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Author André Alexis is the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner for his novel Fifteen Dogs, a rumination on what would happen if canines were given human consciousness. Here, the award-winning fiction writer shares his favourite places in the city to find his muse.

Andre Alexis

Photo: Hannah Zoe Davison

01 BookThug
One Sunday a month, BookThug’s publisher and editor Jay and Hazel MillAr invite people to read in their living room. There’s no mic – there doesn’t need to be – and they make a pie requested by a reader. I asked for sour cherry pie and it was great.
260 Ryding Ave.,

02 Coach House Books
They published Fifteen Dogs. A lot of creative thinking has happened here: Recently I stopped by, and Michael Ondaatje was looking for copies of The Dainty Monsters. Their whole history was in that moment – the sense of Canadian publishing and adventure.
80 BP Nichol Lane, 416-979-2217,

03 Manpuku
It’s impossible to leave this Japanese restaurant, tucked inside the Village by the Grange, without a full belly. Manpuku is meant to be comfort food. And it succeeds—it’s like somebody’s vision of home. My favourite dish is the shigure don.
105 McCaul St., Unit 29-31, 416-979-6763,

04 Old City Hall and CF Toronto Eaton Centre
I relocated to Toronto in my twenties from Ottawa, and seeing those buildings meant I’d arrived. The energy of all the people – the movement – was a wonder. In my heart there is still that 20-year-old, overjoyed to be in the city, on my own, doing and thinking about my art.
Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge St., 416-598-8560,

05 The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
This is one of Toronto’s essential galleries. It embodies exactly what a big city should do: it surprises you. I’ve been going here since 1987. There’s always something new, something unexpected and novel.
231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4949,

06 Le Sélect Bistro
I always order the steak frites, or the confit de canard, with French wine. The meals are done tenderly and at really good level. At Le Sélect, you feel temporarily transported from Toronto – plus I’m there with people I love. 
432 Wellington St. W., 416-596-6405,



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