Going to Town
Architectural Walking Tours in Southern Ontario
By Katherine Ashenburg
(Macfarlane Walter & Ross, Paperback, 9780921912958)
Publication Date: January 1996
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Winner of The Ontario Historical Society’s Fred Landon Award for Best Regional History.
With 300 photos and 11 maps.
A work of unexpected delights and surprises: here is a one-of-a-kind guidebook that pinpoints the best of Ontario’s architectural heritage in its most charming towns, offers tantalizing and informative details of provincial history, indulges the near universal vice of real-estate voyeurism, and beckons even the most reluctant to physical exercise.
Katherine Ashenburg is our knowledgeable and charmingly opinionated companion on walking tours of ten small (populations 1000 to 27,000) Ontario communities that provide a rewarding variety of domestic and public architecture in a walkable compass. Each tour begins with a brief historical sketch of the town, then, with the aid of a detailed map, guides the reader/walker to some 60 sites over a leisurely but carefully plotted two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hour stroll. We visit churches and jails, libraries and town halls, theatres and factories, and all manner of houses - homes of startling grandiosity and humble integrity. We become conversant with belvederes and ogee arches, Flemish bond and board and batten, at ease with Regency and Queen Anne, Italianate and Romanesque. And along the way, Ashenburg reveals the town’s true personality, its distinctive architectural styles, forms and materials, and the genius, ambition, and vanities of its founders and builders.
Every town - Perth, Picton, Cobourg, St. Mary’s, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Merrickville, Port Hope, Paris, Stratford and Goderich - is a day’s excursion from Toronto by a car or public transit; most are day-trips from either Ottawa or London. Over 300 black and white photographs capture the highlights; 11 maps show the way. For easy reference, there is a helpful, illustrated Guide to Historical Styles and an exhaustive Glossary of Architectural terms - everything from Apse to Voussoir.
Katherine Ashenburg is the design columnist for Toronto Life magazine and writes travel pieces for the New York Times. In addition, she gives architectural tours of Southern Ontario towns and puts her Ph.D in English literature to good use by giving lectures on contemporary novels and appearing regularly on CBC Radio’s The Arts Today to discuss classic Canadian novels.