When I moved to Toronto in 1983, my enduring romance with the place I chose and still choose to call home started in a small apartment on the edge of the Don Valley, just north of Broadview and Danforth Avenues. My memories of those early days have the rumble of the subway in the soundtrack. Fresh out of university, I always had my nose in a book as I took the TTC downtown to my first job after graduation. Actually, I would drink in a breathtaking view from the Bloor Viaduct – the sun glinting off the CN Tower to the south, or the amazing masses of trees to the north, and yes, traffic mayhem of one sort or another on the DVP – and then my nose would be in my book once we hit the tunnel heading west to Castle Frank station.
I still lived in that neighbourhood in 1988, when my subway book one morning was Michael Ondaatje’s In The Skin Of A Lion. I now live further east of that area, but I still regularly take the subway along that line and over that bridge … and every single time, the phrase “We have to swing” sweeps through my mind and I shiver. I love that the first Project Bookmark plaque captures an unforgettable scene from one of my all-time CanLit favourites, which is linked intimately to an important part of place and time and life for myself … and, I know, for many others.
Canadian literature – poetry and prose – informs our personal and physical terrains. At its best, it both grounds and puts our spirits in flight. Project Bookmark so brilliantly makes manifest this idea, with a dozen plaques (so far) across Canada that mark the places where real and imagined landscapes meet, placing text from imagined stories and poems in the exact, physical locations where literary scenes take place. Writers, readers and those who will become writers and readers need to see more of these essential markers in their communities and in the places they visit across our country.
I want to see this network of sites and stories expand and capture the imaginations of Canadians young and old, so I’ve donated and become a Project Bookmark Canada Page Turner. Please join me. For $20, less than the cost of the average paperback, you can help create a tribute to Canadian sites and stories, for today’s readers and for generations to come. It’s easy – just click the Donate button here: http://projectbookmarkcanada.ca/
If you donate today – April 12th – your name will be entered into a draw to win tickets to the Griffin Poetry Prize 2013 shortlist readings (Wednesday, June 12th at magnificent Koerner Hall in Toronto) and copies of the Griffin Poetry Prize anthology.