Toronto Public Library Launches Cutting Edge Health Programs

November 26, 2015 | Media Relations

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Toronto Public Library has launched The Cutting Edge – a combination of health-related programs and curated collections funded by Krembil Foundation.

The inaugural Cutting Edge signature lecture took place last night at the The Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, and featured Chris Eliasmith, creator of Spaun, the world’s largest simulation of a functioning brain. Unlike other computer models, Spaun can mimic the human brain’s ability to see, remember and act.

Eliasmith’s lecture addressed how this new technology can improve human health, shedding light on debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, dementia, concussion, and brain trauma.

 Chris Eliasmith with audienceChris Eliasmith

Chris Eliasmith with interviewer

Chris Eliasmith is the Director of Theoretical Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo with degrees in engineering and philosophy. Eliasmith’s work has been featured on the BBC and CBC, in Popular Science, Wired, the New York Times, Science News, Discovery, and Nature. He is the author of How to Build a Brain, which teaches readers how to build their own computer model of the human brain.

In addition to the Cutting Edge keynote lecture, Krembil Foundation’s donation of $225,000 over three years will support lectures in Toronto Public Library branches across the city, to explore new ideas in neuroscience, nanotechnology, the mathematics of infectious disease and bionics. The donation will also enrich the specialized consumer and mental health collections at the Toronto Reference Library and North York Central Library, adding new works for all reading levels. Finally, it will provide for staff training in health literacy, so that Toronto Public Library staff can guide people to the most reliable and up-to-date sources of health information.

“When people seek out health information, they are often under stress and feeling vulnerable. Seen as a trusted source, Toronto Public Library uses its expertise to assist patrons in their search for reliable material,” said Mark Krembil, President of Krembil Foundation. “We believe that with access to the best possible information, more Torontonians will be able to take control of their health and care.”

"We were thrilled to receive this generous donation from Krembil Foundation," said Heather Rumball, President, Toronto Public Library Foundation. "Krembil Foundation’s support enables the Library to share the impacts of cutting edge medical research with a wide audience, and to help people find the health information they need, at a level they can understand."


About Krembil Foundation

Since its inception in 2001, Krembil Foundation has funded grants across Canada for a wide range of charitable purposes benefiting Canadians. While the particular fields of interest have evolved over the years the primary focus of Krembil Foundation has remained the same - helping people by supporting medical research and education.  ​​​

About Toronto Public Library

Toronto Public Library is the world's busiest urban public library systems. Every year, 19 million people visit our branches in neighbourhoods across the city and borrow 32 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit our website at or call Answerline at 416-393-7131. To get the most current updates on what's happening at the library, follow us on Twitter @torontolibrary.

About the Toronto Public Library Foundation

The Toronto Public Library Foundation was established in 1997 as a charity to support Toronto Public Library. The Foundation inspires donors to support life-changing programs, services, spaces and collections that wouldn’t be possible with government funding alone. Thanks to donors, the Foundation has raised $69 million since inception. 

To learn more about the Toronto Public Library Foundation, visit or call Heather Rumball at 416-393-7134.