Have you discovered Historypin yet? Historypin is a website where people can upload their own pieces of local history! Many of us have old photos and stories that have been passed down through generations, and Historypin is a great place to share these memories with others! If you can access a scanner or have digital copies already, all you need to do is create an account and you can upload your photos to start a collection.


There are a few collections for local history enthusiasts to explore. Check out the Elgin Archives collection, the University of Western Ontario’s collection, A Bod’s collection, and watch for St. Thomas Public Library’s collection too! The photo above, a postcard of Elgin County Courthouse from 1907, is from A Bod’s Collection. What can you add to Historypin? Here are a few more photos of places you may recognize!


St. Thomas Seed Library Launch Event!

It’s finally here!Seed Library Launch

Do you like eating? Who doesn’t? Do you like paying high prices for imported veggies covered in pesticides? ….Maybe not. So here is a novel solution- grow your own! And we are here to help make it as affordable as possible by “lending” you the seeds to do just that!

Whether you have a large or small garden, access to a community garden, or even just an apartment balcony, the St. Thomas Seed Library has a wonderful variety of heirloom vegetables, fruits, and even ornamental flowers suitable for both the average backyard as well as small container gardening.

The idea of a “seed library”- where a patron can borrow packages of seeds for free, just like books, and return some of the seeds from what they grew at the end of the season- has been gaining grassroots popularity for years. It is an idea that will appeal to folks who want to take control of what they eat and don’t want genetically modified “Franken-food”, to people who just like the DIY concept of free food, to those who have just watched too many episodes of “The Walking Dead” and figure getting on the homesteading bandwagon is a good idea! (Which of course it is, all zombies aside!)

We live in an ever-technological world where so many of us have lost sight of where our food comes from, and the effort it takes to get from the seed to our plate. How cool would it be to be able to walk out to your backyard and get everything you need for a tasty salad for lunch? Or you could choose to grow just the veggies you need to make enough preserves to last all winter- and know you are helping someone else in our community do the same thing when you return some seed from your harvest back to the library!

So St. Thomas, come on out to St. Thomas Public Library on February 29th at 6:30pm in the Carnegie Room for the Seed Library Launch Event! We will have light refreshments, sign-up sheets for the orientation sessions, and a very special screening of the documentary “Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds”.

Get ready to get dirty- dig into our links and check out what seeds we have to offer, and lets get back to our roots!


St Thomas Seed Library Logo

Borrow – Grow – Share: St Thomas Seed Library

Books, DVDs, Free Food…whoah. Let’s take a step back, free food at the library? Well, almost! With the recent rise of food prices, increasing popularity of homesteading and impending zombie apocalypse…growing your own food has never been a better idea in this modern age!

Introducing…The St. Thomas Seed Library! Launching on Monday, February 29, 2016!

St Thomas Seed Library Logo

The St. Thomas Seed Library is a repository of open-pollinated (mainly heirloom) seeds which are held in trust for members of the St. Thomas Public Library. Members come to the library and borrow seed for their garden. They grow the plants in their garden and at the end of the season, they let a few plants ‘go to seed.’ From those plants, they collect seeds and return the same amount of seed (or more) as they borrowed at the beginning of the growing season. Seeds are free to members.

The library is both a collection of seeds and a community of gardeners. Since seed is a living thing, it must be renewed each year somewhere by someone or unique varietals can become extinct. Even growing one seed and returning it to the library is a valuable contribution.

Humans have been saving seeds for over 12,000 years. Sadly, in our culture much of the knowledge about seed saving has been lost over the last hundred years, along with significant biodiversity. When you contribute to our seed library, you help create a culture of sharing and abundance whilst contributing to the sustainability of our community.

Seed saving requires some basic knowledge, but really anyone can get the hang of it. We hope to encourage our library patrons to develop the knowledge needed in order to help preserve the unique varieties and amazing agrobiodiversity contained in our catalogue, and to build this catalogue for future generations. We hope that by beginning small, people will realize how easy, and truly necessary, it is to save seeds.

The idea of creating a seed-lending library at the St. Thomas Public Library was inspired by Elgin County’s Local Food Plan – “the County’s new initiative to strengthen and support local food production by raising awareness of the benefits of local food and making it easier for purchasers and consumers to buy and use local produce.” http://www.progressivebynature.com/key-sectors/savour-elgin-local-food

Our Mission Statement

To educate our community in the importance of seed saving while fostering a culture of sharing, self-reliance, and community resilience, preserving and perpetuating Elgin County’s rich agrarian roots.

The Safe Seed Pledge

Finally, we honour the Safe Seed Pledge, a document signed by those in the agriculture and public health community concerned about the social, ethical, and environmental impact of genetic technologies, which reads:

Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, We pledge that we do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.” ~ Council for Responsible Genetics, 1999

Reason #83: We’re Celebrating Culture Days

Reason #82 - We're Celebrating Culture Days

What is “Culture Days”?

Launched in September 2010, Culture Days (www.culturedays.ca) is an annual event that features individual artists, diverse cultural groups, organizations, municipalities, and festivals old and new that come together to catalyze and inspire greater participation in arts and culture by featuring free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to the behind-the-scenes world of artists, creators, historians.

Culture Days represents the largest-ever voluntary collective public participation campaign undertaken by the arts and cultural community in Canada.

The 5th Anniversary Culture Days weekend will take place in every province, simultaneously on September 26, 27 and 28, 2014 and is expected to see hundreds of communities of all sizes take part from coast to coast to coast.

Culture Days bridges the gap between Canada’s communities and citizens, highlighting the notion that culture is for everyone, regardless of age, geography, background or income.

Through thousands of free activities across the country, Culture Days promotes inclusivity, awareness, participation and engagement in arts and culture for all Canadians.

Culture Days aims to:

  • Foster appreciation and support of the artistic and cultural life that is lived, created and expressed across the country in urban centers and rural communities alike.
  • Promote direct interaction between creators and the public as a key to increasing understanding and appreciation for art and culture.
  • Affirm that every citizen is the guardian of the cultural life of his or her community.


How is St. Thomas Public Library Participating?

St. Thomas Public Library has 5 events and programs planned for the public – all free of charge. Some require registration, as space and supplies are limited. Please read carefully to know if you need to register before attending a program. (And register ASAP! We don’t want you to miss out!)

  • Uke Can Learn an Instrument – Friday, September 26, 2014, 1-3 PM – Registration Required
  • Taste the Wines of Lake Erie’s North Shores – Friday, September 26, 2014, 7-8:30 PM – Registration Required. Must be 19+
  • Be Part of the Art – Saturday, September 27, 2014 – 9 AM – Noon or 1-4 PM – No registration required, Drop-in
  • Flag Face Painting – Saturday, September 27,2014 – 10 AM – Noon or 2-4 PM – No registration required, Drop-in
  • Yoga Workshop for Children – Saturday, September 27, 2014 2-3:30 PM – Registration Required. Ages 7-11 years


For a full description of each program and to register online, please visit our Culture Days Events Page.

March Break 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Puppet Storytime: Commotion in the Ocean

10:00 a.m. | Ingram Activity Centre

Escape the cold weather as you meet puppet sea creatures in this ocean themed storytime.

All ages | FREE | Space is limited. Registration is required at the Children’s & Teens’ Information Desk or save your space by joining this event on our Facebook page.


Life-Sized Checkers

11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

“King me,” never looked so large! Drop into the Ingram Activity Centre any time after 11:00 a.m. today to challenge someone to a life-sized game of Checkers.

All ages | FREE | Drop-in, no registration required


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Paper Bag Journals

10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. | Ingram Activity Centre

Make a journal, story, or memory book out of paper bags. We will provide the art supplies and YOU bring the creativity! Bring any photos or souvenirs that you would like to include in your book.

All ages | FREE | Drop-in, no registration required


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Family Dance Party

10:00 a.m. | Ingram Activity Centre

Bring your dancing shoes to the Ingram Activity Room for an hour of musical fun! The program includes books, musical instruments, and dancing. We will enjoy some all-time favourite songs, and some new songs as well. **Children must be accompanied by a parent.**

Ages 2-5 | FREE | Space is limited. Registration is required at the Children’s & Teens’ Information Desk or save your space by joining this event on our Facebook page.


Fire Safety with the St. Thomas Fire Department

2:00 p.m. | Carnegie Room

Join the St. Thomas Fire Department at the library to learn about fire safety and to get an up-close look at the gear they wear.

All Ages | FREE | Space is limited. Registration is required at the Children’s & Teens’ Information Desk or save your space by joining this event on our Facebook page.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Life-Size Candy Land

All Day | Ingram Activity Centre

Did you miss the Life-Sized Candy Land on Family Literacy Day? Well, there’s no need to worry! We have brought it back for another day. Drop into the Ingram Room any time today to play a game with your family and friends to see who will reach the candy castle first!

All Ages | FREE | Drop-in, no registration required


Friday, March 14, 2014

Family Movie Day featuring: Walking With Dinosaurs

2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. | Carnegie Room

Rated G | FREE | Space is limited.

For the first time in movie history, audiences will truly see and feel what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie is the ultimate immersive, big-screen experience. Recent discoveries and a breakthrough in technology will introduce new and unique dinosaurs that are more real than ever before and put moviegoers in the middle of a thrilling prehistoric adventure, where an underdog dinosaur triumphs against all odds to become a hero for the ages.

Genealogical & Local History Help – 2014

Need some assistance with Genealogy or Local History?

Local History Help

Saturday, February 8, 2014

1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

George Throman Local History Room, upper level


Members of the Elgin County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will be at the St. Thomas Public Library to answer any  questions and suggest resources on family trees, genealogy, and local history.


The George Thorman Room, located on the upper level, has an entire host of information available for all levels of researchers of family and local history.


More information on OGS: http://www.elginogs.ca/

Words & Music 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013Author Barbara Fradkin

7:30 PM | Doors open at 7 PM | Princess Ave Playhouse | 40 Princess Ave. St. Thomas

Advanced tickets available by donation at the Adult Information Desk, main level.

Featuring: Barbara Fradkin – Author of the Inspector Green mysteries, including her latest novel “The Whisper of Legends”

and the Rainbow Gardens Quartet with composer, singer, and songwriter Martin Traynor!

Tickets for sale by donation. (Recommended donation of $15 per person.) Tickets can be picked up at the door, if available. (Seating is limited.) Books and CDs for sale during the evening and author signing after the program.

About the Author: Barbara Fradkin

Barbara Fradkin (nee Currie) was born in Montreal and obtained her B.A. at McGill University and M.A. at the University of Toronto, before moving to Ottawa to work and raise a family. A few years later she returned to the University of Ottawa for her PhD in clinical psychology, and after more than twenty-five years as a child psychologist, she retired in order to devote more time to her first passion, writing.

Although she first appeared in print in 1995, Barbara has been writing since she was six and has always had an affinity for the dark side. Her work as a child psychologist provides ample insight and inspiration for stories. She is an active member of Canada’s writing community as well as part of the notorious Ladies’ Killing Circle, which edited anthologies of mystery short stories by Canadian women. She has three children and one dog, and in whatever spare time she can find, she loves outdoor activities like travelling, skiing and kayaking, as well as reading, of course.

Find out more about Barbara on her website.

About Barbara’s New Book: The Whisper of Legends

Two-time Arthur Ellis Award winner Fradkin turns in another solid performance with theThe Whisper of Legends by Barbara Fradkin latest Inspector Green mystery. Green, who works for the Ottawa, Ontario, police department, is concerned when his teenage daughter, Hannah, seems to have gone missing during a camping trip to a national park in a remote part of the Northwest Territories. The local RCMP appear frustratingly uninterested, and so Green, never one to shy away from taking matters into his own hands, heads off to the Territories to find Hannah, discovering along the way that his daughter’s boyfriend, who organized the trip, might have had his own reasons for the trip and may not have Hannah’s best interests or safety in mind. A change of pace from the previous eight Inspector Green novels (which were set in and around urban Ottawa), the book combines a suspenseful story with plenty of opportunities to see the brook-no-nonsense inspector out of his natural element. American readers getting their first look at this series will be eager to read more.

— Pitt, David (Reviewed 04-01-2013) (Booklist, vol 109, number 15, p30)Look on the library's catalogue for Barbara Fradkin

About the Vocalist: Martin Traynor

Martin Traynor is a Mississauga based Guitarist and Vocalist who has been active in the Toronto music scene since the mid 1980s. He has performed as a soloist and with a variety of ensembles and styles ranging from duet to 20pc big band. He has appeared on Omni One, Breakfast Television and at various jazz festivals including The Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, The Beaches International Jazz Festival, The Port Perry Jazz Festival, The Port Hope Jazz Festival and various other venues including the ROM, the Royal York Hotel, and the Yonge and Dundas main stage.

After earning his Music Degree from York University where he studied Guitar and Film Scoring, Martin began teaching at a Toronto Secondary School where he still teaches Guitar, Voice and Band. His groups have performed both locally and internationally including the Bahamas, MGM Studios and Busch Gardens in Florida. In 1999 he composed and produced the SoundPoets debut cd which was recorded at Phase One studios and received airplay in Southern Ontario and Belgium. In 2010 he released his first self-titled recording which has been well received and is currently available. Martin recently completed his Masters Certificate in guitar through the famous Berklee School of Music in Boston where he studied with Bruce Saunders and Gary Burton. He continues to freelance as a performer and on various recording projects in and around the GTA.

About the Musicians: Conductor Ricardo (Ric) Giorgi – String Bass

I’m very excited about joining the Resa’s Pieces family who are dedicated to making music and having fun – something I love to do. My greatest joy as a teacher and a musician is developing students’ musical abilities at whatever stage life brings them to playing an instrument or taking it up again.

My earliest musical training was in a choir run by nuns in a refugee camp in Northern Italy. In Canada, I played flute in high school and soon added String Bass and Piano. I worked my way through The Faculty of Music (UWO) playing with the best musicians in London, Ontario as well as in back-up groups for musicians such as Tommy Hunter. I was also Manager of Youth and Childrens’ Activities at the CNE for 5 years producing music and theatre events.

For 20 years I taught as a string instrument specialist for the Scarborough and Toronto School Boards as well as teaching piano and string instruments privately. I’ve had the great privilege conducting or co-conducting the Scarborough Schools Symphony Orchestra, The Concert Orchestra, various levels of ensembles for Toronto Music Camps (as well as bass specialist), the University of Tennessee Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Zlin Czech Republic, The University of South Carolina Orchestra, Columbia SC, The Brampton Symphony Orchestra, The Timothy Eaton Memorial Orchestra, The Main Street United Church Festival Orchestra as well as orchestras assembled for corporate functions in and around Toronto and Buffalo New York. I’ve also had the great pleasure leading the very successful “Rainbow Gardens Jazz Orchestra” from “basement band” status to international acclaim.

About the Musicians: Cor Klamer – Piano

Cor is a native of The Netherlands whose father was a virtuoso accordion player and at whose knee he learned the basics of music and keyboard playing to a very high level. Almost immediately after arriving in Canada he became a much sought after pianist for all sorts and sizes of jazz and pop groups and was hired as the organist at Central United Church where he was music director until his retirement in 2007.

He is the Artistic Director of the Wilberforce Jazz Festival and plays almost every day in retirement and nursing homes and accompanies many local jazz singers. He’s been on tour with June Garber in Cuba and Florida and has played in most of Eastern Canada and the United States. He was the Klamer in the Klamerstein Quartet along with the wonderful tenor sax player Roger Stein. He runs his own trio (with drummer Phil Myers and bassist Ric Giorgi) and is the pianist in the Rainbow Gardens Quintet. Cor has the unique abilities of amazing sight-reading expertise, playing by ear at the drop of a hat and playing in and changing the key he plays in almost instantly.

About the Musicians: Phil Myers – Percussion

Phil Myers has been one of the go-to drummers in the big band world around southern Ontario for many years. However, being one of the most versatile percussionists around he does a lot of work with small groups as well and is a member of 3 Toronto bands performing regularly at The Rex, Reservoir Lounge, Gate 403, Lula Lounge and many other venues.

He is one of the few sensitive drummers able to handle the brashness of an early Dixieland jazz performance one night, the drive needed to propel a big band performance the next night and then a modern jazz gig with the likes of Barry Harris and Charles McPherson the third. He was chosen to perform with Harris and McPherson at Koerner Hall recently and as one veteran jazzer noted “Phil is one of the few drummers around who listens, blends and drives at the same time – he’s great!”.  He was picked to perform with the WE ARE ONE ORCHESTRA featuring 300 young TDSB student singers in a recent concert in support of music education and the Royal Conservatory of Music.

About the Musicians: Kurt Lund – Saxophone

Since leaving Berklee College of Music, saxophonist Kurt Lund has performed in and around Toronto, and joined the hard swinging, take-no-prisoners school of jazz. A recent appearance featured him on clarinet with Swing Shift Big Band. He has also been heard with fine Toronto area musicians including:

  • Archie Alleyne, famed jazz drummer.
  • Ian Bargh at Rhodes Restaurant, and the Montreal Bistro
  • Roy Patterson at Mezzetta Cafe
  • Bernie Senensky at Rhodes Restaurant
  • Norman Marshall Villenueve
  • The Mark Eisenman Trio at Top O’ The Senator
  • The Yorkville Jazz Festival with Brian Dickinson
  • The Markham Jazz Festival with Maxine Willan
  • Pat Collins and Duncan Hopkins, both top Toronto bassists

Other venues and performances include:

  • Carlu (formerly Eaton Centre Auditorium)
  • The Mississauga Living Arts Centre
  • Stage West in Mississauga
  • Eddie Graf and his Orchestra, featuring Carol Welsman.
  • Chateau Laurier in Ottawa with a “Tribute To Glen Miller” Orchestra.
  • Royal York Hotel  (for Sony Pictures)