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Asian Heritage Month Double Event: Iranian Architecture and a Musical Performance

April 24, 2015 | Maureen | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Celebrate Asian Heritage Month this May with two events at North York Central Library on Saturday, May 23. The afternoon will begin with an overview of the architecture of Iran. At one o'clock, Dr. Rafooneh M. Sani (Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus) will showcase Iranian architecture from the ancient to the contemporary. The magnificent city of Persepolis will be one of the topics of her presentation. Persepolis has a fascinating history. In 1930 archaeologists began excavations of this ancient city, which dates back to 515 BCE. The destruction of Persepolis came after the army of Macedonian king Alexander the Great looted it in 330 BCE. The city that had been known as “the richest city under the sun” was destroyed by fire, possibly as revenge for the destruction of the Acropolis in Athens 150 years earlier, by Xerxes, King of Persia.

2009-11-24_Persepolis_02  Persepolis. Photo credit: Hansueli Krapf. Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0           

After Dr. Rafooneh's talk, you'll have time for a treat at the North York Centre food court (just a one minute walk from the library) before the second event begins. If the weather is fine, you can sip your coffee outside, in Mel Lastman Square, an urban oasis just steps from busy Yonge Street. Sit by the fountain or the reflecting pool and consider the modern Canadian architecture that borders the square.

Be sure to come back to the library in time to get a seat in the auditorium for the three o'clock performance by the Shiraz Ensemble. The musicians will perform Persian instrumental music on instruments with intriguing names: the Tar (Persian long-necked lute), the Tombak (goblet drum), the Kamanche (spiked fiddle), and the Santour (dulcimer).

Both events are free. They will take place in the North York Central Library auditorium and will be conducted in English and Farsi. Please call (416) 395-5639 to register.

Here are some books with beautiful images of the architecture and art of Iran, which you can borrow from the library:

  Persian art and architecture Islam Splendors of Islam  

 If you are an ancient history buff, consider borrowing these movies on Persepolis:

Persepolis rediscovering the lost capital of the Persian Empire "In 520 B.C. King Darius I of the Archaemenids had a forty acre terrace piled up at the foot of the Kuh-e-Rahmat, the Mount of Mercy, in the central Persian plateau. Here the new capital of the Persian Empire was to arise, Parsa, or Persepolis."

 

 

Persepolis stage of kings

 

The pace of this movie is unhurried, and I mean that in a good way. It's a great antidote to movies with explosions, bullets, and nerve shattering sound tracks. The camera lingers on the awe inspiring ruins of Persepolis and the beautiful relief sculpture adorning it's walls and columns, while traditional music softly plays. These sculptures, which scholars believe were once brightly painted, depict fascinating scenes, such as representatives of subjugated nations bringing offerings to the King. It's easy to slip into a dream of the distant past, watching this movie.

 

Persepolis recreated, or Shukūh_i takht_i Jamshīd (no cover image available)

You have the option of watching this movie in Farsi or English. It begins with a stunning opening shot -- the camera pans the ruins of Persepolis against a crimson sunset sky. The halls and palaces of Persepolis are digitally recreated in this movie.

This is a Big One: North York Central Library presents Mona Eltahawy!

April 23, 2015 | Emoke | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Mona Eltahawy photoAs soon as I heard about Mona Eltahawy's upcoming book entitled: Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, I knew I would be interested in this woman's work.

According to her official website, Mona (Egyptian-American activist and journalist) is an award-winning columnist as well as international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism. She is based in Cairo and New York City.

Mona is a contributor to the New York Times opinion pages, and her commentaries have appeared in several other publications and she is a regular guest analyst on various television and radio shows. She appeared on most major media outlets during the 18-day revolution that toppled Egypt's President. In November 2011, Egyptian riot police beat, sexually assaulted and detained her. Eltahawy was named one of Newsweek's '150 Most Fearless Women of 2012.'

In her book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, (released this month), she crafts an argument about the complexity surrounding women's sexual and political identities in the Middle East and uses her experiences of sexual assault as well as her conflicted feelings about the hijab to unveil what she identifies as false choices for women in Islamic societies. Her book is very well-reviewed in Library Journal, which describes her account as "a strong, insightful, and well-researched analysis of many issues connected to Middle Eastern women's autonomy (e.g., the hijab, marriage, female genital mutilation). Her personal insights set this work apart."

Mona Eltahawy will read from her book at the North York Central Library Auditorium on Monday, April 27th, 2015. Free tickets are required and are available by clicking here.

Find her book and others of a similar subject at the Toronto Public Library below:

Book Title: Headscarves And Hymens: Why The Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution  Book Title: Muslim women reformers : inspiring voices against oppression  Book Title: Women in the Middle East and North Africa : change and continuity  Book Title: Price of honor : Muslim women lift the veil of silence on the Islamic world

Link to the ebook version of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution:

http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM3262348&R=3262348

 

iPad/iPhone Tips

April 17, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Recently, I was helping a patron download movies from hoopla on to her iPad. While I was helping her, I showed her how to delete an app she no longer wanted by pressing and holding on the app and then pressing the x at the top left corner of it. She wasn’t aware of this. I proceeded to show her a couple more tips, like the ones below (the following tips work in iOS 8; they may or may not work in the older iOS):
 

Forcing an app to close

What do you do when an app isn't working or responding? You can force the app to close and then re-open it. Hopefully, this will resolve the issue. To force an app to close, press the home button twice. You'll see previews of your recently used apps. Find the app you want to close and swipe the app up.

Force close apps          Force close apps 2
 

Keyboards

Did you know you can type in different languages? I recently helped my mom add a Chinese keyboard to her iPad. Here’s how to add a keyboard: Settings > General > Keyboards > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard…

Keyboard          Korean keyboard

Once a keyboard is added, access it by pressing the globe button to the left of the space bar. If you have multiple keyboards, you can keep pressing the globe button until it toggles to the desired keyboard.
 

Internet address domain shortcut

Did you know when you are typing a web address in the address bar there is a shortcut to writing .com, .ca, .org, etc.? To access the shortcut, press and hold the period. Several domain extensions will appear. Select the one you need.

Internet domain shortcut
 

What song is that?

Sometimes a song will come on the radio in the car and I’m dying to find out what song it is. What do I do? There are apps available to help figure this out. Or you can just ask Siri. Siri works as a personal assistant and knowledge navigator. The feature uses natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations and perform actions.

To find out the song, first hold down the home button which will activate Siri. Ask Siri “What song is this?”. Then Siri will listen to the song. If Siri is able to decipher the song, it will let you know.

Siri song          Siri song result

Sometimes, Siri is disabled on the phone. To enable Siri: Settings > General > Siri. If Siri is enabled, a green button will appear next to it. To disable it, simply slide the button over to switch it off.

Siri on
 

There are also lots of things you can do on your device with your Toronto Public Library card.

You can download e-books, e-audiobooks, e-magazines, movies, television shows and full music albums. For help accessing these services, visit the websites below:

  • hoopla: movies, television shows and full music albums

The North York Central Library also offers free E-Book Drop In sessions every Saturday from 2-3 pm in the Atrium (call 416-395-5672 for more information). Bring your device and questions and we’ll be happy to help you access these awesome services one step at a time.

To learn more about iPads and iPhones, here are some books from the library:

iPad for the older and wiser   My iPad mini  Teach yourself visually iPad  The ultimate iPad

iPhone for dummies  iPhone secrets   iPhone with iOS 8 for seniors  The unauthorized guide to iPhone, iPad and iPod repair

You can access these books online:

iPad all in one for dummies  iPad the missing manual  iPhone all in one for dummies  iPhone for seniors for dummies

Do you know any useful tips for the iPad or iPhone? If you do, please share them below in the comments. Did you find this post useful? If you did, please let me know and I can share some more tips in the future. Thanks!

 

North York Central Library Talk: What Makes Music Great?

April 10, 2015 | Muriel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

 

North York Central Library Talk: What Makes Music Great?

With Music Expert Rob Kapilow

Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

North York Central Library Auditorium

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


     
        What Makes It Great?        All You Have to Do Is Listen        Experiencing Mozart

 

We hear great orchestral masterpieces all the time: in the concert hall; at the movies; on TV; in video games; and on the radio. The
Toronto Symphony Orchestra has invited engaging music expert Rob Kapilow to lead you on a discovery of what makes these works so timeless and exceptional.

 

  How to Listen to Great Music       The Rough Guide to Classical Music      The Complete Classical Music Guide

Music in the Air    The Rough Guide to Classical Composers Beethoven    The Rough Guide to Classical Composers J.S. Bach


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.  

 

A Modern Plague

April 2, 2015 | Carolyn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

In Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio curses the feuding families by wishing "A plague on both your houses". I find it interesting that in Shakespeare's time a plague - a disease - was considered one of the worst curses one could wish on an enemy.

Burying Plague Victims of TournaiBurying Plague Victims of Tournai. Public doman image.

What was once known as a plague we now call a pandemic - a widespread outbreak of a communicable disease, sometimes with a significant mortality rate.

Fear of pandemics is understandable

The Black Death (bubonic plague) killed over 50 million people in Asia and Europe between 1339-51, and the single worst pandemic in recorded history, the Spanish flu, killed about the same number of people in a single year (1918-19). Other pandemics, while not as deadly, have also had devastating consequences.

But is it rational?

On the one hand, we have more information about prevention, causes and treatments for communicable diseases than ever before. It's easier for public health officials to communicate alerts and warnings. On the other hand, increased international travel has meant that disease can spread more quickly than previously around the globe.

Learn more

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 10,000 people died during the recent Ebola outbreak. The speed with which the virus spread, the lack of effective treatments and the high mortality rate caused concern and fear around the world. There were similar concerns during the SARS outbreak in 2003 and over the possible reappearance of avian or bird flu.

Preparing to enter Ebola treatment unitPreparing to enter Ebola treatment unit 
[CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Graduate students from the University of Toronto's Department of Immunology want to clear up some of our misconceptions about Ebola. On Tuesday April 14 they will be giving a talk at the North York Central Library about how viruses infect humans. Focusing on the Ebola virus, they will discuss the biological and sociological factors behind the recent outbreak and explain why the virus spread more in some regions than in others. 

What:   What's in an Outbreak?: an overview of Ebola and infectious disease

Where: North York Central Library

When:  Tuesday April 14, 7:00 pm

To learn more about Ebola and other infectious diseases, check out these websites:

 Books and DVDs about infectious diseases are available at library branches:

 

Plague has long been the subject of novels and films:

Buck Up and Edit!

April 1, 2015 | Cherie Dimaline | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Writer in Residence Cherie Dimaline       Red Rooms       The Artful Edit

 Buck Up and Edit!

 

The first time I was seriously edited was after I’d written the manuscript that would become my first published book. So, it’s safe to say that I had no idea what I was in for. I envisioned Fitzgerald-era parties being thrown in my honour and weekends in Paris being feted by the intellectual coterie of my Beat-infused imagination, all while men in overalls and newsboy caps slaved away on printing presses to produce the bestseller I had just penned.

 

Instead, what I got was five months of once-a-week visits to a cramped office on the University of Toronto campus to meet with legendary writer Lee Maracle, only to have my precious manuscript torn apart and pieced back together, sometimes one word at a time. All this to turn my carefully wrought prose into something remotely worth publishing.

 

How could this be? I mean, the publisher had accepted my manuscript already, hadn’t they? Were they aware of the slow-motion torture I was being subjected to each and every Friday having to face the formidable Maracle while she told me to stop blathering on and on about everything except the point and to just spit it out! This was not what I’d signed on for, not what I’d gotten my huge advance for. (Sarcasm is hard to express sometimes with just italics, so let me just clarify that this ‘huge’ advance is a joke. I could have bought a bus ticket to Montreal with that sum; a one-way ticket, at that.)

 

One Friday, it must have been about 2 weeks into the torture, I decided, to hell with it! There’s no way I could keep doing this. But, Lee was an intimidating presence, so instead of calling in or facing her, I just decided to not show up. Well, of course, she called me.

 

Lee: “Where are you? Its 1:30. We have an appointment.”

 

Me: (feeling brave and terrified at the same time) “I’m not coming.”

 

Lee: “Are you sick?”

 

Me: (all at once with no spaces between my words in case they got hitched up in my throat) “I would rather stab myself in the eye with a pen than meet with you ever again!”

 

-… a moment of silence in which I feel my bowels knot themselves into tight bows ...-

 

Lee: (amazingly, laughing) “Well that’s good. Now that we got that out of the way, I’ll see you next Friday at 1.”

 

-click-

 

Evidently, she smelled the newness around my writing chops, which I imagine are located somewhere near the temples, and anticipated this kind of meltdown. I slunk to her office the following week and every week thereafter until the publisher read our final draft- because truly, it had become ‘our draft’ by then- and gave us the final thumbs-up.

 

The finished product still had the spirit, intent and voice of the original version, but it was a louder voice, a brighter spirit and a clearer intent. Editing had magnified what needed to be heard and buried the ‘plumbing and wiring’ of the story that should be felt but remain unseen.

 

Editing your writing is a painful, sometimes heart-breaking experience, but one that you are thankful for at the end. One of the greatest gifts of this editing process is to avoid the dreaded and deadly ‘constant edit’; the editing that shouldn’t happen as you write your initial draft.

 

Susan Bell explains it best in ‘The Artful Edit’ (W.W. Norton and Company, 2007):

“To constantly print out, reread, and perfect your prose is usually a trap: after a month of writing, you often have perfectly laid out phrases that say very little, because you paid attention to their sound far more than their purpose.”

 

Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t read through your work to ensure consistency. It’s been said that Hemingway would start each writing day by rereading everything he had written thus far before starting a new section, to ensure the continuity of story and voice. Just be sure to give yourself the freedom to really write, to create, to breathe into the work before you start cutting, pruning and killing off. When you’re done that first draft, then it’s time for the second draft. My novel went through 11 full drafts before it was published; 9 of which were done before it ever left my home, bound for the sharp and competitive desks of the publishing houses. Knowing that there was always the opportunity to edit after each draft kept me innovative throughout the writing process. Knowing that at the end there would be a secondary edit by a fresh set of eyes made me fearless with my voice. And we all deserve to be fearless.

 

Let’s face it, editing involves critiquing and criticizing, and molding your baby into a better version of itself through boot-camp style exercises can be a hard thing to participate in. But even though your writing can and mostly likely is the most private and precious thing you produce, you owe it the story and the characters to be as clear, loud and bright as possible. Lee explained it this way, “Your writing is basically the purge of the images and words that you pull out of the tornado of story we live in. But re-writing and editing? That’s the actual craft of the thing.”

If you approach the sometimes painful edit reminding yourself that it benefits the story, then it becomes more of an uplifting hike than a downtrodden slog. After all, it’s not even really about us as writers anymore, we are simply here to serve the story. And every story deserves a good edit.

Yonge Street Line, the First in Canada

March 30, 2015 | Ann | Comments (6) Facebook Twitter More...

More Yonge Street Subway images from tpl.ca
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.

Toronto.ca:  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 ttc.ca 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, the Scarborough RT, and the Sheppard 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:  Reverend Thomas W. Pickett on veranda of Golden Lion Hotel
Henry, in all his majestic glory. 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 (19) 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.)

Popular 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:

Prevention
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

DVDs:

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.  

 

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.