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.

Imagining Toronto Gets Social

Wasting time when I should be marking end-of-term research papers, I have created several satellite groups for the Imagining Toronto project. One, Imagining Toronto at Facebook, is a bit of a collaborative sandbox. Another, Imagining Toronto at Ning, is really just a loud version of the RSS feed for this blog. If you are partial […]

Toronto: The Novel

As many of you know already, the Imagining Toronto project explores intersections of literature and place in the Toronto region. Currently I am writing a book (called, unsurprisingly, Imagining Toronto) exploring these connections. From the introduction:

Whole words come alive at the intersection of literature and place. They exist in locations so familiar to us […]

Social Bookmarking | LibraryThing, Booktribes, Shelfari, Storycode

Today I discovered a new ‘social bookmarking’ website called Booktribes. So new that I was (apparently) its 802nd member, Booktribes “helps you discover great books and the people who love them.” Booktribes is the partner site of, a UK-based online writing site.

As an experiment, I entered some Toronto novels whose international currency is well […]

"She Ridicules Suburbanites" | More on Phyllis Brett Young’s The Torontonians

A rather scathing review of Phyllis Brett Young’s The Torontonians (Longmans, Green & Company, 1960) lambastes the author for her unflattering portrayal of Toronto’s circa-1960 suburbia:

Don Quixote tilted at windmills, Phyllis Brett Young tilts at the sacred cows of suburbia, poking fun at the ranch-type bungalow, the bigger and better electrical appliances, the strange tribal […]

Rare Reads | Phyllis Brett Young’s The Torontonians

Published to considerable acclaim in 1960, Phyllis Brett Young’s The Torontonians (Longmans Green & Company) was a Canadian bestseller in its time but now appears long forgotten.

The book’s dust-jacket (reportedly one of the first to show the new City Hall on its cover; see cover image) describes the novel as “a brilliant presentation of the […]

Bookstore Watch | Balfour Books Takes it (half) Off

Got a note from Liz Walker, a staffer at Balfour Books (601 College at Clinton), suggesting it would be a terrible pity to miss the store’s annual half-price sale:

Balfour Books Annual Half-Price Sale March 10. Toronto’s best used bookstore is holding its annual sale and this year. It will last a whole week. It’s […]

Literary Widgets | LibraryThing

Regular visitors may notice the new ‘Random books from my library’ widget in the sidebar, powered by LibraryThing (an amusing and useful collection of user-generated library catalogues that gives new meaning to ‘social bookmarking’). I’ve uploaded a bunch of titles from the Imagining Toronto library (some of the ones I own, anyway — I can’t […]

Bookstore Watch | Coming Soon: McNally books on Bay

I see in the Saturday Globe & Mail (“Bookseller sets up shop on Bay Street“) that Ben McNally, the former longtime manager at Nicholas Hoare Books on Front Street, will in June open an eponymous bookstore of his own — called Ben McNally Books — at 366 Bay Street (between Richmond and Adelaide). Reportedly the […]

Literary Intersections in Spacing Magazine

My essay, “Toronto’s Literary Intersections” appears in the new issue of Spacing Magazine (Winter/Spring 2007; available at your local newsstand or by subscription).

The article explores how literary intersections “mark the city’s encounter with itself as a hybrid, multiple, layered collection of beings, places, motion, and meaning” and argues that “paying attention to literary intersections … […]

Imagining Toronto the Damned in the (not damned) National Post

An article I wrote for Reading Toronto (called “Imagining Toronto the Damned“) is excerpted in today’s National Post. Since the Post (with permission; I should have asked for the by-line since most of the text is reproduced from my original post) excerpted my text verbatim, I don’t suppose there’s any problem — other […]