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Memoir

Toronto Life’s most popular memoirs of 2021

As we approach the end of 2021, everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s the front-line workers who braved the brutal third wave in ICUs and ERs, the vaccinators who travelled into remote northern communities, the artisans who turned their side hustles into profitable businesses, or the folks who left Toronto behind for more bucolic settings. Here, our 10 most popular memoirs of the year.


Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

Suzanne Shoush, a long-time family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, was selected to take part in Ornge’s Operation Remote Immunity initiative, joining staff and physicians to vaccinate members of 31 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario. Here’s what the experience was like | By Suzanne Shoush | March 25


Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

At the beginning of the pandemic, software engineer Ibrahim Abed started exploring his neighbourhood—and some days, he just keeps walking. His marathon strolls kept him grounded during the second wave​ | By Ibrahim Abed | January 6

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Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

As chief and medical director of the critical-care program at the Scarborough Health Network, Martin Betts oversees one of the largest ICUs in Canada. It was also one of the hardest hit: in October 2020, the program was treating roughly a third of Ontario’s critically ill Covid-19 patients. Betts describes what it was like to run an ICU inside a hotspot as the second wave raged | By Martin Betts | February 2


Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

A few months before the pandemic, Ryan Somes and Anthea Stanley left their jobs on Bay Street, sold their Toronto home and moved their family to Panama to open a boutique hotel. After delays due to Covid, they opened the doors of Catalina’s Hideaway in December of 2020 | By Ryan Somes and Anthea Stanley | March 17


Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

At Alo, I poured my heart and soul into creating the perfect dining experience: the ambience, the service, the elegantly plated food. Now I make 1,200 burgers a week. Inside the mind-bending business of keeping a restaurant alive during a pandemic | By Patrick Kriss | February 3

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Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

Melanie Vogel left Toronto in 2017 to walk 20,000 kilometres across Canada, following the Great Trail from the Atlantic to the Arctic to the Pacific oceans. Now she’s on lockdown in Eagle Plains, a tiny Yukon outpost on the edge of the Arctic Circle. Here’s how her adventure has gone so far | By Melanie Vogel | February 22


Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

Justin Yong is a Toronto-based photographer whose work dried up when the pandemic hit in spring of 2020. With idle time on his hands, he borrowed a sewing machine from his mother and took up quilting. Now he makes elaborate, one-of-a-kind quilts with fabrics that he sources from across the city, and sells them on Instagram. | By Justin Yong | May 28

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Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

As an infectious diseases specialist working in the Covid ward, I’m often the only person my patients see, touch or talk to for weeks at a time. We develop real friendships—which makes it all the more devastating when they die | By Abdu Sharkawy | January 12


Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

No. 2: Trapped

I’m a front-line worker. I live in my car. And I’m not unique. People like me—the hidden homeless—have always been around. The pandemic is only making a bad situation worse | By Tim MacFarlane | February 22

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Toronto Life ’s most popular memoirs of 2021

I lived in downtown Toronto for 35 years and loved every second of it. My Trinity-Bellwoods home was my retirement plan. When the pandemic came along, I cashed in early—just like so many other claustrophobic, Covid-weary Torontonians. Now I’m in the country, far from everything, left wondering if I made a huge mistake | By David Eddie | October 25

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