*Excerpt from Cold City, a graphic novel inspired by a true, unsolved crime in Toronto of 1933
by Terri Favro (writer) and Ron Edding (artist)

Cold City is inspired by a photograph hanging in a room where Ron Edding was teaching art some years ago. The photo was of a young man who, according to a plaque, died “in defense of his father’s home.” Ron’s curiosity was piqued. He researched the story and discovered that the young man had been shot in 1933 while wrestling with a burglar trying to break into his family home. The young man survived long enough to identify the gunman as a “man with an accent and a swarthy complexion” – in other words, an immigrant.

Every year in late November, at the precise date and time of the shooting, Ron and I visited the scene of the crime, where the young man’s house once stood, and walked through streets and alleyways, to see the route the killer might have taken to escape. We decided to create a fictional character named Claudio, who had witnessed the murder as a boy and knew how the murder weapon had vanished without a trace.

As shown in the pages excerpted below, Cold City depicts many of Toronto’s immigrant landmarks and meeting places that have since been demolished: the Ward neighbourhood on University Avenue, where many large hospitals now stand; Providence House, a refuge for orphans, seniors and the poor, run by the Sisters of St Joseph, which was taken down to build a highway on-ramp; Angelo’s Restaurant at 24 Chestnut Street, which many Italian immigrants (including one of Terri’s grandfathers) identified to immigration officials at Ellis Island and Pier 21 as their final destination in Canada; and the Silver Slipper, a famous dance hall in the city’s west end. All these remarkable places existed only in the Toronto archives, until Ron’s drawings brought them back to life in Cold City.


Before Cold City, Ron Edding and Terri Favro collaborated on four graphic novels – the “Bella” series – inspired by Terri’s childhood in immigrant Niagara in the 1970s and 1980s. Cold Cityis a very different book, involving research into everything, from bootlegging to Depression-era entertainment venues to the prevalence of guns in Toronto in the thirties. (We discovered there were a lot of privately owned guns in the city in that era – many of them “souvenirs” brought home by Canadian soldiers after World War I – but gun murders were rare.) Cold City is available at The Sidekick Comics Bookstore, 1374 Queen Street East, Toronto or online.

For more information, visit terrifavro.ca, and use the CONTACT link.

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