John Sewell provides an insider’s account of 12 years when Toronto was transformed by activist citizens and high-rise developments.
By the mid-1990s Toronto was well on the way to being Canada’s laraget and most powerful city, but all this “progress” had a price. Heritage buildings were disappearing. Whole neighbourhoods were being destroyed—by city hall itself—in the name of urban renewal and high-rise development.
Recently graduated lawyer John Sewell was one of many young Torontonians who didn’t like what they were seeing. He joined his friends working for local resident in areas targeted for demolition by city hall.
Other citizens were fighting the Spadina Expressway which would push its way through the centre of the city.
Still others were saving Toronto Old City Hall from demolition. (Today it appears to be under siege again as some talk of turning it into a shopping mall…right next door to massive Eaton Centre mall. John Sewell would turn in his grave if he were dead.
But he’s very much alive, as you’ll see in this video taped Sept. 19, 2015 at his book launch on Queen Street East in a resto/bar that in his early days served as his apartment. — FT