Owen Sound's Bookmark

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About the Bookmark

On September 2nd, Owen Sound received a permanent literary tribute when Mayor Ruth Lovell Stanners and author Terry Griggs unveiled a new plaque at the city’s waterfront. The plaque bears approximately 500 words from Terry Griggs’s novel Rogues’ Wedding (published by Random House of Canada in 2002), depicting a scene that takes place at the Owen Sound harbour, on the exact site where the plaque was installed.

The installation is part of Project Bookmark Canada, an initiative that is creating a series of permanent plaques—or "Bookmarks"—across the country, marking where the real and imagined landscapes meet.

Mayor Lovell Stanners says that Owen Sound is a fitting selection for the cross-Canada series. "Owen Sound is a very beautiful place that inspires a great deal of creative expression and inspiration," says Lovell Stanners. "Being part of this cross-Canada series means that even more people will learn about our city, its stories and its spaces."

Author Terry Griggs is also pleased to see her work displayed in situ in Owen Sound. "Project Bookmark is a fabulous initiative and I'm delighted that a work of mine has been selected for installation in Owen Sound," Griggs says. "Books can so easily disappear—and the central character in Rogues' Wedding certainly tried hard to disappear—but thanks to the generosity of everyone involved, both are to be given an unexpected prominence and permanence."

The Owen Sound Bookmark is the second in the national series.

About Owen Sound

Owen Sound is located on an inlet of Georgian Bay (named Owen Sound Bay) in a valley below the Niagara Escarpment.

In 1815, Captain William Fitzwilliam Owen and Lieutenant Henry W. Bayfield conducted a survey of the Lake Huron area and named the inlet “Owen’s Sound,” after Captain Owen’s older brother, Admiral Sir Edward William Campbell Rich Owen.

The city of Owen Sound was first settled in 1841 by Charles Rankin. It was originally known as Sydenham (Sydenham River cuts through the city and empties into Owen Sound harbour) but gained its current name in 1851. Before this time it was inhabited by the Ojibway people.

With its access to the upper Great Lakes and major railways, Owen Sound was, for many years, a major port city, known as the “Chicago of the North.” (The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway caused a dramatic decline in port duties.) It was also, by all accounts, quite a rowdy town—another one of its nicknames was “Corkscrew City.” Drinking, gambling, prostitution, and crime ran rampant and it is this rollicking historical Owen Sound that is depicted in Terry Griggs’ novel Rogues’ Wedding.

Today Owen Sound is known as the gateway to cottage country. It was named a Cultural Capital of Canada in 2004 and boasts an impressive arts scene, a number of museums, and several exciting festivals.

Landmark curated by Cailey Cavallin and Lindsey Shaw.

Cailey received her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Ottawa and just completed the Creative Book Publishing Program at Humber College. She loves literature, travel, and history and is therefore thrilled to be a part of this project.

Lindsey received her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Toronto and has recently completed the Creative Book Publishing program at Humber College. She is excited to be part of such an important initiative that promotes literacy and celebrates literature and travel in Ontario.

As the Ontario Read It Here editorial and marketing interns, we are excited to travel across our fine province to promote the stunning works of literature that have come out of the region. It is our goal to draw national and international attention to the amazing, talented authors that this country has produced.

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