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Weather bomb brings out the Canadian wimps

I am a Canadian. I live in the North. Therefore, I should expect it to be a little cold in the winter.

That’s the theory at least.

This is what I don’t understand. Those living in Florida have a slight right to freak out at the sight of a small flurry, but those in Canada? They have no excuse! Winter is something people should be preparing for in September, especially with the impact of global warming!

The fact is, it is cold in Canada. It snows in Canada. There are storms that hit every year in Canada. And yet — no one is ever prepared for them. These storms shut down subways, cause car accidents, and down hydro lines. Politicians seem shocked when suddenly they have to deal with homeless shelters at capacity, as if this is something that has never happened before. And this is just a regular Canadian winter.

So, imagine the panic when a meteorologist says a storm called a “bomb cyclone” was about to hit the East Coast.

A bomb cyclone was a term created more for social media than anything else. The actual term for a storm like this one is cyclogenesis or bombogenisis, and refers to a low pressure cold front that falls “24 millibars in 24 hours or less”. In simple terms, it means a cyclone in which the air moves up into the atmosphere to create precipitation. Due to the cold weather, this precipitation falls in the form of snow or hail.

Millibars measures the pressure of a cyclone. The standard pressure on Earth is 1013.2 millibars, so dropping to 24 millibars would indicate an incredibly “explosive” storm; hence the term bomb cyclone.

The so-called bomb cyclone dropped about 60 cm of snow to parts of New Brunswick over a period of 24 hours. The winds were a hurricane force of 170 km/h in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.The power is out for tens of thousands of residents and certain regions are still under blizzard warnings.

While the storm did result in some crazy photographs and video on social media, there were no deaths.

This is what irks me. Storms like these, albeit a bit frightening, happen every year. Maritimers survived, just like they always do. But, the Maritimes are different from the rest of the country. When a storm hits, they stand strong. They know it is coming and they work double-time to make sure neighbours are safe and infrastructure is repaired. The rest of the country? Big wimps!

With weather reaching -30 degrees with windchill, Ontario is freaking out. Politicians and news anchors are pleading residents to stay indoors. Events are being cancelled. All because of a little cold weather.

Sure, you can argue that -30 degrees is incredibly chilly. I would agree with that statement; however, this doesn’t just happen when the temperature drops below 30. The first snowfall in Toronto is hell! It’s like everyone forgets how to drive or dress for the winter. During the first snowstorm, it took me two hours to get home. It is usually a 30 minute commute. I look out my window and see teenage girls wandering around in short dresses and heels, and then complaining about frostbite!

Can the rest of Canada pull itself together and act…well, Canadian? Winter is not going anywhere, and you can’t hibernate for the next three months!

And if you do decide to hibernate, here is a tip: Next January, it may also be a bit nippy.

New skating rink opens in Toronto under Gardiner

I’ve skated at Nathan Phillips Square and Harbourfront, as well as my local community centre, and each one has something unique I love. Depending on my mood — if I want music, ambiance, or an empty rink — I’ll visit each one in turn. So, I was incredibly excited when I heard Toronto’s plan to build a new skating rink under the Gardiner Expressway.

The Bentway Skate Trail is a 220 metre stretch of ice located right beside the Fort York Visitor Centre, between Strachan Ave. and Bathurst St. It’s a brilliant use of previously unused space, creating a public venue for winter activity in an area that typically isn’t visited. The city is even considering expanding the trail to include gardens, live performance areas, space for markets and exhibitions, and a dog park.

The Bentway will open on Jan. 6. at 11 a.m. There will be musical performances by Charmie Deller and Carmen Braden, as well as Ice Breaking demonstrations (hybrid of breakdancing and freestyle ice skating)! Be sure to check our some of the public art exhibitions and enjoy some of the food and beverage provided.

On the Sunday, the Mayor is hosting a skating party from 1-4 p.m. with complimentary skate rentals and hot chocolate!

Here are the hours:

Monday-Thursday: 11am-9pm (rentals available 4pm-9pm)
Fridays and Saturdays: 11am-11pm (rentals available all day)
Sundays: 11am-9pm (rentals available all day)

If you visit it next weekend, be sure to let us know what it’s like in the comments below! 

skating
The Bentway Trail, courtesy of the City of Toronto

Toronto mayor moves to create 400 new shelter spaces

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced over the weekend his desire to create 400 new spaces within existing shelters for the city’s homeless “as soon as possible.” This statement was made at the tip of Toronto’s homelessness crisis, in which one of four children live in poverty.

As of October 30, 2017, 70 homeless people have died on the streets. Over 5,400 people on average used a shelter night in the month of November.

“We’re already underway, talking to each of the shelters that exists in the city of Toronto, asking them to add capacity wherever they possibly can,” he said. These new spaces would include motels, shelters and drop-in centres.

It was previously suggested that Toronto open up armouries at Fort York and Moss Park to use as shelters, but that idea has been dismissed as they are under federal jurisdiction. The mayor also said he would not be declaring an official emergency. The plan would cost about $10 million from the city’s reserves.

Housing advocates have said this plan will put a strain on facilities already suffering from overcrowding. Most shelters are 96 to 100 per cent at capacity, especially during the winter months. Statistics also show that 95 per cent of motel beds in Toronto are used to house homeless people. Advocates say it would be easier and cheaper to open up the armouries.

This response caused a little bit of a stir at city council on Tuesday, with the mayor coming forward with facts from staff that say opening the armouries would be expensive and problematic.

“I will be bringing together private and non-profit housing providers to work with staff and the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness to rapidly house as many people as possible,” he said in a statement. “Homelessness is a complex issue that we cannot ignore. While I know for some, our concrete solutions will never be enough – I know we can’t simply do nothing, we must take decisive action and I’m confident Council will join me in taking decisive action.”

Under the mayor’s plan, the city hopes to find space for 200 people by January.

This announcement is the first of a number of steps the City of Toronto is going to take to combat poverty. City council has also pledged to create more low-income and social housing, and hopes to get funding and support from the federal government under the new National Housing Strategy.

5 places to dine in Toronto this winter

Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean the fun has to end. A friend of mine said that her favourite thing to do is dress up and go out for dinner, a casual lunch or even an early morning breakfast. So here are five recommended spots by Women’s Post to dine this winter in Toronto.

Copacabana Brazilian Rodizio

You don’t have to go all they way to Brazil to experience an authentic way of cooking grilled Brazilian foods. Copacabana has four locations in Canada and two are based in downtown Toronto. This unique style of serving food is similar to many rodizio’s around the world. Rodizio refers to an all you can eat style Brazilian steakhouse, where servers bring large skewers of meats and grilled vegetables ( but mostly meat) around to your table and they carve off slices. The servers keep coming until you over indicate with a card you wish not to be served. Copacabana Toronto also adds lively Brazilian flair to their atmosphere by having samba dancers performing on Fridays and Saturdays as well as an aerial silk performer.

Blu Ristorante

As the name may suggest, this restaurant is self-proclaimed as the number one Italian restaurant in Toronto. It has actually been the recipient of Open Table’s Diner’s Choice for the past seven years in a row. This Yorkville-based restaurant offers an intimate and formal dining space with the ambiance of live music. Expect menu choices such as braised octopus with black kale pesto and fettuccine with Nova Scotia lobster tail, calamari and tiger prawn. Blu is the place to enjoy great Italian food and a wide selection of wine in a warm and inviting space.

Cactus Club Cafe

This trendy Adelaide West restaurant,located in the heart of the financial district is a personal favourite, no matter the season, Cactus Club Cafe will give you a lively and upbeat atmosphere even on a dreary Monday night. There are three levels to choose from, and a heated rooftop for those milder winter nights featuring a live DJ. With prompt and friendly service, you will certainly enjoy this restaurant as you dine on the creations of culinary masters and specially crafted cocktails for each season. This winter, bar operations manager Kris Jensen introduced two new seasonal creations, the Whiskey Ginger Smash and the LateHarvest Daiquiri with hints of Saskatoon berry and elderflower.

La Banane

Voted as one of the best new restaurants of 2017 by Toronto Life, La Banane offers eclectic french cuisine to the streets of Toronto. Located on Ossington Avenue, this stunning spot offers a fresh raw bar with mussels, oysters, shrimp, crab, lobster, and scallops. Obviously, all that seafood pairs will the abundance of wine that this french bistro has to offer. La Banane is led by Chef Brandon Olsen, who has curated the menu consisting of his personal french inspired food passions.

Cacao 70

One of the key points of going out to eat in the winter is that you want to feel comfortable and cozy. Cacao 70 is located in the Distillery District and offers a Queen W. location as well. This popular chocolate drinking bar, originated in Montreal, but has slowly spread all over Canada. It is not just all about their speciality of Chocolate, but the restaurant offers the experience of using Chocolate in different flavour adventures. Enjoy drinks like Black Sesame hot cocoa and Champurrado, which features  hot chocolate with spicy cinnamon and whipped cream.

What’s your favourite Toronto restaurant?

Canadian government spends $5.6 million on skating rink

As part of Canada 150, the Canadian government decided to spend $5.6 million on a skating rink on Parliament Hill.

The rink is being built in partnership with the Ottawa Senators and the Ottawa International Hockey Festival. It will be open until February 28th (although it was originally supposed to close on Jan. 1, 2018.).

While the building of any public space is a good thing, the rink comes with a long set of rules. No hockey sticks, food or drink, and no cell phones. You also aren’t allowed on the ice if you don’t have skates — sorry parents! There are also a ton of warnings sprawled out around the rink, such as “may be slippery”, just in case you forget it’s ice you are skating on. Disclaimers renouncing the government’s responsibility for injury are also placed prominently in the area.

People wishing to skate on the new rink must register at least 48 hours beforehand for one of the 40-minute skating sessions available.  You also need to arrive between 40 and 60 minutes before your session time. Tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis. With all the rules, it will be interesting to see how many people actually use — or are permitted to use — the rink.

Now, I’m all for building new skating rinks, but it seems a bit redundant to put a new, expensive rink a few blocks from the world’s biggest skating rink, the Ottawa Canal. The Canal is a fan-favourite spot to skate, with food vendors (like Beavertails!) and hot chocolate vendors selling their products directly on the ice. It’s an extremely picturesque skate, and instead of going round-and-round in a circle, you actually get to see the city. Given the choice, I would absolutely chose to skate on the Canal rather than a small rink in front of Parliament.

What do you think? Would you use the rink?

5 natural immunity boosters to prevent sickness

Cold and flu season can be tough, especially during the change in seasons. Generally, our immune systems adapt to the extra exposure in the the environment, but some immune boosters can also help. Women’s Post recommends these five natural remedies to boost your immunity or help you battle a cold.

Ginger-Lemon Flu Shot

When you are feeling a little under the weather or you are just looking for a little booster, you can start your day off my making your own flu “shot”. No, this isn’t something you inject into yourself – instead think tequila, but healthier! Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and lemon is also known to help you build up your resistance to colds. Together these two make the perfect mix. Simple blend these ingredients together and add an extra touch of honey for taste.

 

Oil of Oregano

Oregano oil is extracted from the oregano plant and had been promoted in many health stores for the prevention of colds and flus. The oregano oil has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties and can be used for many different things including your skin— but most importantly, a few drops is known to help ease a sore throat. Even if you are feeling stuffy, add a few drops to a vaporizer and inhale deeply. If you already have a cold, two drops, three times a day, can help reduce the duration and severity of your illness.

 

Probiotics

Probiotics — or the good bacteria often found in foods such as yogurts or kefir – help to strengthen the immune system. Diet and lifestyle is a major part of keeping our immune system healthy. While probiotics are often recommended to treat abdominal issues, a new study found that strains of the bacteria is also good against the common cold and flu virus.

 

Garlic

While this choice may not be so friendly on your breath, turns out garlic not only serves in keeping vampires away, but colds as well.  Eating a spoonful of raw garlic is said to knock a cold out in the beginning, but if you want a softer, yet still powerful option, boil three cloves of garlic in a medium saucepan with water. Lemon and honey can also be added to cover the smell and improve the taste. Garlic has a popular property called allicin, which is an antibacterial component found in fresh garlic before it is heated.

 

Vitamin D

While we are all familiar with using vitamin C to boost our immune system, studies have shown that vitamin D, is also good for fighting colds and flu. The vitamin D helps the immune cells in your body to make antibodies, to gear up for defence. The best and most natural source of Vitamin D is from the sunshine but it can also be found in milk, or vitamin drops.

 

Stay strong this winter and keep your immune system strong. Comment below if you have any other tips!

5 ways to keep active this winter season

It may be difficult to stay motivated with your workout routine during the dark winter months, but this does not mean you should lose hope that momentum you’ve built up over the last few months!  Here are five tips from Women’s Post on ways to stay active in the winter.

Get out there

The biggest hurdle in embracing the winter season is the cold weather and chances of snowfall. The best thing to do is bundle up, change your mindset, and enjoy the season . Get out there and find something to do. It can be having a snowball fight with your kids in the backyard, or going ice skating with your friends. If you aren’t up for a big to-do, you can always just go for a walk and enjoy the sights — there is nothing like crisp snow on tree branches. Use this opportunity to practice your photography skills or catch up with a friend.

 

Try a winter sport

Just like summer, winter time offers a few sports that you can take part in or at least introduce yourself to, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snow tubing. If you want to stay away from anything competitive, try building a snowman or going tobogganing. Check out sites like Toronto Adventures Inc to get started.

 

Try a different gym class

If you’re anything like me, doing the same gym routine over and over gets a bit boring. Add the extra nuisance of marching through snow or beating winter traffic and it’s a wonder you get to the gym at all come January. The key is to get yourself excited about working out. Try something outside of your usual treadmill and elliptical routine. Take a  salsa dance class, do some boxing, go bellydancing, or sign up for a  winter bootcamp. Just switch it up to stay motivated and group fitness classes is a fun way to do so. Check out places like YMCA.

 

Try something indoors

So the cold air isn’t for you? That’s okay! This may be time to take advantage of the indoor track at the gym, or even going on long walks along the Toronto underground PATH. There are many indoor activities that are offered all year round or maybe even take part in your own at-home practice with exercise videos or create a home gym. You don’t have to be outdoors to be active!

 

Be prepared

The best way to get along with winter is by being prepared for all the season has so offer. Layer your clothing, stay hydrated, and create a positive mindset to the season ahead and you will find that it’s a great way to continue doing the things you love. Remember, you’re just trading the beach for an indoor pool.

 

How will you stay active this winter? Comment below !

Top 5 festive events to check out this month

As one holiday disappears, another one approaches. It’s almost time for those festive peppermint drinks and fancy light displays.  The weather will get colder and soon all you’ll want to do is cuddle up in a warm blanket and stay inside. Instead, try to get outdoors and take advantage of some spectacular winter markets and activities that will put you in the festive mood.

Winter Festival of Lights—Niagara Falls

Presented by the Ontario Power Company, the winter festival of lights transforms the Niagara Falls region into a mesmerizing winter wonderland. Founded 35 years ago, this is the largest illuminating festival in Canada. Enjoy a showcase of winter lights, animations and lots of activities in the Clifton Hill district, including a free nightly laser light show. The Festival of Lights runs from Nov 18-Jan 31.

Niagara Falls at night

Cavalcade of Lights—Nathan Phillips Square—downtown Toronto

The Cavalcade of Lights is the official kickoff to the winter season in the busy Toronto core. Lights, live music, ice skating, and fireworks will take over the square all in anticipation of the main event, which includes the lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree. Usually the tree is 15 to 18 metres high and takes almost two weeks to decorate and string with lights. This year’s tree lighting takes place on Nov 25. The lights and tree will remain through the early start of the new year.

Cavalcade of Lights

Swedish Christmas Fair—Toronto Harbourfront

Harbourfront Centre in Toronto is home to many activities in the summer and the winter. In addition to winter skating at the Natrel Rink and Dj Skate night on the weekends, there will be a two-day Taste of Sweden Christmas Fair. The festival will include Swedish folk dance, arts and craft for children, handmade crafts, and speciality-imported Swedish treats. The fair will take place Nov 25-26 and admission is free.

Swedish Christmas Buns

Illuminite—Yonge-Dundas Square

For the 10th year, Yonge-Dundas square will transform into a space of christmas lights,  music, and dance. The night features live music from pop-rock quartet Jane’s Party, and the night will continue with an on-site DJ playing christmas classics to put you in the Christmas mood. There will also be a tree lighting show and dazzling dancers in the square. Illuminite is on Nov 18, 5:30 PM- 7:30 PM.

 Toronto Christmas Market—The Distillery District

A winter classic in the City of Toronto, the distillery district is known for transforming into a cozy Christmas market and is ranked one of the best holiday markets in the world. Complete with shopping, entertainment, food, and Santa, the christmas market will make you fall in love with the holiday season. The market runs from Nov. 16-Dec. 24. On the opening night there will be a special tree lighting ceremony at 6pm.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

The true origins of the Lord of the Dead. Read if you dare!

When most people talk about the history of Halloween, their mind turns to Spain and Mexico, and the Day of the Dead. It’s a commonly known holiday in which the people honour those who have passed away by visiting them at their graves and leaving behind gifts or possessions.

But, the history and culture of Halloween goes back even further.

The American version of Halloween today draws a very real resemblance to the European gaelic festival called Samhain. When we think of Halloween today, we think of costumes, a chance to be something or someone different, candy, carved pumpkins, and sinister things that lurk in the night. But, in reality this version of Halloween, or All’ Hallows Eve is mostly manufactured by corporations and candy companies — and no, this isn’t some conspiracy theory.

The festival of Samhain is is celebrated on October 31st in the pagan celtic calendar and marks the beginning of the long winter months. The traditions of this festival can be traced back all the way to the 10th century, where it was named after Samhain, Lord of the Dead. The festival is supposed to give people time to take stock of their lives and prepare for the coming of the colder months. Dead crops are stripped from the land.

The festival also represented a period in time where the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest.

The celtic people of Ireland long celebrated Samhain before the arrival of Christianity. The celtic people were migrants of the Roman Empire across Europe and often travelled with tales of mystery and myth, sharing folklore in various communities and speaking in direct opposition to the teachings of early Christianity. Spirituality, magic and superstition were all beliefs held in the Celtic culture. The people  believed in the connection of the land with the universe and that life continues after death. During the time of Samhain, when the darkness of winter arrived, so did unwanted spirits. They held bonfires, dressing in dead animal skins and praying to the Gods to ward off evil spirits. It was a festival of gathering and community.

Another reason the Celtic people dressed in dead animal skins or disguised themselves as ghoulish figures was to protect themselves from wandering evil spirits. The spirits would recognize them as one of their own and leave the celtic people alone.

The Lord of the Dead was not only feared, but revered. The people appealed to him in order to ensure that lost souls could be reborn. During Samhain, there are similar traditions and links to Halloween we see today — the dressing up as ghoulish figures, and the presentation of gifts, often something sweet to the Lord of the Dead. The Celtic people were even known to carve turnips to mark ancestors.

The traditions and myths of  the Celtics have been reconditioned under Christianity and has changed the way we see Halloween. Samhain was the original event to which Halloween was marketed, and similar traditions can even be seen in other cultures, for instance the Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexico to mark the memory of past ancestors.

Traditionally, Samhain is celebrated by the Irish, Scottish and even those that practice wicca. Wiccans often see the holiday as the beginning of the spiritual new year. While Samhain has not been replaced by Christianity, the Christian calendar instead celebrates All Soul’s Day on November 1st to pay tribute to Pope Gregory III.  To celebrate All Soul’s Day, people and members of the Christian church were encouraged to pay tribute to the saints by making little soul cakes or bread that represented a blessed Christian soul.

Leave a comment below on what makes Halloween creepy for you!

5 winter office staples for 2017

A change in seasons can already be difficult. It can cause a lot of stress and there are so many things to consider. Do you have your winter tires? Have you regulated the temperature in your house? What on earth do I wear to work now? It seems like only yesterday people were wearing skirts and light blouses to the office. With the weather getting cooler and cooler, it’s sadly almost time to trade them is for sweaters and long-johns.

But, long-johns aren’t exactly appropriate for that corporate meeting you have. Women’s Post suggests these five fashion staples that are winter-ready and office-ready.

Suede Blazer

The right blazer can do wonders to any outfit, even a simple white t-shirt and jeans. Try adding something like a suede blazer to your wardrobe. I am also not suggesting spending $3000 on an authentic suede jacket, but you can find a faux look thats just as fashionable for under $100.

Metallic Faux Suede Jacket- Zara CAD 99.90

Black Ankle Boots

Don’t we love our boots in the winter? Tall ones, short ones, black one, and even red ones. The possibilities are endless. But to keep that chic office look without having to freeze your toes, the black ankle boot is a classic staple. These boots can be neatly placed under black trousers or worn with stockings and a skirt.

Almond Toe Ankle Boot- Le Chateau CAD 99.95

Camel Coat

Having a chic coat can often do wonders in pulling an outfit together. Brighter coats, rather than the usual black or grey, will make you stand out. Don’t be afraid of a little colour.

 

 

Babaton Spencer Coat- ‘Constant Camel’- Aritzia       CAD 298

 

Jewelled Accessories

Your style in the office doesn’t have to necessarily change in the winter— try adding some jewelled accessories. Your office look does not have to be boring and definitely nothing too bold. A statement necklace added to a simple top can complete your outfit. Try a chunky necklace with a knit sweater.

Blue Gem Statement Necklace- Jane Norman         £ 18.00

Oversized Cardigan

A really good cardigan should definitely be an office staple when it gets chilly. You can be cozy and still put together. Try wearing a large cardigan with a wrap belt to cinch the waist.

Draped Neck Cardigan With Belt- Zara CAD 25.90

What’s your office style in the winter ? Leave a comment below !