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Kaeleigh Phillips

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What to do with a bushel of apples

Tis’ the season of apple-picking and if you are like me, you have purchased a massive bushel of the delicious fruit only to wonder: what on earth do I do with them now? With over 30 apples sitting in my fridge currently, it is a great opportunity to try out a variety of apple recipes. Here is what I came up with.

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Photo by Stacy Spensley.

Applesauce

Once you make your own applesauce, you won’t want to buy it from the store anymore. Peel and chop at least four apples and add them to a pot. Combine with ¾ cup water, ¼ cup sugar, and cinnamon to taste. Heat on medium for 15 minutes until the mix is mushy and remove from the heat. Mush with a fork or blend if preferred. Try adding some maple syrup, cinnamon, and ginger for an extra kick. You can also add blueberries or pears.

Cinnamon Apple Chips

Cinnamon apple chips are a sweet and crunchy alternative to regular chips. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and thinly slice apples. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and place on cookie sheet. Bake for one hour until the edges are curled up. Apple slices are best when still warm and crunchy.

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Caramel Apples

If you are looking for more of a sweet treat, caramel apples are a delicious and challenging recipe. Wash thoroughly to remove wax coating from the apples and remove the stems. Replace the stem with a chopstick by inserting it into each apple. Melt 1 Tbsp. vegan margarine, 1 ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup corn syrup, 4 tbsp. water and ¼ tsp vanilla into a pot and heat until warm. Coat each apple into the mixture and refrigerate for one to two hours until solid. Roll the apple in nuts or other fun toppings if desired.

 

Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is a great dish for when company comes over. Crumble brown sugar with vegan margarine to coat the bottom of a small sized casserole dish.  Peel and chop eight apples and place into a plastic bag with a dash of lemon juice. Mix with 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, ½ tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt. In another bowl, mix 1/3 cup brown sugar, ¼ cup flour, ½ cup oats, ¼ tsp cinnamon and salt. Add 1/3 cup melted vegan margarine. Place apples into the casserole and sprinkle the sugar mixture on top. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees F.

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Homemade Apple Cider

Don’t you just love a nice hot cup of apple cider, especially as the summer warmth fades away and cooler temperatures set in to stay? You’ll need 12 apples, an orange, a lemon, 3-4 cinnamon sticks, ¾ tsp whole cloves, vanilla extract, and brown sugar to sweeten. Put the first five ingredients into a pot and simmer for four hours until all ingredients are soft. Mash up all ingredients and simmer for another hour. Strain mixture several times until all the pulp and skin are gone. Add vanilla and sugar, and enjoy this yummy brew. If you are feeling adventurous, add a bit of rum!

 

What is your favourite apple recipe, let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

Presto fare system not working up to standard

What is the deal with Presto these days?

On three separate occasions, I have gone into subway stations to fill up my Presto card and the machine is either broken or refuses to load my “e-purse”. The machines on buses and streetcars have also been malfunctioning, and an internal audit has confirmed that five to six per cent of machines aren’t working at all times on TTC transit.

Presto is supposed to be running on the entire transit system by the end of 2016, and will eventually replace the metropass and TTC fare tokens. Considering that the machines malfunction so often, it is inconceivable to think that Toronto’s entire TTC system will rely on the Presto fare system. If you think that TTC delays are long now, can you even imagine?

The Ontario government signed a $250 million contract with Accenture and other vendors to develop and operate Presto by the end of 2016. As the operator, these companies must design the software, test it, manufacture, implement, do rollout and support the project for 10 years. It appears that Accenture and the other vendors aren’t living up to its promise considering rollout issues, due to the machines malfunctioning. The project’s glitches and high costs have also been criticized by the Auditor General of Ontario.

When a student or senior tries to get their fare for a lower price on Presto, it is necessary to commute up to Davisville Station to get the specialized rate. This surely prevents seniors with limited mobility from accessing the service and is not user-friendly. When the Presto system was implemented in TTC, more planning and implementation of these issues should have been considered and solved. With the end of 2016 looming, machines not working and not having specialized fare options available at every station shows how poorly the Presto card system is working.

TTC had hoped to implement the Presto fare system instead of tokens or the metropass by sometime in 2017. It has been delayed and a lot of questions remain on how that will happen. How will a pay-asyou go system be implemented without crashing the system? How will single-fare transfers be managed? What will be the daily cap? How will the metropass work as a part of the Presto card? Accenture and other vendors will also have to really step up to the plate and fix a lot of unnecessary issues before anyone believes Toronto commuters can rely on Presto as one of their main transit options.

The idea of integrating the GO transit system and TTC into one fare was a spectacular idea for Toronto and Ontario. It is frusturating that the rollout of the Presto machines has been so disappointing. It will be interesting to see if Accenture and the other vendors can fix the operating issues with the system, and then TTC can move forward with integrating the Presto system into Toronto successfully.

Life-changing documentaries released in 2016

Documentaries are one of the most influential tools of education in our modern world. People are constantly immersed in images, video, multimedia, and social media, creating an information-overload culture that sometimes makes it difficult for messages to get through. That’s what’s so great about documentaries. There is nothing more thought-provoking than showing people through the lens of a camera the realities of the world we live in and the importance of changing it.

Which documentaries are the best so far in 2016? Here is a list worth checking out. Get ready to think, learn and discuss.

Before the Flood (2016). Directed by Fisher Stevens.
Before the Flood (2016). Directed by Fisher Stevens.

Before the Flood

Before the Flood was a documentary that was all the buzz at its release at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last month in Toronto. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the main subject leads an investigative journey around the world about climate change. The documentary was directed by Fisher Stevens, who made The Cove. Martin Scorsese is an executive producer for the film.  DiCaprio is a UN Ambassador of Peace and is dedicated to raising world awareness for climate change. Barack Obama, an avid environmentalist as well, is featured in the film. This is arguably one of the most awaited environmental documentaries of the year. It will be released on October 21 2016 by National Geographic.

Amy (2016). Directed by Asaf Kapadia.
Amy (2016). Directed by Asaf Kapadia.

Amy

Directed by Asif Kapadia, Amy takes the viewer on the life journey of singer Amy Winehouse, including her downhill climb into drugs and alcohol, ending in her death on July 23, 2011. The documentary explains how Winehouse began as an aspiring jazz singer and her soulful voice led to her success relatively quickly. It then describes how her complex relationship with her father and a troubled relationship led her into drug and alcohol addiction. Winehouse deteriorates and becomes severely anorexic, leading her to be the butt of many international jokes by tabloid media. The documentary gives an intimate background into how a life of fame can make a person crack, and how despite her fame and success, she felt quite alone. This documentary is definitely worth watching. Amy won a 2016 academy award for best documentary feature this past year.

 

The power lines. Provided by Koneline.
The power lines. Provided by Koneline.

Koneline

Koneline is a Canadian-made film and focuses on the Tahltan native clan, located in Northern B.C. It features the various elements that affect people of Northern B.C., ranging from the impact of the mining industry to hunting in the region. Director Nettie Wild portrays the northern landscape in such a beautiful manner, it becomes mesmerizing to the viewer and tells the story of the land, highlighting the influence imagery and filmography can have on expressing how land affects people. Wild attempts to demonstrate how the various people who live n Northern B.C have a story and perspective into their struggle to survive in the area and how working together will bring peace and understanding. Koneline won Best Canadian Feature Documentary award at Hot Docs in 2016, and is being screened at several venues across Canada.

Amanda Knox (2016). Directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn.
Amanda Knox (2016). Directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn.

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox follows the life of American college student, Knox, who was falsely charged with the murder of her roommate, British student, Meredith Kercher. Knox was sentenced to jail in 2017 for 26 years and served four years before being acquitted in 2011. The documentary focuses strongly on the negative power of media sensationalism and how it can ruin people’s lives. The story is told from Knox’s perspective and also includes her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who was also convicted and later acquitted. The film is directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn and was released on Sept. 10, 2016 on Netflix.

Cameraperson (2016). Directed by Kirsten Johnson.
Cameraperson (2016). Directed by Kirsten Johnson.

Cameraperson

Cameraperson is an autobiographical account of the influence of filmmaking on director Kirsten Johnson. She creates a compilation of work and combines it into a fascinating journey of how filmography can impact the person who creates it. The film showcases postwar Bosnia, a housewife in Nigeria, and other glimpses into Johnson’s 25-year career. The documentary runs deep and lends a glimpse into the rarely seen perspective of the filmographer as the main subject. Previously Kirsten Johnson has received a Sundance Film Festival Excellence in Cinematography award: U.S Documentary for The Oath (2010) that told the story of Osama Bin Laden’s driver, Abu Jandal. She was the cinematographer for Citizen Four (2014), which was the documentary that told the story of Edward Snowden, a previous employee of the NSA. Cameraperson was released on September 9 2016.

What documentaries have you watched? Let us know in the comments below!

Women of the Week: Kimberly Carroll

Body/Mind/Spirit coach Kimberly Carroll has a voice that is calm, but focused. It has a powerful quality to it that helps each person she speaks with realize how important it is to care for themselves in order to impact change in others. After listening to her speak, it’s easy to understand her transition from a career in radio and television into a profession that allows her to motivate and help people.

“So many women spend their lives meeting the needs of the people around them. They don’t focus on what makes them a force in the world. This may seem selfless, but ultimately it is a disservice to the world that they don’t step into their power,” Carroll says.

Carroll helps people uncover their true selves through an intensive seven-week program that is supposed to inspire them to find motivation and happiness in their lives. But, Carroll didn’t always want to be a motivational speaker. Originating from Brandon, Manitoba, she grew up immersed in music. She eventually moved to Toronto to take radio and television at Ryerson University.

“Between my second and third year in Ryerson, I was a news reporter in Brandon … [but] realized news wasn’t where I wanted to be,” Carroll says. “After I graduated, I began my career as a arts & entertainment reporter in Winnipeg on MTN, and moved on to some shows in Toronto and in Edmonton.” Carroll took a break in 2002 to travel the world, living in Australia, Amsterdam, and India doing music comedy street shows. She returned to Canada in 2004 to continue her broadcasting career at CBC Radio in Winnipeg, and as host of Take this House and Sell It. “I was the crazy redhead that ran around telling everyone to hurry up,” Carroll recounts while laughing.

Carroll had done well in Canadian radio and television, but her experience on Take this House and Sell It show made her crave answers to the bigger questions. “There is an attitude in television that it is the most important thing in the world. I don’t think television is bad though. I had a wonderful experience, but I wanted to go deeper,” Carroll says. “At a very early age, I was asking the big questions. Why am I here? What am I doing? You can imagine none of the other kids wanted to play with me.”

She began by seeking answers through an intense personal journey that led her to Denise Linn, a world leader and soul coach. Carroll never intended on making soul coaching her life’s work, but felt it was so powerful in her own life it was worth pursuing. “I joke that I sold my soul to television and became a coach to earn it back,” Carroll says.  She began her own practice in 2009 and has been at it ever since.

An important element to her soul coaching is the importance of pursuing a life of animal activism as well. A lot of people don’t believe they can make a difference and don’t pursue advocacy work because of it. Carroll helps people to see that everyone can help in some way or another. “There is an epidemic of people who want to be of service but don’t think they can. My attitude is start now, start today and uses the uniqueness of you,” Carroll says. “Start in small little bite sized ways. The cure for cancer may never come, but you need to start right here with what you have.”

Carroll is an avid activist herself, combining her media skills with her passion for animals. She launched the “Why love one but eat the other” campaign that was featured on buses and subways in Toronto. It was later launched as a cross-country campaign with the animal rights group Mercy for Animals Canada, an organization she helped found.

Carroll has launched several initiatives, including launching the Toronto Vegetarian Foodbank in Toronto with her partner, Matt Noble that serves groceries to 230 people monthly. “We wanted to start an initiative that helped people and animals…we wanted to offer cruelty-free, healthy and eco-conscious food for people living under the poverty line,” Carroll says. “The food bank system often isn’t accommodating for vegans and vegetarians”

Many of Carroll’s clients are animal rights activists, people who have been traumatized by animal suffering. Carroll herself has developed a series of techniques that she shares with and teaches her clients on how to stay centered as an activist.  “I often help women in animal protection. In order to be a power to be reckoned with, you need to pay attention to yourself,” Carroll says. “You can’t pour everything out without refuelling. I’ve learnt a lot of techniques on how to stay centered and charged as an activist.”

Carroll also enjoys reading and listening to music when she can find the time. She recently finished “The Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi, which traces the lineage of sisters born in Ghana over three hundred years and involved being in the slave trade.  Carroll also loves listening to the Ani DiFranco and the Beastie Boys.

Carroll is an inspiring woman whose spirit and tenacity leads other women to see their own potential in making great change on this planet. Carroll’s work helps shift dreams into realities and her fiery spirit definitely empowers others. Everyone could do with an ounce of the positivity that Carroll emits.

How to create a beautiful D.I.Y. wedding

A wedding is an expensive affair that often breaks the bank for newlyweds. Instead of pouring thousands of dollars into one single day, why not take on some of the essentials yourself, saving some of your hard-earned money for the honeymoon or your future home? Here are some beautiful and simple do-it-yourself tips that will save you money, and also give you the fairytale wedding you deserve.

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  1. Make your own bouquet and don’t over-do the flowers

Bouquets can become expensive quickly, especially if you tag the word “wedding” onto the order when you decide on a florist. Many florists and other wedding services have a mark-up for the ‘big day’, so avoid dropping the ‘w-word’ if you can. Instead, find a friend who is a gardening expert and co-opt them into a trip to the greenhouse. Designing your own bouquet is fairly simply and adds a lovely personal touch. Also if you decide to make your own flower arrangements, be sure to obtain flower preservative from a florist or greenhouse to keep them fresh the night before the big day.

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  1. Decorate and set-up yourself

Wedding decorations can quickly become gaudy if they are over the top. Simple and elegant is best and who better to make that happen than you! Keep the decorations simple and natural in order to make an elegant wedding. An example is to use mason jars with tea lights in them and springs of pine on the side or subtle flowers alongside the chairs. Using natural elements for a simple wedding also keeps it looking fresh and is a better option than buying cheap and fake decorations. By setting up yourself, you also save on the costs of hiring a crew to do it. Instead of asking for wedding gifts, why not ask for wedding help? That’s what a wedding party is for, right?

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  1. Have your wedding at a low-cost location with natural beauty

If you have a beautiful outdoor venue at your disposal, why not use that instead of paying an arm and a leg for a private venue? Look at public parks  or use a friend’s backyard who lives somewhere scenic. Public parks have a cost, but then you are supporting the upkeep of their green space and it is still much more cost-effective than a private venue. Finding a setting that is by a lakeside or has mountains in the background creates a naturally beautiful wedding and ultimately saves you money. It also creates a great energy on your big day by breathing in fresh air and seeing the sunshine glint off your beautiful dress. Outdoor weddings for the win!

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  1. Buy your dress off the rack

Wedding dresses can run into the thousands and many women get sucked into buying an overly expensive gown bedazzled with one-of-a-kind jewels and all the extras that come with it. Ditch the overdone look and let your family and friends revel in your natural beauty. If you go for a more elegant and simple dress (with a bit of bedazzling to be sure), then it will save on unnecessary costs and you will still look ravishing. Also, buy the dress off the rack if you can to save on costs of ordering one. It is a dress to be used for one day only. Let’s not go over the top ladies.

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  1. Get a photography student for wedding photos

Wedding photos are so expensive. Not to say they aren’t important though, as they preserve the memories of your big day. Instead of opting for a big-time expensive photographer, make use of the little guys (they will love you for it!). Being in the media world, I can name 10 photographers off hand that are extremely talented, but can’t find work because of their lack of experience. By giving student photographers a chance to do your photos, you will reap the benefits of lowered rates and help someone move forward in their career. Just ask for a portfolio of samples first and give the newbie a whirl.

Overall, there are many ways to cut down on costs for your wedding by simply doing it yourself. It is also a great way to spend time with your bridesmaids and loved ones. I’ve always found the process of creation creates a more authentic and positive experience than getting other people to do it for you.

What are your D.I.Y wedding ideas? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

 

Women in history: Indigenous poet Emily Pauline Johnson

Emily Pauline Johnson, or Pauline Johnson as she was popularly known, was a Canadian aboriginal poet and performer in the late 19th century who transcribed the oral traditions of native storytelling and paved the way for other indigenous women to record their art. Pauline was born on March 10 1861 in Brantford, Ont. and died at the age of 52 on March 7, 1913 in Vancouver B.C. Women’s Post often features women who are doing extraordinary things; however, too often we forget about the women in history who made it possible for women to get that far. In celebration of Women in History month, Women’s Post hopes to showcase the women from our past that have made a difference.

Pauline was born into a high-ranking family and was the youngest daughter of Mohawk Chief George Henry Martin Johnson and British born, Emily Susanna Howells Johnson.

Pauline was half Mohawk and half British, and her parent’s marriage was disliked by many people in her life including both sides of her family. Despite her extended family not supporting Pauline’s upbringing, Pauline’s own parents encouraged acceptance of both her Mohawk and British heritages. This influenced her work greatly later in her life. Her poems focusing primarily on aboriginal themes, yet her poetry also included a distinct European undertone in her prose structure.

Pauline grew up in a wealthy Canadian home in Ontario known as Chiefswood, a 225 acre estate at the Six Nations Reserve. They were visited by a number of famous people in Canadian history because of the high-ranking family’s status, including Inventor Alexander Graham Bell, painter Homer Watson and Lord and Lady Dufferin, the Governor General of Canada and his wife. However, because Johnson’s mother wasn’t aboriginal, Pauline was excluded from many Mohawk events, which is traditionally a matrilineal tribe. Instead, she learned many of the Mohawk traditions from her grandfather John Smoke Johnson and later attributed her talent as a poet to him.

After Johnson’s father died in 1884, she moved with her mother and sister to Brantford into a smaller home. She performed in local theatre shows to support her family and published her first famous poem in 1885 called “A Cry from an Indian Wife”:

“They all are young and beautiful and good;
Curse the war that drinks their harmless blood.
Curse to the fate that brought them from the East
To be chiefs — to make our nation least
that breathes the air of this vast continent.
Still their new rule and council is well meant.
They but forget we Indians owned the land
From Ocean unto ocean; that they stand
Upon a soil that centuries agone
Was our sole kingdom and our right alone.
They never think how they would feel today,
If some great nation came from far away,
Wresting their country from their hapless braves,
Giving what they gave us — but wars and graves.”

The poem was based on the battle of Cut Knife Creek in the Riel Rebellion, which happened the same year she wrote and published the poem. Johnson demonstrated her loyalty to her Mohawk heritage and wrote poems as a plea for native people and the British to find peace. She went on to create many other poems in an attempt to try and reconcile the two sides through her words.

In 1892, Johnson was invited to the Young Men’s Liberal Art Association for an author’s evening — she was the only woman in attendance. She was the only writer asked back for an encore. After the success of this performance, she began touring and performing native poetry in both Canada and the United States, including another one of her famous poems, “The Song My Paddle Sings”. She dressed in traditional costume for a portion of her show, and change into Victorian dress for the remaining half, thus demonstrating her split heritage in her performing art.

Her dual heritage helped her gain notoriety from the British colonials and native clans, yet she was also criticized as being unauthentic and was often called a ‘half-breed’. Her writing exemplifies the pain of being rejected by both the Mohawk people for growing up in privilege with a Caucasian mother, and also cast away by colonials because her father was a chief.

In her book of poems, The Moccasin Maker,  which was published posthumously in 1913, she recounts “I dream nightly of the horrors of the white man’s hell. Why did they teach me of it, only to fling me into it?….. They account for it by the fact that I am a Redskin. They seem to have forgotten I am a woman.” Her passionate and direct account of these experiences (though fictional in this piece of literature) as a young Mohawk-British woman in the late 1800s paints a visceral picture of the smouldering anger aboriginal women must have felt in this time. Pauline was both aboriginal and female in a time before the women’s suffrage movement took fire in Canada and Aboriginals were also recognized and respected as equals. Her courage is inspiring.

In 1911, she published Legends of Vancouver, her most well read work and is considered an important piece of written history of aboriginal culture in the city. Johnson died of breast cancer in Vancouver in 1913. Her funeral was the most highly attended ever in the city at that time and her ashes spread in Stanley Park.

Pauline Johnson had a powerful impact on aboriginal women’s art in Canada and was one of the first native women to publish to the extent she did. Johnson led the way for other aboriginal poets to come forth, and her efforts to reconcile native and British rivals was never forgotten. May we all write with the courage that Pauline Johnson displayed, using the power of words to evoke great change in a country and inspire a new definition of Canadian identity.

Why isn’t Metrolinx developing above Crosstown’s Avenue station?

Developing alongside transit lines and creating urban density is a necessity when building a growing city. It ensures that transit corridors will be used and simultaneously provides people with much-needed places to live in neighbourhoods with a strong sense of community. It is a win-win right? For Metrolinx and Terranata Developments Inc., it appears not.

Metrolinx recently rejected Terranata’s application to build a 15-story condominium over top of the Avenue Rd. station on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. Terranata was willing to offer millions up front to Metrolinx and work flexibly with the province to build both the station and development. However, Metrolinx is focused on transit-oriented development (TOD), which requires certain agreements to be put in place before approving an application.

According to Metrolinx, the Terranata proposal didn’t meet those transit-oriented guidelines for development along the transit corridor. For example, the development must have the support of the local municipality, should have no impacts on the delivery time of the project, and have no negative impacts on the budget of the project. The proposal by Terranata would have benefited the project’s budget, but it didn’t comply with the other two guidelines, specifically it would have delayed the building of the project by at least a year.

Terranata asked to build above the LRT line last spring, but the shovels hit the ground for the Crosstown LRT in early March. Though Terranata applied for the air space above the station before the station began construction, obtaining municipal support for the development had yet to happen. It didn’t help that Terranata wanted to build 15 stories high, which exceeded zoning bylaws. Terranata has since appealed the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board (not an organization with the fastest track record). From Metrolinx’s perspective, construction of the development could potentially delay the scheduling impacts on the delivery of the LRT. Terranata, on the other hand, wanted to give Metrolinx access to their property as a construction staging area, which may have benefited both parties.

Metrolinx remains interested in pairing transit construction with city development, but it isn’t their central focus. For the transit agency, it is more important to get the line built and promote commercial development and infrastructure near the transit corridors. Metrolinx has approved proposals by the Country Wide Homes at Crosstown’s Leaside Station and Build Toronto at Crosstown Eglinton Station. Though these projects were approved by Metrolinx because they fit the criteria, perhaps Terranata should have been given the opportunity to at least gain approval on part of the city.

It is clear that the merging of city building and transit has its challenges in Toronto. Toronto needs to re-evaluate how it builds. Soon, the city will no longer be able to build outwards, and will have to develop high-rise building to compensate for the growing population. Planning for the future is imperative, and building above transit corridors or subway stations is exactly what the city should be considering. And it can work — it’s being done now with the Rail Deck Park.

The case of Terranata has been in the media a lot lately, which is causing a lot of people to wonder about the hoops developers must jump through to gain approval.  City planners and Metrolinx have expressed a commitment to development and density, but when will they plan on acting on it? It’s all still in the air.

Woman of the Week: Anita Krajnc

Tragedy struck in Burlington last week when a truck carrying pigs to slaughter overturned on the highway. Forty pigs were killed in the accident. Fearman’s Slaughterhouse then walked the 100 remaining pigs to be killed in their facility. Animal rights protesters were on the scene to witness a terrible lack of mercy on the part of the slaughterhouse workers. Anita Krajnc of Toronto Pig Save tried desperately to save any of the traumatized pigs from being murdered. She was arrested for crossing police lines and trying to see the pigs that were being hidden from sight behind cardboard barriers. Krajnc was charged with obstructing a peace officer and breach of recognizance. This is the second time she has been arrested for her humane acts towards these animals.

Krajnc is a renowned animal activist in Toronto and the founder of Toronto Pig Save, an animal rights group that leads three weekly vigils for pigs, cows and chickens at three slaughterhouses in the local area. She is a passionate advocate for farm animals and an important figurehead in animal rights in Canada.“Toronto Pig Save began by calling vegan potlucks, and organizing meetings. In July 2011, we started doing three vigils a week,” she said. As of late, Krajnc has been appearing in the news because of a charge of criminal mischief for giving pigs water at Fearman’s slaughterhouse on June 22, 2015. The case is still being fought in court.

Krajnc was inspired to start Toronto Pig Save in 2010 during one of her walks with her dog, Mr. Bean. As she walked along Lakeshore that morning, she saw a number of trucks driving into Quality Meatpackers to slaughter pigs.

Krajnc admits that the protest last week was deeply upsetting to her.“I saw office workers holding up cardboard to hide the victims. As soon as I saw this, I walked passed them and I went over the line right away. I was in a trance. They pushed me back and I got arrested,” Krajnc says. “I’m having a difficulty coping mentally. It is such violence, such injustice. They are holding cardboard sheets to hide what is going on. It really is a tragedy that happens every day and these pigs face unimaginable horrors. It is the extra trauma of the truck crash, but what happens behind closed doors is the systemic abuse.”

Krajnc first became involved in animal rights in the 1990s at university. She previously taught human social strategy  at Queen’s university and has a PhD in political science. In the last six months though, Krajnc confessed she has been struggling emotionally to cope with the continued murder of pigs, chickens and cows. “I’ve been doing five years of vigils and I’ve been stepping back lately,” Krajnc says.  “I’m taking more photos of the activists. I’m burned out. I find it so traumatizing.”

Krajnc is trying to find ways to cope with the stress and trauma of seeing the animals she loves murdered weekly. “I’ve been on a healing mission since May and I’ve changed my behaviour a bit,” Krajnc confesses. “For four years, I’ve been grounded. Then I started to dread going to the cow vigils. It is cumulative. There were more and more slaughterhouse workers mocking us.”

Even though Krajnc has been personally impacted by Toronto Pig Save,  she is quick to bring focus back to the pigs, who she cites as the true victims. She emphasizes that her arrest should not be the media’s focus, but instead reporters should target the way pigs are treated. Protesters caught a video of workers shooting a pig in the head at the site of the accident last week. Over 100 pigs were walked to slaughter after waiting hours trapped in the truck, and pigs that were injured were left on their side, on the road, without water for the better part of the day.

Krajnc points out that it is positive the media is interested in her court case and two charges, but she has an idea why news outlets haven’t taken an interest previously. “The media feels comfortable in reporting truck accidents,  that is considered legitimate. It is easier to report on that than animal cruelty alone,” Krajnc says. “Why does my trial get so much attention? I’ve been doing vigils for five years.”

Krajnc does not give up hope though and doesn’t believe it is the people who are at fault — but instead the system itself. “I read a lot of Tolstoy. He helps me a lot in building loved-based community organizing and bearing witness,” Krajnc says. “When you are in a violent place, it is easy to the hate the injustice— and the people too. But it is the system I hate, not the people.”

 

 “When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to him who suffers, and try to help him.” – from Leo Tolstoy’s A Calendar of Wisdom 

Regardless of the legal action against Anita Krajnc, she and the rest of the heroes at Toronto Pig Save will continue their work to show pigs, cows, and chickens that someone cares about them and is willing to stand up for their rights.

“I’m giving water to thirsty pigs. It hasn’t changed. We are following the golden rule. No regrets. I tell the truth. Do with it what you will.”

What I want to tell my child on International Day of the Girl

Yesterday I watched my five-year-old daughter trek through a field of long grass almost as tall as her, marching valiantly with her walking stick and determined to forge her own path. It hit me how strong women really are, even when we are small girls. She may be mini, but she is mighty and I will protect her with everything I have to give.

Unfortunately there are some girls in the world today that don’t have the opportunities that my daughter has in this world. Imagine a small girl with no healthcare, education, or parents to protect her. This nightmare exists and isn’t just the stuff of some grim horror movie. Looking at my daughter, I am confounded that things such as child marriage or female mutilation are realities. It is a good first step that International Day of the Girl was launched in 2011 to recognize the importance of advocating on behalf of girls everywhere. It is a day that has made me realize how lucky my daughter is that she was born into a country where she has opportunities. Why would any little girl deserve less than another simply because of her nationality? Her ethnicity? Her gender?

International Day of the Girl was declared on December 19 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN adopted Resolution 66/170 to make October 11 a day that recognizes girls’ rights and the importance of advocating on their behalf. International Day of the Girl also focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a series of objectives on behalf of the UN to make the world a better place.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 focuses on achieving gender equality and empowerment for all girls and women. A few of the Goal 5 targets include ending all forms of discrimination for woman and girls, ending violence, eliminating harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage, giving equal access to government roles, and providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

The percentage of women between the ages of 20 and 24 who were married before 18 years old dropped from 32 per cent in 1990 to 26 per cent in 2015. Marriage of girls who were younger than 15 also dropped from 12 per cent in 1990 to seven per cent in 2015. Female genital mutilation has dropped slightly, but it still continues to be a relevant problem in certain countries — there is unfortunately limited data. In 30 countries that had data available, one in three girls have undergone the practice as compared to 1 in 2 girls in the 1980s. More information is needed on this issue to truly understand the scope of female genital mutilation though.

Another statistic: globally, women speakers in national parliament accounts for 18 per cent of all speakers as of January 2016, with 49 out of 273 posts globally.

There is clearly a lot of work that needs to be done to create a safe world for girls everywhere. International Day of the Girl is a step towards highlighting the importance of these issues, but world leaders need to take more than one day to recognize the challenges, obstacles, and atrocities these young girls deal with every day. I can only hope that I will one day be able to tell my daughter that child marriage, female genital mutilation, child marriage and unequal representation in parliament are things of the past, and that we can finally live in a world of equality for girls around the world.

Fun fall activities to enjoy with your kids

The weather will soon be changing (sadly) — this weekend may be your last chance to play outdoors without freezing, so get outside with your kids and enjoy!

The best part about the fall is that there are so many ways to celebrate it. Harvest, Halloween, there are so many activities to take part in. Here are a few ideas that will have you putting away the computer and phone, and spend quality time with the little stinkers.

Door Decorating

Decorating the door for Halloween or plastering it with fall colours is an easy and fun way to celebrate the month of October. It is also considerably cheaper than buying Halloween decorations that will only be used for a few days before being stuffed in a box. Simply purchase coloured paper and black or white electric tape and go to town. You can make a ghost, a mummy, a skeleton or a monster easily on the door. The rectangular frame of the door lends itself to making a face on the door quite easily. The kids will love designing it and can then enjoy the decoration going in and out of the house every day.

Painting using acorns

Instead of using store-bought painting supplies, why not collect a few acorns and use them instead. Find acorns and chop them in half to create elaborate stamps that can be dipped into the paint. You can also glue the acorns onto the page, and paint and decorate them if you want to make a fun fall craft. Grab a few leaves while looking for the acorns as well to use as stamps and decorations. The designs these fall nature items will create on paper will astound kids, and the scavenger hunt for supplies gets the little ones out in the backyard breathing that fresh fall air. That is a win-win in my books.

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Bake Apple Chips

Apple picking is one of my favourite childhood memories. It is so enjoyable to fill a basket, and to see how big the apples can grow on the trees. The taste of locally grown apples can’t be compared to any other as well, they are delicious! If you collect too many apples, there are many fun recipes that include this delectable fruit. Baked apple chips are a healthy chip and are easy to make. Simply slice the apples into thin strips and bake them on low heat for about 45 minutes. They can be seasoned with a variety of tastes, but are still sweet if left untouched. Between crunching down on a fresh apple and munching on apple chips, you simply can’t go wrong.

Nature Walk

Taking fall nature walks is almost more relaxing than hiking in the summer. The weather is much cooler, which makes for a more enjoyable walking experience in comparison to a trucking through the woods on a blazing hot day. Collecting leaves and enjoying the beautiful fall colours is an experience within itself as well. Bring along a bag to collect fall nature items that the kids find along the way to make a collage later. This helps kids understand and absorb the transitions between seasons and gives a fun objective to a meander in the woods. Bring a thermos of apple cider to make your fall walk run perfectly.

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Leaf Wars

If you want a more interactive fall experience with the kids, launch yourself into the well-known leaf war. The leaf war is the little brother of the snowball fight, and hurts a lot less. It involves throwing leaves at each other and basically ganging up on dad and knocking him over. It is also fun to pile leaves into competing camps and to play-wrestle each other into them. A little bit of pretend playtime with mom and dad is a kid’s dream, so dig in and enjoy. Disclaimer: take a moment to explain it is all in good fun, and shouldn’t make kids think violence is okay. We are all very kind to each other when we engage in leaf wars.

The popular saying, ‘winter is coming’, from TV show Game of Thrones, really sums it up. Before the cold winds and snowy days hits the city, enjoy the last rays of sunshine and tolerable outdoor weather. Get outside with the kids and dig into some enjoyable fall activities. Engaging in fall crafts teaches kids the importance of the changing seasons and most importantly, you are spending quality time with the little people who matter most in this ever-changing world.

What are your favourite fall activities with the kids? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.