Landscaping with Trees and Large Shrubs

April 18, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Landscaping with trees and shrubs

Finally...finally...all the snow is gone and I can see my yard.  Every April, hope springs anew that this will be the year I finally get my garden into order.  There is an abundance of gardening titles for spring clean-up, garden maintenance, garden design, etc.:

Better Homes and Gardens Gardening Made Simple: the complete step-by-step guide The Curious Gardener: a year in the garden by Anna Pavord How to Cheat at Gardening and Yard Work by Jeff Bredenberg
Plant This Instead: better plant choices by Troy B. Marden Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture and Form by Rebecca Sweet The Essential Garden Design Workbook by Rosemary Alexander

This spring, I plan to take advantage of the library's Ask an Expert series featuring Toronto Master Gardeners.  Toronto Master Gardeners are university-trained horticulturists who volunteer their time to share their expertise.  At North York Central Library, join us for a talk on selecting, maintaining, caring for large shrubs and trees, on Tuesday April 29 in Room 1.

Rodolphe el-Khoury: visionary architect of the "internet of things" to speak at North York Central Library.

April 11, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Imagine a future in which your blanket conspires with your curtains while you sleep. All night “blanky” has been monitoring and recording your every breath and movement, standing guard against the grim reaper, ready to call an ambulance if you suddenly fall dangerously ill. Your curtains check your schedule, noting that you have an early appointment. They check the weather report online, and see that it's going to rain. On such a gloomy day, you may need a little extra help waking up on time, your curtains decide. They are laced with a memory alloy, which allows them to come alive, gradually loosening to let light in, so that you wake gently. Yawning, you step out onto your balcony for a moment to see how the grapes are coming along. You are 50 floors up, and your balcony is framed by lovely vine leaves that span the entire building, a vertical vineyard. The grapes are almost ripe. The automated vineyard will send out a tweet when the grapes are ready. It won’t be long before you and the other residents are sampling the wine.

It’s time to leave for your appointment. As you walk toward the door, your umbrella glows blue to let you know about the coming rain. It has checked the weather report, or perhaps it has been "talking" with your curtains. Before you return in the evening, the swarm of robotic wall partitions in your small apartment will have checked your schedule and noted that you are expecting guests for dinner. In response, they will reconfigure themselves to create a space suitable for entertaining.

Every object in your apartment is part of a community of objects which are embedded with technology, can communicate with each other wirelessly, and are responsive to your needs. This "internet of things" extends beyond your apartment. It is all around you in the built environment. The very walls of the buildings in the city communicate, reporting on their own health.

This vision of "the internet of things" is based in Rodolphe el-Khoury's TEDx talk in Toronto in 2013. Rodolphe el-Khoury will be sharing his vision of the future at North York Central Library at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday April 22. Please call 416 395 5639 to register for this FREE program. To get an idea of his speaking style, watch his presentation at TEDx Toronto (see the link at the bottom of this post.) You'll see he's very passionate about a future in which even your clothes and skin may be connected to the internet of things. To anyone who watches Star Trek, this sounds like the first step towards humanity becoming Borg, creepy cybernetically enhanced hive-minded humanoids. But hey, maybe the best way to survive the robot apocalypse is by becoming a human-machine hybrid.


IM Blanky

Sensors, which give this blanket "primitive cognitive capacities" according to its designers, are embedded into it, in the shape of flowers.










This is a brief biographical movie about Rodolphe el-Khoury.    

Click on the link below to watch Rodolphe el-Khoury's fascinating presentation at TEDx in Toronto, at the The Royal Conservatory of Music.

Designing for the Internet of Things: Rodolphe el-Khoury at TEDxToronto



Unmasking Superfoods

April 9, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Image courtesy of

While Gwyneth Paltrow was recently in the news for her "Conscious Uncoupling", aka her separation from hubby Chris Martin, longtime fans have followed the actress through her lifestyle website, goop.   I am not a fan, longtime or otherwise, but was recently directed there by a friend who was on a 'cleansing detox.'  Really, I should know better, having a degree in nutrition, but it just seemed so easy to eat and feel better and maybe, even lose weight, by 'detoxing'.  

I thought my pantry was well-stocked, but apparently not-- all the trendy superfoods-- stevia, coconut nectar, quinoa (okay, I do have quinoa), kale and hemp hearts, listed in the recipes meant a shopping trip would have to happen before any cleansing or detoxing. 

But I am cheap and my logical, skeptical, scientific side finally kicked in.  Some of these ingredients are expensive ... more important, do they really work?  Fortunately, we can get the lowdown from Jennifer Sygo, the nutrition columnist for National Post and a registered dietitian, to boot.  (Please note that anyone can call themselves a 'nutritionist.') Jennifer has been writing about these superfoods in her columns and has just published a book, Unmasking Superfoods: The Truth & Hype about Acai, Quinoa, Chia, Blueberries and More.


     Unmasking Superfoods: ebook

Join Jennifer at North York Central Library, on Thursday April 17, at 7 pm to learn which superfoods, if any, we should be picking up at the supermarket.  Copies of her new book will be available for purchase and signing.

Learn How To Become a Marathon Runner At This Upcoming Author Talk!

March 31, 2014 | Margaret W. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Feet Don't Fail Me NowBen Kaplan, National Post columnist and author of Feet, Don't Fail Me Now: The Rogue's Guide To Running the Marathon will be at the North York Central Library on Tuesday, April 1st at 7pm, to talk about how you too can become a marathon runner.

Kaplan will explain a simple way to move from your first 5K race to a 10K race to a half marathon to a marathon - all in one year. And he'll illustrate how running can make your life better, simpler and more fun in the process.                      

Come join us, and find out why running can help you in those times when you need to stand still.

This free talk takes place in the North York Central Library Auditorium on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014, from 7pm - 8pm.

Register by calling 416-395-5660.


Free Science Events in Toronto for April 2014

March 29, 2014 | Emoke | 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 April 2014 Calendar.

April's highlights include:

  • April 3: The Cosmic Dark Ages, part of the University of Toronto Free Astronomy Public Tours. The speaker will discuss what happened between the Big Bang and today. Such as for example, how soon after the Big Bang did the universe become populated with stars and galaxies.
  • April 22: Spring Cleaning at Evergreen Brick Works, part of the Evergreen Brick works Nature and Heritage Hikes. This event is part of Earth Day cleaning with Evergreen. The idea is to reconnect with nature and cherish Toronto's largest watershed with a cleanup hike exploring the Lower Don, Mud Creek and the Moore Park Ravine.
  • April 25: On Mental Health and Access to Care, part of the Communicating About Non-Communicable Diseases Series, University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Global Health Division.

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

April's highlights include:

Author Visit: Darren Shan

March 17, 2014 | Cameron | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Please join us in the library on March 25th from 7-8 P.M. for the British Authors exclusive Toronto visit:


Author Visit: Angela Misri and Natalie Corbett Sampson

March 12, 2014 | Cameron | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Please join us in the library for an author event featuring two authors from Fierce Ink Press, who will be discussing the ins and outs of writing for youth.



Want some Income Tax Advice?

February 22, 2014 | Ashley | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

It's that time of year again, Income Tax Time. Most of us dread doing our taxes, but they can't be avoided. The best thing do is be prepared and informed. Join Chartered Accountant and co-author of best seller 78 Tax Tips for Canadians for Dummies Brian Quinlan. He will discuss some tips to minimize your tax bite on your 2013 tax returns, and look ahead at tax planning ideas for 2014.

Join us at the North York Central Library on Monday, February 24, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:00 in the Auditorium where Brian Quinlan will present his program Tax Tips for 2013 and 2014.



How to Eat Healthy When Cooking for One

February 21, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

My family's meals consist of kid-friendly foods such as spaghetti, meatloaf and chicken potpie.  This is a far cry from my pre-parenthood days, when I made beef broth from scratch for French onion soup, duck à l'orange, Peking duck (I was big on duck) and Gâteau Saint-Honoré. 

Peking duck
Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan/   Image courtesy of

So, when I had a chance to live on my own for a bit, I was excited that I could take the time to make what I wanted to eat.  Much to my surprise, I found that cooking for one was no motivation for cooking at all.  I quickly fell into the habit of eating foods that required no prep time, such as jam sandwiches or yogurt ... sometimes while standing over the kitchen sink.  Part of the problem was the lack of a stand mixer and a miscalibrated oven.  But still...who would've guessed?

I've been reading a variety of books on cooking for one.  Some of the recipes inspire me, especially those which are pretty straightforward and involve no cooking.  Reading about what others cook and eat when by themselves is both entertaining and reassuring.

The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones Solo Suppers: simple delicious meals to cook for yourself by Joyce Goldstein Vegan Bites: recipes for singles by Beverly Lynn Bennett
Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet What We Eat When We Eat Alone by Deborah Madison Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant: confessions of cooking for one and dining alone by Jenni Ferrari Adler

Now I understand why some seniors, especially those who live by themselves, don't have the best eating habits.  Fortunately, we have a presentation by University of Toronto Master of Public Health students, specializing in community nutrition, to get us back on the right track.  The focus of the presentation will be on healthy foods, vitamins and supplements and other tips for older adults.  Free samples will be provided. Join us at North York Central Library, Rooms 2/3, 2-3 pm on Tuesday March 4th.

Author Visit: Cecil Castellucci

February 20, 2014 | Cameron | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


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