Thursday, November 13, 2008
Patricia McHugh, who wrote one of the seminal books on Toronto's architecture, died in September in New York. Her death went largely unreported here, which is a shame since her book — Toronto Architecture: A City Guide — is one of the key references, along with Toronto, No Mean City by Eric Arthur, for anyone who's interested in this city's built heritage. There were two editions of the book, both published in the 1980s. It's sad to see how many buildings were demolished between publication of the the first and second editions, and then to see how many of the buildings in the second book are no longer standing.
When I began research for Faces on Places, I wanted my own copy of McHugh's book, but it was out of print and seemed to be unavailable. I kicked myself, remembering that I'd seen it in the World's Biggest Bookstore when it was new, but my funds were low at the time and I didn't think I had a spare $15. I subsequently found the book on eBay and bought it, from a seller in San Antonio, for $5 U.S.
I read about McHugh's death in Catherine Nasmith's Built Heritage News. The only other obit I found was at the Website of the Municipal Art Society of New York, which also has two quite nice pictures of her. (The MAS didn't respond to my request to use one of the pictures here; hence, the rather uninspired photo of my copy of the book.)