For the past three years Coach House Books has produced the uTOpia series: a collection of essays, articles and photos all about Toronto. Quite a few Spacing contributors have pieces in the volumes and though, as a contributor, I’m certainly biased in this assessment, they have become quite a collection of discussion documents on the Toronto that is and the Toronto that could be. I say “discussion” because many of the essays have either started or continued city debates on issues like gentrification, the suburbs, stripmalls, pavement, greenspace and so on. What I have liked about the series is the voices often come from the ground — from the people involved — rather than from above.
This year Coach House has turned the focus of their old printing press towards water. Not just the lake — though it’s important — but the water that surrounds us everyday, hidden or in plain view. My own contribution to the book is an essay on two of Toronto’s buried reservoirs that masquerade as city parks, and I discovered there’s much to talk about in what seems like, at first glance, boring old infrastructure. While the story of water in Toronto may not have the dramatic Hollywood life and death narrative arc of, say, Chinatown or William Mulholland, it is not without heroic moments and characters. Like this city itself, the story of water here is deep and might take you by surprise when underestimated.
Come out to Fort York on Sunday afternoon for the launch party. There will be a fun discussion and a guided tour of Garrison Creek & the Fort. If you haven’t been to the Fort in a while, you’ll be surprised at how much the area has changed.
WHEN: Sunday, November 9, 2 p.m. — 6 p.m.
WHERE: The Blue Barracks, Fort York National Historic Site
HOW MUCH: $5 (or free with purchase of book)
AND: Refreshments available
Book Launch for HTO: Toronto’s Water from Lake Iroquois to Lost Rivers to Low-flow Toilets, edited by Wayne Reeves and Christina Palassio
Drained by a half-dozen major watersheds, cut by a network of deep ravines and fronting on a Great Lake, and home to a massive water supply, wastewater and flood control works, Toronto is a city dominated by water. How will that relationship with water change in the coming decades? In HTO: Toronto’s Water from Lake Iroquois to Lost Rivers to Low-flow Toilets (Coach House Books), 34 contributors examine the ever-changing interplay between nature and culture, and call into question the city’s past, present and future engagement with water.
To celebrate the publication of HTO, This Is Not A Reading Series, Coach House Books and Fort York launch the book in style at historic Fort York’s Blue Barracks. Doors open at 2 p.m. Then at 2:30 p.m., Spacing’s Matt Blackett moderates a panel discussion on the future of Toronto’s water, featuring HTO contributors Jennifer Bonnell, Kim Storey, John Lorinc, Gary Miedema, Shawn Micallef and Helen Mills.
Following the panel, guests can either join contributor David Robertson on a guided walking tour of the Fort in relation to Garrison Creek and the original lakeshore, or stay and discuss Toronto’s water more informally over a few refreshments in the Blue Barracks.