Top image


The Great Adventure


100 Years at the Arts & Letters Club



Here, in one remarkable book, is the whole story of a club that for one hundred years has helped to inspire, champion, enrich and develop the culture of English-speaking Canada.


Entertainingly written, superbly illustrated and beautifully produced, The Great Adventure is a 'must' addition to the library of anyone interested in the growth of the arts in Canada.


"This is a sparkling, surprising book,  It's a century of the arts in Canada, seen through the prism of a sprightly old centenarian of  a club that has always taken the arts (but not itself) seriously."

Robert Fulford, Toronto author,
journalist, lecturer,
broadcaster and editor.

"With great skill and a flowing narrative, Margaret McBurney carries the reader through the history of a club whose members have included innumerable artists, authors, actors, musicians, publishers and thinkers who have left their mark on Canada and Canadians.  Carefully weaving between biography and history, the author brings to life one hundred years of a boisterous and creative assemblage of outsanding personalities."

Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art, National Gallery of Canada



Margaret McBurney is a designer and social and architectural historian who has, with Mary Byers, published six books, including Tavern in the Town: Early Inns and Taverns of Ontario and True Newfoundlanders: Early Homes and Families of Newfoundland and Labrador, and numerous articles in The Globe and Mail, Leisure Ways, Ontario Living, and Century Home.  She has been a member of The Arts & Letters Club since 1987 and served as president from 1998 to 2000.  Margaret McBurney lives in Toronto, where she continues to be an active participant in the great adventure.


The Great Adventure  recently won a Heritage Toronto Award of Merit. The jury commented that “this book is a rich summary of the cultural history of Toronto” and provides insight into “making the Arts & Letters Club such a prestigious institution.”



(left-right): Bruce Kuwabara, architect, and speaker, Club President Peter Large, Councillor Kyle Rae, author Margaret McBurney and Peter Ortved, Chair, Heritage Toronto




The Great Adventure is available for purchase ($20) from the Club office.





Become a Fan on Facebook