Sunday, April 26, 2009

Junction Literary Pub Crawl with Glen Downie: Notes & Impressions

Celebrating the History of Literacy in the Junction for the Centennial of the Annette Street Library

Nature provided the perfect spring Saturday afternoon. As I walked down Medland towards the library I saw the first of those to come out onto the front steps, chief among them tour Leader A.B. Rice, resplendent in blue silk brocade vest and frock coat. As I got closer more and more people were spilling out onto the side walk. We had expected about 20 people but found we had 90 all told. Frank Remiz retrieved the JBIA bullhorn stowed in the archives in case our wildest dreams came true and we had over 30 on the tour. Frank served tech duties admirably throughout the afternoon and we were greatly appreciated of his assistance.

Photo: Junction Literary Pub Crawl with Junction poet Glen Downie; Saturday April 18, 2009, by artjunction.blogspot.comPhoto: Junction Literary Pub Crawl with Glen Downie

We met the owner of Minerva Reid's house and Gib Goodfellow, our illustrious President of the WTJHS was able to point out the murmur ear on the utility pole so the gentleman could phone and hear the history of his home any time he liked. In the parking lot next to the Police station we heard of the defiance of Junction resident Anna Leung who helped break down racial segregation barriers by screaming in the front row of the Palladium Theatre, Toronto, until she was allowed to retain her seat. The audience supported her and she won her place in the front row of Junction History 100 years later.

Gwendolyn MacEwen the quintessential mystic poet of the early 1960's won world renown and first read at the Bohemian Embassy..... which conjours images of Yorkville scene that was London's Carnaby Street or New York’s Soho. Gwendolyn born, at Keele and Bloor, spent most of her early life in the Junction, in fact she was Gib Goodfellow's dance partner in Grade school. It was he who conjured Gwen's spirit by suggesting Kristen Buckley for the role.

Neil Ross gave a tour de force performance as A.B. Rice... standing on the replica platform reading a poem by Raymond Souster about the details of the removal of the original CPR Station that happened like a slight of hand in the middle of night kind of thing. Poets reporting the news as has been handed down like Norse sagas of the medieval troubadours.

At the Troubadour Glen Downie read a poem about his experience trying to get cast as himself in the Toronto One Book celebrations... it was hilarious and we're so glad sense prevailed and Glen got to be himself..... for it was definitely a wonderful highlight of the tour to be present as presented his work. Local poets read lively poems about nature, the universe, the Junction and the human condition.... and the tour ended with a piano bar rendition (accompanied by Alice Derdon) of the early 20th Classic that many are still aware of, floating on the boundaries of their psyche along with Sam McGee... Dangerous Dan McGrew by Robert Service.

The old and the new co-mingled in the vibrant atmosphere of storied reflections of the landscape appearing eternal ....which is the hope and dream of every poet.... that their voices would echo in the landscape forever. So far, so good. Thanks again to Neil Ross and David Wencer for assembling the history and all those who helped make this event possible. A special mention to Pam Mountain of the Annette Street Library who was beaming like sunshine the whole afternoon at the incredible success of this wonderful venture. It was really fun to see so many happy people.

2009 © Cara Reeves

Photo: Junction Literary Pub Crawl with Junction poet Glen Downie; Saturday April 18, 2009, by artjunction.blogspot.comPhoto: Junction Literary Pub Crawl with Glen Downie


junctioneer: West Toronto Junction Literary Walking Tour and Pub Crawl Recap Robert Weaver: Godfather of Canadian Literature Book-length Dinner Reading: Gwendolyn MacEwen’s A Breakfast for Barbarians
artjunction: Happy Birthday Toronto from the Junction
artjunction: Annette Street Public Library Upcoming Spring Highlights Meet One Book author Glen Downie

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