Our program featured authors and special guests, with a focus on celebrating authors and activists Jane Jacobs and June Callwood in what would have been the year of Jane’s 100th birthday. We rode near Jane’s home in the Annex, and ended the ride at June Callwood Park near the base of Bathurst.
We started our ride at the majestic Fort York Library at the base of Bathurst Street. The library was celebrating its two-year anniversary, and was built to serve the residents flocking to this part of town with its new condo developments. The library also honours the past in its design, incorporating elements that speak to the historical, geographic and literary landscape. We then rode north to the historic Tollkeeper’s Cottage at Bathurst and Davenport, which once marked the shoreline of Lake Iroquois and was a key trail for First Nations for centuries.
Our goal for the Book Ride was to raise awareness of a street in the city that is seeing increased density from the south with the Fort York condominiums and redevelopments along Bathurst. This much-used north–south corridor requires improved bike infrastructure. Our trip was to illustrate that a street with libraries, schools, daycares, residences and businesses requires a complete street focus.
Ted Belke of the Toronto Public Library provided history & architectural background on Fort York Library; Joe Cressy, City Councillor (Ward 20) spoke of the increasing density in this small area; Grace O’Connell, author of Magnified World entertained with her chapter on cycling; and Tanis Rideout, author of Above All Things former Poet Laureate of Lake Ontario, read a poem from her collection Arguments with the Lake published by Wolsak & Wynn Publishers.
Joe Mihevc, City Councillor (Ward 21) welcomed us to this neighbourhood; the Manager of the Tollkeeper’s Cottage shared some history & staff provided lemonade & cookies as it was a very hot day; Denise Pinto, executive director of Jane’s Walk, spoke about Jane Jacob's legacy; and John Lorinc (editor) & Fatima Syed (contributor), Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of HyperDiversity discussed the many voices and identities of Toronto.
Mike Layton, City Councillor (Ward 19) welcomed us to his ward; Jacquelyn Gulati, Manager, Cycling Infrastructure & Programs,Transportation Services at City of Toronto updated us on the ten-year cycling plan for Toronto; S. Bear Bergman, author of Blood, Marriage, Wine and Glitter, entertained us with a reading from the children's book M is for Moustache by Catherine Hernandez, which his company Flamingo Rampant publishes; and we discovered that Anne Michaels, Toronto Poet Laureate and author of Fugitive Pieces, shared a recollection of her close friend June Callwood. A perfect ending to the afternoon.
Matt from the Spacing Store provided our pop-up book shop on wheels.