Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Contest! Win a Copy of City of Words

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Congratulations to Mary Rajotte, winner of the <City of Words: Toronto Through Her Writers' Eyes contest!

City of Words is a collection of excerpts about Toronto from writers such as Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Earle Birney, accompanied by stunning, original photographs by Kevin Robbins. The book's editor, Sarah Elton, listed some of her favourite things about Toronto (see below).

Click on any image to launch the gallery for a sample of the photographs from City of Words.

Sarah Elton's Toronto Favourites

Favourite place to read
I never leave the house without something to read and so I find myself reading at the streetcar stop, waiting in line, walking slowly while pushing a stroller. But my favourite place to read is at home, at night, with my husband on the couch beside me, when the children are sleeping and the house is quiet. Our living room is full of my grandmother's old furniture, and I feel like I'm living in a novel set in 1962. 
Favourite bookstore
I have many favourite bookstores – I love the way a bookstore reflects the character of the neighbourhood where it is located. But my favourite bookstores exist in my memories of the city. I grew up going to Britnell's bookstore at Yonge and Bloor and Edward's on Avenue Road across from the ROM where I'd use my allowance to buy books like a pop-up doll house which my daughters now play with.    

Festival you look most forward to
I would have to say the Hot Docs festival because of the incredible selection of documentary films they show from around the world. What an opportunity to learn! It is also small enough to be easy to navigate.
Favourite place to spend a Sunday afternoon
I'm always game for a trip to the lake. Ashbridge's Bay, the board walk along the east beach, Cherry Beach and Ward's Island are great Sunday afternoon destinations
Book (or books) that best represent Toronto to you
There are so many! Ondaatje made part of Toronto's history come to life with In The Skin of a Lion, and Austin Clarke captured another in his Toronto Trilogy. Dionne Brand's What We All Long For portrays the city as it is today, I think. And then there's David Bezmozgis' Natasha, which combines great writing with great storytelling and at the same time tells us about life here.

Favourite street
There are many streets I like in this city – Augusta, Brunswick, Queen, parts of Gerrard Street East and Beverly between Queen and Dundas. If I had to choose a favourite, however, I would choose Baldwin. I love the mix of restaurants, stores and residential. The street feels so alive with bicycles and pedestrians passing through. I also like the layers of history that haunt the place. I always imagine what Baldwin would have been like during the years it was called The Ward and then later, when it became a haven for Draft Dodgers.  
Favourite library
The Riverdale Library that is located on the corner of Broadview and Gerrard is my favourite library. The reading room features in both In The Skin of a Lion and Hugh Garner's Cabbagetown. I can't pass through the big old wooden doors without thinking of them.
Favourite walk
I know you want me to tell you where I like to walk the best, but I can't decide. I prefer to walk or bike so there are many places I like to go on foot (or by pedal). My favourite walk recently was at night with my friend Bruce eastward along Queen from Parliament. I am rarely out at night, let alone at night, on foot downtown, in the cold talking about things like freedom of expression, so this was a real treat. I felt like I was a university student.  

Favourite coffee house
I am partial to Mercury on Queen East and I love Bonjour Brioche. But there are two new coffee houses that are opening on Broadview Avenue near my house and I am hoping they turn out to be spectacular places to eat, drink hot beverages and read.

Click here for an image list with quotations and text from City of Words.


favourite brewpub: hands down, C'EST WHAT!!!

I love working at the North York public library (when I can find a table!).

My favourite bike ride in Toronto is the Lower Don Trail to the Brickworks Market. My favourite place to walk is the Toronto Necropolis.


One of my favourite spots is High Park. It's such a fantastic place to get away from it all, and I feel like I discover something new each time I visit. Plus - they have pie!

Nice call on all the trees, ChrisMce, and The Senator, writerjaclyn. I'm in total agreement. My *favourite* spot is the Islands.

I love the multi-cultural aspect of Toronto, how people from all over the world seem to get along amicably with each other and the cuisines they bring us. I love the ravines especially the Humber River and the walks along its banks. Look down from the CN Tower and, other than downtown, you can barely see Toronto for all the trees.

Everything about Le Gourmand at Spadina/Queen. Especially the cookies.

Working on my laptop with a coffee and croissant at Manic Coffee at College and Bathurst, or indulging in brunch at The Senator.

Reading in Trinity Bellwoods Park on a warm afternoon and then wandering along Queen West, window shopping.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


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