Frequently Asked Questions

Who runs Project Bookmark Canada?

Project Bookmark Canada is guided by a volunteer board of directors. Day-to-day operations are conducted by Founder and Executive Director, Miranda Hill and Kate Burgess, our Executive Assistant.

How can I help?

We are always looking for volunteers to help us build the Bookmark network. You can read for us, staff a table at a festival, or help organize a fundraising event. We think it’s best to match the volunteer to his or her interests. Tell us what you’d like to do. 

What are the criteria for a Bookmark?

Bookmarks must be from a work of fiction or poetry, published in book form by a recognized publishing company or organization. While we acknowledge the literary value of works of non-fiction, Project Bookmark Canada celebrates imagined scenes in real places.

The Bookmarked excerpt must be set in an actual and identified location. The reader must be able to stand in the place where the characters or narrators stand in the story. The site can be named in the Bookmarked passage or at some other point in the overall work. (For example, if we know that the couple meets at Toronto's Allen Gardens greenhouse in one scene, the next time they visit that location in the story, that scene too would be eligible.) 

A Bookmarked passage may be up to 500 words and should be effective as excerpt—but it should also make you wonder what came before and what comes next, encouraging readers of the Bookmark to become readers of the book.

How do I suggest an idea for a Bookmark?

We actively solicit ideas for passages from stories and poems that could be used for future Bookmarks. We’re at work building a deep database of possibilities for the whole country. Every reader can be a resource. When making a suggestion, please be sure to cite not only the author and the book, but the specific passage or poem you think would be suitable (edition and page number are most appreciated). Our online form makes it easy.

Who selects the Bookmarks?

Sites and passages for development are curated by our Executive Director, who makes recommendations to our Board of Directors for approval. We also work with local organizers and are advised by our Diversity Committee, to work toward a Canadian literary trail that is representative of Canada's storytellers and literature. A number of factors determine which Bookmarks move forward, including approval from the author, participation and partnership with the site owners and/or the host community, and what funding is available.

Where are the Bookmarks located?

The 13 existing Bookmarks can be found in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador. Discover them all, here.

Why are so many of your Bookmarks in Ontario?

We want to Bookmark the whole country—that’s why our organization was created. But our greatest challenge is funding. In 2010, the Ontario Media Development Corporation approved a grant that funded 8 of our 10 Bookmarks in Ontario.

It is thanks to the Metcalf Foundation that we were able to take Project Bookmark Canada beyond Ontario borders. In 2012 we established a Bookmark in Vancouver, BC and one in Woody Point, NL, and in 2013 the third Bookmark resulting from this funding was installed in Winnipeg, MB. We gratefully accept funding for Bookmarks in other provinces and territories and from national organizations, as well as from individual donors and groups of individuals. 

How much does a Bookmark cost?

The cost of a Bookmark varies depending on where we’re shipping the plaque to, possible travel costs, and how much in-kind support we have from the host community. The average cost of a Bookmark is about $10,000.

What expenses are associated with creating a Bookmark?

Our first and most important expense is our honorarium for the author (or his or her heirs). There are also design, production and delivery expenses, as well as the costs associated with the unveiling and promotion. To date, our host communities have assisted us by assuming the site preparation and installation fees for the Bookmark. Finally, there are maintenance costs associated with the upkeep of the Bookmark.

What are you Bookmarking next?

On October 1, 2015, we will unveil our 14th Bookmark and our first in Nova Scotia: Alistair MacLeod's No Great Mischief in Cape Breton. We will be making more announcements soon. Please stay tuned!

Where does the money come from?

Project Bookmark Canada is a registered Canadian charity, CRA # 82725 7569 RR0001. Funding comes from donations from individuals, community groups, as well as grants from funding bodies.

What does a Bookmark look like?

In the top left corner of the Bookmark is a raised green letter “B” that resembles a typewriter key (this is also the Bookmark logo). Underneath the green “B,” the left third of the Bookmark contains information on the location and the story or poem. This column has a faint, washed out green background behind it, to set it off from the rest of the plaque. The remaining two thirds of the Bookmark contain the text from the selected story or poem, in black writing on a white background. The entire Bookmark has a glossy finish, which resembles the sheen on a magazine page.

What’s on a Bookmark?

Each Bookmark contains approximately 500 words of a story or poem that is set in the exact physical location where the Bookmark is placed, as well as a brief description of the piece, information on the author, details of the plaque’s unveiling and URL for the Bookmark website.

How big is a Bookmark?

Though every Bookmark shares the same design, the size of the Bookmarks will vary slightly, depending on the amount of space needed to fit the particular text. Most Bookmarks are roughly the size of an average-sized poster, flipped on its side.

What’s a Bookmark made of?

The Bookmark plaque is porcelain, with an enamel finish. This material is highly durable and lends itself well to clear text and graphics. The raised “B” is actually an additional plaque (9 inches -- about the size of a plate), which is bolted to the flat, rectangular plaque that contains the text.

The porcelain panel is affixed to an aluminum backer by means of a silicone adhesive. This process happens in the factory – i.e., it arrives stuck together.

How do you install a Bookmark?

The post is approximately 2 x 2 inches in diameter. The approximate size of the hole needed for the post is 10 inches in diameter. The post is then set in concrete. The height of the plaque should be approximately one meter from the bottom of the plaque to the ground. 

Is the Bookmark durable?

While we recognize that nothing is forever, this material construction was selected for its durability, its resistance to weather and vandalism. Plaques constructed of the same material and produced by the same manufacturer have been in use on several Toronto Historical sites for the past several years, with no noticeable wear and tear.

If the plaque itself is significantly damaged, Project Bookmark Canada will endeavor to repair or replace it. However, since our organization is small, largely volunteer and based in Hamilton, Ontario, some municipalities agree to work with us to make sure the plaque always looks its best, cleaning off the any graffiti on the metal post.