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Seniors' Discovery Fair returns in Scarborough!

September 24, 2015 | Soheli | Comments (0)

Last year, the Seniors’ Discovery Fair was held right here at the Cedarbrae Branch, and was a smashing success!

This year's event returns at the Malvern Branch. It will run from 2:00 to 3:30 PM on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 in the branch's Community Room. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Just like in previous years, the fair will be a chance for seniors, caregivers, friends and family, to meet with a variety of local organizations and service providers.

Here are some of the groups that will be present at this year’s Seniors’ Discovery Fair:

  Older couple sitting on couch.

Image courtesy of Pixabay  on a Creative Commons Licence.

This free event is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what services are available for older adults, right here in Scarborough. There will be light refreshments and the chance to win prizes, so come by and find out what is available in your community.

Malvern Branch staff will be on hand to introduce you to upcoming library programs and services. There will be demonstrations of the library’s online databases for eBooks and eVideos, such as Overdrive, Zinio, and Hoopla.

  Overdrive   Hoopla Zinio

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Pan Am Inspirations at the Cedarbrae Branch

September 1, 2015 | Soheli | Comments (0)

Although the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games have since passed, we still have fond memories of the programs we enjoyed at our branch during the Games. 

To honour the Games, we held the Cedarbrae Branch's first ever Pan Am inspired Competition. It was a chance for our community's kids to showcase their physical prowess and get their game face on!

We played a variety of fun games including the very silly (but misleadingly difficult!) Junk in the Trunk, which had our kids hopping around like mad. We also had teams take on a giant version of Kerplunk, as well as the classic bean bag toss and ring toss.

Kids of all sizes competed for gold, silver and bronze standings. As we quickly found out, many of these games required not only some physical skill, but also some thoughtful planning and strategy.

We learned not to doubt even the smallest of competitors - you never knew what skills one could bring to the table!

The comptetition was a great success, with over fifty kids participating, and lots of parents to cheer them on. We ended with a medal ceremony to celebrate all the efforts everyone had put in.

PanAm Competition
Some of our happy gold medalists!

This competition was also a chance for us to talk about what some of our favourite Pan Am Games events were (soccer was a popular one for a number of kids!) and what we were all looking forward to watching at the Parapan Am Games in August.

We also had our Cedarbrae kids design their own version of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games' mascot, Pachi. There were lots of variations, including mini Pachis, a Pachi that hits the gym, and many, many more.

a pair of Pachis

Pachi and friends

Pachi mayhem!

In addition to both of these programs, we also hosted a sports trivia contest for teens, enjoyed a steelpan concert and created community murals to celebrate the feel of the 2015 Games.

Pan Am Mural One of the murals designed by kids in our community.

We had lots of fun this summer with PanAm/Parapan Am inspired events. If you missed out on any of these programs, be sure to check in with us and see what other things we've got planned for this Fall!

Thirty Before Thirty!

July 31, 2015 | Soheli | Comments (2)

Have you ever been on the cusp of a milestone birthday when it suddenly occurs to you that the years are just flying by? Whether you're turning 25 or 75, time often has a way of creeping up on us and putting a lot into perspective.

Cupcakes with Candles
Image courtesy of April on a CC license.

The Guardian has an article about impending milestone birthdays and a few writers share their thoughts on turning 30, 40, etc. I'm approaching my 30th very soon, so Abigail Radnor's piece really resonated with me. She writes,

Twenty-nine feels like an age that can be worn very differently. I know 29-year-olds on Tinder and 29-years-olds raising toddlers. I know 29-year-old students and others running their own companies. But if there is one common theme among my peers over the past year, it is change: new jobs, careers, partners, flatmates, countries of residence, births, marriages and deaths. Could that be said of any age? Surely not so sweepingly.

Change is a huge thing for 20-somethings headed into the next chapter in their lives. Everyone deals with it differently, but many of us like to try to be prepared. What that means exactly will be different for everyone, but for me, it's making lists (which is, according to one of my former professors, a 'very librarian sort of thing'). I decided to do thirty things I'd never done before I hit thirty this summer. Here are three from my list. 

1. Become completely student loan-free.
This was initially a fairly realistic goal when I graduated in 2010. After all, five years seemed like plenty of time. Except, of course, the rest of your life happens. And, life gets expensive.

There are some good ways to plan out your finances, however, to help make a goal like this a reality.

If you've got a similar goal, why not try out some books on my list?

Debt Free Forever Oxlade  Debt Free for Life Bach  Debt Free Spending Nagler 

We've also got lots of business, legal, and personal finance related workshops and presentations available at a number of branches throughout the city. For example, at the Dufferin/St. Clair Branch, there is an upcoming program on raising financially independent children. Smart!


2. Get my (full) driver's license.
I was a little late when it came to driving. I actually completely avoided it for as long as possible. If you're a natural, this may not seem like a big deal, but if you've ever gotten anxiety taking a test, or if you're prone to making reaalllly wide right turns, you might understand why this is a goal for many people!

If you're studying for your written test and need to review the rules of the road, be sure to check out the online preview of the Driver's Handbook. Similarly, most library branches have a reference copy on hand for you to use in the library as well. 

If you're already a driver on the road, keep in mind that new rules will come into play this Fall 2015. Be sure to be in the know by checking out the Heads Up! website where changes are outlined.


3. Dye my hair a 'wild' colour.
This one has no particular educational or self-improvement angle. Gotta have a little fun sometimes, right? Fun note: when small children come up and ask why my hair is bright pink, I get to tell them I'm half mermaid!

Dolls with pink hair
Image courtesy of Aimee Ray on a CC license.

BuzzFeed has a fun (and informative!) article about bright coloured hair, particularly for people with darker complexions and hair. If you're feeling like a risk-taker, and want to learn more about how to dye your own locks, here are a few resources to get you started. Keep in mind, however, that it can be super tricky and is often best left to the pros!

HairColor Mix  World of Hair Colour

 Do you have any silly or serious goals you'd like to achieve before you hit a certain birthday? Share with us!

2015 Polaris Music Prize Long List

June 17, 2015 | Charlene Lee | Comments (3)

Polaris Music PrizePolaris Music Prize recently released its Long List - a list of 40 albums contending for the title of best Canadian full-length album. The Long List is compiled by a panel of jurors, and after some promotion and further scrutinizing, is reduced to ten titles before the winner is announced.  

Not-for-profit Polaris Music Prize celebrates Canadian recorded music, and recognizes the creativity and diversity characteristic to Canadian music. Included titles in the list are determined with no regard to musical genre, and are chosen by a jury of selected music critics. 

Last year's winner was Inuk singer Tanya Tagaq for her album Animism. Previous winners also include Feist for Metals, and Patrick Watson for Close to Paradise. Stay tuned for when the 10 album Short List is announced on July 16 here in Toronto. 

Fucked up at the polaris music prize gala 2009 by dustin rabin

Unfortunately, TPL hasn't yet acquired all of the Long List nominees. Below is the complete list with links to the albums in our collection. 

Absolutely Free – Absolutely Free
The Acorn – Vieux Loup
Lydia Ainsworth – Right from Real
Alvvays – Alvvays
Arkells – High Noon
Rich Aucoin – Ephemeral
BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul
Bahamas – Bahamas Is Afie
The Barr Brothers – Sleeping Operator
Braids – Deep In The Iris
Steph Cameron – Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady
Caribou – Our Love
Jazz Cartier – Marauding In Paradise
Jennifer Castle – Pink City
Cold Specks – Neuroplasticity
Louis-Jean Cormier – Les grandes artères
Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Frazey Ford – Indian Ocean
Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon
BA Johnston – Shit Sucks
Pierre Kwenders – Le dernier empereur Bantou
Lee Harvey Osmond – Beautiful Scars
Jean Leloup – À Paradis City
Milk & Bone – Little Mourning
Tre Mission – Stigmata
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
Joel Plaskett – The Park Avenue Sobriety Test
Buffy Sainte-Marie – Power in The Blood
Elizabeth Shepherd – The Signal
Siskiyou – Nervous
Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld – Never were the way she was
Various Artists – Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, And Country 1966–1985
Viet Cong – Viet Cong
Patrick Watson – Love Songs For Robots
The Weather Station – Loyalty
White Lung – Deep Fantasy
Whitehorse – Leave No Bridge Unburned
Young Guv – Ripe 4 Luv

TPL can be your one-stop destination for checking out and discovering new, great local artists

New Musical Additions at TPL

June 8, 2015 | Charlene Lee | Comments (0)

Toronto Public Library's music collection is always growing, including what you can find at a branch near you. Below are albums that were recently added to our collection by artists that are taking part in this summer's music festival circuit. By the time you read this our CD collection will already have grown; keep an eye out for New CDs on our website!


Above and BeyondFull length electronic albums are few and far between, but not for U.K. dance duo Above & Beyond. We Are All We Need is their fourth studio album, and brings some pop-friendly trance to TPL. The tracks are ambient and layered, but still maintain that driving beat characteristic to trance music. Catch Above & Beyond this summer at Veld.  



BronchoJust Enough Hip to Be Woman is Oklahoma trio Broncho's sophomore release. Combining punk and garage rock, Broncho's second album brings lots of giddiness and punch. Check it out for fun anthems and introspective ballads. Broncho can be seen this summer at music and arts festival WayHome.



Broods - EverygreenNew Zealand sibling duo Broods bring some much needed synth-electropop to our catalogue! Their debut album Evergreen (following the release of their self-titled EP) is lush, dark, and dreamy. Even with sparse instrumentation, it still accomplishes depths and layers. Broods can be seen this summer at WayHome



Clean BanditNew Eyes is the debut album from U.K. group Clean Bandit. The album marries classical, pop, and electronic in dreamy tracks with the right amount of push. This is best exemplified in "Mozart's House", a fun track with parts of Mozart's "String Quartet No. 21" soaring above an infectious beat, cleverly layered with rap from Love Ssega. Check out Clean Bandit on Toronto Island at Bestival



JamiexxIn Colour is Jamie xx's first full-length solo album. Incorporating genres from trip-hop to house, to dubstep, to R&B, it's a masterpiece not to be missed. Jamie xx (of The xx) brings us an anthemic and simultaneously intimate record. In Colour is an ode to the dance culture of decades past. The album wanders through hypnotic, spacey, and sometimes quiet tracks. Although seemingly low-key, In Colour is personal and engaging. Catch Jamie xx at Bestival

Stay tuned for more new additions to TPL! Did you know the Toronto Public Library can be your one-stop destination for discovering local artists? Check out TPL's Local Music Collection and keep an eye out for upcoming Make Some Noise events.

My top albums of 2015 (so far)

April 20, 2015 | Charlene Lee | Comments (1)

April 18 marked the 9th annual Record Store Day. Record Store Day is recognized world wide and celebrates independent record stores and their significance in their communities. The day also sees special vinyl and CD releases, and other special promotions. To commemorate the day, I looked back on albums that have been released so far this year. In no particular order, my favourites are:

Mr. Wonderful - Action Bronson

Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance - Belle and Sebastian

I love you, Honeybear - Father John Misty

To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar

Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper - Panda Bear

Carrie & Lowell - Sufjan Stevens 

Goon - Tobias Jesso Jr.

Record Player
Photo courtesy of Conson on a CC license

With lots of great albums already released this year, the Toronto Public Library (TPL) can be your one-stop listening destination! In addition to our CD collection check out Hoopla, our digital music and video collection. Also, did you know that the TPL has an expansive vinyl collection? At the Toronto Reference Lirbary up on the 5th floor, there are LPs available for listening.

Carrie & Lowell: Album review

April 1, 2015 | Charlene Lee | Comments (0)

March 31st marked the release of the long-awaited Sufjan Stevens album, Carrie & Lowell. This is his seventh studio album, his previous being released five years ago. In a word (or a few), this album is near perfect, maybe even his best? This may seem like a ludicrous statement, given the success of past albums Illinoise and Seven Swans. These releases yielded gems such as "Casimir Pulaski Day", "Chicago" and "To Be Alone With You".


Carrie & Lowell, so-called after his mother and stepfather, sees a return to Stevens' more sparse style with the use of modest instrumentation. With gentle acoustic guitar, intermittent piano, paltry backing vocals, and virtually no percussion, the minimal accompaniment forges and nurtures the honesty and intimacy of this album.

Carrie & Lowell chronicles Stevens' broken relationship with his mother who passed away in 2012 of stomach cancer, but abandoned him and his family earlier when he was one year old. Carrie, who suffered from mental health issues, also battled drug addiction, and substance abuse. Stevens enthralls the listener as he describes the hurt and confusion resulting from his relationship with his mother (or lack thereof), as well as the repercussions of her passing.

Carrie & Lowell
Album cover - Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell.  Asthmatic Kitty (2015).

The album draws haunting illustrations, while tenderly exploring depression, grief, regret, and isolation. In "Should Have Known Better", he sings "The bridge to nowhere/ I should've wrote a letter/ Explaining what I feel, that empty feeling". In the end, there's no grand catharsis for listeners; there's nothing from which to be released. Although there's a level of indignation throughout, Stevens isn't angry. Every time, in his most desperate and inescapable moments, he consoles the listener. In impassioned "John My Beloved", Stevens takes one final breath, allowing the listener to breathe with him.

Stevens candidly sings about feelings of desertion, resentment, and love. This sincerity is apparent throughout his musical career, but is especially evident in this album. Narrative aside, Carrie & Lowell is a solid work. The minimal electric elements delicately blend within the composition, while notably contributing to the album's intricacies.

Sufjan Stevens in Milwaukee
Sufjan Stevens. Photo courtesy of Joe Lencioni on a CC license

Place a hold on Carrie & Lowell, and in the meantime check out some of Sufjan Stevens' earlier work. If this strikes a chord, check out other similar artists including: Iron & Wine, Great Lake Swimmers, Birdy, Andrew Bird, and Local Natives

Sufjan Stevens is playing a sold out show at Massey Hall on April 29, 2015.

How Zayn Malik Broke The Internet

March 28, 2015 | Soheli | Comments (0)

Even if you have zero interest in One Direction, you probably have heard that a certain Zayn Malik has left the incredibly popular boyband. 

Mass hysteria has ensued as throngs of people - mostly young female fans - have been grieving Zayn's exit. Even grown adults have been requesting compassionate leave from their employers to mourn the departure. (As far as I know, no librarians have requested such a thing - we might just cry quietly in the stacks instead.) We've seen quite a few wistful faces in the Teen Zone and Children's Department at Cedarbrae lately too.


Young woman crying against floral background
Image courtesy of Gracie Hagen on a CC license.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Zayn withdrawal, remember the happier times by checking out some of the library's collection on One Direction.

Who We Are  One Direction: The Official Annual 2013  One Direction: what makes you beautiful!

Don't forget the goodies on eBook:

One direction the official annual: 2015  Dare to dream life as One Direction 

More on Hoopla, one of our digital providers of music, movies and more:

One Direction up close & personal    One Direction life on stage

The good news is that Zayn probably will be starting up a solo career, so fans of the heartthrob will still have much more in the future to swoon over. If he can make it on his own, he'll have joined the ranks of some other contemporary artists that stepped away from their bands to find success as solo acts. Good luck, Zayn!

The 20/20 experience  I am-- Sasha Fierce  The dutchess
From left to right: Justin Timberlake from N*SYNC; Beyonce from Destiny's Child; Fergie from Black Eyed Peas

Puppetry Club at the Cedarbrae Branch

March 27, 2015 | Charlene Lee | Comments (0)

Beginning in April, the Cedarbrae branch will be hosting its first ever Puppetry Club! During this six-week program series, participants will learn about the different types and styles of puppetry, how to write a puppet show, and about puppetry around the world! They will also get to make different kinds of puppets and put on a final performance!

Sock puppet creation

While puppetry is a fun activity, it also has its merit, proving to be a beneficial literacy, early-literacy, and communication tool as well.  

Puppets provide an enjoyable opportunity to explore language. They promote the use of symbolism, imagination, and creativity, while encouraging users (of puppets that is) to talk - an essential pre-reading skill. Puppets are also an effective storytelling platform. Being able to understand and interpret, as well as tell a story are essential skills that take time and effort to develop.

If you're not able to join Cedarbrae's Puppetry Club, check out these books to create your own puppet fun at home!

Make your own puppets & puppet theaters Make Your Own Puppets

I can make puppets  Puppets  

A Global Feast in Scarborough

March 24, 2015 | Soheli | Comments (1)

Recently, a prominent economist and foodie released a quickie blog post praising Scarborough as the "best ethnic food suburb ever." People from all over Toronto were quick to jump on this, with most agreeing that the east-end is the place to hit up if you're looking for delicious - and often, inexpensive! - eats from all over the globe. 


Variety of Chinese Food
Image courtesy of SteFou! on a CC license.

Toronto in general offers a great selection, but Scarborough is so often overlooked, I'm happy to bask in the glow. When I first moved to Canada as a kid, Scarborough is where my family first settled and we were quick to realize the huge diversity of food available. That was over fifteen years ago, so you can imagine all the possibilities now.

Scarborough has seen growth from more generic 'Indian' or 'Chinese' food restaurants into spots serving from specific countries (ie. Bangladesh, Pakistan) and even distinct regions (Shanghai fare vs. Taiwanese treats). You can now easily satisfy your cravings as you choose from a selection of delicious gyros, moist injera and wat, or a tray of steaming mantu.

Afghan Dinner
A traditional Afghan dinner at my in-laws, with a plate of mantu behind the rice topped with shredded carrots. Yum!

CityTV news anchor, Adrian Ghobrial, recently explored a few choice spots in Scarborough, including Saleem Caravan, just a quick two-minute walk from the Cedarbrae Branch! Journalist Sarah Efron, who is also featured, shared her thoughts when she visited the same shop back in 2011.

Hidden away in strip malls and non-descript plazas are some of the tastiest, most authentic dishes you'll find anywhere. You may not always find the ambiance of a downtown restaurant (although that's changing in many places too), but you're sure to discover some delicious new meal.

South Indian Meal
Image courtesy of MookieLuv on a CC license.

Tried a great place to dine in Scarborough and can't get it out of your head? Share with us in the comments or tweet it at us!

In the meanwhile, if you're craving some tasty dishes from around the world (but can't make it out to Scarborough!), try something new from some of these international cookbooks: 

  1. The Take-out Menu Cookbook By Carla Snyder
  2. The Best Recipes in the World By Mark Bittman
  3. The Dumpling: A Seasonal Guide By Wai Hon Chu
  4. The Food and Cooking of Vietnam and Cambodia By Ghillie Başan
  5. Street Food from Around the World By Troth Wells
  6. The Nepal Cookbook Compiled by the Association of Nepalis in the Americas
  7. Morocco: A Culinary Journey By Jeff Koehler
  8. New Persian Cooking by Jila Dana-Haeri


Welcome! This blog is written by the Cedarbrae Library staff and we want it to become a place where you can find out what's going on in the branch and in the community. But not just that - we plan to write about all things we might find interesting.