Photo credit: Peter Fruchter

Welcome to my online home! My name is Amy Lavender Harris. I’m a geographer whose work focuses on the stories we tell about place, and who is especially interested in intersections between culture and nature in the contemporary city. I live in Toronto, Canada.

My book, Imagining Toronto, was published by Mansfield Press in 2010. Imagining Toronto won the 2011 heritage Toronto Award and was shortlisted for the Gabrielle Roy Prize in Canadian literary criticism. I am a contributing editor with Spacing Magazine, and have also published work in a wide variety of books, journals and magazines, among them The Routledge Handbook of Literature and Space, The M Word, GreenTOpia, Hagar, Canadian Notes and Queries, The Puritan, the Literary Review of Canada, and elsewhere. I have also contributed to exhibitions exploring place and culture in Canadian art, including the Art Gallery of Ontario’s 2014 Alex Colville retrospective (here’s a clip of me appearing in the exhibit) and the Koffler Gallery’s PED.Toronto exhibit in 2016 (here’s a short piece I wrote for the Koffler called ‘In Search of Toronto the Good’). Oh, and I’ve written introductions to Vehicule Press’s reissue of Hugh Garner’s 1950 novel Waste No Tears, and Phyllis Brett Young’s The Ravine (1962; 2020) under its Ricochet Books imprint.

For 25 years I taught at York University (mainly in the Department of Geography, but also in Humanities and the Faculty of Urban and Environmental Change), as well as, at various times, Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), the University of Toronto, and Queen’s University in Kingston ON. I was fortunate to be able to take early retirement in the fall of 2022 and, while I miss engaging with students, do not at all miss marking or faculty meetings.

In 2024 I am co-curating an exhibit called Toronto Gone Wild at the Myseum of Toronto. We are very excited to bring this project—which explores the city as habitat to a wide range of urban animals and environmental processes—to fruition. The exhibit runs from April through August, and will include an interactive exhibit space as well as panel discussions, workshops, and walking tours all over Toronto.

I am currently at work on several other projects, including a novel called Acts of Salvage, which considers what we do with the things we cannot bear to let go of; and The Space Between Us: Commentaries on a Divided Culture, a non-fiction project co-authored with my husband, Peter Fruchter, exploring whether it is still possible to communicate across difference in our increasingly ideological, increasingly divided culture.

I am also a long-standing gardener, composter and clandestine planter of trees; a collector of old cookbooks and domestic manuals; an indoor rower and outdoor kayaker; a city cyclist; a roamer of back alleys and ravines; a dweller of the expanding cosmos.

Click here to visit my blog, a peripatetic commentary about various things I read, write, think about, and make.

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