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Glenn Turner’s The Toronto Carrying Place

August 10, 2017

 Way back in high school, I knew that my friend, Glenn Turner, would one day be a published author. I was certain he would write a more gripping alternative to The Lord of the Rings. To my surprise, this British-born, Rexdale-raised, teacher-librarian has published a fascinating and often very funny history of an ancient portage route. The Toronto Carrying Place was a 45 km “short-cut” for First Nations people and fur-traders  travelling between Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe. The book documents Glenn’s own three-day walk along the route as he searched for traces of the path and mused about its influence on today’s city and rural landscapes. 

This week, Glenn generously gave a multi-media talk to our small group. He walked us through some of the history and talked about his experience writing the book. My most pressing question was, “Why not fiction?” He immediately answered that it was “too distressing” to make bad things happen to characters he cared about. Somehow it was easier to describe the very real demise of the ill-fated, Étienne Brûlé , who may or may not have walked the Carrying Place portage. But in addition, Glenn said, he loves to read non-fiction, so it made more sense to write what he loves to read.

Please buy the book or reserve a copy from your local library! It’s a fascinating account of southern Ontario and Toronto history, with great illustrations and wry observations from my friend, the author!

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