Saturday, December 14, 2013

Toronto Indie Arts Market Prevails Over Snowstorm

Street Car lumbers on in snow storm
I left The Beaches and hopped on the Queen Street streetcar to The Gladstone Hotel not far from Roncy to check out the Small Press and Literary Festival, part of the Toronto Indie Arts Market, today. Someone on the SF Canada Listserve had told me about this event just yesterday and I'd decided to check it out. Besides, a few friends and colleagues were going to be there and I'd heard that The Gladstone had a cool bar and salon. With thoughts of hot liqueur drinks warming down my throat, I watched the snow billow down relentlessly like it was intent on covering everything in a blanket of white...and succeeding. Cars and people swerved and skidded on the roads as we squealed along the track.

The small press literary event provided a good mix of vendors and genres that ranged from
Sandra Kasturi of CZP in joy
magazines, literary journals and chapbooks to comic books hand-printed and hand-bound notebooks to write in.

Several local publishers were there, including Coach House Books and ChiZine Publications (recently featured in the National Post: "Embracing the Odd"). I met with Sandra Kasturi, Co-Publisher of CZP; she was manning the ChiZine table and we discussed the Gladstone Hotel as a venue for events.

The Gladstone is a Toronto Boutique Art hotel. Built in 1889 by architect George Miller (who designed the University of Toronto) as a stylish hostelry in the Romanesque Revival style, the Gladstone originally serviced the Grand Trunk, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and the Canadian National Railway (CNR) companies. It also provided a place to stay for those visiting the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). It's Toronto's longest continuously
Cheryl Kirby, co-founder of TIAM
operating hotel. This landmark building hosts art exhibits, live events, conferences, performances and cool festivals like this one. From the lobby I could enter the Cafe or the Melody Bar, today populated by artists and small press agents sitting behind small coffee tables that displayed their works. I thought it particularly elegant and civilized of them to offer spirits and wine to shoppers as they wandered through the venue.

Letter writer Dave Honigsberg at Piola
I met friend Dave, lead quipster for the Toronto papers, and we ended the event with some fine pizza and salad at the Piola, a cool Italian restaurant.

Ok, Dave...You look like you're about to make a quip... Could it be about that wonderful looking pizza in front of you?...or about our strange conversation?... or that interesting sweater you're wearing?...

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.

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