“Walter Beauchamp: A Tailored History of Toronto” launch and release


I’ve just received an early copy of “Walter Beauchamp: A Tailored History of Toronto” and couldn’t be more excited. Conceived, developed and worked on in partnership with the company’s 3rd generation owner Terry Beauchamp, I’m very proud of the result. Not just for the story it tells of the Beauchamp family and their role in Canadian custom tailoring history, but also for revealing a perspective of Toronto in the 20th Century that will be new to many people.


Here’s how it all came to be. I had been working with Walter Beauchamp’s for a couple of years on a number of projects (including a radio documentary and social media), learning all I could about the industry. And all the while Terry would regale me with stories of the shop’s past. Prime Ministers and explorers. Colonel Sanders and Gordon Lightfoot. The first TTC drivers as well as soldiers and fire fighters dating back to the 1910s. And Terry would always say: “You should write a book about all this.” Then finally, one day almost three years ago, the light went off in my head: this wasn’t just a story about Canada’s oldest custom tailor, it was a story about Toronto. And not only the Torontonians (and others) that came in and out of its doors but how the shop intersected with the city’s growth and development from a muddy outpost to a leading international centre.


This book is intended, then, not only for the person interested in the history of men’s style in Toronto, it’s also for the person interested in seeing a view of the city no one else has written about. Not to mention an entire chapter dedicated to military tailoring, telling the stories of the men and women who wore the uniforms tailored by three generations of Beauchamps.


A special shout out to the publisher, Figure 1 Books in Vancouver, who did an exemplary job with editing, designing and seeing the book through the printing process. It’s a lovely object to hold in your hands.

“Walter Beauchamp: A Tailored History of Toronto” is available for pre-order from Amazon right now, with copies being shipped in mid-August. In addition, as a special offer for Hogtown Rake readers, there are a limited number of signed copies of the book you can buy directly from me. If you are interested, please email me and I’ll send out payment information ($40 CDN plus shipping and handling) when the rest of the copies arrive in early August.


I’m also excited to announce two events this fall to celebrate the book. Terry and I will be hosting a launch at (the aptly named) Beauchamp Art Gallery on King Street East on September 28, 6 to 8:30pm. We’ll be talking about the book and signing copies. A week later on Wednesday, October 4, 5:30 to 7:30pm, we will be hosting a talk at the Royal Canadian Military Institute on Beauchamp’s history as a military tailor. Please email to RVSP for either or both events.

[And yes, if you had a good look at the cover, you read that right: the book’s forward is written by the one and only Mr. Gordon Lightfoot.]