L.M. Montgomery’s Halifax: A Literary Soirée


A fundraiser commemorating writing set in the Maritimes,
in support of Project Bookmark Canada:

Monday, June 18, 2018, 7pm

Women’s Council House, 989 Young Avenue, Halifax

Join speakers Budge Wilson, Alexander MacLeod, Kate Scarth, and others. Tea and sweets provided. Period costume welcome but not required. Raffles for Elly MacKay “Anne” prints, tickets to Anne of Green Gables, The Musical and more!

All ages. Suggested donation $20. 


“Even Halifax is pretty now. The trees are respectably leafy and every grass plot is gay with dandelions.” 

– L.M. Montgomery, June 2, 1902


Help us build Bookmarks!

Bringing fiction to life with Bookmarks on the Canadian Literary Trail.
CRA #82725 7569 RR0001

L.M. Montgomery is a trademark of Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc.



A Sudbury Bookmark: Matthew Heiti's THE CITY STILL BREATHING


Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Sudbury Bookmark: Matthew Heiti's The City Still Breathing

Toronto, ON – Project Bookmark Canada Board President Don Oravec is pleased that the 20th Bookmark on the Canadian Literary Trail is for The City Still Breathing by Matthew Heiti, a contemporary novel set in Sudbury, the author’s Northern Ontario home town. The Bookmark plaque will be unveiled on Thursday, May 3, 2018, 4p.m., at the Townehouse Tavern, and will feature readings and performances celebrating the diverse and vibrant literary culture in the city. 

“Project Bookmark Canada and its Bookmarks provide a unique reading experience and a deeper understanding of the country and its people,” says Oravec, “Through audio walks and author talks, in person and online, the plaques are a launching place for conversation, collaboration and learning about the nation. We are pleased to add Sudbury to the Canadian Literary Trail of Bookmarks.”

Writer Kim Fahner recommended Heiti’s novel to Project Bookmark Canada founder Miranda Hill, and then rallied the literary community in support of it during her tenure as Greater Sudbury Poet Laureate (2015-2017). Bookmark champions include individual donors, and organizations, such as the City of Greater Sudbury, National Reading Campaign – Reading Town/Ville Lecture Sudbury, Sudbury Arts Council, Sudbury Wordstock Literary Festival, Greater Sudbury Public Library and the Townehouse Tavern. Project Bookmark Canada is grateful for the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The City Still Breathing was published in 2013 by Coach House Books, and as Agonie City, with French translation by Eva Lavergne in 2017 by Prise de parole. “The story itself is so evocative of the Sudbury places and spaces with which we are all so familiar,” Fahner says, “Reading this book reminds me of the raw beauty and the vibrant characters that our city has always offered us, from the edge of Lake Ramsey, to Dino, the popcorn man, to downtown city streets, and the Townehouse, with a view that looks across Elgin to the rail yards. I am so very pleased that Greater Sudbury will now be showcased as part of a national literary trail. We have excellent writers here, and this is a testament to our literary culture and tradition."

A nationally registered charitable organization, CRA #82725 7569 RR0001, Project Bookmark Canada issues charitable tax receipts are issued for all donations, $50 or more. Gifts to the Sudbury Bookmark, or others in development, are accepted online at

Media Contacts:

Laurie Murphy, Executive Director, Project Bookmark Canada
(647) 646 – 2622

Heather Campbell, Festival Director, Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival
(705) 929 – 0205

Find this release and other informative PDFs to download on our MEDIA page.

Le 19 avril 2018

Un signet Sudburois : The City Still Breathing (Agonie City) de Matthew Heiti

Toronto ON – Le président du conseil d’administration de Project Bookmark Canada, Don Oravec, est ravi que le 20e signet du Canadian Literary Trail soit celui du roman de Matthew Heiti, The City Still Breathing (version française : Agonie City). L’intrigue de ce roman contemporain se déroule à Sudbury, dans le nord de l’Ontario, où habite l’auteur. La plaque du signet de Bookmark Canada sera dévoilée le jeudi 3 mai 2018 à 16 h à la taverne Townehouse. Pour marquer l’occasion, des lectures publiques et des performances célébreront la diversité et le dynamisme de la culture littéraire de cette ville.

« Les signets du Project Bookmark Canada offrent une expérience de lecture unique en son genre qui approfondit notre connaissance de notre pays et de ses habitants », dit Oravec. « Dans le cadre d’itinéraires audio et de causeries d’auteurs en personne et en ligne, ces plaques offrent un point de départ aux discussions et aux collaborations qui enrichissent notre conscience nationale. Nous sommes fiers d’ajouter Sudbury à la liste des signets de la Canadian Literary Trail. »

L’écrivaine sudburoise Kim Fahner a recommandé le roman de Heiti à la fondatrice de Project Bookmark Canada, Miranda Hill, puis elle a incité la communauté littéraire à appuyer cette initiative pendant son mandat au poste de poète officielle du Grand Sudbury de 2015 à 2017. Parmi les champions du signet, il y a des particuliers et des organismes donateurs, comme la Ville du Grand Sudbury, la Campagne pour la lecture Reading Town / Ville lecture Sudbury, le Conseil des arts de Sudbury, Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival, la Bibliothèque publique du Grand Sudbury et la taverne Townehouse. Project Bookmark Canada remercie la Fondation Trillium de l’Ontario pour son soutien.

The City Still Breathing a été publié par Coach House Books en 2013 et Agonie City, la traduction française d’Éva Lavergne, a été publiée par Prise de parole en 2017. « L’intrigue comme telle évoque largement les lieux et les milieux de Sudbury que nous connaissons si bien », dit Fahner. « Ce roman me rappelle la beauté à l’état brut et les personnages colorés que notre ville nous offre depuis toujours, comme le bord du lac Ramsey, Dino le vendeur de popcorn, les rues du centre-ville et la Townehouse, d’où l’on voit la gare de triage de l’autre côté de la rue Elgin. Je suis très heureuse du fait que le Grand Sudbury fera dorénavant partie d’un sentier littéraire national. Nous avons chez nous d’excellents écrivains et ce signet est une marque de reconnaissance de notre culture et de nos antécédents littéraires. »

Project Bookmark Canada est un organisme de bienfaisance reconnu (node l’ARC 82725 7569 RR0001) qui délivre un reçu fiscal pour tout don de 50 $ ou plus qu'il reçoit. On peut faire un don en ligne au signet de Sudbury ou à d’autres signets en voie de développement au


Renseignements aux médias :

Laurie Murphy, directrice générale, Project Bookmark Canada
(647) 646 – 2622

Heather Campbell, directrice, Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival
(705) 929 – 0205

Find this release and other informative PDFs to download on our MEDIA page.



A Message from the President thanking our volunteers!

Don Oravec, President of the Board of Project Bookmark Canada 

Don Oravec, President of the Board of Project Bookmark Canada 

Project Bookmark Canada is comprised of highly motivated volunteers and a dedicated and hard-working staff and together they make the Organization matter, on a daily basis.  

I believe it is important to acknowledge the work of these volunteers whenever possible so, with that in mind, today I want to recognise the volunteer work that the board members have achieved in the past year.

Hughena Matheson works on communications with educators (read her article here), and she helped staff our booth at Word on the Street this past fall. She and board member Linda Hughes met with librarians to promote the Organization and they also work to develop and support Reading Circles across the country, from Halifax to Yellowknife.

I also want to recognise Bianca Spence for her communications expertise. She’s also a co-founder of the Women’s March Toronto.

Alma Lee and Anna Ling Kaye are working diligently to make a second bookmark plaque happen on the nation’s west coast, and Anna is also helping to develop a series of Bookmarks that explore emerging and established voices of writers and readers from a variety of communities.

On the east coast, Munju Ravindra was instrumental in establishing our first community host partnership with Parks Canada, resulting in the Hugh MacLennan Bookmark at the Halifax Citadel. Also an east coaster, our outgoing board member Kevin Noel has helped keep the finances on track for the Organization now for several years and we are grateful to him for his work and sad to see his term end on the board of directors.

I am happy to announce the addition of Susan Lightstone to the board of directors. Susan and I were born one month apart in the same hospital in Sarnia, Ontario, and while we didn’t know one another back then we connected when I worked for the Writers’ Trust of Canada and she was a member of the Politics and the Pen committee in Ottawa (a committee that raised money for the Trust). Susan has ‘hit the ground running’ so to speak and is helping us organize fundraisers.

This only serves to ‘skim the surface’ and highlight some of the activities these wonderful volunteers do to make Project Bookmark Canada work. I cannot begin to thank them enough for all they do annually for the Organization. They donate their time, talent and financial gifts to our national charity, founded by Miranda Hill, herself a volunteer extraordinaire with us, and it is a pleasure to work with them. See for more information about these wonderful volunteers! We also want to thank other volunteers, from student filmmakers to researchers, from across the country.

This thing called Project Bookmark Canada is a literary movement that builds Bookmarks bringing writing to life with Bookmarks on the CanLit Trail, coast to coast to coast. We are always looking for more volunteers for the Organization, including board members, student interns and Reading Circle members. If you are interested, please contact Laurie Murphy and we can find a role for you. It would be our pleasure to welcome you to the fold.

Project Bookmark Canada relies on individual donations to do its work. Donate toward undesignated gifts, and help us with our operational costs. Thank you.

— Don Oravec



Toronto Bookmarks now on Driftscape!

Driftscape  is a new, local discovery app.

Driftscape is a new, local discovery app.

Article by Chloe Doesburg, of Driftscape.

Project Bookmark has partnered with another one-of-a-kind cultural project called Driftscape – now their site-specific exhibits will be even more accessible to you on the go. 

Driftscape is a new local discovery app that our team, spread between Waterloo and Toronto, has been developing over the last couple of years.  Our app brings together local cultural content in a map-based format.  Project Bookmark is included alongside pins from other amazing organizations such as The Toronto Poetry Map (from the Toronto Public Library), First Story (Indigenous history), The Toronto Dreams Project (fictional dreams of real historical figures), and many, many more. 

This pairing could not be more perfect.  Project Bookmark’s dream of helping to strengthen our sense of ourselves and our connection to the places we live through literature, is right in step with Driftscape’s belief that creating a platform where diverse stories can be shared will inspire a greater understanding of the spaces we inhabit and the people we share them with.

Canada’s landscape is dense with stories and Driftscape offers a tool to encounter them at the places where they are most powerful. Driftscape lets you see all of these stories in one app, and to tailor what you see to suit your interests.  You can also get notifications on your phone when there’s something interesting nearby.

Imagine you’re near Casa Loma, and up pops a notification: “You’re near the Bookmark for Dennis Lee’s The Cat and the Wizard.”  Stop to read a passage from this book, explore the interactive exhibit, and keep walking. A moment later another notification pops up this time from the Toronto Dreams Project – read a fantastical tale about Casa Loma’s original resident Sir Henry Pellatt, and his dream of a dragon in the castle.  Keep going…  another notification from the Toronto Poetry Map, now wander a little further leaving the castle behind.  You get another notification from First Story telling you that the place where you are now standing used to be atop a cliff on the shore of the great glacial Lake Iroquois – on a well-worn trail leading between the Don and Humber rivers.

This is just a small taste of what you’ll find on Driftscape.  Download Driftscape today to discover hidden gems all around you. We’re currently focused on Toronto, but we have plans to expand nationally and bring you all of Canada’s Literary Trail and so much more!






A Field Trip along Canada’s Literary Trail

Teen-age filmmaker Astrid Mohr recording  The Convict Lover  Bookmark

Teen-age filmmaker Astrid Mohr recording The Convict Lover Bookmark

An article for teachers by Project Bookmark Canada Board Member Hughena Matheson.

Field trips — excitement for your students, but for you teachers, these trips can mean headaches: collecting money and parental permission forms, ordering buses, and the ultimate worry of losing a student. I suggest a field trip without these worries.

Your only preparation is to make sure your students have access to the Internet. With the click of a mouse at, they will discover Canada’s literary trail. On their virtual field trip, they will visit the exact Canadian settings writers imagined as they wrote a poem or a work of fiction. These locations are marked with Bookmarks, plaques with excerpts from these poems and works of fiction.

Over a decade ago, writer Miranda Hill came up with the idea of a literary trail as she walked in the places where scenes she was reading were set. Her idea was that readers could step right into the stories, experiencing the authors’ visions and the real locales simultaneously. She imagined that someday, we could read our way right across Canada.

On this trip, your students will do just that by stepping into Canadian stories from Newfoundland to British Columbia. On a virtual trip, because your students do not have to “stick together,” they can all be in different parts of the country reading the words of our storytellers.

Construction of the Bloor Street Viaduct, site of Project Bookmark Canada's #1 Bookmark, for Michael Ondaatje's    In the Skin of a Lion

Construction of the Bloor Street Viaduct, site of Project Bookmark Canada's #1 Bookmark, for Michael Ondaatje's  In the Skin of a Lion

They can have “free rein” exploring the trail wherever they want. Some may stop at the inaugural Bookmark. Located on the Bloor Street Viaduct in Toronto, it has an excerpt from Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion. At this stop, they can hear the author reading the dramatic excerpt: “Then there was no longer any fear on the bridge. The worst, the incredible had happened. A nun had fallen off the Prince Edward Viaduct before it was even finished. The men covered in wood shavings or granite dust held the woman against them ...” They can even listen to an interview with the author.

Other students may head to Halifax to visit the Barometer Rising Bookmark. At the top of Citadel Hill, they will be with character Dr. Angus Murray as he looks over Halifax and the harbour the day after the great explosion. Writer Hugh McLennan was a ten-year old boy when that explosion occurred in 1917. The unveiling of his Bookmark was held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the explosion. In Halifax, students may wander “off the trail” to learn more about that historic event, the largest man-made disaster before Hiroshima.

The aftermath of the Halifax Explosion, 1917.

The aftermath of the Halifax Explosion, 1917.

Those heading west will find a Bookmark with an excerpt from Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Reading this excerpt, either in English or Mandarin, your students will be with 12-year old Jung, one of the children of an immigrant Chinese family living there in the 30’s and 40’s. He has just handed his coat to tailor Gee Sook who puts it onto the massive steam-pressing machine. After “luxurious blasts of steam penetrated every fibre of the coat,” Sooki draped the coat over Jung who feels a transformation: “I felt intense heat embrace my shoulders, then curve over my back and drop upon my chest. I felt like a young warrior receiving the gift of his bright armour, a steely-grey coat born from fire and steam.”

Those students who end up in Hamilton will find themselves at the edge of the escarpment. As they read “Giants,” John Terpstra’s poem, they will imagine giants sitting there a long time ago watching the glaciers recede. The giants were quite excited “about not having to wear their coats all the time, and what the ice and water had done, shaping and carving the gentle, wild landscape.”

Students discovering the Bookmark on Hamilton’s waterfront will learn another interesting back story. One day when writer Rachael Preston was walking this trail, she noticed a plaque commemorating the city’s lost boathouse community. In her research, Preston learned that a shantytown existed there in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Wanting to beautify Hamilton, city councillors voted to abolish this community. No trace of the community remains, but Preston makes this lost community come alive in her novel, The Fishers of Paradise about the fictional Fisher family living there. 


In Oakville, students will find a Bookmark for Lawrence Hill’s novel Any Known Blood, the story of five generations of a black family moving back and forth across the US-Canada border. The excerpt will introduce them to Captain Robert Wilson who helped runaway slaves cross Lake Ontario to safety. This is another place where students may wander “off the trail” to learn more about that the historical background of the novel.

On a virtual trip, students can visit the trail at their own pace. Some may linger at one spot as they become immersed in the background of a novel. The story behind Merilyn Simonds’ novel The Convict Lover will fascinate them. In 1987, she found a cache of letters, albums, and clippings in the attic of her house in Kingston, Ontario. Among these was a collection of letters written by a prisoner in the Kingston Penitentiary to a young girl who lived near the prison quarry where convicts did hard labour.  From this one-way correspondence, Simonds imagined her novel about the real convict, Joe Cleroux, and the real girl, Phyllis Halliday, who was known to Cleroux as Peggy.

As a side trip, students could watch a short film by Simonds' teenage granddaughter, filmmaker Astrid Mohr, which captures the unveiling of the Bookmark for her grandmother’s novel. 

Sometime on this trip, inevitably one student will shout out, “There are no Bookmarks in our town or province.”  Your answer: “Project Bookmark is only 11 years old. Trails take a long time to blaze, especially across our huge country.”

At this point, you might suggest they do research about Canadian literature, writing and publishing. They could involve the school and community librarians to find out what literature has a local setting. When I asked the librarian at the Cape Breton library I used as a child, I was surprised at how much literature is set in Cape Breton.

If your class is inspired to blaze the literary trail in their part of Canada, they could form a reading circle to make suggestions for Bookmarks. This could be a class, school or community circle. With today’s technology, the members do not have to be in the same location.

I can imagine a cross-Canada reading circle with its members deciding on children’s books to be bookmarked. Children’s literature would be a great topic for a reading circle of young people who still vividly remember the great Canadian stories from their childhood. So far, only one children's book has a Bookmark, Dennis Lee's "The Cat and the Wizard." This book is set at Casa Loma, the castle he writes about in his story.

The first children's Bookmark, for Dennis Lee's   The Cat and the Wizard   at Casa Loma in Toronto.

The first children's Bookmark, for Dennis Lee's The Cat and the Wizard at Casa Loma in Toronto.

Selecting an excerpt, your students will use their critical thinking skills.  The excerpt from fiction or poetry may be up to 500 words and must be set in an actual and identified location. Is the criteria met by the words your students have chosen to submit? Does their excerpt make the reader wonder what came before and what comes next? Will this piece make people want to read the whole book? Once they have made a suggestion for a Bookmark, students simply fill out the form on the website. This experience will foster an interest in Can Lit. Your students might even select one of the “Bookmarks” currently on the trail as a topic for a class assignment. See the live list of all 19 Bookmarks, or download the map and complete list here

Although you will avoid the usual problems on this virtual trip, you could still have one. You could lose a student or two. Maybe the daydreamers will get lost in thought, imaging ideas for their own poems, short stories or novels.

Decades later, one of your daydreamers is reading a Bookmark excerpt at the unveiling of a Bookmark inscribed with their writing. During the ceremony, your former student recognizes you in the audience and remarks, “I would like to thank my teacher who decades ago took my class on a virtual field trip along this Bookmark trail. Because of that teacher, my writing is now part of Canada’s unique literary trail.”



Holiday Gifting that Gives Back

Help the book lovers on your list to build our great Canadian literary trail, with a gift to Project Bookmark Canada. Make a donation in the recipients’ names, and they’ll receive this charming holiday card (send it by email or print and tuck into a stocking).

A gift with impact — and you can get it without having to wrap a package, stand in line, or get snow in your boot. Happy holidays and best wishes in the coming year from Project Bookmark Canada!