Account Login Winnipeg Toll-Free: 1-800-561-1833 SK Toll-Free: 1-877-506-7456 Contact & Locations

Remind Me

Dale Barbour Book Launch

Wednesday Oct 13 2021 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium, Streaming on YouTube

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Undressed Toronto: From the Swimming Hole to Sunnyside, How a City Learned to Love the Beach, 1850-1935 (University of Manitoba Press) by Dale Barbour. The event features a conversation with host Robert Penner, historian and fiction writer.

The launch will be hosted live in the Atrium of McNally Robinson Booksellers, Grant Park and also available as a simultaneous YouTube stream. The video will be available for viewing thereafter. Before arriving, please review details of how to attend physical events here at the store.

Undressed Toronto looks at the life of the swimming hole and considers how Toronto turned boys skinny dipping into comforting anti-modernist folk figures.

While we take the beach for granted today, it was a novel form of public space in the nineteenth century and Torontonians had to decide how it would work in their city. To create a public beach, bathing needed to be transformed from the predominantly nude male privilege that it had been in the mid-nineteenth century into an activity that women and men could participate in together.

Undressed Toronto challenges assumptions about class, the urban environment, and the presentation of the naked body.

Dale Barbour, writer, historian, is the author of Winnipeg Beach: Leisure and Courtship in a Resort Town, 1900-1967 and recipient of the University of Winnipeg’s Riley Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Host Robert Penner is an historian (PhD, Duke University, 2012) and a fiction writer (Strange Labour, Radiant Press). He has recently returned to Winnipeg after a long sojourn in the United States.

See:

Undressed Toronto

- by Dale Barbour

Trade paperback $27.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $25.16

Undressed Toronto looks at the life of the swimming hole and considers how Toronto turned boys skinny dipping into comforting anti-modernist folk figures. By digging into the vibrant social life of these spaces, Barbour challenges narratives that pollution and industrialization in the nineteenth century destroyed the relationship between Torontonians and their rivers and waterfront. Instead, we find that these areas were co-opted and transformed into recreation spaces: often with the acceptance of indulgent city officials. While we take the beach for granted today, it was a novel form of public space in the nineteenth century and Torontonians had to decide how it would work in their city. To create a public beach, bathing needed to be transformed from the predominantly nude male privilege that it had been in the mid-nineteenth century into an activity that women and men could participate in together. That transformation required negotiating and establishing rules for how people would dress and behave when they bathed and setting aside or creating distinct environments for bathing. Undressed Toronto challenges assumptions about class, the urban environment, and the presentation of the naked body. It explores anxieties about modernity and masculinity and the weight of nostalgia in public perceptions and municipal regulation of public bathing in five Toronto environments that showcase distinct moments in the transition from vernacular bathing to the public beach: the city's central waterfront, Toronto Island, the Don River, the Humber River, and Sunnyside Beach on Toronto's western shoreline.