Writing about the city


Yesterday I attended a free reading by Robert Rotenberg, http://www.robertrotenberg.com/ a  Toronto author and lawyer. It was nice to hear him tell Humber students and other attendees that Dickens novels depicting the Industrial Revolution gave a realistic portrayal of the period.

I’ve had Old City Hall on my reading list for a while and must get to it soon. He described how he is writing about the city how he sees it now, the changes over the years.

An additional connection, he has co-written two episodes of the Murdock Mysteries based on the novels by Maureen Jennings, a local author we’ve had speak at our centenary celebration in 2005.

He has a scheduled presentation at the Deer Park library November 15th 2018, check the link here, registration required, https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMEVT371235&R=EVT371235  

Thank you to the Humber College Creative Writing program and City of Toronto Assembly Hall for a pleasant reintroduction to a local author.

Happy reading everyone.





Wednesday, May 16th 2018
8:00 pm, light refreshments will be served
following the monthly meeting of the Boz Reading Group.
Northern District Library, 40 Orchardview Blvd. room 224 (Yonge/Eglinton)

This meeting will follow the regular monthly meeting of The Boz Reading Group. As always, everyone is welcome to participate in the reading group which starts at 7:00 pm. We are reading last chapters of Great Expectations, in order to complete the novel before our summer break. (The Boz Reading Group will read Our Mutual Friend starting in September.)

We must be out of the Library before 9:30, so the business meeting will be brief. For those who wish, we will cross Yonge Street to the Duke of York for an informal gathering.

—information from Council correspondence

February presentations

Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle: Literary convergences
Thu Feb 08, 2018
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Toronto Reference Library, Hinton Learning Theatre (link to library site below)


Saturday, February 10th, 2018 :  see branch Events for Birthday luncheon (paid event)


A Christmas Carol reading

St Andrews, located next to Roy Thomson Hall, will be hosting a free reading of A Christmas Carol on December 2nd at 7:30 pm. Donations will be collected for their Out of the Cold program. Details provided here:  link to St Andrews Toronto dot org site for details on A Christmas Carol

This afternoon I received my annual notification package from the Dickens Fellowship Toronto branch. Thank you Martha, Jean and Doug for all your hard work.

I will highlight the contents here and within a few days will update appropriate pages of the blog.

Welcome back tea: Saturday, September 30th 2 to 4 pm:  Duke of Kent $25 at the door
rsvp required by September 20th to Erin or Lynne

Boz Reading Group: begins Great Expectations Sept 20th at 7 pm:  Northern District Library, room 224

Dickens Christmas Tea: Saturday, December 2nd, 2017(note date change) from 1 to 3 pm: Blythwood  Road Baptist Church:  $20 (check the Events page for additional details)

Dickens Birthday Lunch:  February 10th, 2018 from noon:  Royal York Hotel with speaker Donald Zaldin: $55

Please forward membership dues $20 to Doug Paton as indicated on the membership page.

—confirmation of date change received October 29th–Tea is now December 2nd.




Many of Dickensians are theatre buffs, following in Dickens love of the theatrical; his acting and adaptions of his characters and stories have been chosen by two productions for this year’s Toronto Fringe. All tickets $12.

Olive Copperbottom: a musical one woman show by Penny Ashton will be performed at the Al Greene Theatre on Spadina Ave https://fringetoronto.com/festivals/fringe/event/olive-copperbottom-new-musical-charles-dickens-and-penny-ashton from July 6th to 15th, see the link for details. 75 minute show with various start times.

A Peter N’ Chris-tmas Carol: comedy duo https://fringetoronto.com/festivals/fringe/event/peter-n-chris-tmas-carol at the Tarragon Theatre on Bridgman Ave https://fringetoronto.com/festivals/fringe/event/peter-n-chris-tmas-carol from July 5th to 16th, 60 minute show with various start times.



Due to personal circumstances I haven’t been able to maintain the blog, especially within the last few months, so I’ve decided to have my name removed from the Toronto branch board as of the next election in May.

I will attempt to resume some postings and relay branch news where possible. If another member wishes to take over this blog then I will investigate transferring it to a new webmaster. In the meantime, I’ll add another post with some recent Dickensian themes by the end of this week.

Wishing everyone the best,
Sharon Kawabata


First of November and notices for the annual Christmas tea have been sent (thank you Martha, I received my notes in the post today). Jean and Doug thank you for maintaining the registration lists for the events(please check the Events tab for details).

An additiional event, (thank you to Jean Paton for the electronic copy) in conjunction with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society has been planned for December 11th:

John Huston’s A Christmas Carol. If this is a first for you, you will be amazed at how John Huston brings to life the characters and Dickensian world of Dickens’ most famous creation.  An added delight: Music by the Gilbert & Sullivan Quartet. This performance will be at St. Andrew’s United Church, 117 Bloor Street, on Sunday, December 11, at 2:30 pm.

Tickets (actually, in our usual style, names on paid list) can be purchased at the Dickens Tea or beforehand by payment to the Dickens Fellowship, clearly marked for Christmas Carol Performance. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Directions: St. Andrew’s United Church, 117 Bloor Street East, south side of Bloor between Yonge and Church Streets. (The Church is set back and a bit hidden – watch for street number!)

For information on parking, please see the Church website.

TTC: Subway to Bloor and Yonge, walk east on Bloor, south side, to the Church at 117 Bloor Street East.

September 21st reading group meeting had a very good attendance, additional tables were needed. It was a great start to our A Tale of Two Cities reading, special thanks to Doug Paton for leading the group reading and Henrietta Johnson for providing a context of the period in which the story occurs.

If you would like to read additional information surrounding the period of A Tale of Two Cities then click this link http://dickens.stanford.edu/dickens/archive/tale/two_cities.html for the Stanford Discovering Dickens project. I may have mentioned this a few years ago, but the archives are still available. The text for the novel is provided in issues from the original All the Year Round journal format.

Happy reading!


2016-07-29 09.44.37.jpg

As documented, Dickens briefly visited Toronto on his American tour, while here he stayed at the American Hotel on Front and Yonge Sts. https://books.google.ca/books?id=pKcaAwAAQBAJ&pg=PT1095&lpg=PT1095&dq=hotel+at+front+and+yonge+sts+toronto+1842&source=bl&ots=QOnl_YOp8x&sig=8k2Fg5ptVhEeXypzLhzS5A_YrKY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwixj9mC2LLOAhUJ_IMKHYoGBOEQ6AEIPDAG#v=onepage&q=hotel%20at%20front%20and%20yonge%20sts%20toronto%201842&f=false

The Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto have installed a plaque on Yonge Street, at the north east corner.  Though the Heritage Toronto plaque map does not list the Dickens plaque: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?ll=43.701176%2C-79.373862&spn=0.223881%2C0.342607&t=m&msa=0&source=embed&ie=UTF8&mid=1qawOt5bgYZHZsnod-3lMva38kvE

If you have any additional information on the installation of the plaque I would be happy to share it with other branch members on the blog.

Photo taken July 29th 2016 by Sharon Kawabata