One of my favourite blogs is Torontoist. It is updated daily with everything Toronto-oriented: news, concerts, movies, politics, urban planning, photos, art listings, transit news, pretty much everything. It is part of the Gothamist network (which boasts many cities, from Seattle to Shanghai), but is written by various Torontonians, most university-age and in their 20s and 30s (I think). They claim to be the largest, most influential, and most widely-read website of its kind in Canada, with 250,000 visits per month. One of my favourite articles are posted on Saturday mornings: Historicist.
"Every Saturday morning Historicist looks back at the events, places, and characters—good and bad—that have shaped Toronto into the city we know today." Posts feaure glimpses into Toronto's past, everything from the Santa Claus parade and famous TO residents such as Banting and Best, to old amusement spots and the histories of famous buildings. And of course, in great public history style, the entries are full of archival photos.
I wouldn't have thought at first that a city blog like Torontoist would be the place to find historical vignettes. Torontoist is unabashedly part of the 'indy' crowd of TO, and they are known by some for being too cool for school (though I'm always impressed by their political coverage). On the other hand, I have realized that this blog is the perfect spot for these glimpses. Torontoist advertises itself as being about absolutely everything Toronto-related, and why shouldn't this include its history?
History can be equally as interesting as daily news. I believe people who live in Toronto, and want to learn more about the city, need (and usually want, I hope) to learn about how the city came to be the way it is. Historicist serves as a reminder; many posts talk about the oft-forgotten and perhaps dismissed people, places and events that helped create Toronto. Whether it's learning about the history of a long tradition, or about the architecture or a building one might pass by daily, or about the entertainment spots visited by families in the earlier 20th century, Historicist teaches people what Toronto was, while the other posts on the blog explain what Toronto is like today. I believe Torontoist has realized that history makes us who we are.
1 day ago