Faint praise

Rupert Brooke was just trying to be honest when he wrote of Toronto in his 1916 book Letters From America:

But Toronto – Toronto is the subject. One must say something – what  must one say about Toronto? What can one? What has anybody ever said? It is impossible to give it anything but commendation. It is not squalid like Birmingham, or cramped like Canton, or scattered like Edmonton, or sham like Berlin, or hellish like New York, or tiresome like Nice. It is all right. The only depressing thing is that it will always be what it is, only larger, and that no Canadian city can ever be anything better or different. If they are good they may become Toronto.

Does the fact William Butler Yeats described Brooke as “the handsomest young man in England” make his observations any less painful? Didn’t think so.


		
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