Word on the Street (Toronto Book and Magazine Fair)
In 1989, the Promotions Committee of the Book and Periodical Council determined that the time had come for Toronto, as Canada’s publishing capital, to join other major publishing centres and host their own large-scale public festival of the written word. Envisioned to celebrate Canadian authors, books and magazines and to advocate for literacy, the Toronto Book and Magazine Fair was incorporated in March 1990 as a non-profit organization and branded the name of the festival as The Word On The Street. The inaugural festival, launched in International Literacy Year, took place on Sunday, September 30, 1990 on Queen Street West in Toronto. Upwards of 30,000 people attended. The overwhelming support provided to Toronto’s festival by the local community, publishing industry leaders, and government officials, demonstrated what could be achieved on a national level. To facilitate its expansion mandate, the Toronto Book and Magazine Fair Trust was incorporated nationally as The Word On The Street Canada Inc. in 1994 and registered as a charitable organization. In 1995 Vancouver and Halifax established regional festivals. Ottawa and Calgary were added to the network of festivals a few years later and in 2002, Kitchener launched its first festival. Saskatoon held a preview event in 2010 and officially launched in 2011 along with Lethbridge. Currently, licences are held by Halifax, Toronto, Kitchener, Saskatoon, and Lethbridge. The Word On The Street's network of festivals is enormous in scope and mark it as one of the world’s largest literary celebrations. In 2013, almost 270,000 visitors attended more than 440 programmed events featuring 650 authors, workshop presenters and arts performers. The festivals showcased almost 600 book and magazine exhibitors. Many of those exhibitors were small presses, independent authors and writing associations who benefit enormously from their exposure at the festival. As part of the festival's commitment to literacy, ten percent of the total exhibit space is provided to literacy organizations. The Word On The Street has received a long list of awards over the years. Most prestigious was its national nomination the Canadian Event Industry Award's “Best Festival” Star Award in 2012. The Word On The Street’s on-going success has been supported through partnerships established with media and sponsors from private sector organizations. Most important has been the delivery of a FREE festival to participants which would not be possible without the funding support provided by national, regional and municipal governments.
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2018 Word on the Street Toronto Program Enhancements
This application is for “2018 The Word On The Street – Festival Expansion”, which will see a new day of programming added on Saturday, September 22, 2018. The two-day festival will take place September 22-23, 2018 at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The new day of programming, “Tectonia: Our Shifting World. A Day of Discussion and Debate” (tentative title), will include a half-day of panels and talks geared to audiences interested in exploring ideas and themes related to Canada’s current cultural landscape. Partner educational institutions will secure Canadian lecturers to host and structure the sessions. Programming will take place on three new stages, with three to five programs per stage beginning at noon and ending at 5:00pm. The event will have a small fee of approximately $30 for event Day Passes which would include a branded tote bag and admission to an evening reception at a venue close to the festival. Other enhancements include: increasing the number of ASL interpreted segments; translations of the festival website into French to retain 2017 francophone audiences; relocation of KidStreet/Kidz Playzone to a more desirable location; and an additional day of “Sculpting New Reads” where local artists are paired with four new Canadian books and each artist is challenged to create a new art installation.