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Yonge Street Line, the First in Canada

March 30, 2015 | Ann | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

More Yonge Street Subway images from
Photo courtesy of Toronto Public Library. March 30, 1954 opening ceremonies outside Davisville station.

Yonge Street is one of the longest streets in the world.  Holed up underneath, the first subway line in Canada hummed with anticipation.  On Tuesday, March 30, 1954, the passengers (shown above) embarked on their first historic ride from Davisville Station to Union Station.  

Prior to this momentous day, Yonge Street was designed with an earlier period in mind when horse-drawn carriages rolled along at a slower pace.

 Great Western Railway Station; Freight Offices Yonge Street, east side, north of Esplanade East in 1873 from the TPL Digital Archive

Photo courtesy of the Digital Archive from The Toronto Public Library

With the turn of the twentieth century, this street became the main passageway through the city.  

As more businesses established their storefronts along this street, traffic congestion increased.  Larger and wider vehicles, including the public transit cars, jockeyed for travel space.  Speeds during rush hour could grind down to a standstill.  

Even pedestrian traffic filled the sidewalks with little room to maneuver. This situation showed a dire need for an alternative way to move people around the city quickly and easily.  Canada's First Subway.  Why a Subway?

Courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives. November 18, 1941 Series 71, Item 15073. Looking north on Yonge Street from Granby Street, showing rush hour congestion.

Proposals were held at the turn of the twentieth century to create a subway line to run underneath Yonge Street.  The social and economic changes from the First World Warthe Great Depression, and the Second World War affected the first half of the century to thwart this undertaking.  

After the Second World War ended, the city looked forward to a brighter future.  On January 1, 1946, a majority of voters approved the building of a new subway line.  On September 8, 1949, subway construction went underway underground.  And the rest is history.

Here is the original 1954 map of this monumental subway line:

Yonge Street Subway Line in 1954
TTC Subway Map courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives: TTC Ephemera

For comparison, this is the current 2015 subway map.  

There are many interesting and noteworthy resources available online on the Toronto Transit Commission, Yonge Street, and the history of Toronto.  Have a glance through these written articles and vintage images:

  1. Toronto Subway Project is a summary of Jay Young's (2012) dissertation on, “Searching for a Better Way: Subway Life and Metropolitan Growth in Toronto, 1942-1978." The full dissertation is electronically available from this website.  
  2. Before the TTC from is an incredible 'blast from the past' on how public transit operated prior to the arrival of the Toronto Transit Commission. 
  3. The TTC story:  the first 75 Years is an article written by Mike Filey offering a preview to his book (listed below) by the same name.  Filey has written more titles on the City of Toronto that are available from the library.  
  4. TTC free Wi-Fi now available Bloor to Union Station was published on Friday, November 28, 2014 in The Toronto Star and written by , Transportation Reporter.  Passengers may freely pass the time accessing the Internet on their digital devices while waiting for their trains to arrive.
  5. Subway Milestones - Expansion is an article from The Archives of Ontario.  The TTC subway system has expanded over time from 1959 to 2002.  See how the other subway lines including the University, the Bloor/Danforth, and the Scarborough RT lines came into being.
  6. Images of the Toronto Transit Commission from TPL Pinterest provides a beautiful archive of images, flyers, maps, and other ephemera pertaining to the TTC.
  7. Pictures of Yonge Street from The Digital Archive are available in the public domain and provided from our library website.  
  8. Tunnels: A short guide to Toronto’s nether regions from The Toronto Star was written by  , Staff Reporter, and published on Friday, February 27, 2015.  There are several hidden tunnels lying within this city.  Some are fabricated stories, some may be haunted, and some were used in past movie sets.
  9. Vintage Toronto is located on Facebook and provides images of, "the road, the people, and the architecture," across the city.  The page was started on January 12, 2012 but the images go as far back as the mid-1800s.  Every day new entries are added and visitors share their own personal insights to these vintage images.  


The North York Central library has a good selection on these topics.  Come visit the library and browse through our local history collection.  

Transit in Toronto: The Story of the Development of Public Transportation in Toronto, from Horse Cars to a Modern, High Speed Subway System The Yonge Street story: an account of letters, diaries, and newspapers, 1793-1860 by F. R. Berchem The TTC story: the first seventy-five years by Mike Filey Mind the doors please: the story of Toronto and its streetcars by Larry Partridge
Opportunity road: Yonge Street, 1860 to 1939 by F. R. Berchem Toronto streetcars serve the city by Kenneth C. Springirth 200 years Yonge: (2nd ed) a history by Ralph Magel Toronto: biography of a city by Allan Gerald Levine

Tour the sights in the Canadiana Department for more information on Yonge Street in North York local history.  Visit the department and meet Henry, The Golden Lion, who is a resident of this great street and used to stand above the entrance to The Golden Lion Hotel


Toronto Digital Archive:  Golden Lion Hotel, Yonge Street, 1878-1948.  This hotel was located at the southwest corner of Sheppard Avenue, Toronto, Ontario
Photo courtesy of The Toronto Public Library


If you have a personal story about Yonge Street you would like to share, the Toronto Public Library released an interactive online exhibit in 2013 called, youryongestreet.  You can upload audio files, pictures, videos and stories as well as browse other people's submissions.  Some contributions may be included as part of our TPL Digital Archive.  

youryongestreet is an interactive online exhibit of people, places and events along the world’s longest street. It brings together stories, documents, maps, photographs, oral histories, and videos to create a living history.


As many commuters will agree, the subway system remains a crucial and speedy way to travel through the City.  The Yonge Street line may have opened up faster travel through the heart of the City in 1954, future projects are currently underway (and some will hope for a possible subway extension to Square One in Mississauga) to make the TTC an even more accessible way to get around.

Has Poetry Kicked the Bucket?

March 27, 2015 | Maureen | Comments (11) Facebook Twitter More...

In 2013, a Washington Post headline asked, “Is poetry dead?” A few weeks later, an answer seemed to come from the UK newspaper, The Independent: “Poetry is dying. Actually, it’s pretty dead already…”  Another nail seemed to be hammered into poetry's coffin with this article title: "Poetry is dead. What the hell happened?" (PiD magazine) As the librarian responsible for the Canadian poetry collection at North York Central Library, I’d just like to say that reports of poetry’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Poets today rarely, if ever, attract the readership that popular fiction writers do. Still, poetry continues to be written, quoted, loved. If I were banished to a desert island for a year and could bring only one book, I’d choose a fat poetry anthology over fiction (even though I adore fiction.) If I was offered a swap -- my fat poetry book for a sack of fiction -- I’d refuse. With all that spare time on my hands on the island, I'd glut myself on poetry, I'd swallow it whole, memorizing it, furnishing my mind palace with a tyger, tyger burning bright, and a Jabberwock with eyes of flame. Christina Rossetti's little goblin men tramping down the glen would have a place there, too. (Rossetti's poem "Goblin Market" really makes me hungry. See the first verse of this trippy poem at the bottom of this post, if you want to know why.)

Don't get the idea I'm trying to twist your arm to get you to read poetry, even though April is National Poetry Month. Let poetry speak for itself. You decide if poetry deserves to die.

We have hundreds of poetry books at North York Central Library -- the biggest circulating collection in the Toronto Public Library system. All the poetry books you could ever want to tuck into your backpack and read lying in a Toronto park on a sunny day, or rattling to work in the tin can poetically known as “the rocket." People may not realize that poetry comes in eBook format, too, which is why I feature only eBook and eAudiobook poetry below, available in Overdrive, which you can access via the Toronto Public Library webpage. (Look for the "Downloads & eBooks" tab.)

Accessible Poetry

Aimless Love - Billy Collins Dog Songs - Mary Oliver The Poetry of Robert Frost
Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well - Maya Angelou Annabel Lee - Edgar Allan Poe The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses - Robert W Service

Poetry Anthologies

The Knopf National Poetry Month Collection The Griffin Poetry Prize 2014 Anthology The Nation's Favourite Poems

Canadian Poetry

Book of longing -- Leonard Cohen The dream world -- Alison Pick Morning in the burned house -- Margaret Atwood

American Poetry

Pleasures of the damned -- Charles Bukowski Collected poems 1947-1997 -- Allen Ginsberg Ariel -- Sylvia Plath

Children's Poetry

Pizza, pigs and poety  -- Jack Prelutsky Alligator pie -- Dennis Lee Dirty beasts -- Roald Dahl

Classic Poetry

The Odyssey -- Homer Shakespeare's Sonnets -- William Shakespeare

Paradise Lost -- John Milton


Here's the first verse of Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894). See if you crave fruit after reading it!

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

Homelessness In Canada

March 16, 2015 | Emoke | Comments (11) Facebook Twitter More...

Healing homeRecently, I attended a training session on homelessness which opened my eyes to the topic and the actions that we must take as a society to put an end to this unfortunate and inhumane social issue. The speaker was Stephen Gaetz, a Professor at the Faculty of Education at York University and the Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub. He is also the President of Raising the Roof, a leading Canadian charity that focuses on long term solutions to homelessness.

Here are some facts that I learned from his lecture (statistics are rough estimates):

  • Over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year
  • 35,000 people a night are homeless
  • 47.5% are single adult men (25-55 years old)
  • Living on the streets is unsafe for women as family violence is a major reason women are homeless
  • Youth 16-24 years old make up 20% of the homeless population. The causes are unique and include abuse, low income from minimum wage jobs and lack of affordable housing
  • In Toronto, 18% of homeless are Aboriginal
  • New Canadians are a growing homeless population

Homelessness as a Problem:

  • Society created the homelessness problem
  • High paying jobs are disappearing
  • Incomes have declined at the same time as increasing housing prices
  • There is a focus on tax credits in Canada - instead of spending more directly on childcare for instance
  • Reductions in welfare payments
  • Wages haven't kept up with inflation
  • From 1980s-1990s, the government reduced spending on affordable housing to balance the budget
  • National investment in housing decreased (including rental)
  • Rise in homelessness in 1990s was a result of shifts in government policy

Causes of Homelessness

  • Family conflict, job loss, accidents (disability), mental health and addiction
  • Racism, discrimination and homophobia 
  • Patients that are discharged from hospitals without any support or guidance
  • Less rehabilitation programs

Myth: people choose to be homeless - most leave home (or a desperate situation) not because they want to but due to a violent situation, sexual abuse, etc.

  • When they leave, they lose everything: family, natural supports, friends and guidance from relatives
  • Health worsens- mental health impacted, depression, disease, nutritionally vulnerable
  • Addictions follow to “numb the pain”
  • Sexual exploitation arises especially for women on the streets that need to make some money
  • Gangs and criminal involvement increases - for self-protection and to feed a drug habit
  • Homeless are victims of crime as whatever little they own is stolen on the streets, shelters, etc.
  • 38% of young homeless women were sexually assaulted in the past year

Canadian Response to Homelessness should be:

Emergency Response
Housing and Supports

  • We have come to rely on emergency services too much
  • What we really need are prevention and housing supports
  • Alberta - is way ahead of Ontario on homelessness as they have a provincial strategy to end homelessness
  • Medicine Hat has virtually ended homelessness as the city has invested in affordable housing

Ending Homelessness

What is Toronto Public Library Doing:

  • Toronto Public Library has partnered with Toronto Public Health and the City of Toronto’s Streets to Homes to launch a pilot program. The program is currently available two days per week at Toronto Reference Library and Yorkville branch
  • Toronto Public Health nurses help people connect to health resources for mental health and addiction
  • Nurses rove around these branches, checking in with security and librarians about what help is needed

Bookmobile Outreach to Family Shelters

  • Bookmobile outreach and storytimes at Toronto shelters serve women with children
  • Staff register library cards for kids and residents enabling them to borrow books from the bookmobile for extended loan periods
  • Shelter residents don’t get fines and can return books in their shelter


The Toronto Reference Library will also have a program in April with Stephen Gaetz as part of their Thought Exchange programming :


For more information about this important issue, please see the following books, which can be borrowed from the Toronto Public Library:

Homelessness & Health in Canada  Youth work  Homelessness  Homelessness, housing and the experiences of mental health consumer-survivors

Almost home  Homeless  Children living in transition  Homelessness comes to school


Home safe. Toronto a documentary

Crowe, Cathy, 1952-; MacDonald, Laurel; Sky, Laura; Strong, Phil

Year/Format: 2009, DVD, 1 videodisc (96 min.)

Additional reading:

Youth homelessness in Canada: implications for policy and practice

Housing first in Canada: supporting communities to end homelessness

The State of Homelessness in Canada 2014  (PDF)

Canadian Opera Company Talk: The Barber of Seville

March 13, 2015 | Muriel | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Canadian Opera Company Talk:

The Barber of Seville

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

North York Central Library Auditorium

The Barber of Seville

Wayne Gooding, editor of Opera Canada magazine, examines
the different ways Rossini's riotous romp has been translated
to the stage from its premiere in 1816 up to the present day. 
Special attention will be given to Els Comediants' new COC production which opens the 2015 spring season.

Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.

  Rossini         The Barber of Seville Sheet Music  Giacchino Rossini The Reluctant Hero

The Barber of Seville Opera Guide       Il Barbiere di Siviglia       Il Barbiere di Siviglia 2


Be sure to visit NAXOS, the online music library available through Toronto Public Library, and listen to great music spanning medieval to modern - classical, jazz, electronic, world music and more, and find expert educational content.  


Introducing...The 2015 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities!

March 11, 2015 | Deb | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

IBBY logoEvery two years, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) chooses outstanding books for and about children and young people with disabilities. This biennial selection draws attention to books published around the world, in an extensive variety of languages and formats, that address special needs and situations and which encourage inclusion at every level.

BuchFor this outstanding selection, 159 books from 27 countries -- including Russia, Argentina, Sweden and Japan -- were submitted. Of these books, 50 were chosen as outstanding works.

Books selected as 2015 outstanding titles are featured in a print catalogue that will be launched at this year’s Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy on March 30th. The 2015 catalogue will also be digitized and available online.

Outstanding titles become part of The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities. Consisting of 4000 multilingual books, this one-of-a-kind collection is located in Canada at North York Central Library, part of the Toronto Public Library system.


IBBY Collection Toronto Public Library


2015 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities

Ajja & Bajjas ramsor
Ajja & Bajjas ramsor [Rhymes for you with Pippa & Boo]
by Elvira Ashby. Illustrated by Karin Holmström. Hatten förlag.


Moa åker på läger [Moa goes to camp] by Ann Gomér. Illustrated by Cecilia Höglund. Landskrona vision AB.


Mil Orejas [A thousand ears] by Pilar Gutiérrez Llano. Illustrated by Samuel Castaño Mesa. Tragaluz Editores SAS.


Maja spelar innebandy [Maja plays floorball] by Camilla Larsson. Illustrated by Gunvor Ekström. Specialpedagogiska skolmyndigheten (SPSM).


Storie con la CAA 3. Tre IN-book per bambini di 3-6 anni [Stories with AAC, volume #3. Three IN-book for children from 3 to 6 years] by Elena Magni et al. Illustrated by Laura Constanzi and Roberto Introzzi. Edizioni Centra Studi Erickson S.p.A.


Off to the Park! by Child’s Play. Illustrated by Stephen Cheetham. Child’s Play (International) Ltd.


Les Wa-Wa [The toilets] by Laure Constantin. Illustrated by Cécile Gay. Les Doigts Qui Rêvent.


Dongurami Semo Nemoga Moyeoseo [Circle, triangle, and rectangle] by Meong Sun Jung. Illustrated by Su Ji Park. Braille Publishing Co., Ltd.


Malyshi v zooparke [Little ones at the zoo] by Samuil Marshak. Illustrated by Evgeniy Charushin. “Illustrated Books for Blind Children” Foundation.

Mon premier ABC brailleMon premier ABC Braille [My first Braille ABC]
written and  illustrated by Caroline Morin. Association Mes Mains en Or.


Tenji tsuki sawaru ehon: Sawaru meiro [Touch picture book with Braille: Mazes by touch] designed by Junko Murayama. Shogakukan, Inc.


Stir It Up! Recipes & Techniques for Young Blind Cooks by National Braille Press. Illustrated by Janet Malone. National Braille Press.


Out-of-Sight Science Experiments: for grades 2-5 by Lillian A. Rankel and Marilyn D. Winograd. Illustrated by National Braille Press. National Braille Press.


Mushi [Insects] design and tactile adaptation by Volunteers from Fukinoto Bunko, Nuno Group. Fukinoto Bunko.


Klaus Vogel and the Bad Lads by David Almond. Illustrated by Vladimir Stankovic. Barrington Stoke.


La maglia del nonno [Grandpa’s Shirt] by Gabriella Genisi. Illustrated by Eleonora Marton. Biancoenero Edizioni srl.


Tamtarams [Rumpety-tumpety-rhymes] by Elvira Ashby. Illustrated by Karin Holmström. Hatten förlag.


Rompecabezas [Puzzle] written and illustrated by Diego Bianki. Pequeño editor.

Il libro cricetoIl libro criceto [The hamster book]
written and illustrated by Silvia Borando. Minibombo.


Une feuille, un arbre [A leaf, a tree] written and illustrated by Bruno Gibert. Albin Michel Jeunesse.


Shh! We Have a Plan written and illustrated by Chris Haughton. Walker Books.


To lak laky, ya Darkoub [Are you a stork or a woodpecker?] written and illustrated by Ali Khodaee. Institute for the Cultural Development of Children and Young People/Kanoon.


Saku, spesiaali lapsi [Saku, a special kid] by Marianne Kulmala. Illustrated by Kirsi Tapani. Aivoliitto ry.


How To written and illustrated by Julie Morstad. Simply Read Books.


Sandoicchi itadakimasu [Let’s make a sandwich] written and illustrated by Shimako Okamura. Poplar Publishing Co.


Splash of RedA Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Alfred A. Knopf.


Recinto Gris [Gray Enclosure] by Ledicia Costas. Illustrated by Antonio Seijas. Edicións Xerais de Galicia.


Freddie and the Fairy by Julia Donaldson. Illustrated by Karen George. Macmillan Children’s Books.


Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. Hot Key Books.


Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth. Woolshed Press/Random House.


Mallko y papá [Mallko and Dad] written and illustrated by Gusti. Editorial Océano.


Look the Bird is SingingKijk, de vogel zingt [Look, the bird is singing] by Bente Jonker. Illustrated by Moniek Peek. De Vier Windstreken.


Liever dan lief [Sweeter than sweet] by Bente Jonker. Illustrated by Moniek Peek. De Vier Windstreken.


Mimi a Líza [Mimi and Liza] written and illustrated by Katarina Kerekesová et. al. Vydavatel’stvo Slovart.


Noi [Us] by Elisa Mazzoli. Illustrated by Sonia MariaLuce Possentini. Corso Bacchilega editore.


Emily Included by Kathleen McDonnell. Second Story Press.


Writing with Grace: A Journey beyond Down syndrome by Judy McFarlane. Douglas & McIntyre.


Temple Grandin: How the Girl who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Planet WilliPlanet Willi [Willi’s planet] written and illustrated by Birte Müller. Klett Kinderbuch Verlag GmbH.


Roses are Blue by Sally Murphy. Illustrated by Gabriel Evans. Walker Books Australia Pty Ltd.


Victor et Philomène [Victor and Philomène] by Claire Renaud. L’école des loisirs.


O Stephenie Hawkingu, Czarnej Dziurze i myszach podpodłogowych [On Stephen Hawking, a black hole and undermice] by Katarzyna Ryrych. Illustrated by Elżbieta Chopna. Wydawnictwo Literatura.


Lola e io [Lola and I] by Chiara Valentina Segré. Illustrated by Paolo Domeniconi. Camelozampa snc.


Le Garçon de I’intérieur [The boy from the inside] by Benoît Sévérac. Syros.


Max the Champion by Sean Stockdale and Alexandra Strick. Illustrated by Ros Asquith. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.


Ai-chan no iru kyoshitsuAi-chan no iru kyoshitsu [In the classroom with Ai-chan] written and photographed by Masaki Takakura. Kaisei-sha.


The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten. Doubleday Canada.


Paperboy by Vince Vawter. Delacorte Press.


A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman. Nancy Paulsen Books.


Dingdingdangdang [Dingding and Dangdang] by Cao Wenxuan. Illustrated by Liu Zhenjun. China Children’s Press & Publication Group.


Monopoly : The Board Game

March 2, 2015 | Aleks | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

British_monopolyMonopoly; the game of trading and the fast-paced world of real estate. Entering its 80th year in the game board market, Monopoly is licensed in 103 countries, available in 37 languages, and more than 275 million copies have been sold worldwide. To win the game, a player must have complete domination in the market over the other players, usually through bankrupting others. 

The illustrious Monopoly has a deeper history then the 80 years claimed by owner Hasbro. It is argued that the game was originally created by Elizabeth Magie.  She had created a Landlord's Game in 1903 as a way to protest against American moguls. This is in opposition to Charles Darrow who has been accredited of having invented Monopoly in the 1930s and selling it to Parker Brothers. Find out more in this article or Mary Pilon's new book, Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game.

Monopolists - Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game

You can also listen to the story The Secret History of Monopoly on The Current at

There are many ways to spend this March Break with your family. If you are interested in getting out of the cold, here are some great books on board game fun for the family.

Under the Boardwalk The Games we Played The Story of Dungeons and Dragons 
The Grand Parents Handbook Unbored Games Serious Fun for EveryoneParty Games for Adults

There are also many opportunities to play board games at the library. We have programs for all ages. Board games can offer many life lessons, such as patience, diplomacy, and negotiation as children engage with their family and friends. 

In addition to being able to borrow board games at select libraries, there are also chances to visit cafes and pubs across Toronto for a time and place to dominate your opponents or to have a friendly match:

Snakes & Lattes

600 Bloor Street West , Toronto


Castle Board Game Cafe

454 Spadina Street , Toronto


Roll Play Cafe

10A Edward Street , Toronto


Snakes & Lagers

488 College Street , Toronto


Rooster Coffee House

479 Broadview Avenue , Toronto



Introduction to Baroque Music with Violinist Patricia Ahern

February 27, 2015 | Maureen | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Patricia AhernPlease join us at North York Central Library on Friday March 27 for an introduction to Baroque music. Patricia Ahern, a violinist with award winning Baroque orchestra Tafelmusik, will perform selections of Baroque music to illustrate her talk. Tafelmusik has been called one of the world’s top Baroque orchestras by Gramophone Magazine.

Baroque music is a style of European music that roughly spans the years 1600 to 1750. The love of theatricality during this time period led to the invention of a genre which is still flourishing today -- opera. Some well known composers of the period include George Frideric Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Pachelbel, Antonio Vivaldi, Henry Purcell, and Claudio Monteverdi.

If you’d like to learn more about Baroque music before you come to the event, use your library card to log into Naxos Music Library on the Toronto Public Library Website. Here, you can listen to works by composers of the Baroque period. Or you can listen to The history of classical music, an audio book by Richard Fawkes, a hidden gem for your ears and mind. At the beginning, you will hear the soulful sound of Gregorian chant, then British actor Robert Powell infusing the first line of the book with life in his mellifluous, unhurried tones: "The sound of Gregorian chant -- the oldest music we have in the western world".

His voice is so well modulated and pleasing that even when he tells you about the walls of Jericho being brought down by trumpets, and the Christians being fed to lions to the sound of organ music, you will be lulled into a state of both relaxation and alert curiosity -- the perfect mood in which to time travel with Powell into music history. It's a great way to learn. You are treated to samples of music which really help you appreciate what Powell is saying in his delicious British accent. If you want, skip right to the section on the Baroque period. (The same title is available in Hoopla, Toronto Public Library's streaming music and video service.)

Patricia will begin her talk at 7:00 p.m. Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.

Here are just a few titles from the thousands available to you in Naxos Music Library:

Richard Fawkes The History of Classical Music
"Recommended to anyone new to classical music or to informed listeners looking to plug any gaps in their knowledge." Gramophone Magazine. Narrated by award winning actor Robert Powell. (Most well known for his role as Jesus in Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth.)

Baroque Masterpieces


Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra Concerti Virtuosi



Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra House of Dreams


The Beautiful Brain: How Do We See the World?

February 20, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Edit: Please note that the talk "The Beautiful Brain: How Do We See the World?" has been rescheduled (date and time to be confirmed). Tonight's talk will be delivered by Derek Wilson (York University) on "What Happens When Proteins Go Rogue".

I recently had surgery to correct my vision. I've needed glasses since sixth grade so it's been quite a different experience not having to wear glasses or contacts. Being able to wake up and see things clearly has been simply wonderful.

Working together, the eyes and brain allow us to perceive the world around us. As light hits the retina of the eye (which allows us to see), signals are sent to the visual cortex of the brain. There, visual information is processed.

So whether you are looking at a work of art or engaging in a daily routine such as driving, our visual sense and powerful brain let us react with adequate behaviours.

Join Dr. Georg Zoidl from York University, for a talk on the brain and visual perception on Wednesday, March 4 from 7 – 8 PM at North York Central Library in the Auditorium. He will explain what our perception of the physical world mean for us as individuals and as social beings.

Presented in collaboration with York University’s Faculties of Science and Health, this talk is part of the Neuroscience: How Your Brain Lives, Works… And Dies lecture series.

For more information about the brain, take a look at these books:

Brain structure and its origins  The human brain book  A very short tour of the mind  We are our brains

Here are some DVDs about the brain:

How does the brain work  The intelligent brain  The nervous system  Your best brain

There are also books about visual perception:

Basic vision  An introduction to the visual system  A tour of the senses  Vision and brain

North York Central Library Talk: Wedgwood: Artistry and Innovation

February 13, 2015 | Muriel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

  North York Central Library Talk:

Wedgwood: Artistry and Innovation

Thursday, March 12, 2015

7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium

Speaker: Peter Kaellgren, Curator Emeritus,

Department of World Cultures, Royal Ontario Museum

Please call 416-395-5639 to register.

Wedgwood Artistry and Innovation                 Wedgwood Jasperware   

Josiah Wedgwood I (1730 to 1795) was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the Industrial Revolution.  Since 1759, Wedgwood ceramics have constantly evolved to appeal to changing needs and tastes.  An identification clinic for ceramics is available for a limited number of people between 6:00 to 6:45 p.m. 
Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.

Wedgwood The First tycoon                At Home With Wedgwood


You can see historical examples of Wedgwood ceramics in Toronto for free.  Just pick up a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass for the
Royal Ontario Museum or the Gardiner Museum.

Tutankhamun's Uncommon Encounters

February 13, 2015 | Ann | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...


National Gegoraphic featured video:  King Tut's Tomb
Photograph of King Tut's Mask courtesy of v.williams46 (flickr) under the Creative Commons licence 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This year Ontario celebrates Family Day on Monday February 16.  It is a great day for people to share time with family and friends.  For those who like to spend their time immersed in ancient history, February 16 celebrates the 92nd anniversary of the discovery of King Tut (aka King Tutankhamen).  This day in 1923, Howard Carter discovered the inner burial chamber and gave rise to a social phenomenon rich in scientific research and folklore. 

Tutankhamun endured some (mis)adventures in life and in the thereafter.  These include physical injuries that hastened his untimely death, possible spontaneous combustion of his mummified remains during entombment, and the recent unfortunate breaking and hasty reattachment of the beard on his death mask.  

Other intriguing issues related to King Tut can be shelved under folklore.  These include the ever popular "mummy's curse" upon the opening of King Tut's sarcophagus and the successful plot to murder the young king.  In the late 1960s, scientists examined King Tut's remains using X-ray photography.  The initial images showed a crack in the lower back area of the mummy's skull.  This evidence suggested that King Tut may have been bludgeoned to death.  Ay(e), a  middle-aged close relative and counselor to the king, was the prime suspect in the young king's demise.  Ay(e) had a great deal to gain in murdering the child king and marrying the equally young queen, Ankhesenamun.  

Further scientific analysis debunks this initial theory.  Recent CT scans discount Ay(e) as the Tutankhamen's murderer.  The crack in the skull most likely occurred in the mummification process.   King Tut may have died due to an infection resulting from a serious fracture to his left leg.  The scientists did report two unusual occurrences while they performed a CT scan on Tut's remains.  They jokingly suggested that the sudden shutdown of power to the CT scanner and illness to one of the scientists may be caused by the mummy's curse for performing this "penetrating" procedure.  


The library has a good assortment of titles that would interest readers fascinated with topics on Tutankhamen and the history of Ancient Egypt: 

Discovering Tutankhamun: from Howard Carter to DNA.  By Zahi Hawass Tutankhamun's funeral.  By Winlock, Herbert Eustis, 1884-1950 Amarna sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian counter-reformation.  By Dodson, Aidan, 1962- In the valley of the kings:  Howard Carter and the mystery of King Tutankhamun's tomb.  By Meyerson, Daniel
The golden king:  the world of Tutankhamun. By Hawass, Zahi A. The treasures of Tutankhamun and the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.  By Amenta, Alessia Tutankhamun's armies: battle and conquest during ancient Egypt's late eighteenth dynasty.  By Darnell, John Coleman A passion for Egypt: Arthur Weigall, Tutankhamun, and the "curse of the pharaohs."  By  Hankey, Julie


For those readers who would like to find out more on the possible murder plot on the young king, here are some gripping suggestions: 

The murder of Tutankhamen: a true story.  By Brier, Bob The shadow king:  the bizarre afterlife of king Tut's mummy.  By Marchant, Josephine The murder of King Tut: the plot to kill the child king: a nonfiction thriller.  By Patterson, James, 1947- Secrets of the dead. Ultimate Tut (DVD)


As new innovations in scientific research develop, the analysis of King Tut's artifacts and remains will continue to reveal a better understanding of how people in Ancient Egypt perceived life and death.  Perhaps not everything about King Tut will be answered--speculation and folklore will attempt to fill in those gaps.

Whether it be murder, archaeology, science, or Egyptology, you will find something intriguing in the titles and the online articles suggested here.  Come visit the Society and Recreation Department at the North York Central Library to browse our Ancient Egypt collection.  And please visit the Toronto Public Library Pinterest site for more amazing images on all things Tutankhamen. 

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