Website & fanzine of the SF fan club USS Hudson Bay, Toronto, Canada






Fantastic Toronto:
Toronto in Science Fiction
and Fantasy

By Karen Bennett

I researched and wrote this annotated bibliography in June 2003 for the souvenir book of the Torcon 3 World Science Fiction Convention (August 28–September 1, 2003). The bibliography has been expanded since Torcon; see "Revision history" below. Readers with information to add are invited to send it along!

Other contributors to this work include Don Bassingthwaite (his own books), John Macdonald (entries on Julian May and Spider Robinson) and Marah Searle-Kovacevic (the Blood series by Tanya Huff). The work of Don, John and Marah is reproduced with their permission.

Revision history

  • October 3, 2003: Entries added for Ashton, Cat (re "Piece Corps"); Munroe, Jim (re Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask); Pflug, Ursula (re Green Music); Starrett, Vincent (re "The Tattooed Man"); and von Kampen, Bettina (re "For Each a Space Among the Stars").

Armstrong, Kelley

  • Bitten (Seal Books, 2001). Fantasy novel about a female werewolf living in Toronto. (The sequel, Stolen [Random House Canada, 2002], is not set in Toronto.)

Ashton, Cat

  • "Piece Corps," On Spec (Summer 2003). SF story set in the mid-21st century, by which time Canada is a republic. The protagonist lives in Toronto (her dog had died—in his sleep—in "the middle of the bus lane on Pape Avenue"), but otherwise the city is a generic urban background for the story.

Atwood, Margaret

  • "Freeforall," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. Speculative fiction about a dystopia. "Each city now had a Freeforall of its own, or two or three, depending on how many were needed. Toronto had two: one was in a large area to the west that had once been a park, the other was to the north, in an abandoned adventure playground; abandoned since the time of the epidemics, when people habitually avoided large groups of strangers" (p. 22).

Baker, Nancy

  • "Cold Sleep," Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison. The lead character is vampire Dimitri Rozokov, who also appears in "Exodus 22:18," The Night Inside and Blood and Chrysanthemums (which see). Toronto is not mentioned by name, and there are no internal clues to suggest that setting—but nothing to rule it out, either!
  • "Exodus 22:18," Northern Frights 3 (Mosaic Press, 1995), ed. by Don Hutchison. Set in an unnamed city.
  • The Night Inside (Viking Canada, 1993). First in the dark-fantasy Ardeth Alexander series, about the relationship between a young Toronto woman named Ardeth Alexander and the vampire Dimitri Rozokov. Reprinted as Kiss of the Vampire by Ballantine/Fawcett in 1995. The introduction to Baker's story "Cold Sleep" says that The Night Inside "is set in contemporary Toronto, a city which, it appears, is doomed to suffer a series of vampiric infestations-at least on the printed page" (Northern Frights, p. 145).
  • Blood and Chrysanthemums (Viking Canada, 1994). Second in the Ardeth Alexander series; most of it is not set in Toronto (Banff, Alberta, figures prominently instead).

Bassingthwaite, Don

[Entry written by Don Bassingthwaite]

  • Breathe Deeply (White Wolf, 1995). A tie-in to the urban primitive themes of the Werewolf: The Apocalypse RPG, Breathe Deeply is partly set in the upscale Annex neighbourhood. The local werewolves gather in a group called the Taddle Creek Sept, named for a real buried creek running under the Annex and the University of Toronto. A minor character, Old Moses Yonge-and-Queen, is a loose homage to media mogul Moses Znaimer (CITY-TV, MTV and Space: The Imagination Station...among others).
  • Pomegranates Full and Fine (White Wolf, 1995). Drawing on the vampires and changelings (fairies) of White Wolf's World of Darkness setting, Pomegranates takes Toronto' s reputation for politeness and makes it sinister. The book covers locations across downtown, including a then-derelict 1920s apartment building on Jarvis Street (now a seniors' complex) and Massey College at U of T. A changeling court disguised as a pool hall is located in an imaginary cellar off Old York Lane in trendy Yorkville.
  • As One Dead (White Wolf, 1996), with Nancy Kilpatrick. Carrying on with themes from Pomegranates Full and Fine, As One Dead deals with two sects of vampires in Toronto: wild Sabbat (rulers) and hidden Camarilla (defeated captives). It imagines the party district of Queen Street West as both a haven and a prison for the Camarilla, and features cameos by several clubs, including Cameron House (located on Queen west of Bathurst), which is given a gothic turn as the Decameron.

Bedwell-Grime, Stephanie

  • "Transfer," Northern Frights 4 (Mosaic Press, 1997). Horror story set in the Toronto subway system (Yonge-University line).

Begamudré, Ven

  • "In the Beginning, There Was Memory," Divine Realms: Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy (Ravenstone, 1998), ed. by Susan MacGregor. Using mindpower, a Toronto man can (re)create his favourite places, such as a children's park in India or the Bishop White Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Boyczuk, Robert

  • "Doing Time," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. Vampire fantasy. There's a reference to "St. James Town," which has the same name and characteristics as the area on Wellesley east of Sherbourne: rundown, densely populated.
  • "Horror Story," Northern Frights 4 (Mosaic Press, 1997), ed. by Don Hutchison. The opening sentence of the story, whose central character is a Toronto police detective: "The third murder happened at a dumpy motel on Lakeshore Boulevard, just off the Gardiner Expressway" (p. 245). Almost all the motels on that strip have now been replaced by condos.

Chen, E.L.

  • "More than Salt," On Spec (Winter 2002). A modern take on King Lear, as a Toronto girl comes to terms with her upbringing with the help of an old man who thinks he's King Lear and she's Cordelia.

Clink, Carolyn

  • "Toronto Necropolis," Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison. Horror poem.

Cooper, Susan

  • The Boggart (Macmillan McElderry, 1993). Children/YA fantasy, set in the modern day. When the Volnik family inherits a Scottish castle, 12-year-old Stephanie has an old desk from the castle shipped to her Toronto home, a house that's only a few leafy streets away from her father's theatre "in a converted Toronto broom factory" (p. 16). Another Toronto reference is to a psychiatrist with an office on Avenue Road. A mischievous Scottish spirit, the Boggart, has been hiding in the desk; his release is also the release of all sorts of trouble. When winter arrives, it drops snow "for two days and nights, whirling in the wind that blew off Lake Ontario, muffling the trees and ravines of Toronto.... it was followed by what the weather forecasters called 'a frigid blast of Arctic air,' which spread a murderous coating of ice over streets and sidewalks where the snow had been cleared. Most of the schools closed down, and a great many offices" (p. 141). The Boggart, unable to tolerate the bitter cold, asks to go home to Scotland. (The sequel, The Boggart and the Monster [Simon & Schuster/McElderry, 1997]), has no scenes set in Toronto.)

Davies, Robertson

  • "Conversations with the Little Table," Thirteen Canadian Ghost Stories (Western Producer Prairie Books, 1988), ed. by Ted Stone. Robertson Davies' only foray into genre fiction was in the specialized subgenre of ghost stories, all collected in High Spirits (1982) but much-reprinted in other anthologies. In "Conversations with the Little Table," the spirit of Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (who was a great believer in the occult when he was alive) communicates with a University of Toronto (Massey College) professor by rapping on an antique table.
  • "The Ghost Who Vanished by Degrees," Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin. Another Massey College ghost story.
  • "Offer of Immortality," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. A Massey College ghost story that's also a parody of biological science and the quest for immortality. There are 18 Massey College ghost stories in all, according to the narrator of "Offer of Immortality."

Doctorow, Cory

  • "Craphound," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. The title character is a Toronto junk dealer (who's really an alien). There are references to Queen, King, Jarvis and Bay streets, to High Park, and to the Upper Canada Brewing Company.
  • "Truncat," The Bakka Anthology (Salman Nensi, 2002). SF set in the 22nd century. Crowded Toronto is under a dome. The subway system transports people in cryo-stasis in order to conserve space. Also still existing are the Toronto Island community and ferry service, the University of Toronto, the Yonge and Bloor intersection, and Union Station.

Dorsey, Candace Jane

  • "(Learning about) Machine Sex," Northern Stars (Tor, 1994), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. SF about a female programmer attempting to create a truly thinking machine. The scenes that take place in Toronto reveal few details of the city, except that it has a "degenerate punk underground."

Files, Gemma

  • "Mouthful of Pins," Northern Frights 2 (Mosaic Press, 1994), ed. by Don Hutchison. Horror story whose narrator says, "I'm still in Toronto, working for an ad agency.... I put in too much overtime, drink more than I should, and—once every two years or so—precipitate a brief but painful affair by picking up a similarly ambitious young woman in a downtown gay bar. Late at night, I often go into the bathroom and press a lit cigarette into the crook of my elbow. Just to prove that I'm really alive" (p. 78).

Fraser, Sylvia

  • The Candy Factory (McClelland & Stewart, 1975). Described as "a bold, sensuous excursion into today's affluent urban society."

Govier, Katherine

  • "The Immaculate Conception Photography Gallery," Ark of Ice: Canadian Futurefiction (Pottersfield Press, 1992), ed. by Lesley Choyce. SF set on St. Clair Avenue West.

Green, Robert

  • The Great Leap Backward (McClelland & Stewart, 1968). A funny SF novel set in Toronto in 2021, when machines have taken over everything, including their own repair and upgrading, and Queen's Park is the automation capital of Canada. An anti-technology movement has set up nudist colonies in outlying areas such as Richmond Hill.

Green, Terence M.

  • "Ashland, Kentucky," Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison, and Tesseracts2 (Porcépic Books, 1987), ed. by Phyllis Gotlieb and Doug Barbour. Fantasy/time travel, taking place in Toronto and Kentucky. Expanded into the novel series that begins with Shadow of Ashland.
  • "Blue Limbo," Ark of Ice: Canadian Futurefiction (Pottersfield Press, 1992), ed. by Lesley Choyce. SF story about a Toronto cop in the year 2000. Expanded into the novel series of Barking Dogs and Blue Limbo (which see).
  • Barking Dogs (St. Martin's, 1988). Near-future SF hardboiled cop novel, expanded from the short story of the same name that was first published in F&SF (May 1984) and reprinted in Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin. A cop decides to clean up Toronto single-handed.
  • Blue Limbo (Tor, 1997) Near-future SF thriller, sequel to Barking Dogs.
  • Shadow of Ashland (Tor, 1996). [See "Ashland, Kentucky," above.]
  • A Witness to Life (Forge, 1999). Prequel to Shadow of Ashland.
  • St. Patrick's Bed (Tor, 2001). Sequel to Shadow of Ashland.

Greenwood, Ed

  • "All One Under the Stars," The Bakka Anthology (Salman Nensi, 2002). Inspired by the author's short time as a volunteer at Bakka Books (then on Queen Street West). The narrator's SF bookstore, on Queen Street, is invaded by aliens.
  • "Writhe, Damn You," Northern Horror (Quarry Press, 2000), ed. by Edo van Belkom. From the opening scene: "It was like too many other dark, drab shop fronts along Queen Street: old, sagging, and tastefully decorated in a thick coating of dirt" (p. 127).

Hopkinson, Nalo

  • Brown Girl in the Ring (Warner Aspect, 1998). Near-future SF novel set in Toronto's inner city.
  • Skin Folk (Warb, 2001). Fantasy collection. The stories set in Toronto are "Money Tree" (reprinted in Tesseracts6 [Tesseract Books, 1997], ed. by Robert Sawyer and Carolyn Clink); "Something to Hitch Meat to"; "Slow Cold Chick"; "A Habit of Waste"; "And the Lillies-Them a-Blow"; and "Ganger (Ball Lightning)."

Huff, Tanya

      Short stories

  • "Another Fine Nest," The Bakka Anthology (Salman Nensi, 2002). Vampire P.I. Vicki Nelson on the streets of Toronto.
  • "This Town Ain't Big Enough," Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin. First published in Vampire Detectives (DAW, 1995), ed. by Martin H. Greenberg. A Vicki Nelson story.
  • "Underground," Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison. Horror story that takes place in Toronto. Not a Vicki Nelson tale but one based, according to the introduction, "on a little-known but real disaster that occurred during the construction of the Toronto subway system" (p. 23).


      The Keeper's Chronicles series:

  • The Second Summoning (DAW, 2001). Contemporary fantasy novel, great chunks of which is set in Toronto; second in The Keeper's Chronicles series after Summon the Keeper and before Long Hot Summoning (neither of which has Toronto scenes).
  • Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light (DAW, 1989). Contemporary fantasy novel of a magical war being fought in the streets of Toronto. Gritty and realistic, with the magical elements startling against the bleak urban background. The names of many of Tanya's friends are used for minor characters.

      The Blood series [entry written by Marah Searle-Kovacevic]:

  • Blood Price (DAW, 1991), Vol. 1. Private Investigator Vicki Nelson, aided by Toronto cop Mike Celluci, solve strange cases in Toronto involving vampires, mummies and other beasties. The first three books take place (mostly) in downtown Toronto: Vicki's apartment is on Huron Street between College and Dundas, a block east of Chinatown and a short walk to the Lillian H. Smith Library. Tanya lived on that part of Huron when she lived in Toronto. Again Tanya names characters after her friends and local fans.
  • Blood Trail (DAW, 1992), Vol. 2. Toronto setting. Local fan Alex von Thorn is the curator of the Far East Department at the Royal Ontario Museum.
  • Blood Lines (DAW, 1993), Vol. 3. Toronto setting.
  • Note: Blood Pact (DAW, 1993), Vol. 4 of the Blood series, is not set in Toronto, nor is Vol. 5, Blood Debt (DAW, 1997).

Kay, Guy Gavriel

  • The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, beginning with The Summer Tree (McClelland & Stewart, 1984). The story sends five students attending a Celtic conference at the downtown campus of the University of Toronto into the world of Fionavar, where they must battle the forces of evil. The second and third books in the trilogy—The Wandering Fire (Arbor House, 1986) and The Darkest Road (Arbor House, 1986)—take place wholly in Fionavar.

Kilpatrick, Nancy

  • "Inspiriter," Northern Frights 5 (Mosaic Press, 1999), ed. by Don Hutchison. A horror story set in rural Ontario—but the protagonist got there by fleeing Toronto, a city portrayed as at once frantic and lifeless, a city with "twisted values that substituted racing into the future for life in the present, annihilating process en route," a city whose "passionless glass and chrome" crushes creativity. Ironically, by the end of the story the protagonist has been rendered just as passionless as the city he'd tried to escape.
  • "Vermiculture," Northern Horror (Quarry Press, 2000), ed. by Edo van Belkom. From p. 140: "[T]he entire city of Toronto had gone crazy for the latest fad"—composting.

Kirkpatrick, David

  • "The Effect of Terminal Cancer on Potential Astronauts," Tesseracts (Press Porcépic, 1985), ed. by Judith Merril. SF. "Since the computer revolution, Earth is not such a bad place to live, I suppose, although it is a mad place. It is a hodgepodge of little tailor-made utopias, a great place for self-actualization" (p. 254). A Toronto man says, "I am the only human in the Dininghouse at the moment. My familoid and I call our community Toronto 29.... Just imagine, a whole biological family once inhabited this building as their entire home....we are surrounded by claustrophobic ruins..." (p. 248). The Toronto skyline has a McLuhan Tower, evidently not a ruin.

Lawrence, W.H.C.

  • The Storm of '92: A Grandfather's Tale (Sheppard, 1889). A British Empire-boosting speculative tale written in 1889. In 1932, an old man tells his descendants about the 1892 "storm," in which a fishing dispute is the last straw in provoking the United States to declare war on Canada. British and Australian involvement ensures the result is a draw, but not before many cities in Canada and the US have been shelled to rubble. On the day war was declared, says the narrator, "I in Toronto, near what is now the corner of 25th Street and Second Avenue." A footnote explains, "Before the bombardment and fire, the city had no numbered streets or avenues, but in the re-building a more modern plan was adopted" (p. 22). Yonge Street has been renamed Sixth Avenue, King Street is Fifth Street, etc. By 1932, Canada's cities are "adorned with the stateliest triumphs of architecture and replete with all that wealth can create, or refinement approve" (p. 69).

Marshall, Tom

  • "Scenes from Successive Futures," Ark of Ice: Canadian Futurefiction (Pottersfield Press, 1992), ed. by Lesley Choyce. SF set after a nuclear holocaust. A dome stretches over a big area that includes Toronto and Kingston.

May, Julian

  • The Rampart Worlds trilogy: Perseus Spur (Del Rey, 1998), Orion Arm (Del Rey, 2000) and Sagittarius Whorl (Del Rey, 2001). Space opera/mystery that mostly takes place in outer space, but the home office of the Rampart interstellar family company of the hero, Asahel Frost (who's a combination of a cowboy and James Bond), is in Toronto, and there are a number of scenes there.

[Entry written by John Macdonald. For reasons of space, a truncated version of John's entry appeared in the Torcon 3 souvenir book. Here, it appears in its entirety.]

Julian May is best known for her stories about development of human mental powers in the Intervention, Pliocene Exile, and Galactic Milieu series of books. However, her Rampart Worlds series (Perseus Spur, Orion Arm, and Sagittarius Whorl [Del Rey, 1998, 2000 and 2001, respectively]) features a rising pan-galactic corporation whose headquarters is in Toronto. Toronto makes a good base since it is also the home of the Assembly Chamber of the Commonwealth of Human Worlds—it is the centre of government for most of humanity. Many of The Hundred Concerns have head offices here.

At this time, "Toronto spreads along the entire northern shore of Lake Ontario." That is later contradicted: to go from Toronto to Ottawa, you are still heading northeast and need to travel for a while before reaching Peterborough—which means that Toronto cannot have expanded east beyond Oshawa.

You get to see the Blue Disenfranchised Persons Reserve, where people who have been stripped of citizenship and civil rights must make their living. You can find it to the north of Etobicoke and Mississauga along Peel Road. But don't let the inhabitants catch you finding it, as it's run by criminal gangs.

The Toronto Islands have been expanded even farther. The underground Path network is still there and expanded far beyond its current scope. There is even a Dark Path of underground tunnels that are no longer part of the public Path. This provides a future echo of the ghost subway stations that Toronto already has. The Dark Path, too, is inhabited by disenfranchised people.

Toronto has gotten bigger: It is now known as the Toronto Conurb, which continues the current trend from Toronto to Metropolitan Toronto to the Greater Toronto Area. In fact, with a population of 13 million people it is the largest city on Earth. (That number sounds realistic for a century and a quarter of growth for Toronto, especially with its high-profile status, but there is no mention of any reason that other cities around the world have failed to reach that size. Some of them are already close to that large now.)

The area surrounding Toronto continues to contain many places that are already present, such as the Kawartha Lakes region and Fenelon Falls.

Much of the downtown action takes place in recognizable locations: Yonge Street, Dundas Square, University Avenue and Cabbagetown, including lesser-known locations such as McCaul Street and Edwin Street. The King Edward Hotel is still around, as is the Queen Elizabeth Way (augmented by a new road, the Lake Freeway).

While lots of action takes place far away from Earth—as the titles of the books suggest—it certainly is nice to have large parts happen in terra cognita.

McBride, Sally

  • "There Is a Violence," Tesseracts5 (Tesseract Books, 1996), ed. by Robert Runté and Yves Meynard. SF about alien artifacts in a Toronto art gallery.

Meier, Shirley

  • "Ice," Northern Frights 2 (Mosaic Press, 1994), ed. by Don Hutchison. Mostly set in Toronto, where the lead character lives in a condo on King Street. The city is a place where it's either raining ("washing gray Toronto streets") or freezing ("For once, the city was shrouded in white rather than brown crud").

Melling, O.R. (pseudonym of Geraldine Whelan)

  • Falling Out of Tune (Viking, 1989). Adult fantasy novel that contrasts the life of a Canadian writer with that of her Irish philosophy student character, and both of those with the lives of archetypal lovers in the mythic world of the Two Magicians. Partly set in Toronto. A quote from p. 78:

    "Why do you think he stopped believing in magic?"

    "I don't really know. It could have been the move to Canada. I told you he was Irish, didn't I? We met in Dublin when I was studying at Trinity. Perhaps Toronto killed that part of him. It's not a magical city."

Munroe, Jim

  • Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask (Econo-Clad Books, 1999). In 1990s Toronto, a University of Toronto undergraduate discovers he has the power to turn into a fly.

Nelson, Frederick

  • Toronto in 1928 A.D. (National Business Methods & Publishing Co., 1908). This 48-page "story" has no literary merit, and seems to have been written to sell to attendees of the Canadian National Exhibition (which is, no surprise, still going strong in the year of the story's title). But the "predictions" do have some curiosity value. By 1928, Toronto has expanded north to Newmarket and boasts a population of more than 1.5 million. Except for a slum area from Sherbourne east to the Don River, the city is exceptionally prosperous and its buildings huge. Airships are an important method of transportation. A two-tier bridge (cable railroad below, automobile and pedestrian road above) joins the city to Toronto Island, "whose residential section was a thing of the past.... The island had become the Coney Island of Toronto" (p. 33). There's also a "gigantic" amusement park on the mainland. The author, concerned to reassure his readers about Toronto the Good's reputation in the future, writes that "Toronto had gone pleasure-mad, but her police had learned much from greater cities and now were a terror in the eyes of the wickedly-inclined. Toronto could still say she was a virgin in comparison with the sins of many great American cities" (p. 37).

Nickle, David

  • "The Dummy Award," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. Horror story about crash-test dummies for car manufacturer General Ford. One of the scenarios the dummies experience in the simulator is a test course on "the Don Valley Parkway's Lawrence Avenue on-ramp" (p. 178).
  • "Mrs. Thurston's Instrument of Justice," Northern Horror (Quarry Press, 2000), ed. by Edo van Belkom. The opening scenes are set in Toronto. The Don River, Bloor Viaduct and bus station on Bay Street are mentioned.

Patton, Fiona

  • "Lucky Charm," The Bakka Anthology (Salman Nensi, 2002). Contemporary fantasy. A rural family with various psychic powers comes to Toronto to pick up a few things. Yonge Street and the 401 are referred to, as are the strange driving habits of Torontonians: "This place is nuts: one second everyone's driving like idiots, the next they're creepin' about with their thumbs up their butts" (p. 72).

Pedley, Hugh

  • Looking Forward: The Strange Experience of the Rev. Fergus McCheyne (Toronto: William Briggs, 1913). Set in a future where the establishment of the United Church of Canada has brought utopia. (Note: the United Church of Canada was established in 1925; utopia did not ensue.) The Rev. Fergus McCheyne, clergyman and scientist, injects himself with a serum that puts him into hibernation in 1902; he doesn't regain consciousness for 25 years. Looking Forward, which is now out of print, was written in response to Edward Bellamy and Walter James Miller's Looking Backward: 2000–1887 (Regent Press, 1898), a utopian novel which takes place in Boston and is still in print.

Pflug, Ursula

  • "Bugtown," Northern Suns (Tor, 1999), ed. by David Hartwell and Glenn Grant. Near-future, post-apocalyptic SF set in a rundown Chinatown. "Bugtown" was first published in Transversions and is a sequel to "Version City," from Derryl Murphy's anthology Senary (1992). Says the author, "The ideas in both stories date from a time when I believed the end of the world might be fun, and whichever of the many possible forms it might take would almost certainly come in my lifetime. This might still be the case" (p. 214, Northern Suns' introduction to "Bugtown").
  • Green Music (Tesseract Books, 2001; reissued by Red Deer Books, 2003). Magic realism novel partly set in Toronto.

Powell, James

  • "Dark Possessions," Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin. The ghost of a deceased Toronto detective visits the attic containing his former furniture.

Reeves-Stevens, Garfield

  • "The Eddies," Northern Frights 2 (Mosaic Press, 1994), ed. by Don Hutchison. About a ghost in the CN Tower. The story's narrator is frightened so much by his visit to the Tower that at the end of the story he moves to Regina, Saskatchewan, a city where, "when thunderstorms roll by, there's nothing around for hundreds of kilometers tall enough to reach up and streak through whatever's up there, trapped between heaven and earth, trying to find a way back" (p. 56).
  • "Tear Down," Northern Frights (Mosaic Press, 1992), ed. by Don Hutchison. A serial killer chooses his next victim because she's building a monster home in his old neighbourhood, a "vast rectangle of Toronto that ran south from the 401, north from York Mills Road, and east and west from Yonge Street through to Leslie" (p. 5).

Robinson, Spider

[Entry written by John Macdonald]

  • "Satan's Children," in the short-story collection Antinomy (Dell, 1980). When Zack and Jill are testing a new drug called The Whole Truth, they do it during a concert tour that touches down in many places, including Toronto.
  • Stardance (Baen, 1978), reprinted in The Star Dancers (Dial, 1979), co-authored by Jeanne Robinson. SF novel that takes place mostly in space, but three of the principal characters start out in Toronto with the Toronto Dance Theatre before they move to space.
  • Deathkiller (Baen, 1996). Bear and Mimi are old friends who come back to visit Norman in Halifax after they move to Toronto.
  • Lifehouse (Baen, 1997). When Wally and Moira are tricked by a "time-traveller" into believing a huge earthquake will combine with a fault to drop the west coast of North America into the Pacific, they run to Toronto.

Sawyer, Robert

[For an in-depth discussion of Sawyer's use of Toronto in his fiction, see "The Speculative Torontos of Robert Charles Wilson and Robert J. Sawyer" on this site.]

  • Calculating God (Tor, 2000).
  • Factoring Humanity (Tor, 1998).
  • Flashforward (Tor, 1999). Chapters 23 and 32 take place in Toronto.
  • Frameshift (Tor, 1997). Chapter 2, at minimum, is set in Toronto.
  • The Neanderthal Parallax series: Hominids (Tor, 2002), Humans (Tor, 2003) and Hybrids (Tor, 2003).
  • Iterations (Quarry Press, 2002). Collection of stories. The ones with a Toronto setting, all or in part, are "Iterations": "If I'm Here, Imagine Where They Sent My Luggage"; "Where the Heart Is"; "Lost in the Mail"; "The Abdication of Pope Mary III"; and "Ours to Discover."

Schroeder, Karl

  • "Dawn," Tesseracts7 (Tesseract Books, 1998), ed. by Paula Johanson and Jean-Louis Trudel. Vampires hunt in present-day Toronto. There are references to the subway, High Park, Bay Street and Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Skeet, Michael

  • "Tin House," Northern Frights 4 (Mosaic Press, 1997), ed. by Don Hutchison. Horror story set in a house in Chinatown. The tale's introduction states that the story was inspired by a real building in a central Toronto neighbourhood.

Spencer, Hugh A.D.

  • "The Triage Conference," On Spec (Summer 1993). The conference of the title is held in Toronto.
  • "Why I Hunt Flying Saucers," On Spec: The First Five Years (Tesseract Books, 1995), ed. by the On Spec Editorial Collective. Set in the present day. A man believes he has been repeatedly abducted by aliens. In one scene, he goes to do research at his local library. "I arrive at the Reference Section with no sign of alien activity. Perhaps invaders from another solar system hesitate to interfere with the operation of the Toronto Public Library System" (p. 220).

Starrett, Vincent

  • "The Tattooed Man," Friendly Aliens: Thirteen Stories of the Fantastic Set in Canada by Foreign Authors (Hounslow Press, 1981), ed. by John Robert Colombo. Horror story set in 1904 and narrated by a doctor who lives in the then-village of Parkdale, before it was absorbed into Toronto.

Such, Peter

  • "The Dalai Lama's Pyjamas," Tesseracts5 (Tesseract Books, 1996), ed. by Robert Runté and Yves Meynard. Fantasy about Tibetan monks coming to Toronto. There are references to Toronto Island and the rickety houses of the stubborn Island community, the ferry, the "desperately polluted harbour," and Simcoe Hall (University of Toronto).

Trudel, Jean-Louis

  • "The Falafel Is Better in Ottawa," Ark of Ice: Canadian Futurefiction (Pottersfield Press, 1992), ed. by Lesley Choyce. SF about a "hunter" (secret agent/hired killer) temporarily living in a close-packed area of Toronto. The hunter gives himself the moniker "Spadina" when he makes a call. A quote from p. 93: "You could eat cheap falafel in the Spadina eateries of Toronto, but the falafel was definitely better in Ottawa."
  • "The Paradigm Machine," Tesseracts5 (Tesseract Books, 1996), ed. by Robert Runté and Yves Meynard. SF with virtual reality "Virtuality" and aircars; some scenes are set in smelly, overpopulated Toronto, part of "the Toronto-Kingston strip city."

Turtledove, Harry

  • The Great War: Breakthroughs (Del Rey, 2000). Alternate-history novel set in 1917. As part of a wide-ranging global war, Canada has been invaded by the United States. Stubbornly-defended Toronto is eventually forced to surrender. The provincial Parliament Buildings (Queen's Park) are in smoking ruins from bombing runs.

van Belkom, Edo

  • "The Cold," Northern Frights 2 (Mosaic Press, 1994), ed. by Don Hutchison; and Death Drives a Semi (Quarry Press, 1998), story collection by the author. "The Cold" is set in the shopping district of Spadina Avenue south of College. The author says that "the furrier in the story is loosely based on Paul Magder," who gained notoriety during the 1980s and early 1990s for keeping his fur shop open in defiance of no-shopping-on-Sunday laws. Sunday shopping was eventually legalized.
  • "Rat Food" (with David Nickle), On Spec (Spring 1997) and Death Drives a Semi (Quarry Press, 1998). There is a mention of Sparroway Street, a fictitious street in North York, northern Toronto.
  • "The Piano Player Has No Fingers," Palace Corbie #7, ed. by Wayne Edwards and John Marshall (Merrimack Books, 1997); Death Drives a Semi (Quarry Press, 1998); and Goddess of the Bay #7 (Summer 1999). There's a mention of the El Mocambo nightclub on Bathurst Street. The Elmo closed in in 2002, to the great distress of city clubbers. The space subsequently reopened as a dance studio.
  • "Hockey's Night in Canada," Arrowdreams (Nuage Editions, 1998), ed. by Mark Shainblum and John Dupuis; Ice: New Writings on Hockey (Spotted Cow Press, 1999), ed. by Dale Jacobs; Storyteller Magazine (Spring 2001); and Going for the Top Shelf: An Anthology of Hockey Prose (Key Porter Books, Fall 2003), ed. by Michael Kennedy. The player in the story is trying out for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • "Heart," Canadian Fiction Magazine (July 2000 issue) and Northern Horror anthology (Quarry Press, 2000), both ed. by Edo van Belkom. The ghost of a Toronto Maple Leafs player kills a current player in the Air Canada Centre.

von Kampen, Bettina

  • "For Each a Space Among the Stars," Descant 122 (Speculative Literature theme issue, Fall 2003). A physics professor tries to come to terms with the death of his son, who was seriously injured when a stranger pushed him off the subway platform at Broadview station into the path of a TTC train.

Weiner, Andrew

  • "The Map," Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (Pottersfield Press, 1998), ed. by Robert J. Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin. Murder-mystery in Toronto with an alternate-universe twist.
  • Distant Signals and Other Stories (Porcépic Press, 1990). In the title story, "Distinct Signals," an SF tale that also appeared in Tesseracts2 (Porcépic Books, 1987), ed. by Phyllis Gotlieb and Doug Barbour, only the first scene is set in Toronto. "Going Native," an SF story set in the 1980s, is about an alien inhabiting a man in an unnamed big city. Internal clues that the city is probably Toronto: it's in the east of Canada; it's English-speaking; there's a subway and a reference library. Toronto's Metro Reference Library (now called the Toronto Reference Library), designed by Raymond Moriyama, was a big deal when it was built.

Weiss, Allan

  • "The Solomon Cheats," Tesseracts7 (Edmonton: Tesseract Books, 1998), ed. by Paula Johanson and Jean-Louis Trudel. SF story set in early-21st-century Toronto, where there are many desperate, unhappy people. "Solomons" are professional life-counsellors with enhanced brains and the ability to heal body and mind quickly using nanotechnology. The story's hero, Don Solomon, derives consolation from his pleasant neighbourhood, "a short walk from the edge of the Don Valley, where he could enjoy the simple pleasures of seeing the fall colours, the rushing cars, and the downtown towers now webbed with aerial walkways" (p. 168).

Wilson, Robert Charles

[For an in-depth discussion of Wilson's use of Toronto in his fiction, see "The Speculative Torontos of Robert Charles Wilson and Robert J. Sawyer" on this site.]

  • The Divide (Doubleday, 1990).
  • The Perseids and Other Stories (Tor, 2000).

Wynne-Jones, Tim

  • Fastyngange (Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1988). Reprinted as Voices (Hodder & Stoughton, 1990). Literary fantasy novel about a woman who finds (or thinks she finds) a haunted castle with a talking well. Chapters 28 to the end are set in Toronto.
  • The Knot (McClelland & Stewart, 1982). Mystery with fantasy elements, set in Toronto. The descriptions of localities such as the Cabbagetown neighbourhood, Toronto City Hall, a stockyard in the Don Valley, and the Bayview Extension area are very strong.

Also on this site are interviews with four of the authors in the bibliography:

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