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September 1, 2010
Mayor Miller proclaims September as Literacy Month in Toronto
Toronto Mayor David Miller has proclaimed September as “Literacy Month” to celebrate the right to read and write.

“We must continue to ensure that our residents are able to participate fully in the life of our city and in society at large,” stated Mayor Miller. “I'm proud of our commitment to eliminate illiteracy and to make reading an every day part of our culture.”

The City of Toronto, together with the Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy, ABC Life Literacy Canada, Toronto Public Library and local school boards, is promoting access to literacy programs during the month of September.

One event in which the City is participating in is The Word On The Street literary and literacy festival being held at Queen's Park on September 26. The 2010 Toronto Book Awards finalists as well as past winners and shortlisted authors will read from their works at the City of Toronto tent.

In Toronto, it is estimated that 24 per cent of adult residents can only read simple words or sentences, while four out of 10 adult Canadians, age 16 to 65, struggle with low literacy. Toronto’s recognition of the importance of literacy programs is part of a worldwide campaign established by the United Nations, which has proclaimed that by the end of 2012 it will achieve the eradication of illiteracy. Around the world nearly 100 million children have no access to schools, and almost 800 million adults are unable to read or write.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy was established in 1978 by concerned groups and individuals to support and promote adult literacy in the region. Over 200 groups in the Toronto and York regions are linked through this network,

ABC Life Literacy Canada is partnering with Frontier College, Movement for Canadian Literacy and the Ontario Literacy Coalition to take the literacy challenge on September 8, International Literacy Day, and

The Toronto Public Library provides an adult literacy program. This free program offers free, one-on-one tutoring in basic reading, writing and math for English-speaking adults 16 years or older. Volunteer tutors work with learners to help them reach their literacy goals,

The Word On The Street literacy and literary festival was inaugurated in Toronto in 1990 during International Literacy Year. Nearly 200,000 Canadians attend the festivals which are now held in five cities: Vancouver, Saskatoon, Kitchener, Toronto and Halifax, and

The City of Toronto Book Award was established in 1974 by Toronto City Council. The awards honour authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto,

In 2001, The United Nations General Assembly declared 2003-2012 as the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD). .

Media contact:
Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, Manager, Diversity Management and Community Engagement, 416-392-6824,



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