Alumni Publications


GeoPlan is a newsletter for alumni and friends of the University of Toronto Department of Geography and Program in Planning. It features updates and articles from alumni, departmental news, and reviews of UTAGA and PAC activities, such as the Spring Social and Awards Night.

GEOPLAN 2018-19






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PAC Review

The PAC Review was first published in the Fall of 2009. It is an annual electronic publication of articles and photographs by PAC committee members that reviews PAC events and accomplishments.






History of the Department


Reflections_covercaptureReflections on the History of Geography at the University of Toronto

(Department of Geography and Program in Planning, 2010)
Available through the Department, email
Edited by Virginia Maclaren and Gunter Gad

This book celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto. It is not meant to be a complete history of the department but rather a history of selected moments and events. Some of the 16 contributions are based on reminiscences and some are based on archival research and interviews. Some are a bit of both. Chapter authors include current and emeritus professors, current and retired staff, and alumni.


Books Published by Alumni (Popular)

 Getting Started with Data Science: Making Sense of Data with analytics

(IBM Press, 2015)

By Murtaza Haider, PhD, 2003

Getting Started with Data Science takes its inspiration from worldwide best-sellers like Freakonomics and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: It teaches through a powerful narrative packed with unforgettable stories.

Murtaza Haider offers informative, jargon-free coverage of basic theory and technique, backed with plenty of vivid examples and hands-on practice opportunities. Everything’s software and platform agnostic, so you can learn data science whether you work with R, Stata, SPSS, or SAS. Best of all, Haider teaches a crucial skillset most data science books ignore: how to tell powerful stories using graphics and tables. Every chapter is built around real research challenges, so you’ll always know why you’re doing what you’re doing.

An Analysis of Hong Kong Transit City

(China Construction Industrial Publish House, 2014)

By Liang H. Wang

“An Analysis of Hong Kong Transit City” (in Chinese) was published by the China construction Industrial publishing House, Beijing in 2014.
This is one of the few books on the development and management of public transport of Hong Kong since Wang’s previous book on the similar subject more than two decades ago. The book consists of a total of 0.55 million Chinese characters in 18 chapters, explaining how the collusion of land use design and property development has helped in producing an unexpected efficient public transport system at the expense of social justice. The so-called successful of TOD in Hong Kong is in fact ironically a consequence of malpractice in urban planning.

Liang H. Wang (PhD 1997) is a graduate of the department. Based in Hong Kong, Liang provides urban and transport planning and policy consulting services in the region, with main focus on public transport policy transformation and land use planning at and around mass transit and high speed railway hubs in Hong Kong and urban China. Before taking up consulting he was in senior management in an infrastructure investment group and lectured at the National University of Singapore and the University of Hong Kong. He was project manager for the Long Term Economic Plan for Trengganu State under EPU in the early years. This book has been adopted as reference material for major planning schools in the region.


Diversity in Diaspora: Hmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century

(University of Hawaii Press, 2013)

Edited by Mark E. Pfeifer (PhD, 1999), Monica Chiu, and Kou Yang

This anthology wrestles with Hmong Americans’ inclusion into and contributions to Asian American studies, as well as to American history and culture and refugee, immigrant, and diasporic trajectories. It negotiates both Hmong American political and cultural citizenship, meticulously rewriting the established view of the Hmong as “new” Asian neighbors—an approach articulated, Hollywood style, in Clint Eastwood’s film Gran Torino. The collection boldly moves Hmong American studies away from its usual groove of refugee recapitulation that entrenches Hmong Americans points-of-origin and acculturation studies rather than propelling the field into other exciting academic avenues.



Opening A Window to the West: The Foreign Concession at Kobe, Japan, 1868-1899

(University of Toronto Press Publishing, 2013)

By Peter Ennals, PhD, 1973

After more than two centuries of self-seclusion, Japan finally opened itself to Western traders and influences in the 1850s. However, Westerners were restricted to a handful of Foreign Concessions set adjacent to selected Japanese cities, where they could fashion a working urban space suited to their own cultural patterns, and which provided the Japanese with a microscopic view of Western ways of behaviour and commerce. Kōbe was one of these treaty ports, and its Foreign Concession, along with that at Yokohama, became the most vibrant and successful of these settlements. In this first book-length study of Kōbe’s Foreign Concession, Ennals situates Kōbe within the larger pattern of globalization occurring throughout East Asia in the nineteenth century. Detailing the form and evolution of the settlement, its social and economic composition, and its specific mercantile trading features, this vivid micro-study illuminates the making of Kōbe during these critical decades of growth and development.

Tubes: A journey to the Center of the Internet

(HarperCollins Publishing, 2012)

By Andrew Blum, M.A., 2002

Everybody knows that the Internet is the most powerful information network ever conceived. It is a gateway to information, a messenger of love and a fountain of riches and distraction. We are all connected now, but connected to what? In Tubes, acclaimed young journalist Andrew Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey to find out. As Blum writes, the Internet is tangible: it fills buildings, converges in some places in the world and avoids others, and it flows through tubes—along train lines and highways, and under oceans. You can map it, smell it and see it. As Tom Vanderbilt does in his bestselling Traffic, Blum goes behind the scenes of our everyday lives and combines first-rate reporting and engaging explanation into a fast-paced quest to explain the world in which we live. The room in Los Angeles where the Internet was born; the busy hub in downtown Toronto that links Canada with the world; a new undersea cable that connects West Africa and Europe; and the Great Pyramids of our time, the monumental data centres that Google and Facebook have built in the wilds of Oregon—Blum visits them all to chronicle the dramatic story of the Internet’s development and explain how it all works. Andrew Blum, who studied human geography at the University of Toronto (M.A., 02), is a correspondent at Wired magazine and a contributing editor at Metropolis. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, the National Post, Saturday Night, BusinessWeek, Slate and Popular Science, among many other publications. He lives in New York City.

Creating Memory

(Backer Associates, 2010)

By John Warkentin, M.A, 1954, PhD, 1961

Toronto has over 600 public outdoor sculptures, works of art that provide a sense of the rich variety of life and work in the city, its peoples, cultures and aspirations. Interest in commissioning public sculpture began slowly in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, but increased rapidly after the 1950s.This is a book about the sculptures and how they disclose the city to itself.

Creating Memory’s two introductory sections examine the factors behind this expansion over time and the changes in style as one generation of sculptors succeeded another. It looks at the reasons behind the changes as sculptures were conceived, sculpted and erected. More than 10 categories of sculptures are defined and discussed, including Founding the City, Natural Environment, Immigration, Ethnic Groups, Economic Activities, Disaster and Calamity, War And Conflict, Leaders, Ordinary Citizens, Community Life, and Works of the Imagination.

To describe the sculptures in their setting, Toronto is divided into three main axes and over 25 districts, covering the major concentrations of public sculpture across the city. Thirty three maps show the location of every major sculpture. Each one is described, including its dimensions and the name of the sculptor, usually in the context of the local area, and its purpose. All inscriptions are reproduced as closely as possible. Thirty full-page photographs, taken especially for this book by Noemi Volovics, provide a glimpse of the range of sculptures in the city.

Through Toronto’s sculptures the character of the city and its local communities, and many facets of Canadian life, are remembered and revealed in distinctive ways. Creating Memory provides a new and very human perspective on Toronto, its history and its local geography.

From Queenston to Kingston: The Hidden Heritage of Lake Ontario’s Shoreline

(Dundurn, 2010)

By Ron Brown, B.A. ,1966

Whether you hike, bike, ride the rails, or drive, the shore of Lake Ontario can yield a treasure trove of heritage sites and natural beauty — if you know where to look. Travel with Ron Brown as he probes the shoreline of the Canadian side of Lake Ontario to discover its hidden heritage. Explore “ghost ports,” forgotten coves, historical lighthouses, rumrunning lore, and even the location of a top-secret spy camp. The area also contains some unusual natural features, including a mysterious mountain-top lake, sand dunes, and the rare albars of Prince Edward County. From small communities to the megacity of Toronto, history lives on in the buildings, bridges, canals, rail lines, and homes that have survived, and in the stories, both well-known and long-forgotten, of the people and places no longer here. In From Queenston to Kingston, Ron Brown provides today’s explorer’s with a window into Ontario’s not so distant past and shares a hope that, in future, progress and historical preservation go hand in hand.

Bateman: New Works

(Greystone Books, 2010)

By Robert Bateman, BA, 1954

The long-awaited collection of new works by the world’s most beloved wildlife painter and conservationist.

Robert Bateman is one of the world’s greatest wildlife artists and most committed naturalists. This exquisite collection of recent works, all reproduced here for the first time in book form, features more than one hundred full-colour reproductions depicting both North American and international mammals, birds, and other wildlife, as well as black-and-white details and sketches. This glorious edition features an introduction and eleven short essays by Bateman in which he shares his wisdom on nature, environmentalism, education, and the role of art in the preservation of wilderness. The text also includes commentary on specific works. Bateman: New Works is an essential addition to every Bateman collection or a satisfying introduction to the work of this revered and iconic artist.

High Heels in the Tundra: My Life as a Geographer and Climatologist

(iUniverse, 2009)

By Marie Sanderson, BA, 1944

This is the story of a woman who loved her career of geographer and climatologist. Marie Sanderson writes of the intellectual stimulation she experienced as a student at the universities of Toronto, Maryland and Michigan and of the professors who inspired her. She describes the innovative climate experiments she undertook while at the Ontario Research Foundation and the University of Windsor, and the water research centres she established at the universities of Windsor and Waterloo. She is an expert on the Great Lakes and their changing levels. Marie also writes of her life as a professor, not only at Windsor, but also at the University of Hawaii, and in the Nunavut region of Arctic Canada where she organized courses on the Arctic environment. As the title of the book indicates, she has had a life-long interest in the world’s northern regions. Much of the book is about traveling. Marie writes of attending geography conferences in many parts of the world, and unique experiences in the USSR and China as an invited guest of their science academies. She also describes some unusual occurrences, such as a near-disastrous canoe trip in Canada’s Northwest Territories and an unpleasant encounter with a customs official in Leningrad.

The Lake Erie Shore: Ontario’s Forgotten South Coast

(Dundurn, 2009)

By Ron Brown, B.A., 1966

The Lake Erie shoreline has born witness to some of Ontario’s earliest history, yet remains largely unspoiled. Much of the area’s natural features – the wetlands, the Carolinian forests – and its built heritage – fishing ports and military ramparts – provide much of interest for vistors to the region. Ron Brown has traversed this most southern coast line in Ontario, fleshing out forgotten stories of the past, from accounts of the world’s largest freshwater fishing fleet, War of 1812 skirmishes, links with the Underground Railroad, forgotten outposts and canals, the introduction of wineries, and the legacy of te many appealing towns and villages that hug the shoreline.


Bone and Dream: Into the World’s Driest Desert

(Knopf Canada, 2009)

By Lake Sagaris, MScPl, 2006, PhD ’13

Although the mysterious, beautiful Atacama rises out of the Pacific, it is the driest place on earth, with powers of preservation so strong it still holds many of its earliest inhabitants in thrall, mummified by nature. As Lake Sagaris journeys into Atacama, where foreign mining companies, including Canadian, plunder the desert for treasures left by volcanic eruptions of the past, she interweaves the story of La Tirana who created her own community in fierce resistance to the Spanish invaders and died at the hands of her people moments before her marriage to a Christian captive.

Bone and Dream, brilliantly fusing fiction and non-fiction, is a tribute to those who ventured into the desert over thousands of years and melded into its surface of rock and bone.


A Hmao (Hua Miao) Songs, Stories and Legends from China

(LINCOM Europa, 2009)

Edited by Nicholas Tapp and Mark E. Pfeifer (PhD, 1999)

These wonderful materials come from the A Hmao people of Southwest China, a Miao people related to the Hmong. Their language is a unique one and this book represents a fair selection of their whole corpus of oral legends – songs and folk tales about the origins of the world, their oppression by the Chinese, their flight and exodus, their relations with landlords, together with stories of their social customs, lovesongs and animal fables. Before the Chinese revolution of 1949 the Parsons brothers, who collected and translated these materials, worked with the A Hmao as Christian pastors. Before leaving China they had asked the A Hmao to write down their entire oral corpus in the special form of writing invented by missionaries for their hitherto oral language. After China opened up in 1978 more of these materials were sent to the Parsons brothers, for all through the years of socialism the A Hmao had faithfully recorded their entire corpus.


Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

(Whitecap Books, 2008)

By Jenny Lass, BA, 1997, and Jodi Badger

Rediscover the joy of eating with delicious, easy-to-digest recipes and meal-planning tips.

Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet provides delectable, easy-to-digest dishes that appeal to family and guests who have food limitations which simply must be accommodated. Unlike other gluten-free cookbooks, this one offers traditional favorites in whole-foods, low-lactose, refined-sugar-free versions. Moreover, this book is ideal for anyone who wants or needs to improve their health through diet, including those with lactose intolerance, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

The benefits of a whole-foods diet are addressed in special sections of the book. The authors also include important information on kitchen tools and equipment, food storage and menu-planning, plus a list of health-related resources.

Some of the mouthwatering recipes are:

  • Brie and apple crêpes
  • Caesar salad with ginger aïoli vinaigrette
  • Vegetable quiche
  • Curry risotto
  • Cannelloni
  • Osso bucco
  • Heavenly hazelnut ice cream.

Every breakfast, lunch and dinner dish is great for the entire family, yet meets the strict limitations and standards of grain-restricted diets.

Toronto’s Distillery District: History by the Lake

(Distillery Historic District, 2008)

Sally Gibson, PhD, 1981

The Distillery Historic District , with its historic associations and thriving arts scene , is one of Toronto ’s most intriguing places.   Between the 1830s and the 1890s, the firm of Gooderham & Worts grew from a small windmill in the wilderness to the largest distillery in the British Empire and, for a time, in the world.   In the process, it built some of the finest Victorian industrial architecture in Canada .   Today’s district contains over 40 heritage buildings on a 13-acre site that once formed a vital part of Toronto’s busy commercial waterfront.   With the cultural renaissance of the distillery site and the prospect of a revitalized waterfront, we can now explore the people, buildings, events, industrial artifacts and processes that made Gooderham & Worts Distillery such an important part of Toronto’s history.   What is mashing … a rack house … a scale tank … a corbel … or a tie plate?   Read on.   Who were James Worts, William Gooderham or David Roberts, Sr. and Jr.?   Read on.   What is the oldest building still standing on the site?   When did the railway arrive?   What happened on October 26, 1869?   Read on.

Ernest Ibbetson: Military Artist & Adventure Story Illustrator

(Self Published, 2008)

By Frank A. Barrett

This is the first book written about this 20th century British watercolour painter. Central to his artistic legacy is four major series of British military uniforms covering life in the Army during the period from Edward VII up to Elizabeth II He won the national competition in 1903 to do a portrait of King Edward VII to be produced as a poster to be used throughout the Empire. In addition Ibbetson was the first artist to paint the newly formed Boy Scouts in 1908. He continued to produce both serious and humorous scenes about Scouting. His art also covers topics such as children, London Police, London Life, Naval Ships, social commentary and comical postcard series. His artistic legacy is a forgotten national treasure. The book contains a Catalogue Raisonné in a detailed listing of forty-five pages of his 896 known works in all mediums. Of interest to postcard collectors are the extensive lists of postcard series.

 Hmong-Related Works, 1996 – 2006

(Scarecrow Press and Rowman Littlefield, 2007)

By Mark Pfeifer, PhD, 1999

The Hmong (pronounced “mong” in English) are a mountain-dwelling subgroup of the Miao of southwest China. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Hmong began migrating southeast to Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Then in the second half of the 20th century, due mainly to their participation in the Second Indochina War (1954-1975), the Hmong began migrating to the West. Today, the Hmong are one of the fastest growing ethnic origin populations in the United States. With this rapid expansion in the population, a substantially increased interest in Hmong-related written works, multimedia materials, and websites among students, scholars, service professionals, and the general public has arisen. To help meet that interest, author Mark E. Pfeifer has compiled Hmong-Related Works 1996-2006: An Annotated Bibliography, which includes full reference information (including internet links to articles where available) and descriptive summaries for 610 Hmong-related works.


Inside Toronto: Urban Interiors 1880s to 1920s

(Cormorant Books Inc., 2006)

Sally Gibson, PhD, 1981

Based on 260 vintage images and extensive original research, Inside Toronto: Urban Interiors 1880s to 1920s is the first book to investigate the complex, interior life of a single city — the ordinary and extraordinary places where Torontonians lived, worked, shopped, and performed the rituals of daily life. Interior photographs are rare. Not many were taken; and fewer have survived. Fortunately, Toronto’s archival resources, supplemented by private and public collections elsewhere, are extensive enough to support an investigation of these interior spaces. Many images are glorious, all are informative. Text illuminates the images and provides historical background.

Grain-free Gourmet Delicious Recipes for Healthy Living

(Whitecap Books, 2005)

By Jenny Lass, BA, 1997, and Jodi Badger

The ideal cookbook for healthy grain-free eating.

In Grain-Free Gourmet, Jenny Lass and Jodi Bager transform recipes for traditional favorites such as lasagna, pizza, cakes, pies, cookies and other classics into grain-free versions that taste exactly like, and are often better than, the originals.

Included are mouthwatering recipes for:

  • Parmesan Cheese-stuffed Mushroom Caps
  • Seafood Dumpling Soup
  • Apple Pancakes
  • Megaberry Muffins
  • Gourmet Pizza
  • Almond Butter Bread
  • Coffee Biscotti

The recipes are free of grainsstarchesrefined sugars, and lactose, yet are packed full of flavor. This book offers delicious alternatives for carb- and health-conscious dieters as well as for individuals with high cholesterollactose and gluten intolerances, or digestive and intestinal disorders.

Each recipe was vetted by a registered dietitian and includes accurate nutritional information. The dishes are tasty and easy to make — guaranteed to improve health, appeal to taste buds and amaze dinner guests.


(Pantheon, 2002)

By Robert Bateman, BA, 1954

World renowned wildlife painter Bateman (Thinking Like a Mountain) describes this book as neither a field guide to birds nor a reference book. Rather it is aptly represented as an artist’s “portfolio” and a “field diary.” Bateman not only depicts a worldwide range of avian species in startlingly lifelike paintings, he also captures a sense of place and motion (even when the subjects are still) within landscapes that could stand on their own. The artist’s uncanny ability is no less displayed in the backgrounds and settings than in the portraits of the birds. Bateman paints a wading African blue crane with both bird and water in near photographic clarity. Likewise, he crafts a muted impressionistic Latin American rain forest, wherein brilliantly colored macaws perch, preen and dangle from the lush trees. Perhaps because of the voluptuousness of the paintings, Dean’s text, depicting Bateman’s field experiences, leans toward breathless overuse of modifiers, rather than lighter, subtler prose; the brief foreword to the book by Matthiessen (Birds of Heaven) is insightful. Yet the paintings easily carry the accompanying top-heavy copy with no ill effect. This is a wonderful book for birders, wildlife enthusiasts and art lovers. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Thinking Like a Mountain

(Penguin, 2002)

By Robert Bateman, BA, 1954

Nature has been Robert Bateman’s inspiration ever since he began painting birds from his bedroom window as a young boy. The wildlife he features in his paintings are expressions of his love and respect for the natural world. A passionate environmentalist who has devoted his life to documenting the awesome power of nature, Bateman is deeply worried about the state of our planet and the fate of our natural heritage. Whenever he talks about his paintings, he talks about the environmental messages they convey, and those who have heard him speak have clamoured for a book that encapsulates his philosophy. Thinking Like a Mountain is the result of many years of thinking, talking and writing about the world’s growing environmental crisis. Beautifully designed and illustrated with original drawings, it is a gathering of questions, observations and ideas Robert Bateman has drawn from his own life experiences and gleaned from the writings of some of the visionaries who have influenced him. As Einstein said, “We cannot solve the problems of today with the same thinking that gave us the problems in the first place.”Only a profound shift in philosophy, Bateman believes, can save our species from extinction.

After the First Death: A Journey through Chile, Time, Mind

(Somerville House, 1996)

By Lake Sagaris, MScPl, 2006, PhD, 2013

After the First Death is a hard-hitting, controversial look at Chile by award-winning journalist and poet Lake Sagaris. Beginning with one of the world’s most brutal military regimes, initiated by the military coup of Augusto Pinochet in 1973, Sagaris travels throughout the country talking to its people. This is an eyewitness account of breakdown and remaking of Chilean society, written in compellingly beautiful prose.