Places I stole

July 29th, 2017Posted by Nancy

For a book, of course.

My first two novels (The Night Inside and Blood and Chrysanthemums) were set in Toronto, so finding locations wasn’t that difficult.  I just shamelessly stole from the places that I lived and worked.  Other bits I hand-waved as required (mostly deserted industrial lands … yeah, I think there are some of those over north of the Gardiner to the west of Yonge Street*).

In my recent wanderings about the city, I’ve had the opportunity to take photos of a few of these places.

70 The Esplanade

When I started the novel, I was working for Canadian Business, a magazine with offices downtown in what had once been the waterfront.  Over the last hundred years, the actual port and waterfront area had moved south, but there were lots of old warehouses being turned into offices and CB was in one of these.  There were beams across the ceiling from the old pulleys and a huge old vault beside the president’s office was now used for office supplies. The floors creaked, we found the occasional dead mouse in the storeroom, and every time the restaurants on the ground floor fumigated we were likely to see a cockroach or two. Still, it proved to be a useful location for creating the old warehouse in which Rozokov goes to ground and wakes up a century later.  My current working gig is on Front Street, just around the corner from 70 the Esplanade, and I was pleased to discover it was still there and had not yet become a condo (which is what happens to any building that stands still for a moment in downtown Toronto).


The steps to Casa Loma

I needed an interesting spot for Ardeth to encounter her kidnappers and this fit this bill.  Since she lived just south of here at 212 St. George Streeet (and surprise, that is where I lived at the time), it seemed reasonable that she’d go jogging up them.  I was never nearly that ambitious. In later years, visiting Casa Loma and Spadina House, the historical home beside it, was part of my research process for A Terrible Beauty.



The Tower in the Park

After I left my job at Canadian Business, my next office location was at Village by the Grange, right beside the Art Gallery of Ontario.  In Grange Park, the church of St. George the Martyr includes this tower, which stands on it’s own in the yard.  I made it shabbier, renamed it St. Sebastian, and had Ardeth take up residence here during her first nights as a vampire.

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1 response

  • 1 M · Aug 5, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    There is an exquisitely beautiful essay by Owen Edwards, introducing the fine book, QUINTESSENCE…THE QUALITY OF HAVING “IT,” authored by Betty Cornfeld and Owen Edwards c 1983. A thing is either genuine, or it is not. How wonderful that you are one of those who know the difference.

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