Author Michael Ondaatje set his novel 'In the Skin of a Lion' against the backdrop of the Bloor Street Viaduct. Photo by Ciaran Thompson

Project bookmark the ‘perfect fit’ for a ‘lit city’

The inauguration of Project Bookmark Canada took place today as a plaque with a scene from author Michael Ondaatje‘s novel, In the Skin of a Lion, was unveiled on the east side of the Bloor Street Viaduct.

Project Bookmark Canada is a part of Lit City: Toronto Stories, Toronto Settings which runs until May 24th.

Miranda Hill, Executive Director of Project Bookmark Canada, founded the initiative. “I was reading fiction and poetry set in the city and I was walking those same spaces with my kids,” Hill said. “They were coming together for me, two different lairs, the actual lair and the fictional lair.”

Ondaatje’s novel contains a scene where a nun falls from the Viaduct during its construction.

“Take an actual site that has a fictional scene set on it and bring the two together so that people can stand in the actual site and experience the author’s vision,” she said.

Hill says that she had lots of support from the city when she first pitched her idea. “It was a perfect fit, they city said we love your idea, let’s launch it in Toronto where you came up with the idea and let’s marry it with lit city,” she said.

Along with Ondaatje, Mayor David Miller gave a speech to welcome this new initiative. “I think project bookmark Canada is an extraordinary way to commemorate not just our authors, but our public places,” Miller said.

Miller also honoured Ondaatje and his novel. “And it is so appropriate that we are using Michael Ondaatje’s book and starting right here on the Bloor Viaduct because what Mr. Ondaatje said in his book is that before a city can be built it has to be imagined,” he said. “Before it can be seen, it has to be imagined.”

Project Bookmark Canada is a registered Canadian charity and hopes to promote literature from places across the country.

Filed by Ciaran Thompson