Finalists for this year’s Toronto Book Awards read at Word on the Street this Sunday (11:30 am – 6 pm) and again at the Scarborough Civic Centre Library (156 Borough Dr.) on October 5 at 7 pm; the prizes will be handed out October 11 at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon (Toronto Reference Library) starting at 7 pm.
The Toronto Book Awards annually inspires readers to explore Toronto through the creativity and passion of its artists. This year’s finalists take us on intensely personal and vivid journeys throughout the city.
Ann Y.K. Choi’s debut novel Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety is set primarily in a convenience store on Queen St. West. It highlights 1980’s Toronto through the eyes and mind of a rebellious young Korean-Canadian girl.
Cordelia Strube’s novel On the Shores of Darkness, There is Light cleverly reveals the diversity of Toronto through the perspective of two young children living in a low-income high-rise in Scarborough.
Part of Marnie Woodrow’s novel Heyday nostalgically transports readers back to Toronto Island at the beginning of the twentieth century by featuring two lively girls meeting on an Island roller coaster.
The editors of The Ward (John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg and Tatum Taylor) use archival photos and contributions from a wide array of voices to illustrate what Toronto’s first immigrant neighbourhood was like from the 1840s until it was bulldozed in the 1950s.
Howard Akler’s memoir Men of Action finds the author reflecting on the complicated texture of consciousness after his father undergoes brain surgery and slips into a coma. From Sunnybrook Hospital to his father’s life in the Annex and the Bathurst and Lawrence area, Akler interweaves his personal revelations against the backdrop of Toronto.
The audio walk, Passing Through, to be released this Saturday, is an entirely different kind of street art, a 3D sound narrative that digs into the fabric of the city while exploring its history, its physical underpinnings and its public spaces.
Produced by StreetARToronto (StART) in conjunction with the Koffler Centre of the Arts, Passing Through marries the talents of writer Mark Mann and particularly audio producer Angela Shackel (left), who is fast becoming a master of binaural sound recording.
Binaural sound is a revolutionary recording technique that mimics how the human ear hears. Explains Shackel: “The recorder has two microphones separated in approximately the way our ears are separated. It’s hard to convey that a sound is coming from behind you on the right, unless you record it that way.”
Spadina Museum honchos made a wise programming decision in 2010 when they restored the house to the 1920s era. The re-restoration made Spadina a perfect venue for an exhibition of Downton Abbey costumes in 2014 and it’s made the museum’s Gatsby Garden Party a runaway success since launching in 2013.
This year’s Gatsby event June 25 and 26 sold-out 2,000 tickets in just three weeks making it one of the museum’s most popular annual events.
According to museum Program Officer Douglas Fyfe, the chance to play dress-up – there are prizes for the best jazz-age costumes – and to be immersed in the era with period music and food has really captured the city’s imagination.
“The first year,” recalls Fyfe, “about a third of the people got dressed to some extent. The following year that number was about 90 per cent. I think the audience is creating much of the excitement through their own participation. At the event people aren’t in a rush to go from one activity to another, they’re here for the afternoon enjoying the music, the clothing, the six-acre site that’s such an oasis in the city. The modern world disappears and the audience is free to travel to a different period in time.”
Adaptive reuse is the theme of this year’s Doors Open Toronto and while there are many great examples of creative and green building renewal, no venue better exemplifies the trend than the ground breaking structures at 362 Richmond Street West.
Developed by Allied Properties REIT, Queen Richmond Centre West utilized cutting-edge design to amalgamate two heritage properties under the umbrella of a brand new 10-storey tower-on-stilts that envelopes both. Designed by Sweeney & Co. Architects in conjunction with Stephenson Engineering, QRC West is a showcase for the developers whose 17th floor head office is included on this weekend’s tours.
Toronto’s Cultural Hotspot program gave North York a taste of what’s to come when it touched down at the magnificent Aga Khan Museum Wednesday afternoon. Each year since 2014, a different part of the city has been in the cultural spotlight beginning with Scarborough, followed by Etobicoke (2015) and this year it’s North York’s turn to shine.
Local City Councillors John Filion (Ward 23 Willowdale, second from left), Shelley Carroll (Ward 33 Don Valley East, centre) and Jon Burnside (Ward 26 Don Valley West, far right) joined organizers to welcome the Hotspot and cut a celebratory cake.