What do you love about your city?

November 30, 2016
by Lindsay
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As close as I have to a letter writing manifesto

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One of my favourite writers, Jon McGregor, loves letters. Which of course endears him to me even more. (He also likes brunch, and we got to brunch together when I was love lettering in Nottingham a few years ago…I still dream of that bacon…).

“People really do like having something to hold,” he wrote in a recent article about letter writing in The Guardian. Yes! YES! And as I kept reading, I realized this article is as close to a letter-writing manifesto as I have ever come across. You can read the whole thing here, but here are some of my favourite gems:

“A letter, by contrast, always arrives from the past. There is a waiting – a forced patience – built into the mechanics. You wait for a letter to arrive. You wait for a reply. In the time it takes for the letter to reach its destination, anything can happen: minds be changed, lives lost, loves discovered.”

“There is an astonishing wealth of information on the devices we carry around with us – a wealth that should be celebrated – but it can be difficult to concentrate on one piece of information at a time; to read a single article or book with the kind of deep, measured concentration that seems to come more naturally with print.”

And Jon’s love of letters extends beyond penning missives to chums.  He started the Letters Page, a literary journal out of the University of Nottingham. In his words:

…I wanted it to be a literary journal that could find an underhand way of being literary; to take the self-consciousness out of being literary. I’ve always been interested in the kinds of writing people do when they don’t think they’re being asked To Write, and I’d been thinking about letters as a form; wondering about the differences between letters-on-paper and emails, reflecting on my own letter-writing history, noticing the democracy of correspondence as a literary practice. So the idea was born.

Letters, handwriting, in print and online…Check it out, it truly is a wonder.

October 17, 2016
by Lindsay
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Literary citizenship + love letters

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Last week I was thrilled to be invited to give a lecture for Prof. Robert McGill’s fourth year Literary Citizenship course at the University of Toronto. What a remarkable group of people! We talked about The Love Lettering Project – the what and the why and the how – and what we love about where we live. Then we wrote love letters.

The hush that happens after the rush for paper, pens, scissors, glue and envelopes is one of my favourite kinds of quiet.

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Check out some of the amazing, thoughtful letters that have since been hidden around town:

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(The bleachers at the U of T Athletic Centre also happen to be one of my favourite places on campus and immediately after my lecture, I popped into breathe in the chlorine-y air and watch the incredible swim team practice!)

The English Department has moved since I was an undergrad/grad student, and it’s now in the building that used to house my pediatrician’s office. It was surreal to see drywall where I used to see Dr. Garfield, but I was thrilled to see the mail shaft was still in place by the elevators!

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July 22, 2016
by Lindsay
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Love letters to Toronto’s swimming holes

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When I’m not writing love letters, I’m swimming, especially during Toronto’s summer months. And when I’m not in the water, I’m co-writing a swim blog, Swimming Holes We Have Known with two brilliant swimmers, Rhya Tamasauskas and Laura Wills.

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I had the great pleasure of chatting with CBC Radio’s Metro Morning host, Matt Galloway from the docks outside of Sunnyside this morning (my ultimate favourite spot in the city – between the lake and the pool!)

And I’m not the only one who loves swimming! Check out these amazing swim love letters that have been written over the years:

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Check out more swim-y love letters here!

 

June 21, 2016
by Lindsay
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So much love at The Paper Place’s Crafternoon

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Is there anything dreamier than being surrounded by the city’s most beautiful paper for an entire afternoon, writing letters with the loveliest folks? Nope! I had the best time The Paper Place‘s Crafternoon this June (and yes, I did come home with a lighter wallet and a lot of washi tape…!)

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June 7, 2016
by Lindsay
2 Comments

Saturday, June 11: Crafternoon at The Paper Place

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SO excited to be hosting a Love Lettering Project Crafternoon event this Saturday at The Paper Place! Glorious, beautiful paper and love letter writing ALL AFTERNOON?! Yes please!

Join us!

Saturday, June 11, 1-4pm at 887 Queen St. W

13LoveLetteringProjectRhya3Photo by Rhya Tamasauskas

Be warned: I might buy the entire wall of washi tape

June 6, 2016
by Lindsay
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30 days of nature: The David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Challenge wrap-up

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I spent all of May spending outside. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I spent A LOT of time outside in May for the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Challenge. I partnered with them, and asked people to write love letters to nature and was floored daily by the responses. I’d scroll through Instagram and Twitter (using: #30x30challenge and #lovenature) and revel in the beauty of the natural world and in how and where people spent their 30 minutes/day in nature. It was so wonderful.

I had the most lovely wrap-up meeting with Aryne Sheppard, David Suzuki Foundation’s Senior Public Engagement Specialist, and an absolute gem of a human being, and she shared the stats with me:

  • 68 countries took part
  • Nearly 13,000 individuals registered
  • 821 schools registered (think of how many students that is!!)
  • 463 workplaces registered.

My heart is full to bursting. Truly. That is a whole lot of people spending time in the natural world, thinking and reflecting on what it means to them, and how it changes and shapes who they are.

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I generally spend a lot of time outside with my 15-month-old, but there was something about the CHALLENGE part of it that transformed our time outside. There was intention. I biked to parks I’ve never been to. We spent a lot of time exploring. My son discovered ants. And tree bark and pinecones (both of which he infatuated with!). We planted a garden (including milkweed!). We spent so much time by the river, by the lake, in Toronto’s High Park. There were near-daily picnics. And on the one day I didn’t spend at least 30 minutes outside, I felt cagey and cooped up and it furthered my resolve to be outside, really be outside. It is truly an extraordinary practice and I feel so grateful for the DSF Challenge for the big huge reminder.

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Over the month of May, we watched the tulips, the daffodils and the allium bloom, then the lilacs and the forget-me-nots. My son ate his weight in dandelion seeds (we’re still working on blowing the seeds, not eating them like a lollipop).

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BARK! Jack’s newest discovery.


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PS: Check out these incredible letters students wrote to nature (and these are such a small fraction of the letters DSF received!)

June 5, 2016
by Lindsay
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Love Letters to Nature: The School Edition

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How incredible is this? When I think about love, I think about lilies. When I think about hope, I think about a tree growing. 

The only thing better than reading letters from kids is reading their love letters to nature. Case in point:

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The biggest thank you to all the 812 (!!) schools who took part in the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Challenge in May. And an extra special thank you to all of the school who mailed in their letters. DSF’s Senior Public Engagement Specialist, Aryne Sheppard and I were brought to tears by the thoughtful, heartfelt letters.

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The letters above were sent in from: Ms. Knight’s Grade 7 class at Munns Public School in Oakville, ON the Kindergarten and Grade 2 classes from Holy Family School in Grinshaw, AB, and the top photo is from the most incredible package from a school in Toronto, complete with photos they took of their caterpillars and butterfly release project. 

June 5, 2016
by Lindsay
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May’s 30×30 winning love letters

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For the entire month of May, I partnered with the David Suzuki Foundation and asked people to write love letter to nature. Each winning love letter received amazing prize packages from Genuine Health! Congratulations to May’s 30×30 Challenge winning love letters to nature!!

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Week One’s letter by Minna KW!

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Andy P’s daughter’s love letter to the amaryllis in the garden!

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So beautiful, Krista.

Love you, nature!!
xoxo

June 5, 2016
by Lindsay
1 Comment

The most wonderful love letter to nature

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As the David Suzuki Foundation’s#‎30x30Challenge wrapped up, close to 60 elders from different parts of the world joined together in Vancouver to write love letters to nature. Elder Li Chen shared her love letter:

大自然,
你那温暖的陽光, 清新的空氣和潔淨的水就如母親的乳汁一樣,
哺育着我們一代一代健康成長.
大自然用你那翠綠的樹林, 五彩繽紛的花草, 裝扮着四周的環境, 讓我們天天精神百倍, 活力十足地生活着.
大自然, 我們深深熱愛着您, 親近您, 保護您.
感謝您給予我們這一切.
陳力, Li Chen.
五月廿六曰, 二零一六年

Nature,
Your warm sunshine, clean air and water nurture us like a mother’s milk. You help us grow, generation after generation, to become healthy and strong.
Your jade-green forests and five-coloured flowers and grass dress up our environment in four corners.
You energize us everyday and give us strength to live life to the ten-full (fullest)
Nature, we deeply love you, we want to get close to you and protect you.
Thank you for giving us everything.
Li Chen. May 26, 2016

How amazing is this??!!