Sunday, 27 September 2015

Recap: The Word on the Street - Toronto Book & Magazine Festival 2015

Toronto's The Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival - when Christmas comes early for book lovers.

I've been attending the free annual event for a few years and I'm always impressed with the special programs, guest authors, and exhibitor tents. A lot of time is put into creating a great event that promotes literacy for all - thank you to everyone who worked hard to create another wonderful year for Word on the Street.

This year the event was moved to a new venue - the spacious Harbourfront Centre. With a vast space for tents, stage set-ups, and a gorgeous view of Lake Ontario, I felt the new space worked well. The organizers of WOTS took advantage of the entire property, spreading tents and stages evenly on both sides of the property, reserving one side for kids entertainment and lit. They also utilized The Power Plant Art Gallery space for the Bestsellers Stage and author signing area. The space was easy to navigate (except for the crowding) , and I found myself looking at the map only once (with the help of a friend) in search of a special program tent.

Book lovers were also given the option to enjoy a very unique experience and addition to WOTS - an author cruise. Guests were given the option to purchase tickets for the 60 minute cruise on large ship accompanied by a lineup of incredible bestselling authors. I didn't participate in the cruise, unfortunately, but certainly plan to in the future if WOTS chooses to bring it back next year.

This year I was unable to stay and attend many of the programs taking place at WOTS, however I did manage to sit down for Monica Heisey's short reading and Q/A for "I Can't Believe It's Not Better" at the Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent. I was also lucky to stop by and catch a few minutes of "Supernatural Sovereignty: Humans Defending the Earth" at the This Is Not The Shakespeare Stage, featuring Leah Bobet, Megan Crewe, Evan Munday and Natalie Gent (note: it was amazing to see an ASL interpreter at this reading!)

Book shopping - I managed to do all my book shopping in the first few minutes of WOTS. After stopping by Harlequin's tent, I took advantage of their generous sale and immediately picked up nine reads on my to read list. The damage: an astonishing and surprising $15! Notably, I also stopped by HarperCollins Canada (which had a wonderful lineup of their titles for sale), Penguin/Random House Canada (where they were hosting a fun giveaway and handing out sample colouring pages), Simon & Schuster Canada (where I couldn't resist doing more book shopping), and a few other vendors.

Overall, I had a successful and fun visit at this year's WOTS. Although very crowded at times, I had a great time catching up with old friends, finding new reads, and listening to some very talented individuals. I'm highly anticipating next year's programs!


  1. Only $15!? What a steal! Sounds like a great event Wendy!

  2. I'd like to see more events like this where I live. An author cruise is a brilliant idea by the way.

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience.
    That's a lot of great books you brought home.