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Teen Review: The Outside Circle

August 24, 2016 | YAG Facilitator | Comments (0)

Outside Circle CDNreview by Maeesha

Re: Book Review Submission: The Outside Circle by Patti LaBoucane Benson

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Spotlight On: First Nations Experiences

July 20, 2016 | Alice | Comments (0)

This week's book of the week is Moonshot, a collection of comics by indigenous artists and storytellers. It's gorgeous and different than a lot of comics anthologies you'll see.

If you're curious what else there is out there that centres the experiences of First Nations people, you can start with these books from this summer's list

Moonshot cover Outside Circle CDN 250 HoursUrban Tribes

Summer Read: A Foot In Each Canoe

July 21, 2015 | Alice | Comments (0)

DreamingWe are, all of us, more than one thing. We have facets to our selves, many different identifying things that come together to make us who we are. For some, it can feel like being caught between two things, half one, half the other. Half one culture, half another. Half ancient traditions, half modern context. A foot in each canoe, as one contributing author put it. 

The thing about balancing between worlds, is that you carry both with you, and you might not be as much one or the other as people assume you are. And in fact, these parts of you are not the only parts of you, either, as some people might assume they are. 

The thing that I liked best about today's Top Ten book is how stories, poems, artwork, and profiles of native youth and adults all come together in Dreaming In Indian, making for a rich layering of voices and experiences.

I usually don't love bits and pieces, finding them disjointed, but here, it felt like dipping into the life and world view of each person for just a moment, and seeing stereotypes broken, important things being said in sparse verses and well-constructed photographs. It felt like the people involved were speaking directly to me as a reader, telling me things that were of great personal importance to their story and who they are. 

I do love hearing people's stories and learning how much more each person is than what they appear, so for me, this was like the deep pleasure of eating really ripe fruit, really savouring every bite because it is perfectly rich and bursting. So while I picked this book because I thought it might be important, I would recommend it because it holds in its pages quite a special experience. 

Dreaming In Indian is also available as an ebook

Friday's Faves: Islands of Decolonial Love

September 19, 2014 | Ray | Comments (0)

It's the best, most moving, poetry-ish story collection I've read all year. This collection of poetic short stories in Islands of Decolonial Love is searing, earnest, and moving. The author, Leanne Simpson, has an incredible ear for rhythm and sound - and multiplicitous meaning.  Her stories delve into experiences of racism and colonialism, many of which are subtle and woven from this country's histories into everyday realities.  The past is present.  Her poetic stories also touch on tender, familial relationships, too.

I absolutely am going to buy a copy for myself - it's one of those books you borrow from the library and then realize that you'll reread it many times in years to come.  

What's pretty cool too is that recordings of the author reading her own stories with backup music are available on the publisher's website.  So you can follow the poetic stories with the author's own voice.  And have a much richer experience. Cool. 

imagineNATIVE's indigiFLIX Presents: Festival Award Winning Shorts

May 30, 2014 | Ray | Comments (0)


Celebrate Aboriginal History Month by joining us for a screening of imagineNATIVE's festival award winning shorts. Enjoy a handpicked selection of award winning drama, comedy and documentary works on themes of survival, strength and perseverance, as seen through the indigenous lens.

Fantastic short films!

Friday June 13

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.





Rating: 14A 

*Content is not appropriate for persons under the age of 14 without adult accompaniment.*

Viewer discretion advised due to scenes of mild nudity, moderate violence, swearing, and frightening scenes.


Trip Hop artist IsKwé: Live Performance

May 23, 2014 | Ray | Comments (0)


Cree/Dene/Irish Trip Hop artist IsKwé performs at the Spadina Road library in the stacks!

Hailing from Winnipeg, IsKwé draws upon her Cree/Dene and Irish roots to characterize her Alternative RnB/TripHop music. IsKwé has worked with award-winning producers and was listed by the CBC as "Top 10 Canadian Musicians You Need to Know" and was twice covered by The Grid as "One to Watch."

Get a copy of her self-titled debut album from the library!

We're thrilled to have such an incredible artist perform!

Friday June 6th

8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Spadina Road Branch



Fear No Poetry. Poetry You Too Can Understand.

February 6, 2014 | Ray | Comments (0)


Do you often read a poem and think, what was that? or "Why can't they just say what they mean?!" True facts, poetry can be really cryptic and frustrating.  Fortunately, there is poetry that you too, (and myself) can understand.  

Katherena Vermette's award winning collection, North End Love Songs cuts into fragile, quiet, raw experiences - while being easily readable.  Her poems describe personal experiences and summon her surroundings of Winnipeg's North End. It won the most recent Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. 

If you've shied away from poetry because it's hard to 'get', crack open North End Love Songs and you'll be surprised, feeling invited into the poems.

Here's an insightful interview with Katherena and samples of her poems in the book.



Mid-Week Music: Women of Aboriginal Hip Hop. Yes!

October 16, 2013 | Ray | Comments (0)

Hip hop is a hard scene to break into.  Even more so as a woman artist. Here are some artists doing their thing and being awesome. Aboriginal hip hop is exploding across Canada, here are women that are part of the scene:

JB the First Lady.  Love her. Not only a hip hop artist, she's also an MC and actor.  Based out of Vancouver and of the Nuxalk and Cayauga Nations, her debut album 'Indigenous Love' won several awards in 2011 and 2012.  Expect her next album to be out soon!


Miss Christie Lee  Her knock-out track needs to be heard.  Expect to hear more from this Musqueam MC also of BC.


Eekwol Based in Saskatoon, she and her brother, Mils, run their own music production company.  Heck yes!


Rapsure Risin. is Carrielynn Victor aka Numinous and Theresa Point aka Apt Exact of the Stó:lō nation and are based out of Vancouver.



Want more? Check out BeatNation

Hip Hop Films: Watch Alias at the Library

October 12, 2013 | Ray | Comments (2)




Rap thrives in Toronto neighborhoods like Regent Park, Don Mills, and Jane and Finch where music and lyrics voice the reality of marginalized communities growing up in urban poverty. Michelle Latimer's feature doc debut Alias is a powerful film that captures the realities of Toronto rappers  Alkatraz, Trench, Alias, Knia and Keon trying to escape the hustle of drugs and danger through their music.

Join us for a sceening of screening of Alias will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, hip hop authority Dalton Higgins, and other voices from the Toronto hip hop community.

*UPDATE* We're excited to announce that a screening of the short film Trespassing directed by Rich Kidd and featuring music by Alkatraz, produced by 2011 City Life Program, will precede ALIAS.


Toronto-reference-library-01Alias Screening and Discussion
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street
Friday October 18, 7 PM

Mid-Week Music: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

March 20, 2013 | Ray | Comments (0)

Out there. Full of sound.  Montreal & Toronto-based duo Yamantaka // Sonic Titan has been described by Pitchfork as "Volcanic prog-rock colored with equal parts post-punk urgency, stoner-metal heft, and psychedelic pop whimsy.” 

               Link to album:

            Link to Yamantaka Sonic Titan Yamantaka Sonic Titan









However you describe their sound, it is one thing. EPIC.

And we've got their 2011 album YT//ST for you!  They play plenty of shows in Toronto, too!

Here's a link to their most epic melodic tune - Queens


Blasphemy is a wonder.

January 14, 2013 | Ray | Comments (0)

Yes, 'Blasphemy', Sherman Alexie's latest collection of new and time-tested short stories. Never heard of Sherman Alexie? or have you already read quite a lot of his work? Either way, 'Blasphemy' will draw you in.  Just one short story will get you hooked.

With words that are smooth, you glide right into the story.  The short stories themselves are bon-a-fide Knock Outs.  Like a velvet glove, the words are too pretty to stop reading, the stories are too real to look away. A beautiful blend of prose and poetry.


Here's some other classic, must read short story collections. Trust me, you won't be able to stop reading them:

Absolutelytruediary   Loneranger 

Love Sherman Alexie's work? There's lots more! While he's best known for his short stories, he's an accomplished poet and screenwriter as well. You know "Smoke Signals"?  Released in 1998, it's a classic - most quoted for the line, "Hey Victor..."  It stars a young(er) Adam Beach, the actor currently starring in CBC's Arctic Air.  Here's a complilation of some 'hey Victor' quotes:Smoke-signals-5

Mid-Week Music: Elisapie Isaac

January 2, 2013 | Ray | Comments (0)

  ElisapieThe amazing Elisapie is a gem of Canadian singer/songwriters.  Currently based out of Montreal and originally from Salluit in Nunavut, check out her recent album, There Will Be Stars.

With a new album coming soon, be sure to find the latest on Elisapie's facebook.



 Here's a sample video teaser...

Mid-Week Music: CerAmony

December 5, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)


 Juno award-winning group (2011), CerAmony, rocks.  Of Cree heritage and hailing from James Bay, they've been spreading their message of unity.  TPL has their 2010 self-titled album. Check it out!



Here's their rock-anthem response to the Occupy movement:

Mid-Week Music: Digging Roots

November 28, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

DiggingrootsDigging Roots blends traditional Indigenous influences, hip-hop, folk, reggae, and blues and to create some great sounds.  Sort of reminds me of some Beck-ish sounds. With a new album out in spring 2013, check out their current album Seeds

Check them out online too at CBC music and their myspace

Dang. I want to be in this house party:

mid-week music: A Tribe Called Red - dubstep fusion

November 7, 2012 | Ray | Comments (0)

TribecalledredCheck out this inventive dubstep group from Ottawa - It's impossible not to start dancing with these beats.

A Tribe Called Red describes themselves as, "an all Native American DJ crew from Ottawa Canada. We remix traditional Pow Wow music with contemporary club sounds".  

Their new album is a free download. YES! They've got their material on soundcloud.  It's brilliant mixing and layering - can't stop listening.


Youth Survey. My Curved Border

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