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7 Canadian Literary Locales We Love

By AMANDA HALM

For fans of Anne, a trip to PEI for the many Anne of Green Gables sites is a necessity (Photo: Jenna MacMillian as "Anne of Green Gables" Tourism PEI / Barrett & MacKay)

Take your summer reading plans on the road: Walk in the footsteps of a memorable character or see where prolific poets spent their early years at one of these seven literary destinations across Canada.

1. Anne of Green Gables Museum at Silver Bush — Park Corner, Prince Edward Island

Anne of Green Gables Museum (Photo: courtesy Anne of Green Gables Museum)

“…a big white house smothered in orchards, that was the wonder castle of my childhood.” – L. M. Montgomery

Explore the “wonder castle” that inspired the famous Anne of Green Gables series, and take a carriage ride through the gardens at this must-see museum. See the enchanted bookshelf, Montgomery’s patchwork quilt, and other items from her life. See where Montgomery wed or even get hitched yourself among original furnishings from the author’s wedding. Not Anne-ed out yet? There are many other sites for Anne fans in PEI.

2. Poets’ Corner of Canada — Fredericton, New Brunswick

No literary tour would be complete without a mention of the so-called Poets’ Corner of Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick, the home of Bliss Carmen, Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, and Francis Sherman. New Brunswick’s natural beauty was a common theme in their works, so take to the trails and take it all in. See the Old Arts Building at the University of New Brunswick, from which both Carmen and Roberts graduated; Carmen’s birthplace; and the Forest Hill Cemetery, where all three authors were laid to rest.

Old Arts Building, Fredericton (Photo: J.-F. Bergeron/Tourism New Brunswick)

3. Elizabeth Bishop House — Great Village, Nova Scotia

American Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Elizabeth Bishop spent a few years during childhood in a farmhouse near Truro, Nova Scotia, now used to host an artists’ retreat. It is a private residence, not a museum, but the co-owners share it with Bishop devotees and to foster creativity among artists of all disciplines.

Morrin Centre in Quebec City (Photo: Patrick Donovan)

4. Morrin Centre — Quebec City, Quebec

Built over 200 years ago, this library and cultural centre in Quebec’s Old City used to be a prison. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, spiral staircases, and old jail cells awaken the imagination. Perhaps that’s why Louise Penny used the Morrin Centre as a setting for her latest mystery, Bury Your Dead. Spooky. Daily tours for $8 (adult) are available year-round.

5. Word on the Street Festival — Five locations across Canada

Everyone knows about Canada’s music festivals but if you’re all rocked out head to Word on the Street, a free national book and magazine festival in September. Author readings, panels, workshops, and loads of activities for kids make this one- to two-day book party (depending on location) the place to be. You may not even have to travel very far—Word on the Street happens in multiple cities: Vancouver, British Columbia; Lethbridge, Alberta; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Kitchener, Ontario; Toronto, Ontario; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

CBC broadcaster Grant Lawrence at Vancouver's Word on the Street (Photo: eych-you-bee-ee-ahr-tee)

6. Fairmont Pacific Rim — Vancouver, British Columbia

Text from a Liam Gillick poem wraps around this 22-story hotel in Vancouver. It reads: “Lying on top of a building the clouds looked no nearer than when I was lying on the street…” Test the poet’s declaration yourself at this sumptuous accommodation’s rooftop pool.

World's Biggest Bookstore in Toronto (Photo: Patrick Rasenberg)

7. World’s Biggest Bookstore — Toronto, Ontario

Whether it is actually the world’s biggest bookstore is now up for debate but there’s nonetheless a certain charm to this bowling-alley-turned-book -megastore. Don’t expect cozy reading nooks or hip baristas at the fluorescent-lit, warehouse-like space, now owned by Indigo. Do expect to pick up that hard-to-find novel or zine.

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Get more literary travel information: Check out our interview with Nigel Beale of the Literary Tourist for more recommendations, and take a look at his travel tool just for book lovers, the Literary Tourist Route Planner.

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