Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Five Things Literary: Dufferin Grove, with Andrew Pyper

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Andrew Pyper

In our Five Things Literary series, we bring you into the literary life of individual authors and the communities that nurture and inspire them.

Today we hear from Andrew Pyper, who lives and writes in Dufferin Grove, a neighbourhood in the west end of downtown Toronto, centred along Dufferin Street between Bloor and College Streets.

Just last week, Simon & Schuster Canada launched Andrew's highly anticipated seventh book, The Demonologist, which is already receiving rave reviews. In The Demonologist, Professor David Ullman, who specialises in the literature of the demonic, finds himself drawn into an otherworldly conflict where his daughter's life is at stake.

You can learn more about The Demonologist by watching the book trailer here and more about Andrew by visiting his website.

Read on to hear about the literary life of Dufferin Grove, from the best watering hole to inspire creativity to where the writers in the area go to sweat it out.


Five Things Literary: Dufferin Grove

  1. Toronto Public Library — Bloor/Gladstone Branch
    • Recently renovated and expanded, this hub branch of the great Toronto Library system is a neighbourhood jewel. Regular story times for the kids in the excellent Children’s section in the basement, well-stocked periodical shelves on the second floor, and — here’s the best part — a number of wide, super-comfy chairs by the front windows and overlooking the mezzanine that are wide-armed and commanding in the style of Captain Kirk’s perch on the bridge of the Enterprise. This is where I go for refuge, quick research, or sometimes just to pick something off the shelves and read my face off.


  2. The Caledonian
    • My local. Why? Sure, it has a (sometimes literally) staggering single malt selection, great beers on tap, and excellent, Scottish-inspired food, not to mention a treed back patio. But what I love is the human factor: genuinely warm bartenders and servers (many from the Old Country themselves) who often remember your name or, far more importantly, your drink.


  3. Ortolan
    • Though under-the-radar because of location (on Bloor in the midst of the No Man’s Land approaching the strip clubs and Coffee Times of Lansdowne) and because of its size (maybe half a dozen tables) Ortolan is my kind of restaurant. The menu changes often, and is composed of only three or four appetizers and main courses. The service is thoughtful, unpretentious — you could imagine ordering another bottle of wine and hanging out with the staff after all the other customers have gone. And it’s all freaking delicious. If you go, order the gnocchi, no matter what it’s served with. Trust me.


  4. Dufferin Grove Park
    • Dufferin Grove Park — a lot of us call it The Grove around here — is a collection of habits for me. Farmer’s Market on Thursday afternoons, hanging with the kids by the splash pad on hot days, reading with my back against my favourite Reading Tree. And then there’s the playground which, in the playground hierarchy for downtown parents isn’t as hyped as, say, Trinity-Bellwoods. But here’s its trump card: shade. On those scorching days, I’ve frequently looked up into the green canopy over the slides and swings and thanked God, or some previous city government, or whoever was smart enough to plant gorgeous maples around the place where kids play and grown-ups stand around, watching over them. And though it is thankfully obscured by greenery when you’re in the park itself, it’s kind of handy to know that the Dufferin Mall — often mocked, but now updated and full of useful, everyday stuff — is just across the street.


  5. West End Y
    • It sometimes seems that all of Toronto — or at least Toronto west of Yonge — is here. Baggy-jeaned teens, goofing kids, moms sneaking in a half-hour on the treadmill, that guy who does the nightly news, your accountant. And the place is crawling with writers. TV, newspaper, freelance, novel, poetry — no matter which racket, they’re here. You can wipe the sweat from your brow and have a passing chat with a colleague, or just offer a quick nod if you’re in the midst of finishing your reps on the chin-up bar. My membership is worth keeping for overhearing the talk in the change room alone: different languages, different accents, different plans being made for the evening, different ways to tell a joke. We’re all here.

Andrew Pyper is the award-winning author of five internationally bestselling novels. Lost Girls won the Arthur Ellis Award, was selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2000, and appeared on the New York Times and Times (UK) bestseller lists. The Killing Circle was a New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. Three of Pyper’s novels, including The Demonologist, are in active development for feature film.

For more information about The Demonologist please visit the Simon & Schuster Canada website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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