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Anderson Cooper * Mike Goguen * Corks & Forks * Houston, Texas



14 The Residences at Island Park Drive Ottawa






Designated an official landmark by the Urban Design Review Panel in Ottawa,

29 columns

Specifications and features subject to change without notice. E&OE. Illustration is artist’s concept. Brokers protected.

1451 Wellington West is a boutique midrise that creates old-world mansions in the sky. With maximum ability to custom-design your home and passionate attention to detail, including amenities and five-star hospitality


services, 1451 Wellington West is a landmark in more ways than one. It stands for a new way of living in the city, within easy walking distance to cafes and boutiques in the Westboro neighbourhood, and yet offering a sanctuary of quiet beauty and reflection with gorgeous views across iconic Canadian landscapes. Visit today to see your next home.

Call 613-798-4663 for your private appointment or register today at OTTAWA PRESENTATION GALLERY NOW OPEN ON SITE Monday–Friday: 9am–7pm, Saturday: 10am–6pm, Sunday: 11am–5pm


Ottawa's four-man band

In just three short years, The Tackies are turning heads in Ottawa live music venues including recently winning the Ottawa Life CoverMe Live Music Contest. Less interested in labelling their sound and more into creating exciting, energetic new music, the band has a loud local following.

Oh cannabis


It has been three months since recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada, yet for many Canadians the leafy green plant still raises concern. In this installment of the Oh Cannabis series, we take a look at the danger of driving high, barriers to cannabis research and what the government is doing to educate youth on cannabis use.

Health City Cayman Islands


A favoured high-end Caribbean vacation destination is now a popular choice for Canadian patients seeking elective procedures. Health City Cayman Island is revolutionizing wait times for patients through their world-class medical facility with a team of doctors specializing in cardiology, orthopaedics and paediatric endocrinology.

Escape to Puerto Escondido


Looking for ways to beat the winter blues? Look no further than Puerto Escondido, where you’ll discover some of the best swimming, surfing and dining experiences unlike any other spot in North America.

Tel: 613-798-4663

Officially designated a landmark building by the Urban Design Review Panel in Ottawa





Our fashion editor Alexandra Gunn gives us u the low down on rocking plaid.

Publisher’s message ....................................... 4 Best picks ................................................... 5 Gallery: Mike Goguen ................................. 8 In search of style ........................................ 11 Savvy selections .......................................... 13 Profile: Artist Alliance..................................... 19 Enviro Painting.................................... 21 Trudeau on taxes ......................................... 23 Opinion: Tax on spirits .................................. 35 Travel: Puerto Escondido Resort ...................... 36 Houston............................................. 38 It’s not just a concussion.................................. 40 Opinion: Debating democracy, eh? ............. 45 Saint Paul University ..................................... 46


Canada’s energy economy ....................... 25 Oh Cannabis: Organigram ...................... 26 Cannabis research.............. 28 Driving impaired................. 29 Efforts to educate................ 30


best picks

message by Dan Donovan

Justin Trudeau — Genuinely insincere

DNA Your Family

publisher/managing editor

Dan Donovan


ecause it’s 2015.” Remember that missive by our “feminist” Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau? Two key pillars in his election platform were his commitment to women’s issues and his commitment to Indigenous people in Canada. After becoming Prime Minister, Trudeau anointed himself as the spokesperson for women’s empowerment and declared to all of Canada: to be a feminist, you must be prochoice, pro-quota and in favour of a zero tolerance policy in the cases of sexual harassment matters. This policy includes supporting and believing all victims (unless, of course, it involves Trudeau himself as the perpetrator. In this case, one should not believe the victim, but understand that there are two sides to every story). On the Indigenous file, Trudeau didn’t just promise to listen to their concerns, but to act. Sadly, Trudeau’s sunny disposition often hid the fact that he said one thing while his officials did another. Take the case of Josey Willier, a Cree teen living in Calgary who had ongoing problems with her teeth that resulted in chronic pain in her lower gums. Orthodontist Mark Antosz recommended braces to avoid future invasive jaw surgery. Willier’s mother sought payment under the First Nations and Inuit Health Benefit Program, but was denied the claim three times by Health Canada, the department that administers the insurance plan. She took the case to Federal Court, where the “enlightened” Trudeau Liberal government spent $110,336.51 in legal fees between January 2016 and April 2017 to fight against payments for a $6,000 procedure. Jane Philpott, Indigenous Affairs Minister, former Health Minister and medical doctor, went along with the decision to use taxpayer-funded government lawyers to deny the teenager the services. NDP MP Charlie Angus called the decision “simply perverse, bordering on institutional malevolence.” He pointed out that the Liberals voted to support an NDP motion last year--one that called on the government to stop fighting Indigenous families who are seeking access to government-funded services. Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, was an intervener in the case. “As a human being, I think it’s immoral that Canada would not fund services where two concurring pediatric orthodontists agree that without treatment this girl will experience chronic pain and will have difficulty eating and talking,” she said. “They could have used that money ($110,000) to buy 18 children in medical need the orthodontic services they needed.” All of this becomes understandable once realization dawns: Justin Trudeau is genuinely insincere. Look no further than the demotion of Canada’s first female Indigenous Justice Minister, the Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould who was unceremoniously tossed from her role by Trudeau despite her superb performance as Minister. Trudeau’s “feminist” principles were checked at the door so he could save his pal Seamus O’Regan, Veterans Affairs Minister — who was easily his most incompetent Minister. O’Regan oversaw the file when the government took the veterans to court — something Trudeau sincerely promised them he would never do in the 2015 election.This betrayal and lie by Trudeau to veterans will linger for a long time. Sadly, two local Liberals went along with this spineless perfidy: former army general Andy Leslie, MP for Ottawa Orleans, and Karen McCrimmon, MP for Kanata and a former military officer. O’Regan then managed to further snub veterans in a highly selfindulgent moment in December when he compared “the turmoil” of his move from journalism to politics to what members of the military go through when they take off the uniform. Trudeau has now appointed his worst performing Minister, O’Regan, as the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and demoted one of his best Ministers, Wilson-Raybould, to the junior Veterans Affairs portfolio. Justin Trudeau is genuinely insincere and leads a government that lacks integrity. His words cannot be taken at face value. They must be judged on their deeds, and his actions are failing women, Indigenous people,Veterans, and ultimately, all of Canada. In 2019, a reckoning is coming. Sunny ways indeed n


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copy editor Dave Gross art director Karen Temple director of operations Maria Alejandra Gamboa web editor/features writer Tori McNeely cover

Sean Sisk Photography: Make up: Location: The 27 Club photographers Andre Gagne, Anna Jonas, Ping Hu, Neon Lilth Photography, Stacey Newman, Sean Sisk Photography, Julie Soefer, Karen Temple video Brittany and Amanda van Frankfoort fashion editor Alexandra Gunn accounts Joe Colas C.G.A bookkeeper Joan Hamilton contributing writers Nisa Ayu, Julie Beun,

Anne Dion, Dan Donovan, Anna Jonas, Andre Gagner, Mohammad-Reza Ghovanloo, Alexandra Gunn, Tori McNeely, Hilary Thomson, Debbie Trenholm, Greg Vezina, Richard Viger, Jan Westcott web contributors Anne-Marie Brugger, Anne Dion, Maria Alejandra Gamboa, Dave Gross, Andre Gagne, Jennifer Hartley, Don Maclean, Alex Mazur, Owen Maxwell, Isabel Payne, Mona Staples, Kat Walcott, Keith Whittier social media manager Kat Walcott social media Kat Walcott, Tori McNeely student intern Grace Tan, Tisna Tini corporate advisor J. Paul Harquail,

Charles Franklin corporate counsel Paul Champagne editor in memoriam Harvey F. Chartrand

Basic Income for Canadians Economist and author Evelyn L. Forget writes about how good, full-time jobs have been replaced by part-time or temporary work that pays lower wages, offers fewer benefits and rarely comes with union support. Economic insecurity is now a feature of the lives of large numbers of people. Those forced to rely on provincial income assistance or disability support find themselves trapped in a system that perpetuates dependence. ISBN:9781459413504 – paperback

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For information on advertising rates, visit call (613) 688-LIFE (5433) or e-mail Canadian Publication Mail Product Sales Agreement #1199056. Ottawa Life Magazine, 301 Metcalfe St. Lower Level, Ottawa. Ontario K2P 1R9 tel: (613) 688-5433 fax: (613) 688 -1994 e-mail: Web site: Follow us on Twitter: @ottawalifers On Instagram: ottawalifemag Like us at OttawaLifeMagazine Ottawa Life is listed in Canadian Advertising Rates & Data (CARD). Ottawa Life subscription rates: one year $50.00, includes postage, plus HST (six issues). Two years $80.00, includes postage, plus HST (12 issues). Add $20 per year for postage outside Canada. Subscriber service is 613-688-LIFE (5433) Ottawa Life Magazine is printed in Canada on recycled paper.

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City of Ottawa Gift Certificates City of Ottawa Gift Certificates can be used on many classes for all ages — art, playgroups, sport, aqua, etc. If you have a class in mind then make a package — for example, a gift certificate teamed with paint brushes. . . the possibilities are endless. Available at various facilities across the city.

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best picks


Levenswater Spring 34 Gin Levenswater Spring 34 is not your average gin. Perfected in Toronto and made in Niagara, it is a small-batch, premium gin with a recipe that is specially crafted to create a journey of the senses. Made with 34 botanicals, this natural lightly rose-tinted gin offers an aromatic adventure that celebrates Canada’s diverse culture and history. Make sure to stock your bar with Levenswater Spring 34. Available at the LCBO or at $50.00

The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal, Justice Denied is the story of a rail industry writing its own rules, a booming American oil industry selling their dangerous product, and a rogue U.S. railway operator cutting corners to make his fortune. At another level, author Bruce Campbell writes about a federal government blinded by its free market ideology. Fixated on making Canada an energy superpower, compliant bureaucrats fail to protect the public interest. ISBN: 9781459413412 – Paperback

A Christmas Dragon Danny and Zigo O’Neill really love Christmas — usually. It used to be the best time to play hockey, decorate the house, get presents, eat scrumptious food, and escape adult attention as their parents’ friends and relatives visit their home. But this year is different. This year Christmas is turning out to be complicated, and trouble seems to find them everywhere they go. $12.99 ISBN: 9781775352549 – Paperback 6 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

Anderson Cooper in Ottawa Fitbit Charge 3 The new Charge 3 offers the ideal fit, comfort, usability and durability for all users to help you find your fit, stay motivated, and see how small steps make a big impact. Fitbit Charge 3 is the first wearable with an inductive button, which includes new patent-pending technology that provides a streamlined, swimproof design with increased space and more sensors. A larger battery allows up to seven days of use and more effortless interaction. $199.95

Nike Limited Player Jersey Made of 100 per cent recycled polyester, this men’s jersey by Nike fits true to size. With stitched tackle twill name and numbers coupled with a satin twill woven jock tag, the jersey pays homage to the authentic on-field jersey that Tom Brady wears. It also includes a metallic-effect NFL shield collar, vapour untouchable limited chassis and embroidered accents. For a roomier fit, order one size larger or up two sizes for layering underneath. $149.99

Run Little Monkey Athletic Wear The bamboo-cotton-elastane blend is both durable and the softest athletic wear you'll ever want to get sweaty in. The unique fabric wicks away sweat and is also naturally anti-bacterial so your workout clothes won't get or stay stinky. These "ego-friendly" shirts are designed with slightly more generous sizing than most active wear. $37

The Hidden Life of Trees, The Illustrated Edition In his international bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben opened readers’ eyes to the amazing processes at work in forests every day. Now this new, breathtakingly illustrated edition brings those wonders to life like never before, including compelling selections from the original book and stunning, large-format photographs throughout of trees from around the world. $45 ISBN: 978177163481 – Hardcover

On Sunday, March 31, 2019, Anderson Cooper is trading in his seat as anchor of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 for an appearance at the National Arts Centre. As part of the “Unique Lives & Experiences” series, Cooper will talk about his passions, share his perspectives and answer your questions in this laid back and uncensored evening. An American journalist, television personality and author, Cooper is recognized for reporting that goes beyond the headlines. Since the start of his career in 1992, he has worked in more than forty countries and has covered nearly all major news events around the world, often reporting from the scene. Don’t miss this special evening as Anderson Cooper makes a special appearance in our nation’s capital n


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gallery by Tori McNeely

Although Goguen developed his passion for painting at a very young age, circumstances prevented him from studying fine arts. Goguen candidly shares that having grown up in poverty in the 1980s, pursuing an education in technology was a sure way to maximize his chances of securing a stable career in a short amount of time.

evening scene of woods and mountains viewed from across a frozen pond,” says Goguen. “This painting is special since it was the artwork in which my style

Aphidwalk, 24” x 30”oil on canvas

“I would have loved to take more time in school and study in the fine arts in University as well, but we all must simply work with that which circumstance has placed within our reach,” says Goguen. Fortunately, Goguen is living the best of both worlds — as an engineer at a local technology firm and a talented artist featured in several galleries. Goguen works with oil and acrylic to produce artworks that separate the viewer from the mundaneness of their daily routine. From the calmness of a water ripple in H2O to the 1970’s galaxy interpretation in Space Station, the stories his paintings tell range from realism to complete fantasy-based surrealism.

“I often try to achieve a sense of exaggerated perspective and depth in my artwork. Space Station, 24” x 30” • oil on canvas

ESCAP E INTO ART WITH MIKE GOGUEN Ottawa-based artist Mike Goguen is many things. He is a husband, a father, an engineer, and an inspiration to every artistic dreamer pursuing their passion.

He is a testament to the tenet that the flames of passion are fueled not by thinking but by doing. After more than 37 years of painting, he continues to refine his practice. Goguen’s interest in painting stems from his childhood. What started out as pencil sketches soon turned


into paintings when he wished to incorporate colour. “By the time I was eight years old, most of my drawing was pencil sketching and I started to experiment with perspective and shading. Just before my fourteenth birthday, I decided to add colour to my artworks. I found pencil crayons were very time consuming — which is why I took up painting. Being a budding artist with no experience, I mistakenly perceived it as being a much quicker medium.”

Many of my more elaborate pieces attempt to provide the viewer with an escape from the ordinary.” Goguen says, “I have always been intrigued by the idea that something can be portrayed on a flat surface with the illusion of having three dimensions to the human eye.”

suddenly transitioned from very heavy brush strokes with little detail to a much smoother, more surrealistic and detailed style. It was the beginning of the style in which I paint today.”

Goguen’s artistic imagination is informed by influential visual artists including Alex Colville and Roger Dean, musicians such as Amadeus Mozart and Pink Floyd, and finally, authors Isaac Asimov and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Goguen is a member at Ottawa West Artists’ Association, Art Lending of Ottawa, the Richmond Village Art Club and ArtBomb Daily.

His growth as an artist is not identified through any painting in particular. Instead, a series of paintings are what speak to his proficiency as an artist.

When asked how pursuing his passion for arts has impacted his life, Goguen responds, “I have met many great artists over the years whom I would have otherwise never known and to heed their wisdom and learn from it has been extremely fulfilling.”n

“My first milestone was a simple winter


in search of style by Alexandra Gunn

Follow Alex on Twitter: @AlexandraGunn

Pattern Power p Blazzer $49.99 • Winners

p Cardigan $54.94 • Old Navy

Rad plaid and cool camouflage are the patterns for this season. Revitalized with a bold, bright, modern feel, these classic print trends hit the fall/winter runways and will be filtering into your favourite stores. Look to the street style scene for inspiration and consider mixing an unexpected pattern in your wardrobe for an updated edge.



Celebrate Pride this winter with a night of DJs, drinks and dancing. Explore the new Ottawa Art Gallery, and take a last look at the first ever large-scale exhibition of Karim Rashid’s work. TICKETS: $25 Presented by Ottawa Art Gallery in partnership with Winterlude and Ottawa Capital Pride.





p Plaid Cardigan $129.99 • Winners

Street Style


rainbow of plaid print was seen on the Michael Kors runway, along with designs at Balenciaga and Versace. The print was also worn in unexpected ways, beneath long layers or between pleats, along with being placed in diagonals and layered horizontals.

t Plaid Dress $29 • Joe Fresh


Kate Spade New York u Murray Street Small Kim Satchel

Look out for Glen plaid. Comprised of both small and large checks,it was reinvented by Fendi, Prada and Balenciaga and is often seen in greys and other muted colours.The prominent pattern creates a subtler look, for those looking for a classic option.


Avoiding looking dated by selecting a plaid with a bright colour or pair a muted print with a colourful top.

Plaid is a versatile print that continues to be an option for any style, occasion, or mood. Whether you’re looking to update your outerwear, business attire or weekday look, there are plenty of exciting new ways to wear timeless plaid this season. Street Style


t Marshalls Leopard Print Coat $79.99

savvy selections by Debbie Trenholm

The military wears it to blend in to their surroundings, but on the streets, wear it to stand out from the crowd. Camo remains a mainstay in menswear collections but has begun to crop up in women’s fashions, often as the dominant print for outerwear and accessories. A range of designers including House of Holland, Canada Goose and even Joe Fresh all offer modern outerwear options that add a contemporary feel to any ensemble. Give this tomboy trend a try but stick to only one camo piece at a time. Keep the rest of your outfit simple. t Puffer Jacket

Putting Kingston on the wine world map

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city vibe, historic limestone buildings along the waterfront, boutique hotels, restaurants featuring local cuisine and talented chefs, I ask you . . .What’s not to love about Kingston!

Diane Von Furstenberg

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iving in Ottawa, we know that Lroadtrip an easy weekend getaway is a to Kingston. With its small

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Pantone has announced that “living coral” is the 2019 colour of the year. Taking into account fashion, decorating, design and cultural trends, the colour authority acknowledges that the colour represents a “playful expression,” and appeals to our “innate need for optimism.”

WHAT’S NEXT FOR 2019 You can expect to see this uplifting and warm hue on the spring/summer runways and in coming design trends.

Friday and Saturday evenings will be punctuated with Discover the Wine World, a wine tasting tour where ticketholders talk with winemakers from around the world while sampling fine wines.

Here’s a yet another reason to hit the highway bound for K-town, Corks & Forks — Kingston’s International Wine Festival. Taking place from April 12 to 14, 2019, this first-of-its-kind weekendlong event will put this charming city onto the wine world map. Whether you are a curious novice, a wine enthusiast or an avid collector, this inaugural festival is a great opportunity to explore the world of wine, both Canadian and international. All of us at Savvy Company have been working for the past year designing Corks & Forks. The weekend festival is focused on events that will be educational experiences with a dash of entertainment factor. After all, discovering wine should be an enjoyable learning experience. During the day, seminars and classes will be led by winemakers, professional sommeliers, renowned wine writers such as Tony Aspler, and top-notch instructors from Niagara Teaching College who are hands-on involved in the Canadian hospitality and wine



The grand finale will be the Vintner’s Brunch on Sunday that will treat ticketholders to a meal like no other. Every dish will be eloquently paired with a wine showcased at the event. There will even be a People’s Choice Award for the top voted food & wine pairing. “We’re excited to work with Savvy Company to showcase Kingston’s culinary culture and hospitality industry,” said Megan Knott, Executive Director, Tourism Kingston. “I can’t wait for the wine world to discover Kingston.”

with satellite events at Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel, AquaTerra, Bayview Farm Restaurant and other locations to be announced. “There is an incredible food and wine scene in Kingston. Corks & Forks is the perfect way to showcase the culinary talent locally, regionally and introduce a global scale too,” said Donna Gillespie, chief executive officer, Kingston Economic Development Corporation. With Canada’s fastest growing wine region, Prince Edward County, less than an hour away from Kingston, there will be special wine tours available to see the bursting of spring in the vineyards and sample newly released wines or be treated to some barrel samples. Corks & Forks festival passes, individual event tickets and special hotel accommodation packages are available for sale at See you in Kingston — with a glass of wine in hand n Debbie Trenholm is a sommelier and the founder of Savvy Company.

The events will take place at various hotels and restaurants throughout the city. Residence Inn by Marriott Water’s Edge has been selected to be the ‘central hub’ for the weekend



cover by Andre Gagne


eeting in their first year of Carleton’s music program, the four quickly became friends and started playing together mainly for fun. Out of these jam sessions came the foundations of the band’s sound and, most important to their eventual frontman, a connection that meant much more than a diploma did. “I didn’t go to graduate, I went to meet people and see what happens,” says Hans Vivian-Wenzel. “The Tackies is exactly the outcome I could have ever hoped for, though the program was amazing and doing the four years until the end really ensured the quality of music is there in our writing.” Their sound can best be defined as DWBL, Don’t Wanna’ Be Labelled. It’s a mishmash of punk and alt. rock with a bit’o’bop n’ pep all spread out on a beach party blanket. It borrows from the mainstream but doesn’t firmly latch itself to it. Initially, it wasn’t something that everyone in the band thought would work.

doesn’t emulate. Instead, it relishes in its want to be everything everyone else isn’t. Whatever it is, it caught the ear of a woman that had a show coming up in few days. She needed a band. With their first gig approaching, the four hadn’t started calling themselves anything. Hell, they didn’t even know if they were really a band yet.They had some tunes, a style they were trying to maintain, but something was missing. This was rectified by the kind of inspiration that only comes from a shirt hanging on a bathroom wall. Its pattern was ‘kinda’ tacky and before anybody could really protest — or come up with something better — they had a name. A few days later they also had their first EP. Things were moving quickly, and for a band not looking to be pinned down and boxed in, this worked to their advantage. Before people even heard the name “The Tackies” they were on the scene as though they’d always been

While Vivian-Wenzel cops to trying to control the outcome of their songs early on, he learned that just letting his band mates go to town is what creates the optimum Tackies tune. The most fun they have is when they’re just messing around in rehearsals, an energy and silliness that they bring to their often comedic live shows. “I feel at first we just brought some of our goofy rehearsal antics to the stage with us, and while maybe we ham it up a little, all of it is spontaneous. I'm sure if you were to compare a bunch of our shows there would be things we do almost the same, but we don't choreograph our quirks,” says Cussion. Despite only being around for three years, The Tackies have amassed a loud local following. A hometown group’s first show at RBC Bluesfest tends to be a tent crowd peppered with family, friends and the folks who wandered in curious about what’s going down on one of the side-stages, but their show packed in a merry mob who knew all the words like it was their 50th time seeing the band live. And the screams…ohhh, how they screamed for them.

The Tackies STAYING COOL inside the rising blaze “I think that at first, we may have hit a conflict of interest. We bantered a lot about how certain things should be played by each person, we all had an idea as to how each part should be played. Eventually I think we all gave up on that and realized that we are in a band, not a control freak convention,” explains drummer Jamie Orser.

Galen Cussion, Hans Vivian-Wenzel, Jamie Orser, Mathieu Malette . . . remember these names. They are The Tackies, one of Ottawa’s hottest bands. Trust us, that fire isn’t going to be contained to just this city for long.

Bassist/keyboardist Galen Cussion recalls that there was enough common ground, even if some of it was a little rocky, to keep them going. All four of them tossed their influences into the pot, making for an evolution that


LEFT TO RIGHT: Galen Cussion, Hans Vivian- Wenzel, Jamie Orser and Mathieu Malette

there. Ottawa just hadn’t discovered them yet. “We try to keep our options open when writing and while we do like to have our audience come up and dance, we’re not against having some heavier riffs and songs as long as they’re good songs,” says guitarist Mathieu Malette of the group’s laissez-faire dynamique. “Honestly, I don’t think we really try to shape our songs in any specific way. Most times one of us will come to rehearsal with some sort of song idea. It’s sometimes just a riff and sometimes a full guitar part. Once the idea is brought to the table, we try it out and if we like it the rest of the band will try to write parts around it.”

The Tackies were not on their way to becoming rock stars . . . they were there. After the Bluesfest show the band mutually agreed that this is what they wanted life to be like all the time. They were meant to be musicians. Now everything The Tackies do is for those people who want to come out and party with them. Sure, they want to find success but whether it comes or not, the main plan is to enjoy every step towards wherever they are going. “I honestly think I won the lottery in band mates. We genuinely love each other and feel like a family, these days more than ever, and that leaks into the output for sure,” says Vivian-Wenzel. 15 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019


The Tackies perform at Ottawa Life Magazine’s CoverMe Live Music Contest.

They started landing more shows at places like The Rainbow, LIVE! on Elgin and The 27 Club as they made a steady climb up the ladder. Still, there were waiting for a chance to show the city they were deserving of being perched on top of it. Along came CoverMe!, a contest hosted by this publication in which a slew of local bands battled it out for a chance at a cover story. They bested eleven others over three separate outings but remain humble about their win, saying it was just great to play with so many awesome bands.

smile, laugh, and then singing along is one of the best parts when on stage,” Malette adds.

“We just came to play, though we did make every set fairly different, even in the way we presented ourselves, mostly cause it’s fun to just try new things and new styles on stage,” Vivian-Wenzel says on how they won over both the crowds and competition judges.

farther. The four-member

“Seeing a crowd that has never heard your music before start to look around, 16 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

With a successful first tour, a second EP, the competition win and now a cover story, The Tackies are prepared to be propelled faster and band has high hopes for the upcoming year. “We’ve been experimenting with a fun new sound that borders our old sytle and our new style, ideally we’d love to throw that sound into an album

and release it when we feel the time is right,” says Orser. “We released two new songs recently, the first of which, Shh, Finally put one of our songs over 1000 plays on Spotify. Both songs are a good indication of what is to come for new music from The Tackies!” “I think the main goal right now is to keep having fun shows and hopefully have them grow over time, mostly cause the bigger the party the more ambitious spectacles we could hope to attain,” says Vivian-Wenzel. The band is just keeping cool inside the growing flames that surround them. When you’re already on fire you got two choices, burn out or blaze brighter. If the last three years are any indication, The Tackies have a lot more heat to release before the end n>thetackies @thetackies


profile by Tori McNeely


February 13, 2019 • 7:30 PM

Overflow Brewery • 2477 Kaladar Ave



Featuring CoverMe contest winners The Tackies & Ottawa’s own The Town Cryers TICKETS AVAILABLE AT

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Artist Alliance is

LAUNCHING OTTAWA BANDS Presley once said, “Ambition is Elvis a dream with a V8 engine.” In other words, you can dream all you want, but unless you’ve got the ambition to see that dream through, it won’t come true. With 25 years of experience in songwriting, performing and production, two record deals, and a brand new state-of-the-art studio in the heart of the ByWard Market, Jason Wilkinson has all the ambition in the world. Artist Alliance is a multi-faceted music studio specializing in artist development and sees to it that each client’s music career flourishes. From branding and public relations to songwriting and recording, Artist Alliance’s proven industry professionals have the experience and expertise required to assist musicians in launching their career from the ground up. “I called it Artist Alliance, because I want people to work together. There’s always competition within cities and between studios but I really want to work with anyone who wants to learn”, Wilkinson says. The studio space became available two years ago, but for Wilkinson it just wasn’t the right time. Fast forward to five months ago, the very same space had resurfaced on the market and Wilkinson couldn’t resist the feeling that it was meant to be. 283 Dalhousie Street would soon be home to his PHOTOS: COURTESY ARTIST ALLIANCE

latest endeavour, Artist Alliance. “With my record deals wrapping up and a baby on the way, my wife and I moved here and I got lost in suburbia life for a few years. Then, when this endeavour presented itself I couldn’t say no,” he admits. “I’ve been in the hubs of Toronto and Vancouver but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. This is where my life is right now, my kids are here and there’s a great musical scene so I thought — why not?” A Vancouver native, Wilkinson may be new-ish to the city but he’s no stranger when it comes to the music scene. Raised on rock and roll legends like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, and Green Day, he has been singing into a microphone since he was three, and writing songs since he was 13. Music has always been an important part of his life. “Growing up, everyone would always ask ‘what’s your backup plan’, ‘what are you gonna do if this doesn’t work out’ and I never had a backup plan because I didn’t look at it like that,” says Wilkinson. To name all of Wilkinson’s career accomplishments would be a whole other story in itself as his passion for the craft of music knows no bounds. He wrote, co-wrote and co-produced four albums for Superbeings which garnered extensive Canada radio play. In 2008, after writing and co-producing

Beyond The Falls’ debut album, A Day In The Death Of, the group was signed to Cincinnati EO Records. Their album gained massive attention in the United States and sent them on numerous tours across North America. Wilkinson also toured as a guitarist with New York Island Records’ band, Jet Black Stare. His music has been on radio, movies, TV, NHL hockey games, soundtracks and sporting DVD’s and he has sold thousands of albums and singles. Wilkinson has also written and performed with some of the world’s top bands and artists including The Killers, My Chemical Romance, Billy Talent,The Arkells,Todd Kerns of Slash and over a dozen others. The legitimacy of his music career is instilled in Artist Alliance. “Going through bands for so many years, is like being in a relationship,” says Wilkinson. “With this endeavour, I really wanted it to just be me. It’s a vision that I’ve had in my head for a long time now.” “I’m not rich from playing in a band my whole life but when I semi-retired from the performing side of things I was happy and fulfilled. I did as much as I possibly could, and that’s all you can ever reach for you. Making a career out of music is what I’ve always wanted to do, so this is the second phase for me.” n 19 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

profile by Tori McNeely

Enviro Painting– a fresh coat for a fresh start hether you are looking to freshen W up the inside of your home or add curb appeal to its exterior, the best

results start with high-quality paint and a team of dedicated professionals. Enviro Painting is a company that provides both. Ottawa native and owner of Enviro Painting, Meshal Al-Shammari, says he began the business in 2011 with the main focus of providing superior customer service. “Getting any kind of maintenance or renovation work can be quite the headache, and in some cases it can be a nightmare,” said Al-Shammari. “I noticed there was huge lack of professionalism and care with the trades, so after completing my university degree I decided to create an industry leading business.” At Enviro Painting, no surface is untouchable. Ottawa’s most trusted painters offer a wide range of residential and commercial services including interior and exterior painting, wood staining, concrete painting, epoxy coating, stucco repair, stipple removal and much more. Specializing in residential painting, Enviro’s friendly team of professionals work closely with customers to address their needs, meet their budget and ensure they are satisfied with the final result.


A new coat of paint not only creates an attractive appearance for years to come, it also serves as a primary defense against weather, fading, insects and other damage. Enviro relies on industry leading technology so that you don’t have to choose between a long-lasting paint job and the environment.

As the name suggests, caring for the environment is at the forefront of their operation. That is why Enviro Painting uses paint and other products that contain little to no volatile organic compounds (VOC), chemical additives that are harmful to human health and the environment. Enviro Painting’s commitment to the environment doesn’t stop there. Their CRM system (customer-relationship management) renders them virtually paperless as all contracts and paperwork are completed online. If you have any paint or leftover materials lying around from years ago, Enviro Painting will collect and recycle them for you at no added cost. “As an eco-friendly residential and commercial painting company, we are always thinking about the environment both during the job and when our work is complete,” said Al-Shammari. “Clients love the fact that we put extra attention and care into running our business. It really conveys the kind of

thinking that is instilled in our team.” The Enviro team is composed of 15 members including a sales rep, production manager, job site manager, and painters who ensure that you’re taken care of every step of the way. “Together, we are a team of innovative thinkers looking to improve the industry, as well as our clients’ overall experiences,” said Al-Shammari. Enviro Painting has worked on projects for various businesses around the city including Swiss Chalet, Kettleman’s Bagel and various money marts. When asked what’s next for Enviro Painting, Meshal beamed with a sense of pride as he said, “Our goal is to be Ottawa’s premier painting company, providing remarkable service and quality with an enviro-friendly approach.” n 21 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019



politics by Jonathan Marshall


Trudeau on taxes: What has changed since Harper


ince coming to power in 2015, the Trudeau government has touted their commitment to middle class Canadian families. Trying to tie together low income and secure households, they have made sweeping changes as part of their overall campaign on tax reform. So what has really changed since the Harper government? Some of the biggest changes that the Liberals enacted affected middle-class families with children. The elimination of the Family Tax Cut, which enabled couples with young children to split their income and save up to $2000 per year, was ostensibly replaced with the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). This new benefit also eclipsed several other tax breaks directed at families with children, replaced with a monthly cheque.



Nuclear energy emits zero greenhouse gases during operation and brings down the residential price of power.

In July, the CCB was indexed to inflation and now provides families between $5500-6500 per child depending on age, for households with net incomes of $150,000 to less than $30,000. Since its introduction, nearly 90 per cent of families with children have reported that they are receiving more than they did in the Harper years. Coming up in 2019, the government will be offering an increase to EI Parental Sharing Benefits, where parents would take reduced EI benefits. For example, opting for 55 per cent of EI benefits over 12 months would



mean parental leave could be increased from 35 weeks to 40. Justin Trudeau campaigned to put more money back into the pockets of working class Canadians, and to this end he has kept his promise. The introduction of the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) was an update of the Conservative-devised Working Income Tax Benefit to make it more accessible, with marginal increases to the benefits claimed. To date, the benefit for workers was increased by over $300 since 2017, and the threshold cap was raised to $36,400 from $32,300 for those eligible for the CWB, reaching a maximum amount of $700 in 2019. The same treatment was given to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), with a drastic maximum increase of $947 in 2016, nearly doubling the benefit from the previous year. As the GIS is part of the broader Old Age Security (OAS) program, it is only one part of the structure that supports senior Canadians. The Liberal government say they remain committed to helping elderly citizens live comfortably during retirement. This is exemplified by their continued increases to the OAS in 2018, and the introduction of the Pension for Life, which includes benefits for

disabled veterans of all ages. While the government has been driving up taxes on high-income Canadians, they are also seeking ways to reduce the strain on small businesses. By lowering taxes on small businesses to nine per cent from 10.5 per cent, the federal government is hoping to support Canadian entrepreneurs, but there are some drawbacks. Business owners will lose their eligibility of the Small Business Tax Rate when passive income held in the company reaches $150,000. Overall, it would appear that Trudeau is providing more Canadians with higher benefits, though this isn’t exactly true. While young families and seniors are seeing improvements, middle-aged Canadians without children at home and young professionals are not seeing the same level of care — particularly the 50 to 65 age group, who find they are unable or unwilling to retire yet still face the same economic burdens as those early in their careers. Millennials without children are also struggling, and while the CWB helps those who make less than $32,300 anyone making more than this threshold will still find it difficult to support themselves while saving for their future. As a significant voting block, these two groups may find themselves leaning towards other parties who will promise them a financial plan they can trust. The question is whether the Liberal Party can afford to the cost of keeping everyone happy n 23 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

Canada’s energy economy by Tori McNeely

About Our Industry

Canada’s pipeline system — the past and present

• Approximately 97 percent of Canadian natural gas and crude oil is transported by pipelines. • The oil and gas sector, directly and indirectly, employs approximately 740,000 people in Canada (for comparison,

Canada’s 20 or so manufacturing sectors collectively employ about 1.7 million people).

• Our sector generated over 10 percent of Canada’s GDP in 2016 (compared to manufacturing sectors at 11 percent),

and currently has one major export partner for its oil and gas – the U.S.A (at 97 percent and 100 percent, respectively). • Canadian oil production is expected to grow over 30 percent through 2035 (from 4.2 million to 5.6 million barrels

per day).



Almost 75 percent of Canada’s energy demand is currently met by natural gas and oil.

Only 3.6 percent of the world’s energy was derived from renewables in 2017, while over 57 percent came from oil and natural gas.

The International Energy Agency projects that by 2040, the world will need 32 percent more energy. Globally consumption is forecasted to grow 12 percent for oil and 46 percent for natural gas through 2040.

Pipelines are necessary to deliver fuel for Canadians to heat their homes, drive their cars and travel by bus, ship, train, and airplane.


About 1.3 billion barrels of oil are moved by pipelines each year, with a 99.9 percent safety record.

Over 3000 “integrity” digs (excavation of a section of pipeline for inspection) were done in 2017.

In 2015, 67 percent of natural gas and liquids incidents occurred in facilities, not on pipeline routes.

Over 36,000 km of “inspection runs” were conducted in 2017 using small submarine-like devices which travel inside a pipeline to diagnose potential issues.




Oil sands greenhouse gas emissions decreased 42 percent per barrel between 1990 and 2017.

Less than 10 percent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions and only 0.15 percent of worldwide emissions come from our oil and gas sector.

Our industry uses many reclamation techniques to reduce and eliminate a pipeline’s environmental footprint and return the pipeline route to its natural condition.


Did You Know A train would have to be 5,800 cars or 102 km long to move the 4.1 million barrels of crude oil transported by pipelines in Canada every day!

any know very little about M Canada’s pipeline network. Yet for something we don’t often see, these underground oil and gas pipelines are a critical piece of Canada’s energy infrastructure.

Canadian pipelining began in 1853, with a 25-kilometer cast-iron pipe moving natural gas to Trois-Rivières, Quebec. In 1862, Canada built one of the world’s first oil pipelines which ran from Petrolia, Ontario to Sarnia, Ontario. While the production of pipelines in Canada began in the 1850’s, it wasn’t until nearly a century later when a rich deposit of oil and natural gas was discovered in Leduc, Alberta, that the pace of pipeline construction gained momentum. Today, Canada is home to more than 840,000 kilometers of pipelines that cross both interprovincial and international borders. Canada’s pipelines begin in Alberta and branch west to British Columbia, north to the Northwest Territories, east to Quebec and as far south as Texas. So we know pipelines exist, but how do they work? Just like any network, Canada’s pipeline system is composed of four different types of interconnected pipes that together allow for the safe and reliable transportation of oil and gas. As the name suggests, gathering pipelines exist to gather the product and move it to a facility for processing.

Once processed, feeder pipelines move the product from processing facilities to transmission pipelines which are responsible for carrying gas and oil long distances. Distribution pipelines are then used to deliver the product to homes and businesses. Of the 840,000 kilometers of pipeline spanning the country, approximately 450,000-kilometers are distribution pipelines.

services such as health care, education and social services. As pipelines continue to spread across the country, so do the concerns of ordinary citizens regarding the safety of pipelines. While most pipelines are regulated provincially, the National Energy Board is responsible for regulating the 73,000 kilometers of pipelines that cross provincial boundaries and the Canada-U.S.

These are the pipelines responsible for connecting Canadians with the fuel necessary to heat their homes, drive their cars and run their businesses. Although there are several other ways to move Canadian oil, pipelines are a critical piece of Canada’s energy infrastructure as they offer the least expensive, most efficient and most sustainable method for moving oil to the market. Transporting oil by rail costs three times more than by pipeline. It also produces up to 77 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions than transporting oil by pipeline. Oil and gas pipelines not only contribute to the basic needs of most Canadians, but also contribute to the strength of Canada’s economy. The industry, directly and indirectly, employs 700,000 people in Canada and contributes nearly 11 per cent to the country’s GDP. Pipelines also provide revenue to provincial and federal governments through royalties and taxes which is later used to pay for

border. Established by the federal government in 1959, over 100 pipeline companies are subject to the authority of the National Energy Board from the point of construction to abandonment. While building a pipeline was never as easy as 1, 2, 3, the obstacles that now confront the industry are tenfold. In recent years, many major pipeline projects including the Trans Mountain Expansion, Energy East and Keystone XL have either been cancelled or face delays due to market uncertainty, environmental resistance, political skirmish or regulatory concerns. With the world’s energy is expected to increase 45 per cent by 2040, now is not the time for an infrastructure shortage. Now is the time to expand Canada’s safe pipeline network to allow the country to grow an industry that will benefit all Canadians n

*With information from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Natural Resources Canada, BP, and other industry sources. 25 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

oh cannabis by Nisa Ayu

embraced cannabis as a product that is more focused on holistic health and be part of an overall health regiment.” When to consume cannabis?

While many people have found medicinal and health benefits from cannabis, others also see it as a more natural or healthier alternative to alcoholic beverages in social settings.

Now What? The Edison brand aims to de-stigmatize and elevate the status of cannabis culture in Canada.

ecreational cannabis has been R legal for a little over three months now. A lot of people who have tried

cannabis in the past are embracing this new freedom, while others are curious to see what all the fuss is about, says Ray Gracewood, Chief Commercial Officer of Organigram, the parent firm of Edison Cannabis Company. “We’ve had an awful lot of what we call, “boomerang consumers.” They may have been in the market maybe 10, 20, 30 years ago and have tried the product then. Now that it’s legal, regulated, pre-packaged and can be trusted, people are starting to come back strictly out of curiosity and to get an understanding of what all the news is about,” he said.

What creates the effects associated with cannabis?

Contrary to popular belief, not every type of cannabis product gives off the “high” often associated with cannabis consumption.

“In the medical side of our business, many patients would find pain release, anxiety release, and better sleep from CBD. Whereas THC is more effective for other kinds of medical reason like PTSD for example, but it also has definite recreational appeal as well,” he said.

This system is involved in body processes involving appetite, mood, memory and pain-sensation, among other things.

Edison products have various levels of THC and CBD, including a CBDrich oil. While, traditionally, CBD-rich products are popular with medical

That psychoactive effect comes from a cannabinoid called THC. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that react with receptors in the body’s natural endocannabinoid system.

Edison is a recreational brand by Organigram, a licensed medical marijuana producer. The brand, which stands for quality, creativity, innovation and sophistication, offers products in the form of dried cannabis flowers, prerolls and cannabis oil. Edison products can be found through provincially regulated retailers in nine provinces in Canada, including the Ontario Cannabis Store.

The cannabinoids are contained within trichomes that appear on the cannabis flowers as the plant grows. THC and CBD are two of the most prevalent cannabinoids. “The amount of milligrams in a cannabis product or the percentage of THC in cannabis flower is indicative of the higher degree of effect that one would get,” Gracewood said.

“From a physician’s perspective, it’s an excellent product for several different reasons. It contains trace elements of THC, so a physician or patient won’t have to worry about any element of getting high,” Gracewood explains. “A recreational consumer may choose it for a more relaxed experience.”

To ensure customers use cannabis products safely, Gracewood shares the what, when, where and how to consume cannabis recreationally.

But CBD isn’t psychoactive. So, on its own, it wouldn’t create that high effect people often associate with cannabis consumption.

“Over the past months, it has been an incredibly popular product even from recreational users, which gives me the sense that over time, people have really


patients, they’ve become popular with recreational consumers as well.


“When you think of no hangover, no calories, and [cannabis] generally seen as having less of a long-term health impact on somebody’s body, it seems to be a pretty appealing product as an alternative to alcohol for a lot of those social occasions,” Gracewood said. Edison cannabis products are offered in various forms, so consumers can pick what they like based on the occasion. For example, a consumer who wants to be discreet, doesn’t like that distinct cannabis smell or doesn’t like to smoke at all, can choose edible cannabis oils like the Edison CBD Oil or Edison Indica Oil. The effects take longer to manifest in the body, but last longer compared to vaporization or combustion. Edible oils can be consumed on their own or can also be mixed with a carrier like butter or other cooking oils, and put into food products. Effects generally take 60-90 minutes, but time and duration can vary depending on factors like metabolism, body type and diet. Those who enjoy the experience of smoking or vaporizing cannabis can purchase pre-rolled joints or dried

Those new to cannabis consumption should “start low and go slow.”

Ray Gracewood Chief Commercial Officer, Organigram

flowers like Edison Casablanca that they can grind themselves. The effect of combustion or vaporization is faster than an oil, felt in a matter of minutes. If you know someone who’s a cannabis connoisseur, Edison Reserve products might be a great gift. This product line puts a lot of attention into taste profile, aroma, product density and physical appearance. The Reserve is Edison’s premium, top quality product and is only available in larger pack sizes, Gracewood said. “Edison Reserve is made of the plant’s top flower, which is physically larger, generally higher in THC levels, and also hand-manicured and craft-cured,” he said. How to consume cannabis?

Gracewood said those new to cannabis consumption should “start low and go slow.” “Over time, people’s tolerance levels increases much like any other kind of product. What we found is more cannabis-naive consumers generally start with a lower-THC product to get a sense of how their body and their mind interacts with that. And then over time, the general trajectory is people would start to go to a higher THC product. Once they get comfortable, they’ll start to know the kind of

effects they can expect,” he explained. Organigram provides a titration schedule to their medical clients to help them track the amount of cannabis product they’re consuming on a daily basis, so they can adjust accordingly depending on how their body reacts. Other consumers may subscribe to “microdosing.” That’s small amounts of regular consumption. “For example, a consumer might take two drops of cannabis oil every morning as part of their approach to health, and essentially what that does is much like somebody taking low-dose OTC pain reliever on a regular basis to try and manage pain,” Gracewood said. Two different forms of products can also be used together — two drops of CBD oil in the morning and maybe a pre-roll in the evening, for example. Why should you learn more about cannabis?

Canada is the very first G7 country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis consumption. This creates an opportunity for Canadian cannabis companies to lead dialogue and dispel misinformation on what a regulated and safe industry looks like. It also means they can be leaders in creating jobs, innovation and economic growth inside and outside the country, says Gracewood. For consumers, the opportunities for personal exploration are substantial. “It’s an exciting time. Cannabis has been around for a long time, but never before in modern history have consumers had this much information, choice and the freedom to consume. If you’re someone who’s apt to make it part of your life or apt to give it a try, it’s a new opportunity to form a new understanding and relationship with the plant.” n 27 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

oh cannabis by Mohammad-Reza Ghovanloo

oh cannabis by Anne Dion

Too many bureaucratic hurdles for cannabis research

The ‘high’ road:

the dangers of impaired driving

Why researchers are studying cannabis for promising anti-seizure medication e’ve lost many years of potentialW ly important research on the use of cannabis as medicine because of polarized views of the “weed” among researchers, policymakers and the general public. On one side, there are those who see cannabis as a dangerous psychoactive drug that should be prohibited. On the other, there are those who view cannabis as panacea with the potential to treat every disease and condition known to humankind.

So now that cannabis is legal to smoke, will bureaucratic hurdles still make it hard to study? It’s time to remove the barriers to cannabis research. There’s still too much we don’t know — both potential benefits and risks. Cannabis has some promising medicinal properties and its use as a possible anticonvulsive has a long history. New research from my colleagues and myself indicates why it may be effective. Cannabis originated in the Himalayas and was first cultivated in China for seed and fiber production. Early records of using cannabis medicinally can be traced to Sumerians records around 1800 B.C.E, which mention using this plant against a variety of diseases, including convulsions. There are more recent records of cannabis use against epilepsy in Islamic literature. During the twentieth century, the use of cannabis became illegal in many parts of the world due to its psychoactive (“high”) effects. These legal constraints made understanding the chemistry elusive until the 1960s. It took over twenty years to determine how one of the main cannabinoids — ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more 28 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

commonly known as THC — causes its well-known effects, such as excessive anxiety and euphoria. THC is also reported to be an analgesic (an agent that acts to relieve pain), a muscle relaxant and an anti-inflammatory agent. This is where cannabis becomes interesting for medicinal use. However, because of its noteworthy “high” effects, THC may not be an ideal therapeutic compound despite its potential benefits. Fortunately, there are other cannabinoids that may have the same effects as THC without its psychoactive properties, such as cannabidiol (CBD). The research on CBD so far is promising. And my colleagues and I recently published a study that may explain how and why it works. Our study shows CBD can reduce the activity of sodium channels in the brain which may contribute to a significant reduction in seizures in those with Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of childhood epilepsy that causes frequent and unstoppable seizures, in extreme cases, as many as hundreds of seizures a week. The good news is that in addition to THC and CBD, there are over a hundred other cannabinoids and related compounds that can be isolated from cannabis. Many may also prove to be promising for specific medical disorders.

of life in some patients, we should consider researching all of them. So what’s slowing down the science? In the past, obtaining cannabinoids for research purposes required applying for an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act which could frequently take several months to process. Still more hurdles are required if the cannabinoids are imported from outside Canada. Under the new system, cannabis researchers are required to apply for a license under the Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System, which already warns of “several months” for processing. Sounds like the same bureaucracy, different name. To put this in perspective, it took my colleagues and I 10 months to acquire 100 milligrams of CBD the first time we applied. Progress in the cannabis research field would greatly benefit from a reduction in the bureaucratic process involved in obtaining cannabinoids. The downstream effect could be a more efficient discovery of compounds that would, in turn, potentially extend and enhance the lives of those who suffer from life-threatening conditions n

Mohammad-Reza Ghovanloo is a

Don’t drink and drive. We hear this so often, and from such a young age, it’s almost like a nursery rhyme.

Don’t drive high.

Somehow though drugs of all kinds get used and abused nearly as often as alcohol, and this phrase seems less familiar. It’s no secret here in Canada, cannabis has a certain popularity. And even though the notorious, leafy drug feels a lot different than alcohol, it still greatly impacts your ability to drive. A recent government survey revealed that 50 per cent of cannabis users don’t think cannabis has a significant effect on their driving. More than onethird of surveyed Canadians who used cannabis in the past year said they had driven within two hours of consuming the drug. Recreational cannabis is legal but that doesn’t mean drug-impaired driving has not been happening for years.

of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology at the Faculty of Science at Simon Fraser University and a Research Fellow at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology at Xenon Pharmaceuticals.

If there are therapeutic gems hidden in cannabis that can help the quality

He’s a

contributor with based at the

Cannabis and alcohol operate quite differently from each other when they enter our bodies. While alcohol’s effects are formulaic and tend to last in our bodies until the compound eventually dissipates, traces of cannabis will remain in the body for much longer. CANADIANS WHO USED CANNABIS IN THE PAST YEAR SAID THEY HAD DRIVEN WITHIN TWO HOURS OF CONSUMING THE DRUG.

This presents a problem for testing: how do we determine the line between the drug’s effects and its mere presence in the body? To address the ambiguity, recent studies have shown cannabis to impair driving performance for three hours after use.

Testing… Testing…

How does cannabis affect your ability to drive?

How is Canada addressing the issue of measurement?

Among cannabis’s famous side effects – like red eyes – lurk a few other effects that severely hinder your ability to drive.

Since cannabis has a pesky tendency to stick around in the blood stream even after the user stops feeling its effects, law enforcement is using time-sinceconsumption as its scale for measuring impairment. This is where saliva comes in, since it correlates with blood concentration but only detects recent drug usage.

PhD candidate in the Department

The bad news is, unfortunately, our knowledge about most of these other cannabinoids is even more limited than THC and CBD.

Cannabis vs. Alcohol

THC (the psychoactive compound found in recreational cannabis, but rarely in medical cannabis) causes problems with coordination, slower reaction times, and memory loss along with the “high.”

Roadside saliva tests require a swab

taken from the inside of a driver’s mouth. The device can then detect the presence of cocaine, methamphetamine or THC (the main psychoactive component in cannabis). While breathalyzers are more familiar and therefore more trusted by our society, studies show that saliva tests are 95 per cent accurate.The test won’t show the level of THC, but instead comes up as a pass or fail. The test will only show “fail” if your level is higher than five nanograms — the criminal level. Then, an officer can demand a blood test to determine your exact blood concentration.

Hitting the Roads

Saliva tests are not meant to replace trained experts or blood samples, but rather to provide officers with one more window into a driver’s level of impairment. Police will need reasonable suspicion to demand a saliva sample from a driver. You could find yourself with an impaired driving charge based on a blood sample taken within two hours of driving. ATHC level between 2 and 5 nanograms constitutes a summary offence with a fine of up to $1000. That means you would not be fingerprinted, and the conviction wouldn’t show up on a passport application or employment check. continued>> page 31

University of Winnipeg. PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK



oh cannabis by Tori McNeely

The total planned investment in cannabis public education, awareness and surveillance is more than $100 million over six years.

No such thing as a harmless habit: efforts to educate and protect youth on cannabis use any adults recall their own experiences with cannabis, at a time when M smoking marijuana was a symbol of a rebellious spirit, shared by a group of friends who each took a puff before passing it along. Whether or not they have opened up to their children about their experience with the recreational drug, perhaps one of the reasons kids don’t see marijuana use as dangerous is because they know (or think they know) their parents once smoked it. And they turned out okay, right? Wrong. While marijuana use by youth is far from a new phenomenon, a lot has changed since the golden days of cannabis. Even as attitudes towards cannabis use become increasingly more liberal since its legalization, one thing remains certain: many Canadians believe keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth is important. Effects

It is estimated that Canadian youth have among the highest rates of cannabis use compared to their peers in other developed countries. According to a study published by the Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) in 2018, cannabis remains the most commonly used illegal (now legal) drug among Canadian youth aged 15-24. In an earlier report published by the CCSA on the effects of cannabis 30 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

development. A growing body of evidence suggests that the use of cannabis during one’s adolescent years can have serious harmful effects on brain development, particularly the prefrontal cortex.

Health Canada is also focused on campaigns targeting parents. By partnering with Drug Free Kids Canada, Health Canada was able to distribute more than 180,000 “Cannabis Talk” kits to help parents talk to their kids about marijuana use. In order to better connect with you,

The High Road >> from page 29

Just because cannabis is now legal does not mean its effects are benign for all users. With a young population who are disproportionately more likely to use cannabis than those in other age groups, as well as other developed countries, it is important that the government continue to promote such campaigns to delay youth cannabis use.

However, you’ll find yourself with a higher-level penalty if you drive with a THC level above 5 ng, or with a mixture of a THC level above 2.5 ng and a blood alcohol concentration above 50 mg per 100 ml; the penalty would mirror that of an alcoholimpaired driving conviction, and would include a $1000 fine on a first offence, 30 days imprisonment on a second offence and 120 days imprisonment on a third offence.

The prevention or delay of cannabis use among adolescents is of utmost importance at this time. As the second country to legalize marijuana use we must remember, the world is watching us n

The decision to get behind the wheel impaired is one that can change — or end — your life, and the lives of others on the road with you. Don’t let a snap decision decide the rest of your life; driving ‘high’ is illegal for a reason n

Dr. Andra Smith, a neuroscientist and psychology professor at the University of Ottawa who studied the effects of marijuana on youth says youth are especially vulnerable. “The prefrontal cortex is what optimizes our potential for success in the future whether it be in work, relationships or academics and cannabis can hijack that optimization,” says Dr.Smith.

use during adolescence, youth often described marijuana “as a substance everyone is using all the time.” This reveals another fact about youth and cannabis use which is that they generally consider it to be less harmful than alcohol and other substances.

If it can take up to age 25 for the brain to develop fully, and the legal age for marijuana use is set as low as 18 in some provinces and territories, what is being done to dissuade youth from using cannabis?

Wrong again.

Chief among the Government of Canada’s public health concerns is helping to increase awareness of the harms associated with cannabis use and rescinding misconceptions among youth.

The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) component that gives the “high” in cannabis affects the same biological system in the brain that directs its

A number of public education campaigns have been underway since the spring of 2017 including a campaign on drugimpaired driving entitled Don’t Drive High. More recently, Health Canada launched an advertising campaign whereby questions from the public are answered by cannabis experts.

a combination of both traditional and digital tactics have been used including signage in cinemas, restaurants, public transit as well as social media including Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and YouTube.

Risk Awareness

Connection. An active lifestyle. Balance. It starts here, with you, at the Y.

Join today! 31 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

second chance by Dan Donovan

Wait times aren’t worth it Renowned Health City Cayman Islands hospital is providing wait-time relief to Canadian patients


he Caribbean and the Cayman Islands have long been an annual vacation destination for thousands of Canadians seeking to escape the winter daze for a sunny respite. This is the home of the renowned Seven Mile Beach, known for its magnificent sunset views, resplendent hotels, calm turquoise waters and sandy beaches. There is great snorkeling and swimming (you can go pretty far out and still be in shallow water) at the beachfront properties. The Grand Cayman Marriott, Kimpton Seafire Resort and Westin Grand Cayman all provide the kind of hospitality and services that keeps people returning year after year. Caribbean Club, a luxury boutique hotel, offers condo style accommodations with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, large ocean front balconies, and a lovely pool on situated on a dream beach. While famous for its hospitality, the Cayman Islands are becoming an increasingly popular destination for healthcare. For the past several years an increasing number of Canadians are also choosing to visit the renowned Health City Cayman Islands hospital (Health City) for medical care.


Health City is a world-class medical facility providing care in cardiac surgery, cardiology, orthopaedics, pulmonology, and paediatric endocrinology, and is the vision of world-renowned philanthropist and heart surgeon, Dr. Devi Shetty, who served as Mother Teresa’s physician. Their experienced team of surgeons, healthcare professionals, care givers and support staff are equipped to provide the highest level of patient care and ensure your health is in the very best of hands.This state-of-the-art facility cares for local, regional and international patients in need of elective procedures who are looking to avoid wait times for knee and hip replacements and other surgeries that are affordable and can be done in conjunction with a restful vacation.

expenditures, increases productivity, and improves the patient pathway experience. Seventy-four-year-old Strathroy,Ontario resident Pat McAuly said his decision to go to HCCI last May was a quality of life issue. “I needed knee replacement surgery and my doctor said it would be at least a year wait. Turns out by the time we were in the system, they told me it would be 24 months. My wife Shona and I agreed we just couldn’t wait that long and we decided to look for other options. I did some research on the Internet for out of country hospitals that had the same standard of care as in Canada and I came upon Health City Cayman Islands. They had a Canadian

Health City has built a global reputation in a short period of time by delivering the highest standards of care at a price that patients can afford. They have done this by applying advanced technology and offering an all-inclusive single price called bundled pricing, which reduces unnecessary

office in Hamilton so we contacted them. I spoke to Genny Coe who was very helpful in explaining everything and answering all our questions.

Based on those discussions and other info, we decided to proceed. At first I was a little apprehensive but that went away very quickly when I arrived. The hospital is amazing – spotless, clean, professional and friendly. I was so impressed with the quality of care and professionalism, the hygiene, the actual surgery. The doctors met with me before the operation and talked to me about the process and everything. The surgery for my full knee replacement went well and the aftercare quality at Health City can’t be beat – even in Canada. Honestly, you just don’t get anywhere near the kind of service in Canada. They all came to check on me after the operation – the doctors, the anesthesiologist, and the whole surgical team – a couple of times.The nurses are professional and friendly. I had a great room. I can’t thank them enough. I waked out of the HCCI after two weeks. I arrived three days prior to the surgery, so really the operation and aftercare was 10 days and I was walking with a cane. I came home and did some video sessions and more rehab and I was playing golf with my new knee in July. It’s incredible.”

that didn’t include the aftercare, rehab or bringing a family member. I just can’t thank Health City or recommend them enough. One of the employees, Prashant, even took Shona and me on a tour of the island in his own car. I mean, we really liked these people and how they took care of us. Amazing, thank you!” Health City Cayman Islands

A key factor in Health City’s success with attracting Canadian patients is that they have Canadian health care practitioners on their board who have helped them to build a model that complements Canadian public healthcare. This, combined with the reputation and experience of the surgeons at Health City who have each performed thousands of procedures, along with the postoperative and rehabilitative care services offered at the hospital have all contributed to its growing reputation in Canada. Dr. Alwin Almeida, Health City’s chief orthopaedic surgeon and joint replacement specialist, is a respected and widely published academic with a

Health City patients can bring a family member with them for the procedures and recovery and have an on location option for a condo/apartment for patients in post hospital recovery. Shona McAuly adds, “The office in Hamilton were so helpful before we went and then throughout the process. They even organized our flights, it was totally stress free. When we arrived a person from Health City even met us at the airport and cleared us through customs and took us to the campus.” When asked about the price McAuly says that it cost him $13,700 all in, not including flights, for his complete knee replacement surgery. “That included bringing Shona.” McAuly added,“You know when I was researching this I had looked at some options in Arizona but the cost was $50,000 USD just for the surgery and

strong research background. He leads a team of doctors that are at the forefront of orthopaedics providing surgical and non-surgical treatments, including joint replacements and reconstruction, deformity corrections and arthroscopic surgeries of the knee and shoulder that are minimally invasive. Almeida, or “Dr. Alwin” as everyone calls him, has 10 years of experience in arthroscopic procedures and joint replacements and has performed more than 4,000 orthopaedic surgeries, including 600 joint replacement surgeries, 1,000 arthroscopies and 700 arthroscopic ligament reconstructions of the knee and numerous orthopaedic trauma cases. He is widely recognized for his extensive knowledge on Autologous

Chondrocyte Implantation (ACL) for cartilage injury treatment and is a specialist in the use of leading-edge ceramic materials for surgery and in computer navigation and robotics for joint replacements. In person, Dr. Alwin has a soft-spoken and friendly manner that immediately puts you at ease. He becomes animated when talking about Health City and some of the breakthroughs in medicine that are helping his patients to recover and heal from debilitating joint illnesses. He took us on a tour of one of the operating rooms and explained in layman’s terms some of the procedures used to integrate the medical methodologies and high-tech equipment to ensure the best patient outcomes. “This is about providing the highest level of care and best possible outcomes for our patients.We encourage patients to ask us any questions or share any concerns or worries they may have about their procedure before and even after the process. Our success comes in having a singular focus on patient care and outcomes”, says Almeida. Almeida works with Dr. Niranjan Nagaraja, Health City’s senior orthopaedic surgeon, who started the successful hip arthroscopy program. Nagaraja performs arthroscopy and arthroplasty procedures to treat various joint diseases and orthopaedic conditions. He has performed more than 5,000 procedures specializing in arthroscopic sports medicine, arthroplasty surgeries and joint replacement of the hip and knee and trains young orthopaedic surgeons. He is an expert within orthopaedic subspecialties including vascularized fibular transfers, meniscal tears, and acute anterior cruciate repairs. Health City also has a department of neurosurgery led by Dr. Susheel Wadhwa. He has performed more than 2,000 brain and spinal surgeries since 2007. He completed his postgraduate super specialty training in neurosurgery at Naryana Hrudayalaya 33 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

Health City offers

opinion by Jan Westcott

affordable, high quality care in one transparent, bundled price that is a fraction of the cost of having a procedure in the United States. Institute of Neurosciences and has worked in many of the most reputable hospitals in India, including Narayana Multispecialty Hospital in Whitefield, Bangalore. Dr.Wadhwa says that Health City embodies the vision and mission of its founder, Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, who believes that affordable health care should be accessible to everyone who needs it. “We want patients to be comfortable, to ask us any questions they may have about their particular treatment or operation. We get to know the patient and guide them through the process from the moment they contact us right through their operation and rehabilitation.” The impressive medical and management team and reputation of Health City speak for itself. Since opening in 2014, the hospital has cared for over 17,000 international patients. In April 2015, they were awarded Joint Commission International Accreditation – the gold standard in global health care – and were one of the fastest hospitals to ever be accredited, doing so in the first year of operation. Health City’s offerings are a reasonable antidote for many patients looking for ways to combat Canada's cumbersome and at times uneven health care system. Wait times for many medical procedures here, including knee, hip, spinal and other related surgeries have become a significant quality of life issue for tens of thousands of Canadians. Due to an aging population that is living longer, doctors report that more people in the 65+ age category are candidates for 34 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

such procedures that impact a person’s mobility.

Depending upon the time of year the travel costs vary however, the total costs with travel, surgery and recovery are approximately $18,000 USD for someone traveling with a companion. Prices for a similar procedure in the United States range greatly from $40,000 USD to over $100,000 USD and are not bundled costs and do not include extra post-operation fees. Shomari Scott, the Director of Business Development of Health City Cayman Islands, says that many Canadians are choosing Health City as a quality of life decision.“A person in their 50s or 60s in Canada may not want to wait 18 to 24 months for a hip or knee replacement,” says Scott. “They can wait but they will have to deal with pain, inconvenience, mobility issues and at times issues that affect their employment. There is a hard cost to all of that. At Health City they get world class care from the most experienced doctors and can be on

inance Minister Morneau’s new F “escalator” tax on alcohol, set to increase automatically on April first each year, is unwarranted, punitive for consumers, and deadly for the Canadian spirits industry. For 200 years, Canadian distillers have proudly produced world-class spirits including gin, rum, vodka, liqueurs, and the iconically Canadian rye whisky.


A payment plan option available that requires 50 per cent upfront and then remainder in equal payments over four months following the procedure with no interest. The cost for total knee and total hip replacements are approximately $13,700 USD which includes a hospital stay for three to five days, physiotherapy on the island and transportation to all medical appointments. Additional costs include flights and accommodation outside of the hospital stay. A patient should expect to stay on the island for two weeks.

An 80 per cent tax on spirits — and the federal government wants more?

the road to recovery in no time. They also get price certainty and exceptional support services. Oh . . . and did I mention that the post-surgery recovery is in the beautiful Cayman Islands.” Health City Cayman Islands Canadian Patient Information

The Health City Cayman Islands Canadian office in Hamilton, Ontario provides patients with detailed information regarding Health City protocols and coordinates consultations with Health City Cayman Islands physicians and staff. They offer assistance with booking of travel and accommodations at preferred rates, free virtual consultation with the surgeon and also the information portal that ensures privacy and the compliant transfer of all medical records as part of their service. Upon arrival, Health City staffs ensure patients are quickly cleared through airport reception and provided ground transfers to and from the hospital. Health City Cayman Islands has a Canadian board of advisors comprised of several doctors and health care professionals, who have designed a program specific for Canadians n For a complete list of medical treatments at Health City visit health

One hundred per cent of the grains are purchased directly from local Canadian farmers supporting 8,500 full-time jobs and pouring $5.8 billion annually into the GDP.The Canadian spirits industry is a significant economic contributor, and a strategic opportunity for growth, job creation and prosperity — unless it is literally taxed to death. Buried in the 2017 federal budget, the escalator tax automatically increases annual excise duties (production taxes) paid by alcohol manufacturers, without ever going back to parliament for review or approval. Notwithstanding the undemocratic nature of such a tax, Finance Canada admittedly undertook no analysis of the longterm implications for distillers, farmers, consumers, restaurants and bars across the country. Minister Morneau’s justification for this pernicious tax: the federal government was losing out on excise revenues due to inflation. Annual reports from Public Accounts Canada prove nothing could be further from the truth. Prior to the 2017 budget, excise taxes were last adjusted in 2006, when then Finance Minister Jim Flaherty lowered the GST from 7 per cent to 6 per cent. The minister did not pass those savings along to alcohol consumers. Instead, he added the GST revenue from that 1 per cent decline to excise tax rates –

about 30 cents on every 750 ml bottle of spirits. Those additional 30 cents were magnified through subsequent levels of provincial and federal taxation. In 2006, Finance Canada assured the spirits industry that this change would be revenue neutral, meaning it would not result in the collection of more excise taxes. In actuality, the 2006 excise tax change has been anything but neutral for spirits.

annual excise increases going forward nor can Canadian consumers, or the hospitality/tourism sector. We ask the government, how much is enough? Minster Morneau’s new automatic annual tax increases pose a direct threat to the ongoing viability of spirits manufacturing in Canada. We know this, because it has happened before. Originally introduced by the Pierre Trudeau administration, the escalator tax of 1980 wrought financial havoc on the spirits industry, forcing 11 midsized Canadian distilleries to close, and resulting in thousands of lost jobs. Compounding our concerns is President Trump’s historic decrease of excise duties on American spirits. By April 2019, Canada’s excise rate for spirits will be an astonishing 83 per cent higher than the United States, our largest competitor.

These facts dispute Minister Morneau’s assertion that the federal government’s excise revenue stream was lagging due to inflation. As the table shows, federal excise revenues for all alcohol, yearended March 31, 2018, were 25 per cent higher than 2006. Over the same period, cumulative inflation rose by 22.4 per cent according to the Bank of Canada. Looking solely at spirits, excise revenues collected in 2006 were $485.8 million, and a whopping $793.4 million in 2018 – a massive 63 per cent increase. People may assume Canada’s spirits industry experienced phenomenal growth over this 12-year period but in reality, spirit sales grew by a paltry 18 per cent. Already burdened with a staggering overall 80 per cent tax rate, the Canadian spirits business cannot sustain automatic

Canadian distillers are united in opposition through Spirits Canada’s NOT ON MY TAB campaign, a national initiative aimed at repealing their industry death knell. Drawing participants to, the campaign focuses on educating Canadians about the detrimental impact of automatic taxation on alcohol, and enables direct communication with Members of Parliament to support repeal. Minister Morneau, hard-working Canadians deserve fair taxation on their favourite drinks. Please support our consumers, our hospitality, tourism and farm partners, and the survival of our award-winning products by repealing the harmful escalator tax on alcohol in Canada n Jan Westcott is the President & CEO of Spirits Canada 35 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

travel by Tori McNeely

private villas that can be both rented and owned. Each residence is built with the highest design standards in mind including granite kitchen counters, designer faucets, stainless steel appliances, custom lighting and wide angle windows so that the ocean is visible from every room at the resort.

Livin la vida local in Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Oaxaca’s little-known port city on Mexico’s Emerald Coast


Puerto Escondido’s lauded Vivo Resorts is the brainchild of former Canadian alpine skier and two-time Olympian, Cary Mullen. Over the span of four years, Mullen researched over 30 beachfront destinations and traveled to 15 of them before settling on 75 acres fronted by 20km of white sand beach in Puerto Escondido. “When I went to Puerto Escondido on 36 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

Mescal is the local liquor of choice in Oaxaca, so it’s no coincidence that Vivo’s sports bar is not only named Mezcalina’s but also serves some of the best margaritas in town! Vivo can facilitate a wide variety of adventure activities for guests, including sea safaris, fishing trips, ecological tours and scuba diving. While it might seem tempting to spend most of your time sipping cervezas from the resort’s thatched-roof swim-up bar, there is so much more waiting to be discovered.

Sink our toes into the sand of

uerto Escondido is Mexico’s bestkept-secret, a destination that promises not to disappoint. Located on the southern tip of Oaxaca’s Emerald Coast, vacationers have access to the best swimming, surfing, and dining experiences unlike any vacation spot in North America.

Oaxacan cuisine redefines Mexican food and Vivo’s Ernesto’s is a great place to start. Led by executive chef Rene Martinez, Ernesto’s stays true to their farm-to-table mantra by relying on regional markets for fish, beef, fruits and vegetables.

one of my scouting trips I just knew,” said Mullen. “My heart and my gut told me this was the place.” The third-generation developer weighed each locale against 44 factors of which Puerto Escondido outshone popular destinations including Hawaii, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. The climate in the area is desirable for vacationers, with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius year-round and very little precipitation in winter months. According to Mullen’s research, there have only been four hurricanes along the Oaxacan coastline in the last 165 years. “I believe that vacationers are going to get more savvy with their online

research and they’re going to say if I only have a week or two I am going somewhere I’ll be guaranteed great weather,” says Mullen. Four years, 15 countries and 44 factors later, Mullen’s vision has matured into a resort destination that promises a healthier, happier and more connected life. The Resort Arriving at the gated oceanfront community, you pass through the 53,000-square-foot clubhouse that is the social heart of the resort. A stateof-the art spa, kids’ club, general store, yoga studio, library and sports lounge are just a few of the many amenities that can be found in the clubhouse.

The resort is made up of condos and PHOTOS: TORI MCNEELY

The Region The culture and customs of the various ethnic groups in the region are still present today, making Oaxaca the most diverse state in Mexico. For those looking to discover the Oaxacan culture firsthand, the public market is a great place to start.

Open daily and only 30 minutes from the resort, Mercado Benito Juarez features hundreds of vendors selling various goods and services. As you navigate through the adjacent rows of handmade clothing, baked goods, local meat and fresh fish you’ll see how much of a timeless ritual this is for locals. About 20 minutes from the resort, Laguna Manialtepec is one of the most popular fishing and birdwatching spots in the region. The extraordinary ecosystem lined with mangroves is home to over 300 tropical birds.

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Many different guided tours are available, but Hidden Voyages Ecotours is highly recommended. As the boat navigates through the 15km long channel, an ornithologist guides you through the history of the lagoon and rich diversity of both its plant and animal life. When the channel narrows and palm trees replace the mangroves, you’ll hopefully have the chance to disembark the motorboat and sip from a freshly cracked coconut at the nearby coconut plantation. The motorboats hold between 4 to 12 people and the tour usually takes around three hours. If a whole coconut wasn’t enough to fill you up, La Puesto del Sol offers a range of classic Mexican dishes including tamales, chilaquiles, tostadas and deep-fried seafood. If beach time is what you seek, Puerto Escondido is the place to find it. While there are many beaches to choose from, Playa Carrizalillo is a fantastic little cove with a white sand beach and vibrant blue waters to swim in. The 167 steps from the top of the cliff down to the sea are well worth it once you’re floating atop the soft waves or lounging under a kaleidoscope of colourful umbrellas. Enjoy a hilltop lunch at Villas Carrizalillo Hotel’s inhouse eatery Espadin.You must try the sweet plantains to start, followed by the fish of the day. As much as I have done my best to describe Vivo Resorts and the authenticity of the surrounding region to you, it is not something to be told. It is something to be experienced firsthand which is why snowbirds and short-time vacationers should consider Vivo Resorts for their next winter destination n

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Take a historical trip around the world and peer into different cultures with the expansive collections of American, Asian, Latin American, European, Islamic and African pieces. The museum is well-known for its Indian memorabilia and culture wing, but also includes a serene sculpture garden combining natural and manmade beauty and a comprehensive photography, film and furniture collections. The grounds also house two cute cafés ideal for a quick lunch or bite to eat.

Houston T H E P E R F E C T FA M I L Y G E TAWAY

The fourth largest city in the United States and the most ethnically diverse, H-Town is hardly a traditional vacation destination but it is the place to get right in the thick of things. What to Do

A CityPASS voucher booklet lets you visit all the top attractions for a fraction of the price. It includes tickets to Space Center Houston, Downtown Aquarium and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, as well as a choice between either the Houston Zoo or Museum of Fine Arts Houston and either the Kemah Boardwalk or Children's Museum of Houston. It can save you a whopping 49 per cent. Explore any of the participating locations any time and in any order within a nine-day stretch. Not only does it make your life easier, CityPASS also gives you the VIP treatment at some spots, letting you skip the ticket line. Discover a behind the scenes view of the Johnson Space Center and delve into both the past and future of the American space program at Space Center Houston.View the varied space suit collection, board a real shuttle 38 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

carrier and walk through the Skylab trainer. See aircraft and items that have been to the moon and back and take a trip to Mars with an interactive exhibit. Make sure to take the tram tour where you can step inside the authentic Apollo mission control room and feel how big the universe really is standing next to the massive storied Saturn V rocket.

more than a dozen zones of permanent displays covering subjects like space, paleontology, chemistry, rocks and minerals and local wildlife, as well as the third largest collection of Fabergé in the world. Their impressive dinosaur exhibit includes some of the only complete skeletons of certain species in the world, as well as a remarkable trilobite collection.

The 500,000 gallon exhibit at Houston’s Downtown Aquarium is filled with 400 different species of marine life from all over the world.

Hit the interactive energy room detailing the energy refining process from start to finish, or visit the Cockrell Butterfly Center, a roomy greenhouse full of the flying creatures in a recreated natural habitat. Get an even more hands-on experience in the Curiosity Room modeled after the homemade museums of Victorian times where visitors can touch any or all of the artifacts.

Pet and feed stingrays at Stingray Reef and marvel at the rare white tigers dozing in the Maharaja’s Temple. The six acres of entertainment include a kids’ area with amusements and play structures, as well as a mini CP 100 train tour around the property. The aquarium also has a restaurant and bar featuring a 50-foot wraparound tank, second largest round tall tank in North America, so you can dine under the sea. Many of Houston’s museums are located in the city’s museum district and are within walking distance of each other. Learn something new at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It is an absolute must see for educational fun at any age. Not only do they often feature thought provoking travelling exhibits, but also PHOTOS: COURTESY VISIT HOUSTON, UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston is one of the 10 biggest fine art museums in the United States, housing a collection of over 65,000 pieces, and is expanding with a new building opening in two years time. PHOTO: ANNA JONAS


rom food or fossils to fine art, festivities, and football, Houston is a bustling metropolis with lots of familyfriendly fun . . . . plus, any city known for Beyoncé and NASA is bound to be cool.

Consistently voted among the best children’s museums in the country, the Children’s Museum of Houston is heaven on earth for newborns to 13-year-olds. Climbing towers, a water park, robots and science experiments are all part of the fun. Here, kids can roam a little town where they run the show. They can take on a job, earn make-believe money and spend it on items of their choice, even giving grown-ups an “allowance.” It’s a handson approach to learning about things like financial literacy. Older kids can learn new skills in the tech room with a 3D printer or become super spies in the S.E.C.R.E.T. program, a mission that will take them through secret codes, laser rooms and other challenges to stop a fictional evil mastermind. Parents should wear comfortable shoes for this busy day. With 6000 animals of all sizes, the Houston Zoo takes visitors around the world. Gaze at gorillas, marvel at monkeys, watch California sea lions play, Asian elephants feed and African lions roar. Kids can hang out and learn about the animal kingdom in special kids’ zones. Swing by the

“Plan Your Day” booth to find details on once-in-a-lifetime animal events and experiences happening each day, such as the chance to feed live giraffes. The zoo also actively advocates for the protection of wildlife and teaches visitors how they can help make a difference. Where to Eat You may not immediately think of Houston as a culinary hot spot, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The big city is home to a number of top-notch restaurants and chefs whose specialties are as varied in influence as the city itself.

Want a taste of the local cuisine but not sure where to start? The Houston Montrose Walking Food Tour hits three must-try spots; BB’s Café, El Real and Hugo’s. Start at BB’s, inspired by the owner’s Louisiana grandmother, and chow down on your weight in Cajun crawfish and boudin balls with a side of local Purple Haze beer. Don’t forget to top it all off with some deliciously doughy homemade bread pudding. Next, make your way to El Real for some real deal Tex Mex, complete with cheese enchiladas, puffy tacos and perfectly tart margaritas. An homage to the traditional Tex Mex establishments of yore, the restaurant occupies what was once a movie theatre and still screens old school films on the wall. Finally, do-si-do on over to Hugo’s for an upscale feast of ceviche, empanadas and mojitos, with Mexican hot chocolate and churros for dessert. The brainchild of Hugo Ortega, winner of a James Beard Award, it is Mexican food as you’ve never seen it before. some of the best food that Houston has to offer.

You’ll practically have to roll back to your hotel. Or, try your hand at the two-step and learn to honky-tonk at Goodnight Charlie’s, featuring great cocktails and even better vibes. You can’t beat a warm evening spent swaying in their classic southern porch swings. Come for the quality live music and stay for the friendly staff and wine on tap. For an alternative evening activity, head to the free “Twilight Epiphany” Sky Space art installation on the Rice University campus. A masterpiece and brainchild of artist James Turrell, the lighting-based art display interacts with the sunrise and sunset in real time, resulting in a rainbow of alternating colours. Where to Stay The four-diamond Marriott Marquis hotel is one of the newest in Houston. Located in Avenida, a stone’s throw from Minute Maid Park and the Toyota Center, it was built for the recent Super Bowl and is just part of many new developments blooming around the city. Take some time to unwind at the full-service spa, sleek fitness center or outdoor bar.

Luxurious rooms host beautiful views of either pool, park or city, and the rooftop terrace overlooking the city’s downtown core features a Texasshaped lazy river, boasting the honour of the largest rooftop pool in the state. The building is also home to several stellar restaurants, including Xochi, the newest venture by Chef Hugo Ortega. How to Get There AmericanAirlines and United both offer a range indirect flights from Ottawa to George Bush Intercontinental Airport multiple times per day n

Notre Dame Basilica 39 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

op-ed by Hilary Thomson

The cortisone levels in Connor’s brain were heightened, causing him to be in a state of constant fight or flight. didn’t pay some sort of sport. Connor was playing baseball at a high level, as a 15-year-old on a Triple A team based out of Toronto filled with 18-year-olds. At batting practice one day Connor was hit in the head by accident with a baseball bat. He had more than 20 stiches to repair the damage and suffered his final concussion.


concussion E

ighteen-year-old Connor O’Callaghan lay unconscious on the side of Rideau River Road in North Grenville.

2015, playing basketball for St. Mike’s.

He had overdosed on cocaine.

After an assessment by a doctor he was cleared to go back to playing sports, and while he didn’t return to basketball he continued to play hockey.

His body was essentially lifeless, except for thud of his heart that was still beating inside his chest. His friends had dumped him at the side of the road while he was foaming at the mouth, thinking that he was going to die. Just a few years earlier Connor was the MVP of his hockey team. He was a model student at St. Michael Catholic High School in Kemptville and wouldn’t touch alcohol or even try a cigarette. He was on his way to becoming a decorated athlete. So, what happened? What changed in Connor’s life that lead him to that day when he was found on the side of a country road, left for dead? It happened in a split second, with a simple blow to the head. Connor suffered his first concussion in January 40 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

He was a fifteen-year old sports fanatic, often juggling multiple sports at once.

Just one month later Connor had his second concussion while on the ice. “I wanted him to stop for a year to heal after his second concussion,” said his mother, Lyn O’Callaghan. “But everyone was telling me I was just being a paranoid mom.” Two weeks after the doctors cleared him to go back to hockey, Connor was hit in the head again, causing another concussion. “He had three concussions in six weeks,” Lyn said. “Every time you have a concussion, if they are close together, they multiply.” A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. Dr. Kristian Goulet, the medical director at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s (CHEO) concussion

clinic, indicated there are between 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related concussions each year in North America. The true number is not known because approximately 80 per cent of individuals can not adequately identify a concussion. The classic symptoms of a concussion are headache, confusion and amnesia, often without a loss of consciousness. Symptoms can be subtle and might not appear until many hours after impact. Multiple concussions can lead to significant long-term impairment, said Dr. Goulet. By March 2015, Lyn said they knew something was seriously wrong with Connor. He was having anger issues, anxiety, rage outbursts, problems sleeping, sensitivity to light and noise and was suffering daily headaches. While Connor had stopped playing basketball and hockey, his neurologist suggested that he continue to play baseball which was considered low risk for head trauma. As an athlete, the neurologist thought it would be worse for him psychologically if he PHOTO: (TOP LEFT) SHUTTERSTOCK

This was his fourth in five months. After that, things took a nose dive. Connor started self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to help deal with the symptoms of what doctors had confirmed was Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). “His personality change was dramatic and specific,” Lyn said, teary eyed.“He turned inward and became very dark.” When the family saw his neurologist in June 2015 the doctor told them the cortisone levels in Connor’s brain were heightened, causing him to be in a state of constant fight or flight. He couldn’t deal with stimuli like bright lights, school bells or noisy students in the halls between classes. He couldn’t focus on his work and got into fights in the halls at St. Mike’s.

“We soon realized that he needed a lot more accommodation than we had arranged for,” Lyn said, adding the staff at St. Mike’s was extremely helpful. “They knew him as the sports kid not the trouble kid. We were very lucky that they wanted to help him.”

practice. “What Sensei says you do in karate,” she said.

Connor spent the next year and a half in and out of different specialty school programs in Brockville, Russell and Smiths Falls, all the while struggling academically, with his mood and substance abuse.

“I just started laughing,” she said, adding that she found out later that was a sign of a concussion. “It felt like someone took a brick to my head.”

In January 2016, he spent two weeks at CHEO after almost overdosing on drugs. “He kept telling everyone that there was something wrong in his head,” Lyn said. “He wanted it to be fixed.” Sarah Raymond is no stranger to that feeling of desperation: knowing that there is something very wrong but not knowing how to fix it. In 2016, Sarah was a national-level black belt in karate, spending all her free time either at the gym or Douvris, a martial arts centre in Ottawa. “I was training really hard in everything. I would go to [the gym] in the morning and then to the dojo after work for one or two classes.” It was just a week before the test for the second Dan in karate (the level above black belt) and the energy was high in the room at Douvris.The room was packed that day, which made Sarah uncomfortable, but she ignored her gut feeling and continued with her

They were practising take downs when she smacked heads with another practitioner and then hit her head on the floor.

During the next few weeks Sarah struggled with the symptoms of her concussion. Numbness in her arms and legs, disorientation, pressure and throbbing in her head and being overly emotional and teary. Her doctor diagnosed her with a minor concussion, which she figured would rectify itself over time. Although she didn’t go back to karate she continued going to the gym, training for dragon boat racing and running. When things started to get worse Sarah went back to the doctor who referred her to a physiotherapist who had experience with concussions. She was told to take time off work, stop all vigorous exercise and focus on resting her brain so it could heal. “I was so upset taking just four days off,” she said. “Every step of the way was a big psychological barrier.” At the three-month mark Sarah says she got very depressed. “I realized this wasn’t going away anytime soon. I was afraid this was going to be the rest of my life.”

I realized this wasn’t going away anytime soon. I was afraid this was going to be the rest of my life. Sarah Raymond


Connor and his mom Lyn O’Callaghan

“We are hopeful that Connor will be able to reset his brain with intense therapy. Hope is all we have left.”

Concussions affect every person differently. There is no one treatment that will help everyone to heal. Sarah found that she had to create a new identity for herself postconcussion. She couldn’t go back to karate and work was off the table for the foreseeable future.

Recently his parents and support network found a program just outside Guelph called Portage which helps adolescents with addiction.

Lyn started a Facebook group called Traumatic Brain Injury Mommas United that already boasts 169 members. She is also going to talk to a superintendent at the Catholic School Board of Eastern Ontario about subjecting children to concussions at school.

He was scheduled to be admitted for six months of treatment this past August but the night before he got nervous and ran away from home. “We thought because of his drug history that he was in dire need and death was imminent,” Lyn said.

“I want to save lives. I want to save kids who are suffering from PCS and who don’t know what it is. We are sharing our story so other parents can recognize what they are going through and advocate for their children’s mental and physical health.”

That last five per cent is still a factor in her everyday, limiting her ability to drive and be in front of a screen. She said she will never go back to karate but has been able to slowly integrate exercise back into her life, which has helped immensely with her recovery.

Thankfully, through social media, they had many members of the North Grenville community out looking for him and he was found unconscious along Rideau River Road. It turns out he had met up with his friends to do drugs and when he overdosed they became frightened and dumped him on the side of the road.

Concussions affect every person differently and there is no one treatment that will help everyone to heal. It is a long process that needs patience and the help of many doctors and specialists.

“I see it as a blessing in disguise. Now that I am healing I have learned what is most important in life. It has made me a better, stronger person.”

“I honestly forgive them,” Lyn said, her voice wobbling and tears in her eyes. “I don’t have any room in my heart or my head for the amount of anger I had.”

Sarah said she wishes she had known more about concussions before it happened. “It’s not just a migraine. Even if it is a minor concussion it doesn’t mean it has a minor affect on your life.”

After a brief time at Kemptville District Hospital, Connor was admitted to a detox centre in Brampton. On Aug. 13, he was admitted to Portage. However, since he is over 16 he can discharge himself at any time.

“My entire identity was taken away. My work and karate were everything.” Sarah says her recovery process was hard, not just for her but for her entire family. “I had no filter towards my husband and family, I was very lucky that they were so understanding and supportive.” With the support of her family and the help of many specialists Sarah said she has made a lot of progress. “After two years I am 90-95 per cent better.


Connor’s multiple concussions are still having a major impact on his life. Since being hospitalized in 2016 he has been to rehab for drugs and alcohol twice and has struggled immensely with his mood and the anguish that lives inside his head.

Lyn has been documenting her family’s journey with Connor on Facebook. It started out as a way to let family and friends know about his progress but turned into an avenue to spread awareness about the impact of concussions and advocate for people at risk of TBI. “Connor has a number of friends who are elite athletes who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, have impulse issues and have been in trouble with the law. So many parents have been contacting me for information.”

Lyn said if there is one thing she hopes people take away from her story is that it’s not “just a concussion.” It is a traumatic brain injury that, according to Dr. Goulet, affects just as many people annually as breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and traumatic spinal chord injury combined. “So many people said, ‘it’s just a concussion,’” Lyn said. “If we can save one life with our story then all this will almost be worth it.” n 43 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

opinion by Greg Vezina

Debating democracy, eh? anada’s proposed rules for leaders’ C debates organized by the new federal election commission entrench our biased polling and follow-theleader horse race based party politics at the expense of real democracy. Newly nominated debates commissioner and former Governor General David Johnston has little flexibility in the mandated rules to organize two leaders’ debates to be held during the 2019 federal election. The proposed minimum two out of three requirements for the leader of a party to be allowed to participate include: The party must either have an elected MP or intend to run candidates in 90 per cent of the ridings, or have obtained at least four percent of the vote in the 2015 election or at least stand a “legitimate chance” of winning seats in the upcoming one. Acting chief electoral officer, Stephane Perrault warned a House of Commons committee on Thursday, November 30, 2017, the exclusion of smaller parties in future might run afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Leaders’ debates were previously treated as “essentially private events” not subject to Charter scrutiny, but he said, “This would likely no longer be the case if the state, or an entity created by the state, were to play a role in organizing the debates.” This would also raise issues about if the debate would constitute a nonmonetary contribution made to a participating registered party and an election expense of that party because the debate promotes the registered party. The two greatest influences on election campaigns by a far and wide margin 44 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

are news coverage and leaders’ debates, and unscientific and biased polls are at the root of all the horse-race style campaign coverage with seventy five per cent of voters basing their voting decision on the recommendations and opinions of others. Polling biases were proven by the CBC's senior writer and polls analyst and the founder of Éric Grenier’s research, “The polling plight of the little parties.” The average result for a party that was included in polls was 1.7 per cent compared to 0.4 per cent for parties that were not included. Social and new media companies also follow our mainstream media’s egregious restrictions on election debates and coverage, by working with the major parties, private organizations and special interest groups to exclude candidates from any but the major political parties. Lower public campaign subsidy threshold limits of between two and five per cent of the vote were found to be constitutional, but rules or the lack thereof preventing smaller party leaders and candidates and even independents from having any fair chance at reaching them are clearly not, as has been found several times by the Supreme Court of Canada. Why do the gates for campaign races involving smaller, new party candidates or independents not open until the win, place and show candidates from the major parties are already in the winners’ circle?

is a problem in Canada: “The demonization of political opponents is something that is fundamentally counter to the idea that diversity of opinions, of perspectives, of backgrounds, should be a source of strength and resilience.”

Trudeau broke his campaign promises for legislative reforms including open democratic nominations, free votes, freedom of information reforms, ending PMO controls, and for electoral reforms as well. Our Liberal PM is claiming we don’t need more parties because they are nothing but extremists and we don’t need electoral reforms unless they give him even more power. And yet he says we need more opportunities for new voices and ideas but he will decide who they are and who in the media gets the almost $600 million in media subsidies recently announced to tell us all about it. The twenty or more smaller and emerging parties and the hundreds of candidates they run in elections don’t expect to get equal time, but they at least deserve a fair share, certainly more than a passing mention and systemic exclusion from the public view including campaign debates. We should be debating our entire democracy eh? n Greg Vezina is President of the Democracy Chan-

In a Tuesday, November 6, 2018, CNN interview, Prime Minister Trudeau spoke about how political polarization

nel® Inc., co-author of Democracy Eh? A Guide to Voter Action and Leader of Ontario’s None of the Above Direct Democracy Party. 45 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019


An SPU professor takes part in building an integrated food policy for Canada n a special issue of the journal IAmanda Canadian Food Studies, sociologist Wilson co-wrote a letter

to the food policy community. The objective? To seek out a wide range of expertise in order to redesign the Canadian food system and to address economic disparities. At a time of year filled with culinary rituals, the letter reminds us that unfortunately, many Canadians still do not have a place at the table.

Bringing many skills to the table

An assistant professor at the Élisabeth Bruyère School of Social Innovation, Wilson is also a food movement expert, a champion of alternative food movements and a former farmer. After working for more than a year on this special issue with two colleagues from Carleton University and Lakehead University, she is proud of her contribution to help inform an integrated food policy that will hopefully allow for more safe and healthy food to be placed on tables across Canada, while at the same time protecting the environment. “This project was an incredible opportunity to effect change, and I’m very pleased to be part of it,” she says. Harmonizing legislation

Why an integrated policy? Despite the best efforts of vegan locavores who love fair-trade products, most so-called responsible individual behaviours will not be enough to fix the major flaws

in the Canadian food system. On this point, Wilson is emphatic: “Shopping at the local organic market is great, but it needs to be more than that: to rectify inequalities, we must review our behaviours and change our laws. The policies that are in place often have isolated and short-term effects. We have to stop working in silos and looking only short-term.” Admitting our wrongs

What inequalities are we talking about? Her answer reveals more than one. “In Canada,” she says, “colonialism is still evident in many ways in the production chain. Thousands of migrant workers who pick our vegetables, for example, do not enjoy the same rights and protections as the rest of us.” This colonial dynamic also affects those who inhabited this land long before settlers arrived. Wilson explains: “The Canadian system of food subsidies for Indigenous communities in the Far North is totally ineffective and destroys traditional provisioning systems. As settlers (and I’m one of them), we forced them to stop hunting on their own lands and to pay $26 for a litre of orange juice. It’s a terrible mess, and we must recognize that. In Nunavut, the food insecurity rate among children is 60 per cent. It’s totally unacceptable.” Highlighting inequalities

Food insecurity also affects a higher proportion of vulnerable people across

Amanda Wilson

the country. “The latest statistics,” Wilson points out, “refer to one in every eight households in Canada as a whole and one in 12 households in Ottawa. For immigrants, these rates are even higher. Current social assistance programs are not sufficient. Income insecurity,” which she believes affects a significant number of small farmers, “is another effect of our flawed food policies.” Getting back to basics

Any complex problem requires a complex solution, and anything related to the production, distribution and consumption of food is no exception. “Our food system is an opportunity to work together to transform our society”, she explains. “And the process is already under way. We need to support this momentum through food policies based on consultation.” The stakeholders involved are not only scientists, legislators and civil society, but also, and above all, the First Peoples. “Sustainable land management is a core issue when we talk about food production in relation to climate change,” notes Amanda Wilson. “To succeed, we have to learn from their wisdom on this subject.” n This article was written in collaboration with Richard Viger, a first-year student in the master’s in public ethics and a student ambassador

You can be the face of change! Saint Paul University (1848) is the founding college of the University of Ottawa, with which it has been federated since 1965. Bilingual and on a human scale, it offers programs in social communication, counselling and psychotherapy, canon law, public ethics, conflict studies, philosophy, human relations, and theology. 46 OTTAWALIFE WINTER 2019

The energy industry contributes to climate change won’t happen until we all take responsibility.

It’s easier to move forward when we all see both sides. SHAREDFUTURE.CA/CHANGE

Profile for Ottawa Life Magazine

Winter 2019  

Winter 2019