Friday, May 25th 2018 | 7:00pm
In this lecture, “Reclaiming the Don: An Environmental History of Toronto’s Don River Valley,” based on her 2014 book of the same title, Professor Bonnell will show how the Don Valley played a central role in Toronto’s development. The lecture will trace the valley’s evolution from the founding of York in the 1790s to the construction of the Don Valley Parkway during the 1960s and up to the present day. For the past two centuries, the Don has served as both a sink for wastes and a site for numerous improvement schemes. By chronicling how successive generations of Toronto residents have imagined the Don Valley as an opportunity, an eyesore and a refuge, this lecture provides a fascinating account of how a small river can shape the growth of a big city.
Jennifer Bonnell is an Assistant Professor of Canadian and environmental history in the Department of History at York University. She is the author of the award-winning Reclaiming the Don: An Environmental History of Toronto’s Don River Valley (University of Toronto Press, 2014) and co-editor of Historical GIS Research in Canada (University of Calgary Press, 2014). Bonnell’s articles and essays have appeared in The Canadian Historical Review, The Journal of Canadian Studies, and Museum & Society, among other publications.
She has contributed to a variety of public history projects, including documentary film and television projects for the Evergreen Brick Works and Metal Dog Films, and research and engagement work for LabSpace Studios and No9 Contemporary Art and the Environment. She is currently working on a new book, Foragers of a Modern Countryside: Honeybees, Agricultural Modernization and Environmental Change in the Great Lakes Region.