With over 250 exhibitors, authors, workshops and performers, Word on the Street had something for everyone — from literary aficionados to comic book fans, self-help enthusiasts or kids out for some fun. Even the weather joined in the celebrations, offering a warm sunny day to relax, socialize, learn and discover.
Featuring prominent Canadian authors at the Bestsellers Stage, the festival did not neglect aspiring writers with a wide variety of writing and how-to-get-published workshops led by experts in the field.
For those interested in self-improvement, the Reader’s Digest tent offered everything from inspirational stories to ways of spicing up the taste buds with healthy foods to tips on how to avoid home-project mishaps. But it was the kids who were the stars at the festival this year, with lots of literacy-focused activities to spur reading habits that included a ton of children’s books, storytellers and fun-filled acts at the TVOKids Stage.
While there was certainly a wide variety of authors, books and magazines, there was also great diversity in the performances that took the stage at the festival. The jazz-cabaret sound of Micah Barnes, the Mohawk-Irish songs of Cheri Maracle, and the New Opera works of Tapestry could all be heard throughout the day.
The joyful and colourful performances of traditional Chinese culture by the Lian Hua Arts Group were also a highlight on stage, featuring classical Chinese dance performances and a vibrant lion dance. The performance on the tao di, a traditional Chinese flute, particularly captivated many in the audience who flocked to buy one from the group’s booth.
Inaugurated in 1990, Word on the Street is an annual free outdoor festival that celebrates Canadian authors, promotes book and magazine publishers and fosters literacy. In 2007, the festival was held not only in Toronto, but also in Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax and Kitchener.