Parkdale’s Mad History

Locating Parkdale’s Mad History: Back Wards to Back Streets, 1980-2010


crowd in room listening to man and woman speak

In November 2010, historian Megan Davies teamed up with mad educator, activist and former politician David Reville to present a public talk at the Parkdale Public Library on the neighbourhood’s mad history. The last in a Toronto Public Library’s History Matters series that showcased historical research on Toronto, “Locating Parkdale’s Mad History” focused on local responses to the deinstitutionalization of mental health provision in the 1970s and beyond. The full series of is available at Active History.

All the other talks in the series were given by academic historians, and Davies asked Reville to participate to connect to community and to remedy her lack of grounding in local history. In fact, preparing the talk was an educational experience in co-creating public history with community partners for Davies and the beginnings of an fruitful working friendship between Reville and Davies. Technical assistant, a young Bryn Coates-Davies, can be spotted at the front of the audience. Five years later he would meet his quota of community hours for secondary school graduation by scanning Reville’s impressive collection of ephemera gathered over decades of work and life.

The written talk and the audio are quite different from each other.

Listen to the Audio of Reville and Davies’ talk:


Read Locating Parkdale’s Mad History: Back Wards to Back Streets, 1980-2010.

Three important sources that Reville and Davies used were: