By NAFISAT ALAO
Beach resident Scott Kennedy’s recent book Tales From The Hollow: The Story of Hogg’s Hollow and York Mills tells the story and uncovers the history of the York Mills neighbourhood from the past to the present day and highlights some the changes that have occurred within the neighbourhood over the years.
Kennedy had been a long time resident of the York Mills neighbourhood. He first resided in York Mills in the Bayview area. After living in the neighbourhood for a while, Kennedy remembeeds how “the highway opened right through our neighbourhood five years later in 1956”.
Years later he then moved down to the Beach in 1996.
“The main reason I ended up in the Beaches was the fact that I wanted to live in a part of the city that showed some respect for its history. Of the 50 houses that were eventually built on our street in York Mills, only four remain. The rest had been demolished and replaced by the dreaded monster houses. It was just too depressing to live in a demolition zone,” said Kennedy.
His latest book tells the story of York Mills, from past years up to the 21st century. The book includes more than 250 photographs, including ones taken before the post-war population boom claimed all of the local farmland and more modern photos to show readers the surviving fragments of that community’s history.
Kennedy talked about why he was drawn to writing specifically about the York Mills and Hogg’s Hollow neighbourhood.
“I grew up in York Mills and saw it change from a place of farmland and woodlands to a place of highways, housing, and industry. We should be aware that unfettered population growth comes with a cost. I wrote this book because I wanted to combine my first-person memories of the area with maps and photographs to create a document of what we have lost for future generations,” said Kennedy.
He mentioned that he initially was not planning to write books about the history of different communities.
“I didn’t actually want to write any of these books. I just wanted to borrow a book on the farms of North York from the North York Central Library, but when I went there I was told that no such book existed, and if I wanted to read it I would have to write it myself,” said Kennedy.
He began writing in 2010 and had his first book published in 2013.
“I spent many years as a musician and songwriter and found that I enjoyed playing around with words. Plus, it seemed that writing was even less lucrative than music so what’s not to love?” he said.
Kennedy is also the author of Don Mills: From Forests and Farms to Forces of Change and Willowdale: Yesterday’s Farms, Today’s Legacy.
Kennedy hopes that those reading his latest book, or any of his previous books, find learning about the past to be a pleasant escape from reality and learn how challenging it was for pioneer farmers to exist in those times. He also hopes that readers become inspired to reject society’s current throw-away culture, learn how to fix and reuse things, and reflect on how rapid urbanization is changing our environment.
For more information on Tales From The Hollow: The Story of Hogg’s Hollow and York Mills, please go to https://books.friesenpress.com/store/title/119734000226401067/Scott-Kennedy-Tales-From-the-Hollow