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Posted in Reading
Contributed by Christopher Jones
06/16 2015

Building Cultural Bridges With Poetry

Canadian and Chinese poets come together Saturday (June 20) at Riverdale Library for a lively afternoon of poetry, music and photography. The event celebrates the life and poetry of ancient Chinese poet, Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), “the father of Chinese poetry” according to organizer Anna Yin, and also the inspiration behind dragon boat racing: it’s not a coincidence that the Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival is also on this weekend.

The Riverdale Library event is the brainchild of Yin (right) and Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke (left).

“The original story behind dragon boat racing comes from Qu Yuan who drowned himself in a river,” explains Yin. “The people were so upset they threw food in the river to distract the fish so they didn’t eat his body. The people rowed boats and made lots of noise to scare the fish. So I thought this was a wonderful time to celebrate and we chose Qu Yuan’s date.”

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Posted in Theatre
Contributed by Christopher Jones
05/28 2015

Asylum Digs Deep in Kensington


After a 10-year absence from the Toronto theatre scene, Theatre Asylum is back in action this weekend thru June 14 with a one-two punch from Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes, The Successful Life of 3 and Mud.

Staged in a long basement space in Kensington Market, two rooms have been completely transformed for the show: Successful Life of 3, above, is a madcap, cartoon world wrapped in silver insulation foam: Mud, by comparison is a drab, realist room where the same three actors play out a very different kind of drama.

“Linking the two plays is exciting,” says Director Jennifer Capraru, “because I can bring the same three actors on a journey that starts in a completely zany, artificial world where feelings are sneered at and the people are unconscious, to the very realistic world of Mud, where they’re fleshed out, they fight for a better life. It’s like bringing the conscious and unconscious together.”

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Posted in Reading
Contributed by Christopher Jones
05/26 2015

Let 100 Branches Blossom


More than 100 Toronto Public Library ambassadors paraded from Toronto Reference Library to City Hall this afternoon to celebrate the opening of TPL’s 100th branch at Scarborough Civic Centre and 100 Reasons to love the world’s biggest and busiest library system. Mayor John Tory was Reason #32 (“One Card. Unlimited Access”).

Posted in Reading, Scarborough
Contributed by Christopher Jones
05/22 2015

One Hundred Reasons to Celebrate


It was a big day for central Scarborough Wednesday when the Toronto Public Library opened its 100th branch at Scarborough Civic Centre. And what a beauty it is! Designed by LGA Architectural Partners and Phillip H. Carter Architects, the sweeping, modern structure features lots of wood and glass and tons of natural light. The building was actually designed around a 50-year old maple tree that shades an accessible reading garden tucked into a central courtyard.

“This one of the best libraries in all of Toronto,” declared Ward 38 Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (third from left, beside Councillors Paul Ainslie [Ward 43] and Sarah Doucette [Ward 13]).


“So much goes on at the library,” noted Mayor John Tory in a video message, “classes and events to do with employment and language training, things for kids and families. Now, Scarborough residents will have access to those things in a brand new, beautiful building. It’s going to be the very best that we have to offer available to Scarborough residents in a great location.”

On Tuesday (May 26) a parade of 100 library ambassadors marches from the Toronto Reference Library to the City Hall branch, each trumpeting one of the 100 reasons to use and enjoy the world’s biggest and busiest library system (march leaves TRL at 12:30 pm).

“This 100th branch milestone got us thinking about celebrating everything that the library does,” said City Librarian Vickery Bowles (left) on Wednesday, “not just our spaces or our books or our staff, but the 100 ways, and more, that the library serves our communities.”

In an interview Bowles confirmed that the 100th branch will be the library’s last: “We did a branch-planning study a few years ago and we identified areas where there was unmet library demand: the two areas we identified were Fort York (opened May 2014) and here in Scarborough. So that’s it, no more children,” she laughed.

Join the 100 Reasons celebration at City Hall May 26 at 2 pm.