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Al Fresco: Summer Meals in the Great Outdoors

June 24, 2016 | Carolyn | Comments (0)

From food trucks to patios, a sure sign that summer has arrived in the city is the return of outdoor dining. So during this first weekend of summer, may I put in a good word for my favourite outdoor meal - the picnic?

I have fond memories of childhood picnics. There were no wicker baskets, baguettes or blankets spread on manicured lawns. Instead, we sat at sticky picnic tables at roadside rest stops and washed down our soggy sandwiches with warm drinks because the ice in the cooler had long since melted. Our "picnics" were quick pit stops on a long annual road trip and they've become part of our family lore; experiences I look back on with affection despite their shortcomings.

Maybe that's why I've idealized picnics in the years since. I now have a wicker basket, and a few times every summer I pack a meal to be shared in a beautiful outdoor setting. I've taken it to beaches and on canoe trips; once I even packed it in my luggage and used it almost daily on a driving trip through France.

A nobleman with his entourage enjoying a picnic. Illustration from a French edition of Le Livre de chasse de Gaston Phébus ("The Hunting Book of Gaston Phebus"), 15th century.  Bibliothèque National, Paris.
From "Le Livre de chasse de Gaston Phébus". Public domain image.

Food historians trace the origins of picnics to medieval hunting feasts, and say that for centuries dining outdoors was an activity for the wealthy.

Today most of us think of picnics as simple meals eaten at a beach or in a park rather than banquets that just happen to be served outdoors.

Whatever the location or menu, following a few simple rules will ensure that you enjoy your picnic safely. 




Food Safety for Picnics

Summer temperatures can make outdoor food handling and storage a challenge. Follow these food safety rules to ensure a safe picnic:

  • use a cooler and ice packs to keep cold foods cold (below 4 degrees C or 40 degrees F)
  • keep the cooler out of direct sunlight and try not to open it any more than necessary
  • don't leave food out for more than one hour in hot weather
  • wash your hands, utensils and work surfaces to prevent cross-contamination


For more information about how to ensure your picnic is safe, have a look at the following:


It's Good for You

Whether you pack an elaborate meal in a basket or just take your brown-bag lunch outside for a change, I suggest you enjoy some picnics this summer. Studies show spending time outdoors improves health and many people also believe that food tastes better when eaten outdoors - the theory being that all of our senses are heightened when we're outside.


We have books to help you plan and prepare the perfect picnic:


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.

Summer Travel in Toronto!

June 17, 2016 | Muriel | Comments (0)

I recently read about a five-year-old boy, Jackson Ryan Bennett, who plans to visit, with his father, all 100 branches of Toronto Public Library this summer, on public transit! His father said that Ryan picked the first branch, Fort York, out of Daniel Rotsztain's adult colouring book, All the Libraries Toronto. Perhaps Jackson will even join the TD Summer Reading Club 2016 at one of the 100 branches he visits with his father.

 All the Libraries Toronto     The TTC Story

I enjoy travelling around Toronto any time of the year, usually on foot, and my travels invariably include a scenic walk, coffee and stationery shops, and a cultural event! I went to the Toronto Reference Library (which has a lovely Balzac's café) last evening to see The Changing Face of Toronto, which has photographic portraits which illuminate broad changes to demographics, fashion, technology, work and leisure over the 20th century. I thought that this photo of an organ grinder on Bay Street in 1922, was particularly poignant and evocative of a very different, earlier time in Toronto:

Organ grinder on Bay Street 1922

A great Toronto guide I enjoy using is Toronto Urban Strolls 1, by Natalie Prézeau. When she moved from Montreal to Toronto, Nathalie fell in love with this city's parks, ravines and the character of its neighbourhoods. Her guide is replete with Toronto walks, urban sights, and places for coffee breaks and meals. Natalie Prézeau enjoys playing tourist here, and has also written a guide for local parents, Toronto Fun Places - For Families.

Toronto Urban Strolls 1     Toronto Fun Places - For Families      

Toronto's Ravines     Toronto's Ravines and Urban Forests 

On my Toronto walks, I like to look at the architecture I pass by, and learn more about it.  On a beautiful sunny day recently, I walked through the lovely Peace Garden at Nathan Phillips Square and admired the still-modern-looking architecture of Toronto City Hall, by Finnish architect Viljo Revell.

  Civic Symbol     Making Toronto Modern    

I find the Royal Ontario Museum very interesting to look at, both outside and inside. The range of architectural styles and exhibitions on display there is breathtaking. You and your family can go to the museum for free, with a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass. The architecture of The Royal Conservatory of Music, just to the west  of the museum, is fascinating, too, and there is an exquisite modern addition (with a café!) there, the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, designed by the Toronto architectural firm, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg
Bold Visions the Architecture of the Royal Ontario Museum     Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg   

I enjoy the peaceful and rejuvenating feeling of going into nature, and I have discovered numerous lovely spots in Toronto: at Harbourfront, the Toronto Music Garden, designed by famed Canadian cellist Yo Yo Ma, has free concerts throughout the summer; car-free Toronto Island has the advantage of always being cooler than on the mainland; and a real jewel of pretty wilderness in the city, Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve at Todmorden Mills heritage site (also free with a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass), is a great place to connect with nature.

  Trillium and Toronto Island     Great Country Walks Around Toronto     A Mill Should Be Build Thereon

If you would like to travel back in time in Toronto, Toronto Public Library has an interactive neighbourhood map, which indexes historical pictures, and more, by neighbourhood. If you would like to explore the city through poetry, you might want to look at Toronto Public Library's Toronto Poetry Map.

Bon voyage!

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.


What's the Buzz?

May 27, 2016 | Carolyn | Comments (0)


Bee of the genus Apis on a flower
Image courtesy Maciej A. Czyzewski via Wikimedia Commons


Could we have had a more perfect long weekend than the one that just ended with Victoria Day? If you weren't at a cottage or campground, you may have spent time in your backyard, as I did, working in the garden. My husband and I planted vegetables, filled containers with flowers and divided and moved perennials. And we paid special attention to attracting pollinators by planting lavender, chives and bee balm.

The recent decline of honey bee populations has been getting a lot of attention since they're critical to our food supply; the widely-quoted statistic is that one third of what we eat depends on crops pollinated by bees. A condition called colony collapse disorder has resulted in a steep decline in the numbers of bees available to perform this critical function. But other pollinators are threatened as well by loss of habitat, pesticide use and climate change. 

If you thought this problem wouldn't be on the radar in a city like ours, you'd be wrong. It turns out that we share our urban environment with over 350 species of bees. Toronto has just become Canada's first bee city, which means it has made a commitment to protect bees and other pollinators and their habitats, and to educate citizens about the importance of doing the same. 


Bees of Toronto: a guide to their remarkable worldBees of Toronto, a recent publication in the City of Toronto's terrific Biodiversity Series, is a great place to start learning about our native species and how we can support them. Copies are available in library branches.


Here are some resources if you'd like to learn how to attract wild bees to your garden or balcony:

  • Friends of the Earth's Let It Bee program suggests practical ways to establish and improve bee habitats in backyards and balconies. Check out resources like their list (PDF) of bee-friendly native plants.


Urban beekeeping has become very popular. If you'd like to learn more about it, here are some resources:

  • the Urban Bee Network provides links to information about courses as well as issues of concern to urban beekeepers, such as by-laws and permits


My colleague Jeannette has prepared a reading list (PDF) about bees.


Here are a few books about bees available in library branches:             


If you're interested in beekeeping:        

The Backyard Beekeeper: an absolute beginner's guide to keeping bees in your yard and garden


Finally, if you'd like to introduce young people to this subject, my colleague Kate's recent post about bees features books for children.

Talk About Tattoos: Getting Inked!

May 20, 2016 | Muriel | Comments (0)

Tattooed   The World Atlas of Tattoo   Tattoo Masters   Wabori Traditional Japanese Tattoo

Thursday, June 30 from 7 to 8 pm

North York Central Library Auditorium (Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program)

Join members of the award-winning staff of Chronic Ink tattoo studio as they describe the process of getting a tattoo. Marvel at beautiful illustrations inspired by Asian and Western art, then consider a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum's Tattoos exhibit.

With the Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass, you and your family can explore, for free, the best of Toronto's arts and cultural treasures, including the Royal Ontario Museum. We also have lots of books you can explore for inspiration or interest.


Art by Tattoists   Skin Graf   The Nonstop Book of Fantastika Tattoo Designs   Literary Tattoos

Pen & Ink   Bodies of Subversion   Bang Bang   Go Big or Go Home
Tattoo   Wear Your Dreams   Tattooed by the Family Business   In the Paint


Mothers as Artisans of Compassion

May 6, 2016 | Ann | Comments (0)

Titles on compassion at tpl.caImage courtesy of BK under CC 2.0 Generic Licence

The term, mother, brings to mind someone who loves, protects, strengthens and endures. Mothers do their best to raise their children to face the world in all its pain and glory. 


More images of Dorthea Lange from the Library of Congress
Image courtesy of Boerboy from Wikimedia Commons

As Dorthea Lange's photograph of the (1936) migrant mother so aptly illustrates, a mother loves and worries about the well-being of her family. The face behind the Migrant Mother was that of Florence Thompson. Florence, at that time, had seven children, few resources, little food and concerns causing her brow to furrow. Her image has become part of the human folklore around a mother's undying strength and compassion through the Great Depression.

Clearly, motherhood is no easy task no matter what era. Care-giving skills are based on love, trial, effort, error and success. Many mothers rely on experiences passed on from family and friends who have gone through these roles themselves.

Jeanne Garbarino's (May 11, 2012) article called, Motherhood Defined: It is in the heart of the beholder, compiles brief excerpts from different people of what motherhood entails. Matt Shipman's comment summarizes how mothers project strength while setting aside their own feelings of trepidation, "Motherhood is letting your kids think you are ten feet tall and bulletproof, so they feel you can keep them safe — even though there’s stuff out there that scares the hell out of you."

The library offers resources on this topic with information for mothers at different stages in their lives. These resources can reinforce a new mother's course of action as well as provide a chuckle or two for those who have made it through the early stages of parenthood.

The M word: conversations about motherhood   Mindful motherhood: practical tools for staying sane during pregnancy and your child's first year Motherhood (DVD) Mommyblogs and the changing face of motherhood
Mothers, mothering and motherhood across cultural differences: a reader The mask of motherhood: how becoming a mother changes everything and why we pretend it doesn't Dorthea Lange: a life beyond limits No caption needed: iconic photographs, public culture, and liberal democracy 

Mothers and Life Challenges

More titles on tarot cards available at North York Central Library
Image courtesy of Nocturbulous under CC 2.0 Generic Licence

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck portrays motherhood in the form of the Empress. The image shows a regal lady dressed in a loose-fitting gown befitting a young woman in early pregnancy. The green lush background, flowing river, the crown of leaves and stars circling her hair, and the pomegranate printed dress symbolize fertility, Earth and life. The cushions providing her with comfort are adorned with Venus symbols. All the symbols offer an impression of a new season emerging with new life. Everything in this image appears sunny, ideal and soothing.

What this image does not capture are the unexpected life experiences that all mothers must face on a daily basis. Even with the best of intentions, challenges can occur and mothers are only human. In some situations, mothers may no longer be available for the family. Many people survive these difficulties and learn to cope, becoming stronger over time. Here are some moving stories with themes of interpretation and acceptance of life's obstacles. Self reflection can reshape these experiences towards a better future.

My secret mother: two different lives, one heartbreaking secret: a memoir Battle hymn of the tiger mother The loss that is forever: the lifelong impact of the early death of a mother or father Our mothers' spirits: on the death of mothers and the grief of men: an anthology
Not becoming my mother: and other things she taught me along the way Mother in the middle: a biologist's story of caring for parent and child Pieces of my mother: a memoir Divine secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood (book & DVD)

Extraordinary Moms 

Despite life's obstacles, a mother who tries to make it her goal to provide care for her child is an amazingly extraordinary person. Mastering the daily demands of motherhood with care and compassion and preparing for future emergencies are keys to success. Stories and lessons by extraordinary moms inspire the rest of us to appreciate what it takes to do that extra bit to make life a wonderful journey for everyone involved.

Successful single moms: thirteen stories of triumph I know how she does it: how successful women make the most of their time How she really does it: secrets of successful stay-at-work moms Peaceful parent, happy siblings: how to stop the fighting and raise friends for life
The mother of all parenting books: an all-Canadian guide to raising a happy, healthy child from preschool through the preteens The mindful parent: strategies from peaceful cultures to raise compassionate, competent kids Dolphin way a parent's guide to raising healthy, happy, and motivated kids Nurtureshock: new thinking about children

Mothers face so many challenges. It is a special role that many women take on to help raise wonderful families. We would like to wish you and your family a bright and warm Mother's Day this Sunday, as you celebrate and remember her marvelous achievements in your life.


Related blog posts:

Fun, Free, Fabulous Drag Fashion Show

May 6, 2016 | Maureen | Comments (2)

Miss Understood by David Shankbone
  Miss Understood by David Shankbone
You’re invited to Stilettos on the Move, a drag fashion show! Come celebrate Pride Week at North York Central Library on Tuesday, May 17 at 7:00 p.m. Flamboyant drag performers will turn the library stage into a catwalk as glamorous as any you'll see during Toronto Fashion Week. Watch Juice Boxx, Scarlet Bobo, Heaven Lee Hytes, Sofonda and Katinka Kature strut their fabulous stuff – and I do not use the word fabulous lightly. The art of drag involves dazzling costumes, wigs, glitz and gloss, and all the colours in the makeup box. If you've ever been curious about the art of drag, this is your chance to learn about it from the performers themselves. After the fashion show, they'll be interviewed, and you'll have a chance to ask them questions. A thrilling group performance by all five drag artists will conclude the evening. Call (416) 395-5639 to register for this free program.

Men wearing high heels is nothing new -- they've been doing it since the 1600s, according to an exhibition currently at the Bata Shoe Museum. If you'd like a free pass to see the exhibition Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, pick up a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass. The Bata Shoe Museum pass is available at 50 Toronto Public Library branches.


Movies featuring drag performances:

Kinky boots Hairspray Victor Victoria The adventures of Priscilla Queen of the desert

Books featuring drag or cross-dressing:

Fanny and Stella Girlfriend men women and drag Manchu princess, Japanese spy Drag teen

 Books on fashion:

Fashion the fifty most influential fashion designers of all time A queer history of fashion Fashion that changed the world The fashion manifesto

Watch Matty Cameron's dramatic transformation into Scarlett Bobo, one of the performers you'll see at North York Central Library:

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.