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September 2016

Free Science Events in Toronto for October 2016

September 30, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

The Business, 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 October calendar (PDF).

October's highlights include:

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

At the library, October's highlights include:

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

Sex in Your Garden   What to Expect When You Have Diabetes   Mosquito   Backyard Pharmacy

Marijuana   Bio-Guided Music Therapy   Indoor Radon Problem   Ancient Trees

Two Days in Budapest!

September 26, 2016 | Emoke | Comments (0)


This summer, I had the opportunity to check out what is in my opinion one of the most beautiful cities in the world: Budapest, Hungary. I only spent two days in the city on my way home from my Transylvania, Romania vacation. One of the days was cold and pouring rain, so we went shopping and toured some of the amazing malls they have there. The last day, luckily, was bright and sunny and we took a bus tour of the city and afterwards walked along the Danube downtown to the Parliament building and surrounding area. Finally at night, we met with our friends for a farewell dinner on the Danube river at a restaurant where they served fisherman's soup.

Our stay there was way too short, and like a quick whirlwind. It was not nearly enough time to see many of the major sights or visit the beautiful galleries, or try enough of the delicious Hungarian food and drinks. I did tell myself that I need at least a good two weeks in this place to really take it in. On quick glance though, I feel that it reminds me of a Hungarian Paris, with the beautiful architecture. The architecture in Budapest is a mixture of old and modern, including: Roman, Gothic and Neo-Gothic, Renaissance and Neo-Renaissance, Ottoman, Baroque and Neo-Baroque, Classicism and Neo-Classicism, Romantic and Art Nouveau, etc.

I noticed the city is packed with tourists and in general, is very multicultural and diverse (with many multicultural restaurants), while keeping with Hungarian traditions. It is to me at least, a hub of art, fashion and beauty, and a delicious place to sample my own Hungarian food and traditions.  

Have a look at some of the photos we took of Budapest. And then look to the bottom of this post for library materials that can be borrowed about Budapest travel from Toronto Public Library.

  Danube river at night

Danube River at night. Liberty Bridge

  Night Scene on Danube River

 Night scene on Danube River featuring the Elizabeth Bridge

  Parliament Building

Parliament Building

  Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge by day

  Chain bridge with stone lions

Chain Bridge with stone lions

 Check out the following materials that can be borrowed about Budapest from Toronto Public Library:

Budapest Rick Steves Budapest Budapest Budapest 



Some We Love, Some We Eat: Our Complicated Relationships With Animals

September 23, 2016 | Maureen | Comments (14)

The infamous pig trial will begin again on October 3. In an instance of synchronicity seemingly arranged by Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, World Animal Day is October 4. For those who haven’t been following the case, last summer Anita Krajnc stuck her arm through a vent in a truck stopped at an intersection in Burlington, and gave water to pigs bound for a nearby slaughterhouse. Following an ugly interaction with the truck driver, the police were called. Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief. The worst case scenario for Krajnc is years of prison time. The best case scenario is a fine. Krajnc says she will not pay the fine, and is prepared to go to prison.

Anita Krajnc giving water to pigs on their way to slaughter.
By Elli Garlin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The pigs on the truck were merely property to the pig farmer, but to activists like Krajnc, a vegan, and the founder of Toronto Pig Save, pigs are sentient beings with the ability to feel pain and emotion. The incident in Burlington is just one example among millions the world over showing how polarized we are when it comes to our feelings and beliefs about animals. Websites featuring news stories about the case have received hundreds of comments, showing widely divergent viewpoints and strong emotions.

In honor of World Animal Day, I considered offering you movies about cute and cuddly animals, like these:

Snow Babies Too Cute Kittens

But I changed my mind after I read the World Animal Day mission statement: “To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe.” In the spirit of World Animal Day, I offer some thought provoking movies and books on animals, and our often troubled relationship with them.


The Cove
Give Me Shelter
Give me shelter
Cowspiracy: the sustainability secret
The ghosts in our machine
Peaceable kingdom: the journey home


Some we love sme we hate some we eat

Some we love, some we hate, some we eat

Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Beyond words: what animals think and feel

Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Project animal farm: an accidental journey into the secret world of farming and the truth about our food

Book | eBook | eAudiobook | Audiobook CD | Talking Book CD*


Finally, here's a book I think Anita Krajnc would enjoy:


Esther the wonder pig: changing the world one heart at a time

Book | eBook | eAudiobook

 *Please note: Talking Book CD and Talking Book DAISY formats are restricted to print disabled customers.


A Bug's Life

September 16, 2016 | Carolyn | Comments (0)

Male Photinus sp. in flight, emitting a light signal in hopes of attracting a female. Photo by Terry Priest. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.
Male firefly in flight, hoping to attract a female by sending out a light signal. Photo by Terry Priest. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Many children are fascinated by bugs. I remember my children's curiosity about the ladybugs and earthworms in our garden and the beautiful dragonflies at the cottage. My own favourite bugs when I was a kid had to be fireflies; watching them on summer evenings was a fun way to learn about bioluminescence. She might deny this, but I also remember that my sister loved to eat ants as a little girl - with all the interest in insects as a sustainable food source I guess she was ahead of her time!

Somehow, as many people grow up, that natural curiosity about insects turns into fear; some of the most common phobias involve insects.

Love them or hate them, if you'd like to learn more about the world of insects join us for Bug Basics on Wednesday September 28. Speaker Emily Macleod is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto who has studied the mating habits of black widow spiders. She will discuss the behaviours, eating habits and secret weapons of the earth's tiniest creatures. School-age children are welcome to attend this talk, so bring your bug-loving youngsters.


Program details:

Bug Basics

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

North York Central Library Auditorium


There are lots of great websites about insects. Here are a few to check out:


 And here are some books about insects:



Henry Hudson and His River

September 12, 2016 | Ann | Comments (0)

Recommended websites on Henry Hudson
By Neemster (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As schools begin their first full week of studies, this post will briefly examine the history, travel, and trials of Henry Hudson. 

Some Internet sources claim that September 12, 1575 was Henry Hudson's birthday which would make him 441 years old, but his actual birthday was probably near that date. September 12th is better spent commemorating his travel through the river that will eventually be named after him.

Henry Hudson traveled on four voyages on three different ships to try to locate a trade route through the Northeast and Northwest Passage to the Orient, but he never made it to this final destination. Instead, Henry Hudson located trade routes through Canada and the United States. On his third voyage on September 12th in 1609, he sailed down a river which will later be called the Hudson River.

Hudson's voyages across the seas from England to North America have not been smooth. His crew have endured limited food rations, changing temperatures and dangerous weather conditions. These conditions inevitably helped lower the crew's morale and they have threatened to mutiny on a few occasions.

The crew's frustrations culminated on June 22, 1611. With only a 14-day supply of food rations remaining, the crew refused to travel any farther in the freezing ice-filled waters of (what is now) James Bay.  Henry Hudson, his son, and a few fellow sailors too weak and sick to defend themselves were cast off the ship by the angry mutineers. The abandoned crew were placed in a small wooden boat to fend for themselves. The National Film Board presents Richard Gilbert's (1964) film, The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson.

Artist John Collier recreated that fateful moment below of the abandoned crew as they floated among the frozen icebergs. 

More Paintings by John Collier
John Collier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The artist's portrayal shows a resigned look on Hudson's face as well as a sick crewman while John Hudson, his son, clutches Henry's hand for hope to survive this situation. Sadly, the abandoned crew were never found again and presumed dead at sea. Only through Hudson's discovered journal entries and the actual return of the mutineers to England to confess their crime was Henry's tragedy recognized.

To read more of Henry Hudson's travels and the history of the Hudson river, please refer to the following titles: 

A historical inquiry concerning Henry Hudson, his friends, relatives and early life, his connection with the Muscovy company and discovery of Delaware Bay Half moon: Henry Hudson and the voyage that redrew the map of the New World Fatal journey: the final expedition of Henry Hudson-- a tale of mutiny and murder in the Arctic
Henry Hudson: New World voyager The worlds of the seventeenth-century Hudson Valley Henry Hudson: doomed navigator and explorer

For more information on the Hudson River from past to present, the following titles offer a textual and virtual field trip through the waterway:

Bill Moyers on the Hudson America's first river (DVD) The Hudson Valley: a cultural guide (1st edition) The European invasion of North America: colonial conflict along the Hudson-Champlain corridor, 1609-1760
The Hudson River School: nature and the American vision The Hudson: America's river River of dreams: the story of the Hudson River

In Canada, Hudson's Bay and the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) are also named after Henry Hudson. Here are some books on this longstanding company to enjoy:

History of the Hudson's Bay Company 1670-1870 Empire of the Bay The bastard of Fort Stikine: the Hudson's Bay Company and the murder of John McLoughlin Jr.

The voyages of this brave man have greatly influence trade, culture, and history in Canada and the United States. Sadly, his efforts left him in a boat adrift on the freezing waters of James Bay and not rejoining his friends and family back in England. Still, North America has honoured and remembered him by name and by his historical achievements.

North York Central Library Talk: Miles Ahead, Portrait of a Changeling

September 9, 2016 | Muriel | Comments (0)


 North York Central Library Talk:

Miles Ahead:

Portrait of a Changeling

 7 to 8 p.m., Thursday, October 13, 2016

North York Central Library Auditorium

Please register for this free program

by calling 416-395-5639.

Miles Davis was the quintessential seeker living his life by the Dylan maxim,
"He not being born is busy dying." 
This lecture will explore various ways that Miles continued
to renew and reinvent his music and persona from the 1950s 
through to his death in September 1991.

Speaker: Dr. Rob Bowman from York University and

Grammy Award-winning music scholar.


Miles Davis The Complete Illustrated History    Dark Magus the Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis    Miles on Miles    

Miles to Go Remembering Miles Davis    So What The Life of Miles Davis    Clawing at the Limits of Cool

Its About That Time Miles Davis On and Off Record    The Miles Davis Lost Quintet    DVD The Miles Davis Story

Be sure to visit NAXOS, the online music library available through 
Toronto Public Library, and listen to great music spanning
to modern - classical, jazz, electronic, world music and
more, and 
find expert educational content. There is a free iPhone/iPod Touch app available in the iTunes App Store which can be used with the user's playlist login information.  The app will give you streaming playback access to the entire library of music and saved playlists.  A Wi-Fi or cellular data connection is required.


Back to School Anxiety

September 2, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (2)


Daughter getting ready for school
My daughter off to preschool with her security object in hand

When I was younger, I would dread this time of the year the most. The nights were getting cooler and the CNE was coming to an end. It was time to go back to school.

I still remember vividly my first day of junior kindergarten. We received a package in the mail with my name tag. My mom explained that I would be going to school. I was so excited! I wore a grey and pink dress with a bow. My school was just across the street from our apartment. I was so excited walking into the classroom full of colourful posters on the walls. Then it hit me. My mom was not staying. I was going to be alone with a room full of kids and two adults who were strangers. I cried. A lot.

I don’t remember what happened after. But I know I cried every day for the rest of the week (or maybe longer… that part is a bit fuzzy).

My daughter will be starting senior kindergarten on Tuesday. Although she’s already had two years of school under her belt, she still has separation anxiety. Her first year of preschool consisted of crying for two months straight. Then one day, miraculously, she stopped.

Last school year was a lot better. She cried for the first three days and that was it. However, she’ll be starting at a new school on Tuesday.

The Parenting and What to Expect websites provide some helpful tips on how to deal with your child’s separation anxiety:

  • Set a sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up early and eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Practice and role play: At home, have your child pretend play as the parent while you act as the child. Go through all the motions of the first day of school.
  • Bring a security object: Put a security object in your child’s bag to remind them of home.
  • Find friendly faces: Set up a play date with a classmate before school starts.
  • Read books together: Read some books about the first day of school.
  • Keep it short but sweet: Keep the goodbyes short.

I've tried most of these things to prepare her, like role playing at home, reading books, bringing a security object (her elephant) and keeping the goodbyes short. However, I haven’t tried setting up a play date before the start of school. We will be attending a meet the teacher night and I will try to find a friend that I can introduce to her. Hopefully this will help ease her anxiety.

The library also has some great books about separation anxiety:

Calming Your Anxious Child   Helping Your Child Overcome Separation Anxiety or School Refusal   The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution   School Phobia, Panic Attacks and Anxiety in Children

Here are some children’s books to read with your child to help prepare them:

The Kissing Hand   Llama Llama Misses Mama   Mama, Don't Go   Monkey

Does your child suffer from separation anxiety? What are some of the things you've tried?


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