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Maclean’s: What it feels like to be Canadian

Maclean's | posted Tuesday, Jun 30th, 2015

To celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday, Maclean’s has produced 148 short videos that showcase the vibrancy and breadth of Canadian experiences from coast-to-coast. “What it feels like to be Canadian” bring audiences closer to the action.

From joining the Sourtoe Cocktail Club in Dawson City and climbing an ice-covered Niagara Falls to an intimate concert with the Barenaked Ladies, the diversity of content reflects the lives of Canadians from across our nation.

Categories include sports, outdoors, heritage, experience, adventure, and arts.

Click here to watch the series of 148 videos.

10 Canadian movies to watch this Canada Day

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Jun 30th, 2015

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Ok, we’re not suggesting you sit and watch 10 movies back-to-back this Canada Day — particularly if it’s sunny outside! But once you’re home from that Canada Day party and ready to kick back for a few, toss on one of these Canadian flicks for a little entertainment.

We’ve selected some older movies, some newer, and a few from our favourite Canadian directors. We think it’s a good mix of light-hearted, and more dramatic fare. Hope you agree!

Goon (2011): We admit, we weren’t the biggest Seann William Scott fans until we saw him in this surprisingly sweet comedy about a bar bouncer with a heart of gold who’s hired to be the resident goon on his town’s minor-league hockey team, despite the fact that he can’t skate. Doug Glatt (Scott) soon finds himself at odds with both his team’s star player (Marc-Andre Grondin) and the league’s top goon (Liev Schreiber). Will this unlikely hero lead his team to victory? You’ll certainly be rooting for him to!

Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006): When the body of a hockey league executive is discovered on the Ontario-Quebec border, the police forces from both provinces are forced to work together on the case. Enter strait-laced Martin Ward (the always excellent Colm Feore) representing the Ontario Provincial Police, and wildcard David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) of the Surete de Quebec, and you have the makings of a classic buddy cop film.

Canadian Bacon (1995): *Family-friendly!* Michael Moore directed this satirical John Candy vehicle about a low-in-the-polls U.S. President (Alan Alda) who tries to up his approval rating by starting a cold war against Canada. While this hilarious film is rife with talented comedy actors, among them Alda, Rhea Perlman, Kevin Pollak and Wallace Shawn, this film belongs to the late Candy, playing a sheriff who takes the U.S.’s new stance very seriously.

Les triplettes de Belleville/The Triplets of Belleville (2003): *Family-friendly!*Nominated for two Oscars, this animated film is as beautiful to watch as it is to listen to. The story revolves around Madame Souza and her dog Bruno, who team up with the Belleville Sisters to find her missing grandson Champion, who disappears during the Tour de France.

One Week (2008): Michael McGowan’s film about a young man (Joshua Jackson) who takes a motorcycle trip from Toronto to Tofino following a devastating medical diagnosis is a true love letter to Canada and all its beauty and eccentricity. Given its at-times heartbreaking subject matter, this is a wonderfully uplifting and funny film. We also adore Campbell Scott’s narration.

Goin’ Down The Road (1970): Doug McGrath and Paul Bradley star as two friends who move from Nova Scotia to the big city, Toronto, in the hopes of finding jobs and a better life. This classic Canadian film was subsequently parodied on SCTV. It’s interesting to see how much Yonge St. has changed since the film was made.

Juno (2007): Starring Canadians Ellen Page and Michael Cera, and directed by Canadian Jason Reitman, we’re claiming this film as one of our own! Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, 16-year-old Juno MacGuff (Page) makes the controversial decision to carry her child to term so that she can place it with an adoptive couple. Diablo Cody won an Oscar for her smart script.

Away From Her (2006): Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie turn in wonderful performances as an aging couple dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Sarah Polley proves she’s as talented behind the director’s chair as she is in front of the camera in this heart-rending film.

Eastern Promises (2007): David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen follow up the excellent A History of Violence with this equally powerful and disturbing film about a midwife (Naomi Watts) who becomes entangled with the Russian mafia while investigating the death of a pregnant teenager. Mortensen is fantastic as mafia driver Nikolai, but it’s Armin Mueller-Stahl who steals the show as the outwardly warm, but secretly brutal and cold-hearted, restaurant owner/mob boss Semyon. Not for the faint at heart, this film has scenes of brutal violence.

Barney’s Version (2010): Based on the acclaimed Mordecai Richler novel, Paul Giamatti is perfectly cast as the irascible Barney Panofsky, who falls in love with a woman (Rosamund Pike) at his second wedding. This touching drama also stars Dustin Hoffman as Izzy, Barney’s father, and Minnie Driver as Barney’s second wife. A film that proves how important good writing is to good moviemaking.

Happy Canada Day! Share your favourite Canadian films (or films directed by Canadians) in the comments below!

10 mistakes to avoid when decorating a small bedroom

Alexandra Gater | posted Thursday, Jun 18th, 2015

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Mistake 1: Ignoring the corners.

Use the corners of your bedroom to create more storage. A corner hanging bar such as the one below can be used for sweaters or blankets.

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Mistake 2: Buying furniture that doesn’t have a dual purpose.

Invest in a bed that has storage underneath or a desk that folds against the wall to maximize space effectively. This simple and practical storage bed frame is from West Elm.

SmallBed

See more common mistakes here

Hot weather warnings: What to remember

Claire Gagne | posted Tuesday, Jun 16th, 2015

HeatWarning

Strong Sun

The UV Index is a measure of the intensity of the sun’s rays. Environment Canada (weather.gc.ca) forecasts the highest level of UV for the day, which you can expect around midday. If the UV Index is between three and five, simply slather on the sunscreen and head outdoors. But if the forecasted UV Index for the day is six or higher, plan your outdoor activities for before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m., as the sun will be less intense. Check The Weather Network (theweathernetwork.com or download the app) for current readings, and be especially careful when the UV Index is eight or higher, as skin can burn very quickly. (Though rare in Canada, a UV Index of 11 or higher can cause skin to burn within minutes!) “Young kids can get bad sunburns before you even realize there’s a problem,” says Michael Dickinson, a paediatrician in Miramichi, NB.

Bad Air

The Air Quality Health Index tells us how much pollution is outside on a scale of one to 10, and is more likely to affect people in large cities, near industry or close to areas prone to forest fires. When pollution is high—at seven or above—young kids and people with asthma or heart conditions should limit strenuous outdoor activity, according to Health Canada. That doesn’t mean you can’t go outside at all—just use Environment Canada’s hourly air quality readings and next-day forecasts to plan. Keep activities low-key and monitor children closely. “If your child is getting tired more easily than normal, or if she’s coughing, wheezing or seems to be working harder to breathe, those are signs of respiratory trouble because of the pollution, and you should bring her indoors,” says Dickinson. 

Heat Waves

The definition of extreme heat varies by where you live, but generally, a heat warning is issued when it’s deemed the temperature increases the potential for health problems such as heatstroke and dehydration, which can be fatal. All children can be affected by heat, but it’s most dangerous for infants, young children and people with asthma or heart disease, says Dickinson. It’s best to plan a movie day or hit an indoor playground when a heat alert is issued.

Pollen

In warmer months, trees, grasses and weeds procreate by releasing tiny grains of pollen, which are carried by the wind. The Weather Network tells us how much and what kind of pollen is floating around. Pollen is high on dry, windy days, is released in the morning and typically peaks in urban areas midday. “Pollen counts are particularly important if you’re prone to allergies and asthma,” says Dickinson, so monitor the pollen forecast and plan your outdoor time for when counts are low. If your allergic child will be outdoors when pollen is high, speak to your doctor about giving him an antihistamine before he goes out.

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A version of this article appeared in our June 2015 issue with the headline “Weather warnings,” p. 24.

Welcome to the Cityline 21-day boot camp!

Dr. Joey Shulman | posted Tuesday, Jun 9th, 2015

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Welcome to the Cityline 21-day boot camp! Over the next 21 days, I will be providing you with meal plans that are filled with detoxifying foods, foods that are anti-inflammatory and meal plans that are delicious and nutrient dense. Each day, you will also be provided with a health tip and a superfood suggestion. My goal is to keep this plan super simple, so you can follow along easily and enjoy. Trust me, having a plan and direction always makes your health goals easier to obtain!

Why 21 days?

After being in practice for over a decade, I can tell you 21 days is definitely enough time to make a permanent change in your health and create new behavioral patterns.

Here are some of the benefits of my 21-day boot camp.

  • Improved energy and decreased “brain fog”
  • Improved mood
  • Cessation of sugar, carbohydrate or salt cravings
  • Optimized digestion and reduced feelings of bloating
  • Improved sleep
  • Weight loss

So, enjoy the suggestions over the next 21 days. If you do find a meal or snack you really enjoy, feel free to repeat it over and over again. (I myself am a creature of habit and find eating in routine and repetition ideal for health).

For my daily meal plans and health posts, visit the Cityline 21-day boot camp page or see the list below. You can also follow me on Instagram or Twitter and watch for the hashtag #21daybootcamp.

Share your journey and join the conversation on the Cityline Facebook page.

Wishing you best health,
Dr. Joey

Daily meal plans

All meal plans include one serving size unless noted. Optimal water intake per day is two litres. Alcohol intake is not reviewed on this plan. I typically recommend a maximum of two to four drinks per week.

For more on daily meal plans, check it out here.

5 tips for affordable family travel

Today's Parent | posted Thursday, Jun 4th, 2015

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When my kids came along, my husband and I found ourselves with a mortgage, daycare fees and a dearth of cash for family travel. And yet, there were so many places I wanted my kids to see! So, I’ve made it my goal to get us where we want to travel on the cheap without sacrificing comfort. Read on for a few of my time-tested methods:

Set up a vacation fund

I have a high-interest savings account called “The England Fund” (for the first big trip we ever took with our kids). Whenever I get an unexpected cheque or save on a purchase, I squirrel away the extra cash. The bonus: I don’t feel guilty spending money that’s already been allocated for trips, but I don’t go crazy, either, because the fund becomes mybudget.

Be faithful to your frequent flyer plan

Pick one and stick to it—otherwise you could have miles or points accumulating in small batches everywhere, but never enough to book a flight. Not sure which plan best suits your spending habits and goals? Check out the credit card selector in the bottom-right corner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s website. Just plug in the required information about which province you live in, whether you tend to carry a balance on your card, if you’re willing to pay an annual fee and what rewards and benefits appeal to you most. It spits out a range of options, along with data about points and how they accumulate.

The right points plan

Keep in mind that when it comes to points plans, flexibility counts. Often, you can use points or miles to pay for hotel rooms, car rentals and admittance to special events, as well as airline tickets. Compare the benefits of driving to your destination and cashing in your points for a free hotel room. Alternatively, if you get the best return for your buck with a cashback credit card, choose that option and then plow the savings into your vacation fund.

Live la vida local

Over the years, my family has rented an Ontario cottage, a Tuscan villa and an apartment in Croatia. Letting a house, condo or cottage for a week is considerably cheaper than paying for a hotel, and you get space, privacy and a kitchen where you can throw together a meal. For Canada, try homeaway.ca or cottagesincanada.com, and for rentals around the world, check out vacationrentals.comairbnb.com or vrbo.com.

Don’t double up on travel insurance

Before you fork out the big bucks for insurance, find out if you’re already covered. Many premium credit cards provide trip cancellation and interruption insurance, rental-car insurance and out-of-country medical insurance as long as you use the card to book your flight, accommodation or rental car. Even if you have to pay a yearly fee in the range of $30 to $170 for the card, it could save you hundreds in insurance alone.

A version of this article appeared in our June 2014 issue with the headline “Sweet deals”, p. 32.

5 items you don’t need in a small space

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Jun 2nd, 2015

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Sometimes it is difficult to choose which furniture is essential in a small space; you don’t want to it to be too cluttered or too overwhelming. Luckily, Yanic Simard came by to help give us tips on different pieces that we don’t necessarily need in a space. Here are his top 5!

A dining table
This seems a little extreme at first, but when you think about it, a dining table and dining chairs can really take up a lot of space! Try utilizing what you already have, such a breakfast bar or kitchen island, to use as your new dining space.

Large electronics
It may be tempting to buy the biggest speakers in the store to get the best sound quality, but the reality is that there are a lot of products on the market that deliver the same quality at a fraction of the size. Perhaps you can use your tablet as your main television screen and also as your main computer. With so many multi-purpose tech tools, it’s easy to downsize.

A large area rug
Large area rugs can really overwhelm a space whether it’s by having too loud of a colour or too busy of a print. If you need to divide your space with an area rug, try going with a smaller scale rug or a rug with a unique shape to it.

A coffee table
Coffee tables can easily take up too much space in an area and aren’t always a necessity. What you can do instead is find a smaller table that also doubles as a storage space. Doing so will make the most out of using up that space.

A sofa
This one might shock you, but a sofa truly is the biggest piece of all! Try using a sectional sofa with movable pieces, or replace it all together with a couple of smaller chairs.

See Yanic’s suggestions in the video below:

 		
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