Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sunday May 25th, 2014 Safe Cycling in Thunder Bay

As of May 15, Thunder Bay bike lanes officially opened, allowing residents to use allocated space on the street to bike to their destination. Biking can be a wonderful alternative to cars and buses, allowing one to stay in shape, take in the fresh air and enjoy the sights Thunder Bay has to offer.

For beginner or experienced cyclists, using bike lanes can seem like a daunting task. Before using the bike lanes, there is plenty to be mindful. Riders need to be aware of their personal safety, rules of the road and bike maintenance just to name a few. Fortunately, the Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) has plenty of resources to offer in this respect.

Before taking out your bike for the first time, it is recommended that a general inspection be performed to make sure everything is in working order. For a detailed approach to bike maintenance, check out Leonard Zinn’s Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance. This comprehensive how-to guides the reader from basic yearly maintenance to overhauls of drive trains and brakes.

Another easy to use, organized guide is Fred Milson’s, Complete Bike Maintenance: For Road, Mountain, and Commuter Bicycles. This exhaustive guide focuses on everything from basic maintenance to complex repairs. With step-by-step photos, this is a must for anyone looking to update or repair their bikes.
A terrific guide for young riders is Biking by Paul Mason. With great appeal to a young audience, Mason explores a variety of topics ranging from getting started to basic skill set, bike safety, health and fitness, all the way to bike stunts and tricks.

For those looking to start biking as a form of exercise, Bike Your Butt Off! A Breakthrough Plan to Lose Weight and Start Cycling (No Experience Necessary!) is a 12 week weight loss program that helps novice cyclers stay in shape while putting the gears to the grind. With topics ranging from rules and safety of the road, to nutrition, and proven training plans, this guide will without a doubt instill appreciation of the health benefits that come with cycling.

If you are looking for improvement or inspiration as a cyclist, look no further than seasoned rider Willard Peveler’s The Complete Book of Road Cycling & Racing. This multi faceted book is a must for recreational and competing riders. Peveler’s approach will help the reader improve their performance, with focuses on maintenance, fitness, nutrition and skill.

For further information on safe cycling, on May 27th Eco Superior will be hosting a safe cycling program at the Mary J. L. Black Branch Library at 7:00 pm. In addition, be sure to check out the City of Thunder Bay Active Transportation promotional and educational material Web site for more details on cycling in the city.

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Sunday May 18th, 2014 Stories of Highway 61

As our route to Grand Portage, Duluth, Minneapolis and other popular destinations, Highway 61 is a familiar piece of road. What might not be so familiar are the stories associated with Highway 61.  Here are a few of them.

Naniboujou Lodge

Just south of Hovland you may have noticed the sign for Naniboujou Lodge. Naniboujou Lodge was intended to be the private playground for a select group of wealthy investors. Plans for the Lodge were unveiled in March 1928 and included a clubhouse with a dining room, 150 bedrooms, a golf course, and tennis course all to be built on more than three thousand acres of land by the Naniboujou Holding Company. Membership was open to friends of the twenty-four-member Board of Governors. Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey were charter members of the exclusive Naniboujou Club. French artist Antoine Goufee was hired to paint the dining room and the results are breathtaking. Some have called Naniboujou's distinctive interior "the north woods' answer to the Sistine Chapel." Minnesota Governor Theodore Christianson was invited to the grand opening celebration on July 7, 1929. The Lodge enjoyed three years of prosperity entertaining its members before the stock market crash. Since then it has had several owners and is still open today. The interior of the dining area has not been changed. If you want to see the colourful decor without stopping in on your next drive, visit the Lodge's Web site at (Source: Tales of the road: Highway 61 by Cathry Wurzer)

Taconite Harbor

Taconite is an extremely hard rock that serves as an important source of iron metal.  Until the 1950s companies did not mine taconite because the rock was too hard and contained too little iron to be produced at a profit. In the mid-1950s, scientists developed new techniques and equipment to profitably mine taconite and extract the iron ore. Taconite mining greatly increased the world's available supply of iron. (Source:  WorldBook Online in My Giant Search)

In the late 1950s and through the 1960s and 70s Taconite Harbour was a busy little place. The Erie Mining Company built it to house workers employed at a specially designed shipping facility. Twenty-four families lived in modest ranch-style homes. There was a power plant, town hall, fire hall, ball field and a basketball court. For $400 down and $110 a month, many young couples bought their first home and started to raise families. A downturn in the taconite industry in the 1980s brought hard times, the power plant closed and workers lost their jobs. Eventually, the mining company bought up the houses and the families moved away. Some of the houses were moved away as well. Today it's a genuine ghost town, and most people miss it. To the average visitor, Taconite Harbor looks like a large field filled with grass, but if you look closely you can see rusting street lamps, chunks of concrete curb and old manhole covers. (Source: Tales of the road: Highway 61 by Cathy Wurzer)

Pierre The Voyageur

Found in Two Harbors at the Voyageur Motel, Pierre is a twenty-foot tall statue of a Voyageur made of mesh and fiberglass. Built in 1960, he stood guard at the center of the complex that included a museum, which has since vanished, and a hotel which is still operating.  Back in his heyday, Pierre had lit, moving eyes, a shiny red paddle, and a booming voice that would greet children by name (after mom and dad dropped a note to the man with the mike at the desk of the motel). Pierre has been documented as a historical figure by the Smithsonian and the University of Minnesota. You can see a photo of Pierre with his paddle on the motel's Web site:  (Source: 61 Gems on Highway 61 by Kathryn Mayo and William Mayo)

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sunday May 11th, 2014 Happy Mother's Day!

Although not an official public or statutory holiday, Mother’s Day in Canada is observed each year on the second Sunday in May. Canadians have family celebrations in many forms on this day to honour mothers and celebrate motherhood. This year it happens to be today, Sunday May 11. You can find books and activities at any branch of the Thunder Bay Public Library to help you celebrate.

Chicken Soup for Every Mom's Soul: Stories of Love and Inspiration for Moms of All Ages is perfect for browsing. You may even recognize yourself or someone you know in these stories.  

Her Mother’s Daughter…the Lessons are Everywhere, in Each Day, in Each Conversation, in Each Entry... Listen, Learn, Love by Sandi Boucher, a local author and motivational speaker from the Seine River First Nation, is a book sampling some of the Ojibwe wisdom which she has learned from her Mother.

In My Mother’s Kitchen; Three Generations of Simple, Delicious Family Food by Trish Magwood is a cookbook based on the recipes and meals that the author grew up with.  

Mom and Me Knits: 20 Pretty Projects for Moms and Daughters by Stefanie Japel; photographs by Aimee Herring. Like mother like daughter, this book offers everything a knitter needs to stitch up trendy pieces for herself and her little one. And speaking of knitting, whether you're new to knitting or experienced, you are welcome to join Wit Knits, a group that gets together to knit (or crochet) at the Library. Along with knitting, share stories and laughs with fellow group members. Next get together is May 22, 1:30 at the Mary JL Black Library. For more information call 684-2403. 

In fact the whole family can head over to the Library together and go to one of the many programs TBPL has to offer.

Meet for lunch at the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Lunch and Learn Seminar Series. They run monthly at the Mary J.L. Black Branch Library. The next one is May 13 at 12 noon and covers the topic of Customer Service Excellence. Call the Chamber office to register at 624-2626.

How about changing it up and giving pole walking a try. On May 22 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. at the Mary J.L. Black Library there will be an Urban Poling / Nordic Walking Pole Program. You will learn the benefits of poles and proper technique as well as meet other enthusiasts. And bonus, you can sign out a set of walking poles with your library card. 

Maybe bike rides are in order. First why not check out the Safe Cycling program for all ages being held at the Mary J.L. Black Library on May 27 from 7 to 9 pm. You will pick up some valuable safe cycling tips. Put on by Eco Superior, you can call 624-2144 to register.  

Then there’s always movie night. The next NFB Film Club is May 27 at 7 pm, showing The Wings of Johnny at Mary JL Black Library. This documentary takes you into the northern skies to discover flying through the eyes of the first Inuit bush pilot in Nunavik, Northern Quebec.

So wherever you are and whatever you end up doing, Happy Mother’s Day from TBPL!

Caron E. Naysmith

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Sunday May 4th, 2014 Books to Movies: The Great Debate

Working in the library is like being surrounded by a treasure chest of stories, some true, some not; but for anyone who loves a good story taking home a book (or ten) every night is difficult not to do.  One of my favourite things is seeing a book that I loved become a great movie, and one of the worst is seeing a great book turned into a poorly done film.  Since the beginning of cinema, much of the source material for movies has come from novels both current and classic.

Looking at my reading list, I was struck by how many of my current favourite books are about to be released as films over the next few months.  So now is a great time to get in gear for the season of summer blockbusters by reading the books.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Hazel is only sixteen, but she is suffering through her final stage of cancer.  To help her deal with her depression and come to terms with her diagnosis, her doctor sends her to a weekly support group, where she meets and falls in love with fellow cancer survivor, Augustus Waters.  Fascinated by a cancer survival novel, they journey to Amsterdam to meet the author. The teen protagonists are remarkably intelligent and the book handles the situation with honestly and sensitivity.

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
 A novel for lovers of the The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the novel follows the life of Hassan and his family who travel throughout Europe, to ultimately open a restaurant in the remote French village of Lumiere, home of the famous French chef Madame Mallory.  A culinary war ensues, which is full of hilarious situations, eccentric characters and succulent descriptions of meals.  The film opens this summer and stars cinema legend Helen Mirren.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears and as there are signs of struggle, her husband Nick becomes the prime suspect.  Nick isn’t honest with the police and as weeks go by and each lie is exposed, the case against Nick becomes more damaging.  The story is told from both Nick and Amy’s point of view and revelation is more dark and twisted until the final and surprising conclusion.  The movie adaption stars Ben Affleck and is out in late summer.

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
Dawson Cole and Amanda Collier could not have come from a more different background and everyone was surprised when they became sweethearts, but their lives are set on different paths when Dawson accidentally runs over the town doctor and he is sent to prison.  Twenty years pass and their lives have moved on, until the death of an old friend brings them together and they re-discover their love. 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The book and movie are aimed at teens, but the idea of embracing the joys and pain in life is universal. This is the story of Mia as she clings to life in a hospital bed aware of everything around her.  Mia has lost her family in a car crash but she still has her friends, her music and the boy that she loves.  The book chronicles Mia’s life and the lives of those she loves, so that the reader is invested in the bittersweet tale of her decision.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
The second film of the summer based on a Flynn book, this is an edge of your seat crime thriller concerning Libby the only surviving member of a family massacre in their Kansas farmhouse. It was seven-year old Libby’s testimony that sent her elder brother Ben to prison.   As an adult, Libby is convinced to have a “true crime” club investigate the scene and conclusion they come to is that Ben is innocent and that the real murderer is still on the loose.  The truth that comes to light is shocking and unexpected.

Lori Kauzlarick