|Making The Scene|
I just finished reading this, easily one of the best books about the '60s I've ever read – in Toronto or anywhere else. It takes a look at the legendary Yorkville scene during that decade, from its early days as a coffee-fueled hangout for Beatniks, through its height as an acid-fueled love-in during the summer of 1967, to its final days and its amphetamine-fueled death. The author, Stuart Henderson, mostly stays away from name-dropping all the famous writers, poets and musicians who emerged from the scene (although I won't: Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Gordon Lightfoot, Margaret Atwood, William Gibson, early versions of Steppenwolf and Buffalo Springfield... the list goes on and on...) and instead looks at the deeper currents and trends driving the culture of the neighbourhood and its not-so-rosy relationship with the rest of Toronto. It's an absolutely fascinating look at the young people who flocked to Yorkville – not just hippies and Beatniks, but greasers and bikers and thousands of "weekenders" too – and the story of how they might have lost the battle for the neighbourhood they called home, but in many ways won the war for Toronto, changing our city forever.
You can buy Making The Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s here or get it from our kickass library system here.