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Toronto Reference Library Renovation & Service Update-July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre
Construction continues at the Toronto Reference Library, but progress is being made. The new Marilyn and Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre is open on the 5th floor, and most special collections material, including materials from the Arthur Conan Doyle Room, are once again available.

5th floor Arts Information Desk


The permanent Information Desk for the 5th floor Arts Department is completed, and is located just to the left of the elevators.

Music Practice Room

The 5th floor Music Practice Room is now open in a secluded spot near the staircase.  Currently it has two electric pianos with headphones, available on a first come, first served basis.  Audio listening stations are also open for use.

The 4th floor Language and Literature Department is still in construction mode, but a beautiful new study bar has been installed along the northeast windows. Read, study and enjoy the view.

4th Floor Study Bar
4th Floor Study Bar

The Hinton Learning Theatre is open on the 3rd floor in the Business, Science & Technology Department, and programs are beginning.  Construction continues on the new information desk; books and magazines are still in temporary locations.  The 3rd floor study pods have been installed, but are not yet available for public use.

Hinton Learning Theatre interior Hinton Learning Theatre exterior








Hinton Learning Theatre exterior & interior, 3rd Floor

3rd Floor Computer Terrace
3rd Floor Computer Terrace

Public internet computers are available on the 1st and 2nd floors, and the computer terrace on the 3rd floor (more than 25 stations) is now open.  There are two internet computers on the 4th floor; none currently on the 5th floor.

Come see all the changes, use the new facilities, and take a summer guided tour of the revitalized Toronto Reference Library.

Magnetic North: Arctic exhibit opens

June 28, 2014 | Kathryn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Magnetic North: The Enduring Pull of the Arctic, is a unique and collaborative exhibit featuring TD Bank Group’s collection of contemporary Canadian art and Toronto Public Library’s Special Collections of Arctic art and writings. A blend of modern carvings and drawings with historical maps, illustrated texts and photographs highlight the Arctic’s culture, people, landscape, wildlife and its stark vastness, isolation and beauty.                                                                              




Eating Seal Meat, by Annie Pootoogook, 2007
Eating Seal Meat (2007), Copyright by Annie Pootoogook, Coloured pencil on paper, Collection of TD Bank Group
Book cover of The Polar World (1881), by George Hartwig, 1813-1880

Book cover of The Polar World (1881), by George Hartwig, 1813-1880




 Woman in a Toque (1983), Copyright by William Eakin
Woman in a Toque (1983), Copyright by William Eakin, Pigment print, Collection of TD Bank Group



Septentionalium terrarum descriptio (map), 1613
Septentrionalium terrarum descriptio (1613)     Map by Gerard Mercator, 1512-1594



Icebergs from Log of Samuel Smith, 1857
Icebergs. From: Log of Samuel Smith, 1857


To see more contemporary Inuit paintings, photographs and sculpture visit The TD Gallery of Inuit Art.

Magnetic North is currently on display in the TD Gallery on the 1st floor of the Toronto Reference Library.  The exhibition runs until July 19, 2014.


TRL Program Calendar July 2014

June 28, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Learn about the new Toronto Public Library initiative Asquith Press where you can publish your own work. Lots of computer courses this month on eBooks, Photoshop, web basics, blogging and Cyber Seniors.  Or spend your Tuesdays at Summer Afternoon at the Movies.

Click on each image to enlarge or  Download The July 2014 @ TRL as a pdf file.

For a full list of programs to browse or search, please check out our Programs, Classes and Exhibits page.

July 1 July 2 July 4 July 3

50 Years of Toronto Pride at the Toronto Reference Library

June 20, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

Toronto Gay Picnic 1972 

In Toronto, in 1964, not one but two magazines by and for the gay community were launched.  One was simply called "Gay".  The other was "Two", a name inspired by an earlier American magazine called "One". That same year, "The Homosexual Next Door: a Sober Appraisal of a New Social Phenomenon" by Sidney Katz, was published in Maclean's magazine.  It is considered the first positive portrayal of homosexuals in the Canadian mass media.


 Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives

Fifty years later, Toronto is host to World Pride, a festival of LGBTQ arts, activisim, history and education.  As part of that celebration, Toronto Reference Library presents Hugh Brewster, author, activist and organizer of the first Toronto pride parade, who will moderate a panel discussion on Toronto gay history with:

Susan G. Cole: Feminist, author, playwright and Senior Entertainment Editor at Now Magazine.

Andrea Houston: Journalist, activist and 2012 Honoured Dyke.

Ed Jackson: Activist, early member of the Body Politic Collective and one of its editors.

Kyle Rae: First openly gay Toronto City Councillor, Ryerson lecturer and development consultant.

50 Years of Toronto Pride

Toronto Reference Library Atrium

789 Yonge Street

Tuesday June 24, 2014

7 PM

                        Rainbow flag Rainbow flag Rainbow flag

Toronto Public Library

Treehouse Talks now in the Beeton Auditorium

June 10, 2014 | Richard | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

TreehouseThe Treehouse Talks are free public lectures that operate on the guiding principle that three people, times three talks, equals a thousand new ideas.  This formula is not just encapsulated by their motto - "3 People X 3 Topics = 1,000 Ideas"; it is also demonstrated by the list of speakers recruited by Nicolas Rouleau, the series curator.

Nicolas is well-connected and always manages to book a wide range of talent for discussions on mainstream and special interest topics, e.g. de-extinction, cyborg selves, living a happy and healthy life, Alexander and Mabel Graham Bell, microgravity, Islamic finance, and labyrinths - to name a few. His speakers are mostly specialists in their field and well-accomplished (see list below).

Every set of Talks includes time for audience participation to address the recurring question, "How are these three seemingly random Talks related?" It is amazing to note the connections that audience members are able to make.

The Treehouse Group established its relationship with TRL in 2012, where Talks have been delivered on the first floor Atrium stage ever since. Beginning this Friday June 13th, however, the Talks will take place in the Beeton Auditorium. The Library recently extended its hours to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays, and Nicolas is excited that hosting the Talks in this quieter and more intimate location will allow for closer interactions between the speakers and audience members.

The Talks are held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the second Friday of every month, except for July and August. (The May Talks coincides with TCAF and therefore take place off site.) They are all open to the public and free - no registration is required.

I recently asked Nicolas about his plans for the series over the next year. He said he wanted to address some more topical international themes, such as Russia and Ukraine or Syria. He also wants to continue hosting a wide range of interesting and accessible science speakers who can keep the audience appraised of all the latest developments.


Join us this Friday for the final Talks of this season, featuring:

  • Meaghan Johnson: The Art of the Audience: What Does an Experience Feel Like?
  • Arvid Ågren: Jumping Genes and Mendelian Outlaws
  • Willy Bloome: Eulogy for Winter

 See bottom of page for full descriptions.



Most Treehouse Talks are recorded and loaded to their website:


Previous Treehouse Talks

2014 Sessions

Alex Jadad: Living a happy and healthy life until our last breath: our greatest challenge
Derek Quenneville: Making at the Library
Gail Fraser: Avian Life
Lauren Segal: Being an Opera Singer: A physicist's view on the preparation, practice and performance of Opera
Lorna MacDonald: Alec and Mabel: Alexander Graham Bell in Baddeck
Matt Risk: Faith, Fear, Fraud, and Fascination
Mel Cappe: InCome InEquality InCanada
Nora Young - Cyborg Selves: Bodies, Big Data, and Technology
Ralph Baker: Financial Literacy: If a 12 Year Old Can Master It, So Can You
Rene Harrison: Microgravity: Not just about bad hair
Rudy Boonstra: The Role of Chronic Stress in Natural Populations
Wallid Hejazi: Islamic Finance

2013 Sessions

Bridget Stutchbury: The triage concept: should we let some species go extinct to save others?
Ian Clark: Can MOOCs help reform Ontario Universities?
Elizabeth Edwards on microbial diversity: Getting to the Root of the Tree of Life
Hendrik Poinar: De-Extinction: Reviving lost species of the Pleistocene- hype or hubris?
Dr. Herbert Kronzucker: The Ecology of Hunger: The Reach of the North American Dinner Fork 
Dr. James Maskalyk: Helping others without hurting yourself  
Jeffrey Rosenthal: Why Statisticians Don’t Believe in ESP
Jennifer Spear: Everything is an Offer
Leila Boujnane: Wild About Cheese
Matt Thompson: The Open Manifesto: how to work smarter, supercharge collaboration and redesign the world
Maydianne Andrade: Everything I need to know about evolution, I learned from a cannibalistic spider 
Michael Anton Dila: A Start-up is a Bomb
Michael Hartley: Time for an Aral Spring? Why the Arab Spring did not penetrate Central Asia
Oona Fraser: Ambiguity, conflict, nuance and paradox.
Rob Spekkens: If correlation doesn't imply causation, what does? 
Sandra Martin: The ten top myths about obituaries 
Stuart Candy: Confessions of a guerrilla futurist
Susan Kates: We & Them: Teaching GenY, GenX & Boomers
Tim Hurson:Why We All Go to the Same Different Meeting Together
Timothy Nash: Sustainable Investing 101
William Thorsell: Three Helpful Ideas for Toronto

2012 Sessions

Andrea Hamilton: Social Networking Meets Crowdsourcing Offline
Andrew Westoll: Releasing Your Inner Ape
Assaf Weisz: Changing the Future
Camilla Gryski: The Labyrinth: Path, symbol, and metaphor
Darryl Gwynne: Why Are Males Masculine, Females Feminine and Occasionally Vice Versa? (Darwinian Sexual Selection as an Exercise in Critical Thinking)
Denise Balkissoon: Why Can’t I Quit Facebook?
Erin Bury: Tapping into Interest Graphs to Curate Online News
George Elliott Clarke: Harper’s Tea-Party Government
Ilana Ben-Ari: Toys as Tools for Change
Jeff Warren: The Elements of Experience
Dr. Jody Culham: How many brains do you have?
Dr. John Godfrey: Is Global Citizenship possible?
John Sobol: Know Your Media, Know Your Self
Jon Duschinsky: The (New) Power of People
Jorge Ulloa: The Global Water Cooler — Multiculturalism in the Workplace
Karl Schroeder: Tomorrow’s Toronto: A Foresight Exercise on the Future of our City
Katerina Cizek & Graeme Stewart: Re-imagining our Vertical City
Laurence Packer: Bees
Marcius Extavour: Science and politics don’t mix… or do they?
Mariella Bertelli: “Happily ever after?” An exploration of the fairy tale, its past, its future and its place in today’s culture
Mandy Wintink: The Sweet Smell of Failure
Stan Chu Ilo: Do We Still Need Religion Today? A new look at Islam, Christianity, and the Secular West
Stephen Morris: A physicist in the sandbox
Tom Heintzman: The Role of the Individual in Transforming Energy Systems

2011 Sessions

Andrea Dana Eisen: Being a Teacher to the Stars
Aruna Handa: Eating Our Words: Making good on the promise of a better life
Craig D. Adams: Input Output Cinema & Other Nonsense Buzzwords
Eric Boyd: DYI Transhumanism
Gabrielle McLaughlin: The Boulevard of Baroquen Dreams
Harvey Weingarten: The Future of Canada’s Public University System
Dr. James Robert Brown: Thought Experiments, Or How to Learn Cool Stuff Just by Thinking
Jessa Gamble: Daily Rhythms Around the World
John Beebe: More than diverse: Faces Of Complexity: A Photographic Exploration
John Paul Morgan: Invention Is As Often About Decision As It Is About Discovery
Dr. Jordan Peterson: Planning the Ideal Future, Rationale, & Strategy
Father Joseph Ogbonnaya: The Challenges of Integral Development
Lee Smolin: Is Time Real or an Illusion?
Miroslav Lovric: What if we could touch infinity?
Dr. Monika Havelka: How to Build a Whale: Mechanisms of Macroevolutionary Change
Nathalie Desrosiers: Liberty and Twitter: Civil Liberties in the XXIst Century
Justice Robert Sharpe: The Canadian Constitution as a Living Tree
Ryan North: A Brief History of Comics, And How Comics On The Internet Will Save The World (Or At Least Save Comics, But That’s Still Pretty Good)
Salima Syera Virani: “The Personal Brand” and its Importance for Entrepreneurs
Sheila McCook: Newspapers: A Physical Check-Up
Simon Cole: Collecting Contemporary in Toronto

2010 Sessions

Abigale Miller: Mealworms: Food or Not Food?
Amie Sergas: The Social Value of Roller Derby
Ana Serrano: No, Interactive Storytelling is Not an Oxymoron
Bob McDonald: What if everything you know is wrong?
Dan Falk: The Enigma of Time
Darren O’Donnell and The Torontonians: You, Too, Can Be 14
Donna Francis: Knitting Science and Art Together
Jeff Woodrow: Thinking of Someone Else for a Change
Leehe Lev: The Seven Dimensions of Wellness
Loreen Barbour: Life in Northern Russia
Micah Toub: The Jungian Shadow: How to turn your enemy into a role model
Mike Paduada: Careers from Math to the Moon
Mirella Amato: The Challenges of Beerology
Nadja Sayej: Fear and Loathing in the Art World
Nicolas Rouleau: Law and International Development
Nogah Kornberg: Teaching the G-Word to 9-Year-Olds
Russell Zeid: Nexialism
Sasha Grujicic: Technology and Change: How it’s happened, how it’s accelerating, and how we need to deal with it
Sasha Van Bon Bon: Decriminalizing the Sex Trade in Canada and Beyond
Shawn Micallef: Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto
Shirley Khalil: Empowerment and healing using music
Steve Ferrara: Street Art in Toronto
Susan G. Cole: The Age of Queer: Does the word ‘lesbian’ still mean anything?
Zahra Ebrahim: Design and Social Change


Coming this Friday . . .

1) Meaghan Johnson: The Art of the Audience

We must work for art for art to work on us.
-Jeanette Winterson

Music and art are often seen as consumables and entertainment. As an audience member our only responsibility is to buy our ticket and show up. But is this leading to the quality of experience we desire? And does this reduce art and music to objects that must please us, rather than as opportunities for us to move into deeper experiences of each other and ourselves. With growing distractions and lessening attention spans, our abilities to be attentive and affected are threatened.

At the same time, in the realm of fine art and classical and new music composition, as work gets more complex and specialized, it runs the risk of alienating its audience. 

What then is experience? What is listening, what is seeing, what is feeling? How do we pay attention and what does it mean to be present? Can art galleries, concert halls, and even a lecture series be training grounds of how to be more fully awake to the rest of our lives? 

After a discussion on the mechanics of presence and how they work in different venues, Meaghan will lead the Treehouse audience through a series of exercises in order to explore what the experience of being at the talk feels like. Meaghan Johnson, a yoga and meditation teacher, and a lover of art and sound, runs workshops in art galleries and collaborates with musicians and whole symphonies in order to explore what happens when we take time to prepare ourselves as an audience. Through learning to experience and rest into the sensations of the body in response to sound and sight, participants of these workshops experience astounding results in the quality of affect. Not only this, but the musicians also report having a much more enriched experience of playing, without even practicing the exercises! She has also collaborated with organizations such as Tamarack and the Women’s Network of PEI to bring embodied presence to their conferences and workplaces.

2) Arvid Ågren: Jumping Genes and Mendelian Outlaws

The rules of inheritance are typically pretty straightforward. The 19th century Austrian monk Gregor Mendel showed that genes are inherited as discrete units and that the mother and the father each contribute one copy each to their offspring. A given gene copy therefore has a 50% chance of being passed on to an offspring. In general genes follow these rules pretty well, which means that the only way for a gene to improve its chances of being passed on the next generation is by helping the individual organism that carries it survive and reproduce. However, not all genes obey these rules. Some genes, sometimes called Mendelian outlaws by biologists, have evolved various ways of improving the chances of their own transmission, even if it comes at a cost to the individual organism. Jumping genes, which are pieces of genetic material that can make copies of themselves and insert into new locations in the genome, is a particularly successful example. In this talk, I will discuss jumping genes and other Mendelian outlaws, what prevents them from taking over, and how they may help stop the spread of malaria.

Arvid is a PhD candidate at the Department of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto and a Junior Fellow at Massey College. In his research he uses a combination of theory and whole genome sequencing to understand the evolutionary dynamics of jumping genes.

Arvid Recommends:

  • The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness by  Oren Harman. The story of the extraordinary life of the man who provided much of the theoretical framework for the evolutionary study of conflict and cooperation. 
  • The Bridge, A Scandinavian crime drama TV series that follows one Danish and one Swedish police investigator after the discovery of a dead body on the Öresund Bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark.

3) Willy Bloome: Eulogy for Winter

This talk explores the role that climate plays in creating a sense of belonging and looks at how this feeling is being undermined by climate change. With special attention to the impending loss of winter, the talk examines how we are starting to feel homeless in our own homes as a result of the climate crisis. 

Willy Blomme is completing her PhD in Political Theory and International Relations at the Johns Hopkins University. Before returning to graduate school she worked in Ottawa as Jack Layton's speechwriter.

Originally from Toronto, she now lives and writes in Montreal.


D-Day: Canadians at Juno Beach, June 6, 1944

June 6, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Seventy years ago today, the largest sea borne invasion in history took place on the beaches of Normandy, as the Allied forces fought to take Europe from the Nazi forces of Adolf Hitler.

While the armies of many nations stormed that coast, the Canadians landed at the area code-named Juno Beach. By the end of June 6, they had established their beachhead in what is arguably the most successful effort of the landing armies on that bloody day.

By August 21 the Allies had defeated the German army in Normandy.  German casualties numbered over 380,000.  The Allies suffered 206,000 casualties. Of those, 18,444 were Canadians.


D-Day Juno Beach

D-Day Juno Beach: Canada's 24 hours of destiny

Lance Goddard

An hour by hour account of the battle, in the words of men who fought there.  Over 300 illustrations.




Juno Beach


Juno Beach: Canada's D-Day victory, June 6, 1944

Mark Zuehlke

First in a trilogy by historian Zuehlke.  An account of D-Day at Juno Beach, based on first hand accounts, military records and personal diaries.



Holding JunoHolding Juno: Canada's heroic defence of the D-Day beaches, June 7-12, 1944

Mark Zuehlke

D-Day ended with the Canadians six miles inland.  Counterattacks began at dawn on June 7.  The next six days were bloodier than the first, but the Canadians held and advanced.




Breakout from JunoBreakout from Juno: First Canadian army and the Normandy campaign, July 4 to August 21, 1944

Mark Zuehlke

The weeks of battle that drove German forces out of Normandy and opened the way to the liberation of Europe. 




The Rainbow Railroad: a program about fleeing anti-gay persecution

June 3, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

As part of World Pride, please join us at the Toronto Reference Library for:

The Rainbow Railroad: Fleeing Anti-Gay Persecution

A panel discussion of LGBTQ persecution and the need for asylum rights in Canada


Rainbow flagKamal Al-Solaylee, associate professor and undergraduate program director at the School of Journalism, Ryerson University, former theatre critic for the Globe and Mail, and author of Intolerable: a memoir of extremes, which won the Toronto Book Award in 2013.


Rainbow flagMichael Battista, immigration and refugee lawyer, and chair of the Rainbow Railroad, an organization that helps LGTBQ people facing violence or threats.



Rainbow flagGareth Henry, member of the Rainbow Railroad and former head of the Jamaican gay and lesbian group J-Flag, who was granted asylum in Canada following a series of death threats.


Toronto Reference Library


789 Yonge Street

Wednesday June 4, 2014

7 PM

Toronto Public Library

TRL Program Calendar June 2014

May 31, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

 Hear Peter Oundjian, director of the Toronto Symphony and celebrate aboriginal culture with the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. Lots of computer classes and the Art of Living--Being Happy.

Click on each image to enlarge or Download The June 2014 @ TRL as a pdf file.

For a full list of programs to browse or search, please check out our Programs, Classes and Exhibits page.

June 1 June 2 June 3 June 4

Doors Open at the Reference Library, May 24 - 25, 2014

May 20, 2014 | Cynthia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Hauntedtorontocolumbo On Saturday, May 24th and Sunday, May 25th, come explore Toronto's buildings & spaces at Doors Open. This year's theme is Secrets and Spirits… Exploring the Mysteries Behind the Door. Close to 80 locations feature secret spaces, stories of spirit sightings and unexplained mysteries.

The Toronto Reference Library will be participating in this year's Door Open. Come and be prepared to be amazed. See our recently renovated departments and event spaces. Meet the virtual library ghosts in the Digital Innovation Hub and follow the clues to the Arthur Conan Doyle Room to possibly catch a glimpse of the spirit of Sherlock Holmes. These activities will be available on Saturday only

Interested in more information on Toronto's haunted spaces? That's the spirit!

Come see the second floor Toronto Collection's many books on the following haunted places and more:


  HauntedEX TodmordenMills  Osgoodehall 

RoyalAlex Pioneervillage Savehistoricfortyork








Gibraltar lighthouse

The Gibraltar Lighthouse on Toronto Island ...haunted or just haunting?

Come to the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, second floor, Toronto Reference Library and find out.





Victoria Day: Celebrating Queens & Patriots

May 15, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Her Majesty Queen Victoria Aged 20The unofficial beginning of summer starts this weekend in Canada.  Yes, it's the Victoria Day long weekend, Fireworks Day, May two-four. It can't come soon enough for winter blasted Canadians.


But why do we celebrate?  Queen Victoria, born May 24,1819, became the longest reigning monarch in British history.  She was Queen of Canada, but her subjects here began celebrating her birthday long before Canada was a nation.  The first Victoria Day was proclaimed a holiday in Canada West (now Ontario) in 1845.  It became a national holiday in the late nineteenth century, combining with Empire Day to celebrate British heritage in Canada.


From Diamond Jubilee Celebration,1897,Toronto Reference Library


As Queen and Empress, Victoria presided over Canada and the vast British Empire that grew during her reign.  She gave her name to cities, buildings, monuments and more importantly, to an era, one known for economic expansion, scientific achievement and emotional and sexual repression.

If we think of her today, it's the image of an aging, rather dumpy woman draped in lace that we remember.  But she was once the young and vibrant hope of a nation, and her life encompassed as much breathtaking change as our own time.

Queen Victoria the first media monarch Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey 2 Queen Victoria-a life of contradictions



Victorian biographies

Also eBooks & online access




Today, Victoria Day or Fête de la Reine, is a national holiday throughout Canada, celebrating both Victoria's birthday and the birthday of the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. (No matter that her actual birth date is April 26). Traditionally the holiday includes fireworks, picnics and concerts.  More recently it also includes opening up the cottage, planting the garden and partying hard, preferably out of doors.

Redcoats & PatriotesThe celebration of the British monarch, needless to say, has never been very popular in Quebec.  For many years the holiday was unofficially known as Fête de Dollard, in honour of an early French colonist.  But in 2003 it officially became the Journée nationale des patriotes or National Patriot's Day, to celebrate the English and French patriots who fought the British colonial power in Lower Canada in 1837.

A neat trick, turning a holiday celebrating a colonial monarch into a holiday celebrating the rebels who fought against that same monarch's empire. Only in Canada.  (In case you've forgotten, the rebels lost.)

Victoria Day Fireworks in Toronto
                                                     Lone Primate, Flickr Creative Commons

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