What The Word On The Street Is Reading: Toronto Book Awards

This year, we are happy to welcome back our Toronto Book Awards bloggers, Christine and Carol Sweeton – our mother/daughter blogging team! They will be reading and reviewing the finalists for this year’s Toronto Book Awards, which will be awarded on October 9, 2013. To read more about Christine and Carol, click here.

This is the third post in the series. Today, they are reviewing Full Frontal T.O. by Patrick Cummins (photographs) and Shawn Micallef (text), published by Coach House Books.

ImageAbout the Book:

For over thirty years, Patrick Cummins has been wandering the streets of Toronto, taking mug shots of its houses, variety stores, garages and ever-changing storefronts. Straightforward shots chronicle the same buildings over the years, or travel the length of a block, facade by facade. Other sections collect vintage Coke signs on variety stores or garage graffiti. Unlike other architecture books, Full Frontal T.O. looks at buildings that typically go unexamined, creating a street level visual history of Toronto. Full Frontal T.O. features over 400 gorgeous photos of Toronto’s messy urbanism, with accompanying text by master urban explorer Shawn Micallef.


Chris and Carol’s review:

Do you ever wonder about the buildings you pass as you walk Toronto’s neighborhoods (or drive, or cycle, or ride the TTC)? Are you curious about how that house must have looked originally? Many of the places around us appear to be mutations of half-hearted renovations and half-realized dreams. Photographer Patrick Cummins confirms our suspicions in this captivating book featuring photographs he has taken over the past 30 years documenting the quiet changes of our streetscapes.

Cummins’ fascination is not with the huge developments of condos, office buildings, or box stores that receive so much attention and press lately, their construction and renovation the fodder of much local discussion. Instead, Cummins, along with crisp commentary by writer Shawn Micallef, studies Toronto homes, garages, corner stores, and other small independent retailers. This book is a combination of a walk down city streets and a trip in a time machine. It is great to sit down with a reminder of the quieter, smaller side of Toronto with its tree-lined side streets and corner variety stores. A couple of pages in and you will be faced with the competing desires to read every word, while studying each photograph, but at the same time rush outside into our beautiful city and explore.

Full Frontal T.O. will be presented by Patrick Cummins and Shawn Micallef at the Toronto Book Awards Tent at 12:00pm and again at 4:00pm.


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