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Sustaining Hope Through Architectural Innovation

September 26, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

How many times have you noticed paper tossed into a garbage bin, even though there is a clearly marked recycling bin right beside it? Maybe your answer is the same as mine – which is, too many times to count. The distance from one bin to the other is less than the distance a person’s arm travels between a potato chip bag and their mouth. The tiny legs of an ant can travel it in a couple of seconds. If the slight arm movement needed to cover a few centimeters is too much effort to make for the sake of the environment, how realistic is it to hope we'll make the bigger changes needed to ensure a healthy planet? Thinking about those few centimeters can be unhealthy for my sense of hope.

It's hard to be optimistic about theSept 22 2014 health of the environment these days, but there are reasons for hope. The hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who participated in The People's Climate March on September 21 made me forget about the indifference I see in those few centimeters between the bins. Another hopeful sign is innovation in the field of sustainable architecture. On Wednesday, October 15 Terri Meyer Boake, a professor at University of Waterloo's School of Architecture, will give a presentation on sustainable architecture and design at North York Central Library. Professor Meyer Boake will illustrate the talk with many images. It's sure to be an interesting and hope inspiring night. The talk begins at 7:00 p.m. Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.                            

Marchers filled the streets of New York. Creative Commons: Greg McNevin, 2014 - See more at: http://tcktcktck.org/2014/09/hundreds-thousands-take-streets-climate-action/64529#sthash.oIxqehw2.dpuf

If you have an interest in sustainable architecture, you may be interested in one of these items, available at the Toronto Public Library:

Marchers filled the streets of New York. Creative Commons: Greg McNevin, 2014 - See more at: http://tcktcktck.org/2014/09/hundreds-thousands-take-streets-climate-action/64529#sthash.oIxqehw2.dpuf
Marchers filled the streets of New York. Creative Commons: Greg McNevin, 2014 - See more at: http://tcktcktck.org/2014/09/hundreds-thousands-take-streets-climate-action/64529#sthash.oIxqehw2.dpuf
Tiny, a story about living small Inovative Houses, Concepts for Sustainable Living 150 best sustainable home ideas
Sustainable design, a critical guide Prefabulous homes, energy efficient and sustainable homes around the globe Inspired homes, architecture for changing times

Photo of People's Climate Change March in New York City used with permission by Avaaz.org

Everything you wanted to know about statistics...but were afraid to ask

September 16, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Numbers

Image courtesy of www.research-live.com

 

"Statistics is the grammar of science." Karl Pearson

Statistics is important in understanding and interpreting science especially with respect to research...but everyone can enjoy a basic understanding of statistics for their everyday life. For example, when I took my first statistics course, we were asked to calculate the odds of winning the 6/49 lottery. I knew the odds were not good, but I was shocked to learn the chances of winning was just 1 in 14 million (actually, over 14 million). I remember those odds everytime I feel like buying a ton of lottery tickets so that I can quit my job. 

There are a couple of fun ways to learn more about statistics:

  • Come out to Dr Eric Mintz's presentation, "Everything you wanted to know about statistics...but were afraid to ask" at North York Central Library on Wednesday, September 24 at 7 pm. Don't worry, this won't be a snoozefest--Dr. Mintz aims to make it fun, entertaining and informative!

More traditional ways to learn about statistics:

  Correlated
The Tao of statistics: a path to understanding (with no math) by Dana K. Keller Correlated: from square dancing and bumper stickers to Trekkies and ketchup, surprising connections between seemingly unrelated things by Shaun Gallagher Risk savvy: how to make good decisions by Gerd Gigerenzer
Understanding uncertainty by D.V. Lindley The improbability principle: why coincidences, miracles and rare events happen everyday by D.J. Hand The cartoon introduction to statistics by Grady Klein

 

Add a Pinch of Seasoning to Your Autumn Travels

September 15, 2014 | Ann | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

More beautiful images by Ian Muttoo on Flickr
Rays of autumn light in Trinity Square, Toronto. Photo credit: Ian Muttoo (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.)

There is only one week of summer remaining. Labour Day may have unofficially marked the arrival of Autumn, but the Fall Equinox begins on September 22nd.  

Daylight hours continue to shorten, skies continue to darken, and outdoor temperatures continue to plummet. Sweaters, long pants, and warm fuzzy hats become more necessary for enduring the impending cold. Autumn also proclaims the return of bountiful harvests, cozy blankets, hot apple cider, fresh pumpkin pie, crackling embers aglow in wood burning fireplaces, and quiet time for introspection.  Wikihow offers more ways to celebrate the Autumn season.  

The most remarkable Autumn phenomenon occurs to the deciduous trees in North America. The green leaves change to reds, yellows, and golds in a natural colourful array. SUNY-ESF offers a good explanation for the changing colours.

The places to witness the changing leaf colours include: 

For more scenic places to travel in Ontario, have a look at the following guidebooks:

Backroad mapbook, cottage country Ontario outdoor recreation guide by Mussio Russell A paddler's guide to Algonquin Park by Kevin Callan The explorer's guide to Algonquin Park by Michael Runtz Great country walks around Toronto - within reach by public transit by Elliott Katz
A camper's guide to Ontario's best parks by Donna May Gibbs Carpenter Ontario provincial parks trail guide by Allen MacPherson A camper's guide to Ontario's best parks by Donna May Gibbs Carpenter A paddler's guide to Quetico and beyond by Kevin Callan

 

If you would like to add some haut goût to your Fall reading, try these historical titles from various disciplines. Some topics below may agree with your taste:

Seasons in the sun - the battle for Britain, 1974-1979 by Dominic Sandbrook Five seasons - a baseball companion by Roger Angell Season of the witch - enchantment, terror, and deliverance in the city of love by David Talbot A season of splendor - the court of Mrs. Astor in gilded age New York by Greg King
Early in the season - a British Columbia journal by Edward Hoagland Fifty seasons at Stratford by Robert Cushman Fever season - the story of a terrifying epidemic and the people who saved a city by Jeanette Keith Seasons of misery - catastrophe and colonial settlement in early America by Kathleen Donegan

 

Enjoy the changing fall colours and the many notable rituals, events, and celebrations pertaining to the Autumn season before the snow dusts the ground. 

Toronto Poetry Slam Team performance: not your grandma's poetry!

September 12, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

In the beginning was the word…”

Then came poets and storytellers, doing spoken word performance, painting with words inside people’s minds. If you love the beauty, the power, the magic and the music of words, come to North York Central Library on Friday September 26, where a feast is being prepared for lovers of the spoken word. The Toronto Poetry Slam Team, a group of spoken word poets who have performed across North America, will take to the stage in the North York Central Library auditorium at 7:00 p.m. to perform their original work. And I do mean perform. This is NOT a poetry reading. These spoken word artists don’t recite their poetry, they perform it -- energetically, emotionally and passionately.

Be advised: as it says on the Toronto Poetry Slam website, "this ain’t your grandma's poetry!" It can hit hard, be provocative, political, raw. Please call 416 395 5639 to register for this free Culture Days program. There are more than 40 free Culture Days programs offered at library branches across the city. This Canada wide celebration of arts and culture takes place on Friday September 26 and Saturday September 27.

Would you like to learn more about poetry slams? Reserve one of these items and have it sent to a library near you!

Stage a poetry slam Take the mic The complete idiot's guide to slam poetry
The spoken word revolution The spoken word revolution redux Louder than a bomb
This anthology includes a CD with over 70 minutes of electrifying live poetry in a wide variety of styles. Includes a CD with over 75 minutes of slam poetry, dub poetry, hip-hop poetica and more. This video follows four Chicago-area high school poetry teams as they prepare for and compete in the world's largest youth slam.


Video used by permission of the Toronto Poetry Project

Cyber Hacking: an inside look

September 11, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Skull with keyboard teeth
Image courtesy of emptypromises13.deviantart.com

Every week, there seems to be another newspaper article about computer hackers and their victims. Two recent incidents come to mind: 

-over a billion passwords were reportedly stolen by a group of Russian hackers from various organizations.  Shortly after, doubts were raised about that story and whether this was a PR stunt by a company who provided online security services. 

-the personal photos of Hollywood celebrities were stolen and posted after someone hacked into their online accounts.

Whether it's a billion passwords or a thousand photos stolen, it is obvious that there are some bad people out there who want to get a hold of your personal information. How can you protect yourself? 

One way is by attending the presentation, Cyber Hacking: an inside look at North York Central Library on September 23 at 6:45 pm. 

For Do-It-Yourselfers, another way is to read up on the subject:

Computer security by Dieter Gollmann

Anti-hacker toolkit by Mike Shema

Basics of information security by Jason Andress

What is computer science? an information security perspective by Daniel Page and Nigel Smart

For general interest reading on how pervasive cyber crimes and hacking are, the following titles may be of interest:

Darkmarket: cyberthieves, cybercops and you by Misha Glenny

We are Anonymous by Parmy Olson

Targeted cyber attacks: multi-staged attacks driven by exploits and malware by Aditya Sood and Richard Enbody

Cybersecurity and cyberwar: what everybody needs to know by PW Singer and Allan Friedman

Make the Most of Your Wardrobe

September 3, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

 Rack of clothes

Image courtesy of Flickr

Part of my back-to-school routine as a kid was to get a new batch of school supplies.  It was so nice having a spanking new pencil case full of just-sharpened pencil crayons.  But the best part?  Getting new clothes, some of which I insisted on wearing the first day, of course. 

Even as an adult, I feel that September is a fresh start.  And if that fresh start includes your wardrobe, you are in luck.  Sandi Quigley is a style consultant who will be providing a workshop on the science of personal dress at North York Central Library  on September 9 at 7 pm.  She will be providing suggestions on how you can make the most of your existing wardrobe.  And if you want to buy some items, she will be giving advice on what goes with what and how to accessorize.  As someone with a closet full of tops and bottoms that don't go with anything, I am ready to make wiser purchases.

As Sandi says, "stop wearing 20% of your clothes 80% of your time".   Hope you join me there...and if you can't, take a look at the following titles:

What not to wear by Trinny Woodall & Susannah Constantine How to dress: your complete style guide for every occasion by Gok Wan Wardrobe wakeup: your guide to looking fabulous at any age by Lois Joy Johnson

Film Screening and Discussion: Northwords

August 29, 2014 | Muriel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

NorthwordsFilm Screening and Discussion:

Northwords

Wednesday, September 24, 7:00 p.m.

North York Central Library
Auditorium

Please call 416-395-5639
to register.


 

 


A group of Canada's leading writers embark on a literary expedition to northern Labrador to seek inspiration and instigate new stories and conversations about the north.  Featuring Joseph Boyden, Alissa York, Noah Richler, Sarah Leavitt and Rabindranath Maharaj, and guide Shelagh Rogers, Northwords explores the idea of north and shows what happens when some of Canada's best writers encounter one of its most beautiful places.  See the film, then join filmmaker Geoff Morrison for a discussion.

The Orenda          Fauna         This Is My Country What's Yours      

Tangles   The Picture of Nobody     CBC Radio's Award Winning Documentaries         










 

Picture Labour Day...Over A Century Ago

August 29, 2014 | Ann | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

  More Labour Day images from The Toronto Public Library Pinterest website

Labour Day in Toronto along Queen Street West near Claremont Avenue in 1905 (Photo courtesy of The Toronto Public Library)

Hours of Operation

Welcome to the first day of September which happens to fall on the first Monday of the month.  As this day marks the Labour Day statutory holiday, all public libraries, post offices, government buildings, and private businesses are closed for the day. The library will re-open for regular hours on Tuesday.  Sunday hours will resume for District branches and Research and Reference libraries including North York Central Library and the Toronto Reference Library.  Sunday, September 7, 2014 is the first Sunday the library will open in the Fall at 1:30 pm and close at 5:00 pm.

 

Picture Labour Day in 1905 (close-up view)

Going back one hundred and nine years ago, visualize standing on a raised wooden platform from the main street and looking up at the cool misty grey sky. A photographer gages the weather and scans the procession.  Beside him, balanced on a tall wrought iron tripod, rests an early-period camera.  He peers through the camera lens and squeezes a rubber bulb connected to the camera.   A crisp image materializes showing marchers moving westward along Queen Street West with crowds gathering on sidewalks across the north and south sides of the street.

A conductor leads the parade and he exhibits stern confidence.  Behind him, the musicians keep pace while performing on their trombones, tubas, trumpets, and drums.  The band appears loosely dispersed along the street to ensure enough space to safely perform, march, and read their sheet music.

Drawn forward by the rousing tunes from the band, hundreds of men marching are decked out in suits, peaked caps, and what appears to be long cloth pendants pinned and draping from the marchers' left breast pockets.  These uniformed men line and fill several street blocks.  

The women in the crowd wear long flowing dresses with big fancy bonnets worn over their hair.  The girls are adorned in knee-high dresses with their pretty hair beribboned and braided in flattering bows.  The men observing the parade appear immaculate in their dress suits and assorted hats--consisting of bowlers, panamas, and fedoras.  Some men are seen whispering quietly amongst themselves. On the upper right-hand side in the photograph, the crowd gathers under opened umbrellas and store awnings to avoid the drizzling rain.  Behind the wooden post on Claremont Avenue, a man sits in his horse-drawn carriage watching the parade go by.

 

Queen Street West and Claremont Avenue a Century Later (Google Maps Image)

The current image of Queen Street West and Claremont Avenue shows some structural changes since 1905.  For instance, the building that housed the Bunker Brothers Carriage and Wagon Works on the northwest side of Claremont Avenue in 1905 no longer exists.  In its place currently stands a Starbuck's coffee shop.  On the northeast side stood the Cairo Bros. store in 1905.  Today, the Sanko Trading Co., which sells Japanese food and various types of artifacts, maintains the original building in fine condition.  

 

Celebrate Labour Day (Google Images of Past Parades)

Fair pay, safe working conditions, fair rights for all workers, and the ability for employees to voice their concerns continue to be important issues for workers' unions to address, negotiate, and achieve with employers.  For more information on the history of Labour Day in Canada, please have a look at the website, Canada's History - The First Labour Day.

In March 2012, The Toronto Public Library defended against budget cuts and library closures as discussed in Maureen O'Reilly's March 14, 2014 Toronto Star article, When will the city learn to love its librarians?  The library continues to provide programs, print and online resources, and an environment for the public to learn, relax, and connect.  

Listed below are some worthy titles pertaining to labour, work, and industry:

The workers' festival - a history of Labour Day in Canada by Craig Heron A good day's work - in pursuit of a disappearing Canada by John DeMont All labor has dignity by Martin Luther King, Jr. Work, industry, and Canadian society by H. Krahn
Social work under pressure - how to overcome stress, fatigue and burnout in the workplace by Kate Van Heugten Working without committments - the health effects of precarious employment by Wayne Lewchuk Work - a very short introduction by Stephen Fineman The quality of work - a people-centered agenda by Graham S. Lowe


Every year on Labour Day Monday, the marchers gather between University Avenue and Dundas Street West in the morning.  By 1:30 pm the parade proceeds south to Queen Street West and then westbound towards Dufferin Street and finally southbound through the Dufferin Gates into the CNE.  Come see and support us on our march along the way!

Let's Go To The EX!

August 18, 2014 | Ann | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Visit the CNE website for current events!
This image, which was originally posted to Flickr.com, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 15:56, 13 April 2010. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Mid-August is upon us.  Two weeks of summer warmth remains--and more warm days ahead if Indian Summer occurs.  The Canadian National Exhibition opened its doors on Friday, August 15, 2014 and closes on Labour Day (Monday, September 1, 2014).  Admission cost varies with age and a group discount fee is available.  The exhibits, attractions, merchandise, and rides continue to draw huge crowds everyday to the CNE.

The Canadian National Exhibition takes place at (you guessed it) Exhibition Place located on 200 Princes' Boulevard which is just north of Lakeshore Boulevard between Strachan Avenue and Dufferin Avenue. 

This historical extravaganza was originally named, The Canadian Industrial Exhibition, opened in 1879, and promoted the buying and selling of goods and services.  Shown below is a lithograph representation on wove paper of the representatives of this committee.  

  Canadian Industrial Exhibition resources on tpl.caPhoto in public domain courtesy of the Toronto Public Library.

The original copy is available to view in the Baldwin Room at the Toronto Reference Library

Also, more glorious historical images are available from the Toronto Public Library Pinterest website:

More Pinterest CNE Images from The Toronto Public Library
(Archived Flyer Courtesy of The Toronto Public Library)

In 1912, the name changed to The Canadian National Exhibition.  Acronyms in recent decades became popularized in social media.  People today refer to this two-week festival as, "the CNE" or, "The EX."

There are many events occurring every year at the CNE.  One of the most popular attractions are the unusual food concoctions available.  The new foods on the menu (as listed on Toronto.com and on theex.com) include some renditions of the following:

For those who enjoy titles on food and culture, here are some tasty topics to tantalize your taste buds:

Eating Asian America - a food studies reader   Educated tastes - food, drink, and connoisseur culture Gastropolis - food and New York City The tastemakers - why we're crazy for cupcakes but fed up with fondue
Food and the city - urban agriculture and the new food revolution The real cost of cheap food The industrial diet - the degradation of food and the struggle for healthy eating Bet the farm - how food stopped being food

 

The Canadian National Exhibition is a celebrated tradition for over a century.  Many people have memorable experiences of this annual event. 

Blogger and podcaster, Mike Boon (also known as Toronto Mike), offers up his own experiences having worked at the CNE from 1989 to 1991.  His collection, I Worked at the CNE. I Have Stories to Share, are filled with nostalgia and humour. 

Celebrations occur across the world and have their own origins, traditions, and histories and below are some festive titles to enjoy:

Around the world in 500 festivals - the world's most spectacular celebrations A year of festivals - how to have the time of your life Festivals of the world - the illustrated guide to celebrations, customs, events and holidays World party - the Rough Guide to the world's best festivals
Celebration, entertainment and theatre in the Ottoman world Off the beaten page - the best trips for lit lovers, book clubs, and girls on getaways Celebrate - a year of British festivities for families and friends Dancing in the streets - a history of collective joy

If you are heading down to the CNE, take in the various attractions, food, and exhibits.  Otherwise, enjoy the summer season whereever it takes you.

The Right to Read Anything

August 15, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (10) Facebook Twitter More...

"...adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature for children."

So wrote Ruth Graham in an article for Slate, which was recently republished in the Toronto Star. The article tries to shame adults who read literature written for young people – not for children, as the quote above indicates, but for teenagers. Graham focuses on realistic teen fiction such as John Green’s The fault in our stars, or Stephen Chbosky's The perks of being a wallflower. These books fall into a category that librarians and publishers refer to as “young adult fiction” or “young adult literature”, often shortened to “YA”. The stone in Graham’s shoe is not YA fiction itself, but the popularity of YA fiction with adult readers. “Fellow grown-ups” she chastises, “at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this.”

Graham has her reasons for maintaining these imaginary intellectual border lines, reasons which I'm not going to address here, other than to say that I disagree with every one of them. Mostly, I disagree with the notion that there are books adults should read – (“literary” fiction) and books adults shouldn’t read (anything marketed to teens) – and if you can’t resist the urge to toddle around in the kiddie pool of fiction, you ought to hang your head in shame. If you must set up rules around your reading, I suggest you consider author Daniel Pennac’s ten point reading manifesto, “The rights of the reader.” Especially number five.

  1. The right not to read.
  2. The right to skip.
  3. The right not to finish a book.
  4. The right to read it again.
  5. The right to read anything.
  6. The right to mistake a book for real life.
  7. The right to read anywhere.
  8. The right to dip in.
  9. The right to read out loud.
  10. The right to be quiet.

I hereby out myself as a grown-up who reads young adult fiction. Anybody else care to confess? I have read, and enjoyed the aforementioned enormously popular, The fault in our stars and many other YA books.

And I am neither embarrassed or ashamed.

 

This one summer I just finished a poignant young adult graphic novel that captures the feeling of being a girl just stepping into the minefield that is female adolescence. This one summer, written and illustrated by cousins Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, takes place in Ontario cottage country. Rose and her friend Windy (named by a hippie mom) are summer friends, who renew their friendship every year when their families go to Awago Beach. Rose has one flip flop clad foot in childhood, and the other is just beginning to test the waters of the vast, mysterious lake of sexuality, gender roles and adult problems.

Underneath the simple summer fun – campfires, swimming, choosing candy and horror movies from the only store around, and finding just the right shaped rock -- there are darker undercurrents of teen pregnancy, adult disappointment and loss, the good girl/bad girl dichotomy, and narrow standards of female beauty. Rose’s chubby friend Windy, a year and a half younger than her, dances, bounces and splashes unselfconsciously, often in a state of hyperactive delight. But Rose is already beginning to internalize destructive notions of a female physical ideal. When Windy rolls up her shorts and poses, Rose says, “It makes your thighs look kind of big.” My heart broke for all the young Roses and Windys when I read that line.

This book feels Canadian -- Rose’s Dad wears a Toronto Maple Leafs shirt, and extols the virtues of Canadian rock group, Rush. And a trip to Historic Huron Heritage Village might remind readers who grew up in Ontario of school trips to the Huron village in Midland.

Archie the married lifeI recommend this young adult graphic novel to my fellow grown-ups. If someone catches you reading This one summer and says you are too old to be reading comics, you could point out that a graphic novel won the Pulitzer Prize (Maus: a survivor's tale, by Art Spiegelman, in 1992). Or you could tell them that today’s graphic novels aren't your mother’s Archie comics. (Actually, your mother might not recognize the Archie comics of the twenty-first century – an issue of the comic was recently banned in Singapore for depicting a gay wedding.) And if that doesn’t shut them up, tell them you’ll read whatever you please.

  Skim

 

 

Also by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki: Skim, which was nominated for a 2008  Governor General's Literary Award.

"Skim" (Kimberly Keiko Cameron) is a not-slim would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls' school.  When her classmate Katie is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. The popular clique starts a club to boost school spirit, but Skim sinks into an ever-deepening depression."

You can get This one summer and Skim at the library, but if you'd like a peek right now, see this article in The New Yorker:

Eyeball kicks: a teen-age-girl summer

A sidenote to North Yorkers and fans of Rush, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013: Rose's Rush loving dad would be happy to know that Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, two members of the power trio who grew up in Willowdale, will have a section of Willowdale Park named after them. This summer, Willowdale Councillor John Filion spearheaded an effort to have part of Willowdale Park renamed Lee Lifeson Art Park. What!? Rose's Dad isn't a real person, you say? I refer you to number six, on "The rights of the reader" list above. (#6. "The right to mistake a book for real life.")

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