Glen Road footbridge – where writer MORLEY CALLAGHAN walked his dog

TORONTO has long been a city of novelists, poets, playwrights, old bookstores, writer’s fests, poetry slams and devoted readers. One of my favourite literary corners is the Glen Road wooden footbridge – its parkette and birdhouse dedicated to MORLEY CALLAGHAN (1903-1990), our country’s ‘Chekhov’.  He authored 18 novels and 100 short stories about Canadians – most of them set in the city –  and often appeared on radio and television.

MORLEY CALLAGHAN moved to Rosedale’s Dale Avenue in 1951, after living in Paris and New York City, and mixing with the literati of the day.  Almost daily, he and his wife (Loretto Dee) and faithful dog (Nikki) crossed the wooden bridge; then he crossed with just the dog; then alone until his death in 1990.  The Footbridge (B & W PHOTO – as it was in 1880-90) spans Rosedale Valley Drive, a branch of TORONTO’s ravine system.  It links posh Rosedale with not-quite-so-posh St. Jamestown.

The Studio Building, 1914 – earliest purpose-built artist studio in Canada

STUDIOBLDG7STUDIOBLDG2Thousands of Torontonians pass this building daily, and few probably even notice it.  The Studio Building is adjacent to Ellis Portal, through which the Yonge subway trains run.  It’s the earliest purpose-built artist studio in Canada, and so significant that the Canadian government recently erected a red and gold plaque.  Many of the greatest Canadian painters lived and worked here – including A. Y. Jackson, Frederick Varley, Lawren Harris, Harold Town, J. E. H. MacDonald, Tom Thomson, and several others.  Tom Thomson’s shack stood in behind, before being moved to the McMichael Gallery, Kleinberg, where it’s now a Group of Seven artist’s “shrine”.  <PHOTOS BELOW – Tom Thomson, A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris>