Memories of the Beach: Reflections on a Toronto Childhood
by Lorraine O'Donnell Williams


Dundurn Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-554-88389-9.
Reviewed by Susan M. Andrus
Posted on 07/25/2010

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Active Life; Nonfiction: Nature/Place/Environment

Lorraine O'Donnell Williams grew up living at the foot of Hammersmith Avenue on Hubbard Blvd., paralleling Toronto's beachfront, with her parents, sister and brother. Her father traveled as a salesman, and her mother often met friends at the beach, leaving Lorraine to explore the mysteries along the shore, and later, the city itself, as she attended school and college. Williams' research and apparent photographic memory brings back names, places, and details that I had long forgotten growing up on the opposite shore of Lake Ontario in New York around the same time. What fun it was for me to read about her experiences and reminisce about those years.

Williams explains that growing up in the 1930s and 40s things were different. At that time, she had unlimited freedoms unknown to children today. She says, "By learning about times that were different, this generation may be encouraged to know that life was and can be different. That it's possible to restore some of that innocence into their world." Loaded with photos from her life, this memoir, although sometimes needing smoother transitions, reawakens our own memories of times gone by.


Lorraine O'Donnell Williams was born and raised in the Beach district of Toronto. Her careen has included senior positions in the correctional, forensic psychiatry, and psychiatric fields of social work. The mother of five adult children, she recently retired from private practice to write full-time and currently lives with her husband in Markham, Ontario.

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