April 23, 2009 was the start of Canada’s literary trail. Almost a decade ago, Michael Ondaatje stood on the Bloor Street Viaduct at the unveiling of our inaugural Bookmark presenting a powerful scene from his novel In the Skin of a Lion (McClelland & Stewart, 1987). That day, Ondaatje told his audience that when he was writing his novel he was cautioned it would be commercial suicide to set a thriller in Toronto or any Canadian city as opposed to NYC or Miami or Kiev. You smile! Even Delhi, they said, would be better than Toronto.
Over the years, dedicated volunteers and donors have been working tirelessly to expand this literary trail—unique in the world. At the close of this year, there are 23 Bookmarks in the ground and more in progress.
Just think of the number of novels, short stories and poems set in Toronto since the late 80s, or those set in other cities, towns, and countryside across Canada. Canadian Literature is indeed a huge anthology. As Project Bookmark enters its second decade, we hope to include more of this anthology, with poems, graphic novels, songs, and other works of fiction, on Bookmarks in all provinces and territories.
It is a grassroots effort with a big impact, connecting people to the country, and varied and storied communities to one another, through literature. We invite you to help add many more voices and places to a trail that symbolizes this nation as a land of storytellers, and a land of readers. You can donate your time, talent, or treasure to help build the trail. We fundraise to pay for the Bookmark projects that include everything from research and human resources, to plaque production and public unveilings.
Donate $50, $500 or $5000. Besides the joy that comes from your year-end tax receipt, imagine the difference your action today can make. Imagine the joy of people deepening their understanding of the country, its communities and its people. Imagine how you will feel giving to a national charity that is building an ever-expanding literary trail with stories in their exact Canadian locations, coast to coast to coast.
We hope to see you at the upcoming Project Bookmark events in Montréal, Winnipeg, Batoche, Toronto, and Calgary. After that, we will look forward to celebrating voices from New Brunswick and the three territories with beautifully-designed plaque monuments. It’s going to be an exciting time on the trail, in person and online! Join us.
On behalf of Project Bookmark Canada, we wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and we thank you for your continued support. All the best in 2019!
Hughena Matheson, President-Elect
Don Oravec, President
Laurie Murphy, Executive Director
(Tax receipts are issued for donations of $50 or more. CRA #82725 7569 RR0001)
Photo credit: Lisa Sakulensky.
L to R: Rami Schandall/Visual Creative, President Don Oravec, Author Dionne Brand, Board Member Bianca Spence, and President-elect Hughena Matheson at the unveiling of Bookmark #22: LOVE ENOUGH December 8, 2018 on the Toronto lakeshore.