The Book

Imagining Toronto book cover

Imagining Toronto (Mansfield Press, fall 2010) is available at most bookstores and online through Mansfield Press, Amazon or Chapters.

Imagining Toronto was shortlisted for the 2010 Gabrielle Roy Prize in Canadian literary criticism and won the Award of Merit, the highest honour given to a book at the 2011 Heritage Toronto Awards.

Upcoming Events

25-26 February 2012: "Going Native: Reclaiming Aboriginal Identity in Toronto Literature," “Landscapes of Difference, Espaces de Difference, Raume der Differenz” conference (Session: The Politcs of Place: Urban Sites of Contestation), Canadian Studies Association in German-speaking countries (GKS). Grainau, Germany.

Thursday 15 March 2012: Guest lecture, "The Imagined City," ARC 120, Contemporary Architecture. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, University of Toronto; Isabel Bader Theatre, 9:45-11:00 am.

Wednesday 4 April 2012: "Representing Toronto: Mapping the Role of the Artist in the Contemporary City. Panel discussion. Presented by Koffler Gallery in partnership with Diaspora Dialogues. 80 Spadina Ave., Suite 503; 7:00 pm.

Sunday 22 April 2012: Reading from Acts of Salvage at the Draft Reading Series. Details TBA.

Thursday 3 May 2012: "Literary Bodies." Panel discussion as part of Bodies in the City, a symposium of the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto.

Thursday 17 May 2012: "Imagining Toronto the Wild" at the Toronto Botanical Garden. Inaugural lecture of the TBG's new HortiCULTURE salon series.

Recent Events

Tuesday 18 October 2011, 7:00-8:30 pm: Will the Real Cabbagetown Please Stand Up?: Regent Park, St. Jamestown and Cabbagetown in the Literary Imagination. Parliament Branch (269 Gerrard St. E.)

Saturday 1 October 2011, 2:00-3:30 pm: The Masseys and the Masses: Social and Spatial Ascendency in Rosedale and Forest Hill. Forest Hill Branch (700 Eglinton Ave. W.)

Tuesday 27 September 2011, 7:00-8:30 pm: From Streetcar Suburb to Multicultural Community: Riverdale in the Literary Imagination. Riverdale Branch, Toronto Public Library (370 Broadview Ave.)

Click here for past events.

Last Leaves: One more book sale report

On Thursday I evaded the week’s responsibilities and biked downtown to pick up warm-from-the-press copies of GreenTOpia: Towards a Sustainable Toronto (Coach House, 2007; I’m a contributor) and stopped by the St. Michael’s College book sale. A smaller sale than the others, but still offering its own treats and treasures.

My special finds:

Gwendolyn MacEwen’s The T.E. Lawrence Poems (Mosaic, 1982). The brilliance and beauty of MacEwen’s poetry takes my breath away.

Former city councillor Jane Pitfield’s Leaside (Natural Heritage Books, 2000: second edition). The writing is a little wooden, but this book seems thoroughly researched and is richly illustrated with archival images and addresses a part of Toronto often overlooked by other historians.

Jeffrey Miller’s Toronto novel, Murder at Osgoode Hall (ECW, 2004). Chatty but amusing.

Charles Foran’s The Story of my Life (So far) (Harper Collins, 1998), a Toronto-based memoir narrated as if by a young boy, and featuring the Don River and its ravine.

Also some books for pleasure reading and/or gifts, including David Larkin (with Julek Heller, Carolyn Scrace, Juan Wijngaard and Sarah Teale)’s Giants (Abrams, 1979), a classic illustrated anthropology and archaeology of the giants the authors suggest once strode the earth; Catherine Sheldrick Ross’ Alice Munro: A Double Life (ECW, 1992); Beatrice Culleton’s April Raintree (Pemmican, 1984); John Metcalf’s edited anthology, The Bumper Book (ECW, 1986), a collection of essays about Canadian writing and publishing and a follow-up to Kicking Against the Pricks (1982), which reportedly raised a fuss when first published for its expose of Canadian literary politics.

And then I sped over to Ben McNally Books (366 Bay, a block or two south of Queen) and bought a copy of Mark Strand’s New Selected Poems (Knopf, 2007). Strand is my favourite poet, period. Pity he’s never written a word about Toronto.

And now, with the book sales ended and the season cooling as the sun turns away from the hemisphere, I turn inward. I’ve made considerable progress on the intellectual underpinnings of Imagining Toronto despite taking on too many other projects at the same time, and would like now to return to it on a more full-time basis with the aim of finishing it off as a coherent manuscript rather than simply whoring bits and pieces of it out to magazines and journals.

[Old books image by David Pritchard and used under the aegis of a Creative Commons license.]

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