Children were hanged, women without husbands had little choice but to prostitute themselves, clergy and ruling families cruelly dominated a lusty, oftentimes unruly population. The seamy and the sacred united to form one of the world’s great cities.
The reborn St. Lawrence Neighbourhood in Old Town Toronto — where class lines were intentionally erased — had a profane and violent beginning that belies its current position of honour in what today is the world’s most ethnically diverse city. And among the most peaceful.
Telling its tales is famed local historian Bruce Bell, a uniquely skilled and deeply emotional storyteller who has gleaned from many sources the sagas of Old Town Toronto’s fascinating past. These are reproduced from his early columns in the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Community Bulletin, renamed The Bulletin in later years. As a printed book, this edition nearly sold out on the first day it was published.