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9 Signs That You Need to Go to The Word On The Street

September 20, 2016

Guest post by Nikolina Likarev 

1. Reading indoors has lost it’s charm (or you fear it might)



The Word on the Street is Canada’s biggest outdoor bookstore. At the Exhibitor Marketplace, over 250 vendors from all across the country park their books and magazines at tables in and around Harbourfront Centre. Come away from those tables full of energy from the sundry books displayed for your perusing fingers. You may even be a little wiser, having learned a new word, like spate – you know, the one you’ll encounter in a poem while browsing and whose meaning you’ll immediately look up on your smartphone. Not to mention you’ll have the opportunity to meet the lovely individuals representing each publication (and who made you realize you need to read more because they already knew how to use spate in a sentence).


2. The words Wordshop and Marquee send your brain into literary overdrive


Jack David and Kim Moritsugu at the Wordshop Marquee. Photo Cr. Justin Lauzon

The Wordshop Marquee is the place to be if you’re interested in writing workshops. Hosted by The Humber School for Writers, the Wordshop Marquee is the place for both established and aspiring authors. Share your publishing woes at the Overcoming the Odds: Long Journeys to Publication session, or learn about the publishing industry at What Literary Agents Are Looking For with Olga Filina and Carolyn Forde, and How To Get Published with Cynthia Good. View the festival schedule for more details.


3. You like drama (as in literary)


Kenneth Oppel at the Bestsellers Stage. Photo Cr. Samantha Falco.

Kenneth Oppel at the Bestsellers Stage. Photo Cr. Samantha Falco.

Sometimes reading a book in bed isn’t the best way to read. Why not be near people who share in your passion for reading and hear the words flow from an author’s mouth? The Word On The Street turns a solitary activity into a social and sensory experience! Check out all of the authors, performers, and storytellers!


4. The kid(s) want to go play but you want to Adult


Photo Cr. Samantha Falco.

Photo Cr. Samantha Falco.

While you enjoy book-browsing, the kids can check out their favourite TVOKids characters at TD KidStreet. Know any reluctant teen readers? The Word On The Street has dedicated an entire section of the festival to young adult literature and art with the Teen Spirit Stage. There is even a Youth Spoken Word Showcase where young adults can learn valuable performance skills!


5. You strongly protest when someone disregards genre literature



The Genre Zone Stage brings you the best in science fiction, mystery, romance, fantasy, horror and comic books! ChiZine Publications, who are known for publishing the bizarre and curious, will bring authors David Clink, Ian Keeling, and Jason Taniguchi to the Genre Zone Stage from 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM. The artists responsible for the exciting comic books, The Pitiful Human-Lizard, The Mystery of the Bony Fingers, and #PROJECTSOLACE will read from their work from 4:00 PM to 4:45PM. Following this showcase, the editors of The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, will discuss their experiences compiling an anthology about issues facing Geek culture.


6. You have fun guiding your kid(s) through creative pursuits


Photo Cr. Samantha Falco.

Photo Cr. Samantha Falco.

The Sago Mini Children’s Activity Tent provides children with plenty of opportunities to get creative. They can draw, make arts and crafts, and even listen to their favourite authors read. “What if they don’t have a favourite author?” you ask. In that case, they can discover a favourite author … and then listen to them read. It’s just that simple!


7. You crave more bragging rights


Photo Cr. Samantha Falco.

Photo Cr. Samantha Falco.

Ah, that elusive high school phenomenon that crossed into adulthood … I believe colloquially it’s known as…popularity? Finally, you will be cool with The Word On The Street’s Friend an Author program. If you donate $100, you receive a specific author’s book and have the chance to get it autographed on the day of the festival. Plus, there are other benefits like getting your name read out on stage!


8. Visual arts is your jam


Artist. Catherine Lane. Book: Alone Against the North by Adam Shoalts.

The Sculpting New Reads program is all about the power of an idea. How can literature help us see the world differently? Four Canadian artists, chosen through Labspace Studios, have each been given the challenge to create artistic installations of four different books featured at the festival. With intimate knowledge of their works, the artists have interpreted the themes of their chosen novel and have created an on-site installation to physically represent it in their own way. Check out the author and artist pairings, and you can watch this preview video featuring interviews with the four artists to learn more.


9. You love words – period.


Photo Cr. Ian Lawrence.

Photo Cr. Ian Lawrence.

If you love words, and you definitely do since you bothered to reach the end of this article, you need to be at The Word On The Street. Let’s face it, in whatever form it takes, in whatever culture or language it originates, you are interested in communication. Why not attend a public event that celebrates pursuits in communication? Come meet and support people who do cool stuff with words and ideas.



Nikolina Likarevic is a graduate of the MA Literatures of Modernity program at Ryerson University. She is the Associate Editor of Sewer Lid, a magazine of urban art and literature. Currently, she is completing a Master of Information in Library and Information Science at the University of Toronto.