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.

Minding the Word Hoard

In “Five Visits to the Word Hoard,” an essay published in Writing Life,[1] Margaret Atwood borrows terminology from Anglo-Saxon poetry to pay homage to the sources of inspiration writers rely on throughout their creative lives. “”The word hoard,”” she writes, “is what they called their well of inspiration, which overlapped with the language itself; and […]

Torontoist Reviews the Imagining Toronto Book

Is there not enough Toronto literature — or too much?

That’s the upshot of Torontoist’s review of Imagining Toronto, accessible here.

My own view, of course, is that no volume of literature, however great, will ever manage completely to distill the essence of a city. As Toronto’s Poet Laureate Dionne Brand observed once of Toronto, “The literature […]

Week 2: The City as Text

This week in the Imagining Toronto course we will discuss theoretical and conceptual approaches to the imagined city, including perspectives influences by nineteenth century French poet Charles Baudelaire, essayist Walter Benjamin and (among others) contemporary spatial thinkers Michel Foucault, Henri Lefebvre, Homi Bhabha, Edward Soja, Edward Said and Roland Barthes.

Toronto examples we will explore include […]

Welcome to the Imagining Toronto Course

A warm welcome to students enrolled in the Imagining Toronto course (GEOG 4280 3.0) at York University.

For your information, the course syllabus is available to be downloaded here:

Syllabus GEOG 4280 ImaginingToronto 2010-2011

The slides for today’s class are available here:

2010-2011 Week 1 slides GEOG 4280 The Imagined City

This week we’ll get to know one another and […]

“It’s time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening.”

On the first day of the year the cosmos opens and makes room for something new to unfurl. A little more than a decade ago I learned it would make room even for me.

In January of 2007 I tried to articulate this sense of unfolding, describing the year in terms of its temporal cartography.

“In the […]