What do you love about your city?

October 22, 2017
by Lindsay

Parkdale postcards and portraits

On Thursdays, I host a drop-in event at Parkdale Library  from 4:30-6 (c’mon by!). One week, we wrote postcards to our favourite places in Parkdale…

And last week, we created a portrait gallery of wonderful Parkdalians and made a Parkdale Portrait Gallery! The world can feel hard to live in these days, but witnessing such kindness and generosity fills me with such hope and light.

October 13, 2017
by Lindsay

Literary Citizenship, a guest lecture, and horror movie lockers

For the second year in a row I had the great pleasure of heading to Prof. Robert McGill’s Literary Citizenship class to create love letters with them. We talked about the how and the why (and the ongoing financial how!) of this project that never ceases to delight and inspire me. It was such a wonderful afternoon and such an honour to meet these engaged, intelligent students who wrote such genuine, heartfelt letters…

I wrote a not-quite-as-eloquent letter to the horror movie lockers in the basement of the building we were in. I remember these lockers from taking a grad class a million years ago with a wonderful, kind professor… (They’re creepy, but awesome, right?!)

P.S.: How amazing is does this course sound? Makes me (almost!) want to go back to school!

Literary citizenship involves participation in building and sustaining cultural communities through things from podcasts and micro-presses to reading series and book clubs. Examining Toronto-based activities, some with a local focus and others with a national or transnational emphasis, we’ll investigate how and why they developed, whom they serve, and what functions they perform.

We’ll consider the economics and demographics of contemporary publishing, the effects of new media on book culture, the use of literature in fostering literacy and social justice, and the relationship between literary citizenship and the state. We’ll also practise literary citizenship ourselves through blog posts and book reviews,while students will conduct independent research into literary-citizenship initiatives. The course will cultivate expertise regarding a wide range of possibilities for literary citizenship while attending to broader issues such as the valuing of literature, labour, and community in the twenty-first century.

October 12, 2017
by Lindsay

Mapping the city

I am having THE BEST time leading a writing workshop at Parkdale Library.We’re exploring Parkdale, and the city through words and holy smokes is it inspiring. Every Wednesday evening I get to hang out with such engaged, wonderful people and write and write and write about the places we live.

This week, we created written maps of the city and it got me thinking about other mapping projects like:

One of the writers in the group has a blog and posted her still-blowing-my-mind story about a dog, well, many dogs… (You can read it here!)

October 11, 2017
by Lindsay

Melody Warnick’s TedxFargo talk (with a Love Lettering Project shout out!)

A few falls ago, I got to chat with placemaking writer, Melody Warnick, for City Lab, and THEN I got to read her wonderful placemaking book This is Where You Belong, and THEN we dreamed up a little tour together (that didn’t happen, but man alive, it would’ve been fun!) And now she has a wonderful TedxFargo talk about Restless Soul syndrome and different ways to plant your feet and start to love where you live (complete with a Love Lettering Project shout out!)

Watch her Tedx Talk here!

September 25, 2017
by Lindsay
1 Comment

Dear Parkdale, you are loved…

I had no idea about this incredible project! The Greenest City has a H.O.P.E. Garden (Healthy Organic Parkdale Edibles!) right beside the Parkdale Library!

I have had THE best week. I spent two afternoons at Parkdale Library, asking folks to write love letters to the neighbourhood. There were so many incredible letters penned and taken out and hidden in the community for others to find. It was so very inspiring.

ps: we’re going to be writing a lot more about Parkdale in my (free!) Writing The City workshop (one for teens, one for adults!) in October and November. More info and registration info.

Some of the brilliant letters:

(HOW AMAZING IS THIS? An instrument library! This woman and her family headed home with a mandolin, a teeny violin and a huge djembe!)

I LOVE this globe sculpture outside the library and was so thrilled to spot a love letter tucked in it!

September 25, 2017
by Lindsay
1 Comment

Celebrating summer: The CBC Radio + picnic edition

I’m officially solar-powered, and I love summer so even though it has finally arrived this year, in mid-September, it’s perfect weather for picnicking and bike riding and eating your weight in watermelon.

I got to bike down to the CBC building on Friday just as the sun was rising and chat live on radio on a picnic blanket (cuz I don’t go anywhere these days without my waterproof picnic blanket!) Shawn Micallef talked about the perfectly warm waters of Lake Ontario and pulling a Sesame Street-style weekend, hanging with neighbours (which I then did!).

I even said “poop” and “bum” on live radio to the delight of toddlers everywhere (to my credit, we were talking about picnicking!) and I shared my ideal picnic plans…

Shawn Micallef and I chatting with CBC Radio’s Metro Morning host, Matt Galloway

My ultimate picnic:

1). Swing by the Cheese Boutique
2). Buy all the cheese (olives, kumquats, fancy crackers, bread, etc., optional)
3). Bike down to Lake Ontario, or up to the Humber River
4). Spread out your picnic blanket, bask in the sun, eat all the cheese
5). Congratulate yourself for remembering extra sunscreen and a pile of watermelon
6). Hydrate
7). Fall deeply in love with summer (again)

September 21, 2017
by Lindsay

Writing The City: Writing workshops at Parkdale Library

Do you love Parkdale? Do you love to write?

Join me for a *free* 8-week writing workshop at Parkdale Library where we will find our creative voices, inspired by Parkdale.

Adult workshops:
Wednesdays: 6:30-8pm
(Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25 / Nov. 1, 8, 15, 22)

Youth workshops (age 13-19):
Thursdays: 4:30-6pm (drop-in spaces available each week)
(Oct 5, 12, 19, 26 / Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23) 

Please register for the free workshops in person or by calling Parkdale Library at 416-393-7686.

UPDATE: Adult workshops now have a waiting list, and there will be drop-in spaces available on Thursdays for interested youth).

More on the workshops:

Writing the City is a writing-based community engagement project based on The Love Lettering Project, the internationally acclaimed writing project founded in 2004 by Lindsay Zier-Vogel.

Writing the City will take place at the Toronto Public Library’s Parkdale branch, and be comprised of two registration-required eight-week writing workshops, one for youth and one for adults. In the workshops, participants will generate poetry and short fiction inspired by and/or situated in Parkdale and to conclude, a public display of their writing at the library.

Participants will uncover their own voices and Lindsay will work with the writers in providing community-focused inspiration and editing skills, transforming their work over the course of the 8-week workshop.

Lindsay is an active member of the community-based arts community and since 2004, she has been asking people to write love poems to their communities, slip them into airmail envelopes marked “love.” and distribute them anonymously throughout their communities. Through her Love Lettering Project, thousands of people have participated in over 50 events in Toronto and in two Canada Council-funded tours to the UK and Canada’s North. The project has the capacity to transform an individual’s relationship to public space and their communities through social and artistic engagement. Since its inception, Lindsay has developed a co-creative writing workshop program based on these principles, uniting creative writing and community engagement in workshops for children, youth and adults (through the TDSB, Pathways to Education, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada’s DreamCatcher Mentoring, Sister Writes, among others).

Lindsay received an M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto under the advisorship of award winning novelist, Anne Michaels and has been published in many publications including The Toronto Star, The Lampeter Review, Taddle Creek, room of one’s own, Where The Nights Are Twice As Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets, published by Goose Lane Editions and Watermarks: Writing by Lido Lovers and Wild Swimmers. More about Lindsay here.

September 19, 2017
by Lindsay

What do you love about Parkdale?

What do you love about Parkdale?? Come on by Parkdale Library on Thursday and/or Saturday and write love letters to one of my very favourite neighbourhoods in Toronto (it’s free!!)

Parkdale Library: 1303 Queen Street W
Thursday, September 21: 4-5:30pm
Saturday, September 23: 2:30-4pm

And if you’re interested in an 8-week city-based creative writing workshop at the library (free, and led by me!) you can call the library and register: 416-393-7686

Adult writing workshops:
October 4-November 22
Wednesdays from 6:30-8

Teen writing workshops:
October 5-November 23
Thursdays from 4:30-6

More info about the workshops to come…!

Funded by the Ontario Arts Council’s Community Art program.


September 17, 2017
by Lindsay

So much love for Mississauga, Brampton & Caledon

I was blown away by the love at the United Way of Peel Region campaign kick-off. I learned so much about Mississauga, Caledon and Brampton (mostly that the people are wonderful!) and about the incredible work United Way agencies are doing in Peel Region.

Check out some of these letters!

One highlight was meeting participants from the March of Dimes L.I.F.E program in Mississauga. They all wrote such thoughtful letters.

It was such a good reminder of the worlds beyond the downtown core. (And the event ended with some killer 90s jock jams, which is not-so-secretly my favourite genre of music….whoomp there it is!)

To donate to the United Way, click here!

September 11, 2017
by Lindsay
1 Comment

Love lettering with United Way

I am thrilled to be working with United Way of Peel Region for their 2017 campaign kick off and am heading up to Brampton this Friday with my bag of love lettering supplies.

In Peel, over 226,000 residents are struggling to afford basic necessities including access to food, affordable housing and social services. United Way believes in championing and inspiring sustainable change that strengthens community and improves lives.

Join us!

Date: September 15, 2017

Location: Century Gardens Recreation Centre- 340 Vodden St E, Brampton, ON L6V 2N2

Breakfast and Networking: 9-9:30 am

Kick-off rally: 9:30-11 am

Join us as agents of change to Kick off our 2017 Campaign and learn more about the connection between poverty and mental health. People with mental illness often live in chronic poverty. At the same time, poverty can lead to poor physical and mental health. Together, we can break the cycle.

Together, we can end poverty in Peel.