New books for the Library

As with most modellers, I have a library of books on a variety of topics related to things I’ve modelled, things I’m interested in, or that have pictures of the general era I am modelling. I have two new (well, one I got last August that I never got around to write about, and one that I picked up yesterday) additions to my library, and I really need to actually get to reading them!

New Books! ‘OS Don’ by fellow Toronto Railway Museum Volunteer John Mellow on his career operating at the Don Station, and ‘Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto’ by a Ryerson University Geography & University of Waterloo Urban Planning professor team. Oddly, their cover photos show two very different views of the same location of Queen Street East and the Don River!

First up is OS Don, which came out in mid 2021. I have known John Mellow for a bit over a decade now since I started volunteering at the Toronto Railway Museum, where John was already a long time volunteer given his history with Don Station at the museum as a former operator there before it was closed (and made its two moves over the years to Todmorden Mills and Roundhouse Park). John became involved in the museum to help restore the station given his intimate knowledge of it when it was in use. I won’t go deep into a summary of the book, but it is a trove of information on railroading in the 1960’s and 70’s when John worked for the railroads, and has a wonderful collection of pictures from the era. My friend Trevor Marshall blogged about it and wrote a detailed book review in the September 2021 Railroad Model Craftsman. The book is published by the Bytown Railway Society and is available as I write from them and at least at both the Toronto Railway Museum (where you can visit Don Station) or Credit Valley Model Railway Company.

Hopefully John will forgive me, pictures of him working at Don Station in 1965 (Courtesy John Mellow via the Toronto Railway Museum) and my picture of him back at the desk during the restoration of the station in 2010.

The Second book, ‘Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto’ is also one that is very close to home, as a long time rider, photographer and even an occasional modeller of the TTC’s Streetcars, as an Urban Planner who has spent their entire professional career largely working in Toronto, and a resident of the City since 2005, this is the kind of book that hits my sweet spot for interests. I have only read the introduction, and taken a cursory flip through the photographs, but this is definitely on my need to read right away pile as soon as the book I’m currently reading is done. I love the kind of repeat era photography done here, showing how much (and how little sometimes) things have changed as the City has grown and evolved over time. The good and bad of this is an open topic of debate in many forums including my professional life and in Toronto Urbanist Twitter, but maybe the less said about that the better. I am really looking forward to digging into their thesis and analysis on change in relation to the streetcar system of Toronto as it has changed over the years. It is published by the University of Toronto Press, and is available at Credit Valley Model Railway (I blame the authors for the large order of modelling supplies I made when my pre-order of their book came in!) as well. I don’t know where else you might be able to find it at museums or bookstores.

The tweet linked below from one of the authors shows some pictures of the inside and the repeating photography from different eras.

If you have interest in railroading and transit in Toronto, I would recommend looking into these books. They are great additions to my collection and home library.

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