at the high altar of "St. Aidan's Church" in Toronto prompts one of the congregation, Dr. Jonathan Hullah, to reflect on his life (as recounted in the present memoir and to a journalist writing a series called The Toronto That Was), beginning in Sioux Lookout, Northern Ontario. (A lot of the novel also takes place in "Salterton"—Kingston.) Hullah first visits Toronto with his parents as a treat after a serious illness.

"It was thus that at the age of nine-going-on-ten I made my first descent upon the city that has enveloped my life and which I hold in great affection.... Toronto—flat-footed, hard-breathing, high-aspiring Toronto—has a very special place in my heart, like the love one is somewhat ashamed of but cannot banish. I was lucky to visit it first in spring, when the trees were coming into leaf, for it is a city of trees and they are its chief beauty, all through the year. If ever it loses its trees it will be like a woman who has lost her hair" (p. 29, 1995 Penguin edition).
    Hullah and his family stay at the King Edward Hotel; they visit the Princess theatre on King Street ("long gone to make way for University Avenue" [p. 29]). Later, one of Hullah's friends at a private boys' school in Toronto will become the father of Connor Gilmartin of Murther & Walking Spirits. The Church of St. Mary Magdalene, on Manning Avenue in Parkdale, is one of the models for "St. Aidan's" (there is a real St. Aidan's; it's in the Beaches). Other Toronto references include the Royal Alexandra Theatre; the University of Toronto, where Hullah later goes to medical school; Brunswick Avenue; Queen's Park, where there are many statues of Premiers and other worthies, because Toronto is "the place where we set up graven images of our political gods, who are the only gods Canada really acknowledges" (p. 170); Jarvis Street ("once a fashionable residential street, it was now the haunt of many of Toronto's whores" [p. 208]); Rosedale; and "the dusty second-hand bookshops that then existed on Yonge Street, between College and Bloor" (p. 75), during Hullah's time at boarding-school, when he falls in love with beautiful books and in particular with William Morris's 1892 edition of Caxton's The Golden Legend, which recorded the legends of the saints of the Anglican Church.
"Never neglect the soft, persistent influence of the Middle Ages in the Modern world. How many wards, streets, and districts in Toronto—to say nothing of the churches—were named after saints; look in the telephone directory and be ready for a surprise. Why was St. George Street, still one of the most fashionable in the city, so called? Who had cherished a little, half-understood cult for the warrior-saint when that street was named? Surely it might better have commemorated, as did Bloor Street, some prosperous brewer or distiller? Why not Gooderham Street? But no, St. George it was and would be for the foreseeable future" (p. 77).
    One of Dr. Hullah's childhood friends, Charlie, who becomes a patient in old age, eventually confesses to murdering the St. Aidan's priest in order to make a saint of him.
"He [Charlie] spoke again, faintly. 'I wanted to do such great things.... Wanted to bring about a revival of deep faith ... gut faith ... faith that saves a city.'

"'A city?' [said Dr. Hullah]

"'The great rebirths always began in a city ... then spread.... It seemed extraordinary.... Toronto ... what an unlikely place ... but what pride, what impertinence to think that ... as if God couldn't declare Himself in Toronto as well as anywhere else.... Save my city, He said, time and again.'

"'Save Toronto?'

"'Don't laugh.... It seems absurd, doesn't it?'

"'I didn't mean that. But this city has always been called Toronto the Good, the City of Churches.'

"'Calls itself that.... Methodist humbug.... But I was to make the light shine, even here'" (pp. 484–85).
    The minor supernatural elements in the novel enter the plot by way of (a) Mrs. Smoke, a female Métis healer and shaman in Sioux Lookout who is guided by what she calls "the Helpers," and (b) Dr. Hullah, who believes he is a shaman who has "Helpers" too, including Fate, and that Charlie has been a victim of "hypnagogic visions" that came from the Devil, not God. (Multitudinous are the incompatible mythologies in this novel.) Dr. Hullah himself is the "Cunning Man" of the novel's title, for reasons that are too complicated to summarize and are unrelated to yet another mythology: that of Toronto.

*** High Spirits (Penguin Canada, 1982, 2007) consists of 18 ghost stories written over the space of as many years to tell at the annual Christmas party at Massey College, University of Toronto, where Robertson Davies was the Master. In his introduction to the collection ("How the High Spirits Came About: A Chapter of Autobiography"), Davies wrote:

"It was never my intention to frighten anyone.... No, these stories were to amuse, and perhaps add a dimension to a building and a community that was brand-new. University College has a ghost [stonemason Ivan Reznikoff, who also features in Tanya Huff's Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light, and in Roben Goodfellow's story "After November,"in this survey], of which it is justifiably proud, and doubtless there are others around the University which have not yet found their chroniclers. Massey College is a building of great architectural beauty, and few things become architecture so well as a whiff of the past and a hint of the uncanny. Canada needs ghosts, as a dietary supplement, a vitamin taken to stave off that most dreadful of modern ailments, the Rational Rickets" (p. 2, the 2002 Penguin paperback edition).
    The 18 stories are:
  • "Revelation from a Smoky Fire," in which the ghost of the ninth Master of Massey College (from the year 2063) appears in the study of the first Master (Davies) and imparts some disquieting information;
  • "The Ghost Who Vanished by Degrees," in which the ghost of a man who had failed to defend his Ph.D. thesis many decades before and shot himself in consequence reappears in Massey College and asks the Master to examine him. Thinks the Master, "I have often heard it said that the Ph.D. is a vastly overrated degree, but I had not previously thought that it might stand between a man and his eternal rest" (p. 16, the 2002 Penguin paperback edition). Before this event, the narrator had thought,
    "When first the ghost was reported to me, I assumed that we had a practical joker within the College.... We had had plenty of jokes—socks in the pool ... pumpkins on the roofs, ringing the bells at strange hours—all the wild exuberance, the bubbling, ungovernable high spirits and gossamer fantasy one associated with the Graduate School of the University of Toronto. The wit of a graduate student is like champagne—Canadian champagne—but this joke had a different flavour, a dash of wormwood, in its nature" (p. 13).
        This story was reprinted in Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin;
  • "The Great Queen Is Amused" takes place in the Massey College library, where a woman doing research in a collection of Canadian books performs an occult ritual one night in order to speak to one of the (dead) authors and has unexpected results. The Master, asked what he supposed the roomful of naked, bizarrely-behaving apparitions were, replied,
    "'Why ... this is hell, and these are spirits of the dead.'

    "'Don't be silly,' she replied, 'it isn't a bit like hell, except perhaps for the noise.'

    "'What do you suppose hell to be? ... The word merely means a dark and enclosed space, inhabited by spirits. A perfect description of the stacks in Massey College Library.... I suppose you called up a single spirit, and have received a wholesale delivery....'

    "'But who are they?' said she.

    "'It is only too clear that they are the ghosts of the Canadian authors whose books are here,' said I.

    "'Then why are they so noisy?' she asked. Every time I think of it, I realize what a wealth of national feeling was compressed into that one enquiry.

    "'They are clamouring to be reborn,' I explained.... Perhaps they hope that this time they might be born American authors'" (pp. 27–28, the 2002 Penguin paperback edition).
        The Queen of the story's title is Victoria, who, having written a book also in the library collection (Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands, 1868), is deemed to qualify as a Canadian author by virtue of being Queen of Canada. When her spirit is called up, she recognizes the other ghosts as merely literary critics and therefore easily dismissable. (Her command vaporizes their books as well.)
  • "The Night of the Three Kings": The ghost of the forceful George V (who was an avid stamp-collector, among other hobbies, in his spare time) appears in Massey College looking for a valuable stamp his secretary mistakenly affixed to a letter written to Vincent Massey in 1934. Unable to locate it, he summons an extra pair of hands in the form of his second son, Bertie (George VI), who finds the stamp. George V proposes to take it away. The Master says he can't. Asked "Who's going to stop me?", the Master thinks about it.
    "'Oh help!' I sighed, and then, remembering my national obligation to be fully bilingual I added, 'Au secours! Au secours!'

    "I like to think it was the bilingualism that did it. A soft, self-possessed voice behind me said, 'Perhaps I might be of assistance?'" (pp. 37–38, 2002 Penguin edition).
        His rescuer is William Lyon Mackenzie King, the eccentric and wily Prime Minister of Canada (whom George V recognizes), many of whose letters to his former friend and colleague Vincent Massey are also in the archive. Mackenzie King states that the envelope "must remain where it is."
    "'What!' roared George the Fifth, in such a Navy bellow as I had not yet heard. 'Look here, Mr. Prime Minister: I know just as much about constitutional monarchy, and Dominion status, and the Statue of Westminster and all that frightful bilge as you do, but fair's fair. It's my stamp and I want it'" (p. 38).
        Mackenzie King's deflating rebuttal, including the words, "Your Majesty would not wish to rob one of his subjects of a personal possession," prompt the remark,
    "'He's got you up a tree, Father,' said George the Sixth, hardly less dejected.

    "'He always had us up trees,' murmured his father" (p. 38, ditto).
  • "The Charlottetown Banquet," in which the ghost of the "Grand Banquet in Honour of the Colonial Delegates which was held at the Halifax Hotel in Charlottetown [P.E.I.] on September 12, 1984," as well as Sir John A. Macdonald, appear in Massey College, and what Sir John A. has to say is not at all what's expected: "You ask me about the future of Canada, my dear sir?... I do not give a damn!" (p. 51, 2002 Penguin edition). This story also appeared in the anthology Shivers: Canadian Tales of the Supernatural (Seal Books, 1989), ed. by Greg Ioannou and Lynne Missen;
  • "When Satan Goes Home for Christmas" begins with someone remarking to the narrator, "We've heard about your meetings with the shades of Queen Victoria, and George V and George VI, and Sir John A. Macdonald; it's as if nobody was fit to haunt you who had not first gained a distinguished place in history. It's ectoplasmic elitism of the most disgusting kind" (p. 53, 2002 Penguin edition). This story features yet another "spirit of the highest distinction" when the Devil appears in the Massey College chapel. When asked what he can be offered if not "even so desirable a property" as the narrator's own soul, the Devil replies that all he wants is "a really good look at this handsome reredos" (p. 56, 2002 Penguin edition);
  • "Refuge of Insulted Saints" takes place on the Eve of All Hallows (November 1), when the hospitality of Massey College is sought by dozens of entities whom the Pope has just demoted from saints to legends. (Their vanguard had appeared at the college gate to say, "Make haste to open gate.... I vant to see priest at vonce." The Master says, "If you want a priest, young woman, you had better try Trinity [College, which was Anglican]," and receives the reply, "Pfui for Trinity" [p. 64, the 2002 Penguin paperback edition]; another dig at Trinity appears in Davies's story "The Cat That Went to Trinity.") A little later, the Master asks the group (whom he at first took for students "from the New Left Caucus in more than their usual extravagance of dress") why they came to Massey, and is told, "because we want handsome quarters and you have them. It is our intention to set up a Communion of Saints in Exile, and this is the very place to do it" (the former quote is from p. 65 and the latter from p. 67 of the 2002 Penguin edition);
  • "Dickens Digested," in which a bust of Charles Dickens consumes the life-force of a student of his work;
  • "The Kiss of Khrushchev": A Massey College Choir member—a Russian exchange student—disappears from the College but several years later is revealed to have been turned into a frog when the conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir, Elmer Iseler, hit him with the Evil Eye (i.e., glared at him) for flubbing his part in Handel's Messiah at Massey Hall. The frog begs the Master to ask Iseler to reverse the spell by kissing the amphibian: "Go to him, little father. Fall at his feet; caress his knees. Let him see the tears running down your withered cheeks. Entreat for me. He will not be able to refuse you." Answers the Master,
    "'Useless,' I said. 'I know Elmer Iseler quite well. If I crept up to him and pawed his knees I don't know what he might think. You don't understand life in the democracies. All that crawling and cringing and weeping is much too Dostoevskian for twentieth-century Canada'" (pp. 88–89, 2002 Penguin edition);
  • "The Cat That Went to Trinity": The great-nephew of Albert Einstein ("Frank Victor") and another student, Elizabeth Lavenza (also the name of a character in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein), use that novel to bewitch a cat into staying at Massey instead of "defecting" to Trinity College, as all its precedessors had. Naturally, their plan goes wrong, and a verbose Einstein's Monster of a cat leaps from the window and rampages out of the college gates, tearing them off in the process. Says the Master, "I know where it went, and I felt deeply sorry for Trinity" (p. 102, the 2002 Penguin paperback edition). This story was reprinted in Thirteen Classic Canadian Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural (Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1981), selected by John Robert Colombo and Michael Richardson;
  • "The Ugly Spectre of Sexism": The Master, asked at a college dance whether he'll have a ghost story for the 11th time, reflects, "Ten ghosts, surely, is enough for any college? In a modern building, such a superfluity of ghosts is almost a reflection on the contractors" (p. 103, the 2002 Penguin paperback edition), and wonders if there's something about him that attracts such manifestations. The answer would appear to be Yes, as the Master is confronted by a mass of newspaper that speaks in a woman's voice, accusing the college of still being the Barnacle on the Ship of Progress that a 1972 letter to the Toronto Star had declared it to be ("The Ugly Spectre of Sexism Lurks at Massey College") because it wouldn't admit women under the same conditions as men;
  • "The Pit Whence Ye Are Digged": A spirited argument among College Fellows and their dinner guests about the number "74" and what happened in each century of history as that year was reached (including that William Lyon Mackenzie King was born in 1874) inspires a female Fellow who believes in reincarnation to wish to time-travel to 1774. At that, one of the visitors, an eerie professor from Switzerland with the resounding name of Theophrastus von Hohenheim, takes out his watch and converts the entire company into their ancestors in 1774;
  • "The Perils of the Double Sign": In casting the horoscope of the Master (who's a Double Virgo), a Fellow also calls up the demon Asmodeus;
  • "Conversations with the Little Table," in which the spirit of William Lyon Mackenzie King is once again called up (see "The Night of the Three Kings," above) and communicates by rapping on an antique table. (The unique character of Mackenzie King, who was a great believer in the occult, also features in Gwendolyn MacEwen's Noman short stories and in J. FitzGerald McCurdy's The Serpent's Egg series.) This story was reprinted in Thirteen Canadian Ghost Stories (Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1988), ed. by Ted Stone;
  • "The King Enjoys His Own Again": The ghost of George IV (who founded the University of Toronto) complains that in the institution's sesquicentennial (1977) it has forgotten him but not Bishop John Strachan, whose judgemental ghost promptly appears;
  • "The Xerox in the Lost Room": An Englishman's ghost transported to Don Mills along with every stone of his family manor is compelled to leave when the final outrage, air-conditioning, deforms his abode and afflicts him with phantom arthritis. He asks the Master to house him as Massey College has some of what he considers the comforts of home, including "normal, healthy draughts," and is accommodated as a manuscript copyist in a room somehow mislaid during the building's construction;
  • "Einstein and the Little Lord": On the anniversary of Albert Einstein's birth, the great man honours Massey College with a visitation in order to "escape the publicity that pursues an eminent ghost" and to restfully play the violin, accompanied on piano by the Master—who, to his amazement, can suddenly play proficiently and "do things properly which Glenn Gould would probably have foozled" (the first quote is from p. 176 and the second from p. 177 of the 2002 Penguin paperback edition). They are interrupted by the ghost of Little Lord Fauntleroy, whose place as boss of the Children's Paradise has been usurped.
    "'And the usurper came from Hell?' said Professor Einstein.

    "'No, from Toronto,' said Fauntleroy. "His name is Gold-Tooth Flanagan'" (pp. 182–83, 2002 Penguin edition);
        and
  • "Offer of Immortality": The Master says he has no ghost story but rather "something not quite in the common run of affairs" when he tells the tale of a professor who visits from South America and is not only a world leader in cryonics but has extremely cold hands. (Hmmm.) At dinner, the professor asks for some of his favourite drink: vinegar. The Master, after telling the steward, "Give him the best we have," ponders,
    "'An extraordinary request.... Vinegar is, of course, a solution of acetic acid made, as the dictionary explains, from inferior wines; Canada, which yields place to no country in the world in the production of inferior wines, has first-rate vinegar" (p. 189, 2002 Penguin edition).
        This story was reprinted in Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant.
    Although not all of the stories in High Spirits are of equal quality, the collection is recommended reading. I cannot say the same for the novels, which I found quite tedious, in particular The Cunning Man, despite some direct hits: "Now you are talking like a Canadian: because [another character] is unlike you, he must be wrong in some way" (p. 182, The Cunning Man, 1995 Penguin edition).

Deacon, Valerie V.

*** "Conservation," On Spec Vol. 16 No. 3 (#58), Fall 2004. Alternate history, set in Toronto and the skies above it, concerning the cancellation of Canada's Avro Arrow fighter plane—and the survival of one intact, working prototype.

Dent, John Charles

*** The Gerrard Street Mystery and Other Weird Tales (Rose Publishing Co., 1888). Ghost stories, three of which are set mostly in Toronto: "The Gerrard Street Mystery," "Gagtooth's Image" and "The Haunted House on Duchess Street." (The fourth tale in the book, "Savareen's Disappearance," is set in the area of "Millbrook"—standing in for Brantford, western Ontario.)

"The Gerrard Street Mystery" is narrated by a man who was born in Toronto and raised by an uncle who lived in a house on Gerrard Street near Yonge. In December 1981, on a journey out of the country, the young man receives a letter from his uncle that urges him to hurry home. When he does so, he is met by what he later realizes is his uncle's ghost at Union Station. The two walk up York to Queen, east to Yonge, and north on Yonge until just south of Gould, where the ghost disappears. The house on Gerrard is evidently about a block east of Yonge. Other Toronto mentions include Church Street, Toronto Street, Crookshank Street (fictional), the Rossin House Hotel (later the Prince George Hotel, on York Street) and St. James' Cemetery (Parliament near Danforth). At the close of the story, the narrator says that the tale "might just as correctly be called 'The Yonge Street Mystery,' or, 'The Mystery of Union Station'" (p. 52). This tale was reprinted in the anthology Bloody York: Tales of Mayhem, Murder and Mystery in Toronto (Simon & Pierre, 1996), ed. by David Skene-Melvin.

In "Gagtooth's Image," a visitor from Massachusetts is riding on the top of an Toronto omnibus bound for Thornhill (his own destination is "the intermediate village of Willowdale") when he spies a statue in the yard of a curiosity shop situated on Yonge between Isabella and Charles. (This narrator, too, is staying in Rossin House Hotel on York Street.) He buys the statue, which he'd last seen in Peoria, Illinois, in 1855, and proceeds to tell its story.

"The Haunted House on Duchess Street" overlooked Toronto Harbour. "In those remote times [the 1820s] there were few buildings intervening between Duchess Street and the waterfront, and those few were not very pretentious; so that when the atmosphere was free from fog you could trace from the windows of the upper story the entire hithermost shore of the peninsula which has since become The Island" (p. 83). Other Toronto mentions include Rossin House Hotel yet again; "St. James's church" (the town of York's first church, later rebuilt as a cathedral, at King and Church); and King, Duke, George, Newgate and Palace streets. (Duke Street was subsequently renamed Adelaide, while Duchess became Richmond and Palace became Front.) The story's narrator appears to be a Toronto native.

None of the above stories can be called "classic."

John Charles Dent was born in England in 1841, and shortly afterwards his family emigrated to Ontario ("Canada West" at the time). After a peripatetic career (moving back to England, then to the States, then back to Canada) as a lawyer, historian, journalist and author, he died in Toronto shortly before his collected short stories were published in The Gerrard Street Mystery and Other Weird Tales (1888).

From the entry written by G.H. Patterson in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: Dent's "last major [historical] work, The Story of the Upper Canadian Rebellion, [was] published in two volumes in 1885. The second volume, which deals with the immediate causes and events of the rising, is of some enduring value in that it contains information which does not survive elsewhere, and because its author displayed a more reasonable regard for evidence here than elsewhere in his text. The first volume, which in treating long-term causes deals with almost the whole of the colony's political history, is a mixture of fact and fantasy amounting to historical myth.

"Partly inspired by models derived from English 'Whig' history, this volume contains the story of a 'struggle for liberty' which partakes of melodrama....

"It is therefore instructive to compare Dent's historical writing with some of his purely imaginative work which was published posthumously in 1888 in The Gerrard Street Mystery and Other Weird Tales. As with The Story of the Upper Canadian Rebellion, these tales contain symbols which, within the context of particular plots, give expression to a noteworthy historical point of view. In the 1880s Dent was caught up in the emotively charged debate as to 'the political destiny of Canada': whether it would become federated with the British empire, be annexed to the United States, or develop into an independent nation. He did not pretend to know what the outcome would be, but he had a marked preference for independence. This bias, which was related to his pervasive concern for 'responsible government,' is also apparent in his fiction, most notably with respect to his use of English, Canadian, and American symbols.

"'The Haunted House on Duchess Street' is a tale of Gothic horror in which the Horsfalls, a terrorized family of Americans, including a George Washington Horsfall, are driven from an ancient Canadian house, associated with old [Family C]ompact Tories, by the ghost of the autocratic Captain Bywater, an Englishman as the name was intended to suggest, who had perished there of his own immoral excesses. The symbolic implications of the plot and the curiously evocative names Dent tended to assign to his characters are even more apparent in 'Sovereen's Disappearance' [set in the Brantford area]. Callously abandoned by a dissolute English husband called Sovereen, a Canadian heroine is befriended by an upright American, Thomas Jefferson Haskins. When the husband, broken and ruined, returns, he is tenderly nursed on his deathbed by Mrs Sovereen who resolves to live out the rest of her life in virtuous widowhood. And of the same order is 'Gagtooth's Image,' wherein a central image, representing disappointed hopes for the future in the United States, is transferred from an American to a Canadian context, there to be cherished by the narrator.

"The symbolic content of these stories is similar to that of Dent's histories. They are also suggestive of how literature functioned in relation to history in the mind of their author. As a popularizer Dent sought to make dry-as-dust history interesting by means of literary techniques. In the introduction to his posthumously published short stories we are told that, like [English Whig historian Charles Babington] Macaulay, he believed 'the incidents of real life, whether political or domestic, admit of being so arranged, without detriment to accuracy, to command all the interest of an artificial series of facts; that the chain of circumstances which constitute history may be as finely and as gracefully woven as any tale of fancy.' Yet Dent's powers of fancy, even unfettered by historical fact, were governed by borrowed stereotypes....

"In 1884 Dent ... published some largely rehashed material in Toronto, past and present, which he wrote in collaboration with Henry Scadding. In 1887 he founded and edited Arcturus: a Canadian Journal of Literature and Life, where he published some of his fiction and gave expression to the dim view he had come to take of national politics. Addressed to 'a wide circle of readers ... [to] deal with questions of general interest in a readable and popular manner,' this weekly collapsed within half a year of its founding."

Dey, Claudia

*** Stunt (Coach House Books, 2008). "Mainstream" novel with extremely surreal aspects. The central character, named Eugenia, is 9 when the novel begins in 1981. She has a sister named Immaculata and a mother called Mink (a scrunched-up version of "Monique" that Eugenia came up with).

"We live in Parkdale, a village in the west end of the city of Toronto, made up of Victorian mansions that used to border the lake. Women with parasols and bathing suits down to their calves, women with consumption, walked the beach, Sunnyside Beach. Now the highway sits on top of us, a beleaguered crown, turning Parkdale into a tired beauty queen. Feathers in her hair. Crinolines in a knot. She is slumped. She is a rooming house with clapboard siding, transoms, cornices and turrets. Her voice is parched and playful. She is all invitation. She will take you in when nobody else will" (p. 19).
    As the plot is impossible to summarize, I'll enlist the aid of the back cover: "Studded with postcards from outer space, twins, levitation, the explosion of a shoulder-pad factory and some accomplished taxidermy, Stunt is part dirge, part cowboy poetry and part love-letter to the wilder corners of Toronto and of ourselves."
    Other Toronto locations and references include the King and Dunn neighbourhood, Queen Street ("Parkdale's jugular"), the Gladstone Hotel, Spadina Avenue and Chinatown, the Rosedale Ravine (a place where homeless people go to die), the Gardiner Expressway ("a concrete comet, cars hurtling across it, their headlights skidding and stretched white like long exposures"—p. 238), the derelict Guild Inn in Scarborough, the Scarborough Bluffs ("Toronto Island's raw materials. Made of white sand and clay, the bluffs are built like corrugated castles, the work of extravagant children. In certain early lights, they are copper. Their drops are sheer and if you have vertigo you will swear that, standing still at their edge, you are swaying"—p. 225), and Toronto Island ("I reach Ward's Island just as night falls—netting over a mourner's eyes. From here, Toronto is a vision of the future. Bright and tall, the buildings big as the first computers"—p. 156).
    Not recommended. Despite admiring the many striking turns of phrase describing Toronto, some of which I excerpted above, my most frequent reaction when reading the book was, "What the hell's going on?" (I have little patience for surrealism and magic realism at the best of times, but when they're wrestled into the service of an incoherent plot, my tolerance vanishes.) The terms "experimental," "wildly unreliable narrator" and "unsympathetic characters" seem made for this novel. And it really does no favours for Parkdale, which it infests with lunatics and other victims. A "love-letter to the wilder parts of Toronto," as the back cover says? Uh, no. So not.

Difalco, Salvatore

*** "Ham and Eggs," Black Rabbit & Other Stories (Anvil Press, 2007). Mainstream story with a science-fiction premise: A violent criminal (never named) is sentenced to relive, over and over, the day he committed the crime(s). The year from the future that he is travelling from is never specified, nor is it clear that he is human, despite looking human ("perhaps I did not know my own strength, perhaps I did, but I did not know how it applied to human beings" [p. 138]), but it may be that he's simply a psychopath who knows he's one. The area of Toronto he traverses is downtown: the waterfront and Parliament St.

Dimaline, Cherie

*** "Welcoming Ceremony," Gothic Toronto: Writing the City Macabre (Diaspora Dialogues and Luminato, 2009). Short story that takes place at the Native Canadian Centre on Spadina Road.

Doctorow, Cory

*** "Craphound," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. The title character is a Toronto junk dealer (who's really an alien). There are references to Queen, King, Jarvis and Bay streets, High Park, and the Upper Canada Brewing Company.

*** "Truncat," The Bakka Anthology (Toronto: Salman Nensi, 2002). SF set in the 22nd century. Crowded Toronto is under a dome. The subway system transports people in cryo-stasis in order to conserve space. Also still existing are the Toronto Island community and ferry service; the University of Toronto; the Yonge and Bloor intersection; and Union Station.

*** "Pathological Instrumentation Disorder," The Thackeray T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases (Night Shade Books, 2003; Bantam Spectra, 2005), ed. by Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts. Cory Doctorow has said he uses Toronto as a setting every time he can. In his contribution to this funny and absurd guide to imaginary ailments (such as "Ballistic Organ Syndrome"), "Dr. Cory Doctorow" writes,

"The first diagnosis of Pathological Instrumentation Disorder (PID) will be made on May 12, 2006, in Toronto, Ontario. The patient, a Mr. Gary Warren, presented symptoms typical of extreme mental distress... at the Queen St. Mental Health Center.... Mr. Warren's symptoms worsened, however.... The only visible relief came when in close proximity to diagnostic equipment.... Even a wall clock, a PDA, or a thermometer seemed to help" (p. 128, Bantam Spectra edition).
    This is an ephemeral addition to the survey, but I had a lot of fun reading the Guide, whose contents were concocted by fine SF & Fantasy writers of international renown. The illustrations are a hoot too. The follow-up volume, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (Harper Voyager, 2011), ed. by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, contained no contribution by Cory.

*** Eastern Standard Tribe (Tor, 2004). SF set in England, the U.S. and Canada in the 2010s and 2020s. The protagonist, Art Berry, was born in Toronto; his grandmother still lives there, in a lakeside condo, and his mother is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. When he visits Gran, it's by train to Union Station. His Gran, Art and Art's girlfriend

"ate dinner at Lindy's on Yonge Street, right in the middle of the sleaze strip. The steakhouse had been there for the better part of a century, and its cracked red-vinyl booths and thick rib-eyes smothered in horseradish and HP Sauce were just as Art had remembered. Riding up Yonge Street, the city lights had seemed charming and understated; even the porn marquees felt restrained after a week in New York.... Gran and [his girlfriend] Linda nattered away like old friends, making plans for the week: the zoo, the island, a day trip to Niagara Falls, a ride up the CN Tower, all the touristy stuff that Art had last done in elementary school" (p. 200).
    For Art, Toronto is a comforting, calming, safe place that doesn't seem to change much.

*** Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (Tor, 2005). This present-day fantasy opens with Alan, who looks likes a human but isn't one, renovating a house he's bought on Wales Avenue in Kensington Market. He finds that

"May smelled great in Kensington Market. The fossilized dog shit had melted and washed away in the April rains, and the smells were all springy ones, loam and blossoms and spilled tetrapak fruit punch left behind by the pan-ethnic street-hockey league that formed up spontaneously in front of his house. When the winds blew from the east, he smelled the fish stalls on Spadina, salty and redolent of Chinese barbecue spices. When it blew from the north, he smelled the baking bread in the kosher bakeries and sometimes a rare whiff of roasting garlic from the pizzas in the steaming ovens at Massimo's all the way up on College. The western winds smelled of hospital incinerator, acrid and smoky" (p. 14).
    Most of the important Toronto scenes take place in the Market, where Alan busies himself with a plan to blanket the city with free wireless Internet connectivity. (He doesn't succeed.) He's forced to leave Toronto and take refuge on his brother the island, who is making his way to the Atlantic (did I tell you that their father was a mountain in northern Ontario?). Alan is one of the many who, as in the novel's title, come to town and leave town.

*** "When Sysadmins Ruled the World," Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2007); reprinted in Year's Best SF 12 (Eos, 2007), ed. by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, and in Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology (Tachyon, 2007), ed. by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel; issued as a graphic novel by IDW Publishing, 2007, as Issue 2 of the series "Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now"; and reprinted in Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (Night Shade Books, 2008), ed. by John Joseph Adams. Apocalyptic story about Internet systems administrators ("sysadmins") in a data centre on Front St. trying to keep the Internet running and information flowing amidst simultaneous terrorist attacks around the world, including by bioweapons that decimate the population of Toronto and by something that destroys buildings. Down comes the CBC Broadcast Centre, and...

"The CN Tower, a giant white-needle elephant of a building, loomed to the east of them. It was askew, like a branch stuck in wet sand. Was it moving? It was. It was heeling over, slowly, but gaining speed, falling northeast toward the financial district. In a second, it slid over the tipping point and crashed down. They felt the shock, then heard it, the whole building rocking from the impact. A cloud of dust rose from the wreckage, and there was more thunder as the world's tallest freestanding structure crashed through building after building" (p. 14).

*** "I, Robot," Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2007); reprinted in the anthology Robots: The Recent A.I. (Prime Books, 2012), ed. by Rich Horton and Sean Wallace. Dystopia in which Toronto is part of a police state. The lead character is "Arturo Icaza de Arana-Goldberg, Police Detective Third Grade, United North American Trading Sphere [UNATS], Third District, Fourth Prefecture, Second Division (Parkdale)" (p. 102). UNATS' right-wing society is locked in a years-long war with Eurasia—where Arturo's wife "defected"—and is losing. Toronto locations and mentions include the Sheppard subway, Massimo's Pizzeria on College St. (the old Kensington Market area), and Parkdale, where Arturo lives with his teenage daughter. In trying to keep track of her, Arturo loses contact with a robot detailed to follow her, runs for his car and heads for Fairview Mall.

"A light autumn rain had started up, ending the Indian summer that Toronto—the Fourth Prefecture in the new metric scheme—had been enjoying. It made the roads slippery and the UNATS Robotics chauffeur skittish about putting the hammer down on the Don Valley Parkway. He idly fantasized about finding a set-top box and plugging it into his car somehow so that he could take over the driving without alerting his superiors" (p. 114).
    Arturo's attempts to locate his daughter also take him to "the Don Valley ravine off Finch Avenue, a wooded area popular with teenagers who needed somewhere to sneak off and get high or screw" (p. 126). But when he finds his daughter, he's not in Toronto any more.

*** "Clockwork Fagin," Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories (Candlewick Press, 2011), ed. by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant; reprinted in Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (ChiZine Publications, 2012), ed. by Sandra Kasturi and Halli Villegas. Alternate-history/fantasy story set in "Muddy York" (one of Toronto's nicknames; another is Hogtown). Infirm children and teenagers at Saint Agatha's Home for the Rehabilitation of Crippled Children build a clockwork automaton to replace a murdered supervisor/slave driver. Other Toronto references include Cabbagetown; King Street; the Leslie Street Spit; Bloor Street; and, being built across the Don River, the Prince Edward Viaduct (the children pretend the automaton has committed suicide by jumping off the bridge). Montreal and Hamilton retain their "real" names, as does Sault "Sainte" Marie, but Ontario is still Upper Canada, Quebec is still Lower Canada, and Florida is still Spanish.

Dorsey, Candas Jane

*** "(Learning about) Machine Sex," Machine Sex ... and Other Stories (Porcépic Books, 1988; reprinted in Northern Stars [Tor, 1994], ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant). SF about a brilliant female programmer attempting to create a truly thinking machine. The scenes that take place in Toronto reveal few details of the city, except that it has a "degenerate punk underground."

Dowding, Philippa

*** The Gargoyle in My Yard (Napoleon Publishing, 2009). Fantasy for children. Katherine Newberry, aged 12-going-on-13, lives in a house with a modest backyard, where her parents "gardened constantly. For such a small piece of land, her father liked to say their backyard got more attention than Casa Loma" (p. 4). The gargoyle of the book title, yclept Gargoth, is a statue among the garden decorations, collected by Katherine's mom. (Gargoth followed her mom home one day from the "Golden Nautilus" comics store on Queen Street [in real life, it's the Silver Snail, on Queen West]). The family home is about two kilometres north of the Christie subway station, still downtown enough to have poor air quality, something Gargoth complains about (p. 74). Katherine takes piano lessons in a private home near the Castle Frank subway station. Indeed, the Toronto Transit Commission is essential to the plot, particularly the Queen streetcar, seen by Gargoth when he first arrived in the city:

"[A] great thundering machine went by frequently, which made the entire shop and all its contents quake as it passed. It was a large red machine with doors that opened and shut, letting people enter and leave as they pleased (pp. 70–71).
    For 10 weeks in a row, before her piano lessons on Wednesdays, Katherine lugs Gargoth (hidden in her backpack) to various stores along Queen in search of another gargoyle.
"Katherine was a little disheartened at the pages of stores listed under 'candles' and 'novelties' in the Toronto phonebook. There were dozens and dozens of them. Who knew so many people wanted to buy skull-shaped candles, hanging bead curtains and healing chime bells?" (p. 99).
    It turns out that the gargoyle, a female, has flown away from the store where Gargoth had seen her.
    The book starts in the fall and ends almost a year later.
"One fine summer night after the family had enjoyed a barbecue with friends in the Newberrys' backyard, Gargoth sat on his pedestal and smoked his pipe with Milly [the cat] curled up on his lap. Gargoth looked up to the heavens then down at the cat.

"The stars shone brightly. The moon was just beginning to rise behind the CN Tower, bathing the city in a cool, silver glow....

"There, up in the heavens, silvery in the moonlight caught against the clouds, was a tiny outline of a gargoyle, flying over the city, circling, circling, and looking carefully for the one she had lost" (pp. 110–111).

    Besides being an entertaining read, this novel has an evocative sense of place. In an e-mail dated March 23, 2010, the author told me:

"I really wanted to write a story about children in an urban setting, since there are just too many stories about kids being shipped off to the countryside to have adventures. I also wanted urban children to see their world in words—a story with a subway, a streetcar, stores, different parts of town, all that" (quoted with permission).

*** The Gargoyle Overhead (Napoleon Publishing, 2010). Fantasy for children; the sequel to The Gargoyle in My Yard (2009). Katherine Newberry is still trying to help her friend Gargoth the Gargoyle, whose greatest enemy, The Collector, is prowling Toronto in search of him. Ambergine, a female gargoyle, is still looking for him as well. Many scenes are set in a shop on Queen St. Among the locations Ambergine visits during her search are:

  • the CN Tower ("She'd much rather be on the pretty green island than where she was, sitting dangerously on the top of a gigantic pointy building with a strange bulge near the top.... She couldn't even imagine what this building was for" [pp. 6-7]);
  • the Rogers Centre, formerly known as the SkyDome, with its two-part sculpture by Michael Snow known as The Audience ("Lately, she had been sleeping among the statues of giant people at the big white sports stadium by the lake. The huge fibreglass figures were sort of like gargoyles, although none of them was alive" [p. 13]); the Princes' Gates to the Exhibition grounds ("She'd spent the last few days sleeping hidden in the wings of an angel over a great arched gate. Many busy roads met at the angel's feet far below [p. 21]); and
  • what may be the Soldiers' Tower at the western end of Hart House, University of Toronto ("The statues she'd found to hide her this time were in the middle of a large university. It was a group of soldiers and angels, some with wings like hers, or with guns or swords. She liked the students walking below her: they all looked busy and had much to say [p. 26]).

    Many scenes in The Gargoyle Overhead are set outside of Toronto: in England, France and New York City.

*** The Gargoyle at the Gates (Dundurn, 2012), third in the Lost Gargoyle children's fantasy series. New series character Christopher Canning has just moved to Toronto, very close to Queen St. E. (the candle store from The Gargoyle in My Yard is nearby) and wishes he has friends; soon he meets gargoyles Ambergine and Gargoth (who are sitting on the gates of the park next door to his house; hence the book title) as well as human Katherine Newberry, who is in his class at school (to which he takes the streetcar). Then the gargoyles' old enemy The Collector turns up, and abducts Ambergine.
    Other Toronto features include a ravine where Christopher walks his dog; Riverdale Farm, north of Gerrard and very close to the Don River; and the Necropolis Cemetery, across the street from Riverdale Farm.
    Some chapters take place in England, where a Toronto teenager named James visits his stonemason grandfather.

The Lost Gargoyle series (which seems to have ended with The Gargoyle at the Gates) is recommended reading.

Drew, Wayland

*** The Wabeno Feast (Anansi, 1973 and 2001; General Paperbacks, 1985). This reimagining of Joseph Conrad's 899 novella Heart of Darkness (see also Timothy Findley's take on the same work, Headhunter, below) is referred to on the back cover of the 2001 Anansi edition as "a classic in Canadian literature." The plot features four childhood friends who move from a dying northern Ontario pulp-mill town to Toronto to go to U of T. Wrote Robert Knowlton in his essay "Out of the Barrens" in the anthology Tesseracts Thirteen: Chilling Tales of the Great White North (Edge, 2009), the friends "find Toronto 'a vision of destruction ... buildings of a human scale toppling; skeletal new spires dwarding their creators.' Windigos, perhaps, not of iced bone but glass-skinned steel. Below, the streets seethe with violence and despair" (pp. 296–97, Tesseracts Thirteen). The Toronto chapters in The Wabeno Feast are 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24–28, 32 and 36; among the references are Union Station, streetcars on Bay and on Bloor, Huron Street, Queen Street, City Hall, and Yonge and Gerrard. Toronto works as a city, but it's a nightmare place to be. One of the friends takes a ride on the Bloor streetcar.

"Miro paid little attention to the people and their activities. Window shoppers bored him, ambling lovers made him sick. Instead, he looked for the sites of new construction and peered eagerly over the hoardings whenever they appeared, happily and deeply troubled by glimpses of the gouged earth. Nothing would grow in that earth again; not ever. At least, not until the buildings themselves came crashing down, the bent girders flaking with rust, the bricks crumbling to powder. But what caused the most baleful, most perverse excitement in Miro were the visions of destruction themselves, and there were many of these along the route. Everywhere old buildings were falling to the wreckers. In every stage of disassembly they stared at the street through shocked, dead eyes" (p. 141).
    An accident at a Toronto gas plant proves the first in a series of natural and man-made catastrophes, including floods and a riot. By chapter 36, Toronto's infrastructure has begun to fail ("Power shortages had closed the subway," p. 268; "Clocks were stopped on the outsides of office buildings," p. 270).

Dyer, Bernadette Gabay

*** Abductors (Rain Publishing, 2007). YA fantasy that starts and ends in England (specifically Sussex) but whose middle section takes place in Toronto, beginning with Pearson airport. Other Toronto mentions include Spadina Avenue; the University of Toronto; Chinatown; Parkside Drive (High Park neighbourhood), where one scene contains the words "Fairies are real!"; a fictional high school called Rockston; Roncesvalles Avenue; and Bloor Street.
    Not recommended reading (Warning! Excruciatingly Awful Book!): poorly written and incompetently edited and produced.

Files, Gemma

*** "Mouthful of Pins," Northern Frights 2 (Mosaic Press, 1994), ed. by Don Hutchison. Horror story whose narrator says,

"I'm still in Toronto, working for an ad agency. You may have seen my commercials for beer, cars, the Canadian National Exhibition. I put in too much overtime, drink more than I should, and—once every two years or so—precipitate a brief but painful affair by picking up a similarly ambitious young woman in a downtown gay bar. Late at night, I often go into the bathroom and press a lit cigarette into the crook of my elbow. Just to prove that I'm really alive" (p. 78).

*** Kissing Carrion (Prime Books, 2003). Horror collection. Of the 17 stories, 11 are set in Toronto or have significant references to it:

  • "Kissing Carrion" (set mostly in an Annex basement apartment);
  • "Keepsake" ("[I]t was just another post-ozone-depletion February in Toronto—equal parts frigid and uncertain, pedestrians eddying to and fro ... like ghosts beneath a livid, par-boiled sky" [p. 31], references to the Annex, Ryerson, the Clarke Institute, Bay Street, Queen Street: "living on Queen Street don't mean the world is actually full of vampires" [p. 39]);
  • "Rose-Sick" (references to Yonge Street, Chinatown, Nassau Street; to "Toronto, the fliptop city—grey and gelatinous as a mad scientist's exposed brain, overlaid with a distant hum of thought" [p. 48]);
  • "Skeleton Bitch" (Yonge Street Strip, Front Street, Harbourfront: "a long, long pier, its foundations slicked with chemical foam, where yuppies from the condos on either side stand arm in arm each night, to sip their take-out cappuccino and watch the Island ferry go by" [p. 72]);
  • "Mouthful of Pins" (see above);
  • "Pretend that We're Dead":
    "It all started the year I was born ... we call it The Infestation. And what it means is Toronto remade, slipped through some cosmic crack and out again onto an 'other side' that soon turned out to be the Other Side. Phenomena aplenty ... Cold spots, words written on walls, knockings ... radiant boys, warning shrieks ... ectoplasm, mediumistic possession....

    "Faith doesn't seem to help, or hinder, for all the varieties of faith we have to spare—the multiculti mosaic at work... And sure, people naturally want to think there are rules to discover and follow—that if Torontonians only found out what it was that they 'did' to 'deserve' this happening to them, they'd be somehow able to defuse the situation: repent, atone, stop digging up the old Indian burial ground—no rules, or reasons, seem to apply" (p. 92);
  • "Bear Shirt" (references to U of T [St. George Campus], Spadina), but most of the story takes place in northern Ontario, near Gravenhurst. This story first appeared in the anthology Queer Fear: Gay Horror Fiction (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2000), ed. by Michael Rowe;
  • "Hidebound" (references to Dupont Street, George Brown College, and Scarborough: "Mushroom cloud country, with way too much skyline and not enough pedestrians for my liking" [p. 149]);
  • "Skin City" (references to Chinatown, Ryerson);
  • "The Diarist" is a girl who's taking magical revenge on her ex-lover and his new girlfriend, and one part of the ritual involves giving the "part" of the girlfriend "to the only demon I could find—that perpetually drunk and crazy guy on the corner of Church and Wellesley" (p. 189); and
  • "Dead Bodies Possessed by Furious Motion": Only scene 8 takes place in Toronto in this story about vampires, some of whom travel to Toronto's Chinatown in the 2020s, "in what stood of anti-pollution activist-bombed downtown Toronto" (p. 206).

*** The Worm in Every Heart (Prime Books, 2004). Of the 15 stories in this horror collection, five take place in part or entirely in Toronto:

  • "Flare" (a basement apartment in Chinatown, and other unspecified hard-luck locations);
  • "Bottle of Smoke" (the neighbourhood and old house in which most of the action takes place can't be ascertained, but it is in Toronto; there's a mention of Yonge Street);
  • "The Kindly Ones" (most of it takes place in a Toronto house, neighbourhood unidentified; there's a reference to Covenant House [corner of Church and Gerrard]);
  • "By the Mark." A schoolgirl (who's also a witch named Hepzibah) has a garden, and
    "...she knew her garden lay empty, sere and withered, topsoil still bleak with frost. Snow festered, greying, on top of the trumpet-vine's dead tangle. Beyond that, the fence; further, a sloping away. Down past graffiti in full seasonal bloom, down into the mud at the base of the bridge, into the shadows under the pass, where the 'normal' kids fought and kissed and loudly threatened suicide.

    "Into the Ravine" (p. 187).
        The Ravine is under the St. Clair East bridge, and a few scenes of abuse take place there, as well as in the girl's home, nearby; and
  • "The Narrow World," a story that first appeared in the anthology Queer Fear II: Gay Horror Fiction (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002), ed. by Michael Rowe. A Hong-Kong-born magician, or "Jude Hark, as I'm known down here in Toronto the Good-for-nothing" (p. 220), performs rituals under the St. Clair Ravine Bridge, goes to movies at the Bloor cinema, signs a "gifted" friend out from the Clarke Institute and takes her for lunch at the Fran's Restaurant on College west of Yonge and then to a movie at the Carlton Cinemas east of Yonge. He finds Toronto interesting:
    "[I]f you stop any person on the street, they'll tell you they think living here is nothing special—nice, though a little boring.

    "The truth is, Toronto is a crossroads where the dead congregate. The city goes about its seasonal business, bland and blind, politely ignoring the hungry skins of dead people stalking up and down its frozen main arteries: Vampires, ghouls, revenants, ghosts, wraiths, zombies, even a select few mage's golems cobbled haphazardly together from whatever inanimate objects come to hand. There's enough excess appetite here to power a world-eating competition" (p. 231, Kissing Carrion).

*** "Heart's Hole," In the Dark: Stories from the Supernatural (Tightrope Books, 2006), ed. by Myna Wallin and Halli Villegas. A woman named Jo works for a company that cleans up psychic waste ("ectoplasmic by-product"). She was born in Scotland and emigrated to Canada—specifically, Toronto.

"'Canada' meant 'snow' most places, but I'd seen little of that. It was high summer now, triple smog alerts in the downtown area, brownouts, humidity and all. Just walking around hurt, made your eyes burn and tear; breathing felt like you had your head lodged halfway up Jesus's own exhaust pipe.

"Not to mention how the ghosts pressed up against every window, 'round every corner, only made it seem the hotter.... Sticking their eyeless heads through walls, floors and ceiling just to gape, their mouths all teeth, all nude flapping tongue and airless, voiceless, ceaseless howl" (p. 96).
    Jo attracts ghosts without even trying. She shrugs off the "workload" to her colleagues by saying,
"'Old city, Toronto. Lots of people, lots of incidents—stands to reason, right?'

"Right.

"Which is why I should have thought twice before I came here, all told. 'Cause in a place this bloody crowded, there's bound to be 'something' [ghostly] pretty much much everywhere you look" (p. 98).

*** "The Jacaranda Smile," The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2010 {Prime Books, 2010), ed. by Paula Guran. Reprinted from the anthology Apparitions (Undertow, 2009), ed. by Michael Kelly. Dark fantasy story that takes place in Toronto and Melbourne, Australia. Toronto references include Hocken Avenue, Wychwood Avenue, and St. Clair St. West.

*** "The Shrines," Chilling Tales: Evil Did I Dwell: Lewd Did I Live (Edge, 2011), ed. by Michael Kelly. In this horror story, the "shrines" of the title are rubble sculptures built on the Leslie Street Spit. An excerpt from a journalism article contained in the story:

"These days, 'hating' Toronto is so fashionable it's become cliché....

"The funniest thing about anti-Toronto sentiment, however—whether it comes from outside or in—is that ours is a city populated by people from elsewhere....

"But what do they find, when they do [come]? In a place of infinite possibility, it's hard to connect, on any level. Though distractions are everywhere, loneliness runs rampant—and religion, organized or not, just doesn't seem to help. It's all too easy for that innate human impulse towards the mystic to turn into disappointment with every 'offered alternative'—live-for-the-moment hedonism, woo-woo paganism, Gnostic secret cultism and prosetylizing atheism, alike

"This place, however—the Leslie St. Shrines—is different. Something's happening here—something new. Or maybe very old" (pp. 174–5).

*** "Homebody," Chilling Tales: In Words, Alas, Drown I (Edge, 2013), ed. by Michael Kelly. Horror story about a young woman who has moved to Toronto from elsewhere but never felt at peace or at home and, indeed, has descended into homelessness on the steets (mostly Yonge). Other Toronto references include Ryerson University and the close-by Yonge-Dundas Square; the Metropolitan United Church (56 Queen E.); and many mentions of the subway, including Pape Station.

Gemma Files is a good writer; her stories are very effective tales. She's recommended reading for those who enjoy dark fantasy/horror. (A strong stomach comes in handy at times.)

Findley, Timothy

*** "Dreams," Stones (Penguin Canada, 1988); reprinted in Black Water 2: More Tales of the Fantastic (Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1990), ed. by Albert Manguel. A Toronto psychiatrist trying to treat a schizophrenic locked up in the Queen Street Mental Health Centre is tormented by the corpse-strewn dreams of his patient—who is found, still locked up, covered in other people's blood. The psychiatrist and his wife, who's also a psychiatrist and who works at the University of Toronto, live in an apartment across from the Manulife Centre, corner of Bloor and Bay streets.

*** "Foxes," Stones (Penguin Canada, 1988). Fantasy in which a Toronto man, a communications expert, visits the Far Eastern Department of the Royal Ontario Museum to do private research on a compelling set of Japanese theatre masks called "Fox" that had been featured in the ROM magazine Rotunda. ("Foxes" was first published in Rotunda, Summer 1987.)

*** "About Effie," The Tamarack Review, Autumn, 1956; reprinted in the author's story collection Dinner Along the Amazon (Penguin Canada, 1984) and in Shivers: Canadian Tales of the Supernatural (Seal Books, 1989), ed. by Greg Ioannou and Lynne Missen. Ghost story. There are many references to streetcars and to the city's name.

"She tried to turn on the lights, but they didn't work. (That always happened two or three times a year in those big storms. Toronto never worked when you needed it to.)" (p. 93, Dinner Along the Amazon; p. 178, Shivers).

*** Headhunter (HarperCollins, 1993; HarperPerennial Canada, 1999). Toronto's culture has run amok with greed, nature-hatred, decadence, depravity and moral emptiness; the city is in the midst of epidemics, including AIDS and "sturnusemia" (which a lying government has said is carried by starlings). Death squads roam, killing all birds with a choking yellow gas that also poisons other animals as well as plants. Bonfires of dead birds leap up in city parks at night.
    Lilah Kemp, a former librarian suffering from schizophrenia, has the uncontrollable power to bring literary characters to life and to raise the dead, such as author Susanna Moodie. (Lilah had inherited her powers upon the death of her mother, who had gone down into a ravine ["one of the many for which the city of Toronto is famous"—p. 26 in the 1999 edition] to conjure Dr. Jekyll and found Mr. Hyde instead.) Her latest "animation" takes place in the Toronto Reference Library when she's reading Joseph Conrad's 1899 novella Heart of Darkness—and it's psychopath Rupert Kurtz, who is, we soon discover, in charge of the "Parkin Institute of Psychiatric Research" (the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, at College and Spadina) and the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. The novel title refers to psychiatrists rather than actual cannibals. Any zombies that appear are not the supernatural variety; they are created by the deliberate misuse of experimental pharmaceuticals. Among the crowds of mentally-ill or amoral people who form the majority of the novel's characters is mad poetess Amy Wylie, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Gwendolyn MacEwen, whose work also conjured up a "strange apocalyptic Toronto." (MacEwen died five years before Headhunter came out.)
    Lilah Kemp manages to "call" Kurtz's nemesis from Heart of Darkness—Charlie Marlow, who is able to make a start on cleaning up some of the city's moral corruption towards the novel's end, when he goes home, exhausted, to the house on Lowther Avenue he shares with Lilah Kemp. Lilah has just received a letter from a writer who's an expert on Heart of Darkness and has sent her a passage from a recently-written essay:

"Every Kurtz must have his Marlow—and Marlow will always come to take Kurtz home. It is a mark of our respect for those who lead us into darkness that we bring them back for burial, pay their debts and console their loved ones with lies. This process is played out over and over—and with every journey up the river, we discover that Kurtz has penetrated just a little farther than his counterparts before him. Poor old Marlow! Every time he heads upstream, he is obliged to [make] a longer journey, through darker mysteries. Well, we might, wonder, why does he always agree to go? For myself, I would guess it is because he is beholden to Kurtz for having provided him, after darkness, with a way to find new light" (pp. 509-10 in the 1999 edition).
    Poor old Toronto, with the funeral pyres of dead birds ablaze at its heart.
    Rosedale, Parkdale, the Annex, U of T, and the Royal Ontario Museum are prominent locations in Headhunter. A few scenes take place in Muskoka cottage country.
    Among the other works that are woven into the metafictional Headhunter (one psychiatric patient is "Timothy Findley," who's also a writer) are The Great Gatsby and Beowulf.
    To SF readers accustomed to world-building with internal logic, Headhunter will seem to be heavy and self-conscious literary fiction whose premise is impossible to buy into. For example, although we are invited to believe that Kurtz and Marlow were just conjured by Lilah, they were evidently alive before Lilah opened the book. Marlow
"had always loved Toronto; not the whole of it—but parts. He loved the St. George campus and was glad to be back on its greens again, beneath its gothic horrors. The buildings are so damned ugly, he said, you miss them for the charm of their deformation. This was not true of the newer buildings: the [Robarts] Library and the Parkin Institute. These were monstrosities of another kind altogether—flat-slabbed paste-ups of glass and concrete that had passed for architecture in the deadly years when the whole world sucked its thumb, eyes closed in self-satisfaction" (p. 148 in the 1999 edition).

Gardiner, Scott

*** King John of Canada (McClelland & Stewart, 2007). Near-future political satire in which Canada is on the verge of breaking up; the Governor-General resigns in disgrace; in the UK, the House of Windsor implodes; and a desperate Prime Minister inserts into the constitutional gap the winner of the recent Lotto Canada "Be a Monarch!" Sweepstakes (price of winning ticket: $2): a man from Toronto named John. He becomes the King of Canada, and he has an instinct for what Canadians really want.
    The story is narrated many years afterwards by Blue, John's best friend, an American immigrant who is living in John's Muskoka cottage after the assassination of the king and is writing a biography to be read by John's son and heir.
    Blue recalls that early in John's reign, Hester Vale, the new Mayor of Toronto, announced that city council had decided to take the cash-starved city out of Confederation.

"It's an imprecise analog, I admit, but in some ways it's useful to think of Toronto as a microcosm of the country.... Toronto, at the time of Hester's election, had slid so low it was no longer aware it was sinking....

"Toronto's role was to be taxed. While the federal government pumped money from the city to pay for daycare in Quebec, Toronto's public schools were being closed for lack of funding.... While the provincial government was busy building golf courses for its constituents north of the city" [sounds like the Tories are in power], "and paving every second side road from Newmarket to Timmins, Toronto was selling its municipal parkland just to stave off bankruptcy. Everyone jokes about potholes. But the cracks in Toronto's pavement had turned into craters; every summer, major arteries were washing out for lack of simple upkeep. Sewers had been leaking filth for decades. Toronto's previous mayor—the mayor before Hester—was a used-car salesman who dressed up in prison stripes for TV commercials and screamed at the camera that his cars were so cheap, people thought he'd stolen them." [The author has Mel Lastman in mind here.] "I'm not making this up. It stretches credulity, the depth to which the city's self-esteem had sunk.

"Until Hester.

"I could go on for pages about Toronto. For an outsider like me, there's just something absorbing about the evolution of a city's personality" (pp. 50–51).
    Soon after John was declared monarch-designate, outrage had erupted across Canada.
"It's an ancient joke among Canadians that the only thing they could all agree about was how much they hated Toronto.... People from outside the place honestly and unreservedly loathed the place.

"There isn't the time right now to explore the underlying pathology. And to be honest, I've never understood it myself. What I do know is that it was Hester's success in educating Torontonians as to the astonishing depths of the country's ill-will toward them that ultimately changed everything here, when first the city, then the nation, rose and shook themselves of ancient servitudes" (p. 79).
    John manages to stop Toronto from seceding. But when Quebec declares there will be yet another referendum on separating from Canada, John decides that it's time for the entire country to hold a referendum on Quebec—and a shocked Quebec is ejected from Confederation. Among John's other achievements are saving the CBC from crippling budget cuts; outlawing people-killing guns; and solving the "Aboriginal problem."
    The king builds his Royal Residence in "the Silos," a derelict grain elevator on the waterfront at the foot of Cherry Street. Other Toronto references include the Royal York Hotel, Union Station, Bay Street, the Gardiner Expressway, and Massey Hall.

Gardner, James Alan

*** "Muffin Explains Teleology to the World at Large," On Spec Vol. 2 No. 1 (#3), Spring 1990; reprinted in What If...?: Amazing Stories (Tundra Books, 1998), ed. by Monica Hughes; in Aurora Awards: An Anthology of Prize-Winning Science Fiction & Fantasy (Quarry Press, 1999), ed. by Edo van Belkom; and in Gardner's story collection Gravity Wells (Eos HarperCollins, 2005). Although the city is not named, this story seems to be set in Toronto (and I've confirmed this in a conversation with the author): references to rundown warehouses, Rowing Club, a lake freighter, a physics department at the university. As to the plot: a precocious girl named Muffin who has insights into the future waits for the end of this universe... and the start of the next one. (The Greek word telos or teleos means "end.")

*** "All the Cool Monsters at Once," Mythspring: From the Lyrics & Legends of Canada (Red Deer Press, 2006), ed. by Julie E. Czerneda and Genevieve Kierans. All across Canada, mythical monsters, legends and ghosts appear and start migrating towards Grand Beach Provincial Park in Ontario. "In Toronto, hundreds of albino alligators poured up from the sewers. Nobody paid much attention, but you'll see the gators show up in a dozen American TV shows that were filming around the city" (p. 41). (I won't give away the ending, but psst!—it involves alien spaceships.)

Garner, Hugh

*** "The Premeditated Death of Samuel Glover," The Yellow Sweater and Other Stories (William Collins & Sons, 1953); reprinted in Not to Be Taken at Night: Thirteen Classic Canadian Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural (Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1981), selected by John Robert Colombo and Michael Richardson. Fantasy in which a man correctly predicts the place where he'll die. It's downtown on Adelaide St. West (at what seems to be the intersection with Bay). Also mentioned are Queen Street and the TTC streetcars.

Garvie, Maureen

*** Amy by Any Other Name (Key Porter Books, 2009). Young-adult novel narrated by Amy, a 16-year-old who wakes up in a Toronto hospital, much-injured after a diving accident. She’s inhabiting the body of another girl, Krystal, who was also injured—hit by a truck on Yonge Street. Amy is from a wealthy Toronto family (her house is four blocks from Davisville subway station; she goes to Lawrence Park Collegiate); Krystal, from a much less privileged background in Kingston, east of Toronto. The vast majority of the novel is set outside of Toronto. In most of Chapter 1 and all of Chapters 2 to 18, Amy is in Kingston; in Chapter 19, she takes a bus to Toronto to see her mother (who doesn’t recognize her, of course). Chapters 21 to 24 take place in Kingston. Then the story jumps ahead two years. Chapters 25 to 29 take place in Toronto, as Amy has moved there to study for a commerce degree at U of T (St. George campus). In Chapter 35, she returns to the Muskoka cottage (northeast of Toronto) where she had her diving accident.
    Because of the body-switch, this book qualifies as fantasy, but the reading protocols are mainstream rather than SF. The author makes no attempt to explain how or why the body-switch happened.

Giron, Sèphera

*** "Can You See the Real Me?", Campus Chills (Stark Publishing, 2009). Horror story featuring werewolves; set at Stong College, York University, in 1982 and 2010. (Note: Such a college—note that it's not "Strong College"—does exist.)

Glaze, Sandra

*** "The Resident Guest," On Spec Vol. 21 No. 2 (#77), Summer 2009. Ghost story set in a fictional downtown Toronto hotel, The Edwardian Hotel (in the same location as the real-life King Edward Hotel, 37 King St. E., and named after the same king, Edward VII). Other Toronto mentions include the Royal Alexandra Theatre and St. James Cathedral. The final sentences in the story read:

"Torontonians are notoriously indifferent to their local heritage. When [the] time came for the Edwardian to make way for condos, there was a whimper of protest outside and a couple of articles beside the electronics ads in the newspapers.

"I was not sorry to see it come down" (p. 16).

Goodfellow, Roben

*** "After November," Mythspring: From the Lyrics & Legends of Canada (Red Deer Press, 2006), ed. by Julie E. Czerneda and Genevieve Kierans. A U of T student meets one of the legendary campus ghosts: stonemason Ivan Reznikoff (also to be "seen" in Tanya Huff's Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light), who worked on University College.

Grant, Glenn

*** "Burning Day," Island Dreams: Montreal Writers of the Fantastic (Vehicule, 2003 [2004 in USA]), ed. by Claude Lalumière. Reprinted in The Year's Best SF #10 (Harper/Eos 2005), ed. by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, and in Grant's story collection Burning Days (Nanopress, 2011). A police-procedural novella set in the dystopic 2080s, when part of Dundas St. West has become a high-tech ghetto of sorts for androids known as "cogents."

"Dundas is an echoing halogen tunnel through overgrown masses of architecture. Buildings ... evolve constantly, with complete disregard for city regs and permits. They sprout overhead pedways, cantilevered wings, swooping bridges. Entire streets are spanned, lost under layers of nano-assembled confusion. Walls are always being knocked through, ramps built apparently at random between adjacent structures, entire city blocks domed over with great geodesic umbrellas. Every surface is covered in ... luminescent paintings, tilework, bas-relief, animated graphics, palimpsests of cryptic polyglot graffiti...

"'And this used to be such a nice neighbourhood,' Daniel [a cop] mutters [to his partner]. He's joking; twenty-five years ago this was all abandoned office towers stuffed full of flood refugees and squatters" (pp. 29–30, Island Dreams).
    The story does not explicitly use the word "Toronto," referring only to the "Greater Metropolitan Area" (standing in for the GTA), but mentions Dundas West, 55 Division and University Ave. Queen's Park still exists. Greater Metro City Hall is "a cut-crystal half-torus skewed at a wild angle, arcing over and around Bicentennial Park" (p. 57).

Green, Robert

*** The Great Leap Backward (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1968). In this satirical SF/fantasy novel (it's narrated by a dead man), the year is 2021 and self-directed machines have made Toronto (and the world) a people-unfriendly place. Queen's Park is gone. "There, on the site of the old legislature buildings, arose the gleaming white windowless edifice of the Master Control Complex, the great co-ordinating brain that programmed and controlled every auxiliary brain and computer in Ontario" (p. 200). The narrator hides a bomb on the grounds outside the Complex but a helpful machine brings it back to him in Richmond Hill. (Boom.) No human has any influence over the relentless change.

"[I]t was the speed-up that had everyone in a panic; three new subways on Yonge Street in one year, including the one started today; perfectly good buildings torn down and replaced with new ones for no apparent reason; conveyor walks and autos and elevators firing people around like the balls of a pin-ball machine; suburban housing spreading faster than the population explosion. Where would it all end?" (p. 15).
    An anti-machine riot takes place on Jarvis St. near the CBC building (this novel was written in 1968). People who find the city unendurable flee for Richmond Hill—a place which uncontrollable development will soon engulf...

Green, Terence M.

*** "Ashland, Kentucky," Isaac Asimov's SF Magazine (November 1985); The Woman Who Is the Midnight Wind (Pottersfield Press, 1987), story collection; Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison; and Tesseracts2 (Porcépic Books, 1987), ed. by Phyllis Gotlieb and Doug Barbour. Fantasy/time travel, taking place in Toronto (the Junction area) and Kentucky. Expanded into the novel series that begins with Shadow of Ashland.

*** "Blue Limbo," Ark of Ice: Canadian Futurefiction (Pottersfield Press, 1992), ed. by Lesley Choyce. SF story about a Toronto cop in what, at the time of writing, was the near future. Expanded into the novel series of Barking Dogs and Blue Limbo (which see).

*** Barking Dogs (St. Martin's, 1988). SF novel expanded from the short story of the same name that was first published in F&SF, May 1984, and reprinted in the author's story collection The Woman Who Is the Midnight Wind (Pottersfield Press, 1987) and in Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin. It's the year 1999, and Toronto cop Mitch Helwig works in 52 Division and lives in an apartment in Thorncliffe Park. His daughter goes to school at Thorncliffe Public School. When his police partner is killed, he goes slightly insane and buys high-tech equipment as part of a one-man vendetta against crime.

*** Blue Limbo (Tor, 1997). Sequel to Barking Dogs. There are many character/setting/thematic similarities between this novel and Cory Doctorow's 2005 short story "I, Robot" (no criticism intended; just an observation).

*** Shadow of Ashland (Tor, 1996). [See "Ashland, Kentucky," above.]

*** A Witness to Life (Forge, 1999). Prequel to Shadow of Ashland. Narrated by a man after he dies; he relives his life, which was mostly spent in Toronto in the first part of the 20th century.

*** St. Patrick’s Bed (Tor, 2001). Sequel to Shadow of Ashland; takes place 11 years later.

*** Children of the Rainbow (McClelland & Stewart, 1992; reissued as Sailing Time’s Ocean by Robert J. Sawyer Books, 2006). Only one chapter is set in Toronto (in the year 2073) and we learn nothing about the city. One of the novel's characters, Fletcher Christian IV, is a professor of Life Sciences at U of T.

*** The Woman Who Is the Midnight Wind (Pottersfield Press, 1987). The stories "Ashland, Kentucky," "Barking Dogs," "Room 1786," "Susie Q2" and "Till Death Do Us Part" have strong Toronto connections (the city where "Japanese Tea" is set is unnamed, but there's nothing to rule out Toronto). Time frames: it's 1984 for "Ashland, Kentucky"; about 1997 for "Barking Dogs"; 2056 for "Room 1786"; and in the second half of the 21st century for "Till Death Do Us Part," in which story there have been some technological innovations as well as space exploration, as the lead character, a Torontonian, keeps a "pet" alien from Arcturus in a cage. In "Susie Q2," Toronto-born Leo Benson, aboard a one-man mining-company ship heading towards Earth in the year 2045, decides to kill himself—but not for a week, "for a couple of very good reasons. First: he had to check his Wintario ticket after the draw Sept. 3; top prize was one million dollars.... you can't, he thought, pull the plug while you've still got an unchecked ticket in your pocket.... A second reason ... was that there were some people he wanted to talk with" (p. 85). The people are: the children he never had; his ex-wife; and his brother, Frank, who had died of cancer in 2042. "The last thing [Frank] and Leo had done together was take in the hockey game at the [Maple Leaf] Gardens between Russia and Canada for the World Cup. Frank was gaunt by then, his clothes hanging on him. They had gone to Country-Style Donuts on Yonge St. afterward" (p. 86). When Leo "calls up" Frank's reconstructed personality on his shipboard computer, Frank asks that Leo reconstruct another Torontonian whom Leo accidentally killed with a "skimmer" (floating car) in 2035.

Terry Green's work is recommended reading: convincing characters and settings; interesting stories, well told.

Greenwood, Ed

*** "All One Under the Stars," The Bakka Anthology (Toronto: Salman Nensi, 2002). Inspired by the author's short time as a volunteer at Bakka Books (then in its first Queen-Street-West location). The narrator's SF bookstore, on Queen Street, is invaded by aliens.

*** "Writhe, Damn You," Northern Horror (Quarry Press, 2000), ed. by Edo van Belkom. From the opening scene: "It was like too many other dark, drab shop fronts along Queen Street: old, sagging, and tastefully decorated in a thick coating of dirt” (p. 127).

Harvey, Alyxandra

*** "The Shield Maiden," Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories (Tyche Books, 2013), ed. by Claude Lalumière and Camille Alexa. In this fantasy story contained in an anthology about superheroes, a volunteer archeologist (presumably at the Royal Ontario Museum) cataloguing items excavated from the L'Anse aux Meadows Viking settlement in Newfoundland begins to see and do unusual things after being injured by an artifact. Toronto references include the Yonge-University subway loop, Yonge Street itself, and Mount Pleasant Cemetery (and its Eaton family memorial).

Heinonen, Sara

*** "Ultra," Taddle Creek Vol. XI No. 2, Summer 2008. Mainsteam story with a near-future, pre-apocalyptic feel. A woman called Barb tries to prepare for the catastrophe she is sure is coming. Her city is gripped by a marathon heat wave; the hydro grid is overburdened. Newspaper headlines read, "World Oil Supply Past Peak," and "Province on Terrorism Alert" (p. 6). The sole Toronto reference is to Scarborough College. Another character, Cassandra, who works in the store where Barb goes to stock up on provisions ("Ultra-Store, a grocery store gone mad" [p. 6]), finds the anxiety of all the customers, not just Barb, to be surprisingly energizing. From now on, she thinks, "When she hands over a tub of green coleslaw or a bag of limp ham, she'll look for a flicker of recognition in their eyes, a hint that they're also thinking about how ridiculous things have become. From now on she'll be watching more closely" (p. 11).

Holmes, B.C.

*** "Glamour," On Spec Vol. 20 No. 4 (#75), Winter 2008-09. Fantasy about a young woman who has recently discovered her faerie heritage. Apart from a line in which she says to her (foster) mother, who has just arrived for a visit, "What brings you to Toronto?", other local references include a scene set in the Grappa Ristorante (on College Street east of Ossington, in Little Italy); the Princes' Gate at the Canadian National Exhibition; and Lakeshore and the QEW.
    The author (who is a woman) lives in Toronto.

Hopkinson, Nalo

*** Brown Girl in the Ring (Warner Aspect, 1998). Near-future post-apocalyptic SF novel set in Toronto's inner city. From pp. 3–4:

"Imagine a cartwheel half mired in muddy water, its hub just clearing the surface. The spokes are the satellite cities that form Metropolitan Toronto: Etobicoke and York to the west; North York in the north; Scarborough and East York to the east. The Toronto city core is the hub. The mud itself is vast Lake Ontario, which cuts Toronto off at its southern border.... Now imagine the hub of that wheel as being rusted through and through. When Toronto's economic base collapsed, investors, commerce, and government withdrew into the suburb cities, leaving the rotten core to decay. Those who stayed were the ones who couldn't or wouldn't leave.... As the police force left, it sparked large-scale chaos in the city core: the Riots. The satellite cities quickly raised roadblocks at their borders to keep Toronto out. The only unguarded exit from the city core was now over water, by boat or prop plane from the Toronto Island mini-airport."
    Homeless people camp out in abandoned subway tunnels and burned-out hotels. Trees grow on the Don Valley Parkway. But some things still function, including the Yonge Street Strip around Dundas, the St. Lawrence Market, Riverdale Farm, and the CN Tower, where the novel's climax takes place. For central character Ti-Jeanne, whose ancestry is Caribbean, the Tower is a bridge between worlds: "[T]he CN Tower dug roots deep into the ground where the dead lived and pushed high into the heavens where the oldest ancestors lived. The tower was their ladder into this world" (p. 221). The Tower doesn't fall down during this scene, but it definitely wobbles. And things seem to be looking up for Toronto by the end.

*** Skin Folk (Warner Aspect, 2001). Fantasy collection. The stories set in Toronto are:

  • "Money Tree," Tesseracts6 (Tesseract Books, 1997), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer & Carolyn Clink: no locations are identifiable, but Toronto is specified as the setting;
  • "Something to Hitch Meat to": the protagonist works in a skyscraper at King and Bay and, to get home, takes the King streetcar eastbound;
  • "Slow Cold Chick," commissioned for and broadcast on CBC Radio One's "Festival of Fiction", 1998; published in Northern Frights 5 (Mosaic Press, 1999), ed. by Don Hutchison; reprinted in Wild Things Live Here: The Best of Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 2001, ed. by Don Hutchison): downtown neighbourhood unspecified, but there's a reference to a neighbour owning "a flower shop over in Cabbagetown" (p. 112) ;
  • "A Habit of Waste," Fireweed, Vol. 53 (Spring 1996); reprinted in Women of Other Worlds: Excursions through Science Fiction and Feminism (University of Western Australia Press, 1999), ed. by Helen Merrick & Tess Williams) and Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell & Glenn Grant: references to Bathurst and Queen, "the creepy side of Sherbourne" (Street), and to Cabbagetown West. An old man tells the woman who delivers his food-bank rations how he's started eating well at last because there's "plenty to eat, right here in this city, growing wild by the roadside.... Now I does eat fresh mulberries in the summer. I does dig up chicory root to take the bitterness from my coffee. I even make rowanberry jam.... But I still think the slingshot [to kill rabbits] was a master stroke, though. Nobody ain't expect a ol' black man to be hunting with a slingshot down in the ravine!" (pp. 198–99);
  • "And the Lillies–Them a-Blow": references to the Yonge Street strip, including Yonge and Gerrard; the World's Biggest Bookstore (on Edward St.); Ryerson Polytechnic; Dundas subway station; and Carlton Street; and
  • "Ganger (Ball Lightning)," reprinted in the anthologies Best American Erotica 2002 (Touchstone, 2002), ed. by Susie Bright, and Re: Skin (MIT Press, 2007), ed. by Mary Flanagan & Austin Booth: The sole clue that the story is set in Toronto is the reference to the Ex (the Canadian National Exhibition, held from late August to the Labour Day weekend in early September).

*** "Delicious Monster," Queer Fear II: Gay Horror Fiction (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002), ed. by Michael Rowe. Horror story set in downtown Toronto. There are references to Spadina Avenue and the Toronto Zoo.

*** "Blushing," Gothic Toronto: Writing the City Macabre (Diaspora Dialogues and Luminato, 2009). Short story about a bride who's forbidden by her spouse to go into a locked room in their new home, across from Bellevue Park. Other Toronto settings used are the warehouses and markets on Spadina Avenue.

*** "Ours Is the Prettiest," Welcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands (Random House, 2011), ed. by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner. Urban fantasy novelette set in the shared universe of "Bordertown," a place where, as the just-linked-to article says, "the elves of folklore and legend met modern kids in a modern city." Hopkinson's tale is set on the day of "Jou'vert: the daylong free-for-all we were pleased to call a 'parade' [that] ushered in the week of bacchanalia that was Bordertown's more or less annual Jamboree" (p. 357). This event bears a strong resemblance to Mardi Gras and other customs of New Orleans. The narrator is a woman who's a multiple immigrant: from Jamaica to Toronto, and then from Toronto to Bordertown, many years ago. On this day in Bordertown, she can sense something unusual:

"From since I was a small girl back home—back home home, that is, not my second home of Toronto, Canada—I used to know when it was going to rain, even before the rainflies came out to fill the sky, to flit and dance in the air until the rain came down and washed the wings from their bodies so they could transform into adults. In Bordertown, I could sense magic weather as well as the regular kind, and right now, there was big magic heading our way" (p. 366).
    She later says,
"I swear I didn't leave Toronto. It left me....

"The Change happened slowly.... At some point it crossed my mind that the flashily overlit Honest Ed's Discount Emporium [at Bloor and Bathurst] seemed to have seamlessly metamorphosed into a store called Snappin' Wizards Surplus and Salvage—More Bang for the Buck, More Spell for the Silver. Sure, the words on the sign had changed, but the place still sparkled with enough lights festooning its outside to illuminate half the city, and was still piled to the ceiling with everything from army parachutes to sex toys. And sure the Swiss Chalet chicken place across the street had been replaced by a club named Danceland, but that was Toronto for you; they were always bulldozing the old to replace it with something else....

"And as to the presence in the city of fine-boned people with fancy hair, high style, and higher attitude? Toronto'd always had its share of those. By the time I'd had to accept that I was no longer in Toronto and those weren't just tall, skinny white people with dye jobs and contact lenses, it didn't seem so remarkable. People changed and grew apart. As you aged, your body altered and became a stranger to you, and one day you woke up and realized you were in a different country. It was just life. I hadn't needed to travel to the Border; it'd come to me" (pp. 380–81).

*** "Old Habits," Eclipse Four: New Science Fiction and Fantasy (Night Shade Books, 2011), ed. by Jonathan Strahan; reprinted in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the the Year: Volume Six (Night Shade Books, 2012), ed. by Jonathan Strahan. Ghost story that's set in Toronto (one character is nostalgic for the city's humid summers); the mall in which the characters are trapped appears to be the Eaton Centre (for example, the Sears store opens south into the mall) at Yonge and Dundas.

*** The Chaos (Simon & Schuster, 2012). YA novel that is, like Brown Girl in the Ring (1998), a mixture of fantasy and Caribbean folklore. Partly due to her mixed heritage (white, black, Jamaican and American), 16-year-old Sojourner ("Scotch") Smith doesn't feel she belongs with the Caribbeans, whites, or blacks in modern-day Toronto, to which her family has moved from Guelph. But then surreal things start to happen to her (a tarry substance grows over her skin; she sees flying creatures that no-one else can) and to her brother (he's swallowed up by a bubble of light in a nightclub on Lake Shore Blvd.), and the Chaos starts to spread: the people of Toronto morph into strange beings, an earthquake and a partial power outage hits, an active volcano bursts out of Lake Ontario, and wars break out around the world. But the behaviour of Torontonians doesn't change in this crisis. The morning after the Chaos hits, Scotch and a new friend, Punum, are sitting in a Tim Hortons, talking.

"'Seriously, though,' I said, 'what do you think's going on?'

"A lady at a nearby table piped up. 'It's terrorists. You aren't safe anywhere nowadays.'

"A man reading a newspaper snapped it extra hard to stop the top half of it from flopping over. He kept his face hidden behind the paper, but I knew that gesture. I leaned over and whispered to Punum, 'That was Torontonian for, "Lady, you are so full of shit. Shut up and go away."'" (p. 109).
    Toronto-specific mentions include the Raptors basketball team; Bathurst St.; "the nuthouse down on Queen Street" (p. 30; it's the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 999/1001 Queen W.); the Gay-Straight Alliance in Scotch's school (GSAs are explicitly encouraged by the real-world Toronto District School Board); the Toronto Islands; Eglinton St. W., where Scotch and her family live; Harbord Street, which "seemed to have turned into a loop. It used to be a straight line, I swear" (p. 116); Garrison Creek, which resurfaces after being paved over; and the Convention Centre, which is used to shelter refugees. (Aside: If there's a subgenre of "Toronto is hit with a series of surreal events," this novel fits into it, along with Darren O'Donnell's Your Secrets Sleep With Me [2004].) Toronto doesn't have the worst of the Chaos, by any means, even when the Russian witch Baba Yaga touches down on University Avenue to recapture her flying house. But the Chaos vanishes after a few days, with no explanation. I didn't get the impression that Scotch had the supernatural power to fix things (despite her ability to call back the Baba Yaga), as Ti-Jeanne, the heroine of Brown Girl in the Ring, did. (And nothing happens to the CN Tower, either.) Many people are dead, and others traumatized, but Toronto survives.

*** Sister Mine (Grand Central Publishing, 2013). An urban fantasy set in Toronto (real and metaphysical aspects) that's told mostly from the viewpoint of a woman named Makeda, who was born a conjoined twin to a human mother and a semi-divine father (a version of the Green Man). Makeda and her sister, Abby, were separated surgically, but both have disabilities, Makeda's including emotional ones (such as insecurity). It is when the body of their Alzheimer-afflicted father dies that things begin to go seriously askew in not just the sisters' lives but the "reality" of Toronto. Some new urban legends are born: "a giant, ravening kudzu vine stomping around Toronto" (p. 119) and a flying carpet made by Makeda out of yarn and aluminum. Neither of these does much harm to the city, it must be said. The most important Toronto locations are the Leslie Street Spit and an old warehouse on the Esplanade converted into low-rent housing. Other Toronto references include Kensington Market (p. 78) and a ravine: the Lower Don Trail (p. 235). Sister Mine is not Hopkinson's most successful novel; the author lost control of the story, as this review makes clear.

Note: In an interview posted on the Strange Horizons site on 1 September 2000, Nalo said: "I'm predominantly of African ancestry, with chunks of Scottish, Jewish, English, Arawak, and continental Indian in the mix. I was born in Jamaica, lived in Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana and the U.S., then moved to Canada in 1977 when I was sixteen.... So really I was raised mostly in the Caribbean; I was practically an adult when I came to Canada. I guess I have a sense of many places, not of one. It's given me a sense that all places are unique, so when I write, I try to convey a strong sense of the location in which my story is set."

Nalo Hopkinson's work (except for Sister Mine) is recommended reading. Her novelette "Ours Is the Prettiest" (2011) is especially accomplished. Rich and wonderful.

Howell, Robert

*** Third Times the Charm (Thistledown Press, 2007). Starting with the title—it should read Third Time's the Charm (confirmed when the spell is recited on p. 97: "Third time's the charm that comes to you, three minds in one the spell to glue")—this book goes on a downward slide as far as literary quality.
    In this YA fantasy book (reading level: ages 9–12), three cousins are brought to their aunt's mansion in the Niagara Peninsula and learn of their magical powers. Only three scenes take place in Toronto.
    Not recommended reading.

Huff, Tanya

Short stories:

*** "Shing Li-ung," Dragon Fantastic (DAW, 1992), ed. by Rosalind M. Greenberg and Martin H. Greenberg; reprinted in Huff's story collection What Ho, Magic! (Meisha Merlin, 1999) and in Huff's 2011 e-book collection February Thaw and Other Tales of Contemporary Fantasy. Fantasy story in which a young Chinese-Canadian woman receives, from her dying grandmother, a pin of a dragon named Shing Li-ung ("Shining Heart"), "for protection," her grandmother says. (And her grandmother isn't kidding, either.) The woman and her family live in Don Mills. Important scenes take place in Chinatown; the University of Toronto, St. George campus (the Victoria College area in particular); and Wellesley Hospital (formerly on Wellesley; now gone). From the story introduction that Huff wrote for the What Ho, Magic! collection: "When I wrote 'Shing Li-ung,' I was living in the heart of Toronto's Chinatown and there was an incident just outside the Jade Garden Restaurant. No one saw the dragon" (p. 82).

*** "Underground," Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison; reprinted in What Ho, Magic! (Meisha Merlin, 1999). Horror story that mostly takes place in the subway tunnels around St. George station. (Aboveground mentions include Scarborough and Davisville and Yonge.) A new TTC worker is told about the grisly death of two construction workers during the first expansion of the original (Union to Eglinton) line: west of Union to St. George station. (The University line opened in 1963.) A tale based, according to the introduction by the author, "on a little-known but real disaster that occurred during the construction of the Toronto subway system" (p. 23, Northern Frights).

*** "This Town Ain't Big Enough," Vampire Detectives (DAW, 1995), ed. by Martin H. Greenberg; reprinted in (a) Bloody York: Tales of Mayhem, Murder and Mystery in Toronto (Simon & Pierre, 1996), ed. by David Skene-Melvin, (b) Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin, (c) Huff's story collection What Ho, Magic! (Meisha Merlin, 1999), and (d) Huff's The Blood Books series, Volume Three (DAW, 2006). The story is a direct sequel to Blood Pact. Vampire detective Vicki ("Victory") Nelson finds another vampire in her territory (that is, the entire city of Toronto) who's implicated in a string of murders. Downtown streets mentioned are Carlton, Jarvis, John, King, Peter, Queen West and Richmond.

*** "Symbols Are a Percussion Instrument," Tarot Fantastic (DAW, 1997); reprinted in What Ho, Magic! (Meisha Merlin, 1999). Comic fantasy story that begins at a country fair "only a two-hour drive from Toronto" (p. 221, What Ho, Magic!), where a young couple, Cynthia and David, have their destinies foretold in a pack of Tarot cards—but only partially, because Cynthia's is interrupted by a cellphone call, and they have to get back home to Toronto. Their textile business is on King St. West near Spadina; they live in a condo near the Humber River. Then the symbols on the Tarots drawn for Cynthia begin coming true, and she becomes more and more uneasy. Her seventh card is the Ten of Swords, and David "sees" it when they're standing on Spadina Avenue.

"David glanced around and suddenly smiled. 'I've got it. This is an easy one.' Grabbing, Cynthia's shoulders, he turned her toward the waterfront. 'What does the CN Tower symbolize to you?'

"She squinted at the familiar landmark and shrugged. 'Radio towers?'

"'No, that's what it is. Try again.'

"'Revolving restaurants?'

"'Cynthia!'

"'I don't know!' Her voice had picked up a slightly desperate tone. 'What?'

"'It's the world's tallest freestanding phallic symbol'" (p. 237, What Ho, Magic!).
    Cynthia's eighth card takes them to St. Michael's Cathedral (Church and Shuter), and her ninth and 10th cards to Yonge Street, nearby.

*** "The Cards Also Say," What Ho, Magic! (Meisha Merlin, 1999). A gypsy sees in two separate Tarot card readings that Vicki Nelson is in danger from an insane stalker, and tells Vicki so because the same stalker is also after the gypsy's family. The story takes place between the events of Blood Pact and Blood Debt. Toronto references include the streets Bathurst, Bloor, Euclid and Queen West (and the Queen Street Mental Health Centre); the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (now CAMH) on College; and St. Paul's Anglican Church on Bloor Street East (just west of Jarvis).

*** "The Vengeful Spirit of Lake Nepeakea," What Ho, Magic! (Meisha Merlin, 1999). A Vicki Nelson story that begins in Toronto as Vicki and Mike Celluci pack to go camping near a deep lake haunted by a water spirit; Vicki's on a case to investigate the disappearance of a surveyor, and takes Mike along, but he's none too thrilled at the prospect of enjoying the great outdoors: "Vicki, my idea of the great outdoors is going to the SkyDome for a Jays game" (p. 338). All of the story except for the opening scene takes place outside Toronto.

*** "Another Fine Nest," The Bakka Anthology (Salman Nensi, 2002) and Huff's The Blood Books series, Volume Three (DAW, 2006). Vampire P.I. Vicki (short for "Victory") Nelson (ho ho ho, say all ye British-naval-history aficionados) is hired to stop an infestation of giant, intelligent, blood-sucking bugs in the Toronto subway system.

*** "Choice of Ending," Maiden, Matron, Crone (DAW, 2005). "Mrs. Ruth," an old, cranky, homeless person in downtown Toronto, is also the eldest avatar of the Triple Goddess, resisting "dying" and the passing of her power to another. "The Goddess was a part of what kept this world balanced between the light and the dark" (p. 33). Mrs. Ruth had "known for months now that her time was ending. It was, after all, what she did. What she was. She knew things. She knew the name of every pigeon who'd lost its home when the university [of Toronto] tore down Varsity Stadium. She knew the hidden places and the small lives that lived in them. She knew the pattern of the larger lives that filled the city with joy and laughter and fear and pain. She knew that something was going to happen only she could prevent and she bloody well wasn't going anywhere until it did and she had" (p. 26). The character of Mrs. Ruth first appeared in Huff's novel Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light, which see.

*** "Critical Analysis," Slipstreams (DAW, 2006), ed. by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers; and Volume Three of Huff's The Blood Books series (DAW, 2006). Mike Celluci enlists Vicki's "special abilities" to help protect an author from mysterious enemies.

*** "So This Is Christmas," Blood Bank (DAW, 2006), Volume Three of Huff's The Blood Books series. Celluci asks Vicki to spend Christmas with his family; she hates the idea.

*** "Quid Pro Quo," Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead (Edge, 2010), ed. by Nancy Kilpatrick. A Vicki Nelson story. Celluci is kidnapped by a guy named Shea, who wants Vicki to make him immortal. Celluci is found in a warehouse on Riverside Drive, whose proximity to a ravine plays an important part in the plot. Near the end, a Toronto police officer tells Vicki of Shea's fate:

"They lost Shea's trail for a while but they found his body later down in the ravine. Bastard slipped, cracked his head on a rock and between that and the blood loss, well it was minus 27 when they found him. And there wasn't much left. A pack of feral dogs or maybe coyotes had torn the body apart...." (p. 272).

*** "No Matter Where You Go," A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters (DAW, 2010). A Vicki Nelson story. Mike Celluci and Vicki investigate a kind of vandalism in Mount Pleasant Cemetery that indicates that someone's trying to raise a demon.

"By day, Mount Pleasant Cemetery was a green oasis in the center of Toronto, the dead sharing their real estate with a steady stream of people looking for a respite from the press of the city. At night, when shadows pooled in the hollows and under the trees and clustered around the hundreds of headstones, the dead seemed less willing to share" (p. 180).
    Some of the story takes place in a demon dimension:
"The portal had opened on a broad street that looked a bit like University Avenue by way of a hell dimension, the paving cracked and buckled. The closest stone buildings were ruins.... (p. 189).
    With the aid of sorcerer Tony Foster in Vancouver (via cellphone) and a sacrificial mouse bought at "the Super Wal-Mart at Eglinton and Warden" (p. 197), Celluci saves the day... er, night.

*** "Songs Sung Red," The Wild Side (Baen, 2011), ed. by Mark L. Van Name. A Vicki Nelson story. Mike Celluci investigates a murderous rampage at a shipping company that involves Vicki. Toronto references include Queen Street, Queens Quay West, Niagara Street and Bathurst Street (and its streetcar), and the city is named. In an afterword to "Songs Sung Red" (p. 25), Huff wrote that this story was an idea she'd had for a season two episode of her Vicki Nelson TV show Blood Ties (2007), but the show never got a second season.

Novels:

*** Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light (DAW, 1989). Contemporary fantasy novel of a magical war being fought in the streets of Toronto, with the help of a few good Torontonians and a cat. Among the good guys are Roland, a street busker, and Rebecca, who's an intellectually disabled woman with unusual abilities, as Roland finds on the way to see Mrs. Ruth, a bag lady who lives under the lilacs at Trinity United Church, Bloor/Spadina area:

"The walk to Bloor Street and [to] Mrs. Ruth was an eye-opener for Roland.... Rebecca led him through quiet residential neighbourhoods that he'd never expected existed so close to the noisy heart of the city. And Rebecca spoke to creatures he'd never suspected existed—period....

"'Where did all these things come from?' he wondered, staring at the creatures who were not moths fluttering around a streetlight.

"'The littles? They've always been here.'

"'Oh, yeah? Then why haven't I ever seen them?'

"Rebecca considered it for a moment. 'Have you ever looked?' she asked.

"'Looked?' He waved a hand at the shadows. 'Why would I look for things I don't believe in?'

"'Then that's why you never saw them'" (pp. 25–26).
    Another place Rebecca takes Roland is to University College, U of T, to talk to the ghost of stonemason Ivan Reznikoff. (University College fronts on King's College Circle, which is to be a crucial location in the magical war.) A little later, a Toronto Police car driving on Rosedale Valley Road hits and kills a unicorn; there's a riot during a Jays game at Exhibition Stadium. And lots more weird stuff. Yep, Toronto's a happenin' place.

In a 1990 interview with Huff for Sol Rising, Michael Skeet wrote,
"Where the emotions are broad, so are the concepts. Evil, for instance. Huff's last novel, Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light, is a fantasy set in contemporary Toronto, but its discussion of evil is timeless. Given this, why the contemporary setting? 'I don't really decide to do anything,' she says when asked if she had set out from the start to write a contemporary fantasy. 'I just think of a story and I tell it. [Gate] is based on the perception that simple people are god's children. I asked myself: what if this were true?

"'Part of it was that with this novel I had some things I wanted to say about the contemporary world—about the treatment of the retarded, about the nature of evil.' The contemporary nature of the story allowed her to place evil in a context to which readers could more easily relate: 'It's easier for someone to understand landlords who rent out sleazy apartments with no plumbing—especially for readers in Toronto'" (from p. 11 if the issue is printed from the website).

*** Blood Price (DAW, 1991), Vol. 1 in the Blood series. Former cop and now private investigator Vicki Nelson, aided by Toronto cop Mike Celluci, tries to stop the killing spree of a newly changed vampire who cannot control his feeding. He hunts in the subway system.

*** Blood Trail (DAW, 1992), Vol. 2. Most of the novel takes place in rural Ontario, but it starts in Toronto. "Vicki hated August. It was the month in which Toronto proved what a world-class city it had become; when the heat and humidity hung on to the car exhaust and the air in the concrete and glass canyon at Yonge and Bloor took on a yellowish-brown hue that left a bitter taste in the back of the throat; when every loose screw in the city decided to take a walk on the wild side and tempers were baked short" (p. 278 in the Blood Price/Blood Trail omnibus).

*** Blood Lines (DAW, 1993), Vol. 3. A sealed sarcophagus newly arrived in the Egyptology Department of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) contains an intact mummy and a whole lot of evil that wasn't supposed to be let out. Oops.... as corpses start piling up, it's time for Vicki Nelson and Mike Celluci to do their thing. But first they have to race up the stairs of the CN Tower, which, as Vicki points out, is not called "the world's tallest free-standing phallic symbol for nothing.... A number of charitable organizations used the one thousand, seven hundred and ninety steps of the CN Tower as a means of raising money, climbers collecting pledges per step from friends and business associates" (p. 22). Vampire Henry Fitzroy, who turned up in Blood Price and Blood Trail, recurs in this novel. Early on, he looks for a chance to feed and finds it in three punks hanging about Maple Leaf Gardens whom he entices down the street into Allan Gardens. "There were lights scattered throughout the small park, but there were also deep pockets of shadow that would provide enough darkness for his needs" (p. 28). Although he doesn't kill the youths, he gives "them a reason to fear the night, a reminder that the dark hid other, more powerful hunters and that they, too, could be prey.... [He] left the quiet oasis of the park, smiling at the newsreel quality of the voice in his head—And thanks to the vampire vigilante, the streets are safe to walk again" (p. 31). Many scenes take place in the ROM environs, including the Park Plaza Hotel, on a subway train heading south from Museum station and in various Ontario government buildings. In a memorable sequence, Vicki is locked up in the Metro West Detention Centre. The novel's climax takes place back at the CN Tower, which as Toronto's "highest mountain" fits right in with the villain's plans. Alas, to get to the top, Vicki, Celluci and Fitzroy have to take the stairs, Vicki in a ferocious mood. "'I am not,' she snarled as they arrived at the entrance to the stairwell, 'going to have this place turned into the world's tallest freestanding Egyptian fucking temple'" (p. 252).

*** [Note: Blood Pact (DAW, 1993), Vol. 4 of the Blood series, is not set in Toronto.]

*** Blood Debt (DAW, 1997), the fifth anf final volume of the Blood series, takes place two years after Blood Trail. It is set in Toronto for part of Chapter 2 only, as Vicki is asked by Henry Fitzroy to come west to help with a problem and she persuades Celluci to come too.

*** [Another note: Blood Price and Blood Trail were reissued in one volume as The Blood Books, Volume One, by DAW in 2006; also in the same year from DAW came Blood Lines and Blood Pact in The Blood Books, Volume Two. Volume Three, also from DAW in 2006, comprised Blood Debt and a wrap-up story collection entitled Blood Bank ["This Town Ain't Big Enough"; "What Manner of Man"; "The Cards Also Say"; "The Vengeful Spirit of Lake Nepeakea"; "Someone to Share the Night"; "Another Fine Nest"; "Scleratur"; "Critical Analysis"; and "So This Is Christmas."]

*** The Smoke fantasy series (2004, 2005 and 2006), a spinoff from the Blood series, is set in British Columbia.

*** The Second Summoning (DAW, 2001). Contemporary fantasy novel, great chunks of which is set in Toronto; second in The Keeper's Chronicles series after Summon the Keeper and before Long Hot Summoning (neither of which has Toronto scenes).

*** The Enchantment Emporium (DAW, 2009) begins in southern Ontario but takes place mostly in Calgary. A few scenes are set in Toronto, where the chief character, Allie Gale, worked as a research assistant at the Royal Ontario Museum before losing her job. Once she arrives in Calgary to take up her inheritance, the magic shop of the title that was left to her by her grandmother, there are a few Toronto jokes:

"The workday was ending and the sidewalks were fairly crowded, but not one head wore a cowboy hat. What point was there in going west if everybody dressed like they did in Toronto?

"'Calgary Tower,' [the cab driver] grunted, turning east on 9th.

"As freestanding phallic symbols went, it was smaller that the one Allie was used to, but maybe Calgary felt it had less to prove" (pp. 34–35).

Note: The sequel to The Enchantment Emporium, The Wild Ways (DAW, 2011), is set in Alberta and Nova Scotia; there are no Toronto scenes. However, there are a couple of Toronto references, including this one from the personal assistant to the owner of an oil company, now working in Nova Scotia, who has to endure a long, boring "friendly chat" with a painting contractor: "[S]ome days he really missed Toronto's surly, no-nonsense contractors" (p. 83). [All the Toronto contractors I've worked with have been no-nonsense and very focused, yes, but never surly.] Another reference: "There was a chance the Leafs would win the Stanley Cup, too, although it was an appallingly small chance" (p. 102).

With the exception of The Keeper's Chronicles series, I'd put all Huff's work listed above into the "recommended reading" category.

Humphrey, Stephen

*** "Out of Area," In the Dark: Stories from the Supernatural (Tightrope Books, 2006), ed. by Myna Wallin and Halli Villegas. A man whose apartment overlooks the Don Valley Parkway is haunted by a woman he sees jump off the Bloor (Prince Edward) Viaduct (the suicide barrier called "The Veil" is in mid-construction).

"He saw her on the parapet down there, hair blowing in the wind, arms raised like a dancer. Yes, at one time she took classes, wanted to be a dancer. Raised one toe forward. Her form looked good; this made her happy. Then she suddenly looked down, and in that instant lost her footing, shocked by the view. She fell. Suddenly she didn't want to fall. That was her last thought" (p. 76).

Kachmarsky, Eugene

*** Let Slip the Dogs of Love: Suburban Legends of the Living and the Dead (Eloquent Books, 2009). Mainstream collection of short stories "flavored with magical realism," as the back cover says. The stories are set in a near-future alternate-Toronto where proper names such as Queen Street West, Bay Street, Centennial Park in Etobicoke, Pearson Airport, Cherry Beach and the Gardiner Expressway seem to reassure the reader with their familiarity, yet the professional hockey team is the Loyalists, not the Maple Leafs; Canada is run by the "Social Control Party"; and the currency is the "amero."
    The full subtitle of the book is, per the title page, "(a.k.a. The EA Files: Suburban Legends of the Living and the Dead)." The author explains in his introduction:

"The title, The EA Files (the 'A' in 'EA' is silent, as in 'beat'), is an interesting story that'll fill up some page space while I think about what else to say. Eatonville is a neighborhood on the western Toronto suburb of Etobicoke (the 'k' is silent as well, pronounced 'Etobi Co.'), the neighborhood I grew up in for twenty years, and where I was living at the time most of these stories were written. The 'EA' is the Toronto Public Library designation for the Eatonville Branch, where I spent countless hours researching work on a novel, and learning things like: Etobicoke Creek, the thin ribbon of car exhaust and jet fuel sludge that winds from north of the airport all the way to Lake Ontario, was a raging river running through a verdant gorge and was teeming with salmon in the late 1800's.

"Times change" (pp. ii–iii).

Kahar, Andres

*** "The Protector," The Danforth Review 12 (Sept. 2004). Fantasy about a mysterious man, Dashiell Samuel. His first appearance is out of thin air into a cubicle at the "DeMens Market Research call centre" in midtown Toronto. There's a "recession-ravaged job market." One of his fellow workers, Guy, follows him home. In "a dark stretch parallel to Mount Pleasant Cemetery," Dash is challenged by two punks.

"Guy hung back in the shadows, observing in scared silence. Guy had heard about hardened inner-city criminal types like the menacing duo, and he made sure to remain unseen.

"But, in actual fact, Dash's challengers weren't very hardened, they weren't very criminal, and they didn't hail from any inner city—especially since, to the chagrin of wannabe Canadian gangstas, the legendarily nice metropolis of Toronto didn't have an inner city per se" (p. 6 of the story).
    After more hassling, though, Dash makes them vanish with a futuristic weapon that's part of his ever-present briefcase. The next day, he tells Guy that there's an alien invasion going on and that his mission is to "protect humanity against alien invasion and temporal pettifoggery" (p. 11). He's never seen again.

Kates, Lorne

*** "Over Lunar White," Mythspring: From the Lyrics & Legends of Canada (Red Deer Press, 2006), ed. by Julie E. Czerneda and Genevieve Kierans. A ghost story in which a young man is taken on a tour of Toronto's subway system, including "lost stations" such as Bay Lower and Lower Queen.

Kaufman, Andrew

*** All My Friends Are Superheroes (Coach House Books, 2003). Fantasy about a hapless Toronto man who's a mere human but whose girlfriend ("The Perfectionist") and acquaintances have superpowers. Take Elongating Woman. She wanted to reach back in time and stop something from happening, so she "stretched her arms down Queen Street, past people and streetcars. She stretched her arms onto the Gardiner Expressway. She stretched her arms faster than highway traffic. She stretched and stretched and stretched but she was only able to put her arms around the city. She couldn't reach back in time and she's never forgiven herself" (p. 65).

*** The Waterproof Bible (Random House Canada, 2010). Fantasy novel (some mainstream terms to describe it: "allegorical" and "surreal"). From the jacket copy: "Rebecca Reynolds is a young woman with a most unusual and inconvenient problem: no matter how hard she tries, she can't stop her emotions from escaping her body and entering the world around her. Luckily she's developed a nifty way to trap and store her powerful emotions in personal objects—but how many shoeboxes can a girl fill before she feels crushed by her past? Three events force Rebecca to change her ways: the unannounced departure of her husband, Stewart; the sudden death of Lisa, her musician sister; and, while on her way to Lisa's funeral, a near-crash with what appears to be a giant frogwoman recklessly speeding in a Honda Civic. Meanwhile, Lisa's inconsolable husband skips the funeral and flies to Winnipeg where he begins a bizarre journey that strips him of everything before he can begin to see a way through his grief ... all with the help of a woman who calls herself God."
    The novel opens with the limo taking Lisa and her brother-in-law to a funeral stalling in the intersection of Queen and Broadview. Other Toronto references include Mount Sinai Hospital, where Rebecca works in a laboratory, and the corner of Dundas and Ossington, which is near where Rebecca lives. Some of the novel takes place in Toronto, but most of it takes place elsewhere in Canada, in particular Manitoba.

For an article about The Waterproof Bible in the Toronto Globe and Mail by Russell Smith entitled "The Local in International Fiction," posted on March 11, 2010, Kaufman told Smith that "he wants to set his fictions in real Canadian places, but that knowledge of those places is not necessary for reading them. Basically he is creating a mythical Canada that is eerily co-existent with or superimposed on the real one. Something all fiction does, really."

Kay, Guy Gavriel

*** The Summer Tree (McClelland & Stewart, 1984), Book One of The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, opens with a very special group of five people (did they only realize it) among hundreds attending a Celtic conference at Convocation Hall, U of T. "The Five" must be persuaded to be magically transported to the world of Fionavar, a land that's explained thus:

"There are many worlds caught in the loops and whorls of time. Seldom do they intersect, and so for the most part they are unknown to each other. Only in Fionavar, the prime creation, which all the others imperfectly reflect, is the lore gathered and preserved that tells of how to bridge the worlds—and even there the years have not dealt kindly with ancient wisdom" (p. 24, omnibus edition of The Fionavar Tapestry, HarperCollins, 1995).
    By the beginning of Chapter 4, they've left Toronto, and are still in Fionavar at the end of The Summer Tree.

*** The Wandering Fire (Collins, 1986) opens in Toronto in November. Four members of The Five (Kevin, Paul, Kim and Dave) meet in the restaurant at the front of City Hall in Nathan Phillips Square. Kim, whose power managed to bring The Five back from Fionavar in May, has been having dreams that indicate a second visit to Fionavar is needed, but the fifth member, Jennifer, has to be persuaded later by Paul during a visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Prosaically enough, all of them take a plane to England and eventually go to Fionavar via Stonehenge. The Toronto section is over by the end of Chapter 1. The third book in the Tapestry, The Darkest Road (Collins, 1986), takes place wholly in Fionavar. (Aside: The Dave and Kim characters turn up in Kay's 2007 novel Ysabel, set a generation later in France; no Toronto scenes.)

Kelly, Bernard

*** "Previous Selves," The Danforth Review 13 (March 2005). Fantasy in which a Toronto man travels backwards in time on numerous occasions to meet the same woman. There are references to the subway and streetcars, St. Clair and Bregman's.

Kelly, Michael

*** "Different Skins," Campus Chills (Stark Publishing, 2009). Horror story that takes place at the University of Toronto, St. George campus. It begins with a ghost story told about Taddle Creek and Philosopher's Walk by students while they're downing a a few brews in the Hart House Pub. One of the characters, Gary, thinks to himself that "Philosopher's Walk was the large green space that meandered over much of the University's campus. It was mostly lawn and trees and scenic footpaths. If Gary had no use for ghosts, he had even less use for parks and songbirds. He didn't come to the city to get back to nature" (p. 118). Another character says, "It's a little-known fact ... that the footpaths of Philosopher's Walk follow what was once a small river called Taddle Creek. There are traces of it still, along [Philosopher's Walk]. The small ravine bordering the path is what's left of the creek" (p. 118).

Kilpatrick, Nancy

*** As One Dead (White Wolf Publishing, 1996), co-written with Don Bassingthwaite.

*** "Inspiriter," Northern Frights 5 (Mosaic Press, 1999), ed. by Don Hutchison. A horror story set in rural Ontario—but the protagonist got there by fleeing Toronto, a city portrayed as at once frantic and lifeless, a city with "twisted values that substituted racing into the future for life in the present, annihilating process en route," a city whose "passionless glass and chrome" crushes creativity. Ironically, by the end of the story the protagonist has been rendered just as passionless as the city he'd escaped.

*** "Vermiculture," Northern Horror (Quarry Press, 2000), ed. by Edo van Belkom. From p. 140: "[T]he entire city of Toronto had gone crazy for the latest fad"—composting.

*** Bloodlover (Baskerville Books, 2000). Volume IV in Kilpatrick's Power of the Blood erotic vampire series. Chapters 24, 25 and part of 26 take place in Toronto; the rest of the novel is set outside Canada. In Chapter 24, the lead characters, vampires Jeanette and Julien, buy a Victorian mansion in Rosedale; behind the house "sloped a ravine leading to the heart of the city, and to the hearts of their victims" (p. 217). Other Toronto references include George Brown College, Yorkville, Ward's Island and Yonge Street.

King, Stephen Graham

*** "Pas de deux," North of Infinity II (Mosaic Press, 2006), ed. by Mark Leslie. SF story set in a Toronto dominated by crime. A man heading to Central Research Hospital (formerly four separate hospitals on University Ave.) for cancer treatment observes that "there wasn't much traffic or activity at this time of the morning, something that had changed a lot in the years since I was a kid. The curfew had changed much of that.... Now there were almost no cars along Queen Street, the shops and street corners all ghostly quiet. What little traffic there was moved much faster now that the streetcars had all been taken out of service when they became too expensive to maintain.... There were only buses on the streets now, their windows heavily shielded against stray bullets" (p. 23).
    The U.S. Consulate on University Ave. had been destroyed by a bomb in 2014, and most people "felt that was when things started going bad for Toronto" (p. 24).

King, Thomas

*** "A Short History of Indians in Canada," Toronto Life 31.11 (August 1997); reprinted in A Short History of Indians in Canada: Stories (HarperCollins, 2005). Magic realism story. Bob, an out-of-town businessman staying at the King Edward Hotel, asks the doorman where to go for some excitement at 3 in the morning, and is told, "Bay Street." When he gets there, he "looks up just in time to see a flock of Indians fly into the side of the building" (p. 1, A Short History of Indians in Canada: Stories). They're migratory and from various North American tribes (Mohawk, Cree, Ojibway, Navajo, etc.). Some municipal workers who come to tidy up the bodies (some dead, some stunned) tell Bob, "Toronto's in the middle of the flyway. The lights attract them" (p. 3), and, "Don't worry. By the time the commuters show up, you'll never even know the Indians were here" (p. 4).

Kirkpatrick, David

*** "The Effect of Terminal Cancer on Potential Astronauts," Tesseracts (Press Porcépic, 1985), ed. by Judith Merril. SF. "Since the computer revolution, Earth is not such a bad place to live, I suppose, although it is a mad place. It is a hodgepodge of little tailor-made utopias, a great place for self-actualization" (p. 254). A Toronto man says, "I am the only human in the Dininghouse at the moment. My familoid and I call our community Toronto 29.... Just imagine, a whole biological family once inhabited this building as their entire home.... we are surrounded by claustrophobic ruins" (p. 248). The Toronto skyline has a McLuhan Tower, evidently not a ruin.

*** "The Eye of Hurricane Zeppo," Senary: The Journal of Fantastic Literature (Fallen Octopress, 1992). This is chapter 2 of a "free-form holographic novel" that the author was working on at the time of publication in Senary; "The Effect of Terminal Cancer on Potential Astronauts" is chapter 1. The bizarre plot is impossible to summarize, but it involves an entity visiting Toronto from Neptune. "Normally I do not take a plunge into a Warlock-invested aqua-cultural enclave housed in the east end of an early Mart-Nouveau Toronto mall ... but today I am making an exception" (p. 80). Other Toronto references include "the twisted towers of Ellis-Don Wonderland," "Torunder II gives way to Neath York" and "I'll watch the city go by until I'm taken to the tunnels of Scarburrow" (pp. 99 and 100).

Kuitenbrouwer, Kathryn

*** "Laikas I," Granta 116, Summer 2011; reprinted in Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (ChiZine Publications, 2012), ed. by Sandra Kasturi and Halli Villegas. Horror/dystopic story in which Toronto is increasingly overrun with feral canines.

"During the difficult economic years, things had gone from merely bad to an almost clichéd worse. Thousands of dogs had lost their owners and many people were appalled by the feral packs. Still, sympathetic media had reported dogs with routes—clever dogs who maximized their panhandling, who had figured out where to find kind humans, places to crash on cold nights. These reports had resulted in a sort of rebranding of the animals, making the dogs seem intelligent in ways humans could relate to" (p. 187, Imaginarium 2012).
   And then the coyotes arrived...
   Toronto mentions include the Junction, High Park subway (and the TTC by name; many scenes are set in the subway), Dovercourt, Annette, the Humber River, and Scarborough.

Lalumière, Claude

*** "The Sea, at Bari," On Spec Vol. 20. No. 1 (#72), Spring 2008; reprinted in the author's story collection Objects of Worship (ChiZine Publications, 2009). Horror story that takes place mostly in Italy (Rome and Bari), to which the protagonist travels on periodic trips from Toronto. Aside from a reference to City Hall, the only other clue to where the main character lives is the line, "Yet he had travelled from Toronto to Rome to Bari in search of this phantasm" (p. 68, On Spec).

Lapeña, Shari

*** Things Go Flying (Brindle & Glass, 2008). Comic literary novel with supernatural aspects. When the long-dead mother of Harold Walker comes back to haunt the family, Harold discovers he has inherited the dearly undeparted's gift of communicating with the dead. (When he was younger, his mother summoned ghosts during séances.) Harold lives in Riverdale near Chester subway station with his wife Audrey and their teenaged sons Dylan and John, and works for an unnamed Ontario government ministry near the Queen's Park subway station. (The Frost Building is the most likely candidate for where he works. And there's a Staples store just down University; John visits a Staples near his office.) He'd grown up in Toronto, too. With his parents, he'd

"lived in one of those tall, narrow, nineteenth-century Victorian houses in Cabbagetown. Harold could actually walk from where he now lived to Riverdale Park, cross over the pedestrian bridge that spanned the Don Valley Parkway, walk up the steep hill and through Riverdale Farm and come out at the park at the other end—the very same one he'd played in as a child. From there, it was just a couple of short blocks to the house he'd grown up in" (p. 39).
    Harold is a devoted walker. One night after work, he
"got off the subway one stop early, at Broadview instead of Chester.... It was a chilly evening, and he walked steadily south on Broadview, past the jumble of storefronts—pizza, antiques, chiropractic—past Loblaws, and along the ridge of the park with its swooping hill leading down to the running track. When he got to the statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, he cut across the grass and headed down the curved, paved lane that led to the pedestrian bridge. The maple leaves littering the ground were blemished with dark circular splotches, like coins—some kind of blight. He passed under the Discovery Walk plaque and walked up onto the bridge that spanned the Don Valley Parkway. For a minute he paused and looked north at the Bloor Street Viaduct, with its graceful black arches and its fretwork of steel cables, almost invisible from here, meant to keep the suicides from jumping. But they'd just moved north, to the Leaside Bridge. Harold thought about them, the jumpers—all those souls taking flight" (pp. 125–26).
    Among other Toronto references are the Toronto Necropolis opposite Riverdale Park, Pearson airport, Toronto East General Hospital, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, the Eaton Centre, the Park Plaza and Four Seasons hotels (both on Bloor west of Avenue Road), the Bedford subway station and the University of Toronto, 51 Division police station (on Parliament north of Front), and Il Fornello restaurant on the Danforth.
    When the Walker family goes to a funeral, their older son driving, it's not a happy experience. "Family car rides could be stressful for Audrey. The forced proximity created its own tension, there was John's driving—and then there was everyone else on the road. This was Toronto, after all, on a Saturday afternoon, and half the drivers out there were pissed off about something. And the other half were late, like them" (pp. 6–7).
    John spends a lot of time meeting a girl at Rosedale subway station and thence going to Rosedale ravine for makeout sessions.
    Things Go Flying is extremely well-grounded in and evocative of Toronto. Although the novel starts out promisingly, the narrative drive peters out before the end and the writing is occasionally clunky. So I'm not able to give the book a resolute thumbs-up, but there's much to recommend.

Lawrence, W.H.C.

*** The Storm of '92: A Grandfather's Tale (Sheppard, 1889). In 1932, an old man tells his descendants about the 1892 "storm," in which a fishing dispute is the last straw in provoking the United States to declare war on Canada. British and Australian involvement ensures the result is a draw, but not before many cities in Canada and the US have been shelled to rubble. On the day war was declared, says the narrator, "I was ... living in Toronto, near what is now the corner of 25th Street and Second Avenue." A footnote explains, "Before the bombardment and fire, the city had no numbered streets or avenues, but in the re-building a more modern plan was adopted" (p. 22). Yonge St. has been renamed Sixth Ave., King St. is Fifth St., etc. By 1932, Canada's cities are "adorned with the stateliest triumphs of architecture and replete with all that wealth can create, or refinement approve" (p. 69).
    The Storm of '92 is deservedly out of print and is not recommended reading. It's boring, banal propaganda written to boost the British Empire. "The novella," write John Robert Colombo, Michael Richardson, John Bell and Alexandre L. Amprimoz on p. 16 of Canadian SF&F: A Bibliography of Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy (Hounslow Press, 1979), "is likely a response to Samuel Barton's The Battle of the Swash and the Capture of Canada (1888)."

Lee, Dennis

*** The Cat and the Wizard (Key Porter Books, 2001, 2007). In this children's book (ages 4 to 8), a lonely wizard ("the only real magic/Magician around") feels unappreciated until a cat invites him to dinner in Casa Loma. Illustrated (with charm and accuracy: Dupont Street and Casa Loma) by Gillian Johnson.
    Recommended reading.

Lowachee, Karin

*** "This Ink Feels Like Sorrow," Mythspring: From the Lyrics & Legends of Canada (Red Deer Press, 2006), ed. by Julie E. Czerneda and Genevieve Kierans. A Native Canadian born in Winnipeg but whose family comes from the Arctic migrates to downtown Toronto with his twin brother. "There is no such thing as being on the land in Toronto. Any kind of weather didn't feel open or ever free, but hemmed in by the skyscrapers and capped by a ceiling of pollution. Too dank, too humid, too dark or too bright. Some days you could do nothing but stay indoors and hallucinate" (p. 225). He's a tattooist who infuses his inks with emotion.

Lunn, Janet

*** Double Spell (Peter Martin Associates, 1968); published in the United States as Twin Spell (Dell, 1969). Children's fantasy. Soon after the novel's protagonists, who are 12-year-old twin girls, find an ensorcelled antique doll in a store on Yonge Street (probably north of the Rosedale subway station), the family moves to a fictional street called Sabiston Court to live in "a big old house near the lake." The beach, and a boardwalk, are just beyond the garden. (Now the area is called Scarborough.) At the time the house was built in the 19th century, Toronto was "five miles away" (p. 141). Other Toronto references include Queen Street, Avenue Road, Temperance Street, "College Street past the Central Library" (now the U of T Bookstore), the Royal Ontario Museum, and King & Yonge. In the girls' quest to find out more about the doll, they make extensive use of public transit, especially the streetcar system, and learn a lot about local history. The novel is set in a time in the 20th century when Lake Ontario was still safe to swim in: "In the distance, people were shouting and splashing in the lake" (p. 92).

MacCharles, Randy

*** "The Day the Music Died," Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound (Edge, 2012), ed. by Mark Leslie. SF story in which a band's guitarist abandons a small aircraft about to ditch in Lake Ontario and awakens in a Toronto hospital in the year 2083. He has been "extracted" to play music, as a cure for mental illness in 2051 had had an unexpected side-effect. The city is named several times, but we learn nothing revealing about it.

MacDonald, Ann-Marie

*** "The Hanged Man," Gothic Toronto: Writing the City Macabre (Diaspora Dialogues and Luminato, 2009). Short story about a patient having an out-of-body experience in a Toronto hospital (the Emergency entrance is on Queen Street; probably St. Michael's Hospital). Other Toronto mentions include the ROM and the Science Centre.

MacDonald, Jude

*** "It's a Keeper," Taddle Creek Vol. XII No. 1, Hallowe'en 2008. Pre-apocalyptic magic-realist story. "News on the store radio is that the polar ice cap is completely gone, though the news readers says what that means is still ultimately up in the air" (p. 17). The person listening to the radio is a clerk named Glenda, and she believes she knows what the melted ice cap means: that it's

"in the sea. The last bit of melt happened all of a sudden, and some countries are already gone. California is pretty much doomed....

"It is a warm October. Strange birds are stil around. Or at least their bodies. Strange birds are even worse than regular birds when it comes to high towers. Strange bird corpses cover the ground these days. Broken necks" (p. 17).
    Both on her way to the subway and once she gets off, Glenda notices that pet dogs are heading north, "Catching up with other free dogs" (p. 17). But these signs and portents do not upset her. She's unconcerned about the fate of the world and of her city, which, as is soon clear, is called Toronto.
"How much of the city will be underwater? Maybe the shoreline will go back to what it was before all the infill. The condos will end up in the lake and the idea people will try to repackage the area like it's a new Venice. Not that it'll help with tourism much, what the end of the world on its way and everything. Or, like everything else that's interesting, will the whole drama somehow bypass Toronto? Will the drama for the city be the lack of drama, and how we cope with that?" (p. 17).
    Then Glenda's unrecognized pregnancy ends, and the ejected fetus starts talking to her:
"'We don't have much time. I'll get to the point. Go to high ground, Glenda. Quick....

"'The fetuses are checking out. Who needs it? But you born people, you're committed. You want a head start before the others clue in'" (p. 19).
    At the end of the story, Glenda hears a dog-owner call for his vanished Pomeranian: "Chaos. Come here. Come on" (p. 19).

Mackay, Scott

*** "The World of One-Ways," Neo-Opsis 6 (2005). A musician who used to have two-way telepathy (sending and receiving) like almost everyone else in Toronto suddenly finds himself disabled and lonely; he's now only a "one-way."

MacEwen, Gwendolyn

In Rosemary Sullivan's biography of Toronto writer Gwendolyn MacEwen (Shadow Maker: The Life of Gwendolyn MacEwen, HarperPerennialCanada, 1995), she noted that MacEwen (1941–87) "was a mystery. Because of her poetry, when one thought of Gwendolyn, one thought of Egypt, cats, magicians, cryptograms, demon lovers. One also thought of bicycles and a strange apocalyptic Toronto full of music, madmen, amnesiacs" (p. x). After she died, fellow Toronto writer Timothy Findley put MacEwen into his equally strange apocalyptic novel Headhunter. MacEwen has also been cited as a model for the character of Zenia in Margaret Atwood's 1993 novel The Robber Bride.

*** Noman (Oberon Press, 1972). The title work from MacEwen's first story collection features a mythological/god character with supernatural powers who visits Toronto. Another story, "The Second Coming of Julian the Magician," is also set in Toronto. An important metaphor in "Julian" is the "Power House," a hydro generating station that is probably the U of T Central Power Plant on Russell St.
     The character of Julian first appeared in MacEwen's novel Julian the Magician (Macmillan, 1963; Insomniac Press, 2004), a book which was not set in Toronto.

*** Noman's Land (Coach House Press, 1985). MacEwen's second story collection (a novel-in-stories), mostly set in Toronto, "Kanada." In the first story, an amnesiac Noman wanders around the city asking people if they know who he is. From p. 21:

"Finally it was clear to him that nobody knew him[,] and why should they? The world was theirs—or was it? Were they also alone? Was this city somebody's rough diagram of reality, or was it pure mirage? He gazed at the [CN] Tower—tallest free-standing structure in the world—and it shimmered in the grey air, a monument to nothing, a space-ship that would never have lift-off, a rocket without a launching pad.

"They didn't know who they were, so they came and built these big cities in the wilderness. They still found it empty, so they stuck up this tower in the emptiness. They were so lonely they didn't even know it, maybe even lonelier than me."
    On another day, he finds that "the Tower was more than usually there, poking a hole in his vision, giving him a pain in ... his head, snatching a huge chunk of the sky from his sight. There was something decidedly obscene about it; it was a sort of Up Yours to the rest of the world" (p. 49)1

1 Rosemary Sullivan also noted in Shadow Maker that Noman's Land was "a distillation" of MacEwen's "private obsessions.... All the places and people Gwen knew in Toronto are included in this book: the Greek tavernas, the Aran falafel houses, High Park with its zoo and mineral baths, King Street at Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto Island, the harbour, the fortune-tellers on Queen Street"[,] the CNE, the AGO, Honest Ed's, the Sunnyside Baths. "How deeply Gwen knew the city, how deeply she claimed it and loved it; she had cycled every part of it. The world she created is haunted by myths and ghosts; there was magic in Kanada too" (p. 358).

Mak, Derwin

*** "All Dancers Go to Heaven" (The Shallow End of Infinity, a division of the Oortworks Corporation, 2000). Novella about attempts to communicate with a dead ballerina by saving her brainwaves. Takes place mostly in such Toronto locations as St. Michael's Hospital, the University of Toronto and the National Ballet School.

*** "The Faun and the Sylphide," Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound (Edge, 2012), ed. by Mark Leslie. Near-future SF story set in the fictional Metro Toronto Ballet. (The real National Ballet School is mentioned.) A dancer, Alan, struggling to learn a part in a difficult ballet dons a costume made of experimental "memory cloth" invented by a University of Toronto scientist. The costume had been worn by the last dancer to attempt the part that Alan is rehearsing, but that man had gone mad. However, in the end, the ballet is successfully performed for King Charles III and Princess Consort Camilla. There are no details of the Toronto setting beyond the proper names.

Malan, Violette

*** The Mirror Prince (DAW Books, 2006). Book One of The Mirror Lands series. High fantasy mostly set in the Lands, where the Faerie live. Toronto and the rest of modern Earth are in the Shadowlands (and therefore not completely real). In T.O. lives Cassandra Kennaby, a martial-arts master who has been keeping an eye on Max Ravenhill, a PhD at U of T who's hoping for tenure and has no idea he's really a Faerie prince in exile. Who has enemies. In an alleyway near Queen and Bond streets, Cassandra defends him against a Hound, then Moves them to a safer place—Lower Queen station.

"'We're safer here?' From the hollow echo, the space they were in was quite large, and quite empty. It also seemed at least ten degrees cooler and much damper than the alley....

"'So where are we?' he persisted....

"'We're in the abandoned Queen Street Station.... We need a crossroads.... Union Station is in the crossroads. Using it is tricky. We can't just Move straight to it because there's a Portal to our Lands there as well, and we don't want to trigger it by accident, so we'll have to walk from here'....

"'I've heard about this place,' he said.... 'People say it's a myth.'

"'People say that about us [the Faerie], too.'" (pp. 27–28).
    The Toronto section is over by the end of chapter 2, as the action moves to the Lands.

*** Shadowlands (DAW Books, 2012). Book Two of The Mirror Lands high fantasy series. Chapter 1 opens with one of the narrators, Valory Martin, who's a human psychic descended from Shadowlands denizens, on the subway travelling east to west.

"I like subways. The more crowded the better, as far as I'm concerned. Having all those people mutes my awareness of them, makes it less acute....

"Today there weren't many people in the car with me, but fortunately any city large enough to have a subway, even Toronto, is populated enough to make me feel comfortable....

"We were crossing under the Bloor Viaduct and almost everyone in the car automatically looked out the window at the Don Valley, as if even the few minutes we'd spent in the tunnels had starved our eyes of greenery" (pp. 3–4).
    Valory gets out at Sherbourne Station, then takes a taxi to an address on University Avenue. From there, she walks south to Queen Street West and the iron railings that surround Osgoode Hall, where a Hound that resembles a normal-looking dog scents her. Rescued by a friend who has been following her for own safety, she's told that the Hunt is now preying on the souls of humans, and that those who don't die after being bitten are said to suffer from the "High Park flu," which resembles draining by vampires. The Portal to the Lands remains at Union Station, as it was in Book One, and the subway is essential to the story.
    More of Book Two than Book One is set in Toronto, and the author's grasp and evocation of the city and its residents are superb. If I were more of an aficionado of high fantasy, I'd be able to say that this series is "recommended reading," but I do admire Malan's writing, worldbuilding and character-creation skill.

Maloney, Amanda Bloss

*** "The Good Samaritan," Under Cover of Darkness (DAW, 2007), ed. by Julie E. Czerneda and Jana Paniccia. The Toronto of a few generations in the future is in a chronic economic depression, with rolling blackouts a fact of life. The subway runs intermittently, and in designated hours "pedestrians used the tunnels as sheltered routes around the city: no sun and low pollution" (p. 177). A girl who grew up in the suburbs west of "the core," where some lights still shine, "a beacon of civilization" (p. 168)—such as at the "Royal Ontario Bata Museum"—discovers that the city's infested with fairies—some benevolent, some not.

Marshall, Helen

*** Hair Side, Flesh Side (ChiZine Publications, 2012). Horror story about the spirit of a young woman who lives in a succession of other people's bodies and dies over and over again. Toronto references include Bloor Street, a subway station, Queen's Park Crescent, Pearson airport and Forest Hill.

Marshall, Tom

*** "Scenes from Successive Futures," Ark of Ice: Canadian Futurefiction (Pottersfield Press, 1992), ed. by Lesley Choyce. SF set after a nuclear holocaust. There's a dome over a big area that includes Toronto and Kingston.

Marusek, David

*** Counting Heads (Tor, 2005). Post-apocalyptic SF novel about life on Earth in 2134, in which the "Boutique Economy" provides nanotech fabrication, expanded life-spans, and machines and clones to do all the work, thus rendering 99% of the human population (of whom there are 15 billion) redundant. But there's worse. Because of a nanotech terrorist attack called "the Outrage" in 2074, cities are covered by security canopies and the fascist Homeland Command department (an evolution of Homeland Security) has enormous power. Most of the novel takes place in Chicago, but there are two references to Toronto, which is also under a canopy. Canada is, with the U.S., a member of "United Democracies"—a deeply ironic term as there is no democracy, accountability, free press, human rights, privacy, or social assistance network, although Congress and Parliament still exist.

Matchett, Robin

*** Pedro the Enigma (Piercemore, 2005). Settings in this fantasy novel include Toronto, Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario, and Wales. Toronto scenes are set in the Italian neighbourhood on St. Clair W. and a Rosedale mansion near a ravine.
    Not recommended reading. The prose style is wretched, the characters stereotypical and implausible, the plot derivative and incoherent. The fact that this book won a Toronto Arts Protégé Award boggles the mind. And the enthusiastic front- and back-cover blurbs provided by Jack McClelland (he died in 2004) are, er, incongruent with reality.

Matheson, Michael

*** "The Many Lives of the Xun Long," Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories (Tyche Books, 2013), ed. by Claude Lalumière and Camille Alexa. This fantasy story contained in an anthology about superheroes concerns the Chinese community in the Kensington Market area of Toronto (the city is named on p. 282).

May, Julian

*** The Rampart Worlds trilogy: Perseus Spur (Del Rey, 1998), Orion Arm (Del Rey, 2000) and Sagittarius Whorl (Del Rey, 2001). It's a space opera/mystery that mostly takes place in outer space, but the home office of the Rampart interstellar family company of the hero, Asahel Frost (who's a combination of a cowboy and James Bond), is in Toronto, and there are a number of scenes there.

(The rest of the Julian May entry was written by John Macdonald.)

    Julian May is best known for her stories about development of human mental powers in the Intervention, Pliocene Exile, and Galactic Milieu series of books. However, her Rampart Worlds series (Perseus Spur, Orion Arm and Sagittarius Whorl [Del Rey, 1998, 2000 and 2001, respectively]) features a rising pan-galactic corporation whose headquarters is in Toronto. Toronto makes a good base since it is also the home of the Assembly Chamber of the Commonwealth of Human Worlds—it is the centre of government for most of humanity. Many of The Hundred Concerns [companies] have head offices here.
    At this time, "Toronto spreads along the entire northern shore of Lake Ontario." That is later contradicted: to go from Toronto to Ottawa, you are still heading northeast and need to travel for a while before reaching Peterborough—which means that Toronto cannot have expanded east beyond Oshawa.
    You get to see the Blue Disenfranchised Persons Reserve, where people who have been stripped of citizenship and civil rights must make their living. You can find it to the north of Etobicoke and Mississauga along Peel Road. But don't let the inhabitants catch you finding it, as it's run by criminal gangs.
    The Toronto Islands have been expanded even farther. The underground Path network is still there and expanded far beyond its current scope. There is even a Dark Path of underground tunnels that are no longer part of the public Path. This provides a future echo of the ghost subway stations that Toronto already has. The Dark Path, too, is inhabited by disenfranchised people.
    Toronto has gotten bigger: It is now known as the Toronto Conurb, which continues the current trend from Toronto to Metropolitan Toronto to the Greater Toronto Area. In fact, with a population of 13 million people it is the largest city on Earth. (That number sounds realistic for a century and a quarter of growth for Toronto, especially with its high-profile status, but there is no mention of any reason that other cities around the world have failed to reach that size. Some of them are already close to that large now.)
    The area surrounding Toronto continues to contain many places that are already present, such as the Kawartha Lakes region and Fenelon Falls.
    Much of the downtown action takes place in recognizable locations: Yonge Street, Dundas Square, University Avenue and Cabbagetown, including lesser-known locations such as McCaul Street and Edwin Street. The King Edward Hotel is still around, as is the Queen Elizabeth Way (augmented by a new road, the Lake Freeway).
    While lots of action takes place far away from Earth—as the titles of the books suggest—it certainly is nice to have large parts happen in terra cognita.

McBride, Sally

*** "There Is a Violence," Tesseracts5 (Tesseract Books, 1996), ed. by Robert Runté and Yves Meynard. SF about alien artifacts in a Toronto art gallery.

McCurdy, J. (Joan) FitzGerald

*** The Fire Demons (HarperCollins, 2004). YA SF/fantasy partly set in Toronto; the first book in The Mole Wars series.
    Meet Steele Miller, 11.

"As a rule, Steele preferred summer. He liked the long evenings when he could play outdoors till nine, or walk around Taddle Pond with his father and watch the setting sun stain the western sky purple, red, and orange, and bathe the CN Tower in an eerie golden glow" (p. 2).
    Until the November day that Steele heard voices coming from the edge of Taddle Pond at the bottom of the ravine near his house, he'd thought he was an average boy. "Toronto had been Steele's world, and Wychwood Park his private realm" (pp. 4–5, The Black Pyramid). He gradually discovers he's a Mage with special powers to fight extragalactic aliens known as Fire Demons who had been imprisoned in the Earth but freed by the eruption of Vesuvius. By the middle of the novel, the action has moved to New York.
    The next book in the series, The Black Pyramid (HarperCollins, 2006 and 2008), takes place in Chicago. The third book is The Guardians of Fire (HarperCollins, 2009).
    Highly recommended reading.

McMahon, Donna

*** "Squat," On Spec Vol. 12 No. 2 (#41), Summer 2000. Although this SF story takes place entirely in an orbital prison ("the Mount," short for Montgolfier Station), the narrator—one of the guards—comes from Toronto and makes a number of references to it, such as "Bloor Street copshop." His wife has "died in the '28 pandemic" (p. 61) and he's a tense, angry man suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a peacekeeping mission in South America. "There's no weather on the Mount and I'm sick of jokes about Toronto's" (p. 64). "Toronto was full of guys like me sleeping twelve-to-a-room in welfare shelters" (p. 69).

McNaughton, Janet

*** The Secret Under My Skin (HarperCollins, 2000). In this YA SF novel, it's the 24th century, and something has gone seriously wrong with civilization in North America. Traumatized teenager Blake Raintree may live in low-tech Terra Nova (Newfoundland) but her earliest memories (such as a building with a round green roof—Convocation Hall, U of T) come from a far different place.

*** The Raintree Rebellion (HarperCollins, 2006). In the sequel to The Secret Under My Skin, Blake Raintree travels to Toronto Prefecture (in an airship) in the year 2368 and discovers a damaged city (no public libraries, no public transit, a lot of empty space) containing only 800,000 people. (Although two-thirds of the population has vanished, some things haven't changed from the 21st century: "Everyone has big, dark circles under their eyes. Can living in a city like this make people tired?"—p. 15; "I can't share this enthusiasm for fun that everyone has here"—p. 128.) She spends a lot of time in the High Park area and in Queen's Park, the former Ontario Legislature, one of whose wings was burned out (it seems to be the wooden-floored East Wing, since Committee Rooms 1 and 2 in the marble-bedecked West Wing survived) during the man-made disaster known as the Technocaust.

McNicoll, Sylvia

*** "Consequences," The Horrors: Terrifying Tales, Book Two (Red Deer Press, 2006). YA horror story whose internal clues indicate it's set in Toronto: references to the CN Tower, to Main Street, to St. Michael's high school, to highway underpasses and overpasses, and to really stupid ideas, variations of which have been carried out in Toronto in the past.

"They say that if you drop a penny from the CN Tower onto someone's head, the speed at which it falls will increase the impact so that it will slice right through their skull and kill them. It's an idea that always intrigued me. I used to throw tomatoes from the overpass" (p. 122).

Meier, Shirley

*** "Ice," Northern Frights 2 (Mosaic Press, 1994), ed. by Don Hutchison. Mostly set in Toronto, where the lead character lives in a condo on King Street. The city is a place where it's either raining ("washing gray Toronto streets") or freezing ("For once, the city was shrouded in white rather than brown crud").

Melling, O.R. (pseudonym of Geraldine V. Whelan)

*** Falling Out of Time (Viking, 1989). Adult fantasy novel that contrasts the life of a Canadian writer with that of her Irish philosophy student character and their lives with those of archetypal lovers in the mythic world of the Two Magicians. Partly set in Toronto. Dialogue from p. 78:

"Why do you think he stopped believing in magic?"

"I don't really know. It could have been the move to Canada. I told you he was Irish, didn't I? We met in Dublin when I was studying at Trinity. Perhaps Toronto killed that part of him. It's not a magical city." [This dialogue was included in the 2006 edition of The Penguin Dictionary of Popular Canadian Quotations, ed. by John Robert Colombo, p. 401.]

Statue in memory of the Spanish Civil War, Queen's Park; photo taken in June 2007 by Karen Bennett*** The Book of Dreams (Penguin Canada, 2003). Scratch that line from Falling Out of Time about Toronto not being a magical city; it actually is, according to The Book of Dreams, the fourth in a fantasy series that began with The Hunter's Moon. In chapter 1, a wolf from "the North" obeying a song that calls him to the heart of Toronto loathes "the smell of overcrowding, the fear and entrapment, bad dreams, failed hopes" (p. 485 in the omnibus volume The Golden Book of Faerie [Penguin Canada, 2004]). But when the wolf reaches the singer of the song, a memorial statue on the west side of the Ontario Legislature [pictured right], he "accepted the obvious. Magic had come to the city." Toronto’s magical entities also include urban fairies who are very good at hiding.
    Later, out in the countryside, a human called Dana is a little slower on the uptake than the wolf had been.

"When Dana finally accepted the truth, it was shattering, a shock that reverberated through her heart, mind and soul.

"'You're fairies!' she cried out. 'Canadian fairies!'" (p. 851)
    Still later, another character asks a visiting Irishwoman, "'What do you think of the Canadian fairies? Here all the time and we never knew?'

"'Finvarra [a High King of Faerie who has lost his memory] did,' said her cousin. "'Of course they all disappeared over a century ago and he had completely forgotten about them. Why is it that fairies are always going missing and no one seems to notice?'" (p. 883)
    Orla Melling's work is recommended reading.

Moore, Brian E.

*** "Do No Harm," On Spec Vol. 17 No. 1 (#60), Spring 2005. A decade or so in the future, a homeless junkie resists having his addictions controlled by a device known as "the Pack." (Caffeine has been outlawed too.) Although the city—and it's a big one that spends millions on homeless shelters and we're told it's not Vancouver—is never named, various details such as the students, the museum and the subway entrance suggest that the man hangs out near the intersection of Bloor and Avenue Road.

Munroe, Jim

*** Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask (Econo-Clad Books, 1999).In 1990s Toronto, Ryan, a U of T undergrad who lives in the Kensington Market area has the power to turn into a fly (and a bee, and he doesn't know what else). His girlfriend, Cassandra, can make things (and people) disappear (happily, she doesn't use the power on Ryan). On a walk one day, they visit a local mini-library in a school basement. Ryan’s astounded to find that it exists, and he muses:

"Maybe this was a secret library, only for the devotees and those who satisfied certain criteria: never incurring any late fees, a spiritual understanding of the Dewey Decimal System and heightened alphabetizing skills. They would have library cards with holographic arcana and raised type.

"I looked over at Cassandra and wondered aloud whether she had library-centred fantasies. She snorted and said something about it being too small for fantasies....

"Maybe parallel dimensions were involved. Libraries, being storehouses for alternative universes, were likely to overlap in this fashion. We might find, upon leaving, that the world was changed" (pp. 161–62).

*** Angry Young Spaceman (No Media Kings, 2000). In this SF novel, it's at least a millennium in the future when a young Torontonian (although Toronto is merely a suburb of New York) goes to the planet Octavia to teach English. The state of the planet Earth: no trees; no animals; no oceans.
    Not recommended reading: SF tropes are used without concern for the rules of the genre (especially plausibility), and the plot just peters out without a satisfying conclusion. (Note: the other Munroe books mentioned here have major plausibility problems too, but they are recommended reading; very enjoyable.)

Jim Munroe had this to say in a 2001 Challenging Destiny interview: "I'm totally happy to be called a SF writer. If people ask me what I write, I say I write SF-influenced stuff. I'm also aware that I violate some things, certain conventions and assumptions about what are the most important things."

*** An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil (No Media Kings, 2004). A woman named Kate witnesses what appears to be a satanic ritual being performed by her roommate, Lilith, which prompts her to start a blog at www.roommatefromhell.com. The two of them had just moved into a storefront apartment on Queen St. W. Soon after the ritual, they talk about it.

"'You looked a little freaked,' she said, not looking at me.... 'I probably should have told you about the demon thing before we moved in.... You know that guy who helped us move in? Bruce?.... Well, he's kind of interested in me, and I've found that the best way to deal with that kind of energy is to release it back into the world with a ritual.'

"'A ... ritual?' As if on cue, a crazy lady across the street started screaming. I focused on unlocking the door, thinking to myself: 'Parkdale's crawling with demons'" (p. 9).
    Most the novel takes place during a US tour that Kate dreams up wherein Lilith's ritual is the focus of the act (hence the book title). Toronto escapes the "unspeakable evil" unscathed. It's unclear whether anything supernatural is really going on (another example of a trope—in this case, fantasy—being used without understanding the rules of the genre).
    Kate's blog entries are dated September 2003 to May 2004. The 2003 SARS epidemic gets a mention when Kate and an American musician are in Cincinnati and he says that referring to the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati went over like a lead balloon during his act. Answers Kate:
"'It's weird when a city is known for one thing.... I wonder if it's better to be known for one thing, even something that's not really reflective of the city's character, than not to be known at all.'

"'I guess it depends who you ask ... some people would probably say it's better to be on the map, who cares what for? I'm kind of happy that no one has much of an idea of what Gainesville [his hometown] is like.'

"My mouth was dry. I regretted not getting a drink. 'Yeah. I like that about Toronto too. I'd rather start with a clean slate than be a New Yorker and have people disappointed if I don't live up to, I dunno, the tough-talking image they have in their mind.'" [Editorial remark: Kate grew up in Ottawa and moved to Toronto as an adult.]

"'Well, in Toronto you guys got SARS,' Davey said, smiling....

"I coughed on him. 'And now you got it,' I said" (p. 190).

Nelson, Frederick

*** Toronto in 1988 A.D. (Toronto: National Business Methods & Publishing Co., 1908). This 48-page "story" seems to have been written to sell to attendees of the Canadian National Exhibition (which is, no surprise, still going strong in the year of the story's title). But the "predictions" do have some curiosity value. By 1988, Toronto has expanded north to Newmarket and boasts a population of more than 1.5 million. Except for a slum area from Sherbourne east to the Don River, the city is exceptionally prosperous and its buildings huge. Airships are an important method of transportation. A two-tier bridge (cable railroad below, automobile and pedestrian road above) joins the city to Toronto Island, "whose residential section was a thing of the past.... The island had become the Coney Island of Toronto" (p. 33). There's also a "gigantic" amusement park on the mainland. The author, concerned to reassure his readers about Toronto the Good's reputation in the future, writes that "Toronto had gone pleasure-mad, but her police had learned much from greater cities and now were a terror in the eyes of the wickedly-inclined. Toronto could still say she was a virgin in comparison with the sins of many great American cities" (p. 37).
    Not recommended reading; it has zero literary merit. The only copy in the Toronto library system is a non-circulating one in the Toronto Reference Library.

Nichol, Barbara

*** Dippers (Tundra Books, 1997). Children's story (reading level: ages 9–12) about rodent-like animals ("dippers") with wings that used to live near the Don River, circa 1912. "Anyone who lived in that part of Toronto [the old Cabbagetown] in those days knows about dippers. You don’t see them now" (p. 2).

Recommended reading.

Nickle, David

*** "The Dummy Award," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. Horror story about crash-test dummies for car manufacturer General Ford. One of the scenarios the dummies experience in the simulator is a test course on "the Don Valley Parkway's Lawrence Avenue on-ramp" (p. 178).

*** "Extispicy," Tesseracts 8 (Tesseract Books, 1999). Fantasy about a man who makes money in the real-estate market because he can see the future by means of "extispicy," which is a variant of augury by entrail-reading. A major scene takes place at a highway interchange at Major MacKenzie Drive and Hwy. 404, in the Greater Toronto Area.

*** "Ground-Bound," On Spec, Spring 1999. Horror story that takes place, in part, in a modern-day Etobicoke bungalow. There's a significant mention of the Sunnyside Amusement Park and the Palais Royale dance hall during the 1930s. Reprinted and retitled "The Inevitability of Earth" in the author's story collection Monstrous Affections (ChiZine Publications, 2009).

*** "Mrs. Thurston’s Instrument of Justice," Northern Horror (Quarry Press, 2000), ed. by Edo van Belkom. The opening scenes are set in Toronto. The Don River, Bloor Viaduct and bus station on Bay Street are mentioned.

*** "The Bird Feeders," Queer Fear: Gay Horror Fiction (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2000), ed. by Michael Rowe. Horror story, most of which takes place in the Greater Toronto Area (the 905) but which begins in Toronto, judging from internal clues (such as references to King Street, homeless shelters, and the Second Cup).

*** "The Radejastians," Tesseracts Thirteen (Edge, 2009), ed. by Nancy Kilpatrick and David Morrell. Although the city in which this horror story is set is unnamed, it has the feeling of Toronto: "She lived on the second floor of a low-rise apartment building that overlooked a deep ravine" (p. 213); "The window gave a tantalizing view of the ravine through tree-branches, and hid the view of the other high rises that grew from the far bank" (p. 215).

*** "Knife Fight," Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories (Tyche Books, 2013), ed. by Claude Lalumière and Camille Alexa; reprinted in the story collection Knife Fight and Other Struggles (ChiZine Publications, 2014). This fantasy story, contained in an anthology about superheroes, is set in a city that has the feeling of Toronto (much like "The Radejastians," above), although the setting is unnamed and there are many place names that don't belong (such as "the nearby town of Reamington" [p. 75]). It has an overweight mayor with unpleasant habits, a transit commission, and other evocations of what it was like to live in Toronto in 2013.

*** The 'Geisters (ChiZine Publications, 2013). Horror novel about a woman named Ann LeSage with a secret: an invisible murderous friend. When the novel begins, Ann is on a date in the restaurant called Canoe on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower on Bay Street. Very little of the story takes place in Toronto; other settings include elsewhere in Ontario, such as Niagara region; various imaginary realms; the US; and the Caribbean. Some Toronto references include Scarborough, the University of Toronto, and Etobicoke. (The 'Geisters of the novel title are poltergeists who want to wrest away Ann's control of hers, which she calls the Insect.)

O'Donnell, Darren

*** Your Secrets Sleep With Me (Coach House Books, 2004). YA magic realism. Bizarre things start happening in Toronto. "[D]ark purple clouds begin twisting and touching down, a tornado forms, thundering and careening into the city, knocking over its point of pride: the world's tallest free-standing structure, the CN Tower, lifting it and dropping it right into the lake" (p. 26). Everything is alive in Toronto—including the buildings, which have a heated debate about "whether the tower can't get up or won't get up" (p. 29). (It doesn't, in any event. It becomes an underwater tourist attraction.) Medical problems hit the city—"meningitis, bacteria, atypical pneumonia, tuberculosis, viruses of all sorts, air unfit to breathe, water unsafe to drink" (pp. 31–32). Refugees from south of the border flood into the city as the U.S. slides into fascism. There always seems to be a police helicopter overhead as public order starts to break down.
    Recommended reading. It's aimed at YA readers, but adults can enjoy it too.

Oakley, Ryan

*** Technicolor Ultra Mall (Edge, 2011). Dystopic SF novel in which the world's ecosystems have been destroyed by genetic pollution and cities have evolved into mega malls. Toronto is the T-Dot Center, riddled with violence, drugs and gangs.
    This work is an homage to Burgess's 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange. I expect there are readers who will enjoy it, but I'm not one of them: I found it very unpleasant to spend time in the setting and with the characters (foul-language warning), and cannot recommend it. A review by J.J.S. Boyce at AEscifi.ca ("The Canadian Science Fiction Review") may help readers judge whether to tackle this work.

Panhuyzen, Brian

*** "Enormous Attraction," The Death of the Moon (Cormorant Books, 1999). Modern-day SF story. Scene 1 is set on the TTC, where a man named Raymond, unused to public transit, gets on a northbound train at St. Patrick station. On the train, he browses

"the faces of the other passengers. They are neutral, fixated on points situated past the subway's windows, beyond the tunnel's sooty walls... [A] bolt of staggering pain strikes my gut just below the navel.... I think that perhaps I'm going to die, I will collapse on the scuffed acrylic floor and have to rely on these people to assist me or comfort me or administer my last rites, and I know that they will not, that a circle will open around me, an isolation zone, a ring of riders engrossed in their thoughts and their magazines, within which I will be asked, through their oblivion, to cease my disturbance and hasten upon my mortal journey" (pp. 76–77).
    The attack ceases abruptly. The next scene is a flashback to four months prior, in a restaurant in the Eaton Centre, where Ray and a friend, Illyria, who's an astrophysicist at U of T, discuss an alien transmission from space that needs decrypting with Raymond's special software. The next scene: back to the present. Ray gets off the subway at Museum and heads over to the St. George campus of U of T to see Illyria at the McLennan Physical Labs. He carries the decoded message. He realizes that his pain attack "came from" a shipful of doomed alien scientists trapped in orbit around a neutron star who, 70,000 years ago, broadcast a "farewell; this is who we are" message using the pulsar's radio beam. He and Illyria head towards King's College Circle.
"It is a sanctuary in the city; on the north stands University College, with its arched entrance and asymmetric towers. To the east is another old building.... then olive-domed Convocation Hall behind Doric pillars ... and finally, on the west, Knox College, exhaling incandescent light through leaded windows. The sky beyond is pink and fragile.

"'Stars!' I whisper, and she looks up. Orange light dusts the thin cloud above, but in the blue ether beyond them a handful of stars are shivering" (pp. 89–90).

*** "The Ninth Chair," The Death of the Moon (Cormorant Books, 1999). Short story about a woman who runs away from her large family and returns as a ghost to sit in the ninth chair at dinner. It's possible and probable that the story's set in Toronto, although the city is unnamed. (Note: Brian Panhuyzen lives there.)

Patton, Fiona

*** "Lucky Charm," The Bakka Anthology (Toronto: Salman Nensi, 2002). Contemporary fantasy. A rural family with various psychic powers comes to Toronto to pick up a few things. Yonge Street and the 401 are referred to, as are the strange driving habits of Torontonians: "This place is nuts: one second everyone's driving like idiots, the next they’re creepin' about with their thumbs up their butts" (p. 72).

Payne, Rob

*** How to Be a Hero on Earth 5 (Puffin Canada, 2006). A surreal YA novel that chronicles the adventures of Toronto native John Fitzgerald and his teenaged allies from Earth 5 (our Earth being Earth 4, y'see) as they save the universe. Chapters 1 to 4 are set in the Toronto of Earth 4, although the sole way to tell this is by way of a line of dialogue from a fast-food co-worker of John's: "'No way could you drag me away from Toronto for summer,' he said. 'It's the only decent time of year in this country.'" Midway through Chapter 34, John manages to get back to his home dimension.

*** How to Save the Universe Again (Puffin Canada, 2007); the sequel to How to Be a Hero. From p. 1: "A month ago I was making world-altering decisions and foiling inter-dimensional criminals. Now I was your average seventeen-year-old geek bagging junk food in Toronto. Life was too strange." Although some of the Toronto references are mimetic (Chinatown, Queen's Park, College subway station, University of Toronto, CN Tower), others are not: the "Royal Oxford Hotel" is "a very old, very ritzy hotel downtown near the train station" (p. 51; this is the Royal York in the "real" Toronto). By Chapter 12, John and Co. have left the city for Europe, and they're still there at the novel's end. Another instalment in the series appears necessary.

Pedley, Hugh

*** Looking Forward: The Strange Experience of the Rev. Fergus McCheyne (Toronto: William Briggs, 1913). Set in a future where the establishment of the United Church of Canada has brought utopia. (Note: the United Church of Canada was established in 1925; utopia did not ensue.) The Rev. Fergus McCheyne, clergyman and scientist, injects himself with a serum that puts him into hibernation in 1902; he awakens 25 years later.

Note: Looking Forward, which is now out of print, was written in response to Edward Bellamy and Walter James Miller's Looking Backward: 2000–1887 (Ticknor, 1888 and Houghton-Mifflin, 1889), a utopian novel which takes place in Boston and is still in print. (Its most recent incarnation was published in 2007 by Oxford World's Classics.)

Even if Looking Forward were to be reprinted, it would not be recommended reading except as a curiosity.

Pflug, Ursula

*** "Version City," Senary: The Journal of Fantastic Literature (Fallen Octopress, 1992), ed. by Derryl Murphy and Wayne Malkin. Near-future, post-apocalyptic SF set in a rundown Chinatown.

*** "Bugtown," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. "Bugtown" was first published in Transversions, Vol. 2 #2 (Winter 96/97), and is a sequel to "Version City." Says the author, "The ideas in both stories date from a time when I believed the end of the world might be fun, and whichever of the many possible forms it might take would almost certainly come in my lifetime. This might still be the case" (p. 214, Northern Suns introduction to "Bugtown").

*** Green Music (Tesseract Books, 2001; reissued by Red Deer Books, 2003). Magic realism novel partly set in Toronto, including the Annex area. Toronto references include Huron St., Spadina Ave., Chinatown, the Lakeview Diner on Cherry Street ("The Lakeview was hers, as coffee shops could only be owned by people who had no homes" [p. 170]), Toronto Island, Jarvis St., Yonge and Wellesley, the Danforth, Scarborough, and especially Queen St. West, including the Osgoode subway platform, where a character commits suicide; the Queen Street Mental Health Centre ("999. The crazy hospital." "They don't call it that any more." "I know. It's still awful" [p. 62, and there's another reference on p. 82]); and Book City (probably the one that used to be on Queen West). On. p. 196, the city is referred to as "cold-hearted Toronto."

*** "Airport Shoes," Strange Horizons, posted 26 November 2007. The story's narrator lives in Toronto, but some scenes take place in New York, her "other city." Toronto mentions include Pearson International Airport, High Park and Yonge Street. "Yonge Street. It was like a fever. I'd grown up not far away, and I was about to live there again, in sight of the clock tower"—probably the one south of the Summerhill subway station; the clock tower, modelled after the Campanile in Venice, was built in 1915 as part of a Canadian Pacific Railway passenger station that was to close in 1989 after Union Station opened further downtown. (A little later in the story, the narrator takes a journey in her mind. "I see the clock tower first, then the railway bridge" [the earlier quote is from pp. 3–4 if the story is printed from the Strange Horizons site; the later quote is from p. 10].) There's no overt speculative fiction content, despite mentions of aliens and magic. In one scene, the narrator's on a date with man in New York.

"He was a Gypsy, he said....

"Poking in a heap of rubble, he bent to pick something out. A white plastic rose. Removing one of the pins that held his jacket together, he pinned it to my collar. 'There,' he said, 'an American Beauty for an American Beauty.'

"'I'm Canadian.'

"'I tell you, it's magic.'

"'I know, I know,' I said. 'You don't have to tell me.'

"Everything was magic" (p. 6 from the printed story).

Pohl-Weary, Emily

*** A Girl Like Sugar (McGilligan Books, 2004). A coming-of-age story about a 24-year-old underachiever named Sugar who's haunted by the ghost of her recently-deceased rock-star boyfriend (although her father's schizophrenia, revealed later in the novel, causes her to doubt the "reality" of the supernatural visitations). She lives in a basement apartment in Kensington Market but later moves into a house on Dewson Street (SE of Bloor and Dufferin). Toronto references and scenes include the Sick Children's and Women's College hospitals; the Omega Room (the New Age Omega Bookstore and Conference Centre, which was on Yorkville Avenue and closed in June 2005; it was known as "the spiritual hangout"); a home in the suburb of Etobicoke "with a backyard the size of a downtown park, extending to the Humber River" (p. 20); the Don Valley Parkway; Citytv; Dupont subway station; Bay, Bloor and Yonge streets; Rosedale; Massey Hall; the University of Toronto; Queen's Park; and Old City Hall (now housing courts of law) at Queen and Bay. The host of bars and restaurants mentioned include the Ematei Japanese restaurant at 30 St. Patrick St. (NW of University and Queen); the Orbit Room bar (580A College St.); the El Mocambo nightclub (464 Spadina Ave.); the Green Room café in the Annex; Rancho Relaxo, a Mexican restaurant/club (300 College St.); and the Red Spot (now Papi's, at 459 Church). Some scenes near the end of the book are set in Vancouver.

Powe, B(ruce) W(illiam)

*** Outage: A Journey into Electric City (Random House Canada, 1995). Surreal "literary" novel whose events begin with the 1987 stock market crash. A Toronto man struggles with an overload of electronic stimuli that make it difficult to connect with people. The novel title refers to many things, including (1) the aforementioned stock market crash "that was the first global outage" (p. 11); (2) a hydro blackout that destroys the narrator's sense of security when he's a child; and (3) the narrator's wish to "bring the age out into the open, its obsessions and potential. Out age. It's the time when each person can become the antenna of the race" (p. 4).
    Toronto references include York University, where the narrator teaches a night class; the Toronto Stock Exchange; Riverdale Park; Sunnybrook Hospital; the SW corner of Dundas and Yonge outside the Eaton Centre; Chinatown; a bookstore on Queen St. West; and the under-construction SkyDome:

"The girders and cement casings looked raw, wrecked. It was difficult to tell if the stadium was being demolished piece by piece or being hurriedly constructed to meet a deadline. Soon there would be gargoyles—strange and almost unidentifiable sculptures, creatures—hoisted above us, and inside there would be one massive TV screen dominating the north wall, and TVs mounted everywhere in the snaking hallways" (p. 22).
    The alienated perception of the narrator affects everything he sees as he spends a great deal of time wandering the city:
"I'd walk downtown and see how the building and wrecking and rebuilding thrived. Settled low-rises were being razed, and abstract high-rises erected. Our furor was mirrored in this constant refashioning. But the cycles of boom and bust, the crosswirings in messages, the agility of data, also sent many—if not most—people scurrying for cover, searching for insulation, filters, and shields, for ways of escape" (p. 18).
"From where I walk along the sidewalk, I can see the top of the 102-story CN Tower, the city's beacon. Aircraft warning lights flash red, white. This telecommunications spire is a symbol of the powers and the mystery that call to us, scattering us over the airwaves.

"We are inflamed receptors, moving in pools of electromagnetism, and we need conduits and networks to forge alliances, bonds and communities" (p. 157).
    There are more observations of the CN Tower on pp. 179 and 181.
"The contrast between the panhandlers and the city of mirrors and images jars me. When I observe the smashed-up look of the homeless, the slick geometry of the towers, the poles of poverty and wealth, the desolation and the hightech frames, I know that all this is a sign that we have become a worldclass place: you could step into scenes like these in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, or Mexico City" (p. 186).
"As I step away from Chinatown, I realize how there are cities within cities in Toronto. The high civilizations of Athens and Alexandria evolved in small places; the visionary Renaissance states, Florence and Venice, were also small. The smaller the size of the community, the greater the chance for human contact and help. In a high-voltage city, people can become both wired in to their surroundings and lost in the concentration of extremes, the wealth and the desperation, the multitude of languages and styles and the cacophony of tones..." (pp. 188–189).
    The narrator had moved to Toronto from Ottawa with his family when he was two.
"Our family moved to what was then a genteel, introverted city, where you could get a clear view of a lake.... In nineteen sixty-four ... we moved to a house in North Toronto, in a nearly rustic area called Glen Echo, not far from Hogg's Hollow.

"Glen Echo, the echoing glen.

"Now I remember the wind hissing at night through the elm trees on the street and in the ravines, like voices rushing past. The strong, bracing winds rustled the maples, oaks, birches, and willows in late October and early November" (p. 47–48).
    Towards the end of the story, the narrator moves to Venice.
    Although I cannot recommend the novel as a compelling or interesting read, I can applaud its dead-on portrayal of Toronto as a place.

Powell, James

*** "Dark Possessions," Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin. The ghost of a deceased Toronto detective visits a house on Shuter St. where his old furniture is now in the attic—and talks to him.

Pyper, Andrew

*** "When You Were Beautiful," Gothic Toronto: Writing the City Macabre (Diaspora Dialogues and Luminato, 2009). Short story set in a vacant store on Queen Street West that's being renovated and turns out to be haunted.

Reeves-Stevens, Garfield

*** "The Eddies," Northern Frights 2 (Mosaic Press, 1994), ed. by Don Hutchison. About a ghost in the CN Tower. The story's narrator is frightened so much by his visit to the Tower that at the end of the story he moves to Regina, Saskatchewan, a city where,

"when thunderstorms roll by, there's nothing around for hundreds of kilometers tall enough to reach up and streak through whatever's up there, trapped between heaven and earth, trying to find a way back" (p. 56).

*** "Tear Down," Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison. A serial killer chooses his next victim because she's building a monster home in his old neighbourhood, a "vast rectangle of Toronto that ran south from the 401, north from York Mills Road, and east and west from Yonge Street through to Leslie" (p. 5).

Robinson, Spider

*** "Satan's Children," Antinomy (Dell, 1980); reprinted in the collection By Any Other Name (Baen, 2001). Two musicians, Zack and Jill, attempt to spread chemical enlightenment around the globe by means of a new drug called The Whole Truth. Among the places their concert tour touches down is Toronto.

*** Stardance (Baen, 1978 and Dell, 1979), co-authored by Jeanne Robinson; reprinted in God Is an Iron, and Other Stories (Five Star Publishing, 2002), The Star Dancers (Baen, 1997) and The Stardance Trilogy (Baen, 2006). SF novel that takes place mostly in space, but three of the principal characters (Shara, Norrey and Charlie) seem to be native Torontonians. The action starts in Toronto at the Toronto Dance Theatre (founded in 1968; its home is on Winchester Street); partway through Chapter II, the action moves to the States and then to near-Earth orbit. (In Part 2 of the Stardance trilogy, Starseed (Baen, 1991 and Ace, 1992; reprinted in The Star Dancers [Baen, 1997] and The Stardance Trilogy [Baen, 2006], none of the action takes place in Toronto.)

*** Starmind [Baen, 1995, 2001), co-authored by Jeanne Robinson; reprinted in The Stardance Trilogy (Baen, 2006). In the third part of the trilogy that began with Stardance, only Chapter 6 takes place in Toronto. It's 2064, and at the Drummond Theatre (non-existent in the present, as far as I can find), members of the Toronto Dance Theatre are rehearsing prior to a performance. The TDT is also mentioned in a paragraph near the end of the novel.

*** Lifehouse (Baen, 1997), reprinted as Part 3 of The Lifehouse Trilogy (Baen, 2007), is the third SF novel in the series that began with Mindkiller and Time Pressure (see below). Its action begins in Vancouver. When the characters of Wally and Moira are tricked by a "time-traveller" into believing a huge earthquake will combine with a fault to drop the Pacific Northwest into the ocean, they run to Toronto, where one scene and one chapter take place in 1995 and 1993, respectively. The 1993 chapter has different characters, one of whom cons another, a bar employee, with a ploy that "might not have worked in America ... but in this blessed country even the bartenders were candy" (The Lifehouse Trilogy, p. 494). The sole Toronto street-name mentioned is Bathurst.

[Aside: The action of Mindkiller (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1982; Ace, 1993), reprinted as Part 1 of Deathkiller (Baen, 1996) and of The Lifehouse Trilogy (Baen, 2007), alternates between Maritime Canada (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) and New York City between 2006 and 2011. Two subordinate characters, Bear and Minnie, reside in Toronto and come back to Nova Scotia for visits, but there are no Toronto scenes. Chapter 2, set in New York City, was originally published as "God Is an Iron" in Omni magazine, May 1979, and is the title story in Robinson's collection God Is an Iron and Other Stories (Gale Group/Five Star, 2002). Time Pressure (Ace, 1987), reprinted as Part 2 of Deathkiller (Baen, 1996) and of The Lifehouse Trilogy (Baen, 2007), takes place entirely in Nova Scotia.]

Rogers, Ian

*** "A Night in the Library with the Gods," Every House Is Haunted (ChiZine Publications, 2012). This supernatural story opens "in a little-known room within the Fisher Rare Book Library. That's at the University of Toronto" (p. 80). Apart from the Robarts Library, there are no other Toronto references.

*** "Deleted Scenes," Every House Is Haunted (ChiZine Publications, 2012). A down-on-his luck actor named Joe takes a job doing "deleted scenes" in a porno movie. "The address was for a soundstage Joe had never been to before, which he found a little strange. In the seven years he had been working as an actor, Joe figured he had been to every soundstage in Toronto" (p. 217). Other city references include the Toronto International Film Festival.

*** "The House on Ashley Avenue," Every House Is Haunted (ChiZine Publications, 2012); reprinted in The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Five (Night Shade Books, 2013), ed. by Ellen Datlow. The eponymous house, described as "the architectural equivalent of a great white shark" (p. 158) is in Rosedale ("they were in Rosedale, one of Toronto's most affluent neighbourhoods" [p. 157]). City insurance investigators (who happen to be psychic) visit the haunted house. One investigator notes that the living room has been decorated in "Toronto Trendy" style (p. 167). (Aside: Rosedale contains no Ashley Avenue.)

Rooke, Leon

*** The Beautiful Wife (Thomas Allen, 2005). A whimsical magic-realist novel set mostly in Winnipeg and the Philippines with a few Toronto scenes and references, such as to Ontario Street in Cabbagetown and to the waterfront ("the blissful level of Queens Quay West: the foggy ambience of city towers there where the ghostly mists of Lake Ontario roll in and water ripples in darkness like a stretching metropolis of the heavens" [p. 252]).

Rowen, Michelle

*** Bitten & Smitten (Warner Forever, 2006). Book One in the Immortality Bites paranormal romance series. When 28-year-old Sarah Dearly awakens in St. James Cemetery (which runs between Parliament and Rosedale Valley Rd., south of Bloor), she discovers she's been made a vampire and that a gang of thuggish vampire-hunters is menacing her. Fleeing, she runs onto the Bloor Viaduct and attempts to flag down a car. Then she spots a man balanced on the wrong side of the bridge "veil," the metal barrier intended to prevent people from jumping off; he had apparently been strong enough to pull the veil rods asunder. (Hmmm.) To escape the hunters, he and Sarah jump into the Don River. He had planned to stake himself on the way down, but Sarah's presence prevented him. For the moment. (Towards the end of the novel, she again saves him from suiciding. But the two of them take another plunge into the Don River. By accident.) The name of this tall, dark and handsome (and depressed) vampire is Thierry de Bennicoeur, and he takes Sarah under his wing when he realizes she was improperly "turned" and would die without his help. (So they save each other. Awww.) It seems that Toronto has a large vampire community whose members kick back at various clubs around the city owned by Thierry. A lot of the novel's action takes place in one such club, on Lakeside Drive. Other Toronto locations: the PATH underground tunnel system; the Eaton Centre; Bloor Street; and the restaurant at the top of the CN Tower. Chapters 12, 13 and part of 14 are spent in Sarah's hometown of Abottsville, a (fictional) burg in northern Ontario said to be three hours from Toronto (which would put it in the Muskoka-Parry Sound area). She takes two trips to the (real) town of Grimsby, which is between Hamilton and St. Catharines in the Niagara Peninsula. Apart from vampires, the other supernatural creature in the novel is the werewolf Barkley, who plays a larger role in some of the sequels.

*** Fanged & Fabulous (Warner Forever, 2006). Book Two in the Immortality Bites paranormal romance series takes up a few weeks after the end of Book One. Sarah has to move into a friend's house in the Beaches when a vampire hunter blows up her apartment in the Yonge-Bloor area. A new character is introduced: visiting American Janie Parker (human, not supernatural); she's staying at the Royal York Hotel. Toronto locations include the Eaton Centre area (Yonge and Dundas), a new vampire club in the Beaches, a dance club on Queen's Quay, a vampire-hunters' bar on Lakeside Drive (opposite the old vampire club) that also featured in Book One, and a boarded-up theatre in the Beaches called the Paragon (the name is apparently fictional).

*** Stakes & Stilettos (Warner Forever, 2009) is Book Four in the series. When Sarah attends a high-school reunion in her (fictional) hometown of Abottsville, three hours north of Toronto, a former classmate puts a curse on her. Except for excursions to Abottsville, California, England and France, the novel takes place in Toronto. Its prologue is set on the Bloor Viaduct bridge, where a woman attempts to commit suicide. Other city mentions include the Eaton Centre, Front & Jarvis, and Rosedale.

*** Tall, Dark & Fangsome (Warner Forever, 2009) is fifth in the Immortality Bites series. Sarah still has the curse she acquired in Book Four. Toronto references include the CN Tower (which looks, to vampire Sarah, like "one big-ass, tall, wooden stake"—p. 285), the Eaton Centre, the University subway, Spadina Avenue, City Hall, and the Rogers Centre stadium (formerly the SkyDome). Although this book had been billed on the author's site as the last in the series, I see that Blood Bath & Beyond was released in 2012 and Bled & Breakfast is scheduled for release in 2013, and there may be others that I've missed. (I will not be reading any more of them.)

*** The Demon in Me (Berkley Sensation, 2010). Paranormal romance starring Eden Riley, "psychic consultant" to the Toronto police. When a serial killer possessed by a demon is killed in Eden's presence, the demon transfers to her. But he's really a good demon, y'see. Toronto-specific references include a seafood restaurant "that had a great view of Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline" (p. 121); an accounting office "at the intersection of King and Bay" (p. 155); a motel "by the Toronto airport" (p. 158); a strip club on Dixon Road; the CN Tower; and "the World's Biggest Bookstore on Edward Street" (p. 185), where a book launch and an important scene takes place in Chapter 16. The Demon in Me is Book One in the Living in Eden series.

*** Something Wicked (Berkley Sensation, 2010). Book Two in the Living in Eden series. Chapters 1, 3, 4–6, 8–12, and 14–27 take place in Toronto (Chapters 2, 7, 13, and part of 16, in Hell), although Toronto-specific references like the ones in Book One are absent in this novel. Note: Demons don't just possess the occasional Toronto person; they also possess entire Toronto nightclubs. Oooh. What a happenin' place. (Book Three in the Living in Eden series, That Old Black Magic, was released in 2011. It appears that all or most of it was set in Toronto. I haven't read it, and have stopped following this series.)

Notes: Lady & the Vamp (Warner Forever, 2008), Book Three in the Immortality Bites series, is set in the States and stars the Michael Quinn vampire character from the first two books (Quinn's an American who was visiting Toronto), plus Barkley the werewolf, also from the first two books, and Janie Parker from the second book.
    The 2006 novel Angel with Attitude is a stand-alone paranormal romance starring fallen angel Valerie Grace. Chapters 1–12 and 21 to the end are set in Niagara Falls, Ontario; in chapters 13–20, Valerie visits Hell.
    Rowen's YA fantasy novel Demon Princess: Reign or Shine (Walker & Co., 2009) opens in the fictional town of "Erin Heights, which was about thirty minutes west of Toronto" (p. 2), but most of the action takes place in the "Shadowlands." The sequel, Demon Princess: Reign Check (Walker & Co., 2010) is also set in Erin Heights and the Shadowlands.
    Writing as Michelle Maddox, Rowen produced the SF/thriller/romance Countdown (Dorchester Publishing, 2008). It's set a few decades into the 21st century in a North American city that's never named yet isn't Toronto (the city's main street is Paragon Avenue). Advice to readers: This book is only for romance junkies; SF aficionados, stay away.

Ruth, Elizabeth

*** Ten Good Seconds of Silence (Dundurn Press, 2001). Mainstream novel whose plot alternates between Toronto in the 1970s and 80s and Vancouver in the 1960s and 80s. Lilith Boot is an eccentric single mother who uses clairvoyance to find missing children but dislikes connecting with her memories of her own childhood in Vancouver. The novel's prologue opens in Allan Gardens:

"From Gerrard or Jarvis streets, the Allan Gardens Conservatory with its glass dome ceiling and ornate fence could be mistaken for one of Toronto's many churches. Lilith Boot looks forward all week to visiting, to inhaling the succulent heat. Some might say a greenhouse is a poor excuse for the outdoors, but she insists it's a perfect compromise: halfway between wilderness and civilization. In fact, she's solved some of her hardest [missing-children] cases sitting there. Lilith works best surrounded by all that optimism—even if it is man-made.... There is nowhere, she is certain, with superior visibility than in a glasshouse" (pp. 9–10).
    Lilith has a tiny office at 52 Division on Dundas St. W., where she's proud to be "the first and only staff psychic on the Toronto police force" (p. 67). She lives in an apartment at Bloor and Christie with her nine-year-old daughter, Lemon.
    By novel's end, it's 1986 and Lemon is about to graduate high school. She has been working as a tour guide in the McLaughlin Planetarium on weekends. She writes in a letter to nobody in particular, "I'd like to study astronomy, I think. Or physics. Maybe become an astronaut" (p. 14).
    In the novel's acknowledgments, the author says, "I would like to thank Timothy Findley, most especially for Lilah Kemp [see entry on Findley for Headhunter]—the spark who ignited my Lilith" (p. 416).

Ryman, Geoff

*** "No Bad Thing," What Remains: Stories and Interviews (Aqueduct Press, 2009), by Ellen Klages and Geoff Ryman; reprinted in Ryman's story collection Paradise Tales (Small Beer Press, 2011). Comic short story in which Albert Einstein has become a vampire—sorry, a Virally Affected Revenant—and applies for a job in a biology lab in Toronto. Among the local references are the St. James Cemetery and Bloor Street Viaduct. What Remains contains three stories, two by Ryman and one by Klages, plus interviews with them, and was "published in conjunction with the appearance of Ellen Klages and Geoff Ryman as the Guests of Honor at Wiscon 33, May 22–25, 2009, in Madison, WI."

Sagara, Michelle

*** Silence (DAW, 2012). Contemporary YA fantasy, first in the Queen of the Dead trilogy. By day, teenaged Emma Hall goes through the motions of attending Emery Collegiate (there is such a school; it's in North York); by night, she visits the (unnamed) cemetery where her boyfriend is buried. One night, she discovers two other people at the graveyard and eventually finds out she's a Necromancer—someone who can see, touch, and speak with the dead and draw upon them to work magic. Emma has no desire to be a Necromancer; she just wants to help the ghosts who walk the streets of Toronto, unable to escape. (One of the ghosts is her father.)
   Toronto mentions are very thin on the ground—the city itself is not named till p. 76. Other mentions, besides Emery Collegiate, are Chinatown and Rowan Avenue (west off Dufferin, south of Eglinton). The novel does not represent Toronto well—its appearance, its weather, its culture, or even its people, who are, curiously enough for almost 2.5 million of them, largely absent. However, despite the novel's deficiencies in evoking its setting, it is an enjoyable work, and I will be looking out for the remainder of the trilogy.
   An interesting interview of Michelle Sagara that includes mentions of Silence and its characters (but none of Toronto) was posted on the Tor.com site on 2 October 2012. As do I, the interviewer commends Silence to readers' attention.

*** Touch (DAW, 2014). Contemporary YA fantasy, second in the Queen of the Dead trilogy. More adventures of reluctant necromancer Emma Hall and her ghostly boyfriend, Nathan, from whose POV part of the story is told. The few Toronto placenames include Eglinton Avenue and Mount Pleasant Cemetery. An unspecified ravine plays a large part in the narrative. At the end of the book, the central characters are fleeing the city, so at least part of Book 3, the series conclusion, will not be set in Toronto.

Note: Michelle Sagara also writes as Michelle West.

Sands, Lynsay

*** Single White Vampire (Dorchester, 2003, 2008). Paranormal romance. SWV is third in the Argeneau and Rogue Hunter series. The Argeneau family of vampires is based in Toronto. The "single white vampire" of the title is Lucern Argeneau, who writes ... vampire romances. Chapters 1 to 6 and part of 7 are set in Toronto, then the action moves to an unnamed city in the States (not New York), and midway through chapter 18, starts flipping back and forth between New York and Toronto. If Toronto hadn't been named, it would have been impossible to tell where the novel was set.

*** Love Bites (Avon, 2004, 2009) is Book 2 and is at least partly set in Toronto.

*** A Quick Bite (Avon, 2005) was the first Argeneau series book to be written (but not the first to be published). It is entirely set in Toronto, but its only recognizable locales are the "Eaton Center" mall and the underground PATH system (misspelled "Path"). We're told that Toronto is popular among vampires, who "encouraged" PATH to be built, and that Montreal's underground city has drawn many vampires to that metropolis as well (p. 213).

*** Tall, Dark & Hungry (Dorchester, 2004), Book 4: Chapters 1 to 18 are set in New York City; Chapter 19 in England, and Chapter 20 in New York.

*** A Bite to Remember (Avon, 2006) is Book 5, and takes place in California (Los Angeles and environs).

*** Bite Me if You Can (Avon, 2007), Book 6, starts in Kansas and in chapter 3 moves to Toronto. In chapter 16, the action moves to rural Ontario, but soon returns to Toronto.

*** The Accidental Vampire (Avon, 2008) is Book 7 and transpires in the fictional Southern-Ontario town of Port Henry ("Toronto is only two or three hours away"—p. 259). In Chapter 16, the action moves briefly to a Toronto nightclub for vampires before returning to Port Henry.

*** Vampires Are Forever (Avon, 2008) is Book 8. The Prologue is set in Marguerite Argeneau's Toronto house, but the rest of the book takes place in Europe (England and Holland).

*** Vampire, Interrupted (Avon, 2008), Book 9, takes place in England and Italy, except for the Epilogue, which is set in Marguerite Argeneau's Toronto house.

*** The Rogue Hunter (Avon, 2008) is Book 10, and all of its action takes place in cottage country "north of Toronto."

*** The Immortal Hunter (Avon, 2009), Book 11, is the sequel to The Rogue Hunter. Like its predecessor, it opens in Ontario cottage country north of Toronto, but in Chapter 4 the action moves south, and some of it eventually takes place in or near the city, including the airport, the Gardiner Expressway and the Four Seasons Hotel.

*** The Renegade Hunter (Avon, 2009), Book 12, is mostly set in the city ("there were no blackflies in downtown Toronto," p. 153).

*** "Vampire Valentine" novelette, in the anthology Bitten by Cupid (Avon, 2010). It's set in New York City and southern Ontario—the fictional town of Port Henry.

*** Born to Bite (Avon, 2010). An Argeneau family novel, set in the rural 905 outside Toronto.

*** Hungry for You (Avon, 2010). An Argeneau family novel, set in Toronto (the name of the city is repeatedly mentioned).

As Sands' work has nothing illuminating to say about Toronto as a setting (her novels could be set in any generic city), in 2011 I stopped keeping track of her output.

Sawyer, Robert

For an in-depth discussion of Sawyer's use of Toronto in his fiction, see "The Speculative Torontos of Robert Charles Wilson and Robert J. Sawyer," also written by Karen Bennett. Only the Sawyer works which contain significant Toronto content are listed here.

*** End of an Era (Ace, 1994; revised edition, Tor, 1994). Takes place in 2013 (and in the late Mesozoic era). The narrator is a vertebrate paleontologist working for the Royal Ontario Museum; his father is dying of cancer in the Wellesley Hospital (except, oops, the Wellesley was closed by the Harris government in the late 1990s and subsequently torn down). When he time-travels to the Mesozoic era, he discovers malign Martians.

*** "Lost in the Mail," TransVersions, Vol. 1 No. 3, Summer 1995; reprinted in the anthology Bloody York: Tales of Mayhem, Murder and Mystery in Toronto (Simon & Pierre, 1996), ed. by David Skene-Melvin, and in Sawyer's collection Iterations (Quarry Press, 2002). SF story about a Toronto man who chose to go to Ryerson Polytechnic Institute after high school and then become a journalist; one day, by means of "misdirected" mail, he finds out about his proper destiny, which was to attend U of T and then work as a vertebrate paleontologist for the Royal Ontario Museum.

*** Frameshift (Tor, 1997). Chapter 2 is set in Toronto.

*** Factoring Humanity (Tor, 1998).

*** Flashforward (Tor, 1999). Chapters 23 and 32 take place in Toronto.

*** Golden Fleece (Tor, 1999), which is an expansion of the novelette of the same name that appeared in the September 1988 issue of Amazing Stories. Aaron Rossman is an Ontarian crew member of the Argo, a 22nd-century ship on an interstellar voyage. There are no Toronto scenes, but as Aaron spent some of his adult life there, the city is referred to briefly a few times during the Argo voyage, for example in chapters 13 and 31.

*** Calculating God (Tor, 2000).

*** The Neanderthal Parallax series: Hominids (Tor, 2002), Humans (Tor, 2003) and Hybrids (Tor, 2003).

*** Iterations (Quarry Press, 2002). Collection of stories. The ones with a Toronto setting, all or in part, are "Iterations" (first published in TransVersions: An Anthology of New Fantastic Literature [Paper Orchid Press, 2000], ed. by Marcel Gagné and Sally Tomasevic) "If I'm Here, Imagine Where They Sent My Luggage," "Where the Heart Is" (first published in North of Infinity: Futurity Visions [Mosaic Press, 1998], ed. by Micheal Magnini), "Lost in the Mail," the "The Abdication of Pope Mary III" and "Ours to Discover."

*** "The Stanley Cup Caper," Relativity (ISFiC Press, 2004); Identity Theft and Other Stories (Red Deer Press, 2008). A police-procedural short story that takes place in 2031, when the millennium arrives—that is, the Maple Leafs finally win the Stanley Cup again—and somebody steals it (the ghost of Tim Horton?). While investigating the theft, two detectives visit the Hockey Hall of Fame and look at a mock-up of the Cup. When they come out of the building, a certain tall, pointy object comes into view.

"With the Gardiner buried, it was easy to see the Central Nanotechnology Tower on the lakeshore, but there was no point going up to the observation deck anymore. Jo shook his head; he was old enough to remember when the city's nickname had been Hogtown, not Smogtown" (p. 30, Relativity).

*** Mindscan (Tor, 2005). A few scenes in and mentions of Toronto in the 21st century, in particular the Prologue and Chapters 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8.

*** "Flashes," FutureShocks (Roc, 2006), ed. by Lou Anders; reprinted in The Savage Humanists (Red Deer Press, 2008), ed. by Fiona Kelleghan, and in Sawyer's collection Identity Theft and Other Stories (Red Deer Press, 2008). The story, narrated by a Toronto police detective, takes place in the 2010s in a city rapidly progressing to "Toronto-the-Post-Apocalyptic" because aliens on a planet 36 light-years away have been transmitting information that revolutionizes (for the worse) civilization on Earth.
    The detective drives home the wife of a suicide victim (a scientist whose life work had been destroyed by the alien information). She asks, "Why are the aliens doing this?"

"Off in the distance we could see the tapered needle of the CN Tower.... Lots of radio and television stations broadcast from it, and I pointed to it. 'Presumably they became aware of us through our radio and TV programs—stuff we leaked out into space'" (p. 266, FutureShocks).
    The CN Tower, erected in 1976, was not one of the Earth transmitters that originally "leaked" the fact of our existence. (The alien signals began arriving in 2013.) But among the information sent is the formula for anti-matter. And in 2015, a human uses an anti-matter charge to knock down the Tower.

*** Rollback (Tor, 2007; serialized in four issues of Analog: October, November and December 2006 and January/February 2007). Most of this SF novel takes place in Toronto.

Schlosser, S(andy) E.

*** "Where's My Liver?", Spooky Canada: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore (Insiders' Guide, 2007). Ghost story about a boy who does some grave-robbing. Although the line under the story title says it's set in "Toronto, Canada," there's not a single detail that's Toronto-specific. (The stories in the book are "re-tellings" by Schlosser, who chose the material "that represented the special flavor of each province and its people" [p. xv].)

Schroeder, Karl

*** "Dawn," Tesseracts7 (Tesseract Books, 1998), ed. by Paula Johanson and Jean-Louis Trudel. Vampires hunt in a present-day city until... something starts hunting them. Although the city is not named, there are references to the subway, the Scarborough Bluffs, a ravine, the Don Valley Expressway, the downtown rail lands and the financial district, High Park and Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Schultz, Emily

*** "Heaven Is Small," Taddle Creek Vol. XI No. 1, Christmas Number, 2007. A fantasy. The viewpoint character, Gordon Small, works as a proofreader for a romance publisher, Heaven, in an office building. And he's dead. When alive, he'd lived in Toronto, and his life had been "an urban mall. His memories were Freshly Squeezed, Bubble Tease, Jimmy the Greek, Roast Jack, New York Fries, Made in Japan, Bagel Stop, Cinnabon, Carlton Cards, Deco Home, Payless, Radio Shack, Island Ink-jet, H.M.V." (p. 21). With a few exceptions, these stores can be found in Dufferin Mall, south of Bloor. Gordon also "remembered the big rock in the park that he had passed every day as he left work and proceeded to Brass Taps on College Street for supper (pizza, burger, or suicide wings)" (p. 22). Brass Taps Pizza Pub is a chain; one branch is at 934 College (near Dufferin).

*** Heaven Is Small (House of Anansi, 2009) is the novel from which the 2007 story of the same name was excerpted (from parts of Chapter 10). Before he died, Gordon Small, the viewpoint character, lived in a roominghouse on Russett Ave. (consistently misspelled "Russet"), one block west of Dufferin, north off Bloor. He'd worked at a literary magazine in an office on Bond St. (Queen & Dundas) before becoming a manager at Whoopsy's Gags 'N Gifts on Dufferin, "only two blocks from Mrs. Ashbridge's where he had rented a room" (p. 3).

"Moments after his death, an event he had failed to notice [he'd committed suicide], Gordon Small sought new employment.

"Welcome to Heaven. If you know the extension you wish to reach, enter it now....

"To get to Heaven, Gordon took the subway, then another subway line [to Finch], then a bus" (p. 3).
    He finds the ride to Heaven (a romance publisher) an unpleasant experience.
"Now Gordon reflected that in some ways public transit, with its pale, caffeinated faces, was ruder than the boob-shaped ice cubes and Oh Lordy, Who's 40? coffee mugs he had been peddling since his divorce from Chloe. There wasn't one person on the subway who looked like somebody he would want to know. First, everyone came dangerously near to jostling him and no one glanced in his direction. He had to fight for space just to wrap his hand around the pole. Second, everyone was scrunched into their clothes—black and charcoal, bile-thick beige and flavourless-as-chalk-blue. Everyone wore sensible shoes" (pp. 4–5).

    Once Gordon is hired, he spends a lot of time trying to communicate, including by writing a romance novel under a pseudonym.
"There were times he believed he was writing into a void, and still others when he was convinced there was indeed some hovering spirit or knowing eye, some Great Creator, present either in or outside the seventy crystal floors of Heaven. But to whomever Gordon was writing ... he did so because he sensed that the worlds of the dead and the living were not that far apart.

"After all, Gordon had arrived by public transit, or at the very least some dream of public transit, something far more fathomable than the route of birth itself. The idea that somehow he and Heaven's staff could shuttle missives—and even fully produced romance novels, complete with sales reports—back and forth between the living and the dead, whether by post, fax, e-mail, or some system of faith, seemed to Gordon as believable as anything else he had encountered in his short time on Planet Earth" (pp. 175–176).

The author's first novel, Joyland (ECW Press, 2006), is a mainstream coming-of-age work set in the fictional small town of South Wakefield, Southern Ontario, in the 1980s. In a 2006 interview about Joyland, Schultz said, “I didn't think I was trying to write another 'Canadian family book,' but I guess I did, because Joyland is so much a book about place, which is very Canadian, and about wanting to escape from a small place, which is archetypically Canadian." (The Joyland website now publishes short stories by authors who live in [but the stories don't have to be set in] Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles and New York). Emily Schultz's first book was a short-story collection called Black Coffee Night (Insomniac Press, 2002). At least two of the stories in that collection, "The Value of X" and "Accessories," have fantasy elements.

*** The Blondes (Doubleday Canada, 2012). Apocalyptic but by no means hopeless soft-SF novel in which a world-wide plague infects human females with blonde hair (natural or dyed) with a rabies-like disease. Male humans are immune. The narrator is a young woman who'd moved from Toronto to New York ("I had bought my suitcase in Toronto's Chinatown for twenty-two dollars before I left for New York" [p. 10]) for her PhD work; when the contagion starts, she has found out she's pregnant. Eventually she gets home to Canada and spends some time outside Hamilton in quarantine, some time in Toronto with a friend, and the rest of the novel at a cottage near Wasaga Beach. The narrator (who came from Windsor originally) is writing the story for her unborn child. Some scenes are set in Toronto (esp. part or most of Chapters 4, 14, 15 and 17), but most of the book is not. City references include the aforementioned Chinatown; "an upscale Toronto diner called the Swan" (p. 11), which is on Queen St. W. and backs onto Trinity Bellwoods Park; the CBC building (p. 28) at 250 Front St. W.; the hardness of Toronto water (which comes from Lake Ontario) compared to New York's (p. 29); St. Lawrence Market (pp. 160 and 182); Huron St. (p. 182); Spadina (p. 182); the CN Tower (p. 182); and the Eaton Centre (p. 332). Based on the technology, the story is set in the present, with one anomaly: the city has eight million people (p. 368) instead of around 2.8 million (as of 2012, while the greater Toronto area had about six million).

Emily Schultz is recommended reading.

Scott, Keith

*** "A Slope So Slippery," On Spec Vol. 12 No. 1 (#40), Spring 2000. In the year 2006, a Toronto fashion photographer goes to a sleazy party in the wealthy Post Road area as part of a deal to raise money for his wife's bone-marrow transplant. Another scene takes place in a shabby rooming house on "Bleaker St" (Bleecker).

Scrimger, Richard

*** Into the Ravine (Tundra Books, 2007). Young-adult novel narrated by Toronto native Jules, who is 13 when the story opens. His closest friends, and his neighbours in suburbia, are Chris and Cory.

"It's August in Scarborough, the sprawling suburb I call home.... But Scarborough has a split personality. A paved wasteland of strip malls, gang violence, and cookie-cutter bungalows, it is criss-crossed throughout by a network of startlingly beautiful ravines. Our subdivision is called Highland Heights because the houses back onto the top of a ravine, with the Highland Creek at the bottom. And the creek is lovely. It's the strangest thing—you cough your way off a bus beside six lanes of snorting, snarling traffic [Kingston Road], but if you walk two blocks and slide down a hill you can dip your feet in a plashy pool, surrounded by woods, weeds, water and peace.

"Beauty in the midst of strife—that's what poetry is, isn't it?" (pp. 4–5).
    A rare tornado brings down trees in the ravine. ("Our part of the world doesn't get tornadoes," Jules declares on p. 13, but he's wrong; Toronto doesn't, but other parts of southern Ontario sure do.) The three boys construct a raft, set off downstream and have many adventures. (Highland Creek flows east and south, into Lake Ontario.) Supernatural elements include a strange old lady and her dog, encountered near a wooden bridge (among the stories the old lady tells the boys is one where, as a child, she used to play in a ravine on the Humber River, on the west side of town), and a creepy gang. Another bridge where odd things happen is the Elgin Avenue bridge, a fictitious structure much reminiscent in shape and history of the Bloor Street Viaduct. Things fall off the Elgin bridge...
"[W]e heard a shriek, drawn out and piercing, from far overhead. The hair on the back of my neck stood up....

"Out of the corner of my eye, I got a sense of something falling. I turned, but by then it had hit the water, close enough to splash us....

"I thought it was a body" (p. 76).
    It was a bicycle. A homeless man tells the boys,
"There'll be more bicycles. They drop them off the bridge every Saturday. It's a local project. One week they dropped ten.... It's been going on for years. There's a parade and a cheering crowd. Sometimes the bikes are decorated, like a ritual sacrifice" (p. 77).
    The hobo also says,
"This is the ravine. Lots of people visit. They come down here looking for peace or beauty, violence or escape, but they all go back up the hill after an hour or so. Only two kinds of people make the ravine their world. Children are one kind. They come down in the morning and stay all day, season after season, catching, climbing, growing—creating worlds where they make the rules. You three know what I'm talking about. Except that you're almost too old for the ravine, aren't you? You've already left your own part—the part you know. The creek is your childhood, and you are following it to where it ends.... The other kind of people who live in the ravine ... are the ones like me. Vagrants. Hoboes. Traveling men. Whatever you call us. Like children, we escape from the city and make our world down here. We don't want any trouble, so we stay out of sight. And people leave us alone. At least they used to" (pp. 80–81).
    By the way, all four of Jules's grandparents are Macedonian: "There are so many Macedonians here in Scarborough that Baba [Jules's grandmother] never had to learn English" (p. 16).
    Among the hazards the boys navigate is a waterfall caused when the creek was diverted around a condo project. They get off the raft for quite a while, and Jules and Chris spend some time chasing Cory, who's been kidnapped by a gang, around Scarborough on various buses. Eventually they get back to the ravine via a backyard in a subdivision.
"The fence around the yard did not have a gate in it. We had to climb over. 'Imagine having a ravine in your backyard and not using it,' said Chris" (p. 212).
    Recommended reading for all ages. Interesting, hilarious, and a real treat for Torontophiles.

Sedore, Mark

*** Snowmen (3-Day Books/Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010). SF novel that won of the 32nd annual International Three-Day Novel Contest. It's sometime after the year 2018, and the far north is permanently frozen after a massive global climate shift. When the novel opens, Charles Perth is trying to become the first person to walk alone across the Arctic Circle on the way to Russia, the birthplace of his dead father; he's also trying to raise money for cancer research. It's a 5,000-kilometre journey. Charles has always had a difficult relationship with his younger brother, Larry, who not only has Asperger's syndrome but has recently developed brain cancer along with a massive case of spite against Charles; it was originally Larry's idea to walk to Russia. The chapters alternate between the Arctic and flashbacks to Toronto, where the brothers grew up. Larry's present house in North York is a "seven-bedroom behemoth with a backlot facing onto the ravine" (p. 7). Other Toronto references include the Lakeshore; the Don Valley Parkway; the boardwalk at Ashbridge's Bay; Princess Margaret Hospital; the University of Toronto; the Eaton Centre; the Danforth; and the S. Walter Stewart Public Library, near where the boys grew up (Mortimer/Coxwell area). Despite the fact that the novel is set at least 10 years after it was written, the technology is the same as today's; there's no "living in the future" sense (except that there are eight billion people on the planet; at present, there are seven). While it's not a satisfying story for an SF-genre reader, it's a pretty good one for a mainstream reader, and for a lover of Toronto.

Senese, Rebecca M.

*** "I Think, Therefore..." TransVersions: An Anthology of New Fantastic Literature (Paper Orchid Press, 2000). Soft-porn SF story about a spoiled rich girl and her AI boy-toy that takes place in the second half of the 21st century ("... according to the Genetic Alteration Laws of '57 ..." [p. 56]). The tale is set in western Ontario ("They ate in tne breakfast nook, overlooking the Thames River" [p. 49], in "the reconstructed Galleria mall" (p. 51) near Montreal, on a "speed train" back to Toronto, and in various Toronto locations (references include Union Station and Bloor Street). Not recommended reading unless one likes clichéd dreck with cringe-worthy punctuation ("What was he talking about, she didn't cry" [p. 55]).

*** "Cold War," X-The Unknown Anthology, an anthology chapbook ed. by Aaron Yorgason for Toronto Trek 12 (1998); reprinted in the e-anthology Dark Tales (no publication date provided). Soft-porn, post-apocalyptic SF story set in Toronto ("He aimed down Yonge Street, the early morning air stinking of sewage and pollution wafting north from the poisoned lake" [p. 3 of the pdf version available on the author's site]) except for the final scene, which takes place off-planet. Other Toronto references include York Street, Queen's Quay, Rosedale, Queen Street West, Spadina Avenue and Massey College (U. of T.). As with the story "I Think, Therefore...", referenced above, this is awful dreck, not the least of whose sins is that it's poorly written ("Even when Pete broke and ran, trailing armoured-clad cops like bouncing marbles...." [p. 17 of the pdf]).

Serravalle, Dean

*** "Mr. Seven's Licence," Sputnik57 (online SF magazine), posted December 6, 2006 but no longer available. It's the year 2025 and Toronto is part of a police state with draconian laws, including regarding reproduction, for which citizens need a licence (hence the story title). "Citizens of Metropolitan Toronto were supposed to be living in the future and any crime would be considered a contradiction of this motive. So if a citizen did commit a crime, it would incur a demotion to the past—on the outskirts of society—without the benefit of health care institutions, education, government, or any civilized form of organization."

Skeet, Michael

*** "Chains," 100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories (Barnes & Noble, 1995). Horror story. Locations include Pape Avenue, the Don Valley, lower Riverdale and Withrow Park. (Montreal writer Nancy Kilpatrick also has a story in this anthology—it's called "UV"—but hers is set in Arizona.)

*** "Tin House," Northern Frights 4 (Mosaic Press, 1997), ed. by Don Hutchison. Horror story set in a house in Chinatown. The tale's introduction says that the story was inspired by a real building in a central Toronto neighbourhood.

*** "Herons," On Spec, Spring 1999. SF story set in 2101 about a community of squatters in Toronto's wrecked, flooded and depopulated downtown.

"If land was cheaper outside the cities, and the wired world made work come to you, why live in a city?

"Especially when the seas began to rise as the ice-caps melted. Many coastal cities had had to be completely abandoned. Toronto's turn came in 2031, when a sudden awakening in the Earth's crust around the fold of the Appalachian Mountains caused the entire Ontario basin to shift. Lake Ontario's north shore sank by nearly five metres, and nature's flooding of the city's core completed the exodus that technology had begun. The only people living in what had been Toronto were the occasional homeowner who had reclaimed space and built a modern castle within the city's boundaries, and the squatters" (p. 37).

Smith, Douglas

***"The Boys are Back in Town," Cicada, July/August 2000; reproduced in infinity plus (online), August 2003; reprinted in the story collection Chimerascope (ChiZine Publications, 2010). Contemporary fantasy story set entirely on the Toronto Islands, where a couple of out-of-work Norse gods are quietly running a tavern. Then some relations drop in uninvited, and all hell (er, Ragnarok?) breaks loose...

*** "The Dancer at the Red Door," Under Cover of Darkness (DAW, 2007), ed. by Julie E. Czerneda and Jana Paniccia; reprinted in the story collection Chimerascope (ChiZine Publications, 2010). In this supernatural story, a predatory business executive who's bored with his life starts hearing things and seeing people no one else can.

"And as with the old man, no one but King seemed to notice the Dancer. People shuffled by like the undead, blinking at the sun finally rising over the towers, newspapers clutched like amulets, briefcases hanging like manacles, coffee sucked from cups as if it were their life blood" (p. 287, Under Cover of Darkness).
    King can also see a phantom subway station between St. Patrick and Queen's Park.

*** "Out of the Light," Dark Wisdom, Issue 11, July 2007; reprinted in the story collection Chimerascope (ChiZine Publications, 2010) and Best New Werewolf Tales, Vol. 1 (Books of the Dead, 2012), ed. by Carolina Smart. Horror story about shapeshifting killers in downtown Toronto. There are references to Queen West, Richmond, Talbot and Jarvis streets. In one scene, a Polish immigrant (named Jan) whose former profession was hunting were-beasts elsewhere in the world talks to a Toronto reporter ("Kate") who'd seen the corpse of a "shifter" victim in its unusually rotted state and had been given Jan's name by another former shifter-hunter ("Garos") who worked in the Coroner's Office. (Got all that?) After Jan summarizes his life story, Kate replies,

"'Okay, so Garos thinks we have a were-beast in Toronto. Because of this corpse decay, right?'

"'Plus the time of the murders. Most shifters assume animal form only at night, to hide in the dark. Out of the light. But actually, beyond that, I don't think it fits with a shifter.'

"'Shifters live where their animal form is common. Then if seen, they aren't viewed as anything unusual. So were-tigers live in areas with tigers, were-wolves with real wolves.'

"'So?'

"'So what animals are common in downtown Toronto?'

"'Dogs and cats, for starters.'

"Yeah, but not running free, which they'd need to be.'

"'How about birds? Maybe it's a were-pigeon,' she said.

"'Very funny. Too small. So are raccoons from the ravines.'

"'What's size got to do with it?'

"'Mass-energy conservation. It has to be as big as us'" (p. 159, Chimerascope).
    In a later scene:
"'So if you hunt shifters,' Kate said, 'and they don't come to the city, why do you live here?'

"Jan looked out to where the gathering dark fed on a dying day. 'I live here because they don't. I don't hunt them anymore. I got someone killed, Kate. Someone who trusted me.'

"Kate bit her lip. 'I'm sorry,' she said. They sat silent for a moment, then she gave a small smile. 'Anybody could understand why you'd want to get away from those things.'

"Jan looked back to her. 'I wonder if I have.'

"'What do you mean?'

"'Every civilization has had shape-shifter legends. I've always wondered why no such myth exists for our modern cities.'

"'Why would such creatures live in a city? Why not stay in the wild? Less chance of being seen,' she said.

"'Also less food. They're predators who prefer human flesh.' He shuddered, remembering. 'There's more of that in a city.'

"'Sure, but you eliminated all the animal options.'

"He stared out at the night. 'This is a different jungle. Maybe we've created a new niche, supporting a different predator. Convergent evolution. Its other form may not be animal at all'" (pp. 161–162, Chimerascope).
    "Out of the Light" is recommended reading.

*** "Going Down to Lucky Town," Impossibilia (PS Publishing, 2008). Fantasy about an itinerant gambler and con man chasing a strange pattern of good luck across Ontario while trying to reconcile with the daughter he'd abandoned years ago in Guelph. Toronto locations include the Woodbine Racetrack, the Yonge Street Strip, Sick Children's Hospital on University Avenue, the Strathcona Hotel on York Street, the Toronto Islands, and the Canadian National Exhibition on the waterfront.

*** "Fiddleheads," Chilling Tales: In Words, Alas, Drown I (Edge, 2013), ed. by Michael Kelly. Horror story about a teenaged boy who has just moved with his family from Vancouver to Toronto (p. 119). The house where he lives with his now much-smaller family backs onto a wooded ravine (p. 116) where fiddlehead ferns will play a major part in the story.

Smith, Vern

*** "The Great Salmon Hunt," Concrete Forest: The New Fiction of Urban Canada (McClelland & Stewart, 1998), ed. by Hal Niedzviecki. A man living in Kensington Market takes a summer job on the charter-fishing boat Rip Tide. Just before Labour Day, two brothers charter the boat to take part in The Great Salmon Hunt, sponsored by the Toronto Star:

"Lake Ontario was a sheet of amethyst that morning. No whitecaps, no ripples, no waves. As we left the harbour, a carp broke the glassy water diving below with a tiny insect, leaving a perfect row of circles behind. Two miles later, we were drifting in a slow troll. The city core, the SkyDome, the CN Tower, and the Gardiner Expressway were enveloped in a green plume of smog, as if a lime rainbow had wrapped itself around downtown. It looked like that every day from the lake. It was almost solid waste. I never knew it was that bad, that it looked that bad, until I worked the Rip Tide" (p. 227).
    One of the brothers lands a 42-pound chinook salmon that tries to kill him in its frenzy to get back in the water. (Note: Lake Ontario is stocked with chinook salmon; that's not the fantastic element in this story.)

Spencer, Hugh A.D.

*** "The Triage Conference," On Spec Vol. 5 No. 2 (#13), Summer 1993. The conference of the title is held in Toronto.

*** "Why I Hunt Flying Saucers," On Spec: The First Five Years (Tesseract Books, 1995), ed. by the On Spec Editorial Collective. Set in the present day. A man believes he has been repeatedly abducted by aliens. In one scene, he goes to do research at his local library. "I arrive at the Reference Section with no sign of alien activity. Perhaps invaders from another solar system hesitate to interfere with the operation of the Toronto Public Library System" (p. 220).

*** "Pornzilla," On Spec Vol.16 No. 3 (#58), Fall 2004. It's sometime in the future. Superheroes with monikers such as Math Man and Logistics Lass fight the Forces of Evil in MegaCity, which has echoes of Toronto: mentions of Bay Street, Scarborough Mall. But the superheroes exist only in a virtual reality ("HyperReality") program that's unexpectedly deteriorating "into protracted adult scenarios." The city has many upscale "digitally enhanced gated communities," HyperReality communities. An employee of the company (who, not incidentally, is addicted to porn) is told, "Access the Fiction Section of the Toronto Public Library System. Check out some passages from the books." When he does, a colleague realizes that "there's been some kind of programme slippage from a porn system into the library's knowledge architecture..... Everywhere the data palaces and information structures of the city had been changed. All the systems looked like they'd fused together into something even more complex, organic" (p. 47)—a Porn Artificial Intelligence—and "everything is becoming pornography" (p. 48).

Stanton, Steve

*** "The Writing on the Wall," Tesseracts Nine (Edge, 2005), ed. by Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman. A mathematical physicist at U of T works on making time travel possible—and succeeds.

Starrett, Vincent

*** "The Tattooed Man," Coffin for Two (Covici, 1924); reprinted in The Quick and the Dead (Arkham House, 1965), in Friendly Aliens: Thirteen Stories of the Fantastic Set in Canada by Foreign Authors (Hounslow Press, 1981), ed. by John Robert Colombo, and in Bloody York: Tales of Mayhem, Murder and Mystery in Toronto (Dundurn, 1996), ed. by David Skene-Melvin. Horror story set in 1904 and narrated by a doctor who lives in the then-village of Parkdale, before it became part of Toronto.
    Vincent Starrett (pronounced "STARE-et"; 1886–1974) was born at 47 Oxford Street in Kensington Market, Toronto, but spent most of his life in the States and died in Chicago. He is best known for his mystery stories, and his most famous work, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, was published in 1933. Many of his stories, such as those in The Quick and the Dead, noted above, also contained horror elements. "The Tattooed Man" is the only story that Starrett set in Toronto.

Story, Kate

*** Blasted (Killick Press, 2008). Literary fantasy/magic realist novel whose action shifts between St. John's, Newfoundland, and Toronto. Ruby Jones grows up a troubled girl in a family disturbed by alcoholism and secrets. She sees things that people outside the family don't. When she moves to Toronto, she first lives in an apartment in an old house on Shaw Street (northeast of College and Ossington) and then in the loft of a friend (possibly in Kensington Market). Her "seeing" continues (especially of dead people and fairy pigeons; Ruby drinks too much, but what she sees aren't the hallucinations of a drunk). Other Toronto references include many references to Queen Street (including "Queen Street Mental" [the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 1001 Queen St. W.]); Bloor Street; Rosedale; College Street; Little Italy; Spadina; Bathurst; Honest Ed's (Bloor and Bathurst); Christie Pits; the Toronto Islands; High Park; the Bloor Street Viaduct ("They'd put those barriers up, but maybe there was a way. It was tacky; everyone did it there, a suicide note to the city" [p. 245]); Bellwood Park; and the Beaches. At the end of the novel, Ruby goes back where she belongs: St. John's.

Such, Peter

*** "The Dalai Lama's Pyjamas," Tesseracts5 (Tesseract Books, 1996), ed. by Robert Runté and Yves Meynard. Fantasy about Tibetan monks coming to Toronto. There are references to Toronto Island and the rickety houses of the stubborn Island community, the ferry, the "desperately polluted harbour," and Simcoe Hall (University of Toronto).

Sumner-Smith, Karina

*** "Safe Passage," Mythspring: From the Lyrics & Legends of Canada (Red Deer Press, 2006), ed. by Julie E. Czerneda and Genevieve Kierans. Ghost story set in Kincardine, Ontario. The principal character's home was in Toronto, and as she wandered about Kincardine she couldn't help but compare the two:

"Kincardine wrapped itself in its history, building layer upon layer over the past, saving what had come before, while in Toronto progress plowed over the had-beens, the city inventing and reinventing and renovating itself by the year. The Royal York hotel, once the tallest building in the Commonwealth, had been topped with neon. Even the beautiful stonework of the Royal Ontario Museum was being buried beneath a structure of iron and glass" (p. 238).

Sword, Joanna

*** "Ghosting," In the Dark: Stories from the Supernatural (Tightrope Books, 2006), ed. by Myna Wallin and Halli Villegas. Although the word "Toronto" doesn't occur, a few things point to it as a possible setting for this ghost story: the Os Amigos cafe, the large Portuguese soccer-mad community, the mention of Little Italy, the existence of a film industry.

Taylor, Dena Bain

*** "The Nightingale," Red Riding Hood in the Big Bad City (DAW, 2004), ed. by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers. Modern fantasy take on H.C. Andersen’s fairy tale "The Nightingale," set in Toronto.

Thawar, Tasleem

*** "Her Hands," Gothic Toronto: Writing the City Macabre (Diaspora Dialogues and Luminato, 2009). Short story about a young man who works in the Guild Inn in Scarborough and encounters a ghost.

Trudel, Jean-Louis

*** "The Falafel Is Better in Ottawa," Ark of Ice: Canadian Futurefiction (Pottersfield Press, 1992), ed. by Lesley Choyce. SF about a "hunter" (secret agent/hired killer) temporarily living in a close-packed area of Toronto. The hunter gives himself the moniker "Spadina" when he makes a call. A quote from p. 93: "You could eat cheap falafel in the Spadina eateries of Toronto, but the falafel was definitely better in Ottawa."

*** "The Paradigm Machine," Tesseracts5 (Tesseract Books, 1996), ed. by Robert Runté and Yves Meynard. SF with virtual reality "Virtuality" and aircars; some scenes are set in smelly, overpopulated Toronto, part of "the Toronto-Kingston strip city."

Turtledove, Harry

*** The Great War: Breakthroughs (Del Rey, 2000). Alternate-history novel set in 1917. As part of a wide-ranging global war, Canada has been invaded by the United States. Stubbornly-defended Toronto is eventually forced to surrender. The provincial Parliament Buildings (Queen's Park) end in smoking ruins from bombing runs.

van Belkom, Edo

*** "The Cold," Northern Frights 2 (Mosaic Press, 1994), ed. by Don Hutchison; and Death Drives a Semi (Quarry Press, 1998), story collection by the author. "The Cold" is set in the shopping district of Spadina Avenue south of College. The author says that "the furrier in the story is loosely based on Paul Magder," who gained notoriety during the 1980s for keeping his fur shop open in defiance of no-shopping-on-Sunday laws. Sunday shopping was legalized in the early 1990s.

*** "Career Move," City of Darkness: Unseen (White Wolf, 1995). The anthology is part of a series based on White Wolf's role-playing game The World of Darkness; author Don Bassingthwaite's Such Pain (1995) is another in the series. Although the story ostensibly takes place in San Francisco (as do the others in the series), its setting is declared to be Northwestern General Hospital (which is at 2175 Keele Street, Toronto), and I can find no such hospital in San Francisco. Several times, the Pantages Theatre is mentioned; there is one in San Francisco, but there used to be one in Toronto as well, on Yonge Street south of Dundas; it was renamed the Canon Theatre in 2001. (The inclusion of this story in the survey is a stretch, but the winks at Toronto are hard to miss.)

*** "Rat Food" (with David Nickle), On Spec Vol. 9 No. 1 (#28), Spring 1997; reprinted in Death Drives a Semi (Quarry Press, 1998). There is a mention of Sparroway Street, a fictitious street in North York, northern Toronto.

*** "The Piano Player Has No Fingers," Palace Corbie #7, ed. by Wayne Edwards and John Marshall (Merrimack Books, 1997); Death Drives a Semi (Quarry Press, 1998); and Goddess of the Bay #7 (Summer 1999). The El Mocambo nightclub on Bathurst Street is mentioned. The Elmo closed in 2002, to the great distress of city clubbers. The space reopened as a dance studio.

*** "Hockey's Night in Canada," Arrowdreams (Nuage Editions, 1998), ed. by Mark Shainblum and John Dupuis; Ice: New Writings on Hockey (Spotted Cow Press, 1999), ed. by Dale Jacobs; Storyteller Magazine, Vol. 7, Issue 4 (Spring 2001); and Going for the Top Shelf: An Anthology of Hockey Prose (Key Porter Books, Fall 2003), ed. by Michael Kennedy. The player in the story is trying out for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*** "Heart," Canadian Fiction Magazine (July 2000 issue) and Northern Horror anthology (Quarry Press, 2000), both ed. by Edo van Belkom. The ghost of a Toronto Maple Leafs player kills a current player in the Air Canada Centre.

*** "Hey, Fairy!," Queer Fear: Gay Horror Fiction (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2000), ed. by Michael Rowe. The locale isn't named in this horror story, but there among the clues that the author had Toronto in mind are "trolley cars" and "the St. Charles" pub (p. 105) and "the subway" (p. 113).

*** "The Sypher," Campus Chills (Stark Publishing, 2009). Horror story set at York University. A female student possesses a psychic power that drains the intelligence of her classmates. (A succubus, academic-style.) Settings at York U. include Founders College, Central Square and Stong College.

Edo's stories are recommended reading.

Virgo, Seán

*** "Ciao, Father Time," Exile (Vol. 29 No. 2, Summer 2005). In this mainstream story whose SF element ("passive" psychic powers—psychometry, clairvoyance) is not central, an aging watchmaker named Dyce whose store is on Queen Street West finds time to be leaving him behind in a nightmarish (i.e., modern-day) Toronto he barely recognizes. After an episode of absent-mindedness embarrasses him in a restaurant, he

"fled to the street and now its phantasms assailed him. The street lights and cars and store windows, all glaring light in the darkness that was no darkness. The bodies that passed or approached or were overtaking him. And the smells: the starved, hell-corridor air with its almost visible net of motor fumes and fried food and garish perfumes, eddying over the pavement, waist-high. Sometimes Mr. Dyce did have a sense of Hell—that the Old Adversary was a squalid inch or instant away from breaking in with his plagues. Someone jostled his arm, without apology; then another, muttering angrily. A streetcar passed, a thundering barge bearing, it seemed, lost souls in its vague interior.... [Then] his mind became clear again. The street was Queen Street, and home just three blocks away" (p. 106)
    Other Toronto references include Palmerston and College streets, Little Italy, Little Portugal, and the CN Tower.

von Kampen, Bettina

*** "For Each a Space Among the Stars," Descant 122 (Speculative Literature theme issue, Fall 2003). A physics professor tries to come to terms with the death of his son, who was seriously injured when a stranger pushed him off the subway platform at Broadview station into the path of a TTC train.

Wan, Michelle

*** "Here with Us," Gothic Toronto: Writing the City Macabre (Diaspora Dialogues and Luminato, 2009). Short story about a family living in "a narrow brick house on Dovercourt Road" (p. 45). An AWOL family member returns in a less-than-welcome way: as a ghost.

Waring, Wendy

*** "Au pays des merveilles," Tesseracts Ten (Edge, 2006), ed. by Robert Charles Wilson and Edo van Belkom. It's a decade or two in the future. Part of Toronto's downtown is Sealed off; the better-off residents avoid going out in the open air; homeless people are regularly rounded up. A woman trying to return a rare paper book to a man who has left it on the Carlton streetcar enters Allan Gardens and finds "a library for the displaced" in the greenhouses. It's an environment she prefers to her old way of life.

Watts, Irene N.

*** Flower (Tundra Books, 2005). YA novel. In the summer of 2005, Katie Carr and her widowed father, an associate professor of biology at U of T, muddle along somehow in a house on Chester Avenue near the Danforth. And then her father takes a new wife—a 20-something woman who co-owns a boutique in the Distillery District. Katie, already full of resentment for this interloper, then learns that she's to be shipped off to Halifax to stay with her grandparents while her father and stepmother go somewhere else. In Halifax, Katie meets the ghosts of orphans and other unwanted or kidnapped children shipped from Britain in the early 1900s as Home Children, and learns more about their difficult lives from stories and letters. Her experiences help Katie come to terms with the dynamics of her new family back in Toronto and to do a star turn as the orphan Mary Lennox in a theatrical version of The Secret Garden.

Wehrstein, Karen

*** "O.R. 3," Shivers: Canadian Tales of the Supernatural (Seal Books, 1989), ed. by Greg Ioannou and Lynne Missen. Ghost story about a haunted operating room at (Toronto) "East General Hospital." There are references to the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun newspapers, and to the Scarborough Bluffs, where a stressed-out surgeon goes:

"He found a cliff, on the Scarborough Bluffs, a three-hundred-foot sand cliff at the dead end of a road, overlooking the lake. He ran towards it, knowing he should just jump without looking" (p. 100).

Weiner, Andrew

*** "The Map," Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison; reprinted in Weiner's story collection This Is the Year Zero (Pottersfield Press, 1998) and in Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin. The police find a dead man in his lakeshore condo, but "he drowned in the lake. They can track it from the pollutants" (p. 10). Underneath the body is a map of a "City of York" from an alternate universe in which Canada lost the West instead of coalescing, and Upper Canada never became a flourishing Ontario. A cop takes the map to an old map store but emerges from the store to find he's in that universe. Among other differences, the city ends at the Esplanade. "Where the south side of the street should have been was the lake. No parking lots, no buildings, no railway lines. And looking west, no lakeshore condominium developments, no soaring modern office buildings, no CN Tower, no SkyDome. Just water" (p. 18).
    Returning to the map store, he asks the owner for an explanation, and gets one. The owner adds,

"The old York lives on, you know... Even in your own Toronto. In terms of both the physical and psychological infrastructure. It's always been there, lurking just below the surface. The old Loyalist ways. The allegiance to Queen and flag and country. The dourness, the small-mindedness, the provincialism, the abiding hatred of the new and the foreign. It's all there. You don't really need a map to see it" (p. 20).

    "The Map" is recommended reading.

*** Distant Signals and Other Stories (Porcépic Press, 1990). In the title story, "Distant Signals," an SF tale that also appeared in Tesseracts2 (Porcépic Books, 1987), ed. by Phyllis Gotlieb and Doug Barbour, only the first scene is set in Toronto. "Going Native," an SF story set in the 1980s, is about an alien inhabiting a man in an unnamed big city. Internal clues that the city is probably Toronto: It's in the east of Canada; it's English-speaking; there are a subway and a reference library. Toronto's Metro Reference Library (now called the Toronto Reference Library), designed by Raymond Moriyama, was a big deal when it was built.

*** "The Identity Factor," Science Fiction Age (January 1999); reprinted in North of Infinity II (2006), ed. by Mark Leslie. SF story set in the early days of the Internet. Although the city's not named, it seems to be Toronto ("he had tickets for the Raptors game tonight"—p. 40).

*** Getting Near the End (Robert J. Sawyer Books, 2004; Red Deer Press, 2006). In the 2020s, Quebec is a republic but Toronto is still part of Canada. North American society is breaking down, partly under the influence of a singer and psychic named Martha Nova, who's a Canadian. Before she becomes a big star, she lives in a studio apartment in Toronto. Only one scene takes place there, in an unnamed hotel room during a tour. Martha foresees that "the end of time" is near, and by the last page of the novel, some sort of mass psychosis/apocalypse has begun. Even though Toronto had not experienced as much civil disorder as American cities, it's probable that it won't survive "the end of time" either.

Weiss, Allan

*** "The Solomon Cheats," Tesseracts7 (Edmonton: Tesseract Books, 1998), ed. by Paula Johanson and Jean-Louis Trudel. SF story set in early-21st-century Toronto, where there are many desperate, unhappy people. "Solomons" are professional life-counsellors with enhanced brains and the ability to heal body and mind quickly using nanotechnology. The story's hero, Don Solomon, derives consolation from his pleasant neighbourhood, "a short walk from the edge of the Don Valley, where he could enjoy the simple pleasures of seeing the fall colours, the rushing cars, and the downtown towers now webbed with aerial walkways" (p. 168).

West, Michelle

*** "The Rose Garden" in Red Riding Hood in the Big City (DAW, 2004), ed. by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers. Modern fantasy take on the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast," set in Toronto (the reference to the hospice Casey House is the sole solid clue).

Note: Michelle West also writes as Michelle Sagara.

Willis, Alette J.

*** "Thought and Memory," Tesseracts Nine (Edge, 2005), ed. by Nalo Hopkinson and Geoff Ryman. Fantasy story about Eileen, an artist, and Jo, her ornithologist partner, who move to northern Ontario to, among other things, "escape the hot smoggy Toronto air," start an organic farm and work on their relationship. The West Nile virus is spreading in crows, and the sole Toronto scene in the story concerns Jo's obsessional work on the problem at the U of T ornithology department and Eileen's resentment at her lover's neglect.

Wilson, Robert Charles

For an in-depth discussion of Wilson's use of Toronto in his fiction, see "The Speculative Torontos of Robert Charles Wilson and Robert J. Sawyer," also written by Karen Bennett. The following works by Wilson contain Toronto settings:

*** The Divide (Doubleday, 1990); and
*** The Perseids and Other Stories (Tor, 2000), in particular the story "The Inner Inner City."

Although no scenes in Wilson's apocalyptic novel The Harvest (Bantam, 1992) take place in Toronto, there are numerous shout-outs to the city. In the novel, aliens offer immortality to all of Earth's citizens, and most people say Yes. After a time, their "souls" are transferred to the alien ship, leaving Earth's civilization to break down. Some of the nay-sayers in North America start communicating by ham radio, including all the 80 people remaining in Toronto. Eventually the aliens agree to sustain the infrastructure in one spot in Ohio, and guide the communities of North American survivors (a.k.a. "wild human beings") there, to form a town of perhaps a few thousand. (Some mavericks won't even agree to go to Ohio, however, and strike out to live on their own.)

Bob Wilson's work is recommended reading.

Wynne-Jones, Tim

*** Fastyngange (Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1988; McClelland & Stewart, 1990; Lester, Orpen & Denny, 2002). Literary fantasy novel about Alexis, a former nurse at St. Michael's Hospital, who goes to England on vacation and (thinks she?) finds a haunted castle with a talking hole (composed of a ring of stones and a malevolent spirit). At the B&B she stays in is a pair of Ugly Canadians.

"They were from Toronto, a coincidence that delighted the couple and pervaded their every conversation.... Frank had just retired from the transportation commission. He liked to grill Alexis on bus routes and what you could and couldn't do on a transfer. Rita was equally insufferable: inquisitive and mawkish" (p. 17).

    On her way home, Alexis takes a boat to Halifax, a train to Toronto and a cab to her childhood home via the Don Valley Expressway.
"Alone heading north, the cab had sped past the lights of Cabbagetown twinkling in the trees above the ballpark, then under a silver subway train crossing the valley on the viaduct. A long-familiar turn had pressed Alexis into the corner of the seat as the cab had crept silently under the lights of Rosedale—fewer than the lights of anywhere else in the city and higher in the trees, closer to the stars——what stars there were. How few stars the city commanded, Alexis had thought. Not a holy place" (p. 247).

    In her parents' house (they're away), she meets a caretaking neighbour, Belle Fleischman, the mother of childhood friends.
"'All the birds flown,' said Belle, with the long face she had been working on as long as Alexis could remember. It was an expression derived from years of 'Girls, girls—leave those shoes on the porch!' and 'Go catch fairies in the ravine but don't let them loose in my kitchen!'"

    Later, Alexis goes to her Queen Street apartment in Parkdale, where she installs the talking hole she'd brought from England (Illegal Immigrant Alert!). Later still, she moves it to the alley next to the building. But the drunk to whom the hole has told the whole novel moves the hole again, to become the new font in the nearby (Anglican) Church of St. Mary Magdalene. There are many references to Parkdale’s population of mentally ill and/or down-and-out people.
    Recommended reading.


THEMATIC INDEX

My indexing of landmarks and neighbourhoods (Allan Gardens, Cabbagetown, Canadian National Exhibition, CN Tower, Convocation Hall, Don Valley Parkway, Kensington Market, Parkdale and Queen Street, Queen's Park, Ravines and their bridges, Royal Ontario Museum, Subway and the TTC, Toronto Islands, the Toronto Reference Library/TPL system, and York University) is intended to indicate which stories/books noted in the survey contain major scenes in/observations of the features. Not indexed are works that hold passing references. (All the photos in this section were taken by me.)

Other themes I've indexed: Aliens, the Architecture/development industry, Epidemics and infestations, Ghosts and other supernatural entities (although there are now so many works listed under this theme that it's of doubtful utility), Toronto the Good, Toronto the Not-So-Good, Toronto the So-Bad-It's-a-Dystopia, Toronto the Pre- or Post-Apocalyptic, Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies.

Aliens: Elizabeth Bear, Hammered, Scardown and Worldwired; Timothy Carter, Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters; Cory Doctorow, "Craphound"; James Alan Gardner, "All the Cool Monsters at Once"; Ed Greenwood, "All One Under the Stars"; Andres Kahar, "The Protector"; Sally McBride, "There Is a Violence"; J. FitzGerald McCurdy, The Fire Demons; Jim Munroe, Angry Young Spaceman; Brian Panhuyzen, "Enormous Attraction"; Robert J. Sawyer, End of an Era and "Flashes"; Hugh A.D. Spencer, "Why I Hunt Flying Saucers"; Andrew Weiner, Distant Signals and Other Stories.

Allan Gardens: Tanya Huff, Blood Lines; Elizabeth Ruth, Ten Good Seconds of Silence; Wendy Waring, "Au pays des merveilles."

Architecture/development industry: James Bow, The Young City; Douglas Cooper, Amnesia and Delirium; Wayland Drew, The Wabeno Feast; Timothy Findley, Headhunter; Sandra Glaze, "The Resident Guest"; Glenn Grant, "Burning Day"; Robert Green, The Great Leap Backward; Nalo Hopkinson, "Ours Is the Prettiest"; B.W. Powe, Outage: A Journey into Electric City; Garfield Reeves-Stevens, "Tear Down"; Karina Sumner-Smith, "Safe Passage."looking north from the Toronto Islands. Photo: Karen Bennett

Cabbagetown: Kelley Armstrong, Broken; Shari Lapeña, Things Go Flying; Julian May, the Ramparts Worlds series; Barbara Nichol, Dippers.

Canadian National Exhibition ("CNE"): Gwendolyn MacEwen, Noman's Land; Frederick Nelson, Toronto in 1988 A.D.; Douglas Smith, "Going Down in Lucky Town."

CN Tower: Elizabeth Bear, Scardown, Worldwired and "Gone to Flowers"; Cory Doctorow, "When Sysadmins Ruled the World"; Philippa Dowding, The Gargoyle in My Yard and The Gargoyle Overhead; Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring; Tanya Huff, "Symbols Are a Percussion Instrument," Blood Lines and The Enchantment Emporium; Gwendolyn MacEwen, Noman's Land; Darren O'Donnell, Your Secrets Sleep With Me; B.W. Powe, Outage: A Journey into Electric City; Garfield Reeves-Stevens, "The Eddies"; Michelle Rowen, Tall, Dark & Fangsome; Robert J. Sawyer, "Flashes," "The Stanley Cup Caper" and Rollback.

Convocation Hall (U of T, St. George Campus):Convocation Hall at dusk, Dec. 19, 2006. Photo: Karen Bennett. Guy Gavriel Kay, The Summer Tree; Janet McNaughton, The Secret Under My Skin and The Raintree Rebellion.

Epidemics and infestations: Kelley Armstrong, Broken (includes mention of the 2003 SARS outbreak); Margaret Atwood, "Freeforall"; Elizabeth Bear, Scardown; Tony Burgess, Pontypool Changes Everything; E.L. Chen, "Threes"; Cory Doctorow, "When Sysadmins Ruled the World"; Gemma Files, "Heart's Hole" and "Pretend that We're Dead"; Timothy Findley, Headhunter; Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring; Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, "Laikas I"; Violette Malan, Shadowlands; Donna McMahon, "Squat"; Jim Munroe, An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil; Darren O'Donnell, Your Secrets Sleep With Me.

Ghosts, fairies, angels, elves, gargoyles, witches, wizards, demons, psychics and other entities with supernatural powers (except vampires, werewolves and zombies, which have their own entries): André Alexis, Ingrid and the Wolf; Margaret Atwood, "Giving Birth"; Alison Baird, "The Dragon Door"; Don Bassingthwaite, As One Dead and Pomegranates Full and Fine; Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Guardian Angel and Fallen Angel; Leah Bobet, Above; Peter Carey, The Big Bazoohley; Timothy Carter, Epoch; Isabella Colalillo-Katz, "Leticia Blackmoor"; Douglas Cooper, Amnesia, Delirium and Mulrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help; Susan Cooper, The Boggart; Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man, High Spirits, The Lyre of Orpheus, Murther & Walking Spirits, The Rebel Angels and What's Bred in the Bone; John Charles Dent, "The Gerrard Street Mystery," "Gagtooth's Image" and "The Haunted House on Duchess Street"; Philippa Dowding's Lost Gargoyle series; Bernadette Gabay Dyer, Abductors; Gemma Files, "Bear-Shirt," "Bottle of Smoke," "By the Mark," "The Diarist," "Flare," "Heart's Hole," "Keepsake," "The Kindly Ones," "Kissing Carrion," "Mouthful of Pins," "The Narrow World," "Pretend that We're Dead," "Rose-Sick," "Skeleton Bitch" and "Skin City"; Timothy Findley, "About Effie" and Headhunter; James Alan Gardner, "All the Cool Monsters at Once"; Hugh Garner, "The Premeditated Death of Samuel Glover"; Sandra Glaze, "The Resident Guest"; Roben Goodfellow, "After November"; Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring, Chaos and "Ours Is the Prettiest"; Robert Howell, Third Times the Charm; Tanya Huff, "Quid Pro Quo," "Shing Li-ung," "Underground," and the novels Blood Price, The Enchantment Emporium, Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light and The Wild Ways; Stephen Humphrey, "Out of Area"; Lorne Kates, "Over Lunar White"; Guy Gavriel Kay, The Summer Tree; Michael Kelly, "Different Skins"; Shari Lapeña, Things Go Flying; Dennis Lee, The Cat and the Wizard; Janet Lunn, Double Spell; Scott Mackay, "The World of One-Ways"; Violette Malan, Shadowlands; Amanda Bloss Maloney, "The Good Samaritan"; O.R. Melling, Falling Out of Time and The Book of Dreams; Brian Panhuyzen, "The Ninth Chair"; Emily Pohl-Weary, A Girl Like Sugar; Andrew Pyper, "When You Were Beautiful"; Leon Rooke, The Beautiful Wife; Michelle Rowen, The Demon in Me; Elizabeth Ruth, Ten Good Seconds of Silence; Michelle Sagara, Silence; Emily Schultz, Heaven Is Small; Douglas Smith, "The Boys are Back in Town," "The Dancer at the Red Door" and "Out of the Light"; Karina Sumner-Smith, "Safe Passage"; Joanna Sword, "Ghosting"; Tasleem Thawar, "Her Hands"; Edo van Belkom, "Heart," "Hey, Fairy!" and "The Sypher"; Michelle Wan, "Here with Us"; Irene Watts, Flower; Andrew Weiner, Getting Near the End; Tim Wynne-Jones, Fastyngange.

Kensington Market: Dionne Brand, "At the Lisbon Plate"; Cory Doctorow, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town.

Parkdale and Queen Street, including the Queen Street Mental Health Centre: André Alexis, Ingrid and the Wolf; Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride; Don Bassingthwaite, Pomegranates Full and Fine and As One Dead; Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, "And Not a Drop to Drink"; Leah Bobet, Above; Tony Burgess, Pontypool Changes Everything; Claudia Dey, Stunt; Cory Doctorow, "I, Robot"; Philippa Dowding's Lost Gargoyle series Timothy Findley, Headhunter; Ed Greenwood, "All One Under the Stars" and "Writhe, Damn You"; Tanya Huff's Vicki Nelson stories and novels; Jim Munroe, An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil; Ursula Pflug, Green Music; Andrew Pyper, "When You Were Beautiful"; Vincent Starrett, "The Tattooed Man"; Kate Story, Blasted; Seán Virgo, "Ciao, Father Time"; Tim Wynne-Jones, Fastyngange.

Queen's Park: Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man; Robert Green, The Great Leap Backward; Tanya Huff, Blood Trail; Shari Lapeña, Things Go Flying; O.R. Melling, The Book of Dreams; Janet McNaughton, The Raintree Rebellion; Harry Turtledove, The Great War: Breakthroughs.

Ravines and their bridges (incl. Rosedale, the Don Valley and the Bloor Viaduct, and Taddle Creek): Kelley Armstrong, Bitten and "Beginnings"; Leah Bobet, "Midnights on the Bloor Viaduct" and "Lagtime"; James Bow, The Young City; Timothy Carter, Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters; E.L. Chen, "Fin-de-siècle"; Douglas Cooper, Amnesia;ravine, Leslie and Sheppard area, summer 2012 Susan Cooper, The Boggart; Claudia Dey, Stunt; Cory Doctorow, "Clockwork Fagin" and "I, Robot"; Gemma Files, "By the Mark" and "The Narrow World"; Timothy Findley, Headhunter; Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring; Tanya Huff, "Quid Pro Quo" and "Symbols Are a Percussion Instrument"; Stephen Humphrey, "Out of Area"; Michael Kelly, "Different Skins"; Shari Lapeña, Things Go Flying; Violette Malan, Shadowlands; J. FitzGerald McCurdy, The Fire Demons; B.W. Powe, Outage: A Journey into Electric City; Michelle Rowen, Bitten & Smitten and Stakes & Stilettos; Geoff Ryman, "No Bad Thing"; Richard Scrimger, Into the Ravine; Kate Story, Blasted; Tim Wynne-Jones, Fastyngange.

Royal Ontario Museum: Kelley Armstrong, Broken; Timothy Findley, "Foxes" and Headhunter; Tanya Huff, Blood Lines, Blood Trail and The Enchantment Emporium; Ven Begamudré, "In the Beginning, There Was Memory"; Alyxandra Harvey, "The Shield Maiden"; Janet Lunn, Double Spell; Robert J. Sawyer, End of an Era, "Lost in the Mail" and Calculating God.

Queen streetcar, June 2012Subway (incl. phantom and/or lost stations such as Lower Queen and Lower Bay1) and the rest of the TTC: Don Bassingthwaite, Pomegranates Full and Fine and As One Dead; Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, "Transfer," The Bleeding Sun and "And Not a Drop to Drink"; Timothy Carter, Section K: Kasefile 42—The Demon Subway of North York; Douglas Cooper, Amnesia and Delirium; Cory Doctorow, "Truncat"; Philippa Dowding, The Gargoyle in My Yard; Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring; Tanya Huff, "Another Fine Nest," "Underground" and Blood Price; Lorne Kates, "Over Lunar White"; Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, "Laikas I"; Violette Malan, The Mirror Prince and Shadowlands; Julian May, the Rampart Worlds series; Brian Panhuyzen, "Enormous Attraction"; Emily Schultz, Heaven Is Small; Douglas Smith, "The Dancer at the Red Door"; Bettina von Kampen, "For Each a Space Among the Stars"; Wendy Waring, "Au pays des merveilles."

Toronto Islands: Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride; Claudia Dey, Stunt; Nalo Hopkinson, Chaos; Douglas Smith, "The Boys Are Back in Town" and "Going Down in Lucky Town."

Toronto the Good (i.e., it's an okay place to live): André Alexis, Ingrid and the Wolf; Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride; Alison Baird, "The Dragon Door"; "Leah Bobet, "Lagtime"; Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man; E.L. Chen, "Nocturne"; Cory Doctorow, Eastern Standard Tribe; Philippa Dowding, The Gargoyle in My Yard and The Gargoyle Overhead; Terence M. Green, A Witness to Life; Alyxandra Harvey, "The Shield Maiden"; Shari Lapeña, Things Go Flying; Janet Lunn, Double Spell; J. FitzGerald McCurdy, The Fire Demons; Hugh Pedley, Looking Forward: The Strange Experience of the Rev. Fergus McCheyne; Elizabeth Ruth, Ten Good Seconds of Silence; Violette Malan, The Mirror Prince and Shadowlands; Michelle Sagara, Silence; most of Robert J. Sawyer's novels and stories; Richard Scrimger, Into the Ravine; Kate Story, Blasted.

Toronto the Not-So-Good: André Alexis, "The Third Terrace"; Cat Ashton, "Piece Corps"; Don Bassingthwaite, Pomegranates Full and Fine; Elizabeth Bear, Hammered, Scardown and "Gone to Flowers"; Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, The Bleeding Sun; Leah Bobet, Above; Dionne Brand, "At the Lisbon Plate" and "Blossom, Priestess of Oya, Goddess of Winds, Storms, and Waterfalls"; Lois McMaster Bujold, "Dreamweaver's Dilemma"; E.L. Chen, "Fin-de-siècle"; Douglas Cooper, Amnesia and Delirium; Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, "Surveillance"; Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man; Claudia Dey, Stunt; Cory Doctorow, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town; Candas Jane Dorsey, "Learning about) Machine Sex"; Gemma Files, Kissing Carrion, The Worm in Every Heart, and "The Shrines"; Tanya Huff, the Blood series of novels and stories; Eugene Kachmarsky, Let Slip the Dogs of Love: Suburban Legends of the Living and the Dead; Nancy Kilpatrick, "Inspiriter"; Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, "Laikas I"; Amanda Bloss Maloney, "The Good Samaritan"; Julian May, the Rampart Worlds trilogy; David Nickle, "Knife Fight"; Ursula Pflug, Green Music; B.W. Powe, Outage: A Journey into Electric City; Geoff Ryman, "No Bad Thing"; Keith Scott, "A Slope So Slippery"; Douglas Smith, "The Dancer at the Red Door"; Robert J. Sawyer," The Stanley Cup Caper"; Dena Bain Taylor, "The Nightingale"; Jean-Louis Trudel, "The Falafel Is Better in Ottawa" and "The Paradigm Machine"; Seán Virgo, "Ciao, Father Time"; Andrew Weiner, Getting Near the End; Allan Weiss, "The Solomon Cheats"; Michelle West, "The Rose Garden"; Tim Wynne-Jones, Fastyngange.

Toronto the So-Bad-It's-a-Dystopia: Margaret Atwood, "Freeforall"; Sara Joan Berniker, "My Mother in the Market"; Cory Doctorow, "Clockwork Fagin, "Truncat" and "I, Robot"; Karen Danylak, "Shadows"; Wayland Drew, The Wabeno Feast; Gemma Files, "Dead Bodies Possessed by Furious Motion," "Heart's Hole" and "The Narrow World"; Timothy Findley, Headhunter; Glenn Grant, "Burning Day"; Terence M. Green, the stories "Room 1786" and "Barking Dogs" plus the novels Barking Dogs and Blue Limbo; Bernard Kelly, "Previous Selves"; Stephen Graham King, "Pas de Deux"; Brian E. Moore, "Do No Harm"; Jim Munroe, Angry Young Spaceman; Darren O'Donnell, Your Secrets Sleep With Me; Ryan Oakley, Technicolor Ultra Mall; Dean Serravalle, "Mr. Seven's Licence"; Wendy Waring, "Au pays des merveilles."

downtown Toronto sunset, 26 September 2012; photo by Karen BennettToronto the Pre- or Post-Apocalyptic: Elizabeth Bear, Worldwired; Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, "And Not a Drop to Drink"; Timothy Carter, Epoch; E.L. Chen, "Threes"; Cory Doctorow, "When Sysadmins Ruled the World"; Wayland Drew, The Wabeno Feast; Sara Heinonen, "Ultra"; Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring and The Chaos; David Kirkpatrick, "The Effect of Terminal Cancer on Potential Astronauts"; W.H.C. Lawrence, The Storm of '92: A Grandfather's Tale; Jude MacDonald, "It's a Keeper"; Tom Marshall, "Scenes from Successive Futures"; David Marusek, Counting Heads; Donna McMahon, "Squat"; Janet McNaughton, The Secret Under My Skin and The Raintree Rebellion; Emily Schultz, The Blondes; Ursula Pflug, "Version City" and "Bugtown"; Robert J. Sawyer, "Flashes"; Michael Skeet, "Herons"; Harry Turtledove, The Great War: Breakthroughs.

Toronto Reference Library/Toronto Public Library system: Timothy Findley, Headhunter; Eugene Kachmarsky, Let Slip the Dogs of Love: Suburban Legends of the Living and the Dead; Janet Lunn, Double Spell; Jim Munroe, Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask; Hugh A.D. Spencer, "Why I Hunt Flying Saucers" and "Pornzilla"; Andrew Weiner, "Going Native."

Vampires: Kelley Armstrong, "Learning Curve"; Nancy Baker, "Cold Sleep," "Exodus 22:18," The Night Inside and Blood and Chrysanthemums; Don Bassingthwaite, Pomegranates Full and Fine and As One Dead; Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, The Bleeding Sun, "Family Secrets"; Robert Boyczuk, "Doing Time"; E.L. Chen, "Fin-de-siècle"; Gemma Files, "Dead Bodies Possessed by Furious Motion"; all of Tanya Huff's Blood novels plus related Vicki Nelson stories; Nancy Kilpatrick, As One Dead and Bloodlover; Michelle Rowen, Bitten & Smitten, Fanged & Fabulous, Stakes & Stilettos and Tall, Dark & Fangsome; Geoff Ryman, "No Bad Thing"; Lynsay Sands, A Quick Bite, The Accidental Vampire, Bite Me if You Can, The Immortal Hunter, Love Bites, The Renegade Hunter, Single White Vampire, Vampires Are Forever and Vampire, Interrupted; Karl Schroeder, "Dawn"; Michael Skeet, "Chains."

Werewolves: Kelley Armstrong, Bitten, Broken and "Beginnings"; Don Bassingthwaite, As One Dead and Breathe Deeply; Sara Joan Berniker, "My Mother in the Market"; Sèphera Giron, "Can You See the Real Me?"; Tanya Huff, Blood Trail; Michelle Rowen, Bitten & Smitten and Fanged & Fabulous.

York University: Sèphera Giron, "Can You See the Real Me?"; Edo van Belkom, "The Sypher."

Zombies: Kelley Armstrong, Broken; Tony Burgess, Pontypool Changes Everything; Timothy Findley, Headhunter; Alyxandra Harvey, "The Shield Maiden"; Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring.

1 Jonathan Lethem, American author of numerous works including the SF novels Gun, with Occasional Music (1994), Amnesia Moon (1995), As She Climbed Across the Table (1997), Girl in Landscape (1998), The Fortess of Solitude (2003) and Chronic City (2009), wrote an interesting essay on the New York subway system (which also sports "ghost stations") called "Speak, Hoyt-Schermerhorn," available in his collection The Disappointment Artist and Other Essays (Vintage, 2006). Hoyt-Schermerhorn is a station in Brooklyn, where Lethem grew up, and it inspired his "lifelong romance, a New Yorker's typical romance with our limitless secret neighbourhood, the one running beneath all the others" (p. 57).
    Below is an excerpt from an interesting interview with Lethem by Carolyn Kellogg in the Los Angeles Times of Feb. 13, 2011, the final line of which reveals another link between New York and Toronto:
"On a typical winter day, the Bard of Brooklyn's Boerum Hill steps out onto the sidewalk to go to work. He wears only a light jacket; walks by eucalyptus trees, not delis; past charming suburban yards, not gritty subway stops. It's Jonathan Lethem, one of New York's most high-profile novelists, and he's far from Brooklyn's snow-filled sidewalks: he's transplanted himself to Southern California.

"'I do love New York, but it's also unbearable to me in some ways, and I compulsively leave it behind,' Lethem says. 'It's not the best place to write. The mental traffic level is very high there. Here you have traffic problems; there, you have mental traffic problems.'

"In late 2010, the 46-year-old Lethem, his wife and two young sons moved into a sprawling midcentury home in Claremont so Lethem could begin teaching at Pomona College.

"The move surprised many, in part because Lethem, a MacArthur 'genius' Fellow, has made New York and its landscapes the center of his work— Chronic City (2009), Fortress of Solitude (2003) and 1999's Motherless Brooklyn, the last of which Lethem calls "an all-out Valentine" to New York, the city where he grew up. In Brooklyn, Lethem lived on the same street where he was raised. 'That environment was, for me, like constant nostalgic LSD,' he says.

"Simultaneously, Brooklyn became a literary hot spot. 'Brooklyn is repulsive with novelists, it's cancerous with novelists,' Lethem says. Jhumpa Lahiri, Gary Shteyngart, Paul Auster and Rick Moody all live in Brooklyn, and there was an unfortunate cluster of writers named Jonathan (among them Lethem, Safran Foer and Ames). 'I feel like he was a mascot for a while, and he didn't really want to be a mascot.' says Boris Kachka, who writes about books for New York Magazine.

"'That can sometimes be too much,' Lethem says of the literary scene, 'when you need to also be inside yourself, exploring your own meandering feelings, not dictated by your environment, but dictated instead by what you read that day, or something else.'

"As much as Lethem's novels evoke the real-world texture of New York, they also inhabit a deep and personal dreamscape. The scenes of a Jewish boy's tribulations on the streets of 1970s Bed-Stuy in Fortress of Solitude (very real) are offset by a magic ring that enables him to fly, comic-book style (not real at all).

"What some have read as Lethem's faithfulness to place has, in fact, been enabled by distance. 'I wrote most of Fortress of Solitude living in Toronto,' he says, sunny windows at his back."


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to acknowledge the aid of Peter Halasz; Amy Lavender Harris's site Imagining Toronto; and Chris Szego. Contributors of content include Don Bassingthwaite (writing about his own books) and John Macdonald (part of the entry on Julian May), and authors Philippa Dowding, Glenn Grant, David Nickle, Emily Pohl-Weary and Douglas Smith.

BANNER ART

For the banner art for the Fantastic Toronto survey, I used a photograph I shot looking west from a fifth-floor window in Queen's Park (a.k.a. "the Pink Palace"), downtown Toronto, near sunset on 5 December 2006. The many-spired neo-Gothic building in the foreground is 1 Spadina Circle, constructed in 1874 for Knox College. Aside from superimposing the words "Fantastic Toronto" on the photo using the Viner Hand font in Photoshop, I did not manipulate the picture in any way.


FANTASTIC TORONTO
SURVEY


RECENT CHANGES
TO SURVEY






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