Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Electric Trains NOW!!!

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 31, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

The Clean Train Coalition has successfully advanced the case for clean electric trains as the way of the future of sustainable mass transit. Metrolinx Board gave its support to the staff recommendations based on the electrification study to make the ARL the priority project for electrification, and to electrify all of Georgetown and Lakeshore routes. However, this approval does not stop them from ordering diesel trains which they maintain are still needed. METROLINX STILL PLANS TO BUY Diesel FOR THE AIR RAIL LINK, WITH THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT.

Metrolinx staff state it will take at least 7 years to complete the ARL and 23 years to finish the other two lines. CLEAN TRAIN COALITION STRONGLY BELIEVES THAT ELECTRIFYING THE NEW TRANSIT SERVICE BETWEEN UNION STATION AND THE AIRPORT CAN BE EXPEDITED. This will mean that the option for purchasing diesel trains, negotiated by Metrolinx before completing the Electrification Study, will not be necessary.Suitable electric vehicles can be made in Ontario, and the Japanese manufacturer that Metrolinx prefers makes the same vehicle in an electric version.The recently released Metrolinx electrification study validates the benefits of electrifying. According to Metrolinx, the ARL will eventually be electrified. THE CTC DEMANDS THAT AN EXPERT PEER REVIEW OF THE PROPOSED TIMELINE TAKES PLACE TO SPEED UP IMPLEMENTATION. COSTLY PLANS TO PURCHASE ‘CONVERTIBLE’ Diesel SHOULD BE DROPPED IN FAVOUR OF USING ELECTRIC TRAINS FROM THE START.



Build it once, build it right,
GO Electric NOW!


Music Africa

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Radio Podcasts, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 30, 2011 at 5:00 AM

MUSIC AFRICA & Gladstone World celebrate Black History Month every Friday night throughout February with a series of FREE concerts. Thanks to CIUT-FM 89.5 FM.

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for African music

Featuring some of the top African artists living and working in the city. Music Africa, presenters of AFROFEST, is a community organization dedicated to promoting African music and culture. Discover Africa in the Heart of Toronto!

FREE at the Gladstone Melody Bar, every Friday from 7 to 10 p.m.

February 4th – Blandine: Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in Canada, Blandine has been exposed to the best African, American and European music all her life. It partly accounts for her ability to mimic such great singers as M’bilia Bel, Chaka Khan, and Mariah Carey. During her teen years in Toronto she developed her distinctive classical/ R&B/ Afropop vocal style, and by age 20 had performed at festivals throughout North America. She later landed a role as a backup singer on tour for Canadian artist Melanie Durant. In 2009 Blandine made the decision to venture out as a solo artist, her debut CD will be released later in 2011. She says her album will contain songs in all the different African, pop, R&B and dance genres she loves. Expect to hear an earful from Blandine in the very near future, this talented young singer-songwriter is here to stay.

February 11th – The Resolutionaries Marimba Band: The Marimba is a traditional Zimbabwean instrument that combines sweet melodies with African rhythms. But there’s nothing traditional about the way the Resolutionaries play it. This 4-member, the Peterborough-based band performs in an up-tempo, innovative style while still being able to perform the age-old African tunes they draw their inspiration from. This musical mix mirrors perfectly the eclectic talents of group founder, Chaka Chikodzi. Inspirational, life-affirming, fantastic!

February 18th – Waleed Abdulhamid Kush: You’d need to search far and wide in the city to find a singer or musician who doesn’t rave over Waleed’s abilities. Born in Sudan, he has been a fixture on the Toronto music scene since 1992. Equally adept on the guitar, bass, flute, drums, and any number of African instruments, he is also an accomplished composer. Waleed was a founding member of the award-winning bands Radio Nomad and Balimbo, and later the African jazz-fusion band Kings of Kush. Onstage he is known for his striking vocals, his innovative bass technique and his speed and precision on percussion. He and his band play a driving, dance-oriented, percussive blend of pan-African music that delights a crowd and gets everyone hitting the dance floor. A real treat.

February 25th – Kae Sun is of the generation of performers who seem equally at home anywhere in the world, whose music reflects their multi-layered personal histories. Born in Ghana, he grew up listening primarily to hip-hop. An Ontario resident since 2001, his music is equal parts soul, pop, reggae, and of course hip-hop – A sound sometimes described as urban folk. His debut EP Ghost Town Prophecy was so well received it gave Kae Sun the freedom to self-produce most of the songs on his follow-up CD, Lion On A Leash. Released in 2009, it made many critics’ lists of top indie releases of the year. The songs are socially conscious without being preachy. The singer is talented and charismatic. The band is tight and high-energy. The show is not to be missed.

The Gladstone Hotel is located at 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto (One block east of Dufferin): (416) 531-4635

Music Africa gratefully acknowledges the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council.

For more information call 416-469-5336, reply to this e-mail, contact, or check

Janet Jackson’s Tour Dates

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on January 29, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

New Tour Dates Announced + Pre-Sale Ticketing Information

Due to the first two New York City dates for JANET’s upcoming ‘Number Ones, Up Close and Personal Tour’ selling out in record time, JANET has officially announced a third NYC date, March 21st. Pre-sale tickets for the show will go on sale tomorrow, Thursday, January 27th at 12PM local venue time exclusively for fan club members.

In addition, JANET has added a show in Hidalgo, TX on March 3rd. Pre-sale tickets will go on sale tomorrow, Thursday, January 27th at 12PM local venue time.

There are still limited amounts of pre-sale tickets and VIP packages available for select tour dates. For more information, please visit

2011 World Tour pre-sale tickets are still available for the following dates:
Date Location Venue
March 4th, 2011 Houston, TX Reliant Stadium
March 9th, 2011 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
March 13th, 2011 Toronto, ON, CA Sony Centre
March 24th, 2011 Washington, DC DAR Constitution Hall
April 5th, 2011 Omaha, NE Qwest Center Omaha
April 16th, 2011 Los Angeles, CA Gibson Amphitheatre
Exclusive VIP Packages are available for the following dates:
Date Location Venue
March 7th, 2011 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
March 8th, 2011 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
March 9th, 2011 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
March 12th, 2011 Toronto, ON, CA Sony Centre
March 13th, 2011 Toronto, ON, CA Sony Centre
March 16th, 2011 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun
March 18th, 2011 New York, NY Radio City Music Hall
March 19th, 2011 New York, NY Radio City Music Hall
March 22nd, 2011 Washington, DC Constitution Hall
March 25th, 2011 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata
March 26th, 2011 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata
March 29th, 2011 Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre
March 31st, 2011 St. Louis, MO Fox Theatre
April 2nd, 2011 Grand Prairie, TX Verizon Theatre – Grand Prairie
April 3rd, 2011 Austin, TX Austin City Limits Live @ Moody
April 5th, 2011 Omaha, NE Qwest Center Omaha
April 6th, 2011 Denver, CO Wells Fargo Theater
April 8th, 2011 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre
April 14th, 2011 Los Angeles, CA Gibson Amphitheatre
April 15th, 2011 Los Angeles, CA Gibson Amphitheatre
April 16th, 2011 Los Angeles, CA Gibson Amphitheatre
April 19th, 2011 San Francisco, CA Bill Graham Auditorium
April 20th, 2011 San Francisco, CA Bill Graham Auditorium
April 22nd, 2011 Las Vegas, NV Colosseum
April 23rd, 2011 Las Vegas, NV Colosseum

You Were Destined to Be Together

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 28, 2011 at 3:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of

By Tom Arbino

Tom Arbino (born Thomas Anthony Arbino on November 16,  in Cincinnati, Ohio) is an American novelist, playwright, poet, and the founder of Crown Chakra Zen. Tom writes novels and short stories in various genres, which deal with things outside of the mainstream. Tom’s novel Lots Rigged by a Phantom is set in the1800s and deals with the horrors of an insane captain, a wicked sea monster, and an arrogant ghost. Tom’s short story collection, The Alchemist’s Pocket Watch is a collection of his horror stories and features a novella. Tom’s plays are controversial and not afraid to tackle the heated issues of the day. These plays shed light on things that need to be dealt with and not repressed.

Such plays as Talk Show, Crisis Point, Cafe Marseille, Monkey Bars, The Adventures of Bill and Hillary and The Hands of the Father bear this out. Tom listens to Old Time Radio and his favorites are X minus 1, Dimension X, and Jack Benny. Tom says that these shows develop his imagination, creativity, and hone his playwriting skills. (It is best to listen to these shows with your eyes closed since we are so visually oriented these days.) Tom has written a radio play entitled The Last Train to Tombstone. Tom has published a book of poetry entitled Anarchy that contains Beat and anarchy poetry that is reminiscent of the Beat Poetry of the 1960s such as Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg. This book also contains sections of Zen poetry and love poetry. Tom is the Arts and Entertainment reporter for the Cincinnati Edition of EXAMINER.COM Tom grew up in a cracker box house neighborhood on the east sided of Cincinnati. Tom’s imagination was sparked early in life by TV shows Lost in Space, Mission impossible, The Invaders, Sea hunt, Batman, Marine Boy, and Flipper. These shows provided him an escape from his abusive mother and an older girl next door who molested him beginning at the age of 10. Tom holds an AAS in Civil Engineering Technology from Cincinnati Technical College and a BA in psychology from the University of Cincinnati. Tom completed 33 hours towards a master’s degree in mental health counseling. Tom studied Jungian Psychology at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary. Tom works as a website designer. He tried his hand at game making and produced one Atari style game called Alley Kong. Tom has read much of Carl Jung’s works and has analyzed over 20,000 dreams using his training in Jungian Psychology. Using Jungian Psychology, Tom has accessed the Self, God within the unconscious. Tom has access the Self, analyzed its archetypes and brought it up into consciousness with the aid of Zen meditation techniques. Tom’s study of Zen was undertaken for spiritual development and his frustration with outwardly oriented mainstream churches that offer little beyond Dogma. The Zen that Tom developed, Crown Chakra Zen, is distinct from Zazen based Zen and is the First American school of Zen. Tom is not a Buddhist.

NFB The Colour of Beauty

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on January 27, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Multicultural women

Office National du Film – National Film Board

The NFB Mediatheque, in partnership with
the BITE ME! Toronto International Body Image Film & Arts Festival

THE BODY SERIES: The Colour of Beauty

Thursday, January 27 at 5:30 PM
NFB CINEMA – 150 John St.


This workshop explores the commercialization of beauty: how it gets marketed, what the industry norms are, who decides, and finally who has the power to change it. The session includes a screening of The Colour of Beauty, a short documentary by Elizabeth St. Philip (Breakin’ In The Making of a Hip-Hop Dancer), followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.

The discussion will be led by Jill Andrew, Director of the BITE ME! Toronto International Body Image Film & Arts Festival (2010 Festival & Youthzone Founding Media Sponsor: Canwest)

This event is supported by TDSB Equitable & Inclusive Schools, Student Equity Program Advisors.

Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP by calling 416-973-3012, as space is limited.

The next installment of the series will be held Feb. 24.

Find the NFB Mediatheque on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare! Sign up for the new NFB Mediatheque newsletter by email here.

NFB MEDIATHEQUE | 150 John St., Toronto | 416-973-3012 |, the first online service enabling employers to share human resources, launches in Canada

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 26, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of CNW

Image result for Workers

Employers manage fluctuating staffing needs economically with innovative new website

January 25, 2011 @ 08:30AM

TORONTO –, a new web-based business, provides employers with a unique platform for cost-effectively sharing employees directly with each other. The first online service of its kind, allows companies to reduce overhead costs during idle time by temporarily or permanently sharing employees with other member companies. Conversely, allows employers to find experienced people when they need additional part-time or full-time staff.

“By connecting businesses directly together, provides an effective solution for solving employment cycle issues within all industries,” says founder Hannah McKinnon.

With more than 15 years experience in the recruitment industry, McKinnon knows first-hand the problems and costs businesses face trying to fill a vacancy with a qualified candidate. Equally, she understands the difficulties involved when layoffs occur.

“ is a long-awaited staffing tool that perfectly meets our needs,” says Tom Gosling, CEO of Gosco Valves,, a world leader in severe service ball valve manufacturing, known for high performing engineered designs and fast lead times. Gosco has experienced a rapid rate of growth within the last year which required the addition of several more high-quality workers to fulfill immediate orders. “With the ability to borrow skilled and qualified workers to fill immediate openings, we are in a much better position to manage our incredible rate of growth. will allow us to keep up with the increased demand for our valves and deliver the product on schedule.”

For a $250 US annual subscription fee, employers can use in various ways:

* If a company is suddenly overstaffed because of a project delay, they can use to connect with another company experiencing a temporary worker shortage due to vacation schedules, for example. The two companies solve their staffing issues by lending or borrowing well-qualified employees on a short-term basis.
* A business that must downsize can find other member companies looking to permanently hire talented staff.
* If a company needs to reduce a full-time employee to part-time, it can enter the individual’s qualifications on and connect with another company needing a part-time employee – resulting in the employee working for both firms.


A Canadian-based company, has created an online business community enabling members to temporarily or permanently transfer employees among other members.The company is unique because it is the only platform that enables employers to lend out staff to, and find referred staff from, other members, thereby either reducing overhead costs during idle time or meeting demands during peak periods, while also helping employees find new temporary or permanent opportunities. Visit for more information.

Scotiabank Launches “Bright Future” Community Program

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 25, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of CNW

Image result for Craig Kielburger

Craig Kielburger helps launch global philanthropic program

January 21, 2011 @ 12:00PM

Toronto – Scotiabank today launched an international philanthropic program uniting the Bank’s charitable, social and community efforts and employee volunteer activities under one new banner – Scotiabank Bright Future. Scotiabank President and CEO Rick Waugh were joined by special guests including Free The Children Founder, Craig Kielburger as he announced the program at an event held in Toronto earlier today.

“From its earliest days almost 180 years ago in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Scotiabank has held a steadfast belief in supporting the unique needs of each community it serves,” said Rick Waugh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Scotiabank. “While our operations have grown worldwide, we have maintained our focus on community service. The Bright Future program will enable Scotiabank and its 70,000 employees worldwide to build upon this tradition of creating a bright future – one community at a time.”

Elements of the Bright Future program:

Employee engagement and recognition: In 2010, Scotiabank employees spent more than 324,000 hours volunteering and fundraising, and by applying through the Bank’s formal community programs they generated C$7.5 million in additional funding for the organizations that they support. As part of today’s launch, the Bank also introduced the Bright Future Community Leadership Awards which will be given to Scotiabank employees for outstanding commitment to their community and leadership in helping those in need. Scotiabank will make a financial donation to the designated charity of the winners.

Scotiabank Bright Future Young Leaders Award: As part of the launch Scotiabank today also announced the establishment of “The Scotiabank Bright Future Young Leaders Award”, which will recognize youth from Canada and international locations for outstanding contribution to their communities annually. Applications for the first youth awards will be accepted later this year, with the first recipients announced in the spring of 2012. Further details on the youth awards programs will be available in the coming months at

Community and Charitable Giving: Over the last five years Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $44 million annually to community causes around the world. We’ve made it easier and more transparent for charities to make an application through a dedicated website. To mark the launch, Scotiabank announced a C$1 million gift to Toronto-based Hospital for Sick Children’s International Patient Program that provides life-changing care to children from outside of Canada.

Centralized information: The Bright Future program, including information for charities seeking support, can be found on the Bright Future website in English, Spanish and French at The Bank will also be launching a new internal Bright Future platform in three languages, which includes all information on the program as well as localized lists of volunteer opportunities for employees.

“Giving back in meaningful ways is an intrinsic part of Scotiabank’s history, culture, and identity,” said Sylvia Chrominska, Group Head, Global Human Resources and Communications, Scotiabank. “Bright Future builds on our past practices, creates a new shared philanthropic program that respects local priorities and introduces new initiatives that will bring even greater value to those around us.”

Bright Future’s origins began in 2007 in Scotiabank’s Caribbean and Latin American markets. With today’s announcement all Scotiabank donations and charitable activities – wherever they take place in the world – will be part of the Bright Future program.

“Bright Future has been a success in Mexico and we are proud that through this program we have been able to be part of building stronger, more vibrant communities by supporting the work of our charitable partners,” said Nicole Reich de Polignac, Executive Vice-President and President & CEO, Grupo Financiero Scotiabank, who participated in today’s launch from her office in Mexico City. “On behalf of my team in Mexico and my colleagues in other countries from Canada to Chile, Puerto Rico to Peru, we look forward to building on this success.”

Engaging a New Generation

Scotiabank was pleased to welcome Free The Children Founder, Craig Kielburger, who participated in today’s launch. In addition to inspiring and motivating the audience to be community activists, he applauded Bright Future’s recognition of the importance of youth for future philanthropic success.

“Through the Scotiabank Bright Future Young Leaders Award we have an opportunity to recognize the contribution of young people who are active in their communities and, at the same time, reach out to those who have yet to become active volunteers,” said Mr. Waugh. “Engagement of youth around the world is vital to the continued operation of charitable and not-for-profit enterprises.”

Public Attitudes towards Corporate Philanthropy

A recent Canadian poll conducted by Harris/Decima demonstrates that people feel strongly about corporate philanthropy. Nearly three-quarters of Canadians (72 percent) are more inclined to volunteer, fundraise, or donate to local charities provided their employer supports these initiatives.

“Canadians have long recognized and appreciated the efforts of the companies that support and sustain the very communities in which they operate,” said Marcel Lauziere, President, and CEO, Imagine Canada. ”The Scotiabank global Bright Future program demonstrates the pride and commitment of Scotiabank and its employees to the communities it serves, but more importantly to the causes that strengthen and enrich the quality of life around the world.”

The Scotiabank Bright Future program comes at the beginning of the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteerism. Information on the program can be found on the Bright Future website at

The Scotiabank Bright Future Poll was conducted by Harris/Decima via teleVox, the company’s national telephone omnibus. A total of 1,030 Canadians were surveyed from December 16th to December 19th, 2010. Results are accurate to within +/- 3.1% 19 times out of 20.

For details on the programs outlined above and for more information, see BACKGROUNDER: SCOTIABANK BRIGHT FUTURE PHILANTHROPIC PROGRAM

“While our operations have grown worldwide, we have maintained our focus on community service. The Bright Future program will enable Scotiabank and its 70,000 employees worldwide to build upon this tradition of creating a bright future – one community at a time.”

Rick Waugh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Scotiabank

“Giving back in meaningful ways is an intrinsic part of Scotiabank’s history, culture, and identity.”

Sylvia Chrominska, Group Head, Global Human Resources, and Communications, Scotiabank

“The Scotiabank global Bright Future program demonstrates the pride and commitment of Scotiabank and its employees to the communities it serves, but more importantly to the causes that strengthen and enrich the quality of life around the world.”

Marcel Lauziere, President, and CEO Imagine Canada
About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $44 million annually to community causes around the world over the last 5 years. Visit us at

Beyond the criminal record check: Campaign launched to reduce risk of child sexual abuse, New “Commit to Kids” program helps child-serving organizations create safer environments‏

In Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on January 22, 2011 at 3:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Beyond the criminal record check: Campaign launched to reduce risk of child sexual abuse, New “Commit to Kids” program helps child-serving organizations create safer environments

Thursday, January 20, 2011 – 2:10 PM
Corporate Communications

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, in partnership with the Toronto Police Service, Public Safety Canada and the Ministry of the Attorney General (Civil Remedies Grant Program), announced a new public-awareness campaign that will run in the GTA, urging child-serving organizations to adopt the “Commit to Kids” program. Designed for all organizations that work with children, this innovative child-sexual-abuse prevention program is a comprehensive risk-management approach that goes beyond criminal record checks and child abuse registry checks.

“Today’s launch is another outstanding example of how our government is partnering with concerned Canadians to build stronger families and communities. We are delighted to work together with vital programs like ‘Commit to Kids’ that ensure the most vulnerable in our society are protected,” said The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety. “Child victimization of any kind is a horrifying crime. We will continue to introduce new measures to get tough on child predators, encourage organizations to plan ahead in requesting and waiting for criminal record checks before hiring individuals who work with children, and support initiatives like ‘Commit to Kids’ that, together, strengthen public safety.“

“Since the vast majority of child sex offenders have never come in contact with a police officer, we are making it a priority to help raise awareness of what organizations should be doing to help keep kids safe,” said Toronto Police Service Chief William Blair. “We are proud to partner with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to promote such an invaluable child-sexual-abuse prevention program that will better prepare organizations to protect the children under their care.”

Created by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the program is based on the knowledge that sex offenders seek employment and volunteer opportunities within child-serving organizations as a way to get access to kids. Easy to use, and suitable for organizations of any size, the program provides organizations with policies, strategies and step-by-step plans for reducing the risk of child sexual abuse. It helps organizations identify, terminate and intervene more quickly if abuse has occurred.

“Child sexual abuse happens when the opportunity exists,” said Signy Arnason of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “If organizations aren’t equipped with the knowledge and skills to identify risk, then the kids in their care will continue to be at risk. Criminal record checks and background checks are not enough. The goal of this public-awareness campaign is to provide a wake-up call to all child-serving organizations that they need to raise the bar and do more to protect kids in their care.”

The “Commit to Kids” public-awareness campaign will run throughout the next month and features billboards, digital signage, and transit advertising. Information on the program is also being provided to GTA community centres and other child-serving organizations through a direct mail campaign.

The “Commit to Kids” program and its public awareness campaign have been made possible through financial support from Public Safety Canada and the Ministry of the Attorney General (Civil Remedies Grant Program).

For more information on the child abuse prevention program, please visit Commit 2 Kids. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc. is a charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children. To learn more, visit Protect Children.

For further information:

Detective Susan Burke
Toronto Police Service

Detective Constable Jeff Kidd
Toronto Police Service

Erin Madden
Canadian Centre for Child Protection

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

BACKGROUNDER: “Commit to Kids”

Easy to use and suitable for organizations of any size, the “Commit to Kids” program provides child-serving organizations with policies, strategies and step-by-step plans for reducing the risk of child sexual abuse.

Commit to Kids can help organizations:
• prevent child sexual abuse through increased awareness and education
• evaluate risks that exist
• teach employees/volunteers (who will then teach children) the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour
• provide employees/volunteers with specific strategies on how to prevent abuse
• design programs that focus on child safety and supervision
• establish clear boundaries between employees/volunteers and children
• ensure that allegations of sexual abuse are handled in a sensitive, timely and effective manner
• understand their legal obligations to report child sexual abuse to a child welfare and/or law enforcement agency
• ensure the highest standard of practice when working with children

The “Commit to Kids” program includes:
• a training kit for organizations, including information on child sexual abuse; risk assessment and management; creating and enforcing a code of conduct for employees/volunteers; reporting disclosures of sexual abuse and addressing inappropriate behaviour; and policies on hiring, supervising, and training
• a 30-minute training video and presentations for employees, volunteers, and parents
• a sample child-protection manual, complete with draft policies and procedures, that can easily be amended to suit the needs of individual organizations
• a guide for parents that teaches them about the issue of child sexual abuse and helps them choose safe programs for their children
• supplemental tools such as reporting cards, website information, statistics, checklists, and worksheets

Meaghan Gray, Corporate Communications, for Detective Susan Burke, Sex Crimes Unit

Coldest Night of the Year Walk

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Religion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 21, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By Nada Thomson

Hey there,

Sanctuary has been invited to walk with the Yonge Street Mission on February 26th for an event called the “Coldest Night of the Year” (CNOY) and its purpose is simple – to help us raise money and awareness for our communities! We’ll bundle up to brave a cold winter’s night in downtown Toronto and walk 10km through some of the best and worst addresses in town. For folks who are experiencing homelessness, getting in out of the cold is rarely an easy thing to do, so this walk will also help us experience a hint of what our friends go through every day.

Would you consider partnering with me by sponsoring my walk?
The donation process is simple:
for donations by credit card:
go to this link
for donations by cheque:
make your cheque out to ‘International Teams’
write ‘CNOY-Nada Thomson’ in the memo line
mail to Coldest Night of the Year c/o International Teams Canada, 1 Union Street, Elmira, ON, N3B 3J9

Would you consider walking for Sanctuary too?
register through this link

Thanks so much taking the time to look into all this! If you have any questions, I hope you’ll let me know, or you can also contact the CNOY event organizers at

Just Imagine Being Just Reality

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Sports, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 20, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

The house at 37 High Point Rd. in the Bridle Path is an enviable real estate investment for many at going-rate of $23-million. This home which has been featured on HGTV’s “Mansions” is the brainchild of developer Paul Miklas, and Sharon Ann Bobkin from Forest Hill Real Estate Inc. is looking to sell the property. One of the features of this home is that it is so huge that people drive by often to see it. Kent James, owner of Crystal Clear Maids drives through the Bridle Path on a regular basis and is impressed to find out the specs of the mansion.

“It’s a pretty big house,” says James. “It’s a pretty big property. I actually like those properties, I like the architecture and the designers have some pretty interesting ideas in their head to put those ideas together. When it comes off the computer screen or off the paper, it’s interesting to see the design and how it looks.”

James dreams of owning a mansion like the one at 37 High Point Rd.

“That is actually one of my dreams to live in a house like that,” James says. “I give myself the next three to five years to reach that dream. It does not have to be that big, but something big. Something where people say ‘wow, that’s your house!’”

The reason why James says the mansion is big is that of the following specs of the mansion:

• 30,000 square feet
• 4,500 square foot indoor pool
• 13 bathrooms
• 12-foot ceilings
• 9 fireplaces
• 8 bedrooms
• 8-car garage
• 4 kitchen areas
• 2 storeys
• 3 laundry rooms
• 1 library
• 1 tennis court–skating rink
• 1 wine cellar
• 1 indoor pool
• 1 soccer field
• 1 hot tub
• 1 home theatre

For Kent James and many people, this mansion is like one of those “Just Imagine” moments from the lottery commercials. It is the dream of many people who live in Toronto to be on the Bridle Path.

“Yeah, I would live in the Bridle Path,” says James. “It’s quiet, not a lot of traffic and it’s a gated community so it’s kind of protected too.”

When James thinks about his business and the mansion, he points out some interesting elements.

“You can’t clean those houses in a day. They need regular maintenance. You might have regular caregivers because it is so big. It would need to be cleaned at least twice a week. Those houses need to be cleaned on a regular basis. It can’t be once a month. They get really dusty. They need regular maintenance. We just did one of those houses down the street, not in the Bridle Path and it takes a really long time.”

So if you have the money to hire a staff to take care of your home, as well as the money for the mortgage…your just imagine could end up being just reality.

Disney Fairy Tale in a Downtown Condo

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 19, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Condo

“I begged to see the Little Mermaid when I was young,” says Dena Burgin, a theatre performer and journalism student at Seneca@York. “[My Mom] got her hair cut and she picked us up after. Then I begged my Mom for the CD and I just sang it and sang it and this made me start singing.”

Burgin fell in love with the Little Mermaid. Later, she was offered the chance to be the Little Mermaid Princess in a production on a cruise ship for Disney.

“I said no at first because it was a cruise ship,” Burgin says. “And then I said yes because it was the Little Mermaid.”

Her performance on that cruise ship changed her life. She met a South African man named Michael who is a seaman, yachts and scuba dives. Michael was working on the ship as one of the decorated officers. He also loved the Little Mermaid. He fell in love with Burgin.
“I was a princess and he was my prince.”

Burgin and Michael knew each other for a year and then married in front of a Justice-of-the-Peace in 2006 in South Africa. They later had a traditional Italian wedding in Toronto in 2008.

Michael worked as a manager of a business when he first came to Canada. Now he works for the City of Toronto. Burgin has been a theatre performer with CanStage, she has worked for Theatre New Brunswick and Manitoba Theatre. She has also played the role of “Evita” in a musical. Among being a journalist, she is also a professional music theatre performer.
Burgin has performed in “Evil Dead” as well.

“It was great because I was in the city for nine months,” says Burgin. “That was with Drayton Entertainment. I’ve done movies for YTV, done a movie with Paris Hilton. I’ve been a working artist, definitely downtown is more inspiring than anywhere north of here which is where I grew up.”

Burgin and Michael currently lives in the CityPlace condos in the heart of downtown Toronto. They bought the condos pre-construction and waited three years for it to be built. They moved in the very beginning of April 2010.

“It was approaching exam time and it was kind of difficult,” says Burgin. “We started packing from my parents’ house. We did it really early and [Michael] was great. He did everything in one day. We got married [again] in 2008, we bought it in 2007. I was working for CanStage at the time. It took three years to get the condo ready and they said two. Everyone told me it would be delayed for nine months. We were not expecting for it to take as long.”

Burgin and Michael saved money living with Burgin’s parents.

“It was smart for both of us,” says Burgin. “Michael came with no family support, starting new career-wise. We would not have stayed under our parents’ roof for so long if we knew our condo would take so long to get ready. It got pushed another six months, then another six months. Michael had a chance to really get to know my family.

“I’m very grateful we ended up spending those three years at home. My Dad got to know him. My Dad and my Mom, he’s just as much a son as my brothers are. My Dad has a soft spot for the women in his life like me and my Mom and it was a good thing he got to know Michael.”

Now that Michael works with the City of Toronto, “his co-workers tell him that he caught Ariel,” says Burgin.

Burgin and Michael have been living in their downtown condo now for about nine to 10 months.
“We love it,” Burgin says. “Everything was always downtown for me when I was living with my parents. Now everything is up there. It is amazing to be downtown. My friends are downtown. Going up to York is an hour and a half commute. But I love the skyline, can walk outside to anywhere I need to go, I can walk to the grocery store, the library. The winter does not bother me at all. I had not ever worn a heavy jacket before; as long as you’re outfitted it is fine. I love the lights at night; I know we don’t get many stars out here, but to see the skyscrapers and the buildings. I never knew the CN Tower was lit in so many colours. At Christmas, it was red and green.”

Burgin says downtown living is something that she thinks is geared towards a younger demographic.

“Could you raise a family here? Yeah, you could.”

Burgin notes some of the pitfalls of living downtown.

“The downfall of living in a condo though is the price that you pay for a 1,000 square foot condo you could get a semi-detached house if you go further north or further east,” she does say this. “I think it is something that everyone would want to experience at one time in their life.”

Burgin says her Mom is even thinking of living in a condo downtown.

“It depends on whether they’ve done it or they haven’t done it. Everyone I meet they say at one time in their life they have wanted to live in a downtown condo. My uncle and aunt’s house caught on fire, not due to their negligence. They always wanted to live downtown and the insurance put them in a downtown condo and they found it to be a good experience.”

Burgin also notes that the cost of living is high. Her brother has a fantastic condo.

“The craftsmanship is not the way it used to be, doors are hollow, and everything is veneered these days. Craftsmanship is different these days.”

Burgin and Michael pay about $450 in condo fees a month.

“Recycling is a big thing to me, we have green bins, the pool, a barbecue, a little theatre, a dance room, party room, card room, games room, exercise room. There are cabanas for outside. Places that are not the pool area. The aesthetics of the place is gorgeous whether it is kept up over the years? It’s not like the old days. The aesthetics are beautiful though.”
Burgin has a north view.

“How many really see the water? There is only a selected few that can see the water because the condos obstruct. We have some heritage buildings just in the distance. We are on the sixth floor so it’s so high. We have a good view of the skyline because nothing will ever obstruct our view. We have a mini-park behind us too and we see everyone with their dogs. No one can really see up. It’s perfect.”

Burgin’s first time in a condo downtown was with Disney and also in college. She was up on the top floor and she hated it because she had to wait forever for the elevator to reach the top floor.

“When I went back to college I wanted to live on the sixth floor. The elevators are jammed, always high traffic, there are three and during peak hours it’s always jammed.”
Burgin’s condo has 24-hour security.

“It’s expensive. A parking spot is $30,000. We went down to one car. We had two cars.”
Burgin has advice for those looking for a downtown condo.

“If you can get away with one car that is all you need. You don’t need two cars. You’re never going to get that money back. Money on the floors is money you don’t get back. When we bought the place there were only five units left. There were only two left that fit us, one on the sixth floor and one on the sixteenth floor. There was a difference of $50,000. Our real estate agent said you’ll never going to get that money back.

“You should shop around. We bought our pre-construction. You are saving that way, but it already depreciates when you get in. You don’t know what you’re getting. Nine times out of ten it’s always smaller than you think it is.”

Burgin has an interior design background and she was going to study that. “You don’t know physically what it’s going to look like.”

Burgin also advises: “Really know who is living in that area and what kind of people are living in that building. A lot of people in the building are young and renters or young married couples with their first condo. We fit in great. Their building a daycare centre right in front of us. There are a couple of older people living in the building and they must be kicking themselves for moving in. There are parties on Friday and Saturday nights.”

For Burgin, she finds the noise-level in her condo good.

“I saw a Mike Holmes show I saw one of them and I sing all the time and I rehearse and I practice. I sing and if people can hear me and they tell me to shut up…I sing, not as loud as I would in my parents’ shower – but I sing.”

Burgin and Michael have plans for the future.

“What Michael and I, our plan is, we’ve been here about nine, 10 months and we say to ourselves that we’re going to start looking this summer for another pre-construction development. Definitely something a little bit bigger and put a down payment for a new development and then move in there or sell or rent this place out as another investment in the works. I do not want to live in a condo all my life. It has a small hotel feel or a dorm. Sometimes when I want to go throw the crash out, I always have to make sure I need to be fully clothed. Someone can be standing there waiting for the elevator. It doesn’t feel like my parents’ house.

“Getting another condo will pay off for us,” says Burgin. “As we grow and grow and grow, definitely I would like a house. Somewhere in Rosedale would be nice, it’s a goal. We talk about children, at this stage, no. Not ready yet. He gave me a cut-off. 35.”

In the end, Burgin has plenty of time.

CRTC Decisions and Regulatory Policies for the week of 17 to 21 January 2011‏

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on January 17, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

CRTC Decisions and Regulatory Policies for the week of 17 to 21 January

The CRTC plans to issue the following decisions and/or regulatory policies
in the coming week. This list may not be complete and is subject to change
without notice.

Broadcasting decision:

Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to amend the
broadcasting licence for the national specialty service CBC News Network
(formerly known as CBC Newsworld) in order to permit it to distribute news
programming unique to British Columbia on a separate feed of CBC News

Telecom decision:

NorthernTel, Limited Partnership – Application for forbearance from the
regulation of business local exchange services in the exchange of Timmins,
File number: 8640-N51-201016668

Sergeant Ryan Russell’s funeral service, Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Funeral procession route‏

In Beauty, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Events, Media Writing, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on January 17, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Sergeant Ryan Russell’s funeral service, Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Funeral procession route

Saturday, January 15, 2011 – 5:05 PM
Corporate Communications

Sergeant Ryan Russell’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, at 1 p.m., at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, 222 Bremner Boulevard.

Officers will begin to form on University Avenue, extending north, in the southbound lanes at Dundas Street West, starting at 9 a.m.

At 11 a.m., officers will march south on University Avenue to Wellington Street West.

They will march west along Wellington Street West to Simcoe Street, then south on Simcoe Street to Bremner Boulevard.

Officers will line both sides of the streets, along with the procession route, and salute Sergeant Russell as the funeral procession drives past on the way to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Officers will march west on Bremner Boulevard, and enter the Metro Toronto Convention Centre through the south building, where the funeral service will start at 1 p.m.

At the conclusion of the service, officers will remain seated in the hall as the procession leaves the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

A reception will follow immediately afterward at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Both the funeral service and the reception are open to the public.

There will be limited seating, for the public, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. They are asked to arrive between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

The funeral service will be televised live and will be streamed online.

Constable Wendy Drummond, Corporate Communications

Hurricane Carter: Book Launch & Talk Enid Lee: Working Together for Quality Education for Children‏

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Sports, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on January 16, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

– ‘Moving Beyond The Superman Solutions Part II: The Powerful Potential of Schools, Families, and Communities Working Together for Quality Education for All Children’ with Enid Lee. This session will be held on Thursday, January 27th, 2011 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., OISE Library.

– ‘Eye of the Hurricane – My Path from Darkness to Freedom’ with Dr. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. This session will be held on Friday, January 28, 2011, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., OISE Auditorium.


Angie Fonseca/sent on behalf of Kirk Mark

Curriculum and Accountability Team

Toronto Catholic District School Board

80 Sheppard Avenue East

Toronto, ON M2N 6E8

Think Outside the Lunchbox when Dining at Work

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on January 15, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Gail Bergman PR

Resolve to be healthier this year by bringing lunch to work;

choose energy-boosting foods to increase productivity

Toronto, Ontario – January 11, 2011 – Want to increase your brain power at work? Try starting with your stomach.

That’s the message of leading Canadian dietitian and best-selling author Liz Pearson, who emphasizes that the foods you eat have a direct impact on your energy and productivity levels. In particular, mid-day food choices can make or break a person’s afternoon productivity levels, she says.

“We often hear that a good breakfast contributes to how well we feel and perform in the morning, but what is less known is that we also need to refuel our bodies at lunchtime to make it through the afternoon in top form,” says Pearson, co-author of Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health.

Pearson points to research that shows that one in five Canadians say they don’t have time for lunch or skip it entirely. Nearly one-third indicate they forget to eat lunch and one-quarter say they are too busy working to eat a mid-day meal. ”If you’re going to commit to making one change toward a healthier lifestyle this year, bringing a balanced lunch to work can really make a difference,” she suggests, adding that this will also help avoid the all-too-familiar trap of eating fast foods on the go.

Photo Courtesy of Gail Bergman PR

For ultimate energy and nutrition, Pearson emphasizes that every lunch should include a source of protein combined with whole grains, and topped off with fruits and vegetables. “Protein gives your lunch more staying power by helping you feel fuller and more satisfied for a longer period of time, and whole grains are important for the carbohydrates they provide, which is the main source of fuel for the body and brain,” she says.

“Choosing whole grains, rather than refined grains, is particularly important since whole grains digest more slowly and help sustain a person’s energy over a longer period of time,” she explains, adding that whole grains are also linked to a lower risk of many diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.

To make a balanced bagged lunch interesting, think outside of the box, Pearson suggests. Instead of a tuna-on-whole wheat sandwich, for example, try a tuna-and-whole grain pasta salad (see Bows with Tuna, Mint & Peas recipe below). Other suggestions include:

Photo Courtesy of Gail Bergman PR

· Chili, marinated bean salads, hummus or dips completely with whole grain bread or crackers. Loaded with nutrition and fibre, beans and legumes – an excellent alternative to meat – should be added to pasta dishes, salads, sandwich wraps or soups for maximum energy, Pearson recommends.

· Whole grain pasta salads of all types, infused with protein and vegetables. Search cookbooks or the Internet for creative pasta ideas. A good place to start is for a wide range of recipes. Remember that pasta left over from the night before, such as spaghetti or lasagna, makes a nourishing lunch as well.

· Sandwiches made with something other than regular bread and loaded with veggies. Spice up your lunchtime routine by rotating between a variety of whole grain choices, including bagels, flatbreads, pita breads or wraps. Avoid processed meats like cold cuts, Pearson says, as they’re linked to a higher risk of colon cancer. Mashed or sliced avocado is a healthier alternative to mayonnaise.

· Alternating protein choices throughout the week. Excellent lunch options are leftover steak or chicken, seeds or nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and canned fish like tuna or salmon. If opting for canned fish, choose lower sodium varieties. Salmon is rich in the omega-3 fats and light tuna contains less mercury than white or albacore tuna.

Photo Courtesy of Gail Bergman PR

· A meal-size salad, complete with protein and at least one dark green and one orange vegetable (such as dark leafy greens or broccoli and carrots) to help meet daily needs for vitamin A and folate. Pack light or lower fat – but not fat-free – dressing on the side. Our bodies need some fat to absorb valuable nutrients found in vegetables and fruits, says Pearson. Combine salad with whole grain pasta and nuts or seeds for a unique-tasting, balanced meal (see Rotini Honey Ginger Mixed Greens Pasta Salad recipe below).

“The secret to ensuring that you stick to a healthy lunchtime routine all year round is to make your lunch the night before or prepare batches of pasta salad, soup or chili on weekends to enjoy all week long,” Pearson emphasizes. “Mornings tend to be hectic in most households, so set yourself up for success and avoid leaving this important task until the last minute by planning ahead.” And you can bet that by regularly consuming balanced, energy-infused lunches, you’ll have more stamina to do so, she says.


Bows with Tuna, Mint & Peas

This delicious and nutritious cold pasta salad is the perfect take-to-work lunchbox alternative to the traditional tuna sandwich. With a fresh taste and creamy texture, it’s packed with fibre, folate, vitamin C, and iron. Pack some in your kids’ lunchboxes too. They’ll love it as much as you do!

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6


1 box (300 g) Whole wheat bowtie pasta, such as Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Whole Wheat Bows

1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas

3/4 cup (175 mL) low-fat plain yogurt

3 tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 mL) each finely grated lemon zest and Dijon mustard

2 tsp (10 mL) honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper

2 cans (120 g each) sodium-reduced light tuna

1 large orange or yellow pepper, cut into matchstick strips

2/3 cup (150 mL) packed fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/2 cup (125 mL) diced red onion


1. Prepare the bows according to package directions; add the peas during the last minute. Drain well. Meanwhile, whisk the yogurt with the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper.

2. Toss the drained bows and peas with the dressing mixture, tuna, orange pepper, mint, and onion until well combined. Season with additional cracked black pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.

Tip: Substitute 1 cup (250 mL) lima beans or edamame for the peas.

Per Serving (about 1 2/3 cup/400 mL): 347 calories, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 22 mg cholesterol, 339 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrates, 7 g fibre, 21 g protein. Excellent source of folate, vitamin C, and iron.

* * *

Rotini with Honey Ginger Mixed Greens

This cold pasta salad is colourful and full of flavour – easy enough to enjoy any day of the week, yet sophisticated enough to serve to guests. Dark leafy greens and vitamin E-rich almonds and sunflower seeds are ultra nutritious. Try this salad – you’ll be glad you did

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 12 minutes

Servings: 4


3 cups (750 mL) Whole wheat rotini, such as Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Whole Wheat Rotini

1/2 cup (125 mL) assorted dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins, and currants

3 tbsp (45 mL) fresh orange juice

2 tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar

2 tbsp (30 mL) very finely chopped a shallot

1 tbsp (15 mL) each minced fresh ginger and honey

1 tsp (5 mL) finely grated orange zest and Dijon mustard

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup (50 mL) canola oil

4 cups (1 L) mixed baby leafy greens, lightly packed

1/4 cup (50 mL) each toasted slivered almonds and unsalted roasted sunflower seeds


1. Cook rotini according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool; drain well and reserve. Meanwhile, place the dried fruit in a heat-proof bowl. Pour boiling water over top and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain well and reserve fruit.

2. Whisk the orange juice with the vinegar, shallot, ginger, honey, orange zest, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the olive oil.

3. Toss the rotini with the leafy greens, reserved dried fruit, almonds and sunflower seeds. Add dressing and toss to coat.

Tips: For extra flavour, use a salad blend that includes fresh herbs as well as leafy greens. If making ahead, hold back a little dressing to moisten salad just before serving.

Notes: Dried blueberries can often be found in the produce department or at bulk food stores.

Per Serving (about 1 3/4 cup/425 mL): 444 calories, 20 g fat, 1.6 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 205 mg sodium, 61 g carbohydrates, 8 g fibre, 10 g protein. Excellent source of vitamin A, folate, thiamin and iron. Good source of vitamin C.

* * *

Penne with Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Bursting with colour and flavour, this heart-healthy pasta dish is loaded with fibre, antioxidants and good nutrition, including iron and vitamins A, B and C. Perfect for lunch, it also makes a terrific dinner – served hot or cold.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6


1 box (375 g) Whole wheat penne, such as Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Whole Wheat Penne

2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil

3 cups (750 mL) diced ripe, on-the-vine tomatoes

1 cup (250 mL) diced the red pepper

1 cup (250 mL) canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup (250 mL) frozen corn kernels

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) each ground cumin and dried oregano leaves

1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh coriander leaves

3 tbsp (45 mL) cider vinegar


3. Prepare the penne according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the cooking water before draining.

4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the tomato and red pepper; sauté for 5 minutes or softened.

5. Add the black beans, corn, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until bubbly. Add the hot drained pasta, reserved pasta water, green onions, coriander and cider vinegar.

Tip: Garnish with a little-shredded Cheddar cheese.

Per Serving (about 2 cups/500 mL): 386 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 399 mg sodium, 67 g carbohydrates, 14 g fibre, 16 g protein. Excellent source of vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, vitamin C, and iron. Good source of niacin. Source of calcium.

Toronto Police Service News Release

In book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 14, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Black female toronto police officer

2010 Holiday R.I.D.E. program, Final update

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 – 6:02 PM
Traffic Services

The Toronto Police Service 2010 Holiday R.I.D.E. program has finished. A total of 1,711 officers dedicated 5,120 hours to the Holiday R.I.D.E. program in Toronto. A total of 336 spot checks were conducted with the following results:

A comparison to the final results in 2009 is provided.

Final spot check summary 2010 (day 37)

• Vehicles stopped: 98,815
• Drivers tested: 1,805
• Charged Over 80 (includes all Over 80 charges): 49
• Charged refuse (includes all fail/refuse charges): 5
• Charged impaired: 22
• Issued warn range suspension: 177
• Issued 90-day suspension: 50
• Total suspensions issued: 227
• Vehicles impounded: 129
• Total people charged: 60
• Total drinking and driving charges laid: 76

Final spot check summary 2009 (day 37)

• Vehicles stopped: 99,850
• Drivers tested: 1,715
• Charged Over 80 (includes all Over 80 charges): 60
• Charged refuse (includes all fail/refuse charges): 16
• Charged impaired: 23
• Issued warn range suspension: 190
• Issued 90-day suspension: 76
• Total suspensions issued: 266
• Vehicles impounded: 136
• Total people charged: 76
• Total drinking and driving charges laid: 99

One in every 33 drivers tested at a spot-check resulted in the driver being arrested for a criminal drinking and driving offence and one in 10 drivers tested resulted in a warn range driver’s licence suspension.

These numbers reflect the Toronto Police R.I.D.E. spot-checks only.

With the new seven-day impound legislation starting on Wednesday, December 1, 2010, Toronto Police Officers have impounded 170 vehicles for drinking and driving.

Six people were killed in Toronto in 2010 due to the criminal activity of drinking and driving.

The Toronto Police Service conducts R.I.D.E. spot checks throughout the year to ensure that citizens arrive at their destinations safely, and will continue to work cooperatively with members of the public to heighten society’s awareness of the dangers associated with impaired driving.

Together we can make a difference, by sending a strong message to our communities that impaired driving will not be tolerated.

Plan ahead. Don’t drink and drive.

For further information, please contact Toronto Police Service Ride Coordinator, Constable Wendy Johnston, at 416-808-1954.

The Toronto Police Service is dedicated to ensuring the safe and orderly movement of traffic within the City of Toronto. Stay informed with what’s happening at Traffic Services on Twitter and Facebook.

Constable Tony Vella, Corporate Communications, for Constable Wendy Johnston, Traffic Services

In February 2011, TVO presents Genius Week, takes The Agenda with Steve Paikin back on the road, and marks Black History month

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on January 14, 2011 at 3:00 AM

January 05, 2011 @ 08:30AM

Big-ticket event programming fills TVO’s February lineup all month long. To start, Genius Week, running February 21 to 27, takes smart viewing to new heights with a look at child prodigies, gifted painters, design dynamos and scientific trailblazers.

The Ontario election will be the biggest story in the province this year. What issues should shape this election? To find out what’s on the minds of Ontarians, The Agenda with Steve Paikin embarks on the third edition of its successful “On the Road” tour beginning February 27.

And in celebration of Black History month, TVO offers engaging programs providing wide-ranging perspectives on the black experience.
Genius Week – February 21 to 27, 2011

Child Genius 3 – North American premiere
Monday, February 21, 2011, at 10 pm ET
Encore Sunday, February 27 at 8 pm ET
50 minutes
Produced by Wall to Wall Media for Channel 4

At eight years old, Kieron Williamson is already one of the U.K.’s most successful living artists. Dubbed a “mini Monet” with a prodigious ability to paint, he sold £150,000 worth of paintings in half an hour at his third commercial art exhibition. How will Kieron’s parents handle his extraordinary talent and his unprecedented earnings?

In the third installment of an ongoing series that looks at the lives of gifted children and their families, Child Genius 3 introduces a new generation of gifted kids like Kieron and catches up with child prodigies from the previous series who are now teenagers. Are they still far ahead of their peers, and do they resent the “genius” tag? The children speak frankly about the mixed blessing of their talents and the opportunities and heartache they can bring. And as for the parents, is having a child labeled as gifted hugely rewarding, or is it a struggle to support their prodigy’s talents and their thirst for knowledge?

Genius of Design – Ontario premiere
Thursdays February 24 to March 24, 2011, at 9 pm ET
5 / 60 minutes
Produced by Wall to Wall Media for BBC

From toothbrushes to cell phones to cars, our lives are filled with objects that have been created for us by a group of specialists we call designers. But is the designer an artist or an engineer? How do designers balance form with function, and quality with affordability?

The five-part series Genius of Design takes viewers on a fascinating journey through the material world to explore the ways in which designers, over the past 250 years, have grappled with the machinery of industrialization and capitalism in order to deliver the products that we need and want. The journey takes us from the first factories created by pioneers of the Industrial Revolution to the studios and production lines of some of the today’s most powerful and influential corporations including Apple, IKEA, Ford, and Volkswagen. The genius of Design features interviews with some of the world’s leading designers, including Philippe Starck, Dieter Rams, Apple’s Jonathan Ive and Ford Motor Company’s global head of design, J. Mays.

Forgotten Genius – TVO premiere
Wednesday, February 23, 2011, at 9 pm ET
120 minutes
Produced by PBS NOVA

With discoveries that laid the groundwork for glaucoma drugs, cortisone, and the birth control pill, Percy Julian had a passion for chemistry that led to huge breakthroughs in medicine and improved the lives of millions. Julian was one of the first African-Americans to earn a doctorate in chemistry and would receive over 130 chemical patents and 18 honorary degrees by the end of his career. But as an African-American in the early 20th century, he had to overcome personal and professional racism at every step along the way. The feature-length documentary Forgotten Genius combines dramatic re-enactments with archival materials and commentary from Julian’s family and colleagues to tell the little-known story of a genius whose determination to succeed opened the door for countless black scientists who followed.

Also for Genius Week:

Allan Gregg in Conversation: Walter Isaacson – Friday, February 25, 2011, at 10 pm ET
The author of Einstein reveals new details about the life and genius of the renowned scientist, based on Isaacson’s unprecedented access to Einstein’s recently released personal letters.

Saturday Night at the Movies – Saturday, February 26, 2011, beginning at 8 pm ET
SNAM presents two films that look at the tumultuous life of the artistic genius, beginning with Vincent and Theo (1990), starring Tim Roth as the brilliant but tortured artist Vincent Van Gogh. The trials and passions of painter Frida Kahlo are revealed in Frida (2002), starring Salma Hayek.

Examined Life – Sunday, February 27, 2011, at 11 pm ET
TVO’s Genius Week concludes with an encore presentation of the documentary Examined Life. Filmmaker Astra Taylor accompanies some of the today’s most influential thinkers as they visit the places and spaces that inspire them to reflect on purpose in life and our place in the world.
Current Affairs

The Agenda with Steve Paikin: On the Road
New tour begins February 27, 2011

Ontario Election 2011
Ottawa: February 27 and 28
Hamilton: March 27 and 28
Niagara Falls: April 17 and 18
Sudbury: May 15 and 16
GTA area: September (location and dates TBC)

Over the last two years, The Agenda with Steve Paikin: On the Road tour has traveled to communities across Ontario to get first-hand, local perspectives on big economic issues. What began as an experiment in civic engagement turned into a community-building success story, with citizens, policymakers, and leaders coming together to exchange ideas on how to strengthen Ontario in the 21st century.

Starting February 2011, The Agenda takes its road show back out into the province, this time with the Ontario election as its theme. The Agenda will visit five towns in the lead-up to the election to take the pulse of Ontarians. Healthcare, childcare, green energy, public transit, education… What issues will be top-of-mind for citizens when they head to the polls next fall?

Three of the tour stops will be in the hometowns of our provincial party leaders: Ottawa (Liberal leader and Premier Dalton McGuinty); Hamilton (NDP leader Andrea Horwath); and Niagara Falls (PC leader Tim Hudak). Each two-day, interactive event features the AgendaCamp, a day-long, participant-led workshop which will inform the live, on-location broadcast of The Agenda with Steve Paikin the following night at 8 pm.

The tour kicks off in Ottawa (venue to be announced). To participate in or propose a session idea for AgendaCamp, or for free tickets to be part of the live broadcast audience, please register at beginning mid-January.

Allan Gregg in Conversation: Salman Rushdie
Friday, February 4, 2011, at 10 pm ET
Produced by TVO

The renowned author, whose novel The Satanic Verses led to a fatwa calling for his death, talks about his new novel for young adults, Luka and the Fire of Life, as well as other topics in a wide-ranging interview.

Victorian Pharmacy – North American Premiere
Mondays February 28 to March 21, 2011, at 10 pm ET
4 / 60 minutes
Produced by Lion Television

A social revolution in consumer medicine brought healthcare within everyone’s reach and brought medical science, family remedies and traditional folklore to every main street. This four-part series reveals how the pharmacy emerged in just 50 years and how from humble beginnings the profession spawned a new medical industry. An English Victorian pharmacy was stocked with an enormous range of general household products, patent medicines, potions and skin preparations, optical and electrical equipment and over-the-counter remedies. The Victorian Farm’s historian Ruth Goodman, along with chemist Nick Barber and Ph.D. student Tom Quick immerse themselves in 19th-century main street medicine in this intriguing historical experiment.

Five Daughters – North American Premiere
Sundays February 13 to 27, 2011 at 10 pm ET
3 / 60 minutes
Produced by BBC

Based on a tragic, true story and made with the full co-operation of Suffolk police and other agencies involved in the case, this gripping drama follows the events surrounding the murder of five young women in December 2006, after drugs pulled them into the sex industry. Tania, Gemma, Anneli, Paula, and Annette were ordinary young women – friends, daughters, sisters, and mothers – full of potential, until one wrong turn, one chance meeting, led them into the world of heroin and crack. Their dependency on these drugs facilitated their easy exploitation and led them to prostitution.
Black History Month

TVO offers documentaries, current affairs, lectures and children’s programs that celebrate Black History Month. On Saturday, February 5 at 5 pm, TVO’s lecture series Big Ideas features University of Toronto professor Christian Campbell in a remarkable conversation with Nobel poet laureate, Derek Walcott.

On Friday, February 11 at 10 pm, Allan Gregg in Conversation welcomes economist Paul Collier who discusses how Africa’s natural resources are exploited, and Dambisa Moyn reveals how foreign aid has affected the continent. Also, be sure to visit Allan Gregg online at for the Africa series featuring interviews with authors and experts such as Romeo Dallaire, Ken Wiwa, Florence Wambugu and Ishmael Beah. Their discussions address African issues including culture, economics, child soldiers, and agriculture.

Documentaries during Black History Month include an encore of the four-part series The Lost Kingdoms of Africa Sundays at 7 pm beginning February 20, and The Little Black School House on Monday, February 14 at 10 pm.

And TVOKids relaunches Time Trackers series with the story of Harriet Tubman.
About TVO

Celebrating 40 years, TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and supported by thousands of donors. For more information, visit
Where to find TVO

Cable channel 2 (channel may vary in some areas), Rogers HD channel 580, Bell TV channel 265, Shaw Direct channel 353.

December 2010 Automotive Sales

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 13, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Ford Granada

December 2010

By Dennis Desrosiers

Attached are preliminary light vehicle sales for Canada. We found out today that Suzuki will likely be reporting tomorrow so the attached includes full-year sales for all OEM and Jan to November sales for Suzuki. I decided I’d rather have something out on the street rather than wait until tomorrow. As soon as Suzuki reports I’ll update the chart and re-send it to everyone. Sorry.

December sales were flat ( up only 0.5 percent ) compared to 6.6 percent for the full year. 2010 was healthy but still well below the levels achieved in 2005 to 2008. Canada still has a long way to go before we are totally out of this light vehicle sales slump.

Sales, however, were slightly better than what we and others forecast a year ago when we were predicting sales up only 2 or 3 percent. The reason is quite simple. Incentives. I have never seen the level of incentives available to consumers during 2010 in my 40 plus years analyzing the market. Incentives north of $10K were common and with a few exceptions almost every company played their incentive card at or near record levels. Even Honda who rarely match the market with big-time incentives finally gave ground and matched the industry leaders starting in the fall. And it showed in their sales numbers which were very respectable over the last 4 months including December with sales up 4.1 percent. Toyota was the one significant OEM that did NOT play the incentive game to the degree that almost all other OEMs played. They don’t seem to accept ( at least not yet ) that with their numerous recalls all year they essentially told consumers that they “were just another vehicle company”. When they owned the “best quality” title they didn’t have to play the incentive game to the degree other OEM had to use them. Since they abdicated this title in 2010 and became just another vehicle company they now need to offer incentives at the same level as all the other vehicle companies. Toyota’s stubbornness cost them dearly this year with sales down in December by 45.3 percent and year to date by 16.2 percent in a market that was up strongly. They will argue that their product got a bit old and this is the reason for their decline and that in the next few years they have all kinds of product updates coming to the market that will solve this issue. I will argue that ALL the major OEMs have a lot of new product coming to the market so Toyota is unlikely to get the lift in the market that they might expect unless they “play the game”. I hope I’m wrong.

Ford was the big winner with the major OEMs this past year with sales up 19.1 percent and for the first time in about 50 years they were the number one seller in the market instead of GM. Indeed the F-series pick up trucks sold just under 100K units which makes it the best selling single model of vehicle in one calendar year in the entire hundred plus year history of the automotive sector in Canada.

With the luxury brands, the big story is a toss-up. Audi had the largest gain in sales with sales up 26.7 percent but Mercedes Benz overtook BMW to become the number one selling luxury marque in Canada for the first time since I believe the year 2000. With luxury sales you have to back out sales of Mini, Sprinter vans and smart cars from the overall totals and when you do you find Mercedes was number one. Their sales were up 17.5 percent this year ( including smart cars and Sprinter vans ) while BMW sales were up only 9.4 percent ( including Mini ). I’m also told by dealers that Mercedes achieved this record AND remained very profitable which is quite an achievement. Of course, everyone discounts but most of the sales in the luxury segments were driven by great product rather than heavy duty discounting.

LandRover would hold the crown for most successful niche Luxury company with sales up 27.0 percent on the year, Porsche also had a great year with sales up 20.5 percent.

Although everyone points to Ford’s success, including myself, it was actually Chrysler that led the Detroit three on a percentage increase basis with sales being up 25.7 percent on the year ( Ford was up 19.1 percent). It was no more than 18 months ago that just about everyone wrote Chrysler off as a lost brand. This year they increased market share ( incentive has driven mind you ) and came within about 40K units of outselling GM. They are definitely NOT a lost brand.

GM is likely happy with their performance this year. Although down by 2.4 percent they had set a market share goal of 15 percent and they met this goal handily coming in at 15.8 shares in 2010. Sales in the last few months picked up nicely with December increasing by 6.8 percent ( also incentive driven although new product at year end really helped as well ).

For the first time since 1995, the Detroit three picked up market share from the import nameplates. After losing market share for 15 years in a row we analysts had come to believe Detroit would eventually fade to black. The restructurings at GM and Chrysler and the incredible turnaround at Ford clearly shows that Detroit still has a pulse. Detroit three sales were up 6.9 percent while import nameplate sales were down by 6.0 percent.

And so much for the environment. Sales of passenger cars were down by 9.8 percent as consumer and fleets moved back into the truck market with sales up 8.0 percent. This gives light trucks an all-time record market share at 54.5 percent of the market. More detail will come in our Top Ten report in a few weeks.


Janet Jackson’s World Tour

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on January 13, 2011 at 12:14 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

We are excited to announce that starting Thursday, January 13th, pre-sale tickets for Janet Jackson’s 2011 World Tour will go on sale at The 2011 World Tour will be the largest ever world tour where you will hear Janet sing songs from her Number One’s album.

For more details on Janet Jackson pre-sale tickets, visit

Any available tickets will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis for select performances only, and Sparkart Group, Inc. does not represent or warrant that tickets will be available for every concert or event date, or for every user.

EPOCH Staffing Services Open For Business!

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 12, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Multicultural workers

Come Join Us… You Will Be Glad You Did!

Hello there,

Happy New Year! As 2011 begins… it is a time of new beginnings and the launch of Epoch Staffing Services Inc. I’m excited to have an opportunity to tell you about us. We are a bit different since we have a special focus on the 45+ workforce… we are thrilled to be an advocate for these employees. As an employer, you know the value of this type of individual. And if you act now, there is a special rate for our first 25 clients. Please contact me if you have any questions and I hope I get a chance to work with you very soon!

Kulbinder Saran Caldwell

Manager, Strategic Partnerships

Your success is our success!

That is why we take the time to make sure the fit for you and your potential employee is the right one.

Success is rarely an accident – it is good preparation meeting the right opportunity.

We work diligently to make sure our Associates are properly prepared to meet the opportunity you have to offer them.

Making this the right fit …

a fit that works!

Make EPOCH Staffing Services your own dedicated Human Resources Dept. We believe in doing the little extras to assist in your success and bottom line.

“An All Inclusive Staffing Agency with a Special Focus on the 45+ Workforce.”

Three Locations to Serve You:

Markham Office:

Head Office:

15 Allstate Parkway

6th Floor

Markham, ON

L5R 3B4

Toronto Office:

2 Bloor Street West

Suite 700

Toronto, ON

M4W 3R1

Tel:#: 905 – 415 – 4568

Fax #: 905 – 427 – 8455

Pickering Office:

Opening Soon

Link to my website




Refer a Temporary Staff Client and when they complete 80 hours of invoiced staffing services…..

WE PAY you a $50.00

Visa Gift Card!

Refer a Direct Hire Client and after the New Employee signs the contract …..

WE PAY you a $100.00

Visa Gift Card!



to book an appointment so we can review your staffing needs.

Special Rates for our first

25 Clients

on both

Temporary Staffing Hourly Rates


Direct Hire

Placement Fees

(good for two years)


15 Allstate Parkway – 6th Floor

Markham, ON

L3R 5B4

2 Bloor St W. Suite 700

Toronto, ON

M4W 3R1

T: 905 – 415 – 4568

F: 905 – 427 – 8455

CIL Paints 2011 Colour Forecast: Sunny with a Chance of Cheerful Colours

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on January 11, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Gail Bergman PR

Concord, Ontario – January 4, 2011 – The outdoors may be gloomy, but the forecast for 2011 is sunny. Sunny yellow, that is, says leading Canadian paint brand CIL Paints in announcing its top colours for the year.

According to CIL, the hottest colour of 2011 is a light, citrus yellow, symbolizing a sense of fun, freedom and positive energy. Think lemonade, fizzy sherbet and lemon-lime chiffon – a dramatic move away from the banana yellow that was popular last year.

“The new yellow is associated with warmth and sunshine,” says Alison Goldman, Marketing Communications Manager for CIL Paints, citing CIL’s Lime Twist (89YY 78/269) yellow as the brand’s 2011 colour of the year. “It’s a very optimistic, cheerful and refreshing colour, sending a clear message that, as a society, we’re done with tough times and look forward to brighter days ahead.”

In the coming year, we’ll see airy light yellow in all facets of home décor, from walls and furniture to accessories, Goldman says. CIL recommends adding a touch of citrus yellow to any room, even dark interiors, to liven up space. Pairing well with the new yellows are denim and turquoise blues, earthy browns, berry violets or airy pastels.

This year’s sunny forecast extends beyond the yellow family as fresh, cheerful colours dominate the entire 2011 palette, says Goldman. Each of the colour families emanates a feeling of optimism, with more brilliant colours taking centre stage across the board. For example:

Photo Courtesy of Gail Bergman PR

Blues: Evolving from last year’s stylish pale blue, this year’s blues are brave, bold and bright. Turquoise, teal, ultramarines, and denim are now all the rage, partnering nicely with clay-toned neutrals, deep violets, greys, and bright greens. CIL’s hot blue for 2011 is Peacock’s Plume (16BG 24/357).

Greens: Vibrant, almost electrical, botanical shades are taking the spotlight in the green colour family. The new emerald blue-like tones – such as CIL’s Fairy Tale Green (10GG 33/404) – are energizing, capturing our simultaneous love for the environment and appreciation for all things technological. Leafy greens blend particularly well with yellow-toned greens and rich plums.

Oranges: Corals and warm tans are making a comeback, inspired by the homey, natural feel-good tones of clay and wood. Conjuring up images of colourful, wholesome fruits and vegetables, the new earthy oranges – highlighted by CIL’s Apricot Ice (48YR 50/372) – are vibrant yet liveable. Crisp oranges are most trendy when combined with charcoal and cardboard brown.

Warm neutrals: In contrast to last year’s heavy, earthy brown, the 2011 warm neutrals are softer, more subtle and sophisticated. Shades of putty, ash taupe and mocha – such as CIL’s Hiking Trail (60YR 33/047) – dominate this colour grouping, tinged with green and yellow undercurrents. Try warm neutrals with coral oranges, or blues and teals, for a stylish look.

Cool neutrals: Light, airy and ultra-pale cool neutrals, like CIL’s Crystal Glimmer (70BB 83/020) have replaced the previously fashionable bold, graphite greys. Reminiscent of stone and concrete, current cool neutrals are dominated by feather grey tones infused with a hint of blue, delivering a fresher, happier image.

“From brighter mid-tones and zingy pastels to authentic earth tones and deep shades mixed with both bright and light colours, everything about the 2011 colours is energetic and uplifting,” says Goldman. “As the public’s optimism about the future continues to grow, so will the variety of happier colours people choose to surround themselves with.”

The 2011 popular colours are featured in the new CIL 2011 Colour Trends magazine – available free-of-charge at CIL retailers. For more information or to locate a CIL retailer near you, visit or call 1-800-DURABLE (387-2253).

2010 in review

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on January 10, 2011 at 9:00 AM

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high-level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 66,000 times in 2010. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would have performed about 3 times.

In 2010, there were 545 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1116 posts. There were 629 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 218mb. That’s about 2 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was April 25th with 745 views. The most popular post that day was He Pingping Death.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for he pingping, Taylor swift, Shania twain, jean Toomer, and pingping.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


He Pingping Death March 2010


Taylor Swift?! Uh-huh! July 2009


BELOVED August 2009


Is Fibromyalgia a Vitamin D Deficiency Syndrome? June 2009


Book review of Cane by Jean Toomer August 2009

Email Poll

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on January 9, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Music Beginning

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 8, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Photo of Jill Scott – Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Jill Scott singer


I conclude this book after three days of starting it. I have only focused on three artists in this book, however I plan to do more books along this vain. I guess partly why I feel like finishing it now and I do feel like it is done is because of India.Arie was singing “India’s Song.” She says, “I want to go where the rivers are high enough…to call my name.” This sounds great and everything – however I am still at that stage in my life where going down to Lake Ontario sounds quite exciting to me.

I have traveled to different places in the world, she mentions Nelson Mandela in “Wings of Forgiveness.” Well, I’ve been to South Africa…I’ve been to Germany…I’ve been to Spain…I’ve been to Vancouver. Not to say that I would not want to see more of the world, however, I do believe that something needs to be said for the cost-effective travel of the mind – the free flight of fancy by doing soul-searching and listening to some terrific music at the same time. Look out for more books like this. I write them because I enjoy it and make some money. I write because I love it. I’m a journalist so banging books out is not a problem for me – it comes naturally to me to work to a deadline. I thank Carleton University for that. I thank Concordia University for teaching me to work solo, however still with others support. Both these places taught me important lessons. I’m working towards my life’s dreams by deadline – and understanding that I came into this world alone – and I will be going out alone – so just as all these singers would agree I believe – you better love yourself.


In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 7, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of India.Arie


After having a conversation with a woman who stole my laptop years ago outside of my house, I selected to listen to “The Heart of the Matter,” from the Testimony Vol. 1 album from India.Arie.

“I think it’s about forgiveness…” This is so true. Funny enough an old boyfriend of mine that I almost married was also online for Yahoo chat and I thought about chatting with him. I decided not to. I decided to let it go. Not because I’m angry, but because he has his life now and I have mine.

I’m on my own…and that is OK. I am truly OK with it. When I hear Arie sing I think to myself it is even more OK. There is a tremendous amount I have been able to achieve on my own. A tremendous amount I have been able to achieve with old and new people in my life – and even knowing those people who are no longer in my life still do look out for me in their own way. Things are quite good in my life. My magazine Donna is doing well. I have new interns who are fantastic writers for the magazine now. I just completed writing a story for the magazine about an old friend of mine from undergrad and she bought four of my books as an exchange.

Yes…things are good. Despite this recession – I am doing OK. I even know that I have three courses to teach at Seneca College in the fall, one at Centennial College and one at Trebas Institute. Things truly are very good.

Wow…India.Arie’s next song is “Good Morning.” I get up early in the morning, many mornings about 4:00 a.m. and this is the time of the day that I like the best many times – especially on a day like today: Tuesday, June 23, 2009. The mornings get bright quickly and the evenings are still light at 5:30 p.m. Last night I sold two of my books to a new friend of mine who was kind enough to support my efforts.

I did not exercise as I would have liked to this morning, however, I did go to VoicePrint to do volunteer work. VoicePrint is a non-profit organization that provides news and information to those people with vision impairments. It’s funny how doing something like this has opened my eyes. I saw a woman who was blind come onto the subway when I was on my way back from there and I looked at her differently. She actually seemed more human to me. I know that sounds funny, however, it is true. I felt a connection to her – this is what I truly mean.

India.Arie has a voice that is kind of a combination between Sting’s and Erykah Badu’s. It’s huskier than Badu’s, like Sting’s, however, is still very much a woman’s voice.

The next song is perfect for how I celebrate every day of my life living on my own since “we” decided not to marry each other (meaning my former fiancé). This song is called “Private Party.” Yes, I have been learning to love myself. “Baby, look how far we’ve come.” I know even my former would be proud of me. “I’ve learned to love the quiet moments, even the Sunday mornings of life.” So well written – I do not have a guitar, but I have a computer and my writing to keep me company and this IBM keyboard is like my guitar.

It’s not my birthday…however, every day we all live in a cause of celebration. I am so fortunate. My Dad lives next door, my brother-in-law plays his music loud and it helps to keep me company when I am outside smoking (I’m working on stopping – writing helps). He lives with my terrific and beautiful sister and my extraordinary niece Oshun. Well, yes…I’m just a little biased.

My brother is not in the ‘hood anymore, however, that will probably change in future. My Mom is taking care of my niece today. She is a really kind woman. I do everything I can to not forget that, even when she does upset me.

And yes, my magazine again…”There’s Hope” by Arie. I have an online community called The Community of Hope. I think it is something that is needed in these recession times. “It doesn’t cost a thing to smile…” This is so true. This is why I focus on doing what I enjoy doing. That was the sad thing about the woman who stole my laptop who I was speaking to today – she did not smile.

Erykah Badu

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 4, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Erykah Badu

I’m listening to Erykah Badu right now. I actually feel warmer by listening to her funky sounds. It’s Sunday, June 21, 2009 – Father’s Day. I put an ad in the Toronto Star to celebrate my Dad’s special day. I said “Happy Father’s Day” to my brother-in-law David and forgot today is also his birthday. I called my friend Tunde and wished him a “Happy Father’s Day.” He has a new baby. I do not know yet whether it is a boy or a girl. As they say, it is the health of the baby that really matters. Even that can be conquered sometimes.

For a few years now, I’ve been gathering CDs from my local branch of the Toronto Public Library and burning these to my hard drive. At first they were only in Windows Media Player – however, now they are also on iTunes.

This song by Erykah Badu really makes me laugh and I used it as research for my master’s thesis that also became a book called What Happened to the Afro? It’s called “Afro.” Erykah Badu’s voice is so smooth – it’s like butter. It reminds me of my friend Lorraine Scott’s voice who has been doing music for decades and currently sings in a wedding band. She has also been nominated for many Juno awards.

Now, here comes the funkiest part. “Who told you, it was alright for you to love me? Certainly, certainly not me,” sings Badu. The song just rocks. I am dancing as I write this. “Turn my back and then you slip me a mickey.” This woman talks back. And she talks back with terrific backup singers. This song is “Certainly.” It just grooves and helps to put me back into a good mood after my pen ran out when I was writing in my journal. I have planned to listen to the end of this album and then move onto the hundreds of other albums I have in Windows Media Player.

This album was done in 1997 and is called Baduizm. I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues at Seneca College who is the coordinator of the Independent Music Production program that produces a CD every year. He said he really likes Erykah Badu too.

This next song after “Certainly” has the same funky grooves and the same great voice from Badu. I had a good friend who I lived within undergrad at Carleton University who used to drink brandy. Badu’s voice sounds as though she sips brandy. The album is funky…however; I am ready to move on. On this Monday, June 22, 2009, I am feeling restless and full of energy. Yesterday evening…this was just what I needed, some Baduizm. Now I feel like a change…something completely different. Sting always seems to take of that. His Fields of Gold is great for calming the untamed soul.

Robots Replacing Teachers

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on January 3, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of DailyTech

I can see it now…teachers will be striking just to have the right to teach…robots will start feeling like slaves and expect wages for their work…there will be lawyers for robots…the teaching profession may end as we know it…politics will surround the human faces on the robots and contrary to the Michael Jackson song, it will matter if the robots are black or white…robots will be charged fares to get on airlines with humans as their companions…who really knows?

Please read more at:

From Organizing People’s Homes to Organizing People’s Lives: The Sanctuary

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on January 2, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of The Sanctuary Website

“I’ve been good,” says Nada Thomson, Director of Development at The Sanctuary Mission. “It’s been an adjustment period. There is so much emotional stress every day. So you’re better for it.”

The Sanctuary is a healthy or wealthy community that is embodied for the poor. It is open to all belief systems and all ethnic backgrounds. The community is made up of men and women from 25 to 55. Five hundred faces every week and annually in the thousands.

“We have street outreach, a relationship with them simply through our outreach team, jail visits, outreach visits, Children’s Aid, court visits,” says Thomson. “We help to get their kids into safe homes. Just as you would walk with your family and friends. We have a health clinic and a psychiatrist, or substance abuse rehab or physical rehab for their body, or all of those things – we walk with them along with that. We have meals and it is their friends [who prepare them], it is not a soup kitchen.”

Nada Thomson started out as a Personal Organizer with her own company called Artful Organizers. She made the transition into helping the poor around 2006.

“I hung out in the building from 2006 to 2008. There was a woman who was helping out in the kitchen and she was afraid to go out to the eating area so she worked in the kitchen. She realized that everyone that she was working within the kitchen was waking up in an alley or had a mental illness, or had just gotten out of jail. They had a life of adversity and were dealing with huge adversities to get over alone – that’s why we’re here community.”

Every year, The Sanctuary has a great Christmas feast with candles and in the galley with huge windows. They have had a church donate some Christmas gift bags and they do have talent shows and they do a play – the Screaming Monkeys. They do a big walk in the summertime.

“It is really important that people know that when they donate money, they can participate. The rich and the poor, we want to blur the lines. People who have been stripped of their dignity will be given back their dignity. Making a difference is more about just giving money and also making new friends.”
Thomson was brought on as the donor relations person, the Director of Development.

“I do street outreach and all the staff do it, I have people in the community who I walk very closely with. We’re not counseling, we’re like friends. You have a deeper affinity for certain people than others, there are many people so there is a great balance.”

Seventy percent of the balance of the operating budget is from people who work, then 30 percent is from the Trillium Foundation and other foundations. Thomson is there to be a liaison and always looking for donors.

“We’re not here to replace social services, we’re here to walk along social services,” Thomson says. “We have friends who were living on the street and they are now living inside. They would not be able to do this without someone to help them look for a place and help them get furniture.

‘We have employment training, we’re revamping it. Meaningful gainful employment for people. We have to house for men that are not rooming houses where they have meals together and there are no locks and they went from the street to the sanctuary home – we would love to do that for hundreds of people.”

It was late 2005 and early 2006 and Thomson was feeling a real connection to do something meaningful in Toronto.

“I needed to find something. I started looking for a place to go for church. I went to one which was doing something with Sanctuary. I started coming down to the Thursday night drop-ins and I could play cards. They have a church service in the evenings on Saturdays. I fell in love with the whole place and the people. You do not come here trying to cover yourself up, you strip away all the layers of how messy our lives are. To be broken and not quite on top of things as I am. In a few years, they [The Sanctuary] were in the position to bring on someone like me and then I was a good fit.”

When Thomson had Artful Organizers it was an amalgamation of all her professional skills that she had gone to Sheridan for.

“I was doing decorating and home staging too. I loved the people that I worked with and the variety. It was very successful without ever needing to do so. Word of mouth is very much the best part of advertising. There was always a part of me that felt a bit of a fraud. It was very successful. There was always a part of me that made me feel as though people would catch me out in the rouse. I was able to breathe at The Sanctuary. I’ve maintained amazing friendships with many of my [former] clients. When I changed, it was a huge adjustment, realizing how much of my life was doing for others, rather than being cared for by others. You cannot let yourself care for them, without being cared for by them. They see the strain in my eyes and they will care for you when they live in an alley. Every day being forced to be vulnerable, to be forced, to be honest. We have staff meetings all the time, we say how are you? We have to be honest. I’m single and childless and I was flitting from house-to-house but it was superficial. My clients were really wonderful people, but there is a season for everything and I did not know how to have depth in relationships and I’m learning that here.”

One of the success stories of The Sanctuary is that a young woman was born and raised in the Toronto area. Not too soon after she was born, she was put into foster care. Her aunt set her crib on fire. Her grandmother found her covered in cockroaches. She was sexually abused. She bounced from foster home to foster home and relationship to relationship, and she was addicted to many things. She has also used her body. Many people helped her. She has been a regular at Sanctuary for four years.

“It was our nurses at health care that helped her get a better life, a couple of years ago she got her GED she has her own business called Pause for Paws and when I first met her she was angry and now she’s clean and fresh and she’s pretty,” says Thomson. “She takes pictures of animals. They may be different, a transition takes a long time. People who feel that they don’t deserve the air that they are breathing. We are committed to these people for as long as they live. We can offer them some real dignity building amenities. Even if we did not have the funding, we would not be able to reach new people, but we would not abandon the people who are here already. Such a small number of our friends see that kind of change in their lives, but everyone who comes through these doors sees a kind of change in their lives.”

Thomson has made a real shift from helping to organize people’s homes to helping to organize their lives.

“The organizing was a broad range. I would go into some rooms that I would barely be able to open the door it would be so crammed full. Is it staying in the home, would it belong to someone else. There were emotional issues of other people’s things. The most part it was the attachment to the person that they thought of with the thing. To know that the person will still love you with the item gone.

“Other situations it was a basement that was finished and they wanted a play area, a workout zone and making the space planning. I had other clients have I helped them change them over their cupboards and also kitchen organizing. Helping things flow better. Making spaces better places. I would Rearrange the furniture, shake the whole place up so it felt the whole place had been redone. Using what they have. Reworking the space to get the vision of the whole home. What furniture to get, what colours – colour consultations. The organizing and the rearranging decorating…then there was the home staging. I could help people decide what people were keeping and leaving and sometimes we rented furniture and artwork. In each case, a big case of what I was doing was getting to know my clients. Some people wanted to mimic other designer’s styles, that’s not what I did – it was working with how a couple’s voice could be morphed and find new pieces to build relationships. I went from relationship building to relationship building.

“We can pour out all of our time and tender-loving care and unless the person is not in receivership, it goes nowhere. It’s not about four walls and a roof. A lot of stuff got them onto the street and a lot is needed to keep them off the street. It is amazing how vulnerable we are and how little it takes to destroy the heart of a child. When people become too old for the Yonge Street Mission, they come up here and they’re young and they’re beautiful, but they break my heart.”

Happy New Year!!!!!!

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on January 1, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Donna Magazine wishes you a Happy New Year filled with health, wealth and prosperity to name just a few really good puns. This year, the magazine has accomplished the over 100,000 unique visitors mark with it also being top-ranked in Google. The magazine has more than 1,000 articles for you to go over and enjoy and what I hope is a pleasant, peaceful and relaxing day for you. Please do continue to read the magazine. It is YOU who makes a tremendous difference and I cannot express in these simple words alone how much I appreciate and everyone past, present and future directly affiliated with Donna Magazine.

Happy New Year!

%d bloggers like this: