Saturday, September 20, 2008

Toronto in Writing

Back in May 2006, I started working at a social science lab on College & Spadina. Located on the south-west corner of the University of Toronto campus and north-east corner of Chinatown, the lab not only let me study the city, but experience it first-hand. It was great.

Just two months later, I was at a conference in Brazil and ran into a fellow Torontonian named Cory Doctorow. "Cool guy," I thought, and promptly bought his book, "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town", which actually takes place very close to the lab I worked at. Soon I could connect the restaurants and coffee shops he talks about with my own lunchtime wanderings. A great feeling, to say the least.

In my mission to learn more about the city and experience it in new ways, I bought Toronto Noir, a short story anthology with all stories taking place in various parts of Toronto... And on a side note, the publisher's description of Toronto is absolutely hilarious:
Toronto is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario and has a population of 2,503,281 (or about 3,113,149 U.S.). Comprised of wetlands, concrete parts, and futon stores, the city is home to some of Canada's most notorious criminals. Broken Social Scene and Anne Murray live here.
Anyway, there's something wonderful when you read about the place you live in a fictional book. People from bigger cities (hear that, citizens of New York, London, and Tokyo) might take this from granted, but Toronto is still small enough to be overlooked by most authors.

And if you're in Toronto and have yet to read a book that takes place in the city, read Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. It's free and CC-licensed, for crying out loud!

Note: click photo for credits.

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