Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Thursday To Do: Project Bookmark Canada, Second Toronto Unveiling

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Thursday morning at 11 a.m. is a great time to swing by the corner of St. George and Bloor, right across from the St. George subway station. Project Bookmark Canada, the national initiative to create a network of tributes to site-specific literature across Canada, is returning to Toronto with the installation of two new Bookmarks in the city. On October 21, poet Ken Babstock and Toronto bookseller and Project Bookmark Canada President Ben McNally will unveil a plaque (or Bookmark) bearing the text of the poem “Essentialist” from Babstock’s Trillium Award-winning collection Airstream Land Yacht (House of Anansi, 2006).

This Bookmark is the second for Toronto, which, as many of you will remember, became home to the inaugural Bookmark in the national series in April 2009, when a plaque bearing 500 words from Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion was unveiled at the Bloor Street Viaduct. 

As of fall 2010, the Bookmark tally has reached six Bookmarks across Ontario, in Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa and Owen Sound. Four of the Bookmarks in the series were made possible through an initiative called Ontario: Read It Here, presented in partnership with Open Book: Ontario and The Creative Book Publishing Program at Humber College and funded by the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Learn more about the Ontario-wide Bookmarks at our partner site,

“Project Bookmark Canada is designed so that people can read their way right across the country,” says Miranda Hill, Founder and Executive Director of Project Bookmark Canada, “but it’s also great to cluster Bookmarks in one place, as we are now doing in Toronto. It gives us a sense of what the project will become, when you can encounter one story in the streets and walk a few blocks and find another.”

Hill says that another benefit of the initiative is to make streets in Canadian cities and towns more walkable and livable. The idea for Project Bookmark Canada was born while reading literature set in Toronto and inhabiting the same streets where the stories and poems were set. Hill says, “As readers, we discover our place in the world through reading. Why not discover reading in our places?”

Bookmarked poet Ken Babstock says he’s very pleased to be included in the initiative. "What I find really exhilarating about Bookmark is the phenomenon whereby our shared, built and unbuilt landscapes begin to lay claim on these bits of cultural striving,” he says. 
“A poem seems now partly owned by the neighbourhood that gave it a ground to stand on in the first place. The architecture and infrastructure swallow or absorb a little song and they each seem happy enough to coexist. Or at least I don't hear them complaining."

"House of Anansi is honoured to publish Ken Babstock's poetry, because of the ways he urges us to reconsider our assumptions and connections,” says Sarah MacLachlan, House of Anansi President and Publisher. “How wonderful that through this Bookmark for 'Essentialist,' hundreds of people everyday will be inspired to look more deeply—at these surroundings and within themselves.”

See you at the unveiling! Full event details here.

Related item from our archives

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