Thursday 21 June 2012

Book Review- Faces on Places: A Grotesque Tour of Toronto

Last month during Doors Open, Teena and I took part in the Faces on Places Walking Tour. Terry Murray led us around the city showing us the various gargoyles, faces and Griffins on buildings that I had never noticed before on places I walk by everyday. During the tour she was carrying a book with her. Turns out that it was one she wrote about this subject called naturally Faces on Places: A Grotesque Tour of Toronto.

Faces on Places takes us into the fascinating world of mythical and historical persons and icons that have been watching over Toronto and its inhabitants for centuries.

If you look up with author Terry Murray, you''ll see beyond glass and steel and stone to spy Gargoyles, Griffins, Dragons, Angels, Portraits of Important Personages (and Caricatures of those same folk). Murray has photographed over sixty Toronto buildings, interviewed architects, stone carvers, and building occupants, and scoured archives for original architectural plans, to discover who these creatures are, and why they exist.

Faces on Places is organized by type of sculpture, and contains street addresses and maps for suggested walking tours. It is an elegant and reliable guide to the city''s most silent and intriguing citizens

The book is an interesting read with many pictures. I like the way the book is organized into separate chapters for each kind of building feature, such as a chapter on gargoyles, one on faces, another on griffins. There is a map at the back showing where the various buildings are that she has written about. That will come in handy for Teena and I when we go searching for these on our own.

If you live in Toronto, this is a must read.