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The Word On The Street Blog

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The Word On The Street Toronto’s 2019 Lineup is Here!

July 18, 2019

It’s a festival 30 years in the making—The Word On The Street Toronto has championed literacy and excellent Canadian writing since 1989, delighting audiences of all ages with author readings and featured programming alongside Canada’s largest open-air book fair.

This September, the festival will return to Harbourfront Centre for a birthday party like no other, celebrating the past and future of Canadian literature with an exciting lineup of debut authors alongside perennial favourites:

  • Beloved Canadian entertainers SHARON & BRAM will share a special FREE performance on the Harbourfront Concert Stage for their official Farewell Tour
  • New this year, the Across the Universe stage will feature Canada’s best science fiction and fantasy authors, including CORY DOCTOROW, FONDA LEE, JEFF LEMIRE, KELLY ROBSON, and AMAL EL-MOHTAR
  • CanLit’s rising stars are coming to the Amazon Bestsellers Stage, including CHERIE DIMALINE, ALICIA ELLIOTT, KAI CHENG THOM, and CASEY PLETT
  • Over 100 authors will be featured on stages curated with programming partners such as the TORONTO STAR, HUMBER SCHOOL FOR WRITERS, STORYTELLING TORONTO, and the TORONTO BOOK AWARDS
  • TD KIDSTREET promises fun for the whole family with book-themed activities and readings, including SOAPBOX SCIENCE and the authors of THE ALMOST EPIC SQUAD!

The 2019 festival will kick off with a special inaugural keynote address: THE CITY IMAGINES, delivered by TORONTO REBORN author KEN GREENBERG, followed by a panel discussion on urbanism and the arts.

The Word On The Street Toronto also continues to expand and diversify its lineup with the return of WOTS Plus, a full day of additional programming presented in partnership with the TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY and DIASPORA DIALOGUES.

“This fall, we invite booklovers of all ages to explore Canada’s largest communal bookshelf and discover your new favourite author,” said Festival Director David Alexander. “As we celebrate our 30th festival, we are especially excited to cast our gaze forward with the inaugural City Imagines keynote and our new Across the Universe stage.”

This annual, free event has grown to attract crowds of over 200,000 since its early days on Queen Street West, now taking over Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre for a fifth year. With more than 140 readings, panels, workshops, and other entertainment, the festival is truly a celebration of the written word.


Three banners displaying the dates and venues of the City Imagines keynote speech, the WOTS Plus Conversations, and the Festival and Marketplace.

Tuesday, September 17 | The City Imagines Keynote Address (Concert Hall, 888 Yonge St.)
Saturday, September 21 | WOTS Plus (Harbourfront Centre)
Sunday, September 22 | 30th Anniversary Festival & Marketplace (Harbourfront Centre)


  • The first ever “Toronto Book and Magazine Fair” took place on September 30, 1990 on Queen St. West to coincide with International Literacy Year, attracting an audience of 40,000 booklovers. In 2004, The Word On The Street Toronto relocated to Queen’s Park, where it lived for a decade before moving to Harbourfront Centre in 2015.
  • As part of our commitment to support emerging artists, the 2019 marketplace will include over 100 independent authors alongside more than 45 publishers, 30 magazines, 10 bookstores, 12 libraries and educational organizations, 20 writers’ associations, and over 30 arts and literary organizations.
  • The Word On The Street helped to establish literary festivals across Canada, including our regional partners in Saskatoon, Halifax and Lethbridge. Over the last 30 years, Word On The Street events have also been held in Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, and Kitchener.


Click here to download our official press release (PDF).


The Word On The Street is grateful for the support of the following partners: The Government of Canada, The Government of Ontario, The City of Toronto, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Star, TD Bank, Toronto Public Library,, Magazines Canada, Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir, Diaspora Dialogues, Humber School for Writers, Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Storytelling Toronto, Open Book, and the Toronto International Festival of Authors.