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New Book is a Landmark Comparative History of the Canadian and American Financial systems.

May 22, 2018

Toronto - The 2008 financial crisis rippled across the globe and triggered a worldwide recession.

Unlike the American banking system, which experienced massive losses, takeovers, and taxpayer funded bailouts, Canada's banking system withstood the crisis relatively well and maintained its liquidity and profitability. What institutional and historical factors contributed to these remarkably different outcomes? And why should American bankers care that Canada's financial industry has greater stability than their own?

Two of North America's leading business thinkers, Christopher Kobrak and Joe Martin, explore these timely concerns in From Wall Street to Bay Street, the first-ever book for a lay audience to tackle the similarities and differences between the Canadian and American financial systems. While they both originate from the British tradition, they took different paths in the early nineteenth-century and dramatically diverged during the late twentieth century.

Kobrak and Martin trace the roots of each country's financial system back to Alexander Hamilton and insightfully argue that while Canada has preserved a Hamiltonian financial tradition, the United States has favoured the populist Jacksonian tradition since the 1830’s. The sporadic and inconsistent fashion in which the American system changed over time is at odds with the evolutionary path taken by the Canadian system.

Accessibly written yet comprehensive, From Wall Street to Bay Street, published by Rotman-UTP Publishing, an imprint of University of Toronto Press, offers a highly topical comparison of financial systems that reflects the political and cultural milieus of two of the world's top ten economies.

Christopher Kobrak was the Wilson/Currie Chair of Canadian Business and Financial History at the Rotman School of Management as well as a professor emeritus of finance at ESCP, Paris. He died unexpectedly in January 2017, shortly before completing the manuscript for From Wall Street To Bay Street.

Joe Martin is the Director of the Canadian Business and Financial History Initiative at the Rotman School of Management as well as President Emeritus of Canada's History Society.

Advance Praise for From Wall Street To Bay Street

"A clearly written and cogently argued study, written for both the generalist and the specialist that yields important insights into the historical development of the financial sectors of Canada and the United States. History might not always repeat itself, but learning from these insights would help the two countries find a better balance between financial innovation and financial stability, thereby maintaining vibrant economies while avoiding another financial crisis that leads to a Great Recession." Sir George Bain, Queen's University Belfast.

“A landmark of internationally comparative history, informed throughout by the urbane wisdom of its authors, who have shown that financial market history is both larger and smaller than that of nations and, on some dimensions, more subtle and complex." Leslie Hannah, London School of Economics.

Founded in 1901, University of Toronto Press (UTP) is Canada's leading scholarly publisher and one of the largest university presses in North America, releasing over 200 new scholarly, reference, and general-interest books each year, as well as maintaining a backlist of over 3500 titles in print. For more information, visit

The Rotman School of Management is part of the University of Toronto, a global centre of research and teaching excellence at the heart of Canada’s commercial capital. Rotman is a catalyst for transformative learning, insights and public engagement, bringing together diverse views and initiatives around a defining purpose: to create value for business and society. For more information, visit


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