City of Toronto dedicates stairs to Raymond Souster

TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - The City Councillor for Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park was joined by Toronto's Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke, today to dedicate the stairs leading into Willard Gardens Parkette as the Souster Steps.

"This dedication honours a significant poet who had a tremendous impact on numerous Toronto and Canadian writers over multiple decades," said Clarke.

A number of Souster's friends, many of whom are prominent Toronto writers, were also in attendance. A plaque at the bottom of the stairs informs the public of Souster's influence as the "Dean of Toronto Poets" and includes his poem, "Flight of the Roller-Coaster."

Heritage Toronto also unveiled a plaque honouring Souster that is to be displayed at his former home at 28 Mayfield Ave., where he lived for 17 years. Souster was known to walk through Willard Gardens Parkette and to use stairs that are now dedicated to him. This plaque is part of Heritage Toronto's Legacy Plaque Program, which was established by Toronto's first Poet Laureate, Dennis Lee, to celebrate Toronto's notable artists, scientists and thinkers by weaving their names into the cityscape.

Over 60 years, Raymond Souster (1921-2012) penned more than 50 poetry collections and edited many anthologies. He co-founded Contact Press, which published Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Gwendolyn MacEwen and Milton Acorn among others early in their careers. He has helped to establish the League of Canadian Poets, serving as its first president. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.

The City Councilllor and neighbourhood residents also celebrated the recently refurbished playground in Willard Gardens Parkette.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

SOURCE: City of Toronto

For further information:

Media contact: Shane Gerard, Strategic Communications, 416-397-5711,

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