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Free Science Events in Toronto for February 2016

February 2, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

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 February calendar (PDF).

February's highlights include:

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

At the library, February's highlights include:

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

Respiratory   Spider silk   Ice carving 101   Spark

Good germs, bad germs   Winter blues   Cut your energy bills now   Teach yourself visually Excel 2013


Slavery, Antislavery and Resistance in 19th Century Toronto

February 1, 2016 | Carrie | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Many Canadians are unaware that slavery existed here during the colonial period and that a number of prominent families in the Town of York (as Toronto was called until 1834) were slaveholders.

Upper Canada's first lieutenant governor, John Graves Simcoe attempted to abolish slavery in the colony but faced resistance from members of his legislative assembly, many of whom were slave owners themselves. He was able to pass a compromised version of his proposed legislation in 1793 which allowed for gradual abolition of slavery and prevented the further introduction of slaves into the province.

Toronto was also an important terminal of the Underground Railroad and became a hub of abolitionist activities. St Lawrence Hall was an important meeting place of the abolitionist movement and hosted the famous "North American Convention of Colored Freemen" in 1851.

The North York Central Library is excited to have Karolyn Smardz Frost on Wednesday, February 17 for her program entitled "Slavery, Antislavery and Resistance in 19th Century Toronto."  This seminar explores the experiences of the enslaved in the early Town of York,  and describes the resistance mounted by African Canadians against both slavery and racial oppression up to the time of the American Civil War.

Karolyn Smardz Frost is the Harrison McCain Visiting Professor at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, and a Senior Research Fellow for African Canadian History at the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University, Toronto. She was formerly the Bicentennial Visiting Professor for Canadian Studies (2012-2013) at Yale University. Smardz Frost won the Governor-General's award for English language non-fiction in 2007 for "I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad".

What: Slavery, Antislavery and Resistance in 19th Century Toronto

When: Wednesday, February 17 from 7:00-8:00 pm 

Where: North York Central Library, in the Concourse

For more information and to register: Please call the Society and Recreation Department at (416) 416-395-5660

Check out the other Black History Month programs happening at branches across the city during the month of February.

If you would like to read more about the history of blacks in Canada, check these out:

  The Promised Land   Black canadians   Ontario's African-Canadian Heritage   Black refugees in Canada
  I've got a home in a glory land   Underground railroad   Race on trial   The Underground railroad

Your Brain on Exercise: How Physical Activity Can Improve Your Mental Well-being

January 22, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

We all know that regular exercise is good for your health. But did you know that it also benefits your brain?

Studies have found that physical activity plays an important role in brain health and recovery.

Psychology Today explains that exercise increases blood flow to the brain which improves cerebrovascular health, releases neurotrophic factors like BDNF which stimulates the growth of new neurons, metabolizes glucose and lipids which brings nourishment to the brain and finally, it improves white matter integrity.

Another study found that light resistance training, like weight training, may also slow the age-related shrinking of some parts of the brain.

Join us at the North York Central Library to find out more about how exercise can improve mental well-being. The presentation will explore how the brain responds to exercise to prevent and manage symptoms of depression. It will also include best exercises and foods to stay mentally healthy.


What: Your Brain on Exercise: How Physical Activity Can Improve Your Mental Well-being

When: Wednesday, February 3rd at 7 – 8:15 PM

Where: North York Central Library, in the Auditorium

For more information: Call the Science & Technology Department at (416) 395-5649


In the meantime, here are some books about the benefits of exercise for the brain:

Exercise and the mind   Exercise for mood and anxiety   Healthy brain, happy life   Spark

Here are some books with activities and foods to keep your brain healthy:

The brain training revolution   Exercises for brain health   Mindfull   Power foods for the brain

And here are some exercise DVDs that are good for your health and your brain:

30 minutes to fitness   Maximum strength overload with Skip Jennings   Strength and stability training for the back and core   The tone every zone walk

There are also exercise e-videos, from Hoopla, that you can access from home with your library card:

The firm   Jillian Michaels beginner shred   Mari Winsor pink ribbon pilates   Richard Simmons sweatin to the oldies 4


York Woods Branch to Host Sister Souljah’s Just BGraphic's Life Series Conference

January 14, 2016 | Aleks | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Sister SouljahYork Woods Branch is very pleased to be hosting Just BGraphic’s Life Series conference taking place on Friday January 15, 2016. In a shared commitment with Toronto District School Board, JBG will be holding this workshop for students and teachers in grade 9-12 as a learning experience for the students. The goal of the conference is to foster creativity, leadership and promote ethical citizenship.

The conference is full.

It will be centered on Sister Souljah’s bestselling book “The Coldest Winter Ever. Her novel is credited with helping to popularize urban literature, a genre that first began during the Black Power movement. In an intimate discussion setting with Sister Souljah and her books, she will share her stories, life lessons and wisdoms on concepts such as poverty, sexuality, stereotypes, family and community. Through hip hop pedagogy, drama, poetry and presentations, the youth will be able to engage in conversations on a different level.

With a degree in American History and African Studies, Sister Souljah decided to take her inspiration overseas. Her accomplishments are extensive as she worked to build a medical center for families in Bindura, Zimbabwe and worked with refugee from Mozambique. A student activist, she organized and financed a cultural camp which included a skill building curriculum for 200 children of homeless families. She is also a community activist organizing rallies against racially motivated crimes, police brutality and the miseducation of urban youth.

  The Coldest Winter Ever 

Midnight- a gangster love story Midnight and the Meaning of Love A deeper love inside A moment of silence  

Food Junkies

January 8, 2016 | Carolyn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


Public domain image courtesy of Pixabay


Foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt can be hard to resist. A study published in 2015 found that " highly processed foods, which may share characteristics with drugs of abuse...appear to be particularly associated with food addiction” and suggested that they're intentionally designed to promote addictive behavior. The study also included a list of the most addictive foods. I must share my weakness for delicious (but high fat) cheeses with many other people; cheese is number ten on the list.

Are you concerned that you may be dealing with a food addiction? You can use this test* (PDF)based on the Yale Food Addiction Scale, to find out more. But while self-assessment is a good place to start, its also important to get professional advice.

On Tuesday January 12 at the North York Central Library, you're invited to attend a talk on food addiction. The speaker is Dr. Vera Tarman, an accredited addiction medicine specialist with a special interest in food addiction. Dr. Tarman is the author of Food Junkies: the truth about food addiction. She will discuss her book and provide practical, evidence-based advice for dealing with this problem. 

If you have resolved to change your relationship to food in 2016, attending Dr. Tarman's presentation would be a great place to start! 


Food Junkies: the truth about food addiction

Here are more resources for information on food addiction and related issues:





Date: Tuesday January 12, 2016

Time: 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location: North York Central Library Auditorium


 * This test is from the Food and Addiction Science & Treatment Lab at the University of Michigan.

Free Science Events in Toronto for January 2016

December 29, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

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 January calendar (PDF).

January's highlights include:

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

At the library, January's highlights include:

  • January 12: Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction, at North York Central Library. Dr. Vera Tarman will discuss her book which focuses on the experiences of people coping with various forms of food addiction, and provides readers with practical information grounded in medical science.
  • January 25: Could Life Exist on Other Worlds?, at Annette Street branch. Using what we know about life on Earth, Lauren Hetherington explains how life could exist elsewhere in the universe and how we can look for it.
  • January 26: Arduino Meetup, at Scarborough Civic Centre branch. Arduino is a tool for making computers that can sense and control more of the physical world than your desktop computer. Come and meet like-minded open-source advocates, chat and create with other makers.
  • January 27: Meals on a Budget, at Leaside branch. Learn how to prepare meals on a budget, shop for deals, and minimize waste. Participants will create their own money saving strategies and take home sample homemade goods.
  • January 29: The Drug Discovery Process: From Benchtop to Pillbox, at Don Mills branch. Ever wonder how drugs evolve from basic ideas to medical treatments and why the process is so long? In this talk the transition of a scientific finding to clinical trials will be discussed, answering questions such as who pays for drug development and how do we know these drugs are safe?

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

Wonders of the winter landscape   Invasive plants   Mr. Jefferson and the giant moose   Food junkies

Life beyond earth   Arduino for beginners   The affordable feasts collection   The future of drug discovery


Alternative Holiday Activities!

December 7, 2015 | Emoke | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Healing with the ArtsDecember is the month of holidays. Christmas songs and decorations most obviously bombard us and take over. But what if you don't enjoy the holidays, or do not observe any of them?

If this is the time of year for you where you need a good distraction more than anything, I thought I would find some alternative activities for you to get you through the month!

The following will be my personal suggestions, and other ideas I have come across. If you follow my blogs, you will not be surprised that the first thing I can think of is to get out of town! Avoid the holiday shopping madness and escape to an exotic destination, not to spend a specific holiday with anyone, but just for your own personal enrichment. Perhaps take an exciting "alternative holiday" where you volunteer and give back to a specific group or community. I will recommend books at the bottom of this post from the library that can be borrowed with specific ideas for destinations.

Other activities you can enjoy are winter sports! Such as skiing, snowboarding, or my favourite; ice skating.

The other activity that I have personally started getting into is the adult colouring trend. I now own all of Johanna Basford’s books: Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, and Lost Ocean. She is a Scottish illustrator who uses pens and pencils to create illustrations, predominantly in black and white outlines, which can be coloured in with pencils, crayons, thin markers, or pens. The drawings are very intricate and detailed, and the act of colouring in her drawings, finishing them or adding to them yourself or finding hidden treasures among them is completely therapeutic (at least for me). There has been some fuss in the media over her books, and art therapists have recommended the act of colouring to soothe nerves and lessen anxiety, tension, and stress.

This is a completely addictive activity (if you like this sort of thing and enjoy creative activities). I can see the holiday season being the perfect time to stay at home and stock up on these books (and other adult colouring books on the market) and quietly colour to your heart's content while others are busy pushing through the huge holiday crowds at the malls.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful to get through the month of December. These are just my personal suggestions, but please feel free to share in the comments below some of your personal favourites! Whatever you end up doing this time of year, stay warm and enjoy!

Daniel Rotsztain is a freelance artist, writer, and cartographer. Throughout 2015, Rotsztain visited every public library in Toronto and illustrated their exteriors, releasing the collection online. 

And please see the following related materials that can be borrowed from Toronto Public Library. 


The ethical travel guide  Hands-on holidays  Snow travel  Let it snow

  Healing with the arts  Art therapy and creative coping techniques for older adults  Volunteer vacations in Latin America  Wide open world how volunteering around the globe changed one family's lives forever

Computing Mutations

December 1, 2015 | Jane | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Human Genome Project finished mapping the three billion-or-so chemical base pairs that make the how-to-build-a-human instructions code in 2003. It was a monumental step. But of course each human’s code is unique, and the difficulty of “reading” the genomic map means that in some sense this was just the beginning.

Fast forward to 2015, and to Brendan Frey of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research at the University of Toronto. Frey has devised a method of identifying diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders such as autism by applying a computational approach. He and his research team use a computer tool that "scores how strongly genetic variants affect RNA splicing, a critical step in gene expression.” This technique requires an understanding of the biological processes involved with gene replication, but uses computer science to arrive at very accurate readings of the genome “book.” It is an exciting development that should revolutionize medicine.


Among his many apparent gifts - Frey has appointments in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He is good at explaining things in ways the rest of us can understand. We hope you can come to hear him talk about his groundbreaking work.

How We Discovered a Hidden Genetic Code

Tues. Dec. 8, 2015

7:00-8:00 pm


North York Central Library

5120 Yonge Street

Toronto M2N 5N9


Science and Technology Dept.



And if you can’t make his talk (or even if you can), check out some of these books on the impact of genetics and genomics.

 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology  Deeper Genome Emerging Trends in Computational Biology  Geneticinfluencesonaddictionjpg  Genomicmessages  Inheritance 

Statistical methods for qtl Geneticgeographies  Handbook genetics and society   Introductiontogenomics


Free Science Events in Toronto for December 2015

November 24, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

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 December calendar (PDF).

December's highlights include:

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

At the library, December's highlights include:

  • December 1: Healthy Holiday Eating, at Woodside Square Branch. In this presentation by Toronto Public Health, you will learn how to maintain healthy eating by using the Canada Food Guide, while still enjoying the holidays!
  • December 2: 12,000 Canaries Can't be Wrong, at North York Central Library. Dr. Molot explains how the environment contributes to the development and progression of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and other pain disorders, and chemical sensitivity. He also shows how these disorders are just the tip of a giant iceberg, linking environmental conditions to the increasing number of cases of common chronic illnesses in adults and even in children.
  • December 7: Savvy Cybersecurity: How to Fight 10 Common Threats, at Yorkville Branch. At this session, you will conduct a self-assessment of your cyber-security knowledge, learn about the top 10 threats and leave with tips to protect yourself. Identity theft, credit card fraud, email scams and more are covered.
  • December 8: The Cutting Edge: How We Discovered a Hidden Genetic Code, at North York Central Library. Dr. Brendan Frey tells the story of how he and his Toronto research team, aided by a computer tool that uses machine learning, discovered a hidden genetic code that will revolutionize medicine.
  • December 16: Design an LED Bookmark, at Danforth/Coxwell Branch. Learn how to build a small circuit to power one or more LED lights. All necessary resources and supplies including bookmark templates will be provided, but feel free to design your own.

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

Hubble's legacy     The shark's paintbrush     The Lorimer pocketguide to Toronto birds     Cooking Light holiday cookbook

12,000 canaries can't be wrong     Cyber self-defense     Life's greatest secret     Brilliant LED projects

Store-wide Half Price Sale at Book Ends in NYCL

November 16, 2015 | Ann | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

image from
Courtesy of geralt at Pixelbay. License: CC0 Public Domain / FAQ Free for commercial use / No attribution required

The festive season is arriving. Do you have enough books to read and share through the holidays? Do you love finding exciting and rare titles? Do you want to buy as many books for as little money as possible?    



Photo courtesy of the Toronto Public Library


 The Friends of Toronto Public Library, North Chapter

is hosting an amazing store-wide half-price three-day sale of their books with prices ranging from:

$0.25 to $0.50

(blue-dot, special-priced books excepted) 

This sale is at the Book Ends store which is located on the Concourse Level at the North York Central Library--which is located underneath (one floor below) the library's main entrance.  


SALE HOURS run from 10 am to 4 pm on:

  • Thursday, November 19, 2015
  • Friday, November 20, 2015
  • Saturday, November 21, 2015


North York Central Library, Concourse Level, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto


Please bring your own bag. Cash only. No exchange or refund.  


Once you have completed our Book Ends Sale in the North, five days later there will be another Book Ends sale in the South region (from November 26th to November 28th) at The Toronto Reference Library.  

Bill V.'s blog, The Best Christmas Present Ever... provides the details of their big Book Ends sale on great reads and gift giving suggestions.

Also don't forget to follow us on Twitter @bookendsnorth and on Facebook for our weekly sales.

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.