This May, University of Toronto Press will release “Toronto, the Belfast of Canada: The Orange Order and the Shaping of Municipal Culture” by William J. Smyth (National University of Ireland). The publisher’s description follows:
In late nineteenth-century Toronto, municipal politics were so dominated by the Irish Protestants of the Orange Order that the city was known as the “Belfast of Canada.” For almost a century, virtually every mayor of Toronto was an Orangeman and the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne was a civic holiday. Toronto, the Belfast of Canada explores the intolerant origins of today’s cosmopolitan city.
Using lodge membership lists, census data, and municipal records, William J. Smyth details the Orange Order’s role in creating Toronto’s municipal culture of militant Protestantism, loyalism, and monarchism. One of Canada’s foremost experts on the Orange Order, Smyth analyses the Orange Order’s influence between 1850 and 1950, the city’s frequent public displays of sectarian tensions, and its occasional bouts of rioting and mayhem.