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May 2014

Free Science Events in Toronto for June 2014

May 31, 2014 | Emoke | Comments (0)

The Science and Technology Department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in Toronto. Applied science includes health, gardening, pets and food; all subjects found in the department's collection. Here is the June 2014 Calendar.

June's highlights include:

  • June 1: Spring Babies at the Zoo, part of the High Park Sunday Walking Tours. High Park Nature Centre. This tour will be lead by Sonya Dittkrist- Zookeeper. Walks are led by volunteer scientists, historians and local naturalists who will help you to understand and explore High Park's many significant features.
  • June 5: How the Tides Turn, part of the Free Astronomy Public Tours. Speaker: Nathan Hetherington will describe the exciting world of tidal physics, and show that tides just like the ones we see every day on Earth can have significant and sometimes dire effects elsewhere in the Universe.
  • June 28: Free Toronto Reiki Class, part of The Healing Team. Toronto Reiki and Counselling Services. Leader: Stephanie Norwich, M.Ed.(Counselling Psychology). Reiki Master presents a beautiful and inspiring reiki talk followed by a question period. Topics include: what is reiki, how it works, the history, usage/application, benefits, self treatment, the three levels of training, and steps to becoming a Licensed Holistic Practitioner. The class is also available for groups and organizations.

The Toronto Public Library also offers many free science and applied science events:

June's highlights include:

Dealing with seasonal allergies for the first time?

May 30, 2014 | Carolyn | Comments (0)

News sources are calling this one of the worst spring allergy seasons in a long time. Apparently the polar vortex we experienced this winter has resulted in a pollen vortex, meaning that more trees are releasing pollens at about the same time this spring, rather than the season being spread out over a longer period.



Pollen.   Photo: Public domain/Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility


Even people who don't usually have a problem are experiencing allergy symptoms this year. But if, like me, you're dealing with seasonal allergies for the first time, take heart; there's a lot of information available to help you manage your condition.

This type of allergy, caused by exposure to pollens, dust and dander, is called allergic rhinitis. When the symptoms are caused specifically by pollens, it's commonly known as hay fever. Getting advice about how to recognize and manage the symptoms of hay fever can provide some relief. 

The Library has resources to help you deal with seasonal allergy symptoms:

The Health & Wellness Resource Center database has a helpful article on "allergic rhinitis".

In the Consumer Health Complete database, the article on allergic rhinitis links readers to information from a variety of sources, from fact sheets and pamphlets to reports in medical journals.

 And we have books about allergies:



If you thought you could look forward to some relief when the tree pollen season comes to an end, I'm sorry to report that you may be dealing with hay fever symptoms until October. But learning about our condition should help those of us experiencing seasonal allergies for the first time to enjoy this long-awaited spring and summer.


Lunchtime Programs: Laughter Yoga

May 29, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0)

Laughter yoga

Do you work or live close to North York Central Library?  Bring your lunch and join us for some fun and information on laughter yoga.  My colleague, Emoke wrote about the benefits of is your chance to see it in practice.  Our laughter yoga coach, Carlos Gongora, will be offering two sessions --come to one or both!

Monday June 9, 12:10-12:50  Auditorium

Thursday, June 19, 12:10-12:50  Room 2/3

Please note that Carlos advises eating lunch after the yoga session, not before.


Boomers and Beyond: Programs for retirement planning

May 28, 2014 | Ashley | Comments (0)


Did you know that June is Senior's month? To celebrate the library has a wide assortment of great programs, workshops, computer classes and of course books for Seniors. Now, you may be thinking about retirement even if you aren't a Senior and that is great, the earlier you start planning the better. That is why we invite people of all ages to come to our Senior's month programs, hence our series title "Boomers and Beyond".

The Business Department at North York Central Library has 3 great programs planned for all you boomers, seniors, young people - everyone:

RRSPs: the Ultimate Wealth Builder

GordonpapeFor most Canadians, an RRSP is the only personal pension plan they will ever have. As employer-sponsored plans become increasingly rare outside the public sector, we must rely on our own savings and money management skills to ensure a comfortable lifestyle after retirement. 

Come hear best-selling financial author Gordon Pape provide the secrets to building a winning RRSP - everything from setting up the right kind of plan at the outset, to proven strategies that will enable you to grow your RRSP over time to a value of several hundred thousand dollars.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014. 6:30 - 8:00pm. Auditorium


Top 10 Financial Tips for Transitioning into Retirement



Common wisdom says retirees can live on a lot less money than when they were in their working years. But how true is that assumption? In this presentation, Robert Walker will outline the questions retirees (and soon-to-be-retirees) should ask themselves to make sure their retirements are as comfortable as possible without making the money run out.

 Thursday, June 19, 2014. 6:30 - 8:00pm. Auditorium



Are Pensions a Thing of the Past?




Is there any hope for retirement security for the generations that follow the baby boomers? Come hear University Professor Emeritus, Robert J. Drummond speak about the answer that lies in public pensions (like OAS and CPP) and in measures to improve the productivity and health of the Canadian economy.


 Tuesday, June 24, 2014. 6:30 - 8:00pm. Auditorium


If you can't make it to the events, maybe you can borrow some of these books on retirement planning:

Retirement1            RRSPs ultimate wealth builder                 Thumb-moolala-rrsp

Other libraries across Toronto are celebrating Senior's month too. There are Internet Safety for Seniors computer classes happening led by library staff to help boomers and seniors be safe online. Topics include being aware of online hoaxes, preventing identity theft and keeping personal information secure when shopping online. Registration may be required, so it is best to contact the branch:

Maria A. Shchuka - Monday, June 16, 2014. 7:00 - 8:30pm. Learning Centre

Agincourt - Wednesday, June 18, 2014. 2:00 - 3:30pm. Learning Centre

Richview - Wednesday, June 25, 2014. 2:00 - 4:00pm. Learning Centre

North York Central Library - Thursday, June 26, 2014. 2pm. Learning Centre

Albert Cambell District Library - Thursday, June 26, 2014. 1:30 - 3:30pm. Learning Centre

Toronto Reference Library - Friday, June 27, 2014. 10am. Learning Centre




To kick off Senior's month the,The  Toronto Senior's Forum invites people to celebrate on Tuesday, June 3 from 11:00am - 2:00pm at Toronto City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square.The Toronto Seniors’ Forum is composed of up to 30 people, who are at least 60 years of age and residents of the City of Toronto, with particular attention to seniors whose voices have been less often heard or unheard.

The City of Toronto delivers more than 40 services for seniors,for more information visit 






 Have a safe and happy Senior's Month everyone!

Remembering John Fitzgerald Kennedy

May 26, 2014 | Ann | Comments (3)

Link to John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum
Photo credit: American Studies at the University of Virginia

This bouncing baby boy was born 97 years ago on May 29, 1917.  He was the second of nine children born into the Kennedy clan.  His father, Joseph Kennedy, Sr., graduated from Harvard, made successful investments in his life, and worked his way up in the world to become the 44th United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.  

Photograph from
(Left to right: Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr., Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., and John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

Joe Kennedy, Sr. raised his children with high ambitions.  Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr., the eldest child, declared that he wanted to pursue his dream to become the future President of the United States.  Unfortunately, that vision was dashed away in World War II when his airplane exploded from a bomb that was carried on board.  He and another pilot died instantly.  

While the Second World War took the life of Joseph Kennedy, Jr., the war spared the life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  JFK wanted to pursue a more modest career in writing or education after the war.  Instead, his father hoped he would take up his older brother's ambition.  JFK accepted his father's request and ran for Congress.  The rest we know is history

Sadly, John Fitzgerald Kennedy did not survive beyond the first term as President of the United States.  He was assassinated in the prime of his life on November 22, 1963 in downtown Dallas, Texas.  He was only 46 years old.   

The American National Archives has made available, The (1964) Warren Commission Report of the Assassination of President Kennedy for the public to look through.  

John F. Kennedy did not die in vain.  He achieved many accomplishments in his time and left behind a lasting legacy of hope and inspiration. Below are some titles that reflect the happier moments in JFK's life:

Rose Kennedy's family album:  from the Fitzgerald Kennedy private collection, 1878-1946 on If Kennedy lived:  the first and second terms of President John F. Kennedy:  an alternate history on Capturing Camelot:  Stanley Tretick's inconic images of the Kennedys on These few precious days:  the final year of Jack and Jackie on
Portrait of Camelot:  a thousand days in the Kennedy White House on The Kennedy legacy:  Jack, Bobby and Ted and a family dream fulfilled on The Kennedy years:  a memoir on Listening in:  the secret White House recordings of John F. Kennedy on

Here is a listing of more titles on the Kennedy clan, on Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., and on the authority he held in shaping his family:

Hostage to fortune:  the letters of Joseph P. Kennedy The Kennedy men: 1901-1963: the laws of the father The sons of Camelot:  the fate of an American dynasty The sins of the father:  Joseph P. Kennedy and the dynasty he founded

May we remember John F. Kennedy's life, the influences that turned him towards politics, his achievements in office, his personal setbacks, and the tragic end that occurred over 50 years ago.


The 'Picasso of the north' and the Woodland School of Art

May 23, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (0)

Shaman and disciples
Please join us at North York Central Library on Wednesday June 4 at 7:00 pm for a presentation on First Nations artist Norval Morrisseau and The Woodland School of Art. Call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.

As a child, Norval Morrisseau made drawings in the sand at the lakeshore and watched as the waves erased them. As a man, he made an indelible mark on the world of art by creating a new art form, the pictographic style, and inspiring a group of First Nations artists who became known collectively as The Woodland School of Art.

Norval Morrisseau, sometimes called 'the Picasso of the north', was born on a First Nations reserve in northern Ontario in 1932. His grandfather, a sixth-generation shaman, taught him the Anishinaabe stories and legends which inspired him throughout his life as an artist.

When Morrisseau was nineteen, he became very ill. He didn’t respond to conventional treatment, so a medicine woman was called. She performed a renaming ceremony, giving him a name signifying power: Copper Thunderbird. Morrisseau attributed his recovery to his new name. From then on, he signed his works Copper Thunderbird, in Ojibwa syllabics.

 Agawa Rock pictograph - photo: D. G. Robertson
His early influences were the pictographs or rock paintings he saw during his travels with his grandfather, and the sacred birchbark scrolls his grandfather made as a shaman. When he was finally exposed to European art as an adult he was left with a general impression of darkness. He resolved to paint with more colour. He believed that the colour in his paintings had healing power: "Many people have told me I cured them of various sicknesses. I told them, I didn’t cure you, it was the colour that cured you.”

Like his grandfather, Morrisseau became a shaman. He painted the visions he saw in dream states, when he travelled along "the inner highways" to what he called "the house of invention". He broke an Ojibway taboo by portraying the spiritual beliefs of his people and he was criticized for it, but he persisted. "My aim," he said, "is to reassemble the pieces of a once-proud culture, and to show the dignity and bravery of my people.” Inspired, other First Nations artists followed the trail that Copper Thunderbird blazed.

Norval Morrisseau - travels to the house of invention
Norval Morrisseau :
travels to the house
of invention
I've just finished reading Norval Morrisseau: travels to the house of invention, which has many examples of Morrisseau's paintings. It almost felt like these images were energetically saturating my retina with their intense colours when I looked at them for awhile. Try going to google images ( and entering the search "Norval Morrisseau paintings" and you'll see what I mean. The Morrisseau quotes in this post are taken from the book. This is my favourite quote:

"The Department of Indian Affairs once wanted to give me art lessons, but I refused. In my opinion, this would spoil me, for there is no one who can teach me this kind of painting."


If you'd like to see a short movie on Morrisseau, reserve a copy of Gifts from the Thunderbird: the life and art of Norval Morrisseau.





Generation Next: HackLab

May 16, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0)

Two hot topics these days are makerspaces and 3D printers. 

“A hackerspace (also […] hacklab, makerspace, or hackspace) is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science, digital art or electronic art, can meet, socialize and/or collaborate.” (“Hackerspace,”


As a community meeting place, libraries are ideal venues for makerspaces.  At the Toronto Public Library, two branches, the Toronto Reference Library and Fort York, have Digital Innovation Hubs, which provide the tools necessary for digital creativity, including 3D printers.  3D printers have been used for ever-increasing applications--guns, food, medication, and even body parts.

Other locations have also sprung up as collectives for makerspaces.  One such place is HackLabTO.  North York Central Library's latest program in the Generation Next series will feature speakers from HackLab TO who will explain how their particular hackerspace works and also demonstrate a 3D printer in action.  If you are interested in attending, please call the Science & Technology Dept, 416-395-5649 to register.  Hope to see you there!

Pageantry Worthy Of A King!

May 12, 2014 | Ann | Comments (2)

As Prince George of Cambridge dazzles us with his gooey smiles, seventy-seven years ago today, his great great grandfather--with whom Prince George shares the same name--was officially crowned King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth.  


 (For more videos, please visit King George VI Page on


George VI was the next successor when Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Ms. Wallis Simpson.  With little time left to paint a new portrait for the younger brother's coronation, Edward VIII's visage was replaced by King George VI's face in the existing portrait. 

Edward VIII and George VI Coronation Portrait article on The Telegraph Jan 3 2012

The Telegraph's January 3, 2012 article discusses in detail how the original portrait with Edward VIII's face was discovered.

Despite the abdication alteration, the revised portrait captured King George VI's graceful composure.  One cannot help but to compare this portrait to Queen Elizabeth's coronation portrait shown below.  Notice the similar arrangement of the table, the crown on the cushion, the angle of the sceptre held in the right hand, the relaxed gaze at the viewer, and a soft whisper of a smile.   (An article in The Daily Mail on the May 21, 2013 article provides more information and pictures of the Queen's coronation.)

  Queen Elizabeth Coronation Portrait linked to The Daily Mail May 21, 2013 article


To celebrate this occasion, here are some intriguing titles worthy of your perusal:

Churchill and the king on Hotodogs and cocktails on George VI on The king's speech on
King Edward VIII on The prince, the princess and the perfect murder at The people's king on The Windsor story on
That woman on The shadow queen:  a novel of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor  on

The darkness of Wallis Simpson and other stories on The Duchess, aka Wallis Simpson on
The coronation:  a royal history on Queen ElizabethII:  portraits by Cecil Beaton on Queen Elizabeth II on The Queen's diamond jubilee year:  a royal souvenir on

Of course, this blog would not be complete without including Prince George, his mum and his dad.

Royal babies commemorating the birth of HRH Prince George on


Enjoy the regal weather and look forward to a Royal holiday weekend to celebrate and honour the birthday of Queen Victoria.  Rejoice in the upcoming events with fireworks taking place Sunday and (Victoria Day) Monday evening!

North York Central Library Talk: Chinese and Japanese Export Porcelain

May 9, 2014 | Muriel | Comments (2)

 Chinese and Japanese Export Porcelain:

Looking at a Long Tradition

Wednesday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m.

North York Central Library Auditorium

Please call 416-395-5639 to register.


Since the late Middle Ages, Chinese porcelain has fascinated
Europeans.  By the 1600s, significant quantities of porcelain were
being imported from China and Japan, when politics made
European production difficult.  This trade has continued to the present
day with a wide range of products evolving to suit changing tastes.
Dr. Peter Kaellgren, Curator Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum,
    briefly covers the history of this China trade and surveys the
range of imported products.  An identification clinic for East Asian
ceramics is available for a limited number of people between
6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

  Treasures of Chinese Export Ceramics   Collecting Chinese and Japanese Porcelain   Chinese Export Ceramics

Dragons, Tigers and Bamboo   Kakiemon Porcelain   The Art of Chinese Ceramics



Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and...Repair

May 8, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0)


The 3 R's of the environment, reduce, reuse and recycle, are well-known.  But what about repair?  That seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird as, these days, there is an attitude of 'disposability'--doesn't work?  Throw it away and buy a new one.  But, repairing, then reusing items is one of the best ways to help reduce the amount of garbage going to a dump. 

The North York Central Library is pleased to host a Repair Café on Sat June 14 from 10 am - 2 pm.  Never heard of the Repair Café?  Volunteers fix household items, ranging from small household appliances such as toasters, to clothes, to lamps, to computers to jewellery. Check out this video for more information. 

Volunteer fixers are needed--have a special talent or just enjoy helping others and meeting local members of your community?  Interested in shadowing a fixer and learning hands on how to fix things?  Come on out!  Contact the Repair Café at or for more information.

If you can't come out to this event, the library has many books on repairing things.  Here are just a few:

Alterations & repairs: 200 Q & A by Nan L. Ides Fixing your computer: absolute beginner's guide by Paul McFedries Jewelry fix-ups by David McLoughlin

But really, wouldn't it be more fun to have a cup of coffee and meet new people while fixing something?

Welcome to North York Central Library. We're one of the City's most welcoming spaces, open to all for study, research, relaxation and fun.

Our extensive digital and print collections, programs and services are yours to use, borrow and explore. Expert staff are always on hand to help. Meet us in person or join us online.