Thursday, April 28, 2011

10-Year-Old Pressures KFC to Stop Destroying U.S. Forests (Video)

by Rachel Cernansky, Boulder, Colorado

Take a small group of determined schoolchildren who care about the environment and you get a story to inspire the rest of us: first, Cole had a school project that ended up getting McDonald's to change to recycled packaging. Now, he and some friends are taking on KFC.

The company is said to source its packaging from paper companies, including International Paper, that are destroying endangered forests in North Carolina, where Cole lives. He, his sister Kaela, and friends Nik and Liam all contacted KFC but got no response, so decided to drive (with Cole's generous mother at the wheel) 350 miles to Louisville, Kentucky to deliver more than 6,000 postcards that they'd recruited 7 elementary schools to collect.

Cole explains in his own words how he's gotten here:

"I had a second grade project to be an environmental activist," he said. "I found that the forests in NC are being cut down and animals are being endangered and so I did [work to get] McDonald's to change and they switched to 100% post-consumer recycled bags. Now I am doing KFC."

Watch the video of the kids' journey here:

... read more story at

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Norfolk Street United Church - Join Us for Doors Open Guelph 2011

from the Guelph Arts Council website

On Saturday, April 30, 2011, Guelph residents and visitors will have the opportunity to once again participate in the annual celebration of the City's history and architectural heritage. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., some of Guelph's finest buildings, many of which are not normally open to the public, will open their doors for free public tours. Guided tours will be available at each site, led by knowledgeable tour guides who will talk about the site's history and important architectural features. Guides will also pass on some of the interesting stories associated with each site.

A joint undertaking of Guelph Arts Council, Heritage Guelph and City of Guelph Tourism Services, Doors Open Guelph 2011 is again partnering with the Guelph Hiking Club which is offering its second year for a Trails Open hike to coincide with Doors Open. The Guelph event is also part of Doors Open Ontario, an Ontario Heritage Trust province-wide initiative to celebrate community heritage. Once again, the Guelph event has the distinction of launching the Ontario Doors Open season, among the first of more than 50 such events across the province.

For more information about sites and tours and some tips on how best to plan and enjoy the day, pick up the Doors Open Guelph 2011 brochure or visit the Doors Open Guelph website at; or contact Guelph Arts Council by telephone at (519) 836-3280, or e-mail This year, visitors can also follow the event @doorsopenguelph on Twitter - on April 30, our coordinators will be tweeting about the various line-ups, so that visitors can make best use of their visiting time.

Doors Open Guelph Media Sponsor: Guelph Mercury

Doors Open Guelph Partners: Ontario Heritage Trust, Doors Open Ontario, City of Guelph, Victoria Wood (Arkell) Ltd., Downtown Guelph, Old Quebec Street, Barking Dog Studios, Grinham Architect, Mach One Communications

Information Links for Doors Open 2011

Brochure for Doors Open Guelph 2011

Site Information 2011

Site Gallery 2011

Touring Tips

Event Partners

Event Sponsors

Frontline healthcare providers and the stigma of mental health: A true story

Feature Story By: Jen Jensen

OTTAWA, April 26, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - "Life is great today," Constantin says. That's a remarkable statement from someone who has lived with severe depression and anxiety for many years.

Hospitals were something Constantin tried to avoid, because he often experienced stigma from frontline workers who were too clinical and rigid. "It's not an environment that made me want to open up with a complete stranger who didn't seem to care or would look down on me." His tendency to shut down would then get him labelled as non-compliant or uncooperative, worsening an already difficult situation. "I never felt any compassion when I visited emergency rooms," he says.

Constantin recalls one visit to a psychiatric ward. "I couldn't escape the pain and the darkness inside of me. The medication wasn't working, and it had nothing to do with drinking or drugging; the partying had stopped a long time ago. This had everything to do with my mental illness."

With a bungee cord hidden in his shorts, he planned to strangle himself because "the system hadn't helped much in the last decade anyway," he says. But before he got the chance, a nurse entered his room, put her hand on his arm, and said, "Constantin, I can't imagine what pain you're going through, but we're going to work together, and we're going to find a way to help you. You're not alone."

This pivotal moment, a simple but profound act of kindness by a nurse, changed his life.

He says his journey toward recovery was like a puzzle, with pieces falling into place over time. And when he met that one kind nurse in the hospital, he decided to start helping himself get better.

Now well into recovery, Constantin is on a mission to make a difference himself by sharing his story at Ontario's Central Local Health Integration Network's (LHIN) workshops entitled "Mental Health and Addictions: Understanding the Impact of Stigma."

"The Central LHIN's Education Work Group was given a huge task to provide mental health education," says Arla Hamer, who chaired the workshop's Work Group at the time. On a tight deadline and an even tighter budget, her team developed a strategy to focus their efforts. "Intuitively, with all of us being mental health professionals, we recognized that the way to have the greatest impact was to address stigma," Hamer says.

The workshops have since been presented to about 900 health care professionals working in different hospitals and health care sites across the region.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada's Opening Minds initiative is partnering with and conducting evaluations of over 40 similar programs across the country, including the Central LHIN program. Each program is designed to reduce the stigma commonly experienced by many people living with a mental illness. The goal of Opening Minds is to share and promote successful programs across Canada.

Joanna Meeke attended the Central LHIN workshop when it was in Newmarket. A case manager at LOFT/Crosslinks Housing and Support Services, Joanna works with many people who live with a mental illness. Wondering why some are reluctant to seek help from a psychiatrist, she asks "if you fall off the deck, break your leg and experience a lot of pain, you go to the hospital and get a cast, right?"

Workshop participants received information about myths related to mental illness and the role stigma plays as a major barrier to people seeking help. According to the evaluations, the highlight was stories from people like Constantin: personal testimonials from individuals living with a mental illness about the challenges they've faced, the stigma they've experienced, and what has helped them recover. Recovery is often defined as reaching a point when a person with a mental health problem is able to get on with life, just like someone who learns to live with arthritis or diabetes. Similar to a physical illness, recovery is possible.

Many health care workers rarely get insight into recovery once their patients move beyond their mental health crisis. Constantin has a positive impact speaking to the workshop's audience, not only because he shares his personal story, but also because he is mentally healthy enough to stand in front of them and speak.

Because the Central LHIN program has proven to be effective at reducing stigma, Opening Minds is now helping to replicate it in other health regions across the country. In British Columbia, the Interior Health Authority adapted the Central LHIN program to deliver it to health care providers in seven communities last fall. The IWK Health Centre, a major children's hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, plans to use the program in the coming months. Another Ontario LHIN is running programs this spring, and plans are underway to take it to healthcare providers in the Northwest Territories as well.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada sees its role as being a catalyst for change. Ontario's Central LHIN is helping make that goal a reality.

About the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for transformative change. Our mission is to work with stakeholders to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to promote mental health and help people who live with mental health problems lead meaningful and productive lives. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada. For more, visit

About Opening Minds, the MHCC's anti-stigma initiative

This year, seven million Canadians will experience a mental health problem. Stigma is a major barrier preventing many people from seeking help. Opening Minds is the MHCC's Anti-Stigma Initiative designed to change the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians towards those living with mental illness. Opening Minds is initially targeting four groups: Health Care Providers, Youth, the Workforce and Media and other Professional Associations. The initiative is currently evaluating anti-stigma programs across Canada to identify which are successful at changing attitudes and behaviours related to mental illnesses. The successful programs will be replicated and promoted elsewhere in the country.

Welcome to the United Church of Canada

United Church of Canada Moderator Mardi Tindal's Easter Message

Monday, April 25, 2011

Canadian Made Wedding Gift Wows Royal Couple

photo credit: Alphabet Photography

TORONTO, April 25, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Remember the famous Christmas Food Court Flash Mob that went viral with over 32 million views last year? It was produced by Niagara Falls based Company Alphabet Photography Inc. ( The company is at it again as they recently presented Prince Charles with an Official Alphabet Photography "Will (heart) Kate" framed print".

At the Ideal Homeshow in London, England, the UK distributor of Alphabet Photography Inc. Michael Wise, presented Prince Charles with the custom frame for Will & Kate. Prince Charles explained to Michael that he was very impressed with the art work and thought the gift was "smashing".

A few days later, Wise received a letter from the Prince & Kate themselves not only thanking them for the gift, but adding that they felt it was the most personalized & unique gift they have seen.

"When Michael called me to tell me the news, I honestly thought he was joking," said Jennifer Blakeley, Founder of Alphabet Photography Inc. "We're so honoured and humbled that the Royal Couple now owns a piece of Official Alphabet Photography. We can only hope that they pay a visit to our hometown and honeymoon capital of the world, Niagara Falls when they visit Canada," she added.

Headquartered in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, Official Alphabet Photography is the creative process of photographing images that resemble letters of the English Alphabet, then arranging the photographs together to create a name or word. Alphabet Photography Inc. letter art includes photos from all across the globe, including: New York City; Las Vegas; Chicago; Washington; Canada; Italy; United Kingdom and Paris, to name a few

The Royal Couple's personalized frame isn't the first time Alphabet Photography Inc. has been used as a wedding gift. The letter photo art company has created over 50,000 personalized Official Alphabet Photography wedding gift frames since its inception in 2006.

Alphabet Photography Inc. celebrity clients include names like Ryan Seacrest, Nelly Furtado, Tyra Banks, Drew Barrymore and Adam Lambert, to name a few. They can now add the Royal Couple to that star studded list.

For additional information, visit Alphabet Photography Inc. on the web at:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Facebook and Earth Day Network Release Billion Acts of Green App

Image via screengrab of Billion Acts of Green Facebook page

by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California

Will a billion acts of green save the planet? Nope. But that doesn't stop us from trying to make every small step count, literally, this Earth Day. Earth Day Network and Facebook have partnered up to create a new app that allows you to declare your act of green, and be added to the giant number of people who will do a little something for the planet this week.

I take it back -- a billion acts of green could save the planet if that billion includes some pretty major acts, like placing a market value on living trees and primary forest, or every person reducing their carbon footprint to 2 tons per year, or making factory farming illegal and so on.

But that's not what this app really has in mind. A Billion Acts of Green is more about the little things that everyone can do right now. Examples for what you can do this Earth Day include writing your government in support of green legislation, eliminating the use of toxic cleaning products, changing from incandescent bulbs to LEDs (that used to be CFLs, but I guess we've moved forward...) or planting a garden at home.

If everyone did one act, that's a nice step in the right direction -- though not exactly planet-saving. Yet, the app in an inspiration to do not just one thing, but five, ten, even a dozen things that you see your friends and fellow Facebook users pledging to do. And maybe if enough people make enough changes, then we can see some forward progress. A girl can hope, anyway.

"Facebook's partnership with Earth Day Network to create and promote the Billion Acts of Green app is an exciting way to harness the Facebook platform's power and reach on behalf of the environment," said Jonathan Heiliger, V.P. of Technical Operations at Facebook in a press release. "Whether pledging to save energy, use less water, use alternative transportation, or take other steps, people can use Facebook to mark Earth Day with meaningful action - and can encourage their friends to do the same. This will help Earth Day Network achieve its 'Billion Acts of Green' goal."

To make a pledge to do some green thing this week, hop on A Billion Acts of Green and write in your pledge.

If you need a little inspiration, check out 13 Green Lifestyle Experts Tell Us Their Earth Day Plans

Follow Jaymi on Twitter for more stories like this

More on Earth Day Actions
Green Bloggers Speak: Does Earth Day Matter?
Know the History of Earth Day - Quiz
How to Go Green: Earth Day

Engaging workshop on where food comes from, who controls food access, who is hungry, and how we can respond. From the United Church of Canada - Online PowerPoint Presentation on authorSTREAM.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earth Day Brings Joy of Walking to School into Focus

PETERBOROUGH, On, April 19, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Many people use Earth Day to ponder how daily choices like travel routines, food selection, recycling practices and energy consumption impact the Earth. What they may not know is that a right choice for the Earth is often a choice that also leads to greater personal happiness.

Children who walk to school seem to get it. Sandra Brooks, a mom from Brampton, Ontario, says of her daughter, "She always wanted to walk. For some reason it made her feel better, I guess, and she was always asking, 'Mommy, Mommy, can I please walk?'"

Children experience feelings of independence, wonder, curiosity and real joy when they are given the opportunity to walk or bike to school. Walking allows for reflection and recharging of psychological resources, which is especially useful before and after school. And when friends or family join in, it can be an important opportunity for building relationships, too.

Yet, many children don't get that opportunity anymore. Statistics show that 46% of children walked to school in 1969, but by 2001 it had dropped to less than half that.

Streets are perceived to be dangerous, schedules are packed and it's too easy for mom or dad to drive to school instead. Twice-daily school traffic jams, caustic fumes near school playgrounds and angry parents shouting and arguing with other parent drivers are testament to the fact that choosing to drive does not usually lead to personal happiness.

Studies have shown that ratings of personal happiness are positively linked to environmentally responsible behaviours like reusing bags and turning off lights in unoccupied rooms. Those studies indicate that when an individual makes a choice that he or she knows is beneficial to more than just him/herself, that choice contributes to the individual's sense of well-being. Dr. Catherine O'Brien of Cape Breton University says these choices lead to "sustainable happiness."

Sustainable happiness is "happiness that contributes to individual, community and/or global well-being and does not exploit other people, the environment, or future generations." In essence, learning how to take care of the earth is intertwined with taking care of ourselves.

What if we could work together in our communities to create neighbourhoods where walking and cycling to school becomes the norm? School Travel Planning is a process led by Green Communities Canada that aims to do just that. School Travel Planning has had great success in test communities across Canada by bringing together school administrators, police, public health officials, municipal leaders, municipal and school planners, parents and children to discuss barriers to active school travel and to create and implement action plans to overcome those barriers.

The school communities that have taken part in School Travel Planning have created better opportunities for children to walk and bike to school with actions like installing/repairing sidewalks or adding curb extensions that make road crossings shorter and safer. Measures like these also make it more appealing for people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature.

Now imagine the Canada we would have if every school community took part in School Travel Planning; every citizen at all stages of life could experience a taste of sustainable happiness in their own neighbourhood every day. Earth Day is a perfect time to learn the lessons of sustainability that our children can teach us.

Children's Mobility Health and Happiness is a national School Travel Planning project led by Green Communities Canada that promotes active transportation, a tangible example of a sustainable happiness choice that is easy to integrate into daily life. The project encourages students to walk and cycle on the school journey with the ultimate aim of instigating policy change re: school siting, local built environments surrounding schools, and school curriculum.

About Green Communities Canada

Green Communities Canada is a national association of non-profit organizations that deliver innovative, practical environmental solutions to Canadian households and communities. For more information, visit

For more on Sustainable Happiness

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Make a Difference for Canadians in Need and the Environment this Earth Day

Support food banks by donating used cellular devices to Food Banks Canada's Phones for Food program

TORONTO, April 19, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Helping Canadians in need while also helping the environment is as simple as donating your no longer used cell phone or mobile device. Food Banks Canada's Phones for Food program is an easy way for individuals and businesses to support food banks while also doing something good by recycling — on Earth Day and everyday!

Phones for Food is an award winning recycling program that provides funds to the food bank community across the country while redirecting consumer waste that would otherwise be directed to a landfill. Since its launch in 2003, the Phones for Food program has generated over $750,000 for Food Banks Canada and the food bank community and diverted approximately 500,000 wireless devices from landfills. In 2010, Food Banks Canada was the recipient of Canadian Wireless Technology "Connected to Community" award for the Phones for Food program.

"This program is unique in that it provides much needed funds to support Food Banks Canada and the food bank community while also collectively reducing our environmental impact, making it a win-win situation," says Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. "We are grateful for the support of Canadians who have made the effort to recycle their mobile devices and made this program a continual success."

The Phones for Food program is supported by Rogers Communications and Purolator Inc., who have been sponsors since the program launched.

Global Electric Electronic Processing Inc. (GEEP) has recently been designated the phone recycling supplier for the Phones for Food program. GEEP, a Canadian Company, is a leader in the Electronic Recycling Industry and works to divert electric and electronic waste from landfills.

Participating in the program is as simple as one, two, three:

...Individuals or businesses can drop off their used cellular devices at any Rogers or Fido branded store across Canada or mail their old cell phone in to the program via the envelope provided with the purchase of a new cell phone.

...Phones are processed by GEEP, a phone recycling supplier.

...Funds generated as a result of phone collections are donated to Food Banks Canada and the food bank community.

Make Earth Day your environmental call to action and donate all used mobile phones and handheld devices to the program.

About Phones for Food

Phones for Food is an award winning handheld collection and recycling program sponsored by Rogers Communications and Purolator Inc. which provides new resources for the alleviation of hunger. Since its launch in 2003, the Phones for Food program has generated over $750,000 for Food Banks Canada and the food bank community and diverted approximately 500,000 wireless devices from landfills. For more information on Phones for Food, visit

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our members and their respective agencies serve approximately 85 per cent of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger. Visit for more information.

Monday, April 18, 2011

New report: Former Members of Parliament cite their own parties as a source of frustration

TORONTO, April 18, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - A new report on Canadian politics, entitled " It's My Party: Parliamentary Dysfunction Reconsidered," highlights the frustrations that former MPs feel about the way politics is practiced in Parliament.

The report is issued by Samara, a Canadian charitable organization that conducted an unprecedented series of exit interviews with 65 former Members of Parliament, who served an average of 10.3 years and left office between 2006 and 2008. The report - the third in a series of four - highlights the collective reflections and advice of these MPs, who represented all political parties and all regions of the country.

The report outlines how the MPs expressed embarrassment at the public displays of politics in the House of Commons, saying that little constructive work takes place there. Instead, the MPs said their most important work was done away from the media spotlight, in the less publicized venues of committees and caucus meetings.

When asked why this was the case, the former MPs pointed to the way in which their own political parties managed themselves, their members and their work as being at the core of their frustration with Parliament. The MPs said that decisions from party leadership were often viewed as opaque, arbitrary and even unprofessional. Furthermore, those decisions often ran counter to MPs' stated motivations for entering public life in the first place: the desire to practice politics differently.

Notably, these comments were consistent across all parties represented in the House and did not single out any one party specifically.

"Democracy relies on citizen engagement to thrive, but if the public face of politics embarrasses our MPs, is it any wonder that citizens turn away?" said Michael MacMillan, Samara's co-founder and chair.

"If parties play a role in the current challenges facing Canadian politics, then they also have a role to play in helping to overcome them," added Alison Loat, Samara's co-founder and executive director. "It may well be time to discuss ways to revitalize our political parties, recognizing this process is integral to ensuring the health of Canadian democracy."

This report is part of an ongoing series of publications derived from the MP exit interviews conducted by Samara, in partnership with the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians. The first report, " The Accidental Citizen?," outlined the MPs' backgrounds and paths to politics. The second, " Welcome to Parliament: A Job With No Description," documented the disparate and often conflicting views the MPs expressed as to the essential purpose of their job and what they were elected to accomplish. They also acknowledged feeling unprepared for their roles as Parliamentarians, and said they received little training or orientation. The final report, to be released later this year, will summarize the MPs' advice for strengthening our democracy.

About Samara

Samara is a charitable organization whose programs seek to strengthen Canada's democracy. Co-founded by Michael MacMillan and Alison Loat, Samara was created out of a belief that public service and public leadership matter to Canada's future. Samara's work focuses on three areas: political leadership, public affairs journalism and citizen participation in public life.

Samara is also developing a Democracy Index to measure the health of Canadian democracy. This will serve as a report card, looking at a broad set of indicators that can help assess how Canadian democracy is working. The results will be released annually to encourage discussion and focus attention on the continued strengthening of Canada's democracy.

Samara is looking for volunteers to assist in its work. If interested, please visit for more information on how to contribute.

You can also follow Samara on Twitter, join the Facebook group, and check out their podcasts in the iTunes Store.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Give it Up for Earth Day!

With four simple actions to choose from, what will you give up?

TORONTO, Ontario (01/04/2011) - Earth Day Canada’s new action and commitment campaign is challenging Canadians to help create a healthier world by making simple changes to their daily routines. The Give it Up for Earth Day campaign launches today to kick off Earth month –

“For years we have promoted the importance of approaching every day with the same passion for addressing environmental issues that Canadians associate with Earth Day,” said Jed Goldberg, President of Earth Day Canada. “This campaign is another opportunity to reinforce the fact that Earth Day has always been about more than a day. It’s about developing the habits in our daily routines that will greatly lessen our impact on the environment.”

Participants can take part in the campaign by committing to one or more of four actions: cutting out toxic cleaners from your home; eating a vegetarian or vegan diet; buying nothing new; or turning off the TV. Participants can register their pledges on and select a time commitment of one to four weeks.

“We hope the campaign will show that small changes can have a huge impact,” continues Goldberg. “In the end, pushing ourselves away from habits that are based on convenience and comfort allows us to grow individually as well collectively.”

The campaign website will have helpful information and resources such as recipes, personal stories and interviews, how-to instructions, and printable prompts that serve as reminders to support people with their pledges. Participants who register their commitments will be eligible to win prizes that support long term eco-friendly habits.

In addition, Earth Day Canada staff will be adopting commitments and tracking their progress on the campaign blog. In May, Earth Day Canada will report the total savings results from the campaign.

The Give it Up Campaign is now accepting pledges until April 30, 2011.

For more information, visit

About Earth Day Canada

Earth Day Canada (EDC), a national environmental charity founded in 1990, provides Canadians with the practical knowledge and tools they need to lessen their impact on the environment. In 2004 it was recognized as the top environmental education organization in North America, for its innovative year-round programs and educational resources, by the Washington-based North American Association for Environmental Education, the world's largest association of environmental educators. In 2008 it was chosen as Canada’s “Outstanding Non-profit Organization” by the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication. EDC regularly partners with thousands of organizations in all parts of Canada.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Easter Flash Mob! 2000 Christians!

Over 2,000 people from Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

They called it Dance Your Shoes Off! and each participant left a new pair of shoes on the field for those in need.

The song is a Second Baptist Church original called Rise Up performed by Lauren James Camey, a member of the church. It was produced by Joshua Moore.

Weekday Vegetarian: Nourish

Photo: Lloyd Alter, of the ingredients in Nourish

by Kelly Rossiter, Toronto

When my husband and I were at the Brewer's Plate this week, amidst the fancy chefs with their enticing dishes of stuffed morels, and beef brochettes and the like, there was a familiar red and white logo which seemed slightly out of place. It was the Campbell's logo familiar from my childhood and the staff were ladling out a new product called Nourish.

This cross between a stew and a soup was developed here in Ontario, using a special oat grown exclusively in Manitoba which has twice the fibre, ten times the protein and eight times the iron of rice. It was developed with the idea of providing a complete nutritious meal to people who use food banks, as well as for disaster relief. It provides a balanced meal with vegetables, grains, meat or meat substitutes that can be eaten hot or cold without the need of water and it has a pop-up lid. I think it's quite important that they have a vegetarian version of this, and that's the one I tasted. I have to say, the flavour profile was completely recognizable to me as a Campbell product, but that's okay, obviously lots of people love that.

Campbell Canada donated the first 100,000 cans to Food Banks Canada for distribution, and according to Inside Toronto, 100% of the net profit will be reinvested into "further hunger relief initatives". Campbell Canada donates 1 million pounds of food a year to food banks and also supports community kitchens. Soon the public will be able to buy Nourish and donate it in in-store bins for food banks. I've read some snarky blog sites that wonder whether this is really a marketing ploy, but it seems to me that if I were of necessity a food bank user, I would much rather give my children a can of vegetarian Nourish, with real vegetables and grains, than a can of spaghetti that's all carbohydrates, which is what you often see in donation bins. I'd be thanking Campbell's rather than cynically condemning them.

I'm hoping that the well-heeled patrons of the Brewer's Plate took a moment away from their spectacular food and beer tastings to try Nourish, and when it becomes available will take the opportunity to donate it to people who need it, whether that is for food banks or for disaster relief.

More Information on Food Banks

Could You Live on a Food Bank Diet?
Gleaning for the Hungry
Feed the Hungry with Local Food

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ottawa Forum to Discuss Gaps in Home Care in Ontario

Ottawa-area residents invited to join home care conversation on Saturday, April 16

TORONTO, April 14, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Imagine breaking your leg as you try to care for your elderly mother who suffers from dementia; and your ailing father, who has osteoporosis, just took a bad fall. Who do you turn to?

When people can no longer care for elderly or disabled family members, many turn to government-funded home care, a free service for all Canadians. Unfortunately, due to challenges to the home care system, the care they need may not be the care they receive.

On Saturday, April 16, the Quality Care Alliance, a group of concerned citizens and community organizations, will host the Ottawa Home Care Public Forum to discuss the home care system's current challenges and possible solutions.

"We hear so many stories of inadequate care and neglect, it's really heartbreaking," said Shaila Kibria, Co-ordinator of the Quality Care Alliance. "Our forum is intended to provide home care givers, their clients and family members a place to come together and really tackle some of the issues, and discuss real solutions."

The forum is being held at the Jack Purcell Community Centre at 320 Jack Purcell Lane in Ottawa, and begins at 10 a.m. Members of the public are invited to this free discussion; lunch and snacks will be provided.

Currently, there are more than 10,000 elderly and disabled Ontarians waiting for home care. With 88% of Ontarians preferring to be cared for in the comfort of their own homes and the population aging, the waiting list is expected to steadily increase over the next few years.

For more information, visit

About the Quality Care Alliance

The Quality Care Alliance (QCA) is a province-wide alliance of community, faith, senior and rights-based groups. We are committed to promoting dialogue and understanding between home care recipients, families, frontline caregivers, policymakers, and the wider community.

The demand for quality home care is on the rise as Ontario's aging population increases at a rapid pace. The QCA supports quality care for home care recipients, which include seniors and people with disabilities and long-term illnesses. We also support home care workers in establishing industry standards for wages, education and training, and stable employment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where Will Debris from Japan's Tsunami Go? See Where Ocean Flows Are Carrying It

This figure shows the probable pathways of the debris that entered the ocean on March 11, 2011, as estimated from historical trajectories of drifting buoys. View an animation. Credit: Nikolai Maximenko, International Pacific Research Center

by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California

The tsunami that hit Japan devastated buildings and farms, and carried entire houses down streets. But as waters retreated, tons of debris was washed into the sea. Where will all that garbage flow now that it has hit the open water? Researchers have created a guess at where and when we'll see refuse from the tsunami, including which shorelines will soon see debris from Japan's disaster washing up on beaches.

University of Hawaii at Manoa's Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner have created a model for where debris will flow. It has been based on the movement of buoys deployed over the years for scientific research, and by watching how currents move the buoys, they are showing how objects from the tsunami will travel across the Pacific.

The team estimates that the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument will start to see trash within a year, and more trash will hit Hawaiian islands shores over the following year.

Within three years, California will start to receive some of the garbage from the tsunami, and then much of the rest will be added to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Finally, in five years, Hawaii will be hit again with a larger batch, and much of it will be stuck in amongst the coral reefs along its shores.

Check out this amazing animation of how the debris moves from the shore of Japan, to the west coast of the US, and back to Hawaii... read more story at

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Doors Open Ontario celebrates 10th anniversary with exciting season of events!

2011 Doors Open Guelph - Norfolk Street United Church

TORONTO, April 11, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Now entering its 10th year, Doors Open Ontario 2011 kicks off April 30 in Guelph. This season, participants will have the opportunity to explore iconic landmarks, natural wonders, architectural gems and hidden heritage treasures at 56 community events across the province.

Seven of the events in 2011 are new. Deseronto-Napanee, Grimsby, Highlands East, Kapuskasing, Middlesex, Merrickville and Pickering have all joined the program.

Attached is a Doors Open Ontario 2011 calendar, listing the participating communities and event dates. Visit for more information and to participate in the Doors Open Ontario 2011 Digital Photo Contest or the new "All-time favourite sites" visitor survey.

Doors Open Ontario provides a glimpse into the past . . . to a different time, another world or a distant place. Each year, hundreds of historic buildings, places of worship, private homes, industrial areas and heritage gardens - some of which are rarely accessible to the public - open free of charge.

Since 2002, Doors Open Ontario has grown from 17 events to 56, representing hundreds of communities. As the 10th anniversary season draws to a close this October, the program will have generated more than four million visits to 4,500 sites across the province. From an economic standpoint, spending by out-of-town visitors in Ontario's communities will surpass the $20 million mark.

Sponsors of Doors Open Ontario 2011 include: The Globe and Mail, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation and the participating communities.

Doors Open Ontario is a program of the Ontario Heritage Trust. The Trust also coordinates Trails Open Ontario. Information on this year's Trails Open Ontario events will be available soon at

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage for present and future generations.

Guelph April 30

Chatham-Kent May 7
Whitby May 7
Hamilton May 7-8
Temiskaming Shores and Area May 14
Deseronto-Napanee (NEW) May 28
Milton May 28
Brockville-Thousand Islands May 28-29
Toronto May 28-29

Whitchurch-Stouffville June 4
Huronia June 4-5
Ottawa June 4-5
Owen Sound June 4-5
Smiths Falls June 5
Clarington June 11
Richmond Hill June 11
Burlington June 11-12
Highlands East (NEW) June 11-12
Kingston June 18
Perth June 18
Fergus-Elora June 25
Muskoka June 25-26

Aurora July 9
Kapuskasing (NEW) July 23

Norfolk August 13
Georgina August 27
Markham August 27

Belleville September 10
Cornwall-Seaway Valley September 10-11
Kawartha Lakes September 11
Amherstburg September 17
Haldimand County September 17
Newmarket September 17
Rideau Lakes-Westport September 17
St. Marys September 17
Waterloo Region September 17
London September 17-18
Middlesex (NEW) September 17-18
South Bruce Peninsula September 17-18
Merrickville (NEW) September 18
Brant September 24
East Elgin September 24
Oxford County September 24
Pembroke September 24
Grimsby (NEW) September 24-25
Oakville September 24-25
Oshawa September 24-25
Peterborough September 24-25

Barrie October 1
Misssissauga October 1
Pickering (NEW) October 1
Port Stanley-Sparta October 1
Gananoque October 1-2
St. Thomas October 1-2
Vaughan October 1-2
Kincardine October 15-16

Friday, April 8, 2011

Salvation Army Home to Close its Doors, Leaving 80 Without a Place to go and 100 Without Jobs

KITCHENER, Ontario, April 8, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Workers at the Salvation Army A.R Goudie Eventide long-term care home in Kitchener, Ontario are reeling after management announced yesterday it would be closing the facility.

No date for the closure was given, but the home has already notified the Local Integrated Health Network and is in the process of contacting the residents' families.

The workers are represented by CAW Local 1106, which was in the middle of contract negotiations with the Salvation Army when the announcement was made.

"It is extremely frustrating that this "socially conscious" employer chose to remain silent at the bargaining table about their viability," said Bill Gibson, CAW Kitchener Area Director.

Gibson said the union will be meeting with the employer to push it to keep the facility open, failing that the facility must be sold to a new owner keeping the home open. Many of the workers are women with up to 25 years seniority.

"The potential job loss for our members is devastating however the uprooting of residents during the most fragile period in their lives is saddening," said Gibson.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Health of Canadians at a Tipping Point

Canadian Diabetes Association Releases Opinion Poll Results and Report

TORONTO, April 4, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The results of an exclusive Canadian Diabetes Association public opinion poll revealed today the serious concern by Canadians that the diabetes epidemic in Canada threatens the health of their own families, the healthcare system and the Canadian economy.

According to the poll conducted by Environics Research Group, 41 per cent of respondents believe their own children or children they may have in the future are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, almost 90 per cent of respondents believe that diabetes is having a serious impact on the future of the healthcare system, while 62 per cent indicate that diabetes is hurting the Canadian economy.

Concurrent with the release of these poll results, the Association has released a new report entitled Diabetes: Canada at the Tipping Point - Charting a New Path. The findings of this report confirm the concerns of Canadians that our country is not adequately prepared to manage the growing burden of diabetes.

"Canadians recognize that diabetes is at epidemic proportions and will impact future generations, yet governments are not responding in equal measure," says Michael Cloutier, President and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association. "Our report shows that we are at the tipping point and unless action is taken immediately, diabetes will threaten the health of millions of more Canadians and the future sustainability of the Canadian healthcare system and our economy."

The report provides a comprehensive overview and assessment of federal, provincial and territorial government policies and programs for people with diabetes. Its findings indicate that while some progress has been made by governments to address diabetes, this progress is dwarfed by the growing burden of the disease. Nationwide, diabetes rates have almost doubled over the past decade and, unless action is taken now, one in three people in Canada will be living with diabetes or prediabetes by 2020.

While no region of Canada is immune to diabetes, the report shows that for people with diabetes, where they live in Canada still has a strong impact on their ability to manage their disease. Additionally, in comparison to its peer countries, Canada has some of the highest rates of diabetes prevalence, mortality and avoidable diabetes-related hospitalizations.

According to Shawn Shepheard, Chair of the Association's National Advocacy Council, "People like me, who live with diabetes, fear both the risk of major medical complications and discrimination due to our disease and our ability to afford the costs associated with managing diabetes." These concerns are echoed within the Environics poll where 78 per cent of those with type 2 diabetes reported they feel at risk of developing serious health complications due to their disease, and one in three noted that there are situations where they would hesitate to reveal they have diabetes.

When Canadians were asked to name the top factors driving increasing diabetes rates, 84 per cent point to the failure of people to take care of their own health and 81 per cent blame the food industry. In addition, when Canadians were informed that today one in four Canadians have either diabetes or prediabetes, 72 per cent say governments should spend more than they are now on programs and services designed to prevent and manage diabetes.

"Novo Nordisk is proud to partner with the Canadian Diabetes Association in its work to increase awareness of the burden of diabetes in Canada and to understand the concerns Canadians have about the severe impact of diabetes on their families, our healthcare system and the economy," said Vince Lamanna, President of Novo Nordisk Canada. "At Novo Nordisk, we are changing the future of diabetes in Canada by collaborating with the diabetes community to identify and implement better methods of diabetes prevention, education, treatment and support."

To "tip" the course of diabetes in Canada, the Canadian Diabetes Association is calling upon all governments to act now to reduce the burden of diabetes, enhance support for people with diabetes and strategically invest in diabetes programs and services.

"Unlike many other chronic diseases, diabetes can be managed effectively, allowing people with diabetes to live long and healthy lives," explains Cloutier. "Change will take time, and the time is now to work together if we have any hope of altering our current course to chart a new path for a healthier Canada in the near future."

The Growing Impact of Diabetes in Canada

Canada has one of the highest rates of diabetes prevalence at 9.2 per cent in comparison to its peer countries. Even more concerning is that Canada's rate of diabetes-related mortality is the third-highest among its peer countries.

The total population with diabetes is estimated to be 2.7 million people (7.6 per cent) and this figure is projected to rise to 4.2 million people (10.8 per cent) by 2020. While the number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes is already high, an additional one million are estimated to be living with undiagnosed diabetes. Currently, one in four Canadians lives with diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes; and this will rise to one in three by 2020 if current trends continue. Given projections of the total Canadian population by Statistics Canada of approximately 35 million people by 2020, this would mean almost 11.7 million people will be living with diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes by 2020 unless action is taken now.

The cost of diabetes today is $11.7 billion annually and should trends continue, by 2020 that cost will rise to $16 billion annually.

Visit to view the Report online or for more specific information about the differences among Canada's various provinces and jurisdictions.

About the Canadian Diabetes Association

Across the country, the Canadian Diabetes Association is leading the fight against diabetes by helping people with diabetes live healthy lives while we work to find a cure. Our community-based network of supporters help us provide education and services to people living with diabetes, advocate for our cause, break ground towards a cure and translate research into practical applications. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Senator Wallin Resigns as U of G Chancellor

photo from Flickr by 2x a God Father

GUELPH, Ontario, March 31, 2011 - University of Guelph News Release

Due to increased responsibilities in the Canadian Senate, Pamela Wallin has regretfully decided to step down as chancellor of the University of Guelph. The announcement was made today by president Alastair Summerlee.

"Due to her increasing role and responsibilities in the Senate and elsewhere, Senator Wallin feels that she can no longer devote the time necessary to properly serve as chancellor," Summerlee said.

One of Canada's most prominent media figures, a diplomat and an entrepreneur, Wallin first became chancellor in March 2007. She was elected by the University’s academic governing body, Senate, to a second three-year term last March.

“This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Wallin. “These students are our future and our most important natural resource, and to share their moment of success is truly inspiring.”

Wallin has been a member of the Canadian Senate since 2008 and has assumed the chair of the National Security and Defence Committee. She also serves as a member of the Senate’s prestigious Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee, the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee and the Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism. In addition, she was appointed honorary colonel of the Air Force in 2009 by the minister of defence.

“Pamela is a valued friend and champion of the University of Guelph and a passionate supporter of our students," Summerlee added. "She has made many significant contributions to the advancement of this university and to higher education in general. We are sad to see her go but wish her all the best.”

Wallin continues to serve as the senior adviser on Canada-U.S. relations at the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas in New York and Washington. She also sits on several corporate boards, as well as a number of not-for-profit organizations.

She was the seventh person and the second woman to hold the position of chancellor since the University’s founding in 1964.

Wallin’s career has spanned more than 30 years and several continents, including numerous positions at CBC and CTV. From 2002 to 2006, she served as consul general of Canada in New York.

U of G’s Senate will start the process of searching for a new chancellor immediately.

April is Daffodil Month - Support a Person with Cancer by Wearing a Daffodil Pin

Daffodil Day is April 27

TORONTO, March 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Every three minutes another Canadian is faced with fighting cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society wants them to know that they are not alone.

This year, as part of its annual Daffodil Month activities, the Society is stepping up the fight against cancer by designating April 27 as Daffodil Day.

"During Daffodil Month we're asking Canadians to wear a daffodil pin to honour the people in our lives affected by cancer," says Peter Goodhand, CEO and President, Canadian Cancer Society. "Throughout April our hope is that thousands of Canadians across Canada will be proudly wearing our pin to show their support for people with cancer. United by the daffodil, we will be saying that no one has to face cancer alone and that we won't give up until this disease is defeated."

The Society will be encouraging Canadians to do something special on Daffodil Day for those touched by cancer or contribute to the fight against this disease. For example:

...Tell a loved one or friend with cancer that you are thinking of them; let them know about the Society's information and support programs.

...Do something special for someone you know with cancer, such as making a meal, babysitting or doing an errand.

...Talk with your provincial or local politicians about the importance of fighting back against cancer and tell them how they can join with the Society in this fight.

...Make a presentation in your community to help raise awareness about how Canadians can fight back against cancer.

"We are thankful for Canadians' contributions to our cancer fight year-round, but on Daffodil Day we want to create a groundswell of hope and activities that will make a difference to both cancer patients and the fight against this disease," says Goodhand. "Wearing a daffodil pin throughout April and especially on Daffodil Day will be a visible symbol for people with cancer that thousands of Canadians are standing with them as they go through their cancer journey."

Events will be taking place in communities across Canada during Daffodil Month leading up to Daffodil Day. Contact your local community Society office to find out more.

"On Daffodil Day we're inviting Canadians to reflect upon the thousands of people in this country who are facing cancer and to think about ways they can help them in their journey," says Paul Lapierre, Vice President, Public Affairs and Cancer Control, Canadian Cancer Society. "During Daffodil Month, and particularly on Daffodil Day, we also want those with cancer to know that they can turn to the Society for the support they need."

To find out where you can get a daffodil pin contact your local Society office or go to The pins are also available at outlets of Curves Canada, First Choice Haircutters, Laura Canada and WirelessWave/Tbooth. While the pin is not being sold for a set price, the Society encourages Canadians to make a donation to help support the fights across Canada.

The Canadian Cancer Society has had Daffodil Days in the past where daffodil flowers have been sold on various designated days in communities across Canada in late March and April. This year's Daffodil Day on April 27 will have a different focus. The Society wants to create one special day for Canadians to visibly show their support for those on a cancer journey. Daffodil flowers will continue to be sold in many communities throughout Canada.

By supporting the Canadian Cancer Society during Daffodil Month and on Daffodil Day Canadians will be joining a team that works hard to fight cancer in Canada. Your donation will help the Canadian Cancer Society:

...prevent cancer research to outsmart cancer
...empower, inform and support Canadians living with cancer
...advocate for public policies to improve the health of Canadians

During Daffodil Month Canadians can make a difference by:

...wearing a daffodil pin to show your support for people with cancer
...attending a Daffodil Day event in your community
...buying daffodils, the Society's symbol of hope
...donating to the Canadian Cancer Society when a canvasser knocks on your door
...participating in a Society fundraising event in your community
...signing up to participate in a Relay For Life event in your community

Contact your local Society office to find out what is going on in your community.

Watch for these upcoming events:

Wednesday, April 27: New cancer research grants funded by the Canadian Cancer Society will be announced.

Wednesday, May 18: New cancer statistics will be released showing the state of cancer in Canada.

Cancer Statistics

...An estimated 173,800 new cases of cancer (excluding 75,500 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer) and 76,200 deaths from cancer were expected to occur in Canada in 2010.

...The five-year relative survival for all cancers combined in Canada is 62 per cent.

...The death rate for all cancers combined is declining for males in most age groups and for females under 70.

The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join the fight! Go to to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.