Sunday, May 06, 2018

The Annex walking tour: a reading list

One special narrow-cast posting today. This is directed particularly at those who have joined today's Jane's Walk exploration "Walking the Literary Annex."  What follows is a listing of some further readings about the literary history of Toronto's Annex neighbourhood  -- particularly those I relied on and borrowed from while planning this walk.

Greg Gatenby, Toronto: A Literary Guide (Toronto:McArthur & Co, 1999).  Gatenby hunted out practically every writer who ever lived and worked in Toronto, then pinned down where they had lived at various times, then devised dozens of walks to lead devotees to them.  Only after I failed to persuade Greg to lead this walk did I take it on myself, and his book was invaluable (not for the first time). It is a work of inspired and passionate research, not only about the Annex.

Jack Batten, The Annex: The Story of A Toronto Neighbourhood.  (Boston Mills Press, 2004).  Journalist, novelist, and film and music critic Jack Batten is  a longtime Annex resident, and this words-and-pictures account is the best introduction to his nabe.

Douglas Fetherling, Travels by Night: A Memoir of the Sixties (Lester Books, 1994).  To my eye the best and most evocative account of young literary Toronto in the 1960s, when Fetherling lived at many Annex addresses. 

Katherine Govier, Fables of Brunswick Avenue (Penguin, 1985). A short-story companion to Travels by Night, perhaps, the first book of stories by the now widely published novelist.

Christopher Moore, Founding the Writers' Union of Canada: An Oral History (Writers' Union of Canada, 2012)  This one is only indirectly about the Annex, except that many of the Union's founders describe how they lived in the Annex and held their organizational meetings in houses on Brunswick Avenue and bars along Bloor Street. David Lewis Stein:  "It was all on Brunswick Avenue.  We used to joke that if a bomb hit Brunswick Avenue and the Annex, the CanLit movement would have been wiped out."

Update, May 7:  A million thanks to all the dedicated Jane's Walkers who joined us yesterday to walk the literary Annex. We were one hundred walkers, in perfect walking weather, and such a friendly, enthusiastic, dedicated group -- it was a pleasure being part of it.  We even stopped at Jane Jacob's former home on Albany Avenue.
Follow @CmedMoore