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Nobody's Home cover

  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-919323-9
    • 8.5 x 8.5 inches
    • Standard Color interior
    • 320 pages
  • Keywords
    • Abandoned houses,
    • Mid-century houses,
    • Post-war housing boom,
    • Bridle Path,
    • York Mills,
    • Toronto history,
    • Monster homes

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Nobody's Home
Abandoned Houses of York Mills and The Bridle Path
by Scott Kennedy

The scourge of the monster house affects communities all across Canada, so while the Toronto neighbourhood of York Mills is not unique in this respect, it has suffered more than most, owing to the generous size of its residential lots in what has now become the centre of the city. York Mills was still a rural community until after the Second World War, when a post-war population boom created a housing boom that gobbled up the local woods and farmland. By 1960 most of this land had been sacrificed for housing, and by the mid-1970s it was all gone. Then a strange thing began to happen. Developers, who had the money to outbid legitimate home buyers, started tearing down perfectly liveable post-war homes to build monster houses. Today, over fifty years later, this destructive practice continues. The environmental costs have been devastating, as affordable houses are demolished—their remains dumped in landfills—and mature trees are cut down to facilitate the new construction: construction that demands copious amounts of wood, cement, and other new building materials. The social cost has been equally damaging, as affordable homes are destroyed and replaced by multi-million-dollar houses that are out of reach of families who once called these neighbourhoods home. The three hundred colour photos in this book recall but a fraction of the homes we have lost in this one community alone. The text tells their stories, stories that take us back to a time when houses were places to live, not get-rich-quick schemes.

Scott Kennedy's first address was R.R. #1, York Mills, at what is now the corner of Bayview Avenue and Highway 401: the busiest highway in North America. There were still farms in the area when Scott was a boy, and when he grew up he began to feel nostalgic, so in 2010 he began to document the history of vanquished Toronto farmland as best he could. Since then he has written four books on Toronto history, including books on the farms of Willowdale, Don Mills, and York Mills. This new book takes us on a further journey along the timeline of the area, and tells us the stories of homes, built on farmland following the Second World War, that have since been demolished for monster houses. Scott now lives in Toronto's Beaches neighbourhood, in a Heritage Conservation District he helped create in 2004, where houses are protected from demolition.


Scott Kennedy

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