100 Branches – Run #7 Recap

August 27, 2016 – This long run took me from York down to the Junction and Bloor West Village.

Black Creek, which opened in current location in the North Sheridan Mall in 2002.

Downsview, established 1961, with an official opening in 1963.
This branch hosts a location of the Toronto Tool Library, which loans specialized tools to community members at really affordable prices. I love this partnership!

Amesbury Park, opened 1967.

Mount Dennis, opened in current location in 1951, with major work done in the 80s and 2011-2013. In 2015, it won an Ontario Library Association Building Award.

Evelyn Gregory, opened 1968.

St. Clair/Silverthorn, opened 1981.
I loved their cozy Children’s section.
Next I made a stop at Hale Coffee Company to pick up some Station Cold Brew for Mandy’s birthday. It’s a really lovely coffee shop, and it was extremely hard to not stop and just drink coffee for the rest of the afternoon.

Perth/Dupont, established in present site in 1983. This is my friend Jeff’s favourite branch in the TPL, which I totally get!

Annette Street, established in 1909 as a TPL Carnegie library. It was originally named Western, then changed to Annette in 1962.

I dropped off the cold brew at Mandy’s place and got some hugs and kisses from Mandy, her baby Knox, and her dog Sam, then headed north to the Jane/Dundas branch.

Jane/Dundas, opened in present location in 1975.

Swansea Memorial has a great history. It was formed in 1919, thanks to the Women’s Patriotic League of Swansea. They wanted to create a community centre in honour of Swansea men who served in World War I. The Swansea Memorial Public Library opened at Swansea Public School at the end of that year, then moved to its current building in 1959.

Runnymede, opened in 1930. In 1989, it appeared on a postage stamp!

I finished the run with a quick jaunt into High Park to meet my mileage for the run, which is novel for me since I live on the east side of town.

 Library Run #7

Distance: 25 km
Branches visited: 11
Total branches visited: 46/100

100 Branches – Run #6 Recap

August 20, 2016 – This was the second hot run that I bailed on. I made it a little further this time! I think this one was supposed to be 25 or 26km, but as the kids say, I literally could not even. I struggled with the decision, and called Tim for advice. “If you’re calling me and admitting that you’re thinking about it, that means you’re done. Come home.”

These branches are around the Humber River, which is really lovely. I really recommend walking or running on the trails nearby!

Humber River near the Humberwood branch.

Humber River near the Humberwood branch.

York Woods, established 1970. It has a nice big theatre space too!

Jane/Sheppard, opened in current location in 2009.
Can we talk about the Reading Sprouts Garden next to the library? So adorable.

Woodview Park – opened in 1964, and was the first branch in North York to be in a rented facility. Lots of TPL branches make use of space in shopping malls and plazas, which is quite convenient.
You know what else is convenient? Air conditioning! I took a breather by a vent.
Humber Summit, opened in 1974, and was the first branch in North York to be in a shared facility with another community agency (the North York Parks and Recreation Department).

I thought this guitar aquarium display was super cute!

Albion, opened in current location in 1973. Includes a Computer Learning Centre, and is open over 65 hours per week!

Humberwood, opened in 1996.

Library Run #6

Distance: 21 km
Branches visited: 6
Total branches visited: 35/100

100 Branches – Run #5 Recap

August 12, 2016 – This was the first of two library runs that got cut short due to the heat. It was such a hot summer in Toronto! I know that it’s nothing compared to the heat and humidity in my hometown in Virginia. (How does anyone run in the summer there?!)

I headed to North York, intending to run 21km. I ended up being very sweaty, hungry, and cranky. I can laugh about it now, but here’s how bad it was: after making it to Flemingdon Park, I decided to call it quits and I wandered to the bus stop across the street and got on the first bus that showed up. I had no idea where it was going, but I knew I would be on it. Ha!

Maryvale, opened in current location in 1987.

Brookbanks, opened 1968.

Don Mills, opened at its current location in 1961. I highly recommend reading the history of the branch – it involves everything from a red brick schoolhouse, a general store, and an abandoned military hut.

Don Mills

The grass is very hot too.

Victoria Village, established 1967.

Victoria Village

More hot grass!


Flemingdon Park, established 1981.
Flemingdon Park

Library Run #5

I made sure to leave the weather details in the screenshot. Ha!


Distance: 12.45  km
Branches visited: 5
Total branches visited: 29/100

100 Branches – Run #4 Recap

July 30, 2016 – My fourth library run took me east to Scarborough where I saw some of the newer branches, including the 100th branch – Scarborough Civic Centre!

A lot of branches became part of the Toronto Public Library system due to the municipal amalgamation in 1998. (Some of the building signage references their original municipality.) The Government of Ontario formed a megacity out of East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York, and the City of Toronto. As a result, Toronto became the fourth most populous municipality in North America, following Mexico City, NYC, and LA. But when it comes to public library systems, the TPL is the largest in North America.

My first stop was Malvern, est. 1982. I wish I had stuck around to go inside – the photos on the TPL website look gorgeous! It’s also home to the Rita Cox Black & Caribbean Heritage collection.

Next was Burrows Hall, established 1998.

Burrows Hall
Then I visited Scarborough Civic Centre, established 2015. The architecture of this branch is stunning. It’s spacious and light. This branch is home to one a Digital Innovation Hub, where users can user 3D printers, make a green screen film, and use digital design software.

Scarborough Civic Centre

Next was Agincourt, which moved to its current location in 1991. Talk about humble beginnings-  “1918: Agincourt Association Library established 19 November. A small book collection placed in a vacant room in the Agincourt Continuation School.”

Bridlewood moved to its current location in 2011.

Steeles, established 1987.

On the way to the next branch, I passed by Terry Fox Park. Fox was a Canadian hero who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research in 1980. His illness prevented him from making it all the way across Canada, but he ran for 143 days and raised 1.7 million dollars. His legacy is honoured with Terry Fox Runs all over the world to continue raising funds for cancer research.

Terry Fox Park
Goldhawk Park, established 1992.

Goldhawk Park
My last stop was Woodside Square, established in 1977, but moved to new site in the mall (doubling the size) in 2007. Woodside Square

Library Run #4
Distance: 24.83  km

Branches visited: 8
Total branches visited: 24/100


Playlist: Polaris Prize Short List

Today’s playlist brings together my work life and run training in celebration of tonight’s Polaris Prize Gala.

Polaris Prize Playlist

By day, I work in arts funding for the Canadian music industry. People always ask if that means I hear lots of new music and know what’s hip. Ehhhh, not really. I have been introduced to many great artists, but most of my days are spent in spreadsheets and databases, and my early mornings are spent running, so you won’t usually find me out at a show that starts at 10pm.

That’s why the Polaris Prize is helpful for people like me – it’s a great tool for music discovery.  The prize is awarded annually based on the artistic merit of an album made by a Canadian artist, without regard to genre or commercial popularity. If you want a primer on some of the best recent Canadian music, the long list will provide.

I’m pretty happy with the short list, and decided to spend some time with the albums by making a run playlist with songs from those ten albums.

Some notes on the playlist:

  • Andy Shauf made a great record, but it’s not my first pick for getting pumped up for a run. I selected his songs with the highest tempo (still so slow) and used them to bookend the playlist for a bit of warm up and cool down.
  • Albums that ARE great to run to, pretty much start to finish: Kaytranada’s 99.9%, Jessy Lanza’s Oh No, and Grimes’ Art Angels.
  • I love U.S. Girls’ album Half Free, and it is brilliant and heav-y. I tried to create a little jokey dialogue between songs: “Woman’s Work” with  CRJ’s “Boy Problems” (this sequence makes me LOL), and PUP’s “DVP” with “Damn That Valley.” Not my first time making that joke:

Damn That Valley


Oh, and my prediction for tonight? I think it’s prime time for Grimes. In my opinion, there are no duds on Art Angels, and I respect her scope as an artist. She plays with a lot of genres on the album and pulls them off well. As for the album I loved the most in my heart of hearts? It’s gotta be Carly Rae Jepsen. I’m really excited to see her perform at the gala tonight!

Happy running!

100 Branches – Run #3 Recap

I’ve gotten way behind on blogging, but the library runs have continued! I’m going to play catch up over the next few posts.

I did a short pre-work run on July 19 through Riverdale and GreekTown. My first stop was the Riverdale branch, which is one of the oldest TPL branches, and one of the Carnegie libraries.

In 1903, American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie granted $350,000 to the TPL for a new central library and three branch buildings. The TPL website describes the grant qualifications:


The conditions for receiving a Carnegie library grant were straightforward, and civic officials had to state their compliance in a formal letter.

First, the municipality would provide a suitable building site. Second, the municipal council would appropriate by taxation no less than 10 percent of the grant amount to annually support library operations. In addition, Carnegie grants were given only to public libraries that were open to citizens free of charge without membership fees. The standard award was calculated at approximately $2 per capita.


Here’s a photograph from 1910, the year the library opened:


And here it is in 2016!

Riverdale entrance

I often bike by this intersection, and I’ve always loved this branch. It sits so stately and proudly on the corner, which apparently is a pretty rare placement for library branches. Looks pretty nice in the morning light, eh?

I went south on Broadview, then east on Queen to the Queen/Saulter branch. The branch has only been located in the current site since 1980, but the building itself dates back to 1913. The lovely Neo-Classical-style building was originally a post office, but now it’s a community and cultural centre.

Queen/Saulter Plaque
Next, I headed east on Queen, then north up Jones to the Jones branch, which opened in 1962. This branch was built especially for children, and given the name of the branch and the fact that I often act like a child, I feel a special kinship with this branch.


The last library stop was Pape/Danforth, which opened in 1929. I’ve visited this branch before, and it’s just as gorgeous inside as it looks on the outside. It’s the kind of place you want to live in!

I made my way back to Broadview for my final stop: iced coffee and a scone at the Rooster Coffee House, then looking out onto the city over the Don Valley from Riverdale Park East. Fun fact*: this is the spot that inspired the title for Drake’s album Views.

This was a nice morning run with some great views throughout!

Library Run #3


Distance: 8.17  km
Branches visited: 4
Total branches visited: 16/100


*Speculated by me, but unsubstantiated.

100 Branches – Run #2 Recap

Sunday, July 10: For my second library run, I went out west to Etobicoke. It was a quiet, calm morning and I felt relaxed. I planned out a pretty simple route. My first run reminded me that running somewhere unfamiliar can be tough, as you spend a lot of time wayfinding. The scenic route is nice, but it can get annoying to check a map every 5 minutes.

This was a shorter mileage week, but my training plan called for the long run to be done at race pace. I hit my target for the first 5 miles, but slowed down a bit after that. I feel good about it though – still lots of time to work on pace.

My run began at the Alderwood branch, a newer branch that opened in its current location in 1999.
I went south on Brown’s Line and then east on Lake Shore Boulevard. The next stop was Long Branch, which opened in 1955. I was instantly drawn to the carving of the reader in the archway. And the sign typography? Swoon!

Long Branch
I also noticed this raised garden bed, which is part of the GARDENS Pod Project. Their goal is to create community gardens to supply food to people in need. I love that the Toronto Public Library connects with community groups – yet another way they help sustain Toronto!

The next stop was the New Toronto branch. The branch has been around since the 1920s, but this swanky, award-winning building opened in 1994.

New Toronto
I went north on Royal York Road, then east on Stanley Avenue to the Mimico Centennial branch.

The original Mimico building was one of the TPL’s Carnegie buildings, but was demolished and replaced by the new Mimico Centennial Library in 1966. (Ten libraries that are now part of the TPL opened in Toronto between 1907 and 1916 thanks to philanthropic grants from Andrew Carnegie. Seven of the ten original buildings are still standing. You’ll see one in my run #3 recap!)

I was happy to stop and take a moment to enjoy the Reading Garden. I loved the sculpture and the window display.

I couldn’t stay too long – two more branches to visit! I made my way back to Lake Shore Boulevard, then went north on Park Lawn Road to the Humber Bay branch. Again, some great typography on the building sign. This branch opened in 1951.


My last stop was Brentwood. I went north on Prince Edward Drive up to Bloor – the Kingsway. This branch originally opened in 1955, but had a big makeover in 2010.

This was a great run! Everything went smoothly, I enjoyed seeing this part of town, and I loved the variety of library branches in the area.

Library Run #2

Distance: 12.6 km
Branches visited: 6
Total branches visited: 12/100

As a reminder, I’m running to all 100 branches of the Toronto Public Library on training runs for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16. Please check out my fundraising page for the Toronto Public Library Foundation!