We hosted our inaugural Book Ride event here because we believe that The Green Line is a wonderful space in Toronto that everyone should know about. The area is currently a mixture of hydro towers, public and private amenities, green space, walkways, and gravel yards, but the Friends of the Green Line group have a great vision for the space. Park People and others are working to have the Green Line made into a continuous linear park, similar to other hydro and rail corridors that now have walkways, green spaces and playgrounds, much like the High Line in New York and the BeltLine in Atlanta.
We started at the newly reopened Book City in Bloor West Village, where Catherine Bush presented her novel Accusation. Once we arrived at the Green Line, Shawn Micallef talked to the design potential of the area (Shawn was a judge of the Green Line Design competition in 2012–2013). Then Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer spoke about her novel, All the Broken Things, which is set in High Park. Kathryn focused on how we interpret the city through fiction. Through her writing on urban issues, Amy Lavender Harris spoke about cycling in the city. Amy also gave us a sneak peek into some of her new writings. Christina Palassio shared her thoughts on local food at a community garden just down the street from The Stop Community Food Centre at Wychwood Barns, where she works as Director of Communications. We finished with an energetic performance from spoken word artist and activist Tanya Neumeyer.
We wanted to connect our communities with our retailers and show that families on bicycles want to stop and shop local. The goal was to promote small businesses including Book City, Sweet Flour, Featherstone Two Wheels Green Delivery, BeerBikeTO, VERT Catering, and Coco Organic Crafted Chocolate. A big shout-out to Laurie from Featherstone Two Wheels Green Delivery, who acted as our bookmobile for the day. Laurie pulled a ton of books using pedal power and sheer determination.
We celebrated the reopening of Book City in the company of our authors and three levels of government. Catherine Bush read from her award winning novel Accusation.
David Harvey, the Director of Park People, discussed the design possibilities of the Green Line and it's off-grid-ness potential. "People ask where is the Green Line? What is the Green Line? Well, you're on the Green Line".
We utilized an empty wading pool as a stage for Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, author of All The Broken Things. Sometimes the best stages are hiding in plain sight.
Amy Lavender Harris surprised us by reading an excerpt from a work-in-progress. The juxtaposition of the hydro towers on the Green Line was a perfect backdrop for a reading on cycling and infrastructure.
Co-editor of The Edible City, Christina Palassio, spoke to the importance of community gardens. Our Book Ride came to an end with a vibrant spoken word performance by Tanya Neumeyer.