Welcome to Spur

Welcome to the first edition of the Spur festival—we’re just getting started!

As the newest addition to the staff at the Literary Review of Canada I am tremendously excited to be working with our collaborators at Diaspora Dialogues be part of creating a new forum for vibrant, engaging, unique and occasionally even entertaining ideas.

In a time when events that feel beyond our ability to control seem to drive our national conversations the Spur festival will provide the opportunity for us to begin steering our own course once again. Now is the time to confront the issues that shape our lives locally and nationally. Only through discourse and the free exchange of ideas can we build the capacity necessary to shape our future.

Our first stop on this journey will be Toronto. As home to the bulk of our nation’s financial industry—an industry that effects all our lives on a daily basis—Spur Toronto will focus on what we are calling The Bottom Line. We are presenting a series of panel discussions on the intersection of money, politics, art and ideas. As financial and political power become ever-more intertwined it is our responsibility as residents of a democratic country to nurture and grow our understanding of this relationship, to dissect, analyze and debate it.

Just so our friends and neighbours in the rest of the country don’t think we are all business in Toronto we will combine these discussions with artist-led tours of two historic Toronto neighbourhoods, nights of music and conversation and even a special panel focusing on political satire. (Who says you can’t laugh and learn at the same time?)

A couple of weeks after Toronto we head back on the line for a stop in Winnipeg where we take on topics that touch the natural world that surrounds us, our symbiotic relationship to it and the power it holds over us. In a city and province so tied to the land in its history and culture, the city at the heart of our nation is the ideal setting to engage in the topic of Unnatural Histories. As a life-long Torontonian I am particularly looking forward to an opportunity to engage with and understand the perspectives of our Manitoba counterparts on issues that affect us all.

Stay tuned to this website as all our events develop and new guests, events, cities and dates are announced. Remember you don’t have to wait until the Spur festival comes to your city to join the conversation. We will be posting blogs here on “The Line” with regular updates and thought-provoking topics to prepare us for the main events. You can also talk to us on Facebook, and if brevity is your strength you can follow us on Twitter too.

Come along for the ride and let’s think together.

Michael Booth, Director of Special Projects (and very recent arrival at), The Literary Review of Canada


Michael Booth

Michael Booth is the Spur Festival Director of Production and has served in that role since the first Spur in 2013. Michael is the host and producer of the Spur Radio podcasts. He is a former policy advisor on Arts and Culture to former Toronto Mayor David Miller he is a former co-chair the Toronto Book Award Committee and has served on the boards of many Toronto arts service organizations during his nearly thirty years in theatre, festival and live event production including the TRANZAC, Mariposa Folk Foundation, Theatre Museum of Canada and SKETCH. Michael also does consulting work for Toronto radio station JAZZ.FM91 and he is the disembodied voice you may hear at the start of each Spur event.

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