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October 2015

Colleen Jones Roars Into the Library!

October 31, 2015 | Margaret W. | Comments (1)

On Wednesday, October 28th, North York Central Library hosted an eh List program featuring world curling champion and CBC television personality Colleen Jones. Colleen read from her new biography: Throwing Rocks at Houses: My Life In and Out of Curling. This book is also available electronically.

During her illustrious career, Colleen won two world championships and six Throwing Rocks at HousesTournament of Hearts Canadian Women's Championships. In 1989 the native Haligonian was inducted into the Curling Canada Hall of Fame.

Colleen is also well known as a weather and sports reporter for CBC. She has been with the CBC for 27 years.

However, Colleen's careers, and life, were threatened in December of 2010 when she contracted bacterial meningitis, a disease that can cause swelling around the brain. Hearing loss, brain damage, and even death, can occur. Luckily for Colleen, she survived.

For Colleen, the day she became sick was a life-changing event. As she read from her book:

"In that moment, on that one day in my life, I had this amazing epiphany that life is precious and it can be over in a second. And I realized the importance of taking advantage of simple things in life, like walking the dog or enjoying a cup of coffee. 

Curling taught me about competition and nurtured in me a desire to win, but my brush with a disease that had the potential to kill helped me to keep perspective. It might be my greatest victory of all." 


Colleen Jones
Colleen Jones (left) with an audience member at the Library event

A lot of people may have heard of curling but know very little about it. Bill Weeks, author of the book Curling for Dummies, does a nice job of summing it up.

He writes Curling for Dummiesthat "In its simplest form, curling is a game where two teams of four players each slide 40-pound granite rocks (also called stones) down a sheet of ice toward a target at the other end. Each team tries to get more of its stones close to the centre of the target than the other team."  

Of course, like any other sport, it's not as easy as it sounds! The technical aspects of curling can fill many books.

Curling is believed to have originated in Scotland, around the sixteenth century, although this has been contested. 

Soldiers of the 78th Highlanders brought curling to Canada in 1759. It took hold in Quebec and, with some growing pains, slowly spread to the rest of Canada. The first club in Toronto was established in 1837.

The name of the sport probably comes from the old Scottish word curr, which refers to the roaring sound of the rocks as they travel over the ice. It is this same sound that is behind the game's moniker: The Roaring Game.

Interested in learning more about curling? Check out some of these books, available in the Toronto Public Library system: 

Open House Curling, etcetera

Roaring Game


      Open House

Curling, etcetera The Roaring Game  

‘Spooky’ Asteroid on Halloween

October 30, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (6)

Tomorrow is Halloween. Are you ready? Preparations for parties, costumes, candies and fun are all underway. But did you know an asteroid, larger than a skyscraper, will also be zooming by Earth tomorrow?

The asteroid, 2015 TB145 or ‘Spooky’, is approximately 290 to 650 meters wide. Spooky will travel at a speed of 35 kilometers per second. That’s 126,000 kilometers per hour. 1,260 times faster than the legal speed limit on most Canadian highways. 787.5 times faster than a Via Rail Train. 142 times faster than a commercial airplane. 75 times faster than the speed of the Earth's rotation. 28 times faster than a speeding bullet. Wow!

Rest assured, Spooky will not make contact with Earth. It will pass by Earth at a distance of 483,000 kilometers which is slightly further than the Moon.

Unfortunately, if you want to observe the asteroid you’ll need a telescope. Hopefully, there will be clear skies this time around, unlike during the Supermoon lunar eclipse.

Although Spooky won’t be making contact with Earth, I can’t guarantee other spooky things won’t. Have a happy and safe Halloween!

If you want to read more about asteroids, take a look at these books:

Asteroids, a history  Asteroids   Asteroids, comets and dwarf planets   Asteroids, meteorites and comets

Are you ready for your Halloween party? Here are some ideas for great Halloween dishes:

Betty Crocker Halloween cookbook   A ghastly-good Halloween   Ghoulish goodies   A Halloween cookbook

Don’t have a costume? Don’t panic. Make your own. Here are some books on how to make costumes for kids:

Glue and go costumes for kids   Halloween costumes   Nifty, thrifty, no-sew costumes and props   Quick costumes for kids

Don’t worry, we have books for adult costumes, as well:

1000 incredible costume and cosplay ideas   The costume technician's handbook   Instant period costumes  The mask-making handbook

Free Science Events in Toronto for November 2015

October 27, 2015 | Jeannette | 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 November calendar (PDF).

November's highlights include:

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

At the library, November's highlights include:

Can't attend a program or want to read more about the topics covered? Try some of these books:

Fossil fuels and pollution   The upward spiral   Developmental robotics   GMO food

Printing things   Good medicine   A clone of your own   Strength training bible

Citizenship/Settlement Programs at North York Central Library!

October 26, 2015 | Emoke | Comments (0)

Pass the Canadain Citizenship TestThe Toronto Public Library offers a vast variety of New to Canada and Citizenship Test Preparation classes and programs on an ongoing basis. The library website under New To Canada is a good place to look for information on: Learning English for all levels and ages, Citizenship Test, Settling in Toronto, Jobs, Training & Certification, Materials in Your Language, Your Library Card, and so on.

You can also do a search on the library website using the words "Citizenship" and you will find all the many library programs and classes and other materials and information and recommended websites that will help you with citizenship information.

The Citizenship Test Section of the website has some sample questions and answers and links to the booklet to help you study for the Citizenship test: Discover Canada. There is also a link to Learning Express Library, a database you can use with your library card even from home, with more citizenship tests.

The third floor of the North York Central Library usually keeps free copies of Discover Canada to hand out, and various other libraries also have copies to loan out or for use in the library only.

The Society and Recreation Department also has three major Citizenship/Settlement Programs: New to Canada? Speak to a Costi Representative!, Canadian Citizenship Test Preparation (name changing to: Canadian Citizenship Information in 2016) and Discover Canada Citizenship Mentoring Circle.

The first program, New to Canada? Speak to a Costi Representative! is held once a month, on the last Friday of the month. At the library sessions, a COSTI representative will answer your questions about employment, education, health, housing, and settling into your new environment. COSTI Immigrant Services is a community-based multicultural agency which has been serving all immigrant communities and new Canadians for many years. Some of the topics of the most interest to newcomers are: finding a job, family sponsorship, continuing education at secondary and post-secondary levels, improving English, residency requirements to maintain permanent resident status, applying for citizenship, maintaining OHIP coverage, and OAS pension eligibility

Fridays, October 30th, November 27th, 2015 (1 p.m.- 2 p.m. in Farsi, 2 p.m.- 3 p.m. in English), North York Central Library Room 2/3. Free. Drop In.

And for next year:

Fridays, January 29th, February 26th, and March 25th, 2016 (1 p.m.- 2 p.m. in Farsi, 2 p.m.- 3 p.m. in English), North York Central Library Room 2/3. Free. Drop In.

The second program, Canadian Citizenship Test Preparation (name changing to: Canadian Citizenship Information in 2016) involves a representative from the Toronto District School Board discussing what it means to be a citizen, what to expect from the test, and how to prepare using the Discover Canada guide. You must bring your Permanent Resident card to the session.

In December, North York Central Library is having its last program called Canadian Citizenship Test Preparation. It will be on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 at 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. in the Auditorium at the North York Central Library. Register at 416-395-5660.

In the new year, instead of this one 2-hour session, North York Central Library will be dividing this program in two and having two 2-hour sessions. They will be:



Learn about the Canadian citizenship application process. Find out the latest information about eligibility (age, residency requirements, proof of language ability etc.), completing and submitting the forms, fees, application processing times and more. Presented by a Toronto District School Board representative. You must bring your Permanent Resident Card. It will be held on Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 at 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. in the Auditorium of the North York Central Library. Register at 416-395-5660.



Learn about the Canadian citizenship knowledge test. Get study tips and try some practice questions based on the Discover Canada study guide. Presented by a Toronto District School Board representative. You must bring your Permanent Resident card. It will be held on Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 at 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. in the Auditorium of the North York Central Library. Register at 416- 395-5660.

The third program, Discover Canada Citizenship Mentoring Circle, is 10 weeks long and is currently running. The dates for this year are:

Mondays, September 14th to November 23rd (except Monday October 12th), Room 1, North York Central Library. All sessions run from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Even though the program has started, you may still join in.

The dates for 2016 are: Mondays, January 18th to April 4th, 2016 (except February 15th and March 28th), Room 1, North York Central Library. All sessions run from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

In these sessions, you will review and discover the Discover Canada study guide with a CultureLink staff member and a team of trained Citizenship Education mentors. Every participant is matched with one mentor. Newcomers can improve their vocabulary and boost their confidence in speaking English by participating in conversations on various topics. Paricipants can also connect with local volunteers, network and share experiences and stories.

Provided by CultureLink. Free. To register, contact Hashem Rahin at 416-588-6288 x220 or

I hope you will find these sessions helpful and useful and that they help you pass your Citizenship Test and settle into Canada in a positive and successful manner!

Taking it to Zero: Lowering the Carbon Footprint of Architecture

October 23, 2015 | Muriel | Comments (0)


Green or sustainable architecture has been on the agenda for almost two decades at this point. Where early buildings were attempting to "live more lightly on the earth" and were attempting to lower energy use and use materials more conservatively, this is now deemed insufficient. Issues of global warming now demand that the focus of sustainable design turn strongly towards the severe minimization of our energy use. Buildings in developed countries account for at least 40% of energy use. This is due to our use of fossil fuels to heat, cool and light our buildings. If we also account for urban planning and consider the transportation required by dispersed communities, this can easily add another 27% to the environmental cost.  

        A Vew From the Porch   Sustainable Houses with Small Footprints   Prefabulous World

Sustainable Residential Architecture 150 Best Sustainable House Ideas Green Walls Green Roofs

More Than a Box with Windows           Biophilic Design the Architecture of Life           House Beautiful Natural Environments

This presentation will look more closely at the details that are being used in contemporary green buildings to lower their carbon footprints.  

SpeakerTerri BoakeSchool of Architecture, 
University of Waterloo

Tuesday, November 17 from 7 to 8 p.m. 
North York Central Library Auditorium
Please register for this free program by calling (416) 395-5639.

Silence is Golden: The Astonishing Power of Wordless Books to Inspire, Delight and Unite Us

October 23, 2015 | Deb | Comments (4)

In the Mediterranean Sea, on the island of Lampedusa — a mere speck of land compared to the great boot of Italy — something big is happening.

Lampedusa is part of Italy but lies so far south that it is, in fact, closer to Tunisia in Africa. In recent times, Lampedusa’s affiliations and location — part of Europe, yet also removed from it — have made it a landing point for migrants from Africa and the Middle East fleeing war, persecution, and other desperate situations in their homelands.

"Pelagie Islands map". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

Among these migrants are children and young people, some accompanied by family members and some on their own. Heartbreakingly, many migrants have died while on their way to Lampedusa.

The children and young people who do make it to the island have many needs -- for food, medicine, and shelter. And they have other needs, also important, that must be met. Those needs include books.

I Have the Right

Having access to books, and the means to understand them, is crucial because stories and language, both spoken and written, help children make connections with others. Books let readers know they are not alone, and introduce them to other worlds and experiences and perspectives. Without books, one may be able to survive. But with books, a person can do so much more: they can flourish and thrive.



In recognition of the transformative role of books in the lives of children and young people, The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is working to establish Lampedusa's first children's library. To build the library's collection, the Italian section of IBBY has gathered outstanding wordless picture books from 23 countries.


Window BakerWhy wordless books? Wordless books (also known as silent books) have a universal language of image and art. They allow all readers to dive into a range of stories: ones that are slapstick-silly, tender-hearted, suspenseful and soothing. Without the barrier of language and words to keep readers out, connections happen instantly.

Wordless books are, in short, perfect for the young migrants in Lampedusa, who come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and speak different languages.

To showcase the library, an exhibit of more than 100 renowned wordless picture books, called "Silent Books: Final Destination Lampedusa" has been on tour around the world. After stops in Italy, Mexico and Austria, the exhibit travelled to Edmonton and Vancouver. And from November 2nd to December 11th, this exhibit will be at North York Central Library.

Everyone is invited to the Toronto launch where Deborah Soria, the Silent Books Project Director from Italy, will talk about IBBY's work with the children of Lampedusa:


Toronto Launch

Silent Books: Final Destination Lampedusa

Monday, November 2, 2015

Reception 6:30 pm; Launch 7:00 pm

North York Central Library, Auditorium

5120 Yonge Street (north of Sheppard Avenue)

All are welcome


Come see beautiful illustrations and stories from around the world! And stay tuned for an upcoming blog post that takes a closer look at wordless books for children and highlights some of the most outstanding ones out there.

'They fell with their faces to the foe.' The First Battle of Ypres Commenced

October 19, 2015 | Ann | Comments (3)

World War I Daily Mail Official War Photograph, Series IX, No. 68, titled Ypres "after two years of war."
This artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain. This is because it is a photograph created by the United Kingdom Government and taken prior to 1 June 1957.

This verse is written by Robert Laurence Binyon and taken from a poem called, For the Fallen. Binyon composed this while looking out towards the sea atop a north Cornish coastline. His words conveyed the English soldiers' ultimate sacrifice to protect their land. This poem is very similar to another piece written by a Canadian Lieutenant stationed in Ypres as he gazed at the red poppies springing up through the tightly packed graves in Flanders Fields.


First World War centenary: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, as it happened written by Richard Preston 8:19PM BST 27 Jun 2014
Drawing of Galvrilo Precip killing Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo published on July 12, 1914 from Italian paper, Domenica del Corriere. This media file is in the public domain because its first publication was published prior to January 1, 1923.

The event that precipitated the First World War occurred on St. Vitus' Day, Serbia's National Day, on June 28, 1914 with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Countess Sophie Chotek. From that point forward, preparation for war was underway.

October 19, 1914, 101 years ago today, marked the First Battle of Ypres in Belgium where the French and British armies prevented the Germans from capturing Ypres and heading towards France. Historical resources showed the challenges that the World War I soldiers endured in this first year of battle.  

A trench on the Canadian front showing "funk holes"
Image courtesy of Library Archives Canada on an  Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons licence.

To appreciate how the soldiers persevered through trench warfare, Anne Perry distilled this particular experience in a series of mystery novels. The novels also examined how the Great War was fought on distant lands. The main character, Captain Joseph Reavley, was based on Perry's actual stepfather who fought in the Great War. He shared stories of that period with Anne and this sparked an interest to incorporate these experiences into her rich historical novels.  

No graves as yet by Anne Perry Shoulder the sky by Anne Perry Angels in the gloom by Anne Perry At some disputed barricade by Anne Perry We shall not sleep by Anne Perry

The first book began with the four Reavley siblings living quietly and contentedly in England. A tragic accident suddenly killed both of their parents on the same day that Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated. Joseph and Matthew Reavley started an investigation on the cause of their parents' deaths and located a secret document that could prevent the War from happening. If this document were placed in the hands of the enemy, Europe would fall under German control. The remaining four books (representing each year of the war), detailed the adventures of the four siblings as they gathered government intelligence to bring the enemy spies and their parents' murderers, to justice.

Other popular World War I works of fiction are available through our Toronto Public Library catalogue including:

A duty to the dead Maisie Dobbs: a novel The blood royal A test of wills


To lighten the mood from the deadly battles against the enemy, the British soldiers created some light humour by publishing a magazine called, The Wipers Times. Copies of this magazine (and the movie by the same name) are available to view and borrow from the Toronto Public Library. It is worth noting that the British soldiers mispronounced Ypres as Wipers--hence the name for this magazine.

The Wipers Times, issue cover March 1916 Wellcome
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

For readers interested in the history of the Battle of Ypres and the First World War, the following titles may draw your attention:

Ypres: the first battle, 1914 Douglas Haig and the First World War Ypres, 1914-15 A storm in Flanders: the Ypres salient, 1914-1918: tragedy and triumph on the Western Front
It was their war too: Canadian women and World War I The courage of the early morning: a biography of Billy Bishop, the great ace of World War I Mothers of heroes, mothers of martyrs: World War I and the politics of grief The Great War as I saw it

For more information on Ypres, glance through these intriguing websites located around the world:

  1. Canada and the First World War from the Canadian War Museum website.
  2. Toronto Public Library's Pinterest page on Ypres.  
  3. Allied Powers from the editors of the Encyclopedia of Britannica.
  4. The battle to feed Tommy: New exhibition looks at the diet of a WWI soldier from Imagine the food these soldiers ate and how they had to prepare their meals.
  5. Tony Allen's Picture Postcards of poetry and verse from the Great War.
  6. WW1 Monuments and Memorials from The Great War 1914-1918 website.
  7. Germany - provides a visual collection of the different German artifacts of war.
  8. Britain and World War I on BBC provides historical background on how Britain became involved in fighting this war.  
  9. Australian War Memorial illustrates Australia's involvement with naval and military expeditions. 
  10. Villages East/North-east of Ypres from the World War One Battlefields website provides a good visual tour of the cemeteries in the past and present.
  11. Germany during World War I from First World is an American historical perspective on the Great War.
  12. "You Say Ypres, I Say Ieper, Can't We Just Get Along?" from What Do I Know, Anyway? blog that provides light satirical articles on various intriguing topics including the many different pronunciations for this Belgium city. 

This major event occurred over a century ago, but its repercussions helped to shape the future in culture, politics, and technology of our world today.

Waking the Frog

October 16, 2015 | Carolyn | Comments (0)


Tom Rand, author of "Waking the Frog: solutions for our climate change paralysis"
Tom Rand


Until recently I was probably one of the few people not familiar with the story of the boiling frog. It goes like this: if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will jump out. But if you put a frog into a pot of cold water and slowly heat it, the frog will be lulled to sleep before the water reaches the boiling point. The lesson from this bit of folk wisdom is that, like the frog, we can be unaware of dangers which result from slow, incremental changes - and not react to them in time to save ourselves.

On Tuesday October 27, Tom Rand, author of Waking the Frog, will be speaking at the North York Central Library. Mr. Rand is an entrepreneur focused on carbon mitigation technologies. His commentaries have appeared in the Globe and Mail and other print media, and he is a regular guest on The Exchange with Amanda Lang. He says on his website: "It is my belief that we have yet to have a serious, public conversation about the threat of climate change, and the economic opportunites afforded by the global transformation to a low-carbon economy."


Here are the details about his talk:

Date: Tuesday, October 27

Time: 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Location: North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge St., Room 1  


And here is some suggested reading about both the economic consequences of climate change and the opportunities it is creating:                                                                                                                                                                               





Image courtesy of

Wowing the Visitor: Architecture, Art and Exhibitions at the Aga Khan Museum

October 9, 2015 | Muriel | Comments (1)

 Wowing the Visitor:

Architecture, Art and Exhibitions at the

Aga Khan Museum

Thursday, November 5 at 7:00 p.m.

North York Central Library Auditorium



Sarah Beam-Borg, Exhibition and Public Programs Manager at the Aga Khan Museum, will lead the audience on a journey of discovery and a peek behind the scenes at Canada's newest museum.  The focus will be on the architecture, collection and the planning of temporary exhibitions at the newly opened
Aga Khan Museum. 
Please register for this free program by calling (416) 395-5639.

The Aga Khan Museum Toronto        Aga Khan Museum Guide          Enchanted Lines Drawings from the Aga Khan Museum Collection

Under the Eaves of Architecture      Arts & Crafts of the Islamic Lands      Splendors of Islam

With a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass, you can go for free to the Aga Khan Museum. 

Ontario Garlic: The Story from Farm to Festival

October 2, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

I don't know much about garlic. When I think of garlic, I think about the food my mom makes (the vegetable stir fry that is loaded with minced garlic), the bad breath afterwards and my ability to ward off vampires with it. A bit silly, huh?

Well, garlic has actually been used throughout history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

According to WebMD and the University of Maryland Medical Center, garlic is used to prevent or treat a wide range of diseases and conditions, including heart disease and common colds. It is also rich in antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system.

Garlic is native to central Asia. 68% of Canada’s garlic are imported from China. Here in Ontario, 2,500 acres of garlic are grown. If you want to grow your own, the best time is to plant them in the fall and harvest them the next summer.

To learn more about garlic, join author and Toronto Garlic Festival founder, Peter McClusky as he talks about the history of garlic and how it became one of the most popular spices in Ontario. He will also discuss the chemistry of garlic, tips for growing and cooking garlic, cultural stereotypes and much more.


What: Ontario Garlic: The Story from Farm to Festival

When: Wednesday, October 7 at 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Where: North York Central Library, in Room 1

Registration: Call (416) 395-5649


In the meantime, to learn more about garlic check out these books:

Cooking well, garlic   Garlic   Garlic, an edible biography   Garlic and other alliums

Garlic, onion and other alliums   In pursuit of garlic   The miracle of garlic   Ontario garlic

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