Norm's Hobbies


When I was growing up in Scarborough I played baseball in the summer (a lot of the pick-up variety with a few summers at the "rep" level mixed in), football at high school in the fall, and hockey throughout the winter. In hockey I started out with Wexford in the house league, then moved on to the Scarborough team in what today would be deemed the AAA MTHL, ending up with the Toronto Marlboroughs. I later played industrial league hockey but, today, I find it hard to find the time for occasional recreational skating.

I've coached hockey and football, making sure that my players understood the strategy and tactics of the games and developed the skills necessary to play well, hard, and fairly.

A friend introduced me to chess, which I've grown to love, but play too infrequently to be able to boast that I'm a threat to any serious opponent. I garden at every opportunity: flowers, trees, shrubs…promoting their beauty and protecting their health bring me a lot of pleasure.

And - whenever I can - I read. For a long time, science fiction was my topic of choice. Historical fiction - especially if it's set in the ancient world -fascinates me. Since my return to municipal politics, my reading has become more focused.

Here are the titles of some of the books I've read and enjoyed over the last few years:


  1. Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way. Bill Bryson.
  2. A Natural History of the Senses. Diane Ackerman.
  3. A History of Civilizations. Fernand Braudel.
  4. Walking Since Daybreak. Modris Eksteins.
  5. The Professor and the Madman. Simon Winchester.
  6. Guns, Germs and Steel. Jered Diamond.
  7. The Odyssey. Robert Fagles. (Trans)
  8. The Beach. Alex Garland
  9. A Short History of the Byzantine Empire . John Julius Norwich.
  10. A History of Warfare. John Keegan.
  11. Voltaire's Bastards. John Ralston Saul.
  12. The Unconscious Civilization. John Ralston Saul.
  13. The Pillars of the Earth. Ken Follett.
  14. China, A Macro Histor. Ray Huang.
  15. The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Empire. Fred Coleman.
  16. What if, Robert Cowly(ed).

My office book cases (Excuse the messy desk. Man at work)

Here are some of the books that have helped shaped my approach to municipal politics:

  1. Jack, Jack Welch.
  2. Drucker, Managing in Turbulent Times, Peter F. Drucker.
  3. The Essential Drucker, Peter F. Drucker.
  4. The Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjorn Borg.
  5. Trust, Francis Fukuyama.
  6. Transport Revolutions, Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl.
  7. The Ungovernable City : John Lindsay and his struggle to save New York City , Vincent J. Cannato.
  8. Microtrends, Mark J. Penn.
  9. The Next Hundred Years, George Friedman
  10. The Great Depression Ahead, Harry S. Dent Jr.
  11. Affirmative Action Around the World, Thomas Sowell.
  12. Talking Straight, Lee Iacocca.
  13. With Your World is About to Get A lot Smaller, Jeff Rubin.
  14. Leadership, Rudolph Giuliani.
  15. Seize the Fire, Adam Nicolson.
  16.  Boom Bust & Echo, David K. Foot and Daniel Stoffman.
  17. Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities, George L. Kelling and Catherine M. Coles.
  18. Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
  19. Super Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
  20. Building Cities that Work, Edmund P. Fowter.
  21. Toronto , Bruce West.
  22. In Search of Excellence. Thomas J. Peters and Robert A. Waterman Jr.
  23. Baltimore Unbound: A Strategy for Urban Renewal. James Rusk.
  24. Canadian Metro Politics: Governing our Cities. James Lightbody. (ed)
  25. Citistates. Neal Pearce.
  26. Governing Canada 's City Regions. Andrew Sancton.
  27. Global Paradox. John Naisbitt.
  28. Edge Cities. Joel Garreau.
  29. Race and Culture. Thomas Sowell