Winnipeg writer Carol Shields commemorated on plaque

We all know that Winnipeg is rife with writers. So it's no surprise that Project Bookmark Canada is having its first Bookmark right here.

Plaque with passage from The Republic of Love to be unveiled outside Gas Station Arts Centre

Al Rae is part of Project Bookmark Canada, which is commemorating the work of author Carol Shields at the Gas Station Theatre on Thursday. (Sandra Thacker/CBC)

We all know that Winnipeg is rife with writers. So it's no surprise that Project Bookmark Canada is having its first Bookmark right here.

Project Bookmark Canada places poems and stories in the exact spot where a scene in a book is set. For this first event, Carol Shields's novel The Republic of Love will be commemorated with a passage from the book on a plaque outside the Gas Station Arts Centre.

Al Rae, who helped organize the event, says even though Shields was born in the United States, she made Winnipeg her home and was a very important part of the literary scene here for decades.

"She was a person who was out and about and you would bump into her all the time," he said. "She immortalized this city in The Republic of Love."

Shields (1935 - 2003) set a number of her books in Winnipeg. Many of them went on to win awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize.

The Republic of Love by Carol Shields was published in 1994. (Vintage Canada)
Rae recalls reading Republic of Love when he first moved to Winnipeg from Toronto.

"I remember buying it one snowy night at McNally's, when they still had that lovely, roomy, wood-shelved shop in the Village," he recalled.

"The book was my word map to the city, and the plaque will bring back memories of that happy time when the Village was more hospitable to bookworms."

Other Bookmarks will be placed across Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland.

You can attend the unveiling of the Bookmark installation bearing a passage from Carol Shields's The Republic of Love on Thursday Oct. 24, at 11 a.m. at the corner of River Avenue and Osborne Street, outside the Gas Station Arts Centre.

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