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Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, 1762-1850

July 31, 2015 | Ann | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

This upcoming civic holiday honours the first Lieutenant Governor, John Graves Simcoe. A detailed biography on John Simcoe is available on the Historical Narratives of Early Canada website which provides a good account of his military and historical achievements.  

Blog: Celebrate Simcoe Day. Scenic Sensations Await!
John Graves Simcoe. Courtesy of the Archives of Ontario. 

Credit in the development of Upper Canada could be shared with his adoring young wife, Elizabeth. This post will glance through Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe's unique contributions in art, writing, and her support in shaping this new Canadian frontier.  

The Toronto Project: The Elizabeth Simcoe Archives
Elizabeth Simcoe, 1790 and drawn by her friend, Mary Anne Burges  in water colour taken from The Library and Archives Canada, no. 1972-118-2

Born in Northamptonshire, England on September 22nd in 1762, Elizabeth arrived into the world filled with bittersweet anticipation. Her father, Colonel Thomas Gwillim passed away several months before Elizabeth's birth while posted to Germany on January 29, 1762.  No specified cause was recorded on the manner of his death. Elizabeth's mother, Elizabeth Sophia Gwillim, died within 24 hours after childbirth. In this midst of this deep sadness, her aunt, Margaret Spinkes, took over the care of her baby niece. Both the aunt and the aunt's mother chose to name her Elizabeth Posthuma--her first name in honour of her mother and her middle name to reflect the passing of her parents. 

On June 14, 1769, her aunt Margaret married Admiral Samuel Graves. They met in the previous winter. The Admiral was 56 years of age and a childless widower. Margaret Spinkes was 42 years old. The Admiral saw Elizabeth as the child that he was unable to have and both aunt and uncle raised Elizabeth with the best of all intentions. 

Entry on Samuel Graves in the Fort Lauderdale Chapter Newsletter Vol. 45, No. 2 (February 2012)
Admiral Samuel Graves (1713-1787), by James Northcote. This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

As Elizabeth was growing up, her family encouraged her to develop a positive outlook on life by providing various resources for her to explore. She developed her writing skills and wrote voraciously to family and friends far and wide; she explored the countryside on foot and on horseback and wrote copious details of her journeys; and she developed her artistic skills in sketching and painting. She also studied botany and that knowledge dovetailed nicely with her interest in painting landscapes.   

In 1777 when Elizabeth turned fifteen years old, she met a handsome commanding officer twice her age. At the age of 30, the wounded Lieutenant Colonel, John Graves Simcoe, returned to England to convalesce after the British Army's defeat in Yorktown. Admiral Graves extended an invitation for John Graves Simcoe to stay at Hembury Fort House while recuperating. Since Elizabeth had a large dowry, the aunt and uncle paid careful attention to the men who showed an interest in her.  In John Grave Simcoe's case, John's parents were close friends. Admiral Graves was the godfather of John Simcoe and had Admiral Graves' surname for his middle name.  

Over time and daily interaction in residence, both John and Elizabeth quickly fell in love to the delight of Margaret and Admiral Graves. The two remained in contact and by September 1782, John and Elizabeth became engaged. On December 30, 1782 they were married. Soon after they were married, Elizabeth purchased five thousand acres of land and built a forty-room mansion and called it Wolford Lodge.

Fast forward to nine years later, after the births of five daughters between 1783 and 1790, her first son, Francis, was born in 1791--two more daughters (one in Toronto and the other in England) and one more son was born (in England) later for a total of nine children). In the same year, her husband accepted an assignment to travel to Upper Canada as the new Lieutenant Governor. Ensuring that her children were cared for, her children either remained at Wolford Lodge and stayed with other family or they came along with her.  

Elizabeth Simcoe began painting Canadian landscapes and waterways. She captured the Magdalene Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on her journey to Quebec City.

Isle of Entry [one of the Magdalene Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence] by Elizabeth Simcoe, Archives of Ontario, I0006864
Isle of Entry in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Courtesy of the Archives of Ontario

When the couple arrived in Quebec on November 11th of 1791, Elizabeth sketched her first sleigh ride which she expressed as quite 'jolty' and the journey as very cold.   

Officers and Canadian Carrioles, Elizabeth Simcoe on Aquarelle paper
Officers and Canadian Carrioles. Courtesy of the Archives of Ontario

As the Simcoes settled in Quebec, on December 26th, The Constitutional Act of 1791 came into being and was the first step in amalgamating the land for this new country. On June 5, 1792, the Simcoes continued on their journey through Upper Canada in Ottawa and stayed at the Chateau de Ramezay which could be one of the oldest buildings in Canada.  

Government House: Chateau de Ramezay, Montreal by Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, 1792
Government House, Chateau de Ramezay in Montreal. Courtesy of Fadedpage.com. This work is in the Canadian public domain.

She wrote in her journal:

Sun. [June] 17th—The joy I felt in finding myself in spacious apartments was checked the next day by finding the heat more insufferable than I had ever felt. The thermometer continued at 96 for two days, and the heat was not ill-described by a sentinel who exclaimed, "There is but a sheet of brown paper between this place and hell." In the town are abundance of merchants' storehouses, the doors and windows of which are iron, and many of the houses, as well as churches, are covered with tin. By these circumstances, I believe, the heat is increased. The Government House is built on arches, under which are very large offices, which might be made very comfortable summer apartments. (The Diary of Mrs. Simcoe, 1911)

The Simcoes traveled to Kingston and briefly considered Kingston as the capital of Upper Canada but the location and geography did not appear to be suitable.  Days later, they sailed to Niagara where Elizabeth captured the breathtaking Falls in water colour. The family stayed here in Newark (today is called Niagara-On-The-Lake) for several months. On January 16, 1793, her daughter, Katherine, was born.

Niagara Falls, Ontario by Elizabeth Simcoe, summer 1792  item reference code F 47-11-1-0-71
Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. Courtesy of the Archives of Ontario.  

She wrote in her journal her impression of the Falls:

On the American side the river passing over a straight ledge of rock has not the beauty of the circular form or its green colour, the whole centre of the circular falls being of the brightest green, and below it frequently seen a rainbow. (The Diary of Mrs. Simcoe, 1911)

Even today, her words appear to ring true. Many current visitors can attest to the same visual beauty from its roaring depths.

In July, her ship, the Mississauga, entered the Toronto Harbour.  

Looking south towards Gibralter Point, showing firing of salute
Looking south towards Gibraltar Point. Courtesy of the Toronto Public Library

John and Elizabeth explored this region by canoe, horseback, and on foot and John noted that this harbour appears well protected by the Toronto Islands in the south and he named spit on the Island, Gibraltar Point.  

Sadly, not all of Elizabeth's journey was positive. Elizabeth's daughter, Katherine perished on April 1792 at 14 months old.  She was buried in the Old Garrison Burying Ground which is currently a park renamed Victoria Memorial Square near Fort York.    

On a happier note, her first son Francis Simcoe survived the Frontier. The family created a lovely castle in his honour and named it, Castle Frank.  

Elizabeth Simcoe Watercolour: Castle Frank, 1796 in Archives of Ontario
Castle Frank, 1796. Courtesy of the Archives of Ontario

Sadly, Castle Frank is no longer standing and through time, several changes to the landscape occurred. On September 11, 1796, the family returned to England and never returned to Canada to enjoy this residence.    

Elizabeth's diary entries are worth reading and revisiting. Consider perusing these interesting titles to appreciate her remarkable journey:

Elizabeth Simcoe's Canadian journey Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, 1762-1850: a biography John Graves Simcoe, 1752-1806: a biography Toronto During The French Regime
"Our young soldier": Lieutenant Francis Simcoe, 6 June 1791-6 April 1812 Toronto: biography of a city The Niagara companion - explorers, artists and writers at the Falls, from discovery through the twentieth century Mrs. Simcoe's diary

On this special day, consider riding to the Toronto Islands by ferry and visiting Gibraltar Point, gaze down the brilliant green Falls in Niagara, Ontario, stroll through Fort York and watch the British soldiers march in formation, and reflect on Elizabeth's journeys as you wander along the Castle Frank Brook on your travels. Much of the Canadian and Toronto traditions were inspired by John Simcoe and then brought to life in muted colours and lively written text by Elizabeth Simcoe centuries ago.  

Enjoy the long weekend!

Free Science Events in Toronto for August 2015

July 30, 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 August calendar (PDF).

August's highlights include:

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

At the library, August's highlights include:

  • August 1 & 2: Maker Festival, at Toronto Reference Library. Two days of discovery, experimentation and innovation. Learn more about 3D printing, wearable technology, robotics, woodworking and more.
  • August 4: Garden Club, at S. Walter Stewart branch. For teens 13 - 18. Get your hands dirty and plant, grow and maintain the library's new flower garden.
  • August 21: Play with... 3D Selfies, at Fort York branch. Learn how to create 3D self-portraits using our Xbox Kinect scanner and software. Get a 3D scan of yourself that can be saved and printed using a 3D printer later on.
  • August 22: Easy Homemade Baby Food, at York Woods branch. Participants will learn how and what to feed their babies in the first year. Learn how to introduce solids, how to make baby food at home and proper storage.
  • August 26: Project Animal Farm: An Investigator's True Story, at Brentwood branch. Author, Sonia Faruqi will discuss her experiences investigating animal farms around the world. She will offer a riveting and revealing look at what truly happens behind farm doors and she will describe the impacts of factory farms on animal welfare, human health and the environment.

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

The life and love of cats  Health and healing after traumatic brain injury  ROM field guide to butterflies of Ontario   The big book of maker skills

Everyday garden solutions  3D printing  The amazing make-ahead baby food book  Project animal farm

Last Day of School!! Now What?

June 26, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This week marks the last day of school for many students in Toronto. Today is also my daughter’s last day of preschool. It was a long, hard fought journey. But we made it! She cried every single day, for the first 2 months. Thankfully, she eventually adjusted and now she absolutely loves school.

Now, what am I going to do with her over the summer?

Here are some things you can do with your kids using the Toronto Public Library:

TD Summer Reading Club

The TD Summer Reading Club is back! And today is the first day you can sign up by visiting any library branch. In addition to earning stickers and prizes for reading, there are lots of programs happening over the summer.

TPL TEENS

If your child is a teenager, there are library events for them, too. Keep up with the teens’ blog over the summer for programs, book recommendations and reviews, contests and more.

Toronto Public Library Programs, Classes & Exhibits

There are lots going on at the library over the summer for yourself, too. Attend talks about arts and culture, business, health, science and much more.

Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass (MAP)

The Museum + Arts Pass allows you and your family (2 adults & up to 5 children) to explore the best of Toronto's arts and cultural treasures for free. Venues including the Aga Khan Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo and more.

With your valid adult Toronto Public Library card, you can take out a pass for your family at any Toronto Public Library branch. Quantities are limited and rules and conditions apply.

Free Science Events in Toronto

The Science & Technology department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in the city. This is a great opportunity to attend nature walks, astronomy talks, science lectures and much more.

There are also things you can do in the comfort of your own home with your kids.

Why not try some science experiments:

The Exploratorium science snackbook  The hungry scientist handbook  Sneaky science tricks  The ultimate book of Saturday science

Bake and cook together with your kids:

Baking with kids  Baking with tiny tots  Everyday kitchen for kids  Little cooks

Teach your kids how to sew:

My first sewing machine book  Sew kawaii  Sewing for children  Sewing for kids

Garden together:

The book of gardening projects for kids  The garden classroom  Square foot gardening with kids  Touch a butterfly

How about building something together? A treehouse, anyone?!

Black and Decker the complete guide to treehouses  Build your own treehouse  Fun family projects  Ultimate guide to kids' play structures and tree houses

Is your child attending summer school? Or do you want them to study and be prepared for the next school year? The Science & Technology department has a wide selection of math, science, biology, chemistry and physics textbooks for students from grades 7 to 12 that can be used in the library:

Mathematics 7  Mathematics 8  Principles of mathematics 9  Principles of mathematics 10

Functions 11  Calculus and vectors 12  Investigating science and technology 7  Science and technology perspectives 8

On science 9  Science connections 10  Physics 11  Physics 12

Chemistry 11  Chemistry 12  Biology 11  Biology 12

I hope some of these ideas will be helpful. I hope you all have a safe and wonderful summer!

Free Science Events in Toronto for July 2015

June 23, 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 July calendar (PDF).

July's highlights include:

  • July 1: WoofJocks Canine All Stars - A 30-minute variety show that is both educational and entertaining by a team of Southern Ontario professional dog trainers and their very talented dogs.
  • July 18: Walking Tour: Cabbagetown's Medical Heritage - From the site of the first medical school that specifically taught women to the prominent physicians who lived in the neighbourhood, hear stories of the sites and personalities that figured in our city's early medical history.
  • July 18: The Hidden Lives of Galaxies - This lecture will focus on how galaxies are transformed throughout cosmic times and how they interact with each other.

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 titles:

Dog tricks   The history of medicine   Galaxy   Food junkies

Sams teach yourself HTML and CSS in 24 hours   The amazing monarch   Your water footprint   Exercises for brain health

See You at the (Seniors Discovery) Fair

June 12, 2015 | Carolyn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

June is Seniors Month at the Toronto Public Library, and as part of the celebration the North York Central Library is holding its annual Seniors Discovery Fair on Tuesday June 23. Stop by the Auditorium between 2:00 and 4:00 and meet representatives from community organizations such as Toronto Public Health, Toronto Police Services and the Alzheimer Society.

Two workshops are being presented as part of the Seniors Discovery Fair:

  • Easy Ways to Get Active: Staff from the Bernard Betel Centre will talk about the benefits of outdoor activity, provide tips on staying fit and suggest new and different ways to enjoy outdoor exercise. Room 1, 2:00 - 3:00
  • iNavigait: Be a Safe Pedestrian: A Toronto Public Health nurse will discuss safe ways for seniors to navigate while out and about. Learn about safe clothing, crossing streets safely and environmental hazards. Become more aware of where and when accidents occur. Room 2/3, 2:00 - 3:00

 

There are so many benefits of exercise, especially as we get older: research shows that it not only improves fitness, but also reduces stress, improves mental health and even decreases the odds of developing some chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Here are a couple of resources with more information:

Walking is often part of our plans to become more active, but being out and about as a pedestrian requires that we take steps to ensure our safety. The Toronto Police Service is working to raise awareness about pedestrian safety after a recent increase in fatalities. Check out the AAA Tips for Pedestrian Safety for some ideas about how to stay safe while walking.

 

Interested in learning more about healthy aging? Have a look at these library resources:

How to Stay Fit as You Age (DVD)

 

 

Anatomy of Exercise for 50+

Fitness Professional's Guide to Strength Training Older Adults
     
The Wonder of Aging: a new approach to embracing life after fifty ( book, large print book, audiobook, talking book ) Fit at Last: look and feel better once and for all (eBook) The Complete Guide to Walking: for health, weight loss, and fitness
     

Healthy Cognitive Aging

June 8, 2015 | Jane | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

As baby boomers approach old age, and as we’re living longer, topics like brain health and prevention of age-related cognitive decline are making headlines, but also a matter we come across in our personal lives. The brain is at the centre of everything we do, who we are, what we make of our lives, so of course we care, and of course we want to learn as much as we can.

A great start would be to come to a talk at by Ryerson professor Dr. Alexandra Fiocco and PhD student Katie Peck. Fiocco will be talking about  “the predictors and prevention of cognitive decline.” Peck, also from Ryerson, will be talking about her research into the effect of music on brain health.

 

     AlexandraPlease join us on Tues, June 16      Katie                North York Central Library                                5120 Yonge St.

              2:00 to 3:00 pm

 

 

 

 

If you can’t make it to the talk, there are lots of other ways to pursue good practices, and to find out more about the brain’s many mysteries.

What are the day-to-day ways I can practice good brain health?

 

Are there organizations that can help me plan care for myself or for someone I love?

We are fortunate in this city to have lots of resources for research and for care of people with aging brains.

On May 22nd, Baycrest Health Sciences in North York announced $100 million in federal and provincial funding for a national brain research hub. Baycrest also has services for "geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging." 

The Alzheimer's Organization of Canada has lots of resources for learning more about brain health and resources for finding help with care and planning. It also funds research. 

The Alzheimer Society of Canada has "been dedicated to providing help for people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and their caregivers. That help comes in many ways."

The Canadian Home Care Association provides "an array of services for people of all ages, provided in the home and community setting, that encompasses health promotion and teaching, curative intervention, end-of-life care, rehabilitation, support and maintenance, social adaptation and integration and support for the family caregiver." Its membership includes public and private stakeholders.

 

 

 How do I find out more about the human brain and its strange ways?

 



 

 

Free Science Events in Toronto for June 2015

May 26, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (2) 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 June calendar (PDF).

June's highlights include:

  • June 4: Your Brain on Acupuncture - Learn how acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can help someone who is dealing with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, concussions or paralysis.
  • June 7: Spring Babies at the Zoo - Zookeeper Sonya Dittkrist introduces new animal arrivals at the High Park zoo.
  • June 13: Leslieville Tree Festival - A celebration of the urban forest that includes activities for the whole family.

The 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 titles:

The simple guide to five element acupuncture   Nature's babies   Trees   The backyard beekeeper

The Scientific American healthy aging brain   The exoplanet handbook   No more dirty looks   PowerPoint 2013 on demand

Free Jazz Concert At The Library: Tara Davidson Trio

May 22, 2015 | Maureen | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

Tara DavidsonSave the date! For the first time ever, a Toronto Jazz Festival concert will take place in a Toronto Public Library Branch! The Tara Davidson Trio will give a jazz festival preview concert at North York Central Library on Tuesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. Saxophonist Tara Davidson has hopped the globe to play at venues such as the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, The International Jazz Festival in Lima, Peru, and prestigious concert halls, including Carnegie Hall in New York City, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D. C. So count your lucky stars, North Yorkers! Don’t despair, those of you who don’t live in North York – North York Central Library is on the subway line. Just hop on the rocket and zoom to this free concert. You can borrow Tara Davidson's latest recording, Duets, from the library. Call (416) 395-5639 to register for this concert.

The jazz festival, which takes place from June 18 to June 29 this year, began in 1987 and it has grown to be one of the most anticipated music festivals on Toronto’s busy summer music calendar. Over the years, the festival has attracted some of the giants of jazz, including Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Rosemary Clooney, Stan Getz, Etta James, Wynton Marsalis, Cab Calloway, Diana Krall, and Oscar Peterson. This year the festival will be celebrating Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson’s 90th birthday! 

Here’s a selection of CDs you can borrow from the library – all of these artists have played at Toronto’s jazz festival:

Cheek to cheek Wallflower - Diana Krall Miles Davis - Kind of blue Harry Connick Jr.- Every man should know Oscar Peterson - Solo
Sarah Vaughan - After hours Dizzy Gillespie - Havin' a good time in Paris Dave Brubeck - Time out Ray Charles - Blues before sunrise Aretha Franklin - The Queen of soul

You can also stream jazz from Hoopla, accessed through the Toronto Public Library’s website with your library card. Here’s a selection of jazz available from Hoopla:

Miles Davis - The Best of Miles Davis Billie Holiday - Gold Benny Goodman - The Best Of Benny Goodman Nina Simone Her Greatest Hits Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World
John Coltrane - My Favorite Things Duke Ellington - The Jazz The Jazz Effect - Thelonius Monk The Best Of Bill Evans (Remastered) 20th Century Masters -The Millennium Collection - Best Of Ella Fitzgerald

If you'd like to learn about the history of jazz, check out the ten part documentary series Jazz, by director Ken Burns. The series was given a rating of 8.5 out of 10 by IMDb (Internet Movie Database). Borrow individual episodes of the DVD, or stream the series via Hoopla

Your library card gives you access to a huge collection of contemporary and classic jazz. Go to Naxos Music Library (Jazz) to stream music from this comprehensive collection, which includes music from labels such as Blue Note, EMI, Warner Jazz and Fantasy Jazz.

Naxos Music Library - Jazz

 

Related post:

Never read anything the same way twice: jazz books at TPL

Seeds and Gardening

May 15, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Gardening
My daughter pulling out weeds and getting the soil ready for planting.

When I was little, my grandma always kept our garden in the backyard full of delicious vegetables. Every spring and summer, she would tend to the cucumber, tomato, winter melon and pepper plants. She spent a lot of time in the garden, mostly to guard it against those pesky squirrels. Unfortunately, I haven’t planted anything myself since owning a home.

A few weeks ago, my daughter asked if we could buy some flower bulbs we saw at the store. We bought and planted peonies and ranunculus bulbs, flowers I had in my wedding bouquet.

There are many benefits of gardening for children. They learn to be responsible by caring for the plants. They also learn to appreciate nature. Most importantly, they learn to be patient. My daughter has been asking me every day whether or not our flowers have grown. Each time I take her outside to see and tell her that just like her, the flowers are growing but very slowly.

Want to learn more about seeds and gardening? Learn how to save seeds in the city with the Toronto Seed Library at the North York Central Library. In this all-ages information session, we’ll be reviewing the basics of seed libraries and seed saving plus have free seeds on hand for everyone. There will also be a children’s planting workshop. Bring any gardening questions you may have and staff from the Toronto Seed Library will be more than happy to answer them.

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What: Seeds & Gardening

Where: North York Central Library, in the Auditorium

When: Saturday, May 30 from 2 – 4 PM

Registration: Call (416) 395-5649 (Science & Technology department) or (416) 395-5630 (Children’s department)

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In the meantime, here are some books on seed saving:

Saving vegetable seeds   Seed sowing and saving   Seedswap   Seed to seed

The library also has e-books you can access on an e-reader, mobile device, tablet or desktop on seed saving:

The complete guide to saving seeds   The complete idiot's guide to seed saving and starting   The manual of seed saving   Seed libraries

There are also books about gardening:

Beginner's illustrated guide to gardening   Canadian gardener's guide   How to buy the right plants, tools and garden supplies   Small space garden ideas

E-books on gardening:

Derek Fell's grow this   The New York Times garden book   Rodale's basic organic gardening   Urban gardening for dummies

Get gardening ideas from e-magazines that you can access on your mobile device, tablet or desktop:

Canadian gardening   Country gardens   Garden making container gardening  Homes and gardens

Want books about gardening for kids? The library has books for that, too:

The book of gardening projects for kids   Gardening lab for kids   I can grow things   Square foot gardening with kids

 

May Days Are For Parties, Weddings, and Travel

May 11, 2015 | Ann | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Spring arrives with bright floral colours and the sun's warm glow across the land. Temperatures rise as the days grow longer. To celebrate the upcoming summery weather enjoy this time outdoors. What better way to shake off the winter blues than to throw an outdoor party for family and friends. Here are some colourful suggestions:

Fairy parties:  recipes, crafts, and games for enchanting celebrations by Colleen Mullaney Sleepover party!:  games and giggles for a fun night by Jamie Kyle McGillian Kids parties by Lisa Atwood The party book by Jane Bull
Let's party! by Alison Bell The kids' pick-a-party book: 50 fun themes for happy birthdays and other parties by Penny Warner Sleeping over by Melinda Beth Radabaugh Costume parties: planning a party that makes your friends say "wow!" by Jen Jones

Not only is this season a grand way for children to enjoy outdoor festivities, this season is also a way to celebrate a new life of love and happiness. Weddings need not be expensive to be glamourous, unique, and special. Have a look at the following title suggestions to see how to design a wedding of a lifetime. 

Style me pretty weddings: inspiration & ideas for an unforgettable celebration by Abby Larson Weddings by Hilary Sterne The Knot complete guide to weddings: the ultimate source of ideas, advice & relief for the bride & groom & those who love them by Carley Roney Wedding style:   hundreds of tips and secrets from the professionals for styling your own big day
Plan the perfect wedding on a small budget by Elizabeth Lluch The broke-ass bride's wedding guide by Dana LaRue Wedding expert: 400 things you need to know to plan your big day by Bettie Bradley 1000 best wedding bargains by Sharon Naylor

For those who want to travel beyond their workplace to see the flourishing flora and fauna in a cool northern terrain, why not head off into the Canadian wilderness. Experience the natural quietude that many artists and writers derive their artistic inspiration from. Here are some titles that will take you far and wide across our home and native land: 

Dazed but not confused: tales of a wilderness wanderer by Kevin Callan Trails and tribulations: confessions of a wilderness pathfinder by Hap Wilson Chasing Clayoquot: a wilderness almanac by David Pitt-Brooke Paddlenorth: adventure, resilience, and renewal in the Arctic wild by Jennifer Kingsley
The great Central Canada bucket list: one-of-a-kind travel experiences by Robin Esrock Canada's road: a journey on the Trans-Canada Highway from St. John's to Victoria by Mark Richardson Dutch gentlemen adventurers in Canada, 1811-1893 by Herman Ganzevoort and J. Th. J. Krijff More trails, more tales: exploring Canada's travel heritage by Bob Henderson

Enjoy the blossoming of warmer days ahead by taking the time to celebrate life, love, and landscapes at their finest.  

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