Immune Boosters For Fall

Bundle up hipster! You'll catch your death

Bundle up hipster! You’ll catch your death

The change of seasons, whether it is summer to fall or winter to spring, is a period during which people are susceptible to colds and fevers. September to November can be a stressful period, as students and workers return to school and work, bringing with them an array of germs and microorganisms that seem to thrive in close quarters and re-circulated air, and stress takes its toll on a healthy immune system.

Add to that the pressures of extra work coupled with deadlines, and you get  otherwise conscientious folks skipping meals, or making poor food choices and shortchanging themselves of adequate sleep. As daylight hours decrease and we spend more time indoors, our exposure to sunlight and the vitamin D that it brings is diminished. And then there is the weather itself; a day that starts off like August can seem like November in just a few hours, and we can be caught off guard sartorially. Anyone who has been caught without an umbrella or sweater on an October day while waiting for transit, then stuffed like a standing sausage next to someone with the sniffles is a prime candidate to receive an unwanted cold and to pay it forward. Continue »

A Better Way To Do Laundry – Without Detergent!

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It is no secret that by and large, the majority of Canadians are addicted to the convenience of disposable items, so it is heartening to see ordinary citizens like Latelin Leblond and Tara Smith-Arnsdorf doing something about it.

Most of us grew up aware of the three “R”s; reduce, reuse and recycle, but darn it, it seems that for every good idea that comes along there is another more insidious convenience that makes any of the three “R’s unsavoury; disposable diapers, throw away excessive packaging, disposable single-serving coffee makers are among the most ubiquitous examples of our disposable values. There are countless ways to reduce and reuse and recycle, and to these we should add another few “R”s: rethink, retrain and replace. Rethink the way we consume and the way we waste, retrain ourselves to get used to a new (often “old”) way of doing things, and replace certain environmental practices and products with (let’s call them “unvironmental”) sustainable choices and actions. It’s really simple, but as we know, simple and easy are two different words. Continue »

Urban Forest: Meet Ivy-Covered Traffic Pole

traffic pole covered in Boston Ivy

A new kind of urban tree?

This is one way to add more greenery to the urban landscape. When ivy wants to climb, let it climb, even if it wants to climb onto traffic poles and light standards. This one has been carefully trimmed to clearly display the rather lengthy traffic rules it proclaims. This natural vegetative exuberance gives us a little taste of what might happen if people disappeared and nature took over our cities. From Discover Magazine:

We might sometimes wonder what our planet would be like if humans suddenly disappeared. Would the seas again fill with fish? Would our concrete cities crumble to dust from the force of tree roots, water, and weeds? How long would it take for our traces to vanish? And if we could answer such questions, would we be more in awe of the changes we have wrought, or of nature’s resilience?

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Taking Action Against Hunger

Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away and many of us have already put dibs  on a turkey that right now is blissfully strutting and scratching around on a farm. Soon we’ll be happily finalizing invitations and planning menus while poring over cookbooks and recipe files.




And finally at the annual Thanksgiving feast, sitting around the table, someone, the hostess or host or patriarch or matriarch will say a few words acknowledging how lucky or blessed we all are; we will nod, and we will raise our glasses in a toast, and we will give thanks. Thank you, we will say to each other, or to some intangible force or entity who has smiled on lucky us, and that will be the extent of our thanks, and that will be the extent of our giving. Continue »

Why is the Best Day Off of the Year Called Labour Day?



As much as Victoria Day may give a signal to Canadians that Summer is on the way and it’s time to hit the cottage for a long weekend, so too Labour Day, falling as it does on the first Monday of September, is often regarded as reminder that summer is drawing to a close as schools are opening their doors, days are conspicuously shorter and fall is in the air. Though for most of us, Labour Day now means a lazy long weekend and maybe an evening watching the Labour Day Classic  the holiday has an important place in Canadian history and has been around since Sir John A. was prime minister and the aforementioned Queen Victoria was still not amused.

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