Project Bookmark Canada: FAQ for Hosts

What does it mean to Host a Bookmark?
Project Bookmark Canada is about locating literature in our Canadian spaces, and so each Bookmark plaque is installed in the exact geographic location where the featured passage is set. While the Bookmark plaque remains owned by our organization and exists as part of a larger Canadian network of installations, each Bookmark lives within a host community. To date, we have 17 Bookmarks in five provinces, hosted by towns, cities, businesses and not-for-profit community spaces. 

Every Bookmark must be accessible to the public, and most of our Bookmarks are installed on public land, usually owned by municipalities. However, businesses and even private homes can be eligible as Bookmark sites—provided that the site owner is committed to allowing ready access to members of the public. Project Bookmark Canada is an organization that promotes Canadian literature alongside featured Canadian spaces. We want each of our Bookmark Hosts to feel proud of the installation in their communities. The installation of each Bookmark is not the end of the relationship between Bookmark and the Host, but the beginning, as we work together to draw visitors to the site and the surrounding area, to the story or poem, and to the network overall. 

What is the Host commitment?
Bookmark Hosts contribute to the installation of the Bookmark by committing to install the Bookmark in the agreed upon location. The Host is responsible for staffing, funding and permitting for the installation. Not only do we figure that you know best where the power lines are, or whether an archeological assessment is required, but this is a vital contribution to enabling the installation, and to featuring your locale. This in-kind contribution is officially attributed to the Hosts—whether private or public. The Host helps fundraise and promote the Bookmark within the community. 

The Host also keeps the area clean and tidy, and maintains the Bookmark in good condition through routine maintenance. This means keeping the panel clean of graffiti and freshening any damaged paint on the post. 

Winsor Fireform porcelain enamel panels require little maintenance. For the most part, maintenance consists of periodic cleaning. Following the simple steps outlined below will help to ensure the long-lasting beauty of the porcelain enamel panels: 1) Clean the area with a clean, soft cloth and Windex or soap and water. Vigorous rubbing may sometimes be required for particularly difficult stains; 2) Fireform recommends that an automotive paste car wax coating be applied because the wax coating makes it easier to remove dirt and other natural debris. This is particularly advisable when panels are exposed to tree sap or saltwater air; and, 3) Graffiti can readily be removed with paint thinner or a solvent that will dissolve the offending material. Any residual haze can be cleaned as outlined in Step 1. DO NOT use sandpaper, steel wool, Comet cleaner, Scotchbrite, brillo pads, sandblasters, or any other rough or harsh cleaner – part of porcelain enamel’s charm is its cleanability; using Windex or acetone should clean any stain from the enamel. 

What is the Organization’s commitment to the Host?
Project Bookmark Canada promotes cultural tourism. We point readers from close to home and abroad to each Bookmark destination; we believe that the Bookmark itself is just a starting point for exploration, and encourage visitors to look beyond the Bookmark to discover the many stories-- fictional and actual--of each host site. Each Bookmark and its location are continuously promoted on the Bookmark site. 

Is there an official role for the Host at the Unveiling?
Absolutely! We encourage each Host to join us in celebrating the launch of the Bookmark to the media and the public. We ask the Host to assist in organizing the official unveiling, by sharing invitation lists and reaching out to local media. On the day of the unveiling, most Hosts provide a sound system, a mic and a podium for the event. They also may contribute their own branding on signage at the location, and key spokespeople or figures to the event – many mayors have enjoyed a photo opp at the Bookmark hosted by their town or city. Some Hosts create a subsequent event to follow the unveiling, from a small lunch with the author to a larger public celebration. 

What arrangements have you made for accidents or theft? To ensure our mutual protection, Project Bookmark Canada maintains liability insurance, in the unlikely occurrence of an accident, as a result of the Bookmark. Should a Bookmark be stolen or destroyed, Project Bookmark Canada is responsible for the cost of manufacturing a new plaque. 

What does it look like?
In the top left corner of the Bookmark is a blue letter “B” that resembles a typewriter key (this is also the Bookmark logo). Underneath the blue “B,” the left third of the Bookmark contains information about Project Bookmark Canada and details regarding the installation. The remaining two thirds of the Bookmark contain the text from the selected story or poem, the location and the story or poem, and the author’s biography, in black writing on a white background, resembling a Bookmark page. The entire Bookmark has a glossy finish, which resembles the sheen on a magazine page. 

What’s on it?
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 the Bookmark website. 

How big is it?
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 it made of?
The Bookmark plaque is porcelain, with an enamel finish. 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 is it mounted?
The plaque comes with mounting studs affixed to the aluminum backer, so that the plaque may be attached to the aluminum post and plate (also provided by the manufacturers). 

How heavy is it?
The porcelain paneland backer have an approximate grand total weight of 30 lbs. – minus the post. 

How do we install it?
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. Posts provided by the manufacturer are just under five feet. 

What about durability?
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 many 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, municipalities agree to work with us to make sure the plaque always looks its best, cleaning off the only graffiti we’ve experienced so far (and that we anticipate) on the metal post. 

Where do they come from?
The Bookmarks are produced by Winsor Fireform in Tumwater, Washington. Winsor Fireform is a well-respected company whose plaque products are on display around the world. Winsor Fireform was selected as the Bookmark producer because of their eagerness to work with a small charity with big plans, their expertise and because of their excellent work for the Toronto Historical Society. 

Need more info?
Contact Laurie Murphy, Executive Director, Project Bookmark Canada
Mail/Visit: 215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 400, Toronto, ON M5T 2C7
Phone: 647 646 2622 / Cell: 647 883 8460