The announcement you've been waiting for. Join us online this September!
The announcement you've been waiting for. Join us online this September!
The Word On The Street's 'Celebrate Reading' enamel pin against the Toronto skyline. Photo by @justalillost

For the first time in our 31-year history, the Word On The Street is going virtual. 

In light of the new challenges presented by global efforts to fight COVID-19, our team at the Word On The Street Toronto (a.k.a. WOTS) will continue to act as connectors and amplifiers for Canadian and Indigenous literature, even if that looks a little different this year.
So you can keep your calendars marked for September 26 & 27—and expect more surprises along the way as we bring you a FREE online festival of storytelling, ideas & imagination.
We believe in the value of a vibrant, thriving literary community. 
This decision came after careful consideration and some truly exciting brainstorm sessions about the opportunities that a virtual festival presents to connect authors and readers across Canada, increase accessibility for book lovers of all ages, and expand the availability of our year-round programming.
But we’re more than a festival. WOTS is a community.
We asked, and you told us what matters most about the WOTS experience: Discovery. Inspiration. Connection. 
With your feedback, we’re developing a plan that will ensure the safety of our attendees, exhibitors, authors, and volunteers while recreating the best-loved parts of WOTS in a new, virtual context, with unique programming, a digital marketplace, a dedicated stream for kids and families, and a virtual gathering space to connect with each other and celebrate stories.

For many, WOTS is where they first discovered a brand new author while browsing our exhibitor marketplace, Canada’s largest open-air book fair. We'll miss connecting with you in-person, but we're excited by the innovative possibilities we're seeing to recreate the marketplace experience online.
If you have an idea that might work for WOTS, please share it with us
In difficult times, we turn to stories: to entertain, to heal, to sustain, and to inspire. Every story is a doorway to the world around us—and to the worlds within ourselves. 
Our community is creative and resilient, and we’re excited to face this new challenge, bringing the Word On The Street to you, in your homes.
Welcome to WOTS2020!

Wishing safety & wellness to all, 
David, Maya, Rebecca, Sienna, Kim & Kent
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Media requests: Daniel Shehori,
Maya, Sienna, Rebecca & David
WOTS Staff at the 2019 City Imagines event.
Photo by Ashley Senja

When will the 2020 festival happen?

Our 2020 Word On The Street festival will include a series of virtual events throughout the summer leading up to our traditional weekend-long celebration of storytelling, ideas and imagination on September 26 & 27, 2020. We’ll be releasing more details in the coming weeks and months, beginning with our City Imagines series.

Will there still be a marketplace?

We are going to do our best to recreate an interactive browsing experience for our virtual marketplace. We will also look into hosting a postponed in-person event in Spring 2021 IF it is safe to do so. That’s a decision that will require careful thought and coordination among many partners, including input from our local health authorities and our many valued exhibitors. 

How will this affect programming?

We're working to ensure that this year's programming continues to reflect our city's diverse population. We're also planning to address current issues such as the pandemic and anti-Black racism with the expanded City Imagines series throughout the summer.

Is the coronavirus real? Are you overreacting by cancelling this event so soon?

All in-person WOTS events are cancelled for 2020, and that is our final word on the matter.

Will WOTS still be free to attend?


Will there be any family-friendly programming?

*and we’re also working on a detailed plan to ensure the safety of our younger guests in a virtual space. Our Dad-in-Chief, David Alexander, is totally on this.  

Will [XYZ] sponsor/vendor/author/anthropomorphized mascot be part of WOTS this year? 

Good question! We’re still working out some details and will be making more announcements in the coming weeks and months. You should probably sign up for our newsletter.

Are you looking for volunteers?

Yes! We will especially be looking for volunteers to help us with the back-end production of our virtual festival and to manage the flow of guests. Volunteer applications will open in Summer 2020, so stay tuned! And you should probably sign up for our newsletter.

Has the pandemic affected your funding?

You betcha! The Word On The Street is made possible each year by people who believe in the power of stories. You can donate here

What about parking???

Pretty sure you’ll be fine this year, but please be sure to stay active and cycle/walk if you are able.
Author Gwen Benaway
day/break by Gwen Benaway
This month we're showing some love to Gwen Benaway & her lastest collection on Friday, June 19! Through intimate experiences and conceptualizations of trans life, day/break (Book*hug Press) asks what it means to be a trans woman, both within the text and out in the physical world. 
day/break by Gwen Benaway
Quill & Quire Listing of Virtual Canadian Kidlit Events
Quill & Quire has a list of upcoming virtual Canadian KidLit events for parents & young readers!
2019 WOTS Staff
Our work is made possible by people like you, who believe in the power of stories.
The Word On The Street festival will take place September 26-27, 2020
We believe in the importance of a vibrant, thriving literary community.
The Word On The Street Toronto will continue in our role as connectors and amplifiers for Canadian & Indigenous literature, even if that looks a little different this year. 
WOTS2020 Brainstorm: Take our survey!
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