Yes, it’s true: we have feted the literary sites of Toronto once before here at Book Riot, but there’s certainly enough to see and do for the bookish in Canada’s biggest city that, with the announcement of Story Pod (more on that in a second!), we thought it was time to give Toronto the Good another look.
So here are three key literary treats that didn’t make our first Toronto round-up.
The Toronto in Literature Project
When headed to Toronto, the first thing you have to do after booking your hotel is to check out the Toronto Public Library’s constantly updated list of books set in Toronto neighbourhoods. These neighbourhood book lists let you easily find stories set in the area where you’ll be staying before you go, or you can work backwards and find a place to stay near your favourite Toronto literary scene. Books by Margaret Atwood, Dionne Brand, Cory Doctorow, and more make the TPL list. (And there are fan maps for some books that offer even more detail. Like, for example, would you like to visit every location from the Scott Pilgrim comics while you’re in town? There’s a Google map for that.)
Canoe Landing Park
This eight-acre park right in downtown Toronto, adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway, is the design of author and artist Douglas Coupland. While Coupland has done several major works of public art, including a memorial to the War of 1812 (that rather snarkily asserts Canada’s victory) also located in Toronto, this is his first large-scale work of landscape architecture. It really is quite something. Sculptures throughout the park reflect and challenge Canadian identity: there’s a beaver dam, human-sized fishing lures, and the eponymous canoe, as well as a running track that honours Canadian hero Terry Fox. It’s a good place to spend a few hours. Take a lunch and your dog and go check it out.
Story Pod (in Newmarket)
I saved this one for last so my Toronto friends don’t yell at me, because the Story Pod is not in Toronto so this is kind of a cheat. But Newmarket is only about an hour north of the city, and it’s worth going to check out the brand-new Story Pod on Main Street. At night, it’s closed up like a big, illuminated cube providing some light in the park. In the day, though, it opens into the structure you see above and functions as an enormous Little Free Library and social space to find a book and chat with book lovers. It even hosts a weekly evening story time for children.