Fall is just around the corner! And with the slightly chillier weather, comes the need for family activities that require a few more layers than only bathing suits and beach towels. But don’t worry, the 29th annual Word on the Street is here!
What: Word on the Street is Toronto’s outdoor book festival! Bringing in booksellers and publishers both big and small, along with speakers and authors from all over the country! Word on the Street is a celebration of diverse voices, literacy, and community engagement. As in previous years, the festival will be at The Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay)! You can get there by car, or the 509 and 510 Harbourfront streetcars.
Word on the Street is all day long on September 23rd, but you might want to go for specific times, depending on what you (or your kids) might be interested in. A full schedule of events is perusable on the festival’s official website. But there is a lot! So I am here with a few suggestions as to where to head to first.
While the whole festival is always great, you might want to take the youngsters over to “TD Children’s Literature” alley, located just behind the Harbourfront Centre’s main building. These tents are populated exclusively by children’s fiction and might be a good place to pick up some “back to school” reads for younger kids, including preschool, elementary, and middle school ages. It’s also an excellent spot to meet some great children’s authors who will be on site giving readings, as well as a book giveaway!
For more interactive activities, head over to the Children’s Activity Tent located just beside The Power Plant building, which has events and more interactive activities running throughout the day. You can find the whole schedule on the website. Highlights for smaller children might be the “story time and draw along” at 2:15 p.m. which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. For older kids, check out “ComicMaker” with Story Planet’s Josh Rosen and Christopher Green at 4:15 p.m. – where kids can help the two cartoonists create a new cartoon, and receive new notebooks to make their own!
For those accompanying teens or older kids, it can be great to let them roam around and explore! The festival organizes by genre as well as age group, so it is just as easy to find some Young Adult Fantasy as it is Non-Fiction.
Outside of specific tents, Word on the Street is a fantastic event to find new reads, and foster new or renewed interest in literature. With a wealth of CanLit publishers on site, you can find books written about places, and people that kids living in Toronto can connect with. Authors are often at their publishers’ tents and are always happy to say hello, and with such a diverse selection to choose from, it’s pretty hard to walk away empty handed.
Word on the Street, there is something for everyone (whether big or small).