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The

DRIVE

ISSUE 122

Toe picks and hockey skates A RARE COMBINATION

LIFESTYLE | CULTURE | PEOPLE | TRENDS


DESTINATION: FATHERHOOD It’s not about taking her to her favourite spot, it’s about the time spent together making lasting memories, with your new Rose City Ford.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY FROM OUR FAMILIES TO YOURS.


The

DRIVE

PAUL ST-PIERRE

Publisher

KEN STEWART

Managing director

DAVID HUNTER

Sales director

SABINE MAIN

Editorial & Creative director

MEL MONCZAK

Sales

SHAWNA BEECROFT

Graphic designer

CONTRIBUTORS JEN HALE

Copy editor, proofing

SYX LANGEMANN

Lead photographer

VICKI BARTEL

Photographer

MARNIE ROBILLARD

Art director

LAYAN BARAKAT

Writer

ANUSHREE DAVE

Writer

DR. ANDREA DINARDO

Writer

MONA ELKADRI

Writer

TITA KYRTSAKAS

Writer

VERONIQUE MANDAL

Writer

ASAPH MAURER

Writer

JESSE ZITER

Writer

The

DRIVE

ISSUE 123

Toe picks and hockey skates A RARE COMBINATION

LIFESTYLE | CULTURE | PEOPLE | TRENDS

THEDRIVE#122_covers_R4.indd 1

2019-05-16 7:12 PM

On the cover: Lee Harris: A rare combination of figure skating and coaching lands him a career as a hockey coach.

Follow and like us: Twitter @thedrivemag Instagram #thedrivemag Facebook @thedrivemagazine The DRIVE magazine is delivered direct to nearly 50,000 select homes and businesses throughout Windsor-Essex exclusively through Canada Post. Mail subscriptions available online at www.thedrivemagazine.com/signup or by emailing info@thedrivemagazine.com CANADA POST Delivery agreement no. 43497602. Printed in Canada. Owned and operated by the Landscape Effects Group of Companies. 1125 County Road #42 RR#1, Belle River ON, N0R1A0, 519.727.4769 All advertisement content to appear are subject to approval of the publisher and the publication assumes no responsibility for content included. We do not necessarily share the opinion or views of such advertising and assume no liability of this content or messaging.


CONTENTS

SUMMER 2019

30 PEOPLE DRIVE Lee Harris combines figure skating with hockey coaching for a career full of possibilities

FOOD DRIVE Artisanal sausages: an underground scene that’s been cooking for years

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WELCOME 6 Editor's letter TREND DRIVE 14 L ocal potters, small bakeries, and eclectic eateries BOOK DRIVE 18 What about the Little Free Libraries popping up all over the city? MIND DRIVE 38 The Brain Injury Association of Windsor Essex County (BIAWE) wants you to know they’re here for you 44 Doctors are changing their methods of treatment for patients recovering from concussions

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PSYCH DRIVE 49 Empowering conversations: brain injury ART DRIVE 54 Christee Palace is ready to express deep meaningful words in her next EP 56 Caig Forget: one of Essex County’s most commercially successful artists 58 Asaph Maurer speaks art and money THEATRE DRIVE THE WATCHING GLORY DIE PROJECT: A dark, painful, and incredibly important show opens this summer in Windsor


#SELF-COMPASSION

EDITOR’S LETTER

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The feedback from our readers from last month’s focus on Mental Health Awareness has been both humbling and astounding. There’s a loud and present need for this conversation to continue and to be brought to the forefront. We’ve experienced our readers stopping us to offer their gratitude for articles that moved them to tears. We are honoured to elevate the conversation you’re all having through our interviewees sharing their vulnerabilities. I was particularly moved when a local psychologist called to offer her appreciation for the value in the content of this past issue. She also sent us a letter of appreciation, where she wrote: “As a psychologist in Ontario (Interim Autonomous Practice) and Alberta, I would like to applaud the editor and staff for dedicating an entire issue to mental health, treatment options, and prevention. The stories in the mental health issue eloquently show a candid depiction of some of the struggles encountered by people with mental health conditions. Yet the stories also inspire and provide hope. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome each struggle, to recover, and even to build a meaningful life beyond the condition. Hopefully, this impressive effort of the editor and staff help to destigmatize mental health and to promote self-compassion.” For me, it is a moment of reflection to ask, “How do I promote self-compassion? Am I practising self-care? Am I allowing the negative messages to win?” Through asking ourselves these personal questions, we allow ourselves to embark on an equally personal journey. Consider this an invitation to notice your background conversations and undo the lack of compassion. #selfcompassion This issue will continue to touch on mental health but with a focus on brain injury in celebration of Brain Injury Awareness Month for June. We are committed to exposing the stigmas when people are affected with brain injury. We hope you take the time to get better acquainted with these topics, and we look forward to your continued support and feedback at info@thedrivemagazine.com Sabine Main, Editorial + Creative Director


Buying a home: What happens after your offer is accepted By Chad Fraser Congratulations – your offer was good enough to land you the home you want. Now here’s what you need to do before you get the keys. It may have taken months, or maybe years, of preparation. But you’ve finally saved up a down payment, zeroed in on your dream home and made an offer. Now the sellers have accepted and you’ve settled on a closing date. Soon, your new home will officially become yours. So what’s left to do? Celebrate – then get ready to do some more work. Once the seller has accepted your offer, it’s time to prepare for the closing date. There will be more expenses to prepare for and more experts to consult. Here’s what to expect:

Why you need a lawyer when you buy a house The next step in the process is for the deal to become “firm.” That happens when you and the seller have met all the conditions of sale (if there are any) by the stated deadlines. A firm offer is a legally binding contract. Up to this point, you’ve probably spent most of your time working with your realtor. But now your lawyer and lender come in. “A lawyer makes sure you get everything you bargained for,” Nathaniel Brettle, a real estate lawyer at Malo, Pilley and Lehman in Toronto, says. If you don’t already have a lawyer, Brettle suggests asking your realtor for referrals. Use recommendations from friends and family as a starting point – not necessarily the final word. “You should meet with any prospective lawyer,” he says. “Or at least make a phone call. And always shop around.”

What can keep your home purchase deal from closing? Your lawyer will begin a title search to scan your province’s land-registry records for roadblocks that could keep your deal from closing. Such roadblocks include liens, which are claims against the property due to the previous owners’ unpaid debts. There could also be outstanding mortgages or zoning issues. “There could be a mortgage on the home, for example,” Brettle says. “Your lawyer will tell the seller’s lawyer that the seller must pay off that mortgage and prove they’ve done it before closing.”

What is title insurance? Your lawyer will also set you up with title insurance. That will protect you from issues that could threaten

your ownership. For example, there may be liens or other debts that didn’t show up in a title search. There may be survey errors such as a miscalculated lot line. There may even have to be adjustments if, say, part of your garage turns out to be on your neighbour’s land. For this coverage, you’ll pay a one-time fee that’s tied to your home’s value and varies by province. The cost can range from $225 for a home selling for under $1 million in Vancouver, to under $300 for a home up to $500,000 in Halifax, to as much as $1,200 for a $1-million property in Toronto.

Speak with your bank or mortgage broker – and your advisor You’ll also need to meet with your bank or mortgage broker in advance. In that meeting, you’ll arrange your mortgage so that funds will smoothly transfer to your lawyer’s account for delivery to the seller on closing day. If you were pre-approved for a mortgage, check that the pre-approval is still valid. If not, you’ll need to be re-approved. Jump on this early, as it’s a multi-step process. “[Your lawyer gets] the mortgage instructions from the bank and puts together a mortgage. Then you have to come in and sign the documents,” Brettle explains. “The lawyer sends those documents back to the bank. Then the bank’s underwriters look over everything again and may send further conditions back to the lawyer.” At best, the process can take several days. Your mortgage lender may offer mortgage insurance. But before you buy, speak with an advisor about mortgage protection insurance. That’s a combination of term life insurance and critical illness insurance that you may find more flexible and useful than mortgage insurance. Mortgage protection insurance can reassure you that your family will be able to cover the mortgage payments if something happens to you.

Why book a home inspection? If you didn’t get a home inspection done as a condition of your offer, now is a good time to do it. To make sure all is well with the foundation, furnace and other important features of your new home, bring in an expert to conduct a thorough home inspection before you close. This is an especially good idea if the home you’re buying is older or has been renovated. “Home inspectors are essential,” says Ken Clark, broker/ owner at ACT Realty in Winnipeg. “Their reports tell you things like how to service the furnace and how to be careful about downspouts and drainage.” An inspection can cost around $400. Clark sees a professional assessment as money well spent, however. “For example, the inspector uses a mirror mounted on what’s essentially a selfie stick to look under the furnace’s heat exchanger and determine the state of the entire furnace,” he says.

Windsor Essex Financial Centre 8255 Anchor Drive, Windsor 519-739-7777 sunlife.ca/windsor.essex

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies. ©Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2019.

Important things to do before closing a home deal In the weeks before closing, you may also have a few chances to visit your new home to do things like measure the windows for drapes. Take full advantage of these opportunities. 1. See if anything needs to be fixed. “Check out the home entirely while you’re there,” Brettle advises. “If anything is broken, you can address it before closing. It can be tough to get sellers to compensate you after the deal is final.” 2. Book a mover. Decide whether you can get by with a rented truck and a few friends, or you need to call in the pros. If you’re moving at a popular time (like July 1 in Quebec), you’ll need to book your mover as far in advance as possible. 3. Get insurance. This is also the time to confirm that you have home insurance. You’ll need proof of insurance to finalize your mortgage and close your deal.

What happens on closing day? On closing day, your lawyer transfers your mortgage funds and down payment to the seller and registers the deed in your name. The deed is the legal ownership document for your home. Registering the deed transfers title (the legal term for ownership) from the previous owner to you. You’ll also pay your lawyer’s closing costs. These may include your province’s land-transfer tax, legal fees and adjustments. (See “Your closing checklist” below.) Once all that’s firmed up, you can take a deep breath. You finally get the keys.

What happens after closing day? This brings us to your first few days of ownership. “The first thing you’ll want to do is change the locks,” Clark says. “When you buy a property, you don’t know who has keys. The previous owners may have given copies to relatives, gardeners or repair people, for example.” “You’ll also want to change the furnace filter,” he adds. “The previous owners are likely to have forgotten to do this in their rush to leave.” Finally, get out and meet the neighbours. “They’ll give you referrals for things like snow clearing and contractors they’ve used,” Clark says. “And meeting face to face just lets everyone get to know one another and live as a community.”


IN HONOUR OF THE ONES WE LOVE Dedicated Helping Caring

A community that works together provides important support to care for patients with cancer, other life threatening illnesses or disabilities and their families. In Honour of the Ones We Love is grateful for the opportunity to enhance services with each generous donation!

Please join IN HONOUR in supporting our Fundraising Events 2019 Fireworks Monday, June 24 St. Clair Centre for the Arts

Destroyer/Midnight Metro & Pub Crawl Saturday August 24 Olde Walkerville Theatre

Potatofest Thursday, November 28 St. Clair Centre for the Arts

Steak & Pasta Dinner Wednesday, July 10 Enzo’s

In Honour Wine & Dine Tour Sunday, October 20

GALA 2020 Saturday, February 1 Ciociaro Club

In Honour Charity Golf Classic Monday, July 15 Essex Golf & Country Club

Hallowe’en Family Fun Sunday, October 27 Ciociaro Club

For further contact: (519) 972-0083 or info@inhonour.ca Forinformation further information contact: (519) 972-0083 or info@inhonour.ca

-SYLESSERVICING YOUR NEEDS FOR EVERY SEASON


Cn o itr t ? W a. CLIENT FOCUSED • Let us guide you through the Buying & Selling Process • Put our knowledge and experience to work for you • Let us make your dream a reality • Our greatest success is you recommending us to your friends & family

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NEWS DRIVE custom content Tarion announced its annual Homeowners’ Choice Awards for outstanding builders who receive the highest ratings from new home buyers across Ontario. These awards focus solely on customer service and are based on feedback from homeowners. Local custom builder, Timberland Homes was named the recipient of the 2019 Homeowner’s Choice Award for Medium Volume Builder of the Year. Timberland Homes dates back to 1996 when Gino Piccioni opened Timberland Homes alongside his father, Mario Piccioni. Mario, a long-time contractor himself, mentored Gino while they started with small residential homes, completing a few projects per year before Mario’s retirement. Today, Gino remains inspired by his father’s vision and averages 30 projects per year. With hard work and dedication to his craft, Gino credits his passion and commitment to quality customer service as a catalyst for his achievements. Gino also credits the dedication of both his office staff and field team for their exemplary work in elevating the bar in customer satisfaction. Timberland Homes | 519-978-3877 | timberlandhomes.ca

AROUND TOWN

Welcome to our custom content page meant to highlite unique news from the Windsor Essex region.

Arms Bumanleg is leaving his long acclaimed broadcast career to his new position of Director of Communications and Public Relations with Erie Shores Health Care. Arms will be responsible for the overall communications strategy both internally and externally for Leamington District Memorial Hospital. He will continue to build positive and strong relationships with staff, board of directors, community health partners, politicians and the media. He joins the Erie Shores Healthcare team after nearly 20 years in broadcast, most recently as the new anchor for CBC television. Arms has connected with the community on several levels, with a series of live newscasts, panels on location and stories about mental health and autism. Erie Shores Healthcare | 519-326-2373 | erieshoreshealthcare.ca

Forged from one of the most trusted names in this region’s publishing industry, The DRIVE Magazine is pleased to introduce the “W.E. Manufacture” issue. This special edition publication will feature our home grown companies with a global reach. W.E. Manufacture will highlight our regions strengths with our engineers, technicians, managers, designers and others working in facilities that add value to the vibrant manufacturing, mold, tool and die and the emerging automation and greenhouse sectors. W.E. Manufacturing Magazine will be distributed to 15,000 businesses throughout Windsor Essex and Chatham Kent Counties through Canada Post in early June. W.E. Manufacture | 519-567-0753 | dhunter@thedrivemagazine.com THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

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Come and Discover Leamington’s NEW RETIREMENT RESIDENCE “Moving into Seacliff Manor was not only an amazing decision but one that would allow us to be together and enjoy the amenities they offered. The food, the facility and the staff are absolutely wonderful. We knew the moment we moved in that this was meant for us. We would not want to be anywhere else. Thank you Seacliff Manor.” Bernice & Chuck Rawlings

For more information call today 519-326-2624 | 30 Seacliff Drive East | Leamington, ON | seacliffmanor.ca

MEDICA PHARMACY IS NOW OPEN! Pharmacist Francesco Vella and the friendly, experienced and knowledgeable staff at Medica Pharmacy pride themselves on making sure your pharmacy experience exceeds expectations.

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IT’S ALL ABOUT

you

ARE YOU READY TO MAKE NEW MEMORIES? Hello, I’m Terri Hughes of Hughes & Co. and I believe that it’s all about YOU. I’m ready to guide you and give you the latest market research so you can make an informed decision on your home purchase or sale. I know why so many people want to live in the Windsor and Essex County Region and with my expertise, you will too! My success today is directly attributed to my relationship building with clients, and I look forward to working with you.

M: 519-817-4428 / O: 519-944-5955 / F: 519-944-3387 6505 Tecumseh Rd E / Windsor / Ontario / N8T 1E7 www.terrihughes.ca / #thethughesexperience

®


TREND DRIVE

Bring local gems to your table

By Mona Elkadri | Photography: Vicki Bartel

When I started my blog a few years ago I realized that this small city I lived in held a community with big dreams. Every city has its unique quirks and hidden gems that make it what it is—I was eager to learn what that was for Windsor. While blogging, I came across so many local potters, small bakeries, and eclectic eateries (just to name a few) that were creating amazing things. One of my favourite local haunts is the Downtown Windsor Farmers Market, which showcases many of this city’s ‘hidden gems’ all in one spot! With barbeque season just gearing up and Windsorites wanting to spend more time outside in the nicer weather, there is no better time than to spend an afternoon outdoors discovering new local artisans, grabbing a few ingredients and trinkets, then coming home to make something delicious and enjoying it with good company. The market is always rich with ethically grown fruits and vegetables, among many other great local products. Below are a few farm-to-table recipes that your friends and family are sure to enjoy. 14

Zucchini & Tomato Feta Flatbread Makes 8 flatbreads

Directions:

Ingredients:

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment, combine flour with yeast and salt. Mix.

• 5 cups all-purpose flour • 2 cups warm water • 1 ½ tsp quick-rise yeast • 1 tsp salt • ¼ cup olive oil and extra for drizzle • 2 zucchinis • 5 tomatoes (of your choice) • ¾ cup crumbled feta • 2 tsp Italian seasoning blend • Salt and pepper to taste

2. Slowly add warm water, then oil, while mixing on low speed, about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should form into a ball and come away from the edges of the bowl while mixing. Do not overmix. 3. L  et the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes. While dough is resting, thinly slice the zucchini and tomatoes, about 2mm in thickness. 4. D  ivide the dough into 8 segments and then flatten out each segment onto an oiled baking sheet. Layer the tomatoes and zucchini on the flatbread in an alternating pattern. Once finished, sprinkle feta and seasoning, then drizzle the tops with olive oil. 5. B  ake for 10-15 min or until the crust and bottom are golden brown.


TREND DRIVE

Summer Power Bowl Single serving

Directions:

Ingredients:

1. A  ssemble salad by layering your ingredients starting with the spinach, adding quinoa, and topping with sweet potato and apple matchsticks.

SALAD • 2 handfuls baby spinach ¹ ³ cup cooked quinoa •½ •H  alf an apple cut into matchsticks (my apple of choice is Granny Smith)

2. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly, then drizzle over your bowl. 3. S  eparation of the dressing is normal. If you plan to make it ahead, be sure to give it a quick mix prior to pouring it over your bowl. D.

¹ ³ cup cooked and diced sweet potato •½ or another root vegetable HONEY LEMON VINAIGRETTE •1 Tbsp honey •½ lemon, squeezed •1 tsp white vinegar •1 Tbsp olive oil •½ tsp Dijon mustard

Mona Elkadri is a lifestyle blogger with a fondness for everyday living and entertaining, from sweet recipes to home décor and DIY, and everything in between. ohsomona.com

•Pinch salt and pepper

THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

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BOOK DRIVE

“Take a Book, Share a Book”: HOW THE LITTLE FREE LIBRARY ORGANIZATION BOOSTS LITERACY AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT By Tita Kyrtsakas | Photography: Syx Langemann

‘‘

Little Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds on amazon.com

Heather Teahan—Little Shepherd Street Library

Have you taken a walk recently in Windsor and noticed a Little Free Library (LFL) in your area? Nestled outside different homes and businesses in Windsor, these miniature structures house books that are deposited voluntarily by people passing by who may or may not take a book in exchange.

If you give people kindness and an opportunity, they will nearly always respond with empathy and compassion.

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Lakeview Montessori

’’

Todd H. Bol started the first LFL in 2009 in Hudson, Wisconsin, as a tribute to his mother, who had been a dedicated teacher her whole life. Today, there are over 80,000 Little Free Libraries in over 90 countries. In response to the LFL movement’s 10-year anniversary, the book Little Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds, by Philip Schmidt and the Little Free Library organization, explains how to plan and design your LFL, including suggestions for the best materials and necessary installation methods. The book also offers 12 full plans for structures if you’re interested in building one outside your home or business to create a tighter-knit community in your area. Magda Swisterski, a French teacher who has been at Lakeview Montessori for 31 years, had the idea to have one built on the school property after noticing them on Facebook in 2014. The organization has Little Free Libraries for purchase, but because they’re a little expensive, Swisterski’s godson, John Swisterski, made a custom one for the school.


One student, named Quinn, decided to bring in a bunch of books from his own collection. “Quinn, this book hero, was going to put all these books into the library,” Swisterski laughs, recalling the story. “And then the kids started looking at his books and it took 10 minutes and after he said, ‘Madame, these books are so good, I’m going to take them back.’” Professor Maureen Harris, the Head of School for Lakeview, loves how the LFL bolsters students’ interests in reading while connecting with people in neighbourhoods. “The point is that it brings the neighbourhood together and creates an interest for the children in the books, because it’s not just the same book on a shelf that they see all the time.” Lakeview isn’t the only place in Windsor that has a LFL; there are 10 registered through the LFL website. On the

going to read it again so somebody else can benefit from it.” Heather Teahan is a Windsor resident who has her own LFL called Little Shepherd Street Library. Teahan’s father, Frank, took a couple of months to build the library that now has the neighbourhood connected. A local daycare brings the children by every week, and so Frank built a shorter children’s book section that’s more physically accessible for the kids. “I lived in the neighbourhood for five years, and I didn’t really know any of my neighbours until I put that library up three years ago. Then all of a sudden, it was something to talk about. My one neighbour on the right and I are really close now because we read

Jay Armeland, a Windsor lawyer, has this LFL outside of his Walkerville office

site, you can type in Windsor on the world map to see where you can find a nearby LFL. Anyone can put up a LFL, but only those who register theirs through the organization’s website will appear on their map.

the same books. Who doesn’t love a story? And even if you aren’t a big book reader, you can tell somebody about it. My husband isn’t a big reader but I tell him all the time about the stories I read.”

Jay Armeland, a Windsor lawyer, has a LFL outside of his Walkerville office (though it wasn’t until our conversation that he realized he could register it online). After visiting his children in Toronto, Armeland’s son explained what a LFL was when they were passing one on their way to dinner and Armeland thought it would be a great idea to start one outside of his office.

The LFL also inspires other community-building projects. Lakeview Montessori installed a Buddy Bench after one student came in and wanted any lonely students to have a safe spot to sit if they needed a friend. Harris explains it as an invitation for connection. “It’s reaching out to the community and seeing if the community will respond to you. Same with the library. Reach out to the community and see if they respond. If you give people kindness and an opportunity, they will nearly always respond with empathy and compassion.”

“I already had the container and we used to put magazines in it,” he explains. “I had one of my daughter’s friends, Samantha Bryan [@sambstyling on Instagram] paint a design on the outside.” Armeland has been a big reader his whole life and he sees how important it is to share the wealth. “Everybody has extra books in their house. I know from myself, once I read a book, I’m not THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

Learn step-by-step how to become a LFL steward and create your own LFL today either by purchasing Schmidt’s book or visiting littlefreelibrary.org/. D. 19


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FOOD DRIVE

Marco Albano blends a mix of spices

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PEOPLE DRIVE

A CULINARY REVIVAL

AN ARTISANAL TAKE ON THE TIME-HONOURED TRADITION OF SAUSAGE-MAKING By Layan Barakat | Photography: Syx Langemann

“It was always after Christmas,” said Ric Albano, a look of nostalgia washing over him. Although we sat face to face in his custom-built home cantina, Albano’s mind had wandered to the late nights of his childhood, crafting handmade sausages in his family home. He painted the picture vividly: his mother’s house still dressed in the festive colours of the holiday season, the excited chatter of his extended family as they worked together in this rich tradition, and the slight sinking feeling that this was their last get-together before the school year recommenced. “As a kid, what I was able to help with was very limited, but I always kept a watchful eye knowing that one day, when I grew up, I was going to carry on the tradition.”

is known as the “toe” of Italy’s boot-shaped peninsula. Born and raised in Windsor, Albano holds his Italian customs near to his heart. Continuing the tradition of sausagemaking has now evolved into an annual affair with friends and family. “We’re growing to be a disconnected society in a lot of ways,” said Albano. “This is my way of reconnecting and I’m dragging good friends and family into it.”

Upon entering his cantina, I was met with rows of soppressata, a cured sausage that’s traditionally made in the colder regions of southern Italy. They were stacked neatly, side by side, and I took a moment to snap a few photos; I had never seen anything like it. Albano beamed with pride at his creations. “The mold is part of the curing process, in The craft of sausage-making was imple- case you were wondering,” he said, referring mented centuries ago not as a culinary art, to the mold that grows on the sausage that is but as a means of food preservation. In its peeled off before eating. most primitive form, the sausage was created Soppressata must be made in the colder to move the fifth quarter—the leftover cuts of months. “Part of the process is weather-depenthe meat. It was adopted by various regions dent, because we are dry-curing it,” said Peter globally, each one creating its own iteration Rino, a local engineer and sausage-making from the Argentinian Longaniza, the Austrian hobbyist who has been making soppressata Vienna, and the German Frankfurt, to name with a group of friends for the past seven years. a few. Albano’s family had immigrated to “The temperature needs to be cold so it’s got Canada from Calabria, a southern region that THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

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FOOD DRIVE to be the coldest time of the year.” Growing up in Sault Ste. Marie as the son of a butcher, Rino watched his father make sausages, but the young boy never showed much of an interest in the practice until he was older. Then he began watching the process more closely, which included course-grinding pork and blending it with a mix of spices and salt before filling the casing. “How much salt?” I asked Albano as he explained the intricate process. He smiled back sheepishly and said, “That’s the secret.”

passion quickly turned into an obsession. A formal culinary education wasn’t in the horizon for him, so Bournais took matters into his own hands, studying The Professional Chef, an instructive resource written by The Culinary Institute of America. “I asked my artist wife, ‘How did Picasso get away with a nose here, an eye here, an ear here?’ She said first, he learned how to paint a bowl of fruit,” he explained. “So first I learned the classics—the mild Italians, the Germans, the hot Italians—and that’s where I learned that there are people in Windsor who have been doing this forever and they’re doing a great job. That’s not my spot in this world; my spot is to do something unique. I learned off their shoulders and I just kept going further, always trying to push the envelope—to be different and unique.”

The art of the artisanal sausage lies in the combination of added ingredients and their ratio to one another. Some like to play around with the combination, creating a new sensory experience from the traditional soppressata, while others, like Rob Isshack and his childhood friends Tony Montaleone and John Geraci, stick to the originals. “If it’s not Bournais’s chorizo earned him every single broke, don’t fix it,” said Isshack, referring to award in the Great Canadian Sausage-Making the Montaleone family recipe that has been Competition amateur category and was passed down for generations. named best in Canada for that year. That’s The process of creating the actual sausage when Robbie’s Gourmet Sausage Company takes a couple of days. Once the casings have was born. Tucked away on the corner of been filled, the sausages are then hung up to Wyandotte and Gladstone in Windsor’s dry. “The drying process can take anywhere historic Walkerville neighbourhood, Robbie’s from six to eight weeks,” says Rino. At this Gourmet Sausage Company became the first time, the sausage must be stored in a tempera- artisanal sausage shop in the area. He’s since ture-controlled room during a process called created 89 unique recipes, with the help of “cold curing,” where they will remain until local chefs in a collaboration he likes to call maturity. “Being a sausage maker, you can the Master Chef Sausage Series (which can attest to the fact that there is global warming,” be viewed on the WindsorEats website). “We said Albano. “When I was a kid, we used to feature a chef, we create something together, make our sausages in the winter and they and we put it out there, something totally would stay strung up in the cantina all year. creative and unique.” The Earth wasn’t as hot back in the day. In the ’70s and early ’80s, that’s when we started noticing that we have to shrink-wrap them and put them in a cooler. It’s progressively gotten worse. So, I stand by the environmentalists.”    Although the process of sausage-making comes with some rich, cultural significance, it’s the camaraderie that keeps people coming back for more. The tradition is being carried on generation by generation in this growing movement that has evolved into a collaboration that spans across different cultures and palates.

Bournais prides himself not only on his uncommon flavours, but the fact that his sausages contain only a fraction of the fat found in sausages at the big-box stores. “We figured out the mathematical equations—the proper amount of dry ingredients, wet ingredients, the amount of fat—and I realized you can take a lot out,” said Bournais. “Our sausages are 75 to 80 percent lean whereas grocery store sausages are 35 to 60 percent fat. I have too much respect for my customers to do that.” Health factors are a driving force for many of the sausage-making hobbyists I spoke to, touting the benefits of using organic ingredients, grinding fresh hormone-free meat, and ditching the preservatives to provide a healthier sausage for their friends, family, or clients.

The concept of collaboration in this culinary craft is one that is not lost on Rob Bournais, owner of Robbie’s Gourmet Sausage Company. Bournais began studying the technique of sausage-making after a particuThe unique flare of customizing your own larly delicious chorizo sausage in a Mexican sausage is what launched this new wave of resort. He came home with the intention artisanal sausage-makers to continue to push to recreate it. Batch by batch he infused his the envelope and experiment with uncommon creations with rich herbs and spices and his 24

Peter and Dr. Lisa Rino’s soprassata cellar


FOOD DRIVE

From left to right: David Medved, Phong Nguy, Joe Donato, Ric Albano, Joe Caruso, Joseph Malandruccolo, Mat Blay, Rob Isshak, Marco Albano, Arsen Milosevic

Rob Bournais (Robbie's Gourmet Sausage Company)

THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

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FOOD DRIVE flavours, something to which Ethan Desante, from The Butcher of Kingsville, can attest. Their full-service butcher shop prides itself on creations that vary from traditional recipes to globally inspired ones. “People basically travel with their mouths so it’s pretty interesting to see the turnout for every sausage,” says Desante. “We see a different group of people for every kind of sausage that comes out.” But why sausage? As a butcher shop, there must be various cuts of meat you can experiment with, season differently—what is it about the sausage that’s put it in the spotlight? “It’s an open format, an easy format and an affordable format in which to taste new things,” he explained. “It’s the most affordable way to experience different flavours or styles.” Each country, each region, has a different way of preparing this food. Composed of various meats, spices, and seasonings, each sausage can transform into something completely different than the one before it. The rise of the artisanal sausage comes as a natural progression, a culinary revival of a time-honoured tradition. Windsor-Essex is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse communities in Canada and our cuisine is a direct reflection of that. From taste innovators like Bournais and Desante to traditionalists like Albano, Isshack, and Rino, local artisanal sausage-makers are evolving their flavours into a culinary mosaic. As for the future of sausage-making? This wave is just getting started. “When my parents came here, they were going to the back doors of the butchers because the selected cuts just weren’t there,” said Albano. “Now, in Windsor-Essex, it’s all here. It’s amazing.” D.

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Landing In a good place WHEN LIFE’S STRUGGLES BUILD DREAMS By Veronique Mandel | Photography: Syx Langemann

Lee Harris is as comfortable completing figure eights and jumps on toe picks as he is rushing the blue line and shooting a puck in a hockey net. It’s a unique combination but somehow it doesn’t seem so rare once you get to know the energetic and affable man wearing the skates. But his victories haven’t come without consequences; as someone who’s taken up two sports that can be very dangerous physically, Harris has had his share of accidents on the ice, but he’s overcome the breaks and has passed on his knowledge to others, keeping them safer while playing sports. Today, Harris uses his diverse skating skills in his position as a skating consultant for the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL and Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. He is also working with Ohio State University’s men’s and women’s Division 1 hockey teams. He calls it a dream job and says, even after five seasons, he still can’t believe that he—once a young kid from Harrow, Ontario—is now giving advice to players in the NHL. But let’s go back to Harrow in 1984, when a three-year-old toddler first laced up his skates. He remembers the first day in skating class when they advanced him four levels—an early sign that he was born to be on the ice. At six or seven he was competing as a figure skater in towns and cities across Ontario. He began playing minor hockey THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

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PEOPLE DRIVE

Photography from Lee Harris Photography: Jamie Sabau

in Harrow and by 1997 had won three Harris says he wanted to make sure his All-Ontario championships. life had balance, but listening to him describe Hockey practice alternated with figure his “other” activities, it’s remarkable he found skating practice, making him a very busy enough hours in a week to fit it all in. He said he often wondered himself how he did it. “I young man. While there were some jokes and loved high school and was on student council comments from teammates about his figure and took part in other sports so I could be skating, they could see how it helped his game. with my friends,” said Harris. “I played soccer, Over the next four years he played Junior basketball, volleyball, and did cross-country. I C hockey with the Kingsville Comets hockey absolutely loved running and was good with team and with the Belle River Canadians. long distance. The one thing that was really Between games he laced up his figure skates difficult was keeping weight on.” and travelled to various skating competitions Not everything in high school was about with his skating partner Alyshia Fox. The pair sports. He wasn’t big on going to teenage found modest success competing at Canadian parties, but he played trumpet and guitar and Nationals and competing for Canada in 1999 was a member of the school orchestra. He also in Dallas, Texas. He says looking back at his had a girlfriend who, not surprisingly, was high school years he never got in trouble passionate about sports, mainly basketball. because he never had time. They were best friends and dated until Harris “I would say when I was 15, 16, I was on the ice seven hours a day and up. Every day I practised figure skating at least one and a half hours before school, then got out of school early to do one and a half hours after school at hockey, then games all evening,” said Harris. “It was certainly pretty busy.” 32

competition he fell no fewer than six times and finished dead last. But that did not mean giving up. “I remember not being able to sit on my butt on the way home from London,” he recalls. “Those were the times that made me work harder. There are bad days and you get through them. Sports mimic life and there are hard lessons to be learned to help you through life. And it’s not always about winning.” When he was 16 and had just moved from the Comets to Belle River, he broke his ankle figure skating—a nasty setback for an athlete, and a potential career-ender for a skater. But Lee saw it as another obstacle that would make him stronger. “If you never had a struggle, it’s going to be hard to overcome one because you’ll have nothing to fall back on,” said Harris. “You have to be prepared for the bad days.”

was 19. He said they “motivated and lifted Those bad days can come at you fast each other up.” The two remain friends today. and furious. Some of his very darkest days His life may have been pretty good growing happened when he and Alyshia went their up, but it was not without challenges. Harris separate ways and it felt like his skating says the greatest lessons he learned came career was over. He turned to his parents for from when he lost hockey games or skating advice and kept skating and working out. He championships. During one particularly rough also took to the internet to let the skating


‘‘

PEOPLE DRIVE

I can talk the hockey lingo, I understand the game, but I also understand body positioning, the quickness of the feet, and tightness of the turns and edges that figure skating bring

Photography: Syx Langemann

’’

community know he was looking for a new partner. Finding a skating partner, he says, is like a marriage in that it has to be the “right fit.” Each partner needs a certain body type and style in the other person to complement each other and to make it work. He looked across the country with no luck for a girl who matched his five-foot-eight frame.

“Just when I thought it was all coming to an end, things started working out. I went to Hartford for a week in July 2000 and the first time I skated a lap around the rink with Colette, I knew I had found a perfect match. I came home and told my dad I was moving there—two weeks later I did. Just one phone call changed my whole path.”

He and Appel were also working hard. In January 2002, the pair won the U.S. national junior title and in March 2002 placed 12th in the world junior championships in Norway. In 2003 they placed fourth at two ISU Junior Grand Prix events and on the senior level. They went to the Olympic Trials in 2006 but did not qualify.

With no prospects in sight, he began putting a back-up plan in place. He loved planes and aviation has been a lifelong passion. He decided he wanted to go into the Air Force and become a fighter pilot. Then fate stepped in.

Harris and Appel began skating together but had to sit out of competitions for one year because he was a Canadian—the International Skating Union rules state that partners who are from different countries must sit out a full year before competing together.

Deciding to retire from competitive skating in 2006 was difficult, but it was the right time. “I felt that my partnership with Colette had taken us as far as I thought it could have and I wasn’t interested in pursuing another partner,” he said. “Looking back, the only thing that would have kept me competing was chasing the Olympic dream longer, and with so many uncertainties in the sport—politics, injuries, the day-to-day grind—I knew it was time to move on.” Harris began a five-year run skating professionally on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. He travelled throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and the east and west coasts of North America on five different ships.

“I was contacted by people in Connecticut in the U.S. who had seen some of what I had done in the past. They asked me to try out with their skater Colette Appel,” said Harris, who at first said “no thanks.” The initial reaction came partly from a fierce loyalty to Canada. “I grew up always wanting to represent Canada at every level of hockey and figure skating, so when I was asked to potentially move and compete for the United States, my first reaction was a definite no.” The next day they called again. His love for the sport won out and he agreed to go. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

During that year he also began coaching a young hockey player. It was somewhat daunting for the still-teenage Harris to work with a 14-year-old student. Harris stood before the kid, wondering, “What do I teach him?” The young student said, “All right coach, let’s go.”

“So, I taught him what worked for me,” Harris continues. “From there he made his high school team, which was his goal, and “I toured all over the world and living other organizations heard about the improve- that life was pretty fantastic,” said Harris. “I Steven Page ments I was making in the hockey world.” did up to four shows a week and I loved it. 33


PEOPLE DRIVE When I wasn’t on a ship, I came home to see Harris said it was interesting to see how my folks in Harrow and spent a lot of time big strapping hockey players would scoff at in Columbus.” the very idea that figure skating could be The attraction in Columbus was a pretty harder than hockey … but soon changed their blonde he met on a downtown street. He and attitudes once he put them through a session of a buddy were taking photos and she jokingly exercises that he knew would make them hurt. asked if they were getting good pictures. Harris started talking to her and he was smitten. He knew Chelsea Koenigseker was someone special. In 2011, aware that life was taking him down another path, he retired from professional skating and moved to Columbus. In 2012 and 2013 he became a nationally ranked figure-skating coach, having led his pairs figure skating team to the U.S. championships. He also started a hockey coaching business using his unique methods, which he dubbed the Lee Harris Skating System, running skating camps and clinics. In 2013 the upward trajectory of his life was stalled when his 55-year-old mother Sally, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, lost her second battle with the disease. She left her son with very precious memories of a funny, brave, and courageous woman. “She was beautiful and the way she handled being sick was to make everyone else feel good,” said Harris. “She would wear goofy hats to chemo and crazy wigs that made people light up when they saw her. Her motto was ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ and once said ‘Cancer has been a blessing in my life because it has shown me what’s truly valuable and what’s important.’ I’ve never forgotten that. She was pretty special, and her words stuck with me.”

It isn’t unusual for Harris to have young Harrow hockey teams visit him in Columbus, taking them to Blue Jackets games, getting on the ice with them, and introducing them to the NHLers. He also returns to Harrow to hold hockey clinics. In December 2018 he held Meanwhile, with their romance flour- a holiday clinic and donated the funds raised ishing, Harris and Koenigseker married in to the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County, 2015. Their daughter Sadie was born in 2016 in honour of his mother. and daughter Lana two years later. Harris is a He returned for another clinic in March. devoted family man and much of his busy day Watching him on the ice with a dozen young revolves around his girls, bouncing back and eager hockey students, one can see his passion forth between the rink and home throughout for what he does and his joy teaching young the day. people. He puts them through their paces, Despite being busy, his hometown is never pushing them to work harder, all the while far from his heart. His father Roger is a barber yelling encouraging remarks. in Harrow and Harris clearly has a close Off the ice, the young players get out of relationship with the gregarious Welshman. Roger is proud of his talented and successful their hockey gear and find him in the lobby son and makes sure people sitting in his chair, of the arena. It’s hard to decide who is having or a casual visitor, knows everything about more fun—the players or the coach. him before leaving. Harris groans when you “That’s the best part of my job. Watching mention that the walls of his dad’s shop are the kids’ eyes light up when they get to be covered with newspaper articles about him around an NHL guy or just being at a practice and numerous photos. “It’s like a shrine,” said Harris, laughing with a tinge of embarrassment. and teaching them is amazing,” said Harris. “I keep telling him to take them all down, but I “Being able to pass on what I know to them is don’t think that’s going to happen.” the best thing.”

Back in Columbus, Harris’s reputation continued to grow. He had developed his own niche as both a figure skater and a hockey player, giving him an understanding of both sides of the blade and a unique edge. Within a year the Columbus Blue Jackets began hearing about the success he was having with AAA hockey players and in 2014 hired him as their skating consultant. “I can talk the hockey lingo, I understand the game, but I also understand body positioning, the quickness of the feet, and tightness of the turns and edges that figure skating brings,” said Harris. “I was able to make really quick changes in players in a short amount of time they had not seen before. They interviewed me, had me on the ice to show what I could do, and hired me. They said it was a ‘no-brainer.’” 34

Photography: Amy Adkins photography


Hockey is a rough sport and Harris constantly reminds young players that safety is a priority. He is aware of the grim statistics on brain injury caused by playing hockey. Research by the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows brain injuries from hockey in 2014-15 in Alberta and Ontario were almost double those from cycling, football, rugby, skiing, and snowboarding. The greatest number of those injuries occurred among children ages 10 to 14. Harris said he has worked with many NHL players whose careers have been cut short. “The game is constantly evolving and there is not as much fighting. The goon type of player with the strong body is now scoring goals,” said Harris. “Kids should be wearing the best protective gear possible and if a player of any age gets hit on the head, there’s a strict protocol that includes seeing a doctor and not being allowed to return to the game unless a doctor confirms it’s safe to play again.” For figure skaters, Harris said they were doing jumps without any padding. Today, they wear padded shorts and have much more protection during practice (however, padding is still illegal in competitions). He feels confident that if coaches, parents, and players have the knowledge they need, it will make hockey and figure skating safer for everyone on the ice. At the arena in Windsor, kids from the clinic have gone home and Harris stops to talk with another member of his family fan club—his older sister, Anita Medeiros, who was watching with pride as he talked with the players after the clinic. She said no one who knows her brother is surprised at his success. “We always knew he would do great things in life,” said Medeiros. “He was never arrogant. He was a good genuine kid who had that special spirit and drive and he was popular. Right from being three or four years old he had a passion for sports.” Part of Harris’s charm is his confidence mixed with an air of modesty. He has not lost the joy and wonder of doing a job he enjoys getting up for in the morning. He also takes nothing for granted. “When I met Dalton Prout, a defenceman for the Blue Jackets, we talked about his hometown, Kingsville, and mine in Harrow and all the people we knew in common,” said Harris. “We laughed at the idea that here we were—two little Essex County kids—hanging out with NHL hockey players. It was surreal how it felt that life had come full circle.” D. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

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MIND DRIVE

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AS CANADIANS GRADUALLY LEARN THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY, THE BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION OF WINDSOR AND ESSEX COUNTY CONTINUES TO FILL A VITAL SPACE IN OUR COMMUNITY BY DOING WHAT IT HAS FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS: PROVIDE LIFE-CHANGING SUPPORTS FOR MEN AND WOMEN SUFFERING INVISIBLY.

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Kathy Worotny is a ladybug. I’m speaking to Worotny about Unmasking Brain Injury, a province-wide initiative of the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) that asked survivors like her to create a mask representing themselves before and after a brain injury. Her composition features a half face of sunshine, to represent the light and warmth of her pre-injury life, but it’s the other half, built around a familiar garden insect, that catches the eye. “To me, a ladybug represents survival,” explains Worotny, a former special education teacher at St. Anne’s Catholic High School. “A ladybug always looks for a place to survive the winter, or survive cold. Since my brain injury, I spend a lot of time learning how to survive. Because of memory issues, I sometimes have to relearn things daily; I’m always living rehabilitation.” Worotny was involved in a serious car accident on her way to work on February 24, 1993. She spent six weeks comatose and nearly a full year in hospital. Afterward, she had to relearn elemental life skills like reading and writing, walking, talking, and feeding and dressing herself. Nevertheless, she survives.

taged youth with bicycle helmets; and hosts regular sport concussion workshops as well as annual galas, golf tournaments, and conferences. Currently, the charity operates in the complete absence of funding from any level of government. The organization is entirely supported by sponsors and private donations, save for a single, dedicated grant from the United Way. This grant finances the association’s popular Goals program, which encourages people with brain injuries to work with supportive, non-judgmental facilitators to set realistic, targeted goals. Even that funding is due to expire this year. Anna Jurak is the BIAWE’s first full-time, salaried executive director; her appointment represented a meaningful leap of faith for the board of directors of what had traditionally been a volunteer-run enterprise. “You need to have somebody who is dedicated to the association and available all the time,” explains the experienced fundraiser and organizer. “We’re a resource for supports for brain injury, so we need to have somebody there to answer the phone.” The need is very real: according to the OBIA, about 1.5 million Canadians are currently affected by acquired brain injury, either directly or indirectly as a caregiver.

Worotny’s mask was one of 30 displayed in 2018 by the Brain Injury Association of Windsor Essex County (BIAWE), a donor-supported organization that seeks to enhance the lives of area residents affected by acquired brain injury—any damage to the brain that occurs after birth, unrelated to a congenital or degenerative disease. Affiliated with the OBIA, the community-minded charity offers education, awareness, and support to survivors and their caregivers and family members.

While Jurak is hesitant to commit to a hard number, citing the BIAWE’s still-developing recordkeeping, she estimates the organization’s current active participant list numbers 75 people. This figure includes clients only, not family members and caregivers, who also participate in several meaningful ways.

Worotny has been involved with the BIAWE in one capacity or another for more than 25 years. The organization helps local brain injury survivors and those connected to them navigate the healthcare and legal systems and identify appropriate community services. It offers monthly drop-in support groups and social events; outfits disadvan-

As Jurak explains, most of us associate acquired brain injury with motor vehicle accidents, falls, or other traumatic blows to the head or body, but it also results in thousands of cases from conditions like stroke, encephalitis, meningitis, seizures, tumours, and various infectious diseases.

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Of course, she adds, “there are a lot more people in town who have brain injuries. But if they don’t know about us, it doesn’t help.”


MIND DRIVE

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MIND DRIVE One of those people is Betty Penny, who was involved in a motor vehicle accident about five years ago. She moved to Windsor on her own one year later, which exacerbated the feelings of isolation and depression she’d already been experiencing. Penny connected with the BIAWE following a referral from her family doctor. “The BIAWE has been a guiding light for me,” she shares. “It is a needed and essential service to help the brain injured go in the right direction. When you’re dealing with feelings of depression, and also feelings of inadequacy due to your injury, BIAWE gives reassurance that you’re not alone. I have a better understanding of my condition now.” Cole Kierdorf was 20 years old when he suffered a traumatic snowboarding accident. He spent six weeks in a coma, plus another month in a Michigan hospital. Eventually, he was transferred to London, where he spent a further three months before being released into outpatient care back home via Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. “And then we were done,” relates his mother, Janet Fleming. “During all the processes, they’re educating us and giving us strategies. Then he’s home and it’s like, now what do we do?”

Anna Jurak, Executive Director and Peer Support Coordinator, BIAWE.

Significantly, survivors often suffer in silence. “This is an invisible disability,” stresses Jurak. “A person with a brain injury looks the same as anybody else.” Moreover, non-traumatic brain injuries pass through MRIs undetected, so patients are ultimately responsible for convincing physicians of their subjective experiences. Family members often struggle to understand the severity of symptoms, and there are often serious insurance implications. One obstacle facing the broad mission of awareness is that no two people with brain injury are exactly alike. “Every single person has different symptoms,” says Jurak. “It depends on how and where their brain was injured, their age, their recovery time, and their genetics.” As coordinator of the BIAWE’s peer support program, Jurak matches survivors in Windsor-Essex with mentors who have similar lived experiences of brain injury elsewhere in Ontario—people like Worotny. Each pair schedules weekly phone conversations for a full year. “That’s a program people just love,” says Jurak. “The mentors have all been trained and have been through the journey.” Many participants supplement these conversations by attending in-person support groups. “These are really, really important to people with brain injury,” emphasizes Jurak. “They fill the gap between medical treatment and mental health therapy. I know our programs help participants break the cycle of depression and anxiety that is often associated with brain injury. You’re talking to people who aren’t judging you, who understand you, and who are there to support you and guide you along.” 40

Fleming and Kierdorf used the BIAWE as a bridge for transitioning from the healthcare system to something resembling normalcy. Initially Kierdorf struggled to connect meaningfully with other support group participants, many of whom were more than twice his age. Fleming was compelled to join the BIAWE board of directors herself, and she eventually organized a youth group for 18- to 29-year-olds. “It’s been wonderful for him to have people to turn to,” says Fleming. “His age group has different issues, and they taught him strategies for getting back to living again. It was just such a support—for me as well.” Six years later, Kierdorf has learned to manage his symptoms better than most. He works full-time as a social media manager, and he’s been able to complete gruelling triathlons, but he’s still exhausted by certain mental tasks, like reading. Buoyed by the success of the youth group initiative, Jurak would love to continue to expand the BIAWE’s services. While she is grateful for the community support the BIAWE receives, she sees the government’s reluctance to provide funding as an abdication of its responsibility for encouraging public health. Plus, there’s a compelling economic case to be made. “We’re not a medical service where we fix something, but I’m sure we save the system tons of money in the long term by finding the right resources for people and preventing them from going deeper into whatever problems they have. I think our healthcare system is too much about fixing and not enough about preventing.” The BIAWE works with area physicians and other healthcare professionals, but interested potential participants can self-refer. D. www.biawe.com | Info@biawe.com | Call 519.981.1329


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HEAD CASES: A QUICK LOOK INSIDE WINDSOR’S SPORTSRELATED CONCUSSION HIVEMIND

By Jesse Ziter Photography: Ben Hershey, Syx Langemann

Should you let your child play football? Is it really dangerous to let a concussed person sleep it off? A Windsor-based neuropsychologist and sport-related-concussion expert calls for balance, research, and honest conversation. All things being equal, we know it’s probably better not to get hit in the head. Beyond that, things get complicated. Dr. Christopher Abeare is a clinical neuropsychologist and professor in the University of Windsor’s Psychology program and Behaviour, Cognition and Neuroscience program. His research focuses on the neurocognitive and emotional consequences of traumatic brain injury and sport-related concussion, which is to say he studies the assessment and management of brain injury in athletes. While Abeare has been helping varsity athletes manage concussions for more than five of his 14 years at the university, he’s lately witnessed an increased demand for his expertise as the wider world wakes up to the very real risks of sport-related head trauma. You may have heard of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition associated with the development of dementia and significant personality and behavioural changes. A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and reported by the New York Times identified CTE in the brains of 110 of 111 former NFL players, setting off no small number of alarm bells at all levels of the sporting world. As Dr. Abeare explains, concussions are a very real issue, but this panic has not been terribly productive. It’s important to understand that most of the relevant studies in this area involve former NFL players, who tend to live very different lifestyles than the general public. There’s also a pretty clear selection bias at play: athletes who donate their brains to science typically do so for a reason.

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MIND DRIVE “There’s been all this hype in the news about CTE, and a lot of it is overblown,” he cautions. “Repeated injuries may cause it, but we’re far from knowing that. There’s reason to suspect that hitting your head a lot is not good for you! It’s quite likely not. But does it cause dementia? We don’t know. It’s difficult to know at the end of somebody’s life, if they have some issue, what in their 50, 60, 70, 80 years of life caused it. “There’s a lot of fear-mongering that goes on,” continues Dr. Abeare, who understands this phenomenon as an overcorrection for a general ignorance of concussion that does still exist. “It’s good to take concussions seriously, but at this point in time, there is no reason to believe a child athlete is going to get dementia from a single concussion. The truth of the matter is, if you get a single concussion, the odds of you fully recovering in just weeks or even days are extremely high. There’s a small amount of people who have prolonged symptoms for unknown reasons, but 90 to 95 percent of people are going to be totally fine.” That said, concussions do happen: A 2006 estimate suggests that between 1.6 and 3.8 million sport-related concussions occur each year in the United States alone. Because identification and reporting are improving every year, we now have reason to believe the true number is higher. Abeare would know. Alongside his Psychology colleague Dr. Joseph Casey, he is a key part of UWindsor’s Sport-Related Concussion Centre (SRCC), a collaborative effort with the university’s Sport Medicine team. The innovative program services athletes directly, provides concussion management training to Clinical Neuropsychology students, and generates meaningful research that is already helping improve the broader field of concussion treatment. As the study of sport-related concussion grows rapidly, the SRCC has begun to attract graduate students from prestigious institutions like Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins. While the team experienced a degree of suspicion from athletes and coaches in its early years, the university athletic community has since bought in completely. Instances of reported concussions have gone up (a good thing!), and several varsity coaches have proactively asked to submit their athletes for testing.

Dr. Christopher Abeare

“baseline” evaluations in preseason. These relatively crude tests measure factors like cognitive function, balance, and psychiatric issues. When an athlete sustains a concussion, the more thorough post-injury evaluation relies on this baseline data to determine whether they are back to their usual selves. Abeare’s post-concussion program involves an uncommonly sophisticated level of neuropsychological testing, which evaluates factors like reaction time, memory, processing speed, fine motor coordination, verbal fluency, cognitive flexibility, and impulse control.

Currently, Abeare and his students are actively pursuing sophisticated neural imaging heat maps that can display activated regions of the brain. Going forward, Abeare hopes to develop empirical “biomarkers” for recovery Right now, best practices in concussion from concussion and better methods for management for athletes dictate performing assessing an athlete’s pre-injury level of cogni

tive functioning. In time, he hopes to improve “performance validity” testing—a means of determining when athletes have deliberately “sandbagged” their baseline tests in order to keep themselves on the field after a future concussion—and eventually bypass baseline testing entirely. They’re also interested in continuing to explore the ways in which concussion affects males and females differently. Most existing research involves exclusively, or disproportionately, men and boys. The SRCC works primarily with varsity athletes at the university but also branches out into the wider Windsor-Essex community. In the last few years, the SRCC has begun to provide concussion management services to several youth hockey and soccer leagues. Often, the program is also able to admit people from the general public. 45


MIND DRIVE As Abeare explains, community concussion-management resources are lacking virtually everywhere. “We have our operation here, but it’s very limited,” he notes. “We see five, six, seven hundred athletes, but that’s a small drop in the bucket of the whole Windsor-Essex region. We’d like to expand further into the community and do as much as we can to help, with the finite resources we have.”

“Counterintuitively, a parent’s love and affection often gets translated into behaviours that can make the problem worse,” Abeare explains. “They’re asking their kid every ten minutes, How are you feeling now? and that’s not conducive to recovery, because then the child is constantly attending to their symptoms. Imagine you have pain somewhere in your body. If you’re thinking about the pain, it The reason all this effort is warranted is makes it worse. that team sports introduce developing minds “I would preface this by saying that, when to dynamic environments that demand and in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” he develop cognitive ability and agility. Part of stresses, “but many concussions don’t require parenting responsibly is now negotiating the significant medical attention.” risks of participating in youth sports and the As it turns out, he knows firsthand. Last very meaningful benefits. How does one do year, Abeare’s daughter suffered two concusthat? “It’s a tough question,” Abeare admits, sions while playing high school soccer after “and one I’ve given a lot of thought to, for suffering a series of blows to the head in personal reasons and otherwise.” quick succession. While the referee effectively Abeare acknowledges the divisiveness of the conversation around youth football, in particular, which tends to attract extreme opinions, and he speaks about the debate with the appropriate measure of academic disinterestedness. That said, would he let his own child play? “The short answer,” he concedes, “is I’m not quite sure. Football certainly is a high-risk sport. But on the other hand, there are many positive reasons to be involved in sports; we know that being involved in sports is very important for a kid’s physical, cognitive, and social development. If it was football versus no sport at all, at this point, my current thinking is I would lean slightly more in favour of playing football. But there are other sports that I think I would prefer.” Fortunately, as Abeare explains, parents aren’t entirely helpless should their child, despite their best efforts, end up swelling the sport-related concussion statistics. As a general rule, Dr. Abeare stresses that it’s important to remove athletes from play immediately after any head trauma. “There’s new evidence coming out just in the past week or two showing a dose-response relationship between the amount of time someone plays after having a concussion and the amount of time it takes them to recover,” he notes. “The longer they play in a game after having a concussion, the more time it takes them to recover.”

Somewhat similarly, Abeare notes that preventing a concussed person from falling asleep is actually contrary to current best practices. “That was well intentioned, of course, but unless you have reason to suspect that a person has a brain bleed, it’s better to let them sleep and rest,” he clarifies. “After a concussion, your brain is in a period of high energy use and a diminished ability to supply the blood. So, the last thing you want to do is tax it more, at least during those first couple guided her to answer the on-field concussion days.” protocol questions correctly (“Exactly what Clearly, participating in high-risk youth you shouldn’t do,” says Dad) she was eventually sports involves navigating a sea of misinforpulled out of the game after demonstrating mation. To stay afloat, Abeare advocates for visible signs of confusion. trusting university-based programs in Windsor Abeare’s daughter missed the remaining and elsewhere, as they tend to be staffed by five weeks of her junior season while dealing well-trained academics actively contributing with severe headaches, nausea, tiredness, and to research in the field. He also recommends online information resources from the bouts of heightened emotional response. national charitable organization Parachute A few weeks after that, Abeare sat down Canada and the (US) Centre for Disease with his wife and daughter to make a diffi- Control. cult decision. “We had a conversation about Beyond those safe harbours, again, things whether it was wise to continue playing,” he get complicated. relates. “As parents, we’re limited to some degree to what our children want to do, unless “The quality of care varies widely,” cautions you’re going to be totally authoritarian about Abeare, with audible diplomacy, “and unforit. We were hoping if we talked to her and tunately the concussion ‘crisis,’ so to speak, provided her with adequate information, she has caused a number of outfits to pop up would make the right decision on her own. that may have people who may not be as well Of course, we wanted her not to return to the qualified—who may not have the background sport in grade 12, and she didn’t.” knowledge—to handle it. Eventually she was able to recover physically, re-establish herself at school, and find new social and emotional equilibriums, but the process took a couple months.

During the recovery phase, Abeare bristles at the conventional wisdom dictating post-concussive athletes ought to be isolated in a dark room for weeks. “That is one of the worst things you can actually do,” he stresses. “If I took you and put you in a dark room for two weeks, you would come out depressed, you’d come out with physical symptoms you didn’t Next, while every mother or father should have before. It would make you worse, even care and worry about their child, the ideal if you’re otherwise healthy. It’s not a good parental response to concussion is typically approach.” more hands-off than is instinctive. Interesting new research, already imple46

mented at UWindsor, advocates for a “hybrid” approach to rehabilitation involving two days of rest followed by a gradual return to activity. The SRCC team engages returning athletes with escalating levels of aerobic activity, monitoring their tolerance to gradually increasing physical demands. If symptoms worsen, they stop.

“It helps to do a little homework.”

Contact info for Dr. Abeare: Department of Psychology University of Windsor (519) 253-3000 x 2231 Sport-Related Concussion Centre (SRCC): www.uwindsor.ca/concussion e: concussion@uwindsor.ca

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MIND DRIVE

Watching Glory Die Written and Directed by Judith Thompson

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July 23-27, 7:30pm The Hatch Studio Theatre / University of Windsor Jackman Dramatic Art Centre Tickets at Evenbrite.com Reservations for the Opening Night Gala at watchingglorydie@gmail.com Ages 12+ / coarse language and mature subject matter

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PSYCH DRIVE

EMPOWERING SOMEONE WITH A BRAIN INJURY By Dr. Andrea Dinardo

When my sister was 19, she had a brain aneurysm. Every day since, she has struggled to maintain her independence and financial security. Despite her trauma, Noelle continues to thrive in unexpected and beautiful ways. She never gives up, no matter what comes her way. Over the years, I have discovered the difference it makes when I support Noelle from her perspective, rather than dictating what she needs.

BRIDGE THE GAP

MAKE THEM THE EXPERT

LIVE IN PRESENT TIME

PROBLEM

PROBLEM

PROBLEM

One of the main challenges of having a brain injury is feeling alienated by the people around you, that no one understands what you are going through, that you are being constantly judged for not working, not contributing, not participating in mainstream society.

Don’t assume you know what’s best for someone with a brain injury, even if you have a medical degree or a PhD in psychology. The chances of someone following through on your advice is minimal if you haven’t taken the time to truly listen to their needs.

Too often people reminisce about the “glory days” before the brain injury happened, hoping to raise the spirits of their loved one, when in fact it has the opposite effect. It diminishes their self-esteem, making them feel unworthy.

Walk a mile in their shoes. Listen with curiosity.

Now is your power.

SOLUTION

SOLUTION

SOLUTION

Rather than telling someone that you understand what it’s like to live with a brain injury, show them—literally. In doing so, you will discover the daily challenges of rudimentary tasks, limited funds, and social isolation.

Begin conversations by asking your loved one Keep conversations in present time. Ask what how you can support them, instead of telling the highlight of their day was. Notice what them what’s best for them. By listening, you lights them up when they talk. validate the person and their experience, and ultimately strengthen the bond between the two of you.

IN REAL LIFE

IN REAL LIFE

IN REAL LIFE

Our family is loud and boisterous and as a result, Noelle has difficulty getting a word in during holiday visits. Spending time alone with my sister during family visits gives Noelle time to speak up. Another technique that works is assigning a “talking stick” during group conversations, with each person getting equal time to talk.

My sister Noelle loves to cook. So, whenever I find our conversations hitting a low point, I ask her what she has planned for dinner. The benefits are twofold: Noelle perks up completely, and I learn something new. D.

When I spend time with Noelle, I pay attention to every little thing she has difficulty with, and equally what slows her down. Each time I do this, I’m reminded of how much of her mental and physical energy is used up on simple routines such as showering and organizing, leaving little energy for the rest of the day. Another way I bridge the gap between us is to live as she does, on the same budget, riding the same bus, using a similar cane. Though my life will never be exactly the same as hers, this exercise gives me a heightened respect of what she goes through every day.

INDIVIDUALS WITH BRAIN INJURIES HAVE SO MUCH TO TEACH US. LEAN IN AND LISTEN, AND LET THEM SHOW YOU THE WAY.

Dr. Andrea Dinardo is a psychology professor, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping people live their best lives. Visit DrAndreaDinardo.com to learn more about her TEDx talk and psychology workshops. Disclaimer. This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

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THEATRE DRIVE

Watching Glory Die: PRODUCER KELLY DANIELS AND WINDSOR FEMINIST THEATRE SHED LIGHT ON THE ONTARIO JUSTICE SYSTEM By Tita Kyrtsakas | Photography: Syx Langemann

Kelly Daniels

Two years ago, renowned Canadian playwright Judith Thompson came to Windsor to watch the University Players’ performance of her play Lion in the Streets. While here, Thompson held a workshop on her play Watching Glory Die, a show about Ashley Smith, a 19-year-old inmate who committed suicide in her prison cell as six guards watched her die. At this workshop, theatre practitioner and former University of Windsor instructor, Kelly Daniels, read Thompson’s words aloud after her students volunteered her to read.

After the mini-readings with Thompson, Daniels was “hooked” and knew she wanted to stage this play. Originally, Thompson had played all three characters as a one-woman show with separate monologues. But after hearing various voices offer different energies to the play, the team decided that they would re-stage the show with three actresses, with Daniels producing and Thompson directing. When I met Daniels at Starbucks to dive deeper into Ashley Smith’s story and the excitement of staging the play, the screeching of steaming milk and the constant bustle of customers were pushed into the background. Daniels welcomed me with open arms into a hug after briefly meeting only once before at the yearly general meeting of Windsor Feminist Theatre. Seeing her was like catching up with an old friend.

He’s a Shaw Festival ensemble actor and the two met in 2000 during a performance of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. They started Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects in St. Catherines and ran the company successfully for nine years. “I miss doing the shows and the people I worked with, but I don’t miss the rest of it,” she says. “I was burnt out by the end. When I started on this project, I had the support of the university, and I was getting a paycheque.” Watching Glory Die feeds into Daniels’ research. As the producer, Daniels is responsible for applying for the grants, finding the money, and putting the team together. She also coordinates between everyone on the team to make sure “it all happens.”

Daniels recalls how nervous she was doing so. “I haven’t acted in a while, so I’m shaking, I’ve never acted in front of my students or faculty. And it’s Judith-freaking-Thompson as well! It was probably one of the most exciting moments on stage I’ve ever had in my career It’s not easy, but Daniels loves a challenge. because I love the story, because I’m a mom “I’m a Virgo, workaholic, organizer, anal, [of three], because of Judith’s words. I just said Daniels isn’t a rookie. She’s been in the to myself, just breathe. Remember what you’ve theatre scene for over 30 years and even her critical. I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s not right, do it been teaching your students all year.” husband, Ric Reid, is a seasoned professional. again!’” She’s just learned how to make a mean 50


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Windsor Feminist Theatre is important because the company “provides an opportunity for women that they wouldn’t otherwise have. WFT is a safe place for women to explore and risk and get professional training to further their career.”

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cosmopolitan and she has a solid team. Marie Balsom, an old friend of Daniels and the person in charge of communications and media relations for the project, calls Daniels “the mastermind. She is brilliant. The fact that she’s taken on this project as producer blows my mind. She in her own right is an excellent director, but she’s the one who has really put all the pieces together.” Thompson originally wanted Daniels to play the role of the mother in the show, but with her eldest son’s upcoming marriage, as well as producing and moving back to St. Catherines, Daniels knew it was best to have DORA–award winning actress Kelli Fox fill the role.

The show is dark, painful, and incredibly important. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

“Ashley Smith’s case was a catalyst for laws changing,” Daniels explains. “Laws pertaining to ‘therapeutic quiet,’ a.k.a. solitary. There are three sides to the story: that of the parents; Ashley’s story; and the stories of prison guards, who are not equipped or trained to deal with children and women who have serious mental health issues, women who have not been diagnosed properly and are living in conditions that don’t help the situation whatsoever.”

Those who gave the orders were promoted.”

Thompson believes Smith’s death “was not a suicide. It was a homicide. It was, in fact, ruled a homicide in civil court. Who was punished for her death? Only the guards, who were doing their jobs, afraid to jeopardize their pensions.

artistic director, relishes in the fact that on the Canadian scene, WFT is important because the company “provides an opportunity for women that they wouldn’t otherwise have. WFT is a safe place for women to explore and

Nathanya Barnett, the actress playing Ashley (called Glory in the play), is new to acting and a performance poet. Thompson specifically requested Barnett after hearing her speak with Daniels two years ago. For Barnett, the story “is truth: it’s a story that happened in our country, our ‘progressive’ country. We have young women dying in prison, and [we need to] shine a light in the corner that people Smith was kept in solitary for months don’t want to look at.” on end, and her major crime? Throwing This play shines a light through the crab apples at a postman who was bringing support of Windsor Feminist Theatre (WFT). her family’s welfare cheques late. When she WFT is the only professional theatre company attempted suicide, those guards were told not in Windsor that pays its performers and to help her. production members. Patricia Fell, WFT’s

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risk and get professional training to further their career.” With WFT, their priority is reconciliation—what better company to help present a story on Ashley Smith, one that needs active reconciliation. The show has five performances scheduled at the Hatch Theatre at the University of Windsor, from July 23 to July 27. Opening night has a special gala with $100 tickets. By including information and contact information in the program, the production is also shedding light on local non-profit organizations for community support and awareness: Maryvale, Crossroads Centre for Personal Empowerment, Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, Welcome Shelter for Women and Families, and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Daniels has also created a campaign called Send a Friend so that those who can’t afford tickets to the show have a chance to attend. Patrons who can’t attend “can put the tickets in their name and give them away as complimentary tickets to the clients of our non-profits who can’t afford tickets. So we’re creating access to the theatre.” After their Windsor run, the company will take their show to the Assembly Rooms at Edinburgh Festival Fringe for 22 performances. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the “largest multidisciplinary performance festival in the world.” Last year, the festival had 3,500 shows in about 540 venues. “What makes this project so incredibly exciting is because I went after the top operating company of the Edinburgh Fringe,” Daniels gushes. When she travelled to the UK with a group of students for workshops at Shakespeare’s Globe, she knew she had to scout her top performance space, so from London she took a side trip to Edinburgh. Daniels took it as a sign when she realized one of her favourite plays, 39 Steps, was inspired by the Assembly Theatre. “On the very last night, I met with the artistic director and managing director and pitched it and they were hooked.” This performance is not to be missed. Daniels knew it the first time she participated in the reading: “We are all responsible.” You can email watchingglorydie@gmail. com for tickets to the opening gala reception or subsequent performances. D. 52

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MUSIC DRIVE

BRAVEHEARTED SINGER/SONGWRITER CHRISTEE PALACE IS EMPOWERED FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER By Anushree Dave | Photography: Jaden D, Tinkerbox Creative Media

If you haven’t yet heard of Christee Palace, a 27-year-old pop-rock musician and songwriter on the rise, here is one way she introduces herself in a 47-second video on her YouTube page: “When your heart changes, you change, and you have to make new plans… I’ve changed. I feel empowered. I feel strong and resilient. I know what I need to do, and I’m ready for the next chapter. The past is in the past, and where I came from brought me down this path. So I’ll follow it. I’m Christee Palace. Nice to meet you.”

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/clpp28 Instagram and Twitter: @christeepalace Facebook: www.facebook.com/christeepalace Christee Palace music is available on both Apple Music and Spotify. 54

studied drama and education. She believes the drama program helped her build confidence by encouraging her to do a lot of self-reflection.

In 2013, shortly after graduating the program, she was invited to perform in front of 10,000 people for the International Children’s Games at the WFCU Centre. Standing on that stage was a life-altering moment for Palace—it was the moment she knew where she belonged. “There’s nothing else that brings me this amount of joy. That was the turning point for me. That’s when I started bringing songs to In the video, Palace walks alongside the my dad and he started doing demos for me.” Detroit River. The city’s skyline offers the She began taking trips to Toronto from perfect lighting for a video shot at night. It’s Windsor looking for chances to take her dark yet inviting—similar to the ambience in career to the next level. Last summer, she all of Palace’s other videos on YouTube, which decided to move there, allowing her to seize have amassed over 200,000 views. Though big opportunities as they arise. this voiceover may at first seem abstract and One such example is the Jim Beam vague, it makes sense once you hear about National Talent Search, a competition open to Palace’s unique career journey. independent and emerging artists not signed Palace was born and raised in Windsor. She was introduced to music at a very young to a major record label. It’s a national compeage and credits her family, especially her tition where one winner from each region (10 father, with being a major influence in her in total) then competes for the final grand life. “My dad got me started with singing and prize. The winner gets to perform live on playing piano when I was really young. I think stage at the Jim Beam Indie Awards. “I was I was around three.” Despite growing up in a competing against all the regional winners family of musicians, Palace didn’t think about across Canada,” she explains. “I didn’t expect pursuing a music career until after graduating anything when I entered. I know how compethe University of Windsor, where she had titions go, and so the best thing to do is go in


‘‘

I remember thinking that I just need to get up there and do my thing and if they don’t like what they see, then it’s not meant to be.

with no expectations at all and do the best that I can. I remember thinking that I just need to get up there and do my thing and if they don’t like what they see, then it’s not meant to be.” Palace realized just how difficult it is to make it in a market like Toronto, a place that attracts emerging musicians from across Canada. Competition is fierce, and being new to the city meant she hadn’t yet developed a reputation for her work. Palace’s open-minded attitude paid off. The panel of music industry judges loved Palace’s performance, and she won the competition. “Winning in Toronto was insane because I was new here. Winning that kind of competition verified that the move was the right choice and I was so happy.” The win has given her emerging career a big boost, but she’s been in the game long enough to know she can’t rest on her laurels. “You experience failure when you feel like you’re not moving forward or improving,” she says. “This is the kind of industry where it takes a while to get things going because there are so many people doing exactly what you’re doing. But when it’s something that you love, you just have to put your heart into it and work really, really hard and not overthink the process.”

’’

lesson she learned from one of her first idols as a kid: Avril Lavigne. “She was my very first musical influence outside of my family. I remember listening to her in grade four and I connected with her music so much. She was so different and in tune with who she was.” Palace’s upcoming plans include releasing an EP this summer with songs inspired by her personal experiences. “Whenever I’m feeling anything meaningful, music is a way of expressing myself—especially things that are affecting me. When I was writing the EP, I feel like all the songs had a common thread: different forms of heartbreak. And anyone who can relate to that, well, that makes me happy.”

I know what I need to do, and I’m ready for the next chapter, she announced in her video. Palace was willing to tackle new and unexpected challenges. Following new paths, and having faith in wherever they would lead her, is how Palace continues to move forward in her growing career. “I want to keep doing what I love. I keep seeing improvements every Palace thinks the best way to stand out single day. The end goal for me is to in the music industry is to be authentic. It’s a make a living doing what I love to do.” D. THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

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Craig Forget Branches Out HOW A CAREER CARPENTER CARVED A NEW LANE FOR HIMSELF AND BECAME ONE OF ESSEX COUNTY’S MOST COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL ARTISTS By Jesse Ziter | Photography: Syx Langemann

Thanks to one unlikely Stoney Point artist, there are pieces of Southwestern Ontario in Swiss ski lodges, Nevada casinos, Lululemon outlets, Harvard University hallways, and refined private residences from Maidstone to Melbourne.

homes, and businesses across Southwestern Ontario, saved from bonfire pits and landfills. A single piece might use five, six, seven types of wood—ashy, dull, rich, dark, bright, or light—each aged anywhere from a decade or so to well over a century.

A skilled finish carpenter, Craig Forget (pronounced for-jhay) spent years installing trim work for high-end homes before encroaching tendonitis in both arms forced him to reconsider his career path in his mid-twenties. Today, he runs a remarkably successful reclaimed wood art practice that’s attracted discriminating individual and institutional buyers and collectors around the globe.

“A lot of the wood I have is from minutes away from where I grew up—barns I’d driven past for fifteen, twenty years,” Forget explains. “You can trace some of it and it’s been built, torn down, and reused more than once. It can have more than two or three lives. I do find it interesting that a lot of this stuff is going to be dispersed throughout the world.”

“I had to get out of the trade and quit construction altogether,” he recalls, “but I had all these skills, and I didn’t want to give up anything with woodworking. I had to think of something else to do.” So, Forget converted his one-car Windsor garage into a makeshift workshop and started experimenting with less taxing, more creative woodworking projects. Before long, he found himself shipping fireplace mantel beams throughout Ontario via a rudimentary online store.

Over time, Forget’s oeuvre has evolved to encompass simple abstract compositions and more detail-oriented, painstakingly arranged work. His multilayered geometric pieces begin with a small pile of resawn wood fragments. Held together with glue and virtually invisible micro-pin nails, some pieces end up as non-representational compositions, while others turn into detailed studies of natural phenomena. One noteworthy piece represents a geological formation from Arches National Park, Utah; another a famous tree from Yosemite. “I let the piece of wood actually direct me to where I want to go,” says Forget.

Eventually, Forget started playing around with barn wood. He came to find greater Forget’s intricate cityscapes are his most success with a series of improvisational wall immediately arresting pieces. His scale map art compositions than the larger architectural of Chicago, a standout, took more than two pieces he’d initially prioritized. months of consistent work. Forget now makes wall art on a near-indusVarious functional artworks include trial scale using lumber salvaged from barns, floating wood platforms, while other pieces 56

feature metal overlays, cut to order by the local company Windsor Laser, producing a shadowbox-style effect. Across the board, Forget takes an almost painterly approach to his raw materials. He finds fall foliage in a rich swatch of mossy green lichen. A shock of blue-grey wood makes for good water. He sprays on a low-VOC waterbased sealant to lock everything in place, freezing it in time. A friendly, free-wheeling conversationalist, the 39-year-old artist can speak eloquently about wood—and he does. He perks up noticeably when pointing out a sliver of barnboard with a whisper of faded red paint—painted barn wood is usually pine, but this is a hardwood. Nearby, a rack of quarter-sawn sycamore boards from his brother’s 1800s house reveal a pinkish, almost iridescent colour. He’s particularly drawn to boards with traces of light green moss or variegated lichens. “The most neglected wood has been my most precious wood, believe it or not,” he stresses. “It comes in so many colours—colours that you can’t replicate by trying to stain or paint it.”


ART DRIVE

Craig Forget

Forget opened an Etsy shop in 2012 after a brief period exhibiting at art shows and maker fairs like Art in the Park. Today, he still sells on that marketplace (where he has a five-star rating across more than 200 reviews) in addition to his own private website. Log in today and you’ll find about 90 listings, ranging in price from just over $500 to more than $23,000. Forget’s commercial sweet spot seems to fall between $1,000 to $3,000, but he offers fairly substantial discounts to local clients. As it stands, Forget estimates 95 percent of his work ends up in the United States, but he’s also dispatched plenty of pieces to the UK, Australia, Germany, France, and elsewhere in Europe. Locally, you might recognize his large exterior signs for the Walkerville eatery Carrots N’ Dates or Lakeshore St. Andrews Church.

“What’s great is those guys don’t do what I do, want to use any more wood than I actually so I don’t feel threatened.” need to, so I try to use every stitch I can.” Two years ago, Forget relocated his practice to a purpose-built, 2,500-square-foot workshop that shares a large Lakeshore lot with his impressive family home—and his four-year-old daughter’s treehouse. “I actually designed the house in a matter of hours, but this shop took me months,” he laughs.

To this end, Forget keeps discarded strips of wood to use as kindling and uses sawdust as fertilizer. He even reclaims packaging materials. His pieces are flat-packed for shipping using double-plied cardboard sheets repurposed from area greenhouses and corner guards made from leftover backerboard plywood.

It shows: the scale of the operation is genuinely surprising. The bright, functional, and almost impossibly clean space is kitted out with professional-grade amenities, including three-quarter-inch plywood walls with a glassy lacquered finish, restaurant-patio-style windowed garage doors, heavy-duty air filtration units, an overhead heater to cure finishes, a hand-built kiln to bake out infestation, and a dedicated spray booth area with its own ventilation system. The structure also includes a small, white-walled gallery space and an office.

“I probably produce less garbage than anybody else on this street,” he notes.

While Forget keeps a lower profile within Windsor-Essex than some of his contemporaries, he’s friendly with reclaimed wood artists like Michael Difazio, Todd Lindsay, The workshop’s clean, minimalist aesthetic and Steve Pomerleau of FLO Hardwoods. “I aptly represents its environmental footprint. feel that I am part of a large art movement that “The reason I got into reclaimed wood is I has been growing in the area,” he explains. have a love for nature,” he explains. “I don’t THEDRIVEMAGAZINE.COM

All in all, in his short career in the arts, Forget estimates he’s sold well over 1,000 pieces, hitting triple figures in good years. Not bad for a backup plan. He smiles. “If you told me right at the beginning that I’d make money being an artist, I probably would have laughed at you.” D. Instagram: @carpentercraig1 Web: www.craigforget.com/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/carpentercraig1 57


Art

ART DRIVE

MAKING

PAY

By Asaph Maurer | Photography: Syx Langemann

How can you make more money with your artwork? I’m often asked this question. The real artists know it is a long road, and the most successful artists are willing to keep taking steps down that road, even if there is no immediate payoff. We have a destiny to bring beauty and emotion into the world—any step along that journey can be satisfying. As Zig Ziglar says, “You can have anything in the world you want, as long as you help enough other people get what they want.” Consider the following suggestions to be my effort in helping you turn your dreams into a financial reward. 1. Get rid of your old work. If you have 5. Pick a piece of someone else’s art that you like and use it to inspire your own. There paintings that are gathering dust, sell some is a reason you are drawn to certain art. A of them at cost or give them away to a friend crucial element of success is developing your or charity. You can improve only through own style, but that often emerges piecemeal practice—sometimes ancient work needs to from all the things you like in other art with go out the door to make room for the new. your own twist thrown in. The only way to 2. Make bad art. If you hit a patch of no get there is one brush stroke at a time. inspiration, pull out a brush and make something truly bad. It can release you from 6. Remember the thought that your first 1,000 paintings are your worst and get that the need to make a masterpiece each time. arbitrary number of works out of the way.  3. Attend art events. Good ones will inspire you, bad ones will show you what not to 7. Enter art shows, because visibility is key. If you do not think you are good enough, do. Events are important for networking enter anyway. Let the criticism and rejecpurposes; after all, people sometimes buy tion—or, more positively, the praise—fuel from people they like.  your journey. 4. Post your work online. If it is bad art, post it anyway. How are you going to improve 8. Pick up the phone and have a chat with another artist. You will learn so much from if you can’t be vulnerable? Besides, it’s not others who have already overcome some of for you to judge your art; that is everyone the obstacles you face. else’s job. 

9. Listen to podcasts while you paint or draw. Here are two good ones: Your Art Sucks and Creative Pep Talk. 10. Remember, we artists are old pals with depression, addiction, and mental illness. Overcoming and battling those things will be your fuel cells if you let them.

Here is the bottom line: if you make good art, you will sell it. The list above is focused a lot on improving as an artist, a key to selling more, and also being seen. Do not be ashamed of your style or content. Ask not what art the world needs; ask what art makes you come alive, and you’ll find your true answer. Just keep going. When in doubt, paint. Do not, at any cost, die with the art inside of you. D.

Asaph Maurer is a Windsor-based visual artist who has been a professional artist for two years. He is deeply involved in the arts community in the city and his mission is to help each artist grow by coaching the new global talent forward. www.asaphmaurer.com

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PERFECTING THE JOURNEY

100 Eugenie Street W | Windsor | 519.966.6906 | Joseph-Anthony.com

Profile for The Drive Magazine

The DRIVE magazine // Summer I 2019 // Issue 122