Union Station

Union Station

Love, Madness, Sex and Survival on the Streets of the New Toronto

Book - 2006
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The critically acclaimed author of The Closer We Are to Dying now turns his penetrating gaze to the big city he calls home.

Toronto is the city that Canadians love to hate. But they don't know this city, says Joe Fiorito. Even Torontonians don't really know this city because it changes every day. It's not a finished thing, it's a work in progress. It's New York in 1900, arms open wide to welcome the huddling masses.

Union Station is Fiorito's tour of his adopted city, from his own neighbourhood, Parkdale, through corner stores and local bars, to the suburban high rises that are home to new immigrants, and to the shelters that offer a tough bed to the many homeless. Fiorito's Toronto exists here, on the street, in places where diverse cultures jostle side by side and where mercy is free.

Fiorito's subtle and detailed observations of life in the city are matched by his precise, sinuous prose. On every page, these talents provide a dazzling showcase for the vivid, tender stories he crafts. In the end, we have to agree when he says Toronto will not be a fine town when it is finished. It is a fine town because it is unfinished.
Publisher: Toronto, ON : McClelland & Stewart, c2006
ISBN: 9780771047602
Branch Call Number: 917.13541 FIO
Characteristics: 320 p. ; 23 cm


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Jul 05, 2011

This is a look contemporary life in Toronto. What Toronto means and what is like. It is no tourist guide but rather an exploration of the values of Torontonians. Mr Fiorito values the concept of Toronto as a collection of smaller communities – neighbourhoods where people can and do shop in ethnic oriented stores, small grocers, green grocers, butcher and bakery shops. But To Mr Fiorito Toronto is more than a cosmopolitan city but also one where people come to the aid of the less fortunate by setting up after hours health clinics – providing health care for those who for one reason or another fall through the cracks. There are points of good, There are interesting things that are not necessary newsworthy but just plain interesting like the discovery of Mr Sew’s Sai woo sauce that was discovered in a hand written cook book by a chef who emigrated to Canada, found work in Toronto as a chef and kept notes of his recipes transforming them into a hand bound book which the writer discovered in a second hand book store and caused him to explore where the book came from and who Mr Sew happened to be. Mr Fiorito found where Mr Sew is buried.
We see the gritty Toronto of Regent Park, the rooming houses where those who have lost their way wind up. For all its wealth and grand buildings Toronto has its homeless and he minces no words about why this is so. Yet depressing as it may be, he finds that those who choose to come here do so because there is opportunity, there is hope and there is safety. For all the problems immigrants face in coming to Canada and a large number wind up here, they would go nowhere else.
Although a bit dated as things change rapidly much of what Mr Fiorito writes about is still relevant. He is sympathetic and well informed.

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