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Who Says Toronto Exists in Nobody's Imagination?

There's a funny thing that many people from Toronto share: the idea that nothing important or significant ever happens here. Through that terrible Torontonian trait of never-ending comparison and self-reflection, we often look to other cities and the degree to which they've been mythologized in literature, film, song, and television, and find ourselves lacking. In the first uTOpia book, Bert Archer called Toronto a "place people live, not a place where things happen, or, at least, not where the sorts of things happen that forge a place for the city in the imagination."

There's a growing sense of dissatisfaction with this perception of Toronto as a place where nothing worth writing about happens. In a large part this is because that belief is simply not true: witness the birth of Toronto-based writing collectives like Diaspora Dialogues, or the ongoing Imagining Toronto project directed by Amy Lavender-Harris, which has set out on the ambitious goal of creating a bibliography of Toronto literature. Through this growing list I've discovered books about undead monsters shuffling through the alleyways of Kensington Market, lost photos of the city's forgotten history buried in a shipwreck in Lake Ontario, and much more.

This Thursday, May 31, Amy Lavender-Harris and Gary Michael Dault are speaking at the Lillian H. Smith Library about "how Toronto writers capture the city's diversity and growth, as well as its nightmares, desires, and secrets." For anyone who is interested in Toronto and the different ways in which it has been represented, re-imagined, or pulled apart by the minds of people who have set their stories here, this talk at the library should be circled, underlined, and highlighted on your calendar. If you're into the whole online social-networking thing, you can join up with the Imagining Toronto Book Club on Facebook while you're at it.

The Imagined City (Part of the 2007 Toronto Festival of Architecture and Design)
Thursday, May 31
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Lillian H. Smith Library (239 College Street)

Photo by Trevor Haldenby from the blogTO Flickr pool.


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