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May 13, 2009
Lit City - Toronto Stories, Toronto Settings at Doors Open Toronto, May 23 and 24
Authors meet architecture when Lillian Allen, Pat Capponi, Barry Callaghan, Austin Clark, Anthony De Sa, Katherine Govier, Maggie Helwig, Maureen Jennings, Vincent Lam, Andrew Moodie, Paul Quarrington, Robert Rotenberg, Russell Smith, Veronica Tennant and other Toronto writers read on location from their works set in Toronto as part of this year’s Doors Open Toronto, May 23 and 24.

Doors Open Toronto celebrates its 10th anniversary with the finale of Lit City - Toronto Stories, Toronto Settings, a three-month festival that honours literary writers who find inspiration in Toronto and use the city as a setting in their work. From Allan Gardens to the University of Toronto, the built city meets the imagined city with site-specific events at over 40 venues. Complete listings at

Author appearances are planned at several national historic sites.

Old City Hall welcomes Robert Rotenberg reading from his popular legal thriller Old City Hall; and Osgoode Hall features two mystery writers, Jeffrey Miller, Murder at Osgoode Hall, and John McFetridge, Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere.

The Distillery Historic District presents authors in the rarely open Scale Tank Loft including Maureen Jennings, creator of Victorian-era Detective William Murdoch, on May 24.

Kensington Market is the destination for an afternoon walk on May 23 following readings at the Toronto Public Library Lillian H. Smith branch by Young Adult writers Jennifer Cowan, earthgirl, Vivian Meyer, Bottom Bracket, and Ellen S. Jaffe, Feast of Lights.

Union Station’s Great Hall is a Lit City destination for readings and performances of fiction, poetry and drama both days when Diaspora Dialogues presents Journeys to the City. Joe Fiorito reads from Union Station: Stories of the New Toronto and Howard Akler reads from The City Man. Actors perform The Enormous Radio, a site-specific short play by Michael Healey commissioned for this event; actor David Storch reads from Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion; Mahlikah Aweri performs spoken word to music with her group, Red Slam; Lina Medaglia reads from The Demons of Aquilonia; and Lillian Allen, teenah edan and Barbara Hunt share their poetry. Spontaneous five-minute vignettes called Hello/Goodbye feature opera singer Fides Krucker, Convergence Theatre and theatre students from Humber College.

Saturday afternoon (May 23), join novelist Paul Quarrington at Todmorden Mills: Heritage Museum and Arts Centre for a reading from his novel, The Ravine, followed by a walk in the Don Valley. Maggie Helwig meets author-editor Wayne Reeves in the David Balfour Park to read from her recent fiction, Girls Fall Down. Anthony De Sa leads a tour through Little Portugal on Sunday afternoon inspired by the Toronto setting in his 2008 Giller Prize-nominated book, Barnacle Love, after his reading at the Factory Theatre.

Two hotels at the edge of Parkdale host a series of Lit City events: poet Catherine Graham, mystery writer Pat Capponi and novelist Russell Smith read from site-specific work in a newly refurbished suite at the Drake Hotel on Saturday afternoon. The Gladstone Hotel features two This Is Not a Reading Series (TINARS) events: TINARS For Tots on Saturday morning with Rebecca Upjohn and others. Sunday features a TINARS Arcade with a “living library” of local authors Claudia Dey, Lisa Foad, Ibi Kaslik, Damian Rogers, Zoe Whitall, Nathan Whitlock and more.

On Sunday (May 24), Canada’s National Ballet School presents a series of ballet-related works mostly for children, including Prima Ballerina Veronica Tennant reading from On Stage Please.

Sunday afternoon, the Toronto Public Library City Hall branch hosts a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards with past winners Glen Downie (2008), Sarah Dearing (2002), David Donnell (1993) and Katherine Govier (1992).

The Toronto Arts Council opens its doors both days to showcase submissions of poetry, short stories, video, painting, photography and collage from its Get Lit competition launched in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the TAC.

Two of Canada’s most respected independent publishers open their doors: Coach House Press and McArthur & Company, where Greg Gatenby’s Toronto A Literary Guide is on sale at a special Lit City price and Barry Callaghan, author of recent novel Beside Still Waters, appears as a writer-in-residence in his publisher’s restored warehouse offices. Callaghan is also reading at the Lillian H. Smith library on Sunday afternoon and at the Doors Open Toronto kick-off.

Doors Open Toronto begins on Friday, May 22 with festivities at the Royal Ontario Museum - with free admission, 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Join Mayor David Miller and host Mary Ito, CBC Radio One 99.1 FM, at 6 p.m. for 10th anniversary celebrations that begin with music from Maza Meze, Lit City readings and a panel with authors Dionne Brand, Barry Callaghan, Amy Lavender Harris and Paul Quarrington at 6:30 p.m., as well as a concert by Porkbelly Futures at 8 p.m.

Attendees can test their Toronto literary knowledge with the possibility of winning great prizes from Open Book Toronto throughout the evening. All museum galleries will be open.

See the complete program at Most buildings are open on one or both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with exceptions. Please confirm times for each venue. No pre-registration or tickets are required. The official program guide will be in the Toronto Star on Thursday, May 21.

Doors Open Toronto is produced by the City of Toronto and Toronto 175 ( and sponsored by the Toronto Star. Media sponsor: CBC; program sponsor: Woodcliffe

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. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto’s incorporation as a city. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Jane French, Doors Open Toronto and Lit City, 416-338-0496,
Vanessa Higgs, Program Development Officer, Cultural Services, 416-338-0045,
Michaela Cornell, Lit City Publicity, 416-536-0714 cell: 647-274-6112,



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