Recap: 2012 Word on the Street Festival

The Word on the Street National Book and Magazine Festival

Being a book lover, and living in the GTA, I have only heard of Word on the Street. But every year when it comes around, I end up having plans. I was determined to attend this year, so I woke up early and went on downtown with my best friend Anna.

As the GO bus headed into Union Terminal, I felt the flurry of butterflies in my stomach: excitement. As soon as I walked up those TTC steps and onto Queen’s Park, I realized I wasn’t the only book lover around. It was around 11:45 on a Sunday morning and people were milling about looking at books and discussing about books and buying books…

This Is Not Shakespeare Stage This Is Not Shakespeare Stage

As I passed by each tent, I had to remind myself that I had a book limit, to only buy a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 books. So I was cautious enough as I passed by the bargain sections, and moved on to the publisher tents. They had amazing deals. Harlequin Books had 3 books for $5, and $2 each book. Harper Collins Canada and Scholastic Canada had 20% off some of their titles. Simon and Schuster Canada slashed their prices, and Adult paperbacks were selling for $3, while children’s hardcovers were $5. I made a mistake and didn’t plan where to go, so I didn’t even see the Simon and Schuster Canada tent until the very end. I did manage to grab The Light by D.J. MacHale for $5. At the Random House Canada tent, I went over to the little table they had, and signed up to their newsletter. Ainsley recognized me from Twitter, and I promptly said “Hello!” (How cool is that?!) She said I had a choice of one book from the pile, so I immediately picked up the one she recommended. Anna picked up The Andalucian Friend, and gave it to me anyway.

The Hobbit The Hobbit

Harper Collins Canada also had a wonderful tent set up to promote the movie The Hobbit. They were even giving away honey sticks which I promptly refused since I was already wired on adrenaline and didn’t need more sugar lol.

Victoria College Victoria College

Thanks to the lovely @HollyBerry1980 she told me there would be a book sale at Victoria College. So we headed on over, and checked in our bags. There were a lot of old books. I even found several Baby Sitters Club books, and one Lemony Snickets book in great condition. I didn’t end up buying it just because my mission was to buy new books on sale.


Inside Victoria College Inside Victoria College

I only took two photos in total of the entire festival. I was way too excited buying books and seeing everything for the first time that I barely took any photos. Thankfully Anna did. She didn’t end up taking photos of any of the book sales since they were swarmed with people. I don’t blame them. Those deals were too good to pass!

Final Haul

Final haul

Sad to say, but I had to leave early. Too bad because I completely missed the Women of YA Author Panel and the author signings. Maybe next year, I’ll manage to stay the entire festival. Overall, I had so much fun. My back aches, my muscles ache, my wallet is lighter, and I managed to stay within my maximum limit. I highly recommend going if you’re a book lover, it’s worth going through all the crowds!

What I Learned

  • At the tents, I had to stand and wait behind people, then muscle my way in the front. You have to get the employee’s attentions or others will and you’ll be standing there for a while waiting for your turn.
  • Another thing I learned is that you should outline the tents you want to go to first, so you can get first pick of all the books!



  1. Diana Grace

    August 27, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    This looks so good and cool and totally awesome!! Thanks for sharing with us! 🙂

  2. Jay @Vailia's Page Turner

    June 29, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    This looks like it would be such a fun event to have something like this locally. I wouldn’t be taking pictures either lol. My arms would be way too full with bookish goodies!

  3. Ashley @ Book Labyrinth

    October 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Awesome finds! I bought way too many books at last year’s WOTS, but they were *such* good deals.

  4. Jennifer k

    September 26, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    I’ve never heard of this event. It sounds like you had a lot of fun. Love events for book lovers.

    Really enjoyed your recap.

  5. Carrie

    September 26, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Your Word on the Street event sounds so much more exciting and bigger than the Vancouver version. I don’t think we get the number of publishers selling books

    • Giselle

      September 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM

      It is a little bigger, but at least Vancouver has one!

  6. Lindsey (A Storm of Words)

    September 26, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Oh man, I’m so sad I wasn’t able to make it out to the festival this year! I’m glad to see that you had an awesome time and that you were able to get some great books!

    Also OMG VICTORIA COLLEGE. That was my college when I was an undergrad. And I ADORED their book sale! I used to volunteer with the bag check. Too bad I wasn’t able to do that this year because then I totally would have seen you, haha xD

    • Giselle San Miguel

      September 26, 2012 at 2:36 AM

      Noo, you must come next year? We can go together. I think I’d like to bring a luggage trolley. Easier on the

      Yes Victoria College is gorgeous. From what I saw of it anyway!

  7. Rebecca

    September 24, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    I’ve never heard of this event but it sounds awesome! Great recap, I’m glad you finally got to attend and had such a fantastic time 😀

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