Category Midway

Pages Fest first night: Telling stories

Heard in the crowd “Susan, I didn’t know you’d be here,” a woman says to writer Susan Swan. Who says “Good to see you! This is my friend, Katherine Govier.” Big names in Canadian culture. Then there was the rest of us at the opening night of the inaugural Pages Festival in Toronto. It’s running […]

Transit City: An awkward, pregnant pause

I was wondering why she was reading a children’s book. I didn’t see the title page, didn’t catch its name. But I could see, peering down on her as I stood holding on to the pole in the subway, snooping, something in big, kid-friendly type, about frogs. She seemed engrossed; was reading intently. This middle-aged […]

Transit City: Lying on the station floor

Here’s a subway person I forgot about until I started writing down these stories. He was easy to forget about, I guess; he was invisible, anyway, to the hundreds of people who stepped over and around him as he lay on the subway station floor. Read more Transit City stories: The lady with the gold […]

Rob Ford taught my kid a lesson

I never thought the mayor of Toronto would give me the grist I need for a frank talk with my 9-year-old kid about the perils of smoking crack cocaine. It was during one of our dinner table talks. We’ve been making a point lately of sitting down and chatting about issues of the day – […]

Remember Barb Turnbull? She’s still inspiring.

Barbara Turnbull is a colleague of mine. She’s just written an eBook titled What I Know: Lessons from my 30 years of quadriplegia – here’s the link.  What she doesn’t know is that our relationship actually goes back about 30 years. In Sept., 1983,  a high-school student named Barbara Turnbull was shot during a robbery […]

Giller Prize memories and reviews

A long red rose landed on my desk, along with an embossed invitation. It was one of the most coveted events in the city – and I was on the list. Writers, publicists, book editors, book sellers, publishers – we were excited about a celebration of Canadian books the likes of which this country hadn’t […]

How habit almost cost us supper

At 5.30, my husband walked through the door. “Hello,” he smiled, came over and gave me a kiss. Raised his nose and sniffed the suppertime air. “Mmmm. Smells good.” “This moment, this second,” I said to him, “could have turned out much different.” I could have been frustrated with him. He could have been ticked […]

It’s spring: Welcome to the killing yard

Spring is here and my back garden is about to turn into a killing yard. Or perhaps a charnel house for the carcasses of birds and mice unfortunate enough to have been caught by our erstwhile tabby, Jumper. I say unfortunate enough, but I really mean untalented enough … the cat rarely catches birds. Despite […]

I knew homeless Pete before he was homeless

I won’t share his picture just in case you recognize him – or perhaps his ex-girlfriend – through their association with me. Not that he wants anonymity – he appeared in the newspaper after all – but when you move from prosperity to homelessness it’s gotta be hard to come face to face with your […]

When Toy Story makes for a freaky Friday

Today I walked out the front door of the house with my lunchbox in hand. My daughter had skipped out before me. She spied a friend of hers and her mother walking up the street. When she can, she dumps me and the car ride to school in favour of a leisurely walk, and today’s […]

Building rage: When bylaws make poor neighbours

Apparently leftover laminate flooring and big staples are acceptable building materials in the city of Toronto. Am I sounding sarcastic? Probably. It’s a sign of my frustration with the city and its bylaws – or at least its bylaw officers. Here’s why: About a month ago our neighbours put up this addition on the front […]

What’s for dinner vs. the joy of cooking

The shiny, black Kitchen Aid mixer mocked me with its clean slick lines, its promise of culinary wizardry. It stood, unused, on my kitchen counter for years. Every time I looked at its sturdy curved engineering – cleverly hiding a powerful motor that could mix just about anything – it said to me: you are […]

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