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. […]

Beware of Falling Leaves

Yesterday errands and a strong wind blew us downtown, where Peter and I spent a couple of hours at the Trinity College book sale (it’s on until Tuesday in case you’re interested in some good deals). Peter bought an armload of science fiction, and I picked up a few treasures, including:

Margaret Avison‘s Momentary Dark (McClelland […]

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 […]

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 […]