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July 18 is Mandela Day

July 18, 2016 | Carrie | Comments (0)

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 and would be celebrating his 98th birthday today if he was still alive (he passed away in 2013). To honour his legacy and to promote community service worldwide, July 18 was declared Nelson Mandela International Day (or 'Mandela Day') by the United Nations in 2009. In recognition of one of the world's most inspiring anti-apartheid leaders and symbols of freedom and equality, here are six books to help celebrate 'Mandela Day.'

Long walk to freedom              Young Mandela                                   Prisoner in the Garden (2)                                 

The Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela

 Young Mandela: The Revolutionary Years by David James Smith

 A Prisoner in the Garden by Nelson Mandela


Playing the enemy

              Conversations with Myself                              

    Notes to the future 

 Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation by John Carlin

 Conversations with Myself By Nelson Mandela

Notes to the Future By Nelson Mandela              

The Nelson Mandela Foundation asks people to give up 67 minutes on Mandela Day -- one minute for every year of Mandela's public service -- to take action and inspire change. The objective is to "inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better and in so doing, to build a global movement for good."

Some of the suggested activities include:

  • Make a new friend. Get to know someone from a different cultural background.
  • Read to someone who can’t.
  • Help someone get a job. Put together and print a CV for them, or help them with their interview skills.
  • Offer to take an elderly neighbour who can't drive to do their shopping/chores.
  • Donate your skills!




And the Award for Best Cookbook Goes to…

July 8, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (1)

The ceremonies celebrating the best cookbooks of 2015 were held recently.

The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Cookbook Awards honoured authors, publishers and other contributors behind the best cookbooks published last year. The association strives to promote quality and creativity in writing and publishing and to expand the awareness of culinary literature. They awarded the cookbook of the year to…

The Food Lab

The Food Lab
(also available: e-book)

In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don't work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new, but simple, techniques.

Here are some of the other IACP award winning cookbooks:

Dinner at Home   Fast Food, Good Food   Food52 Genius Recipes   The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook

Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees   The Picnic   Tacos   Vegetarian India

Visit IACP’s website for the full list of winners.

The James Beard Foundation Book Awards celebrated books that contributed to the growing canon of information and knowledge about food and beverage. This year, the book of the year went to…


Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking

Zahav tells an authoritative and personal story of how Solomonov embraced the food of his birthplace. It showcases the melting-pot cooking of Israel, especially the influences of the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. With its blend of technique and passion, this book shows readers how to make his food their own.

Here are some of the other James Beard Foundation award winning cookbooks:

A Bird in the Hand   Near and Far   NOPI   V is for Vegetables

Visit the James Beard Foundation website for the full list of winners.

The Gourmand World Cookbooks Award honoured the best food and wine books, printed or digital, as well as food television. They presented the best cookbook of the year to…

With Our Own Hands

With Our Own Hands

This book tells the story of the Afghan and Tajik Pamir Mountains, the old traditions and rapid changes in people's lives and the way they interact with the landscape. It is also a book about the origins of food. Combining stories, essays, recipes, and photography, With Our Own Hands seeks to strengthen the pride of the Pamiri people and excite the curiosity of those who appreciate diversity in food and agriculture, and the role it plays in people's relationships with nature and with each other.

Here are some of the other Gourmand International award winning cookbooks:

The Ghana Cookbook   Montreal Cooks   Soup for Syria   Vegan Everyday

Visit the Gourmand International website for the full list of winners.

Many of the award winning cookbooks can be read online or on a mobile device. Search for the titles in OverDrive, the library's e-book and e-audiobook digital content service.

Hockey Players Clobber Artists

June 30, 2016 | Maureen | Comments (8)

How many hockey players does it take to make you feel dumb about Canadian art? If you said three, good guess. A recent poll showed that Canadians had no trouble coming up with the names of hockey players -- 97 percent of those polled could name three or more. I came up with ten, and I don't even care about hockey. Hey, put away those pitchforks and torches -- I promise, I WILL be a fan during the last game of the playoffs, if the Leafs ever make it that far. Or the Habs. Or ANY Canadian team.

The fact that Canadians -- even the least athletic or sporty among us, know the names of hockey players, is no big shocker. Canadians exhale Zamboni fumes. Baby Canadians drink in the names of hockey stars with their mother's milk. The more unsettling revelation that came from this poll is that 54 percent of Canadians couldn't come up with the name of a single Canadian visual artist, living or dead. And those that could, picked the usual (albeit incredibly talented and venerated) suspects: Emily Carr, Tom Thomson and two members of the Group of Seven, A. Y. Jackson, and Lawren Harris.

Emily Carr collected A treasury of Tom Thomson
A. Y. Jackson - the life of a landscape painter Lawren Stewart Harris - a painter's progress

If there was a Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable player in the visual arts, these four painters would surely have won it. Their impressions of the Canadian landscape are as much a part of the Canadian psyche as Paul Henderson's game winning goal with only 34 seconds left to play in the 1972 Canada-USSR Summit Series. When I think of Ontario's north, I swear, I see it like this:

  The west wind

The west wind, Tom Thomson - with permission from the Art Gallery of Ontario

In celebration of Canada Day, let's take a moment to consider some other Canadian visual artists. The hockey season is over. The winter Olympics are more than two years off. Light filled summer days are perfect for looking at these art books.

David Altmejd
David Altmejd, sculptor


The women of Beaver Hall - Canadian modernist painters
The Beaver Hall Group


Manufactured landscapes
Edward Burtynsky, photographer


Alex Colville, painter


Kurelek country - the art of William Kurelek
William Kurelek, painter


A fool in paradise - an artist's early life
Doris McCarthy, artist specializing in abstracted landscapes


David Milne - watercolours
David Milne, painter, printmaker


Norval Morrisseau - Return To The House Of Invention
Norval Morrisseau, artist


Odjig - the art of Daphne Odjig, 1960-2000
Daphne Odjig, artist


Christopher Pratt - the places I go

Christopher Pratt, painter, printmaker


Mary Pratt
Mary Pratt, painter


Jeff Wall, photographer


Steve Martin, the American comedian/actor/musician/author/art collector -- let's just say, all round genius -- was so taken with the work of Lawren Harris, he curated an exhibition of his work. The idea of north: the paintings of Lawren Harris will be at the Art Gallery of Ontario from July 1 to September 18. Pick up a Sun Life Financial Museum and Arts Pass at your local Toronto Public Library branch, and you can go to the Art Gallery of Ontario for free. You can borrow the beautiful book The idea of north: the paintings of Lawren Harris from the Toronto Public Library.

The idea of North - the paintings of Lawren Harris


National Post article, June 20, 2016: Over 50 per cent of Canadians can't name a Canadian painter; 97 per cent can name multiple hockey players


Free Science Events in Toronto for July 2016

June 28, 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 July calendar (PDF).

July's highlights include:

  • July 7: Healthy Digestion - Learn more about the best digestive foods and exercises to increase metabolism and digestion.
  • July 12: Stem Cells: The Hope and the Hype - Join leading experts for a realistic view of what stems cells hold for all of us - now and in the future.
  • July 24: Water World - Discover how water works and how to keep our water clean.

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

At the Library, July's highlights include:

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

Digestive Wellness   The Healing Cell   Connecting the Drops   The Big Book of Maker Skills

The Music of Being   Crowdsourced Health   The Culinary Herbal   Open Data Structures

Here Comes the Summer Solstice!

June 20, 2016 | Ann | Comments (0)

Mandala titles for your reading interest!
Photo courtesy of Bart Everson on Flickr under cc Generic 2.0 licence.

While temperatures soared above the 30 degree Celsius mark after Victoria Day on May 23rd, summer officially begins at 6:34 pm today. As the commuter traffic dwindles, the Summer Solstice pours through the City hurling us into hot and humid weather. Today starts the season of swimming pools, bug bites and scorching sunburns.

Here are some historically hot topics for you to glance through on your patio:

Indian summer: the secret history of the end of an empire Empire of the summer moon: Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history The long summer: how climate changed civilization Martian summer: robot arms, cowboy spacemen, and my 90 days with the Phoenix Mars Mission
Freedom summer: the savage summer that made Mississippi burn and made America a democracy Summer of '68: the season that changed baseball-- and America-- forever The summer of beer and whiskey: how brewers, barkeeps, rowdies, immigrants, and a wild pennant fight made baseball America's game Red heat: conspiracy, murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean


Today also celebrates the longest day of the year. From this day forward, daylight hours gradually shorten over time. Six months from today, on Wednesday, December 21st at 5:44 pm, the Winter Solstice will mark the shortest day of the year. From that day forward, daylight hours with increase again until the next Summer Solstice arrives to complete the cycle. In contrast, the Spring and Fall Equinox mark the period when daylight balances evenly with the nighttime hours because the sun is directly over the Earth's equator. Paige Williams' (2013) article provides a detailed understanding on how seasons occur as a result of how our planet is tilted. 


As the Earth tilts favourably towards the Sun at different areas of the world, people gather to celebrate this day with food and festivities. Here are four articles on Summer Solstice celebrations from around the world:

  1. Top 10 Summer Solstice Celebrations Around the World by Huffpost Travel
  2. 5 summer solstice celebrations from around the world by
  3. 5 Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice Around the World by
  4. 15 Summer Holiday Traditions from Around the World by Becky Ferreira

Or, you can create your very own Summer Solstice festivity from WikiHow.


Enjoy these previous TPL blogs as the summer moves forward:

  1. Summer Awakens the Wandering Traveler
  2. UFO or Weather Balloon
  3. Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, 1762-1850
  4. Let's Go to the EX!


While planning your fun in the City, have a look at the following websites:

  1. Toronto Hogspot Activities/Events/Fun
  2. City of Toronto - Special Events
  3. Toronto festivals and events calendar


Summer would not be complete without some amazing activities for the children and family across the City. Thursday, June 30, 2016, the TD Summer Reading Club registration begins and the book reporting starts on Monday, July 4, 2016! The program runs all summer long and ends on Saturday, September 3, 2016. Children are encouraged to sign up, read books, join in on some amazing activities, and spend the best part of the summer learning and having fun.

Summer Reading Club 2016

Enjoy this day and every sun-drenched day that is available for the next three months. The weather can only get better from this point forward. No matter where you reside, the Summer Solstice arrives to bring joy and celebration all around.

How Memory Changes with Age

June 10, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

My grandma often opens a kitchen cupboard and stares at it. “What did I need?” she would mumble. Sometimes she would tell us a story, not remembering she had already told us it. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 40% of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. It is an “age-associated memory impairment,” which is a normal part of aging.

As we age, our brains slowly decline in volume and blood flow to the brain also decreases. However, studies have shown that the brain is capable of regrowth and learning. Here are some helpful tips from the American Psychological Association on how to minimize age-related changes and improve memory function:

  • Participate in social and community activities
  • Physical activities and exercise
  • Train your brain
  • Have positive beliefs about aging
  • Avoid distractions

If you or a loved one is experiencing age-related memory difficulties, the Alzheimer Society of Canada offers some tips on how to cope:

  • Keep a routine
  • Organize information
  • Put items in the same spot
  • Repeat information
  • Make associations
  • Involve your senses
  • Teach others or tell them stories
  • Get a full night’s sleep

To learn more about memory and aging, join us at the North York Central Library for a talk by Dr. Shayna Rosenbaum, Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Biology, and Centre for Vision Research, York University. She will discuss the latest research on age-related changes to memory and brain function.


What: How Memory Changes with Age

When: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 (7 – 8 PM)

Where: North York Central Library, in the Auditorium

For more information: Call the Business, Science & Technology Department at (416) 395-5613


For more information about memory and aging, here are some books:

Memory and Aging   Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind   The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain   Understanding Brain Aging and Dementia

Here are some books about improving your memory as you age:

100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss   Brain Power   Keep Your Brain Alive   Your Best Brain Ever

There are also DVDs on how to keep your brain fit:

The Brain Fitness Program   Brain Fitness2   Functional Fitness Brain Power   Optimizing Brain Fitness


Truth and Reconciliation: One Year Later

June 6, 2016 | Carrie | Comments (1)


Fort ResolutionR.C. Indian Residential School Study Time, Fort Resolution, N.W.T. This work is in the public domain.

It's been just over a year since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada held its closing ceremonies and released its summary report of the findings into the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada. This included 94 broad recommendations, or "calls to action" aimed at redressing the legacy of residential schools and facilitating the process of reconciliation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was launched in June 2008 as a result of the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement with the mandate to "inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools."

More than 130 residential schools operated across Canada and the federal government has estimated at least 150,000 First Nation, Métis and Inuit students attended them. The last school, located outside of Regina, closed in the mid-1990s. These schools were funded by the Canadian government and administered by Christian churches. The goal was to assimilate the indigenous population into the dominant Canadian culture and remove them from the influence of their families and culture. 

Join us at the North York Central Library on Monday, June 6 to hear Joanna Birenbaum, a Toronto constitutional and human rights lawyer, discuss the legacy of Residential Schools for Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous people in Canada, with a focus on the steps taken toward reconciliation since June 2015. In particular, Joanna will describe the innovative National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its important role in the ongoing process of reconciliation.


What: Truth and Reconciliation: One Year Later

When: Monday, Jun 06, 2016, 7 pm

Where: North York Central Library, in the Auditorium

For more information: Call the Society and Recreation Department at 416-395-5660


If you would like to learn more about the history of residential schools in Canada, please take a look at the following books or visit one of Toronto Public Library's Native Peoples Collections located at North York Central Library, Spadina Road branch and Toronto Reference Library. These collections include books, CDs and DVDs, as well as language-learning kits, by and about the Native Peoples of North America with special emphasis on First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada.


A knock on the door


A knock on the door: the essential history of residential schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 2016




Up Ghost River



Up Ghost River: a chief's journey through the turbulent waters of Native history. 2014





Unsettling the Settler Within


Unsettling the settler within: Indian residential schools, truth telling, and reconciliation in Canada, 2010






  Residential Schools


Residential schools: with the words and images of survivors. 2014





The Final Report:

History Part 1 The history Part 2 Inuit and Northern Experience Metis experience



Missing children Legacy Reconciliation

Jazz Festival Preview: Chase Sanborn Trio Live!

June 3, 2016 | Maureen | Comments (5)

Chase SanbornNorth York Central Library is partnering with the TD Toronto Jazz Festival for a free preview show. The Chase Sanborn Trio will perform at the library on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:15 p.m. Before the performance, Chase and his fellow musicians will give a workshop on jazz fundamentals. It doesn't matter whether you're a jazz newb who can't tell the difference between bebop and boogie-woogie, or a jazz aficionado -- all are welcome at the workshop, which starts at 6:00 p.m. Call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.

Acclaimed trumpet player Chase Sanborn has played with some of the biggest, brightest stars in jazz, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Diana Krall. He spent years playing on stages in Boston, San Francisco and New York, including legendary Broadway. (Fun fact: Chase has played lead trumpet for the long running Broadway musical Cats 1444 times!) Chase is now a vibrant force on the Toronto music scene, both as a performer and educator -- he’s a faculty member at the University of Toronto, in the Jazz program. In an interview with the musician, I came across a funny story about how he became a trumpet player. Although he's been playing trumpet since his elementary school days, the instrument wasn't his first choice. He wanted to play trombone, but his arms were too short to extend the slide. His second pick was saxophone, but by the time they got around to the kids whose names started with 'S' they had run out of saxophones! Thus a trumpet player was born.

The TD Toronto Jazz Festival runs from June 24 to July 3 this year. If you aren't already jazzed up about this great festival, here are some suggestions to get you in the mood:

 Borrow a Chase Sanborn CD from the library:

Double Double Perking Up Cut to the Chase

Watch a movie:

Satchmo Louis Armstrong The girls in the band Dancing on the edge Ella Fitzgerald the legendary first lady of song
Cannonball Adderley live in '63 Let's get lost Mo' better blues Ornette

Read a book:

The history of jazz Jazz The Penguin jazz guide The jazz book

Play an instrument:

The Hal Leonard real jazz standards fake book Berklee jazz piano Jazz classics Smooth jazz piano

 Get the kids involved:

Ella Fitzgerald - the tale of a vocal virtuoso Just a lucky so and so - the story of Louis Armstrong Jazz Oscar lives next door - a story inspired by Oscar Peterson's childhood
Before John was a jazz giant Mysterious Thelonious Charlie Parker played be bop Duke Ellington - the piano prince and his orchestra

Listen to some jazz:

Visit Naxos Music Library Jazz, one of the most comprehensive collections of jazz music available online. It offers over 100,000 jazz tracks from more than 9,000 albums. Over 12,000 jazz artists are represented. You can access the Naxos jazz library anywhere -- all you need is an internet connection and your library card. 

Naxos music library -- jazzBorrow a CD:

The library still collects CDs, so don't fret if you're a little old fashioned and like the simplicity of feeding a CD into a slot. I like the way the CD player in my car pulls the CD from my fingers, firmly, eagerly, it seems to me, like it can't wait to hit the road and start spinning tunes. If you're new to jazz, and want to dabble, consider the CDs below. You can't go wrong with these classics.

Kind of Blue,  Miles Davis.

A love supreme, John Coltrane.

My favorite things, John Coltrane.

Time out, Dave Brubeck.

Getz/Gilberto, Stan Getz and João Gilberto.

Ella and Louis, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. (Canadian jazz legend Oscar Peterson plays piano on this album)

Concert by the sea, Erroll Garner.

Genius of modern music, volume 1., Thelonious Monk.

Bennie Goodman at Carnegie Hall 1938, Bennie Goodman.

The essential Bessie Smith, Bessie Smith.

The complete Decca recordings, Count Basie.

The complete Savoy and Dial Sessions, Charlie Parker.

Mingus ah um, Charles Mingus.

Ella Fitzgerald sings the Cole Porter songbook, Ella Fitzgerald.

Our man in Paris, Dexter Gordon.


Free Science Events in Toronto for June 2016

May 31, 2016 | 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 June calendar (PDF).

June's highlights include:

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

At the Library, June's highlights include:

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

Nature's Babies   Learning Virtual Reality   Space Probes   Homemade Sourdough

The Healthy Homemade Pet Food Cookbook   How to Raise Monarch Butterflies   Understanding Brain Aging and Dementia   The Everything STEM Handbook


Spring Cleaning

May 13, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (8)

The weather is finally consistently warm and pleasant. Now it’s time to get out the vacuums, dusters and cleaning supplies to remove the buildup of dust and dirt from the winter months.

Last weekend, I thoroughly vacuumed the house. I moved beds, couches, dressers and other furniture to reach places that are often missed. This weekend, I plan on removing the curtains and throwing them in the wash. Rugs and throw pillows need to be cleaned and dried in the sun. Oh, and I can’t forget those stuffed animals.

I also like to open all my windows to let fresh air into the house. And don’t forget to check your air duct cleaning schedule. It may be time to get those professionally cleaned, as well.

Spring cleaning isn’t just about cleaning. It’s also an opportunity to organize and declutter your home. Store away winter jackets, sweaters and boots that we hopefully won’t be needing until December. Organize your closet and throw away or donate any unwanted clothing.

The library has many books with cleaning and organizing tips to help you get started.

Here are some books about cleaning:

Express Housekeeping   Household Hints   Joey Green's Kitchen Magic   Keeping House

Looking for an environmentally friendly way to clean? Try these books:

Homemade Cleaners   Household Cleaning   The Organically Clean Home   Planet Home

Need help with organizing and decluttering your home? There are books for that, too:

Declutter Anything   Decluttering Your Home   The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up   Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter

I have to admit that I don't like to clean. But it's something that needs to be done. Looking for a shortcut to cleaning? There are actually books for that, too:

Clean it Fast, Clean it Right   Just Clean Enough   No Time to Clean   Speed Cleaning 101

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.