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Call For Participants

July 11, 2016

We’re programming next year’s book ride, because we are nothing if not prepared. We are committed to diverse and inclusive programming and want to ensure we represent voices from a range of communities: Indigenous, Black, refugee, LGBTQ2S+, and more. Who do YOU want to see on our book ride in 2017? We welcome your suggestions. Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, kids’ books, and more. Thank you.

Please Vote For The Reading Line As Best Reading Series In Toronto

July 11, 2016

The Reading Line is nominated for NOW magazine’s Best Reading Series in Toronto. We’re delighted and humbled!

Our previous three reading series have taken us from The Green Line to Bloor Street to Bathurst. We’ve featured authors including Gary Barwin, S. Bear Bergman, Anne Michaels, Fatima Syed, Alissa York, Tanya Neumeyer, Vincent Lam, Shawn Micallef, John Lorinc, Catherine Bush, and many many more. This year‘s book ride paid tribute to Jane Jacobs and June Callwood. We’ve partnered with independent presses and multinational publishing houses, the library, non-profits, food vendors, magazines, a pedal-powered delivery service, a historical centre, and independent bookstores.

We’re now planning our fourth annual book festival, to take place in September 2017 (yep, we plan way ahead). Our book rides are always free, with a commitment to inclusive and diverse public programming. We’re the only reading series on two wheels that we know of, and we also aim for reading locations on the route that are fully accessible via transit and other means. We’re currently applying for funding that will help us increase accessibility and visibility for all participants, and strengthen the scope of our programming. We have far to go, and we’d love your support and suggestions along the way.

Please VOTE!

Thank you!

Two More Sleeps

May 26, 2016

We are just two sleeps away from the biggest book ride of the year!

Books on Bathurst takes place on Saturday, May 28. The ride celebrates two authors and activists: Jane Jacobs and June Callwood.

Two-wheeled festivities kick off at Fort York Library at 3 pm. The library is celebrating its two-year anniversary this weekend, so it’s a great time to explore this beautiful space. At Fort York we’ll hear from Ted Belke, the Branch Head. Joe Cressy, City Councillor for Ward 20, will speak about cycling in this neighbourhood. Then we’ll hear from the authors: Grace O’Connell, author of Magnified World, and Tanis Rideout, author of Above All Things.

From there we’ll ride north on Bathurst, accompanied by the police bicycle unit. We’ll stop at Tollkeeper’s Cottage on Davenoport, where we’ll be greeted with lemonade and cookies! (Available by donation.) The manager of this local museum will speak, and Joe Mihevc, City Councillor for Ward 21, will address the issues facing cyclists in his ward. Then Denise Pinto, executive director of Jane’s Walk, will speak about Jacobs’ centenary and the events being planned this year to celebrate Jacobs’ legacy. We’ll then focus on a new book that considers whether Jacobs’ ideas of city-building are being adhered to in an age of rapid growth and diversity. One of the editors of Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity, John Lorinc, will speak about the collection, and a contributor, Fatima Syed, will speak about finding spaces for spirituality in the city.

It’s all downhill from there, but only in the literal sense! We’ll ride to June Callwood Park for our grand finale. Mike Layton, City Councillor for Ward 19, will speak about cycling in this neighbourhood. Councillor Layton has been a big supporter of bike lanes and contraflow lanes throughout the city, and he was present when the park was opened in 2014, so we’re really looking forward to hearing from him. Jacquelyn Gulati, Manager, Cycling Infrastructure & Programs, Transportation Services at City of Toronto, will be riding with us throughout the day and seeing firsthand what cycling on Bathurst is really like; we’re curious to hear her thoughts on how we can make this street more bike-friendly. And then we’ll hear from the authors! S. Bear Bergman, author of Blood, Marriage, Wine and Glitter, and publisher of Flamingo Rampant books for kids, and Anne Michaels, Toronto Poet Laureate and author of Fugitive Pieces.

Books will be for sale at Fort York Library and June Callwood Park, sold by our friends at Spacing.

You don’t have to ride to participate! Come for a little or a lot! See you this Saturday!

Jane At Home

May 04, 2016

On Monday we visited the fabulous Jane at Home exhibit at the Urbanspace Gallery at 401 Richmond. The exhibit, curated by Jane’s son Jim Jacobs, displays items from Jane’s Albany Ave home, including her books, typewriter, and iconic eyeglasses.

books books picture glasses

Happy Birthday Jane Jacobs!

May 04, 2016

Today is the 100th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’ birthday. Events are being held in her honour all around the world, and the Google Doodle is all about Jane!

Here in Toronto, under the umbrella #Jane100, events are rolling out from May 4th, 2016 to May 4th, 2017. One of these events is our book ride on Bathurst, which pays tribute to Jane Jacobs and June Callwood. This week NOW magazine recognized #BooksOnBathurst as one of the “best Jane100 events in Toronto.”

This morning, to celebrate Jane’s birthday and build on the buzz, we did #bookride street outreach along Bloor at Bathurst and Spadina, and at the bike box on Harbord at Spadina. Check out photos here.

We then rode to City Hall, where we are now awaiting the important and long-awaited vote on Bike Lanes on Bloor…fingers crossed.

Announcing A Jane100 Contest

April 25, 2016

Contest alert!

Today marks the 10th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’ death, 10 days before what would have been her 100th birthday, on May 4th.

To celebrate ‪#‎Jane100‬ The Reading Line is giving away 10 copies of a new collection of conversations with Jane, from Melville House. We’ll give away one copy per day.

How to enter: Simply take a photo of yourself reading any book by Jane Jacobs, June Callwood, or any of the authors appearing at ‪#‎BooksOnBathurst‬ on May 28, and share it with The Reading Line on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, tagging it ‪#‎bookridecontest‬.

Catch yourself reading! Good luck!

It's Beginning To Feel Like A Book Ride

April 01, 2016

We’ve finalized our schedule and we’re so excited to share it with all of you next Wednesday.

This year’s book ride is a celebration of Jane Jacobs and June Callwood. We’ll ride along Bathurst, promoting this street as a prime north–south route, and hear from authors, librarians, city officials, and community organizers.

The book ride is free! Books will be for sale, and merchandise will be sold by our friends at Spacing magazine.

Stay tuned!

Fort York Library and June Callwood Park

February 02, 2016

Yesterday Janet Joy and I stole away on our bikes during our lunch break. It was a sublimely sunny day, and we rode against the wind from our office at Front and Spadina to Fort York Library at Bathurst, south of Front.

If you haven’t been to Fort York Library, please make it a destination! The library will be celebrating its second anniversary on May 29, the day after #BooksOnBathurst.

What a treat to meet Ted Belke! Ted is the branch head at the Fort York Library, and he showed us around this beautiful space.

The library’s architecture acknowledges the former uses of the site, and the graduated tile floor is meant to emulate the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Poetry by Margaret Atwood encircles the library, and Charles Pachter‘s art is hung inside. It’s a stunning location, and where we’ll kick off our #bookride on May 28.

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Then we headed slightly south and west to June Callwood Park. So very PINK! June Callwood is one of my personal heroes…I admire her writing and activism, and her belief in kindness above all. This park is part urban forest, part sound installation, with plenty of places for children to play. It is a visually and physically mapped voiceprint of June’s quote “I believe in kindness,” which she said during her last interview before her death in 2007. I loved exploring the geometric nooks and crannies of this park, and standing in the soundfield, listening to the clouds pass overhead.

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June Callwood Park will be our final destination on #BooksOnBathurst on May 28. Stay tuned for full programming, coming soon!


Sometimes It Really Does Come Together Like PB & J

January 11, 2016

We’ve found we work best when in the same room: no email, no phone tag, just an hour of conversation. Since we work in the same building, we can slip into a meeting room for an hour or so every few weeks and chat all things book ride. Our meeting rooms are named after major figures in Canadian Literature, naturally.

This week in one of our face-to-face meetings (in the Robertson Davies room, if you’re keeping track) we came up with the focus of this year’s book ride along Bathurst Street in Toronto: Jane Jacobs and June Callwood. #BooksOnBathurst will honour these two extraordinary women and their writing.

This year would have been Jane Jacobs’s 100th birth year, and there are tons of celebrations planned in her honour. We love that we can apply Jane’s “sidewalk ballet” and other thoughts on the cityscape to our book ride…after all, the whole point of The Reading Line is to make our city a better place, one street and one book at a time.

June Callwood believed in kindness above all, and loved children. A park named in her honour recently opened near the lake, and we’ll be wrapping up our ride there with performances by local authors and a family-friendly event. Stay tuned for full programming!

Jane and June…it really couldn’t be a better combo.

Will You Be Outstanding In Toronto On May 30?

May 12, 2015

Annnd our final author on The Reading Line is…Frank Viva! Frank will be reading at the Tundra Children’s Story Time, our last stop & read location on The Reading Line.

We’ll be at the Prince Edward Viaduct Parkette, opposite Castle Frank Station, the grassy park on the EAST side (in front of the school).

Frank Viva is an award-winning illustrator and designer living and working in Toronto. His first picture book Along a Long Road was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Illustration and was named one of The New York Times’ 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2011. His other books for children include A Long Way Away, A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse and Young Frank, Architect. His art has appeared in many places such as The New York Times and the cover of the New Yorker and on the illustrated stationary produced by his company Whigby. Frank runs a branding and design agency in Toronto and is past president of the Advertising & Design Club of Canada. But making books is his favourite thing to do. www.vivaandco.com

The trio of authors & illustrators (Matt James, Julie Kraulis and Frank Viva) will be appearing at 4 pm on May 30. After nap and snack time! Note: no washroom access that we know of. We will aim to wrap by 4:30 pm.

An Armadillo In Toronto?

May 11, 2015

Introducing…the Tundra Children’s Story Time! Our last stop & read location on The Reading Line.

After Alissa York’s reading at the Prince Edward Viaduct Parkette, opposite Castle Frank Station, the grassy park on the WEST side, we will cross to the EAST side (in front of the school), where we will hear from a trio of children’s authors and illustrators. After Matt James we’ll hear from… Julie Kraulis!

Toronto-based artist and illustrator and author Julie Kraulis is passionate about ideas: the unexpected, profound, whimsical, smart. Her creative journey is one of hope and disbelief, soaring and stumbling. All that she encounters in this wide world becomes her inspiration and she delights in sharing these treasures with others. She is a stop and smell the roses kind of gal who loves to create. Check out her website

This trio will be appearing at 4 pm on May 30. After nap and snack time! Note: no washroom access that we know of. We will aim to wrap by 4:30 pm.

Tundra's Children Story Time

May 10, 2015

Introducing…the Tundra Children’s Story Time! Our last stop & read location on The Reading Line.

After Alissa York’s reading at the Prince Edward Viaduct Parkette, opposite Castle Frank Station, the grassy park on the WEST side, we will cross to the EAST side (in front of the school), where we will hear from a trio of children’s authors and illustrators. First up…Matt James!

Matt James is a painter, illustrator and musician. His books have won many prestigious awards including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, the New Mexico Book Award and the Governor General’s Award for Illustration. Check out his website

Matt will be appearing at 4 pm on May 30. After nap and snack time! Note: no washroom access that we know of. We will aim to wrap by 4:30 pm.

Fauna On Bloor Street?

May 09, 2015

From the church behind 121 Bloor Street East we will will ride to the Prince Edward Viaduct Parkette, opposite Castle Frank Station, the grassy park on the WEST side, where we will hear from…Alissa York!

Alissa York is the award-winning author of the novels Fauna, Effigy and Mercy, and the short fiction collection, Any Given Power. Her new novel, The Naturalist, is due out in 2016. Check out her website

Alissa will read at 3:45 pm on May 30.

Sweet Jesus! Christine Pountney will be on our Book Ride

May 08, 2015

From the Varsity Stadium steps we will ride to the church behind 121 Bloor Street East (behind the Shaw Media centre), where we will hear from…Christine Pountney!

Christine Pountney is a writer, teacher, artist, and therapist whose work has been published to great critical acclaim in Canada and the UK. Christine was born in Vancouver and grew up in Montreal. She studied English Literature at McGill University and at University College Dublin. She has a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she published her first novel, Last Chance Texaco, with Faber and Faber (longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2000). She has since published two more novels, The best way you know how and Sweet Jesus. She has written for the Erotic Review, Financial Times, Guardian, New York Times Magazine, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Elle, Flare, Nuvo, The New Quarterly, Brick, and Hazlitt. Check out her website

Christine will read at 3:15 pm on May 30.

On May 30, You'll Be In Dark Company

May 07, 2015

From Matt Cohen Park we will ride to the Varsity Stadium steps at Devonshire Place (just west of the Royal Ontario Museum). There we will enjoy a reading by…Natale Ghent!

Natale Ghent is the award-winning YA author of No Small Thing, The Book of Living and Dying, All the Way Home, and Dark Company, among other young adult books. Her critically acclaimed work has gathered awards and recognition internationally. Check out her website

Natale will be reading at 2:45 pm on May 30.

Appearing At Matt Cohen Park, Gary Barwin!

May 06, 2015

From the Bob Abate Community Centre, we will move to the literary hotspot of Matt Cohen Park (southeast corner of Spadina and Bloor), where we will hear from…Gary Barwin!

Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, multimedia artist, and the author of 18 books of poetry, fiction, and writing for kids. His most recent books are the poetry collection, Moon Baboon Canoe, and the short fiction collection, I, Dr Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251-1457. Sonosyntactics: Selected and New Poetry of Paul Dutton is due later this summer and Yiddish for Pirates, a novel coming out next year from Random House. He received a PhD (music composition) from the University at Buffalo. He is winner of the 2013 City of Hamilton Arts Award, the Hamilton Poetry Book of the Year in 2001 and 2011 and was co-winner of 2011 Harbourfront Poetry NOW competition, the 2010 bpNichol chapbook award, and the KM Hunter Artist Award. He was this year’s Writer-in-Residence at Western University and teaches creative writing at King’s University College. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario with his family and frequently tucks his pants into his socks. Check out his website

Gary Barwin will be reading/performing at 2:15 pm.

Next Up On Books On Bloor, Vincent Lam!

May 05, 2015

From High Park we will move to Bob Abate Community Centre, on Bloor between Montrose and Grace, opposite Christie Pits. We will meet on the steps, where we will hear from…Vincent Lam! Vincent Lam is from the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam. He is an emergency physician in Toronto. His first book, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Lam is also the author of a biography of Tommy Douglas, published as part of the Extraordinary Canadians series, and The Headmaster’s Wager. He and his family live in Toronto. Check out his website

Vincent Lam will be reading at 1:30 pm.

Christine Fisher Guy Will Be Reading

May 04, 2015

Christine Fischer Guy’s fiction has appeared in journals across Canada and has been nominated for the Journey Prize. She reviews for the Globe and Mail, contributes to Ryeberg.com and themillions.com and teaches creative writing at the School for Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto. She is also an award-winning journalist. She has lived and worked in London, England, and now lives in Toronto. www.christinefischerguy.com

Christine Fischer Guy will read from her new novel, The Umbrella Mender, at High Park. We’ll meet on Bloor Street, just east of the main entrance to High Park, at 12:30.

Want to Learn how to Cycle Safely?

May 03, 2015

Join The Reading Line #bookride on May 30!

From Six Points we will ride to High Park, where we will hear from…Yvonne Bambrick!

Yvonne Bambrick is an Urban Cycling Consultant, Event and Portrait Photographer, and Executive Director of the Forest Hill Village Business Improvement Area (BIA). She serves as a volunteer director on the Kensington Market Action Committee and as a member of the Metcalf Foundation’s Cycle City Advisory Committee. She was the founding Executive Director of the Toronto Cyclists Union (now Cycle Toronto), and co-creator/coordinator of Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market. Yvonne is a regular contributor to Momentum, Dandyhorse and Precedent magazines and is the caretaker of Toronto’s smallest park, and beloved neighbourhood icon, the Kensington Market Garden Car, a city-sanctioned public art project. And yes, she does ride through Canadian winters! Check out her website

Yvonne is the author of The Urban Cycling Survival Guide, and she will be speaking about cycling safely in the city. Come hear Yvonne at 12:30 at High Park! We’ll meet on Bloor Street, just east of the main entrance to High Park.

Books On Bathurst Authors

May 02, 2015

For the next 10 days we will be rolling out the 12 wonderful authors speaking at the 8 stops on The Reading Line this year.

First up … Doug Saunders!

Doug Saunders is the former European Bureau Chief of the Globe and Mail and the author of Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World, which won the Donner Prize, and which the Guardian said “may be the best popular book on cities since Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities half a century ago.” He is also the author of The Myth of the Muslim Tide and has won four National Newspaper Awards. Saunders lives in Toronto. Check out his website

Doug Saunders will be one of our speakers at Six Points intersection (between 11 am and noon), on the need for urban planning. Please see the schedule for the full list of speakers.

Following Doug Saunders will be … Ken Greenberg!

Ken Greenberg is an architect and urban designer, living in Toronto. For over three decades he has played a pivotal role on public and private assignments in urban settings throughout North America and Europe, focusing on the rejuvenation of downtowns, waterfronts, neighbourhoods and university campuses from the scale of the city region to that of the city block. Cities as diverse as Toronto, Hartford, Amsterdam, New York, Boston, Montréal, Washington, DC, Paris, Detroit, Saint Paul and San Juan, Puerto Rico, have benefited from his advocacy and passion for restoring the vitality, relevance and sustainability of the public realm in urban life. A former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto and Principal of Greenberg Consultants, he is the recipient of the 2010 American Institute of Architects Thomas Jefferson Award for public design excellence. He is also the author of Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder, which was a national bestseller.

Ken Greenberg will be one of our speakers at Six Points intersection (between 11 am and noon), on the need for urban planning. Please see the schedule for the full list of speakers.

Books On Bathurst Authors

March 25, 2015

The Team

The Reading Line crew met at The Black Canary Espresso Bar on Sherbourne Street in Toronto last week for our first meeting of 2015. Welcome to our new volunteers, who bring a ton of experience: Kate, Cassie, Maureen, and Ana Laura. The #BooksOnBloor ride is set for May 30th, 2015, and we have our work cut out for us! Making Toronto a better city, one street and one book at a time, will require many cups of tea, coffee, and Nutella lattes. Feeling grateful and excited for our #bookride!

The invitations are rolling out!