Alert Notice #27
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 February 8, 2010


1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends
2. Business Management
3. Building Design & Trends
4. Codes Standards & Regulations
5. Building Science & Technology
6. Building Performance Issues
7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency
8. Building Products & Suppliers
9. Installation Procedures
10. Information Sources
11. Conferences & Shows
12. Education & Training
13. Computer, Internet & Fun

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Our Little Fullback Starts Making His Dude-Mark

Life is a never-ending learning opportunity. And for this ol' dude, the universe seems to have its own wonderful way of delivering said opportunities in unique and special moments. Especially effective are those that one might call rude awakenings.

Back in October, I gushingly announced to you and to anyone else within shouting and e-mail distance, that we were once again proud and pumped grandparents. Not-so-wee Cooper, 9 1/2 pounds of pure pleasure, had just entered our world. He is the first male grandchild on both sides of the family. As kid brother to our now almost-three-year-old Angel, and first cousin to two other little girls, it was naturally expected he would carry the "dude" flag into this previously dudette-only space. He hasn't disappointed.

Since day one he has proceeded to educate each of us, most often via real-world demonstrations, that boys are different than girls. For those who learn better from experience rather than words, such as yours truly, some of these learnings have come mighty quick. For example, it took no more than a "Wow, I'm all wet" instant for me to awaken to the fact that dude-specific anotomical characteristics require me to change boys' diapers differently than girls'. Similarly, it didn't take long at all for me to realize that this wee man's surprisingly strong grip on my fingers, glasses, and especially my nose, was a Bro-grip rather than girl-grip. However there are other moments when a learning-pour-moi comes packaged with a much higher dose of emotion, even fear.

As a little background, you should understand that I pompously considered myself (note the past tense used here) a fully capable babysitter of grandkids. After all, I'd already had over 2 1/2 years of successful Angel-sitting experience. Plus, I'd received recent schooling from Daddy's Little Girl in how to properly feed, comfort, care, carry, diaper-change, play with, and put to bed, wee Coop. So naturally I was ready, willing, and self-anointed able, when I found out that we two dudes were about to get our first few hours alone. As Mommy somewhat hesitantly headed out the door, I was filled with joyous expectation of our upcoming dudes-only date. And all went wonderfully well...for a while.

We were having a great time together, and I was once again in Gramps Heaven. He'd giggle at me and I'd gaze in awe back at him. I'd make funny faces, and he'd gaze quizzically back at me in a way that led me to suspect he was actually wondering why this ol' dude was making such weird faces at him. He was quite content looking around and discovering things as I gently carried him around the house, softly humming a tune (all the while being grateful that he didn't yet know I couldn't carry a tune). Then, he started to fuss a little bit. But since it was close to the feeding time Mommy had set, I, being in the know, confidently moved to the next stage of caregiving.

After retrieving his pre-prepared bottle from the fridge I warmed it in exactly the way shown by Mommy. I then carried him into his bedroom, turned on his sound machine, and lovingly laid him back in my arms for feeding. As I gently moved the warm bottle towards his little lips, I envisioned him enjoying his meal, melting into my arms, then falling quietly off to sleep. NOT!!!

No sooner had Wee Dude swallowed his first couple of sips when his eyes spread wide open, and his hands shot way up into the air. He started to gag, wince, and then forcefully spit out his milk all over Gramps and his room. He let out an ear-piercing howl, and, just to make sure I was getting the full message, he pushed out his strong little legs with such force I thought he permanently bruised my arm. It was like "I am Dude, and I'm not happy with what's coming down here". Ol' Gramps started to freak. What did I do? What did I not do? What should I do? I figured whatever it was that I did/didn't do, it must have been fairly serious for him to get this worked up.

Eventually, as I managed to recover my senses and calm both Dude and I down, help arrived on the scene. In walked Mommy. And slowly, calmly, as only mommies can do, she skilfully proceeded to make things better. As I nervously babbled on and on about what had just happened and what all I might have done wrong, she immediately clued in to both the cause and the effect. "Oh, he probably just didn't like that milk that I prepared for him", she said matter-of-factly. "OK, but what about his incredibly strong reaction to it all?", I asked. It came like a tablet from the mount. It came in three short words. With a gleam in her eyes, she laid it on me. "He's a boy"

And so, my friends, it's coming to pass that this ol' dude is realizing he has a whole lotta learning still to come as a Gramps of both a dude and dudette. Happily, methinks it can do nothing but benefit my understandings of the unique and wonderful differences between men and women. But you know what? There is one thing that is exactly, completely, and wonderfully the same with both baby boys and baby girls. When either one of them gazes into my eyes, when their wee lips start to curl upwards, and they heart melts, and I touch infinity.

My thanks to Mark Gauvin, Joe Verhulst, Natsuko Hara, Ken Sawatsky, Wilma Leung, John Chepil, John Vukanovich, Paula Steele, Herman Rebneris, Brian Hart, David Kelly, Brent Wilker, and Kevin Masztalar for their comments, tips, and resources. I hope you find something of value in this newsletter.

Have a "Top Drawer" day.

Ken Farrish

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    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    First Quarter 2010 BC Housing Forecast
    BC Real Estate Association First Quarter 2010 BC Housing Forecast includes information on MLS residential sales, housing starts, mortgage rates, and regional real estate board statistics and forecasts. (PDF)

    Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update February 2010
    Canadian Home Builders Association Economic Update for February 2010 offers information on international, national and regional economic trends of interest to the home building industry. (PDF)

    Home Buyers Show Shift In Their Preferences
    US National Association of Home Builders lists trends that show strong evidence that the severe downturns in housing and the economy now coming to an end have had a major impact on the features that prospective buyers are looking for in a new home.

    Thawing The 55+ Home Buying Market
    Builder magazine article says nabbing Baby Boom buyers requires building trust as well as communities where kayaking replaces canasta, and quelling fear and creating must-have products are secrets to selling to them.

    Calendar For 2010 CMHC Canadian Housing Market Reports
    CMHC lists the issue dates of their upcoming releases on national and local reports on housing markets, trends and related information.

    2010 Predictions For Next Decade Of Building Industry
    Fine Homebuilding gives its 2010 predictions for the next decade in the building industry including water conservation, countertops, insulation, construction shifting from job site to factory, and lean times and big opportunities.

    Financial Crisis Not Just A Housing Bubble
    Brookings Institution paper discusses what really caused the great economic crisis of the past year, the importance of public perceptions of the causes of the crisis, and how they will affect chances of financial regulatory reform.

    2. Business Management

    2010 Olympic Traffic Change Information
    BC Government describes traffic changes near the 2010 Olympic venues.

    2010 Automobile Deduction Limits For Business
    Canadian Institute for Plumbing & Heating summarizes the Canadian government automobile expense deduction limits and the prescribed rates for the automobile operating expense benefit that will apply for the year 2010.

    Free BC Information Seminars On Harmonized Sales Tax
    Canada Revenue Agency offers a number of free informative seminars around the province to help ensure that businesses receive the information they need for the transition to the federal administration of the harmonized sales tax in British Columbia.

    Online Calculators For Building Industry
    Fine Homebuilding magazine has a number of online calculators used in the building industry, as well as links to more calculators available on the Internet.

    Homebuilder Offers New Mobile Web Site For On-The-Go Home Shoppers
    KB Home has launched a new mobile Web site, specially optimized for homebuyers who go online through their mobile phones. The new site includes KB Home community information, prices, floor plans, driving directions, home photos and renderings, all updated on a daily basis, and in a fast-loading format that is optimized for a small screen.

    Remodeling For The Younger Millenial Market
    Professional Remodeler interviews generational expert and author Neil Howe about what remodelers can expect from younger echo boomers and millenials.

    Survey Shows Remodeling Is Stressful
    Qualified Remodeler provides a summary of a survey that reveals remodeling stress is prevalent amongst homeowners.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    Study Of Laneway Infill Housing In Vancouver & BC
    CMHC study, with focus on Vancouver, establishes opportunities for expanding laneway housing and identifies a number of key barriers limiting or preventing its adoption. It offers a set of specific recommendations and strategies that municipalities can use to overcome barriers to expanding this form of housing in residential neighbourhoods. (PDF)

    Residential Community Planning Moves In New Directions
    Professional Builder says over the next 20 years, experts predict a shift toward residential communities that are smaller, greener and friendlier. Architects and planners offer their critique of current approaches to neighborhood design and provide a glimpse of the future.

    Household Type, Housing Choice, Commuting Behavior
    US National Association of Home Builders research on transit-oriented development indicates that, absent a major shift in public attitudes toward using public transportation and driving less, there are limits to how far these kinds of projects can go in reducing traffic flow on local streets and highways. The study found that relatively few home buyers and renters choose a neighborhood because of its proximity to public transportation.

    2009 Builders Choice Awards For Practical Design
    Builder Magazine presents, with pictures and descriptions, 2009 winners of their Builders Choice Awards that honor industry pros who set the bar for great, practical design.

    2010 Design Trends For Kitchen & Bath
    National Kitchen & Bath Association survey revealed key design trends for 2010. They confirmed the continuation of a number of existing trends in the marketplace, but also uncovered others that indicate shifts in the direction that kitchen and bath style will take this year.

    Design Tips & Tricks For Bathroom Remodels
    Journal of Light Construction online video on bathroom remodeling with remodeler Mark Clement tells you how to incorporate curves, and gives tips for fast, accurate layout.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Simone Sunderland, President, Green Sheet Construction Data says: "I have really been enjoying scanning through your newsletters."

    Please feel free to let others know about BC Building Info.

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    New BC Building Code Amendments For Seismic Slope Stability
    BC government outlines new requirements for seismic slope stability that have been added to the BC Building Code, effective February 1, 2010. (PDF)

    New BC Energy Efficiency Standards For Gas & Propane DHW Tanks
    BC Ministry of Energy describes the new energy efficiency standards for natural gas or propane storage-type water heaters with a rated storage capacity of 76 to 380 litres and an input of 75,000 Btu/h or less. These take effect September 1, 2010. (PDF)

    BC Requirements For Upgrading Electrical Systems
    BC Safety Authority describes minimum code and safety requirements for upgrading electrical systems in single family dwellings. (PDF)

    New BC Hydro Requirements For 400 Amp 120/240 Volt Metering Services
    BC Hydro advisory that came into effect December 11, 2009 describes a new policy that applies to customers requesting a 400 Amp single-phase service. This will require an isolation switch ahead of the meter base in the form of a service room. Customers will no longer be able to use a self-contained 400 Amp with an integral current transformer meter base. (PDF)

    Proposed Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy
    Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future is the current draft of the proposed regional growth strategy that is a long term framework for future development of Metro Vancouver region.

    New Canadian Codes For Fire Safety For Buildings In Close Proximity
    Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes proposed revisions to the National Construction Codes to impose additional fire protection requirements for the construction of all buildings and houses that are in close proximity to one another or to the property line.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Ventilated Wall Claddings Review, Performance, Modeling
    Building Science research paper investigates use of the WUFI software “source and sink” approach in a one dimensional model to simulate ventilation and rain leakage behind claddings. It includes simulation predictions compared to field performance of several different wall assemblies, lessons learned, and impact of such effects as rain water leaks and cladding ventilation rates.

    Energy Flow Across Building Enclosures
    Building Science describes how higher levels of thermal resistance and reduced heat gain across building enclosures has forever changed the performance of buildings, and perhaps not in a good way.

    Water Vapor Permeance Of Wood Framing
    Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association report on Evaluation of the Water Vapor Permeance of Wooden Framing Members summarizes evaluation of several samples of two-by-four and two-by-six wooden framing members, in accordance with ASTM E96 – 05 Standard Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission of Materials. (PDF)

    11 Tips For Mastering Building Envelopes In Homes
    Professional Builder magazine says faced with meeting increasingly stringent energy codes and a growing demand for green, high-performance features, builders are looking to maximize the energy efficiency of their homes without blowing the budget. The easiest and most economical step to creating energy-efficient homes is to master building envelope and air sealing design.

    Designs That Work By Climate Region
    Building Science Consulting offers house construction energy efficient design recommendations by climate region, hygro-thermal regions map, climate-specific building science and energy analysis for each house design, and house plan details based on different climate regions.

    Online Video On 6 Storey Wood Construction
    Canadian Wood Council online video describes features, benefits, examples, and structural design considerations of 6 storey wood frame construction.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Spray Polyurethane Foam Meets Code Requirement For Vapour Barrier
    Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association research demonstrated ability of typical framed walls using spray polyurethane foam insulation, with and without additional vapor barrier layers, to meet National Building Code of Canada requirements. (PDF)

    Energy Rating Of Polyurethane Spray Foam Walls
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction report describes a research project to assess the thermal and air leakage characteristics of spray polyurethane foam walls as well as conventional wall assemblies. (PDF)

    Corrosion Protection Of Metal Connectors In Coastal Areas
    US Federal Emergency Management Agency bulletin provides guidance on the need for, selection of, and use of corrosion-resistant metal connectors for the construction of buildings in coastal areas.

    Stucco Woes & The Perfect Storm
    Building Science insight says the reasons for the change in stucco performance are due to several seemingly small factors that add up to a huge factor: changes in the properties of building papers and water resistant barriers, change from plywood sheathings to OSB sheathings, higher levels of thermal resistance, use of interior plastic vapor barriers, and changes in the properties of stucco renderings.

    Drainage, Storage & Drying Behind Cladding Systems
    Building Science paper documents experimental methodology, details, results and discusses how this information can be applied to modeling drained wall systems. Practical applications and research questions arising from the work are presented. (PDF)

    Designing For Combined Shear & Wind Uplift
    Engineered Wood Association bulletin Designing for Combined Shear and Wind Uplift introduces a straightforward solution for builders to meet building code requirements for structural wall systems in high wind areas. The APA system for combined shear and wind uplift is a prescribed three-step design process that builders can follow with minimal added engineering. Free site registration required.

    Effect Of Resilient Channels On Ceiling Flanking Transmission
    Canadian Institute for Research In Construction study examines the effect of resilient channels on ceiling flanking paths. (PDF)

    Mercury & Human Health
    Health Canada provides information on mercury including background, sources, health effects of mercury exposure, risks of mercury poisoning, minimizing your risk, and sources of more information.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Top Ten Green Building Trends to Watch in 2010
    Earth Advantage Institute, a leading nonprofit green building resource that has certified more than 11,000 sustainable homes, recently announced its selections for top ten green building trends to watch in 2010. The trends, which range from energy scores for homes to web-based displays that track energy usage in real time, were identified by audiences including builders, architects, real estate brokers, appraisers, lenders and homeowners.

    Occupant Education Key To Green Building Success
    Dovetail Partners survey revealed that while overall green building satisfaction is high, continued occupant education is important for achieving the best results in certified green buildings.

    Passive Solar Design Features Of Canadian Avalon Discovery 3 Home
    CMHC fact sheet describes passive design features of EQuilibrium house Avalon Discovery 3, one and one-half-story, detached home built in Red Deer, Alberta. It highlights the use of passive solar design principles, one of the key features that help reduce consumption of non-renewable energy. (PDF)

    Selecting Sustainable Building Materials
    CMHC describes important aspects to consider when assessing building materials for life cycle sustainability. (PDF)

    Pro & Con On Vinyl Is Green & Vinyl Is Lethal
    Green Building Advisor offers two articles with differing views on whether vinyl is green. Patrick Moore says Yes, Vinyl Is Green, and Bill Walsh says No, Vinyl Is Lethal.

    The Next Big Scam Is Carbon Dioxide
    Financial Post editorial and response comments discuss the position that attempts to create markets for tradeable CO2 are shaping up to be the next Oil-for-Food-sized fraud.

    Built Green Conference In Bellevue March 12th
    Built Green Conference & Expo is an annual event for building industry professionals: builders, architects, designers, vendors, consultants, engineers, realtors, government agencies, and students. The primary focus of the conference is to educate the local and regional building industry on quality green building practices, products, and projects, as well as inspiring groups to continue to strive to build more sustainable communities.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Canadian Construction Material Costs Still Negative
    Daily Commercial News says building material costs are now -2.9% year over year, according to Statistics Canada's latest report. While this is a negative figure, it is much less so than the -11.5% of only two months previously. The situation has changed quickly.

    Buyer Guide For Residential Ground Source Heat Pump Systems
    Canadian GeoExchange Coalition online publication helps readers with the decision to purchase and install a ground source heat pump (or geoexchange) system.

    Pros & Cons Of Tank & Tankless Water Heaters
    Fine Homebuilding describes how tank and tankless water heaters work, how to choose and size one to suit your needs, and how to save money and energy in the process.

    Integrated Supply Ventilation Systems
    Building Science describes, with schematics, various approaches to designing integrated supply ventilation systems.

    Overview Of UV Water Treatment
    CMHC describes UV water treatment including features, benefits, tpes of systems, selection criteria, and sources of more information.

    Free Seismic Design Guide For Masonry Buildings
    Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association free comprehensive guide on seismic design and construction of low-to mid-rise masonry structures outlines key seismic design provisions of NBCC 2005 and the CSA S304.1-04 and offers a commentary.

    BC Incentives Now $2000 For Solar Hot Water Systems
    SolarBC has announced that during February and March $2000 is now available for installing solar hot water systems in both existing and new homes.

    Conasys Receives Ready To Rocket Recognition
    Local company Conasys was named one of the top 25 private companies expected to have significant growth. A provider of information management services to the construction industry, it was named to Rocket Builders 2010.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Recommended Levels For Finishing Of Gypsum Board
    Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau document provides various standards for the finishing of gypsum board wall or ceiling surfaces. (PDF)

    Cleaning Concrete
    Concrete Network describes how to choose a concrete cleaner or degreaser, and how to clean exterior concrete, concrete floors, and concrete countertops.

    How To Install Rigid Foam Insulation Outside A House
    Green Building Advisor online video shows how to install rigid foam sheathing to the outside of a house.

    How To Remove Clapboard Siding
    Oikos Green Building Library describes how to remove clapboard siding.

    Repairing Historic Flat Plaster On Walls & Ceilings
    US National Park Service describes how to fix original plaster including historical background, common plaster problems, repairing historic plaster, when damaged plaster cannot be repaired, patching materials, and a summary.

    Painting Composite Trim
    Journal of Light Construction says composite trim should be primed with a mildew-resistant exterior primer, then painted with two coats of exterior 100 percent acrylic latex paint.

    Quality Standards Illustrated Manual For Architectural Millwork
    Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada new Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS), 1st Edition has been adopted as the latest edition to AWI/AWMAC Quality Standards Illustrated, and WI Manual of Millwork.

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    10. Information Sources

    Newsletter Of Electrical Inspectors Association of BC
    Electrical Inspectors Association of BC offers online access to their past newsletter issues which cover a wide range of topics relating to the electrical codes, safety, and industry.

    BC Newsletter With Home Automation Tips & Comments
    Industry member Tim Parsons from Interactive Living now offers a free newsletter with tips and comments on automated homes and buildings.

    National Research Council Canada Newsletter
    Dimensions is the electronic magazine of the National Research Council of Canada. It highlights NRC research, development and technology-based innovation of interest to Canadians, and provides links to science information on the NRC website and other Internet sites.

    Online Video Tips On Building Tools & Technology
    Fine Homebuilding provides access to short online videos on a wide range of building technology topics, tools, and procedures.

    Discussion Forums For Professional Plumbers
    Plumbing Zone has discussion forums on a wide range of topics for the plumbing industry.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    2010 Canadian Home Builders Conference In Victoria March 5-7
    Canadian Home Builders Association annual national conference in Victoria March 5-7 includes a number of speakers and sessions on business and industry issues, awards presentation, product displays, and social and networking events.

    Better Buildings & Better Business Industry Conference In Wisconsin Mar 3-5
    Energy Center University annual Better Buildings: Better Business Conference brings leaders of the residential building community together for three days of sessions and networking in Wisconsin Dells, WI. More than 60 workshops and 70 speakers from across North America address challenges and solutions for the home building and remodeling industry.

    BC Real Estate Convention In Vancouver April 8-9
    Held in Vancouver, April 8-9 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, BC Real Estate Convention offers free admission to its showcasings of the BC real estate market and industry, suppliers of products and services, seminar speakers, and opportunities in the real estate market.

    Conference On Building Enclosure Science & Technology In Portland April 12-14
    BEST2 Conference On Building Enclosure Science & Technology in Portland is a three day event, comprising three tracks (Energy Efficiency/Whole Building/Fenestration) that will provide a focus on specific aspects of performance of building systems with a view to high energy efficiency, good indoor climate and long-term performance.

    2010 Western Conference On Safety In Vancouver April 12-13
    2010 Western Conference on Safety includes seminars aimed at everyone from the new safety committee member to the most experienced safety professional. With over 20 sessions, keynote presentations, a 70+ booth tradeshow and more than 1000 attendees, this conference in Vancouver, April 12-13, has something for everyone.

    Annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show In Chicago April 14-18
    National Kitchen & Bath Association presents an annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show & Conference in Chicago April 14-18.

    12. Education & Training

    Dig Safe BC Courses On Buried Pipelines & Cables
    BC Common Ground Alliance workshops in Abbotsford on February 18, and Cranbrook March 31, provide in-depth analysis on digging safely around buried pipelines and cable.

    Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist Course In Burnaby
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association presents the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist designation program in Burnaby from March 10-12. It teaches the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential renovation industry, the home modifications for the aging-in-place. (PDF)

    BC Course On The Art Of Municipal Approvals
    BC Urban Development Institute course The Art of Approvals describes how navigating successfully through the complex municipal process truly is an art form, especially in today’s market when approvals also depend on your project’s shade of green. UDI veteran faculty members deliver this intense two-day hands-on course with classroom exercises based on real modern-day scenarios.

    Calendar Of 2010 BC Builder & Renovator Certification Courses
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC lists the various 2010 courses, available throughout BC, as part of their certification programs for builders and renovators.

    New CSA Fenestration Installation Technician Certification Program
    Canadian Window & Door Manufacturers Association describes the new CSA Fenestration (Window/Door) Installation Technician Certification Program that will be a voluntary national certification program for personnel responsible for installation of windows, doors and skylights.

    Construction Knowledge Transfer Through Interactive Visualization
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction describes efforts to adapt a traditional paper-based best practice guide into an interactive 3-D tool that can be used on a variety of devices, from laptop computers to commercially available entertainment systems. (PDF)

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Gloves For iPhone & Camera
    Etre Touchy gloves are a stylish, fun and practical way to keep your hands warm while using your touch-screen phone, portable games system, media player and other electronic gadgets. Their missing thumb and index fingertips give you the freedom to touch, tap, stroke, slide and pinch your devices' controls in any way you desire.

    Search Engine To Find Slides & PowerPoint
    SlideFinder is a specialized search engine for PowerPoint presentations. Results are displayed at the slide level, enabling detailed search results.

    Arcade History Of Video Games, Pinballs, Slot Machines & More
    If you grew up in the age of quarter rolls in your pocket and a rampaging case of Galaga Forearm, you’ll appreciate the Arcade History database, a crazy-detailed source of information on over 35000 pinball games, arcade games, casino games, etc.

    Dittie For Today

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    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada