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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Toast Milt's new book & plaque Wed., April 18, Grossman's Tavern 7:30 pm

Important Update:
We have had to change the rendezvous location after the Necropolis walk to Grossman's Tavern

The Silver Dollar won't open until 9 pm, so we have decided to meet at Grossman's Tavern first,
around 7:30 pm.
Anyone interested can walk the block or so up Spadina Avenue to view Milt's plaque on the wall outside the Waverley. If so inclined, and not exhausted after the Necropolis visit and Grossman's, we
can still visit the Silver Dollar after 9 for our toast to Milt.

Those interested in visiting historical sites in the Necropolis should meet at the cemetery gates at 6 pm.  

(widely emailed invitation)

Hello fellow poets,

I just learned from James Deahl,  editor of Milton Acorn's new selected IN A SPRINGTIME INSTANT, that the book was published today by Mosaic Press (April 11)!. Then tonight I called Terry Barker, who had the initial inspiration for the book when he bumped into Joe Rosenblatt at a book fair a few years ago, to give Terry my congratulations. Terry will be humping the heavy books (250+ pages) back from the printer to the Mosaic offices tomorrow.

So now we Acornites need to ensure this book is truly celebrated ... and publicized ...  to introduce Milt to a new generation. But first we need to hold some sort of small CASUAL honourary ceremony to kick things off. Terry and I discussed several ideas, and we decided that if enough people are interested, we'll hold a small initial gathering at the Waverley Hotel's Silver Dollar Room - HOIST A TOAST TO MILT! - and admire the plaque to Milt on the wall outside the Waverley (description & pic of plaque below in this email).

We are hoping to tie the visit to the Waverley in with our tradition of a spring visit to the Toronto Necropolis Cemetery. A few poets try to annually visit markers to 'The Unfinished Monument' to two of the martyred heroes of the Rebellion of 1837, the grave of William Lyon MacKenzie, and progressive founding father George Brown.

After paying tribute at the Necropolis, we'll hop in our cars, or onto the nearby Gerrard/College streetcar, and ride to the corner of Spadina and College for a beer or two at the Waverley. We anticipate copies of Milt's new book will be available at both locations.

This is a last minute idea, and we're anticipating the most convenient time for most people will be early evening for both events. We're proposing meeting at the Necropolis gates (by the Riverdale Farm) around 6 pm, for an hour stroll thru the Necropolis.  Then gathering for the beer toast at the Silver Dollar around 7:30. Everyone is invited to attend either or both 'pre-launch' celebrations of Milton Acorn.

We are looking for feedback on the best evening to hold these gatherings, and the dates we're considering are Wed., April 18th, Thurs. 19th, or Sat. the 21st. If you have a preference. please let Terry, Anna Yin or myself know by email (preferred) or phone Terry Barker (416-491-8676) or Chris (613-472-6186)   

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It is particularly fitting that we hold some sort of event for Canada's People's Poet during National Poetry month. We can also start making plans for the more formal launches of Milt's book, including the anticipated official launch date of July 15th (chosen to commemorate Milt & Joe Rosenblatt's organization of the Free Speech Movement at Allan Gardens). Location to be decided.

This summer's annual PurdyFest has been renamed ACORNFEST in Milt's honour, and this will be held from Friday, Aug. 3 to Sunday, Aug. 5th. This years symposium at the Marmora Library will be on the life, works and contributions of Canada's People's Poet, Milt hisself. For info on AcornFest, please contact me (or Terry Barker for info & participation & presentation in the symposium). As always, free camping at ZenRiver Gardens, and everyone reads at ANOTHER DAM POETRY READING on the islet in the Marmora Dam on the Crowe River following the symposium.

We are anticipating further fall launchings and activities in Toronto, and we are hoping poetry lovers across Canada will organize area events to celebrate Milt's new book. 

Feedback appreciated.

peace & poetry power!
Chris, Terry & Chase ... wrffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff!

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Milton Acorn's plaque at the Waverley Hotel

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HT & the Toronto Legacy Project launch new Plaque Program

March 3, 2010 - 1:38pm
Heritage Toronto
Blue plaques highlight the contributions of artists, thinkers, scientists

Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Legacy Project, in partnership, are launching a new program of commemorative plaques that celebrates the bygone lives that helped to build the city of today.  Each plaque will mark a site where a notable artist, scientist, or thinker lived or worked.
Many cities have similar programs, such as London, Paris, New York and Barcelona. Toronto has the Cabbagetown People plaques, but this is the first city-wide initiative.

"This program will certainly increase awareness about the depth of talent that has always existed in Toronto," said Mayor David Miller. "These first plaques creatively commemorate some of the writers and poets who played a major role in building Toronto's literary legacy."

"This program will enrich our cityscape," said Toronto's first Poet Laureate and founder of the Legacy Project Dennis Lee. "And it should still be going strong a hundred years from now."

The first six plaques will be unveiled today at City Hall, the first honouring prominent poets and writers: Milton Acorn, Margaret Avison, Morley Callaghan, Robertson Davies, Gwendolyn MacEwen and E.J. Pratt. The program will continue steadily, with six to eight new plaques annually. The first plaques will be installed in the Spring.
The Partnership

The Toronto Legacy Project was established by Toronto's first Poet Laureate Dennis Lee in 2002 to celebrate Toronto's notable artists, scientists, and thinkers by weaving their names into the cityscape. Initially focused on naming or re-naming facilities, such as Oscar Peterson Place (at the Toronto Dominion Centre), Glenn Gould Place (formerly Metro Square), and George Faludy Parkette (at St. Mary's and St. Nicholas Streets), the Toronto Legacy Project is currently focusing on this new plaques program.

The Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto share a common commitment to memory - to marking, on our streets and in our public places, the names of those who have given us something worth celebrating. This new program reflects the merging of the Legacy Project's focus - individuals who have made a major contribution to the arts, science and thought - with Heritage Toronto's long-standing Plaques and Markers Program. Using criteria jointly established for this program, the Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto work closely to select candidates and plaque locations.
Selection of Candidates and Plaque Sites

To be considered, individuals must have made a major contribution to the arts, science or thought. That contribution must be recognized by members of their own calling, and must be well documented and broadly acknowledged. Candidates must also have had a strong association with the City of Toronto through birth, residence over a significant period of time, or through the connection of their work and career with the city.

Plaques must be installed on a site which has a well-documented and strong connection to the life or work of commemorated individuals.

Candidates for the plaques are put forward each year by the Legacy Project. The public is invited to submit names for consideration to both Heritage Toronto and the Legacy Project.
The Plaques

Simple and elegant, each plaque uses a few words to identify the person and place being honoured. Plaques will be installed either on the front wall of a building or on a post at the sidewalk.

The striking design was contributed by the Toronto firm, Hahn Smith. Each plaque is an oval, 30 cm by 18 cm, with bold white type on a blue background. The oval retains the shape of Heritage Toronto plaques; the blue retains the colour of Legacy Project markers at Oscar Peterson Place and other sites, while referencing the official colour of Toronto. 

The first year's plaques commemorate writers, following the "Literary City" theme of Toronto's 175th anniversary. Future plaques will celebrate figures from a wide range of disciplines, and across the full history of the city.

Heritage Toronto and the Legacy Project are grateful to the property owners who have accepted the 2010 plaques, and to the City's Culture Division for funding their fabrication in this initial year. The plaques themselves remain the property and responsibility of Heritage Toronto.
The First Honourees


Milton Acorn was probably the most colourful figure in the history of Canadian poetry. A carpenter from Prince Edward Island, and a man of passionate convictions, he wrote poems that came, in the words of Al Purdy, "somewhere close to greatness."
Acorn lived in the Waverley Hotel, at Spadina and College, from 1970 to 1977. He published five collections during that time, winning the specially-created People's Poet Award in 1970, and the Governor General's Award in 1975.

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