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BOOK - Valley of The Humber, With new Introduction and Index
By K.M. Lizars (1913), A new introduction and index by Lauren Coules (2010)
Originally published by William Briggs, Toronto, 1913
This edition published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2010


Hardcover... 49.95 (C$)
pdf download...14.95 (C$)
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Licensed for personal use only

The book is organized into fifteen chapters ranging from chronological historical events of the area to relevant themed content. The first section of the book is dedicated to recounting the discovery and initial settlements of the Humber Valley region. 'The Discovery' and 'The First White Man on the Humber' discuss the role of the French from Champlain and Cartier to Etienne Brulé and the missionaries. From this point, she goes on to describe the cartography of the Humber River and further exploration of the area. In this chapter, Lizars outlines the contributions of notable cartographers, including Sir Richard Bonnycastle and Richard Blome as well as several others. Much of the content is centred on the successive discoveries from the Humber River and the problems that cartographers faced. The errors in labelling and confusion of place names on early maps of Ontario are also examined. The following chapter, 'La Salle,' focuses on contributions of Rene Robert Cavelier (La Salle) to Native relations, communication and further exploration.

The next major section in the book focuses on the establishment of Toronto and its basic infrastructure. The chapter 'Mission, Fort and Log House' highlights the work of the Récollets and Jesuit missions during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is within this section that the name derivation for Toronto is analysed as well as its increased occurrence in historical discussion. Furthermore, the geographical area surrounding the Humber River is expanded by including the Bay of Toronto and the Holland River. A significant portion of this chapter is dedicated to the native Mississaga of the area and their relations with the missionaries. In addition, Fort Toronto and its final years are highlighted. 'The Humber of St. John' or St. Jean surveys his contributions to the settling of the Toronto region. Although he initially started as an interpreter and trader with the native population, Jean Baptiste Rousseau (St. John) would acquire a sizeable amount of property in the area. His name would also be given to many distinguishing features, including his house and pond. The final section relevant to the development of the Humber Valley area is 'The Lake Shore Road'. Within this chapter one will find a detailed account of the evolution of the trail used by the Mississaga into one of the most travelled roads in the region. This chapter also notes the construction and changes made to other recognizable streets in modern day Toronto, including Queen Street, Yonge Street and Dundas Street.

Chapters eight to fourteen are characterized by themed topics. The section 'Of Millseats, Mills and Millers' outlines the various mills found along the Humber River during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Additional industries found in the valley are briefly discussed, including distilleries and tanneries. The successes and failures of specific individuals are also examined in significant detail. 'From Scarlett Plains to a Modern Club' describes habitation of the plains from pioneering to the establishment of the Simcoe Chase Course. In this chapter Lizars also highlights the role of John Scarlett himself in the settlement and employment of local inhabitants. The chapter on 'Carioling' provides a light enjoyable description of the leisure activities of the people of the Humber Valley. The succession of the cariole from Lower Canada to the sleigh-cutter from Upper Canada is outlined, in addition to the existence of the Tandem Club. The following chapter is one of the longest in The Valley of the Humber. Lizars analyses the history of the native Mississaga of the area in great detail. This portion of the book provides the alternative narrative to the region's past by outlining the experiences and role that the local native populations had in the establishment of the Humber Valley. The importance of key figures, such as Sir Francis Bond Head, Peter and Augustus Jones are discussed. Furthermore, the significant element of missionary work in the area is addressed by Lizars. This section extends the geography of the Humber River and surrounding areas to the banks of the Credit River. Conversely, the chapter 'Of Salmon; and Fish Stories, Mostly True' returns the reader to the waters of the Humber. This chapter is an interesting inclusion in the book. The personal experiences of individuals on the river are included, as well as the relative abundance of fish in the Humber as compared to other locations. The extensive discussion and detail seem out of proportion to the rest of the book's content. This may indicate the importance of fishing on the Humber River throughout the nineteenth century to the time of the author for both leisure and livelihood. 'Formation, Fauna, Flora' follows in a similar thread to the previous section. Lizars refers to several notable academics during her time and their contributions to the understanding of the region's ecology. The work of G.J. Hinde and Dr. A.P. Coleman are included as authorities on the topic of the geological formation of the Humber Valley. Similarly, the wildlife of the area is described by Lizars, particularly the extensive bird population and their apparent diversity. The work of Mrs. Simcoe and Mrs. Chamberlin are appraised, as they were considered to be fair and avid botanists in the period. Included in this section is a beautiful painting from the collection of Mrs. Chamberlin.

The last themed chapter addresses the religion of the nineteenth-century Humber Valley. Lizars highlights the comparative youth of churches on the Humber River in the middle of the century. Both Mimico Church and St. George's Parish are discussed in conjunction with their respective clergy. The author also includes the prominent families attending the churches of the period; the Fishers, Gambles and Scarletts among others. The final chapter of The Valley of the Humber is 'Of Transitions and Enthusiasts.' Lizars discusses the planning, surveying and styling of the town of York in the late eighteenth century. Various allocations of land during the time period are highlighted, including those given to U.E. Loyalists and new British emigrants. The century is marked by the increased standardization of land use and division. Organizations such as the Harbour Board and Toronto Land Corporation are emphasized for their role in the ultimate appearance and division of the Humber Valley region. Finally, the author concludes the chapter by highlighting the perceived growth of the region from 1850 to the early 1900s. Lizars ends the book by suggesting that change is continuing to happen, even as she writes her last words. She does not neatly end The Valley of the Humber on a fixed, concrete event but alludes to the fluid nature of the region's history; she ends the book by suggesting further changes to come.

Despite the lack of argument or thesis in The Valley of the Humber, the work maintains academic value. Both the University of Guelph and Wilfred Laurier University Libraries have a copy of this book in their rare book collections. For modern historians it can serve several purposes. Today, it would seem that this work is still one of a kind.

In terms of its completeness, with respect to history, geography and culture, this book is still the authority in the topic. However, the language, writing style and composition are of course becoming quite dated. Prior to the reprinting of this edition, the book had lacked an index. This new feature will help historians utilize the source in a more efficient manner.

238 Pages
6.25 X 9.25"
Hardcover - premium binding (burgundy Tanotex, deeply grained, gold foil lettering)
Maps
Illustrations
Originally published by William Briggs, Toronto, 1913
New Index (2010)
New Introduction (2010)
Originally published by William Briggs, Toronto, 1913
This edition published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2010
ISBN 9781926797144 (hardcover)





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