International Festival of Authors’ Lit On Tour Returns to Communities across Ontario This Fall

For the eleventh year, Lit On Tour, an initiative of Toronto’s International Festival of Authors (IFOA), partners with libraries, bookstores, universities and community organizations across the province to present the world’s best writers of contemporary literature. Events include readings, interviews, round table discussions and public book signings.

Lit On Tour will travel to nineteen locations: Owen Sound (October 3), Aurora (October 11), Orillia (October 14), Etobicoke (October 17), Midland (October 19), Woodstock (October 19), Burlington (October 20),  Windsor (October 21), Stratford (October 22), Scarborough (October 25), Parry Sound (October 26), Markham (October 27), Bayfield (October 28), Thunder Bay (October 30), St. Catharines (November 3), London (November 8), Keswick (November 9), Sutton (November 9) and Peterborough (November 23).



Chantel Acevedo, Ted Barris, Gary Barwin, Gwen Benaway, Mark Billingham, Liona Boyd, Hugh Brewster, Steve Burrows, Janie Chang, Catherine Chidgey, Devon Code, Kia Corthron, Michael DeForge, B. Denham Jolly, Farzana Doctor, Roddy Doyle, Terry Fallis, Shawn Hitchins, Helen Humphreys, Francis Itani, Rachel Manley, Bianca Marais, Siân Northey, Grace O’Connell, Jean E. Pendizwol, Sylvain Prudhomme, Peter Robinson, Diane Schoemperlen, Vivek Shraya, Kean Soo and Kathleen Winter will be touring Ontario to talk about their latest works and literary careers.

Lit On Tour has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation. Lit On Tour has also been made possible in part by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council‘s Touring Projects Program and the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

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Reflections on IFOA Midland 2016

We asked Jennifer Kerr, Assistant Manager of the Midland Cultural Centre, to reflect on IFOA Ontario programming and its benefit to the Midland community! Here is what she had to say:


What is your favourite aspect of the Lit On Tour programming?
When you live in a relatively small town, it can sometimes feel like you’re missing out on those cultural activities that seem so commonplace in larger cities. The great thing about Lit On Tour programming is that it helps close this gap by bringing a piece of the city and the International Festival of Authors to us.


How did the community enjoy the reading?
Most often, the participating authors are not those who would usually pass through Midland on a book tour; having these authors read here introduces our local audience to literature and narratives they may not have otherwise been exposed to.

We’ve been fortunate to host IFOA Midland for a couple years. After each event the audience is always buzzing. There is no clearer indication of a well-executed event than hearing the audience discuss the authors and the readings as they’re leaving the venue; everyone excited to add this latest work to their TBR pile.


Why do you think cultural programming, like IFOA Ontario, is so important to our communities?
Cultural programming is important to promoting a well-informed and vibrant community. IFOA Ontario and the Lit On Tour programs inspire those who attend. Perhaps they are moved to defend freedom of expression by signing a petition presented by PEN Canada, maybe they will pick up a book outside of their usual genre, or perhaps they’ll just be inspired to attend similar events within their home communities and perpetuate cultural development by being an active participant in cultural pursuits. The world needs cultural programming to encourage interaction with each other, to learn from one another and to experience all the world has to offer.

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Lit On Tour: A Season of Ontario Sights

Lit On Tour’s IFOA Ontario 2016 season saw author events in 15 locations across the province.

As the staff person who toured to all of these locations, save one (sorry to have missed you, St. Catharines!), I was fortunate to have been able to visit parts of the province I had never seen before. Throughout our touring, our hosts pointed out local natural landmarks, or we found some interesting sights on the way.

Here is a brief tour of TEN of these Ontario sights, in no particular order:

1. Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay


Image Credit: CBC.CA, “Seven Wonders of Canada”

For months, I had heard tell of this natural wonder in Thunder Bay and seeing this rock formation – which really does look like a giant asleep on its back – myself was just incredible. The mythology around this jutting peninsula is also equally fascinating.

2. Stuffed Animal Fall Picnic Display en route to Midland

Seeing is believing with this sight, and since we drove straight by this incredible display of stuffed animals (mostly bears) having a autumnal tea party, I was the only one in the car to witness it. Thankfully, this Toronto Star article proved I did not imagine huge stuffed animals perched on a tractor and seated around a picnic table on someone’s front lawn to amuse my fellow passengers.

For proof, you’ll just have to drive along County Road 93 yourself. Keep a sharp eye out on your right hand side when you hit Waverley, Ontario or you’ll miss it!

3. The Knox Presbyterian Churches: Woodstock & Stratford


The gorgeous interior of the Knox Presbyterian Church in Woodstock.

Having two venues with the same name in different cities was, I admit, a little confusing. Seeing both of these local landmarks, I was struck by their beauty and history. Both had dark wood interiors and gorgeous side rooms.

4. Owen Sound & Grey Union Public Library, Owen Sound


Image Credit: Owen Sound Sun Times.

We got to partner with a number of libraries this season, and I don’t mean to play favourites, but the library building in Owen Sound was such a noteworthy mix of old and new. I’m also a sucker for ivy-clad buildings. Look at how much ivy there is!

5. Brant Street Pier, Burlington


Image Credit: Flickriver.

On a brief walk before the event, we stumbled upon this pier off Lake Ontario with some of the funkiest waterfront architecture. The pier mimics the shape of waves or, considering it’s a very windy spot, wind.

6. Kakabeka Falls, en route to Oliver Paipoonge


Image Credit:

Our trip to Thunder Bay and the neighbouring town of Oliver Paipoonge would not have been complete without a stop to this breath-taking regional landmark. As a southern Ontarian, I’ve gotten pretty used to referring to Niagara Falls as THE falls in the province, but as you can see, Kakabeka is also pretty spectacular. Well worth the stop before our author event in O.P.

7. Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, Parry Sound


Image Credit: Bobby Orr Hall of Fame

Now I’m not a hockey fanatic, but every time I’ve heard the name ‘Bobby Orr’ it’s either been in connection with the phrases: ‘Stanley Cup’ or ‘Parry Sound.’ Getting to experience, even quickly, the impressive sight that is the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame during our visit to Parry Sound (which is conveniently housed in the Charles W. Stockey Centre, where our event was held) made me feel a little more Canadian.

8. Heritage Homes, Port Hope

Seeing the vast number and types of Heritage Homes in Port Hope can help you understand why this Ontario city  has been named “one of the finest inventories of historically important homes and buildings in Canada.” Rows upon rows of heritage homes greet you as you drive in off Hwy 401, and continue until you reach the two heritage districts in downtown Port Hope itself.

9. Great Western Park, Windsor


Part of Great Western Park with the Art Gallery of Windsor to the back.

As a group of Torontonians we were so used to having water always to our south – so we were quite disoriented when we arrived in Windsor to find water, the Detroit River, and Detroit itself to the north. To help get our bearings, we took a stroll through the park that hugs the downtown Windsor-side of the Detroit River and happened upon a green space bursting with monuments, statues and dedicated gardens. I could have stayed for several more hours just reading all of the plaques.

10. Western University, London


Image Credit: Office of the President, Western University

Walking to the building for our event at the University of Western Ontario, we were absorbed in the steady stream of students flitting from class to class. One could easily get lost in a haze of caffeine-fueled midterm mayhem on this sprawling university campus, and there are a lot of gorgeous buildings to take in too!

By guest blogger Rebecca Hallquist, Executive Assistant at IFOA. You can follow Rebecca on Twitter @mecsbecs28

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