By Jennifer Wells
Sixty years ago this summer, the most severe polio epidemic on record claimed more than 8,000 victims across the country. About a quarter of those stricken with so-called infantile paralysis were in Ontario. Three-year-old Davie Onley, who would grow up to be the province’s lieutenant-governor, was one. That Polio Season: Lt.-Gov. David Onley and the Epidemic of 1953, by award-winning Toronto Star feature writer Jennifer Wells, is a moving chronicle of the disease’s terrible march through Ontario that year, as well as an intimate look at the devastation that befell Onley and his family.
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