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This report is taken from PN Review 30, Volume 9 Number 4, March - April 1983.

The League of Canadian Poets AGM Hilary Davies

When the visitor first gazes dizzily out from Toronto's CN Tower (the Torontonians are self-conscious about telling you that it's the world's tallest free-standing structure), it is obvious that quite a lot of things have happened since Wyndham Lewis called it 'a sanctimonious icebox' in the 1940s. Disconcertingly high and sleek skyscrapers testify to the fact that it is now the business capital of Anglophone Canada-the view from offshore shows how it has sprouted into a poor man's New York over the last twenty years. And when you totter rather weakly out of the glass-sided lift which plummets you 1000 feet in 60 seconds, the walk through the city will take you past Portuguese fish markets, the animated parks and restaurants of Chinatown, and the punk discos and pornshops of Yonge Street. Yet the tiny artist and ex-hippy community which has established itself on the undeveloped islands testifies equally well to-another side of Torontonian sensibility: a desire for simplicity, domesticity, an almost rural quiet. The Anglo-Saxon (or, more specifically, Scottish) sanctimoniousness may have gone, but Toronto has not yet found new virtues to give coherence to its contemporary identity.

A week spent attending the Annual General Meeting of the League of Canadian Poets (LCP) showed that in this Toronto is a microcosm of Canada: an uneasy compromise between provincialism and the new influences brought by post-war European and Asian immigration. Toronto is indubitably the cultural, as well as the business capital, of English-speaking Canada; the predominance of ...


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