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Imagining Toronto

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A City Hall librarian falls in love with Toronto's dashing, progressive mayor. We can all dream, can't we?
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Imagining Toronto

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New post up at Imagining Toronto.
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Imagining Toronto

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Reading Carleton Wilson's The Material Sublime (Nightwood Editions, 2011).Tangibly lovely poems, including two sequences about the Junction.
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Dionne Brand (in What We All Long For_)and Katrina Onstad (_How Happy to Be_) offer more nuanced fictional portraits of St. Jamestown. To those who live there, it's more than a slum, and while I think Keenan's predictions have a good chance of being right, CityPlace might have more soul and identity if it _does become a 'slum'
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2011 Heritage Toronto Awards. Imagining Toronto won the Award of Merit, the highest honour given to a book at the 2011 Heritage Toronto Awards.
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My wonderful publisher, Toronto-based Mansfield Press. Mansfield publishes poetry, literary fiction and city-building books.
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Imagining Toronto

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This is really nice: BlogTO lists Imagining Toronto in its best-of year-end list of great books about Toronto!

Here's what it says about Imagining Toronto: "For those who are passionate about literature and Toronto, Amy Lavender Harris's exhaustive survey of local literary texts will open more than a few doors to the city's rich writerly heritage. Less a straight-up guidebook than a musing on the importance of fictional narratives to the construction of a city's identity, the text should appeal in equal measure to those with an academic interest in the history of Toronto literature and those who are eager to learn more about what's been written about their hometown."
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Toronto books represented in the Globe & Mail's 100 Best Books of 2011 include Chester Brown's Paying For It (a provocative memoir of his decade-long engagements with sex workers), Jessica Westhead's great story collection And Also Sharks and Ray Robertson's memoir Why Not: Fifteen Reasons to Live. Great list!
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Spacing Toronto -- a blog exploring urban issues in Toronto. You can also follow Spacing's other city blogs -- currently featured are Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Atlantic Canada.
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Imagining Toronto in Mansfield Press' online catalogue.
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Great city -- great book. Realy a work of art, Amy. Thank you.
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Navigating the City at the Centre of the Map
Introduction
In the iconic Toronto novel In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje wrote that "before the real city could be seen it had to be imagined, the way rumours and tall tales were a kind of charting." Ondaatje’s observation echoes the words of essayist Jonathan Raban, who wrote in Soft City that “[t]he city as we imagine it, the soft city of illusion, myth,
aspiration, nightmare, is as real, maybe more real, than the hard city one can locate on maps, in statistics, in monographs on urban sociology and demography and architecture.” 

Ondaatje and Raban remind us that the cities we live in are made not merely of brick and mortar, or bureaucracy and money, but are equally the invention of our memories and imaginations. We realize that our cities unfold not only in the building but in the telling of them.

The Imagining Toronto project explores the city at the centre of the map. Consisting (so far) of a large and expanding online database of Toronto novels, poetry collections and other literary works and an award-winning book exploring how the city's writers have represented Toronto's buildings, people, neighbourhoods and natural spaces, the Imagining Toronto project is the first full study of the city's literature to appear in print.

Imagining Toronto (Mansfield Press, 2010) was shortlisted for the Gabrielle Roy Prize in Canadian literary criticism and won the Award of Merit, the highest honour given to a book at the 2011 Heritage Toronto Awards. 

Imagining Toronto author Amy Lavender Harris teaches in the Department of Geography at York University, where her work focuses on urban identity and the cultural significance of place. She is currently at work on a second Imagining Toronto volume (exploring representations of Toronto in art, music, film and television) and Acts of Salvage, a Toronto novel exploring what the contemporary city compels us to cling to or discard.