The Word on the Street is an outdoor festival celebrating books and reading. It promotes literacy and provides an opportunity for adults and children to interact with book and magazine sellers and publishers. It has been held in downtown Toronto for the last 22 years and has grown from a small number of booths to well over 200.
There were representatives from libraries, writers’ groups, poetry writers, sci-fi writers, romance writers, Giller Prize winners, Booker Prize winners, and arts organizations. I met several romance writers who invited me to come to their next meeting to be held in October.
Many authors were on-site to sign copies of their books. We received many free books, a few of them signed copies. There were many stages set up for author interviews where the audience could ask questions. I saw an interview with Guy Vanderhaeghe, a Giller Prize winner and Chef Michael Smith, who is well-known through his cooking show on the Food channel. There were over 200 volunteers at the fair, who ensured that everything ran smoothly.
We took the GO (Government of Ontario) train to Toronto and then the subway to the fair. It was the most amazing sight! The day was warm and sunny with a cooling breeze and the tents were set up down Queen’s Park Street and onto the Queen’s Park grounds, behind the Ontario Legislature. Children, parents, grandparents, and young people milled around. Some tents were swarmed with crowds of interested people but everyone was patient and polite.
We had both brought bags with us and they were full by the time we left the fair. We walked down Wellesley Street all the way to Edwards Street where we had a beautiful lunch at Red Lobster. It was almost the best part of the day! I had grilled salmon, steamed broccoli, a garden salad, and a baked potato. I truly enjoyed every bite. The restaurant was busy but quiet, the waiter polite and funny, and the food amazing. John had half of my salad, sole stuffed with cheese and rice, broccoli, and a baked potato.
Where do you think we went after that? To the World’s Biggest Bookstore on Edwards Street. I browsed through the Art Department and John almost bought a book by David Baum on Quantum Physics but decided we had enough books for the day.
We walked over to the Eaton Centre where we could hear music and clapping. There was another celebration across the street in a square and we could see a group performing on a stage. It was amazing all the activity going on, all the happy people, families enjoying being together, and all outdoors in the sunshine.
We proceeded to walk back to Union Station and we caught the GO Train back to Oshawa, a 45 minute ride. We had such a nice day, enjoyed each other’s company, and got lots of books to read.
The only thing missing at Word on the Street was any reference to ebooks. I wonder why the e-book publishers and sellers were not represented. Anyone?