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.

"Toronto Light and Dark" in the Literary Review of Canada

Thank you to my emeritus Geography Department colleague (and fellow Heritage Toronto Award finalist) John Warkentin for alerting me to a wonderful review of the Imagining Toronto book appearing in the October 2011 issue of the Literary Review of Canada.

LRC contributor Joe Berridge describes the book as “tremendously enjoyable” and adds (after invoking urbanist Jonathan Raban’s well-known book, Soft City),

Harris brings that “soft city” to life in such a comprehensive way that after reading her book it seems as real as its physical shell.

Berridge goes on to say many other lovely things about Imagining Toronto, but the best thing about the review is not what it says about the book but what it does with it. Berridge’s essay is motivated by the question, “How can a city this dysfunctional be so successful?” and he uses examples from the book to explore “why Toronto has never been able to undertake grands projets like the waterfront.”

Berridge’s essay, “Toronto Light and Dark,” also tackles (my former colleague) Gene Desfor and Jennefer Laidley’s edited anthology Reshaping Toronto’s Waterfront (University of Toronto Press, spring 2011), an essential read for anyone interested in the political, economic and ecological landscape of the city’s forgotten lakeshore. The review essay is not yet up on the LRC website, but you can pick up a copy at any local bookstore.

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