Page 1

March 2012

safe tweets

The dangers of social media in Vaughan

IS THE WILD RIDE NEARING THE END? New figures show Canada’s formerly fastest growing city may be slowing down

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ast month I was uncharacteristcally prescient. Inside that issue — the one with the cappucino-written “We’re #1” on the cover — I repeated Vaughan’s claim to being the fastest-growing municipality in Canada, but I also warned the next census could undercut this boast. And, sure enough, the very next month Stats Canada came up with figures that placed Vaughan well back in the pack. For this issue we played with the idea of putting “We’re #17” on the cover. But that would have been needlessly sarcastic (though funny). Besides we all knew this was coming, right? The larger Vaughan gets, the more difficult it is to rack up huge percentage increases. Not to mention, more difficult to plan and pay for our continued development. However, Vaughan is still growing quickly in terms of gross numbers. And while the exciting, wild, almost out-of-control expansion may be over, we have a good and growing base to keep building on for the future.

Eric McMillan Editor-in-chief Our city is maturing and will soon be facing the problems of mature cities across the country and around the world. Which is another kind of exciting challenge. It’d be nice if we could eventually replace our former boast with another one: “Canada’s best municipality to live in.” We’re not there yet, but it’s something to work towards.

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ON THE COVER: Vaughan’s population is still growing but less dramatically Page 4

Illustration by Eric McMillan/Vaughan Today MARCH 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 

+17.7% or more




Less than 0%

MOVING NORTH: The greatest growth in Vaughan from 2006 to 2011 has been in the northern part of the city while the southern half has seen more modest growth — and even some declines — according to population figures released by Statistics Canada last month.

Now the fun begins

The slowing of Vaughan’s wild population growth brings new challenges for our continued development By Omar Mosleh and tristan carter


isit Vaughan’s Wikipedia page and you’ll be told this is Canada’s fastest growing municipality, with a nearly insurmountable growth rate of 80.2 percent between 1996 and 2006. The Wikipedia page needs to be updated. Today, Vaughan is no longer the holder of the lofty title, its growth rate having nearly halved from 37.3  VAUGHAN ToDAY MARCH 2012

percent in the five years leading up to 2001 to 20.7 percent between 2006 and 2011. But that doesn’t mean Vaughan isn’t still growing at a rapid pace. Comparatively, 20.7 percent still makes it one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area. We come in fifth place, behind Milton, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ajax and Brampton.

At least part of the explanation is Vaughan’s overall population increased significantly since the 2001 census, which makes it harder to grow by large percentages. Three of the top five fastest-growing municipalities had populations under 100,000 in 2006, which results in inflated percentage growth when compared to larger municipalities like Vaughan.

But it’s at least clear Vaughan is no longer growing at the unruly pace it once was. Between 1991 and 2006, Vaughan more than doubled its population, from 111,359 to 238,866. To some, the fact Vaughan has leveled off its population growth is a good thing. Despite the percentage dropping due to a larger base, the actual population has been growing at a relatively steady rate: Every five

years, Vaughan grows by about 50,000 people. “That’s been pretty consistent for the last 20 years,” said urban planner Pino Di Mascio, who helped the City of Vaughan create its 2010 official plan. “It’s the rate of growth that’s slowing, but in terms of actual numbers, it’s (still) a lot,” he added. But not all parts of Vaughan are growing equally. The 2011 census shows some neighbourhoods, like parts of Woodbridge and Thornhill, and a sliver of Maple, have actually decreased in population, while areas in the north, such as Kleinburg, have experienced more rapid growth. Di Mascio attributes this to empty nesters, who have lived in older areas of Vaughan for decades and are slowly seeing their children move out. “What you have are these older areas — I’d say they’re 20 or 30 years old — where young families moved into them. They’re fairly large houses, the kids have now moved out and there’s fewer people living in the houses that are there.” In contrast, almost the entire northern swath of Vaughan is coloured dark on the census map, which indicates a more than 17.7 percentage increase in population. That doesn’t surprise Di Mascio. “You have a lot of undeveloped land and a lot of new housing units that have simply been built around it,” he said. “So you’ve got large areas of Kleinburg that five years ago had no housing on it.”

The only vacant land left

Ward 1 councillor Marilyn Iafrate said while it’s true that much of Kleinburg is undeveloped, it’s not like the area is suddenly experiencing a massive construction boom. “That’s kind of misleading because there’s huge tracts of those lands that have not had that type of growth because they’re still all farmland,” she said. “These are the only areas of vacant land left and that’s why you would see that type of growth.” Much of the growth is centred in the Vellore Village development north of Rutherford Road. Unsurprisingly, a significant portion of Ward 4, which includes industry-friendly Concord, showed less than six percent growth. That’s part of the reason it was selected as the location of Vaughan’s future downtown core, near the inter-

sections of Jane Street and Highway 7. The area is slated for heavy development. The city’s official plan calls for 12,000 residential units and 8,000 jobs by 2031. Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua announced Expo City, a five-tower condominium development east of Jane Street back in Sept. 2011. But real estate sales representative Lisa Sinopoli, of Re/Max Premier Inc., points out that if you visit Jane Street and Highway 7 these days, it doesn’t look like much of a downtown, and there is little to no residential accommodation. “That’s all kind of industrial and commercial space there now,” she said. “I’ve noticed there are developments going up there but there hasn’t been any building there because that whole area is going to be rezoned ... So there’s no kind of housing in that immediate area along Jane Street.” According to Iafrate, you can expect that to change soon. “The units themselves haven’t been built, so I think we’re sort of in that little pause where applications are coming forward, we know these things are going to get built but they haven’t been physically built yet,” she said.

Intensification begins

Much of Vaughan’s development in the past revolved around singlefamily homes. Vaughan is now pushing for major intensification, especially in areas the official plan has designated as primary centres and primary intensification corridors such as Bathurst and Centre streets, Jane Street and Major Mackenzie Drive and Weston Road and Highway 7. That’s a good step to regional councillor Deb Schulte, who believes the census reflects the old Vaughan. “(Vaughan) has always grown in an urban expansion kind of way so that we’ve just continued to sprawl north,” she said. “I believe that Vaughan needs to do more of the upwards (expansion) because if we’re going to be an effective and efficient city, we need to be more of a compact city.” Some are concerned construction won’t be able to keep up with the pace of planning and development. Schulte says planning is “way ahead of what’s happening on the ground”, and Iafrate notes some areas in Kleinburg slated for development are still lacking infrastructure for residential neighbourhoods. “Quite frankly residents would like some breathing space between all the massive development that has happened year after year after year, so we can get our infrastructure in place as well,” Iafrate said. “And I don’t blame them ... It’s hugely important because all the infrastructure has not been able to keep up

with the speed of growth.” Director of Kleinburg-based Heritage Hill Developments, Frank Greco is one of those concerned residents. He believes at the current pace of development at the metro centre, the subway is going to open to an area with barely anyone living there. The subway is slated for 2015 completion. “We’re going to have a subway essentially, that stops at Vaughan Metro Centre, that has very little in terms of high-rise residential development,” he said. “And that’s got to be concerning to the TTC folks.”

High real estate prices scare off newcomers

Greco also contends there’s more to Vaughan’s declining growth percentage than it simply leveling off. He says there’s not enough affordable housing, and with townhomes pushing $500,000 and singles for more than $650,000, he believes new families and immigrants are being discouraged from moving into Vaughan. “Vaughan needs to become more of a creative city,” he said. “Real estate prices are driving young families elsewhere.” Sinopoli notes that while real estate prices in general have gone up, lot sizes have decreased. So what does this all mean for

Vaughan? Di Mascio predicts that as residential development intensifies around the subway, the growth rate will skyrocket there, while it will slow down in northern Vaughan. Iafrate says development along Nashville Road between Huntington Road and Highway 27 will have a tremendous impact on Kleinburg. “For sure you can at least double the size of that area,” she said. “Double? No, quadruple the size of that area.” The city’s official plan makes it a priority to sustain Vaughan’s natural areas and countryside, as well as its low-density community areas. Schulte said she hopes to see more “smart growth” featuring “more complete communities where you’ve got more live, work, play opportunities rather than just these houses out in the fields.” For Greco, the most important thing is that the city speed up construction of high-rise residential units in the new Vaughan Metro Centre so Vaughan’s inevitable growth can be accommodated. But he says he still sees too much of the “same old subdivisions” that have characterized Vaughan for so long. “This is Vaughan and it will eventually flourish in that area,” he said. “But I think it’s going to take longer than most people were hoping for.”


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Safe tweeting Social media can be a moral—and legal— minefield for Vaughan’s notoriously outspoken citizenry By Omar Mosleh


ou’d better watch what you tweet. That was the message MP Julian Fantino sent to Vaughanians in a recent letter to the editor published in the Vaughan Citizen. The letter reminds Vaughan residents who frequent social media that they are not safe behind an anonymous handle, and the standard laws governing defamation and libel in traditional forms of media also apply online. Presumably, the letter was prompted by the frequent online discussion surrounding Vaughan’s future hospital, which has served as a lightning rod for controversy. The tweet that was so offensive as to provoke Fantino to pen the letter

will remain shrouded in mystery, for now, as the minister declined to be interviewed on the subject. “Minister Fantino’s letter to the editor entirely speaks for itself and does not require further elaboration,” an assistant to Fantino said in an email. While the actual tweet or series of tweets that incensed Fantino is unimportant in this context (and may no longer exist apart from Google’s cache), the letter does present an interesting question regarding the use of social media, especially in a city prone to impassioned debate. When does constructive discussion turn deconstructive, and is it ever okay to belittle, disparage or otherwise damage someone’s reputa-

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tion either online or offline? The short answer to the latter question is no, says Centennial College media law and ethics instructor Ted Fairhurst. “When it comes to the risk under libel law, I’d say no, it is no different, in a sense that it’s out there, it’s public and it’s tantamount to publishing something,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the media or technology is.” While many public officials and journalists are briefed by their officials on the dangers of social media, Fairhurst says it’s members of the public who may not realize the power they now wield. “People get involved in it all of a sudden and don’t realize that they’ve become content creators, they’ve become publishers, and they (can be) held liable if push comes to shove,” he said. Vaughanians active on Twitter who did not have a cause to rally behind thought the letter was reasonable in its assertion. “It’s always a good reminder, on a very basic level, to know what you’re doing on there,” said political observer Elliot Silverstein. “It’s not a closed conversation, it’s very much an open forum.” Silverstein believes Twitter has played both a positive and negative role in Vaughan’s civic discussion, particularly when it comes to the hospital. “I think you have to step back and ask yourself, for the general public who are not as engaged, is this going to turn people’s attention to it or turn it away from it?” he said. “In this sense it’s actually polarizing the public, which doesn’t help.” He believes in light of the special role Twitter and social media have assumed in Vaughan’s political scene, it was a good move by the local federal representative to issue the letter. “When you look at the general population and people who are not necessarily politically engaged, it serves as a very good

reminder for people who are either involved or looking to get involved, on what the risks and opportunities are,” he said. Not everyone in Vaughan approved of the letter. Kleinburg activist Tracey Kent, a Fantino critic who left the Vaughan Conservative riding association after being troubled by a $10 million federal

‘I didn’t know something really bad could happen if I tweet something wrong.’

government grant given to the Vaughan Health Campus of Care, found it odd a sitting MP would write to inform residents about the law. “It’s not often that you see a federal minister submit a letter to the editor of a local newspaper informing residents of the legal implications of Canada’s defamation laws,” Kent wrote in a letter to the editor on titled “Stop lecturing us, start building hospital”. “I believe the reason you don’t see this often is because it is wrong,” she added. Others, like organizer of the lighthearted Vaughan Tweetup, Patricia Curto, said the letter was an eye opener. “Until this actually came up, I didn’t know that something really bad could happen if I tweet something wrong, and I don’t think a lot of people know that,” she said. One of the reasons is social media is still a new and developing platform, says Fairhurst. “It’s a level of caution that people generally have not been accustomed to before,” he noted. “It’s a matter of bringing our awareness up to a more sophisticated level now that we have these tools, literally at our fingertips.” Media lawyer and adjunct professor at Ryerson University’s journalism program Brian Rogers has acted as counsel in libel and contempt cases involving the Hamilton Spectator and Torstar, among others. He said the courts still have to make decisions on a case-by-case basis because there have been few conclusive decisions in Canada when it comes to defamation through social media channels. “I think we’re feeling our way,” he said. “We in fact have very few precedents to help us answer definitively some of these issues.” One of those precedents is a recent case in which an Ontario Superior Court judge dismissed a blogger’s defamation suit against a commenter who called him “one of the Taliban’s more

vocal supporters” on the website Free Dominion. Justice Peter Annis decided the comment was not defamatory because the blogger had a chance to respond. “A statement is not derogatory when made in a context that provides an opportunity to challenge the comment and the rules of the debate anticipate a rejoinder,” Annis wrote. Rogers said one of the determining factors was both had argued back and forth and that’s how a reader would read it. “The law has always been clear that you had to look at what is being complained of in its context,” he said. “A plaintiff can’t just pick out a sentence and ignore the rest.” But if the blogosphere differs from traditional media, what about the Twittersphere? There still exists some grey area. One complication is the user can easily delete tweets if someone finds the content offensive. “Steps can be immediately taken by those involved to address and redress any potential defamation,” Rogers said. That may be the case in this instance, as a recent Twitter search of #Fantino or members of the Vaughan Health Campus of Care board does not result in any particularly reprehensible tweets. And while it’s been clearly established that defamation law applies to all forms of media, one of the more nebulous parts of Fantino’s letter reminds residents they can be tracked even if they post anonymously. “Even if the communications originate from a fake name/source, the person who is defamed can apply for a court order to compel the Internet service provider to disclose the true identity of the account holder,” Fantino wrote. Rogers said that is not as common as one may think. “Our courts have set a higher standard than suggested by that letter,” he said. “In fact, it’s clear that a court will not automatically order an (Internet service provider) to disclose that kind of information.” “The court has to be persuaded that there is a real case of defamation ... not just a speculative one,” he added. That could change if Bill C-30 is passed, which would allow the government to compel Internet service Continued Page 25











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Music from a real place Vaughan’s Pavlo has fans around the world By Omar Mosleh


ttend one of Pavlo Simtikidis’s concerts and you may leave with more than just memories. The award-winning musician is known for giving away the very guitar he performs with at every single show. “As a little boy, I used to go see concerts, and I always thought what a cool idea it’d be if my favourite guitar player gave away his guitar,” Pavlo explains while taking a carefully measured sip of wine at Marcello’s Pizzeria, near Vaughan Mills. “Of course, it never happened,” he adds with a laugh. Like much of his music, it was that childhood experience that inspired Simtikidis to give something back to his fans — literally. “Every guitar is worth one concert, and the exact same guitar I played with that night, I give away,” Simtikidis said. “I don’t know anyone else who does that.” Considering he has his own line of guitars, which retail for about $600 each, the proud Woodbridge resident is not overly concerned about expenses. “One of the goals was to create high quality guitars, but bring it down in price so people can afford it,” he said. It helps that he’s sold more than 500,000 records and performed at least 2,000 shows in seven different countries. His ninth album, Six String Blvd, recently hit stores. And if a guitar line wasn’t enough, he can also boast of his very own signature “Pavlo” wine, produced by Mastronardi Estate Winery in Kingsville, Ontario. But success has not always been a smooth ride for Simtikidis. In the early ’90s, the music industry was hesitant when he first tried to market his brand of Mediterranean music, which draws heavily from his own Greek background. “They said this is too ethnic, there’s no audience for it,” he said. “The only thing that I knew was that I was writing music that came straight from my heart.”  VAUGHAN ToDAY MARCH 2012

Simtikidis wasn’t discouraged. He continued pushing his own form of instrumental music, playing small shows in cafés and releasing albums with his four-man band. Now, he performs about 150 shows a year and has his music distributed by Universal Music Canada. He has two Juno nominations for best instrumental album of the year and has won world and touring artist of the year. He attributes his success to staying true to his sound. “If you write songs from a real place, they’ll find a real place,” he said. “I wasn’t following trends.” While his albums are often marketed as Mediterranean music, Simtikidis notes his music also draws influences from Indian, Chinese and Arabic music, among others. The producer, writer and performer has sold out Massey Hall twice and recently performed at Roy Thomson hall. He’s performed throughout Europe and Asia, and for both Prince Charles and Gordon Lightfoot. Raised in Toronto, Simtikidis moved to Vaughan about two years ago and points out that his “good friend Russell Peters lives just a few blocks away.” “After we moved in, I realized it was even better than what I thought,” he said. “I really love it up here.” One of his most memorable experiences abroad is when he played in Seoul, South Korea. “It was almost surreal,” he said. “Here’s this Greek-Canadian boy from the Danforth playing in front of 3,000 people in Seoul. We had like five standing ovations by the end of the night. “It was almost like I was living a dream.” The experience inspired him to write the song ‘Heart in Seoul’ on his latest album. Closer to home, Simtikidis will always cherish returning to Massey Hall with his father, the same person he would attend concerts with at the venue as a young boy. “This time it was me on stage and my dad watching,” he recalls. “It was an incredible experience to be on the other side.”

In light of all his successes, one of his biggest triumphs happened by accident. Simtikidis was driving leisurely one day, listening to the radio, when “Fiesta” by R. Kelly and Jay-Z came on. It was a Top 10 hit at the time. “I thought ‘Jeez, that’s my guitar playing,’” he said. “I knew it was my guitar and I knew it was sampled ... without my permission.” Simtikidis’s guitar work was lifted 27 times and placed into the song. He contacted BMG, which manages copyrighted music for artists, and it wasn’t long before he was on his way to court. “I didn’t think I would win ... I was just flattered that Jay-Z and R. Kelly even know who I am,” he said. But win he did. Simtikidis now enjoys 25 percent songwriting credit — more than Jay-Z and R. Kelly — which means royalties for life. “It worked out very well,” he says with a victorious grin. Simtikidis has had the chance to give back for his successes in several ways. He currently serves as a spokesperson for Batten Disease Awareness, a rare and always fatal brain disease that affects children, and is also a World Vision representative. Through his concerts, he’s sponsored more than 700 children in developing countries. He recently visited Guatemala to see were the money goes. “That was a very moving experience,” he says. Despite all his financial and business achievements, the most satisfying thing for Simtikidis is performing. “It has nothing to do with money, it has nothing to do with accolades ... it has to do with being able to communicate the music that I love that comes from my heart to people that want to listen it.” But what about those industry executives who told him his music was “too ethnic” 20 years ago? “I think they’re more open-minded now,” Simtikidis remarks casually. “I mean, yeah, now that I have gold records and I tour around the world, it helps, but there always was an audience ... and that’s what was important to me.”

The Rezzas’ edge Perseverance pays off for producing brothers By Tristan Carter


Myspaced Obie and he got back to my brother that day,” Adrian said. “Three years later, his first single for his new album is our track that we did,” Lucas said. The Rezza’s have a habit of finishing each other’s sentences and say they are best friends, but like any siblings, get into the occasional scuffle. Although they perform and produce under the name The Rezza Brothers, their business is registered under the name Gladiator. Obie Trice’s single “Battle Cry” seems a fitting ballad then, as does Bone Crusher’s Rezzaproduced single “Unstoppable”, which features the sounds of clashing medieval weapons during its intro. A remix of the “Unstoppable” single is also the new theme song for the Toronto Rock lacrosse team. “We did an alternate version of the song so they

gave Bone some of the players names and stuff,” Adrian said. “Then they flew him down for the home opener at the Air Canada Centre. “There was like 12,000 people. And the three of us, we performed on the field.” In addition to lacrosse intros the Rezzas have also scored short films for Vaughan-based movie makers Roulette Pictures and hope to try their hand at producing a musical in the future. The eclectic and versatile nature of their music makes them hard to categorize but easy to work with. “What has kind of been our downfall in terms of being a group, we’ve always been so versatile,” explained Adrian. “Two Italian guys doing all this music, sometimes it confuses people. “Now that we’re doing tracks for this person and that person, it makes sense.”

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ou may not have heard of them yet, but you’ll probably be hearing their music very soon. The fraternal duo of Adrian and Lucas Rezza, known as the Rezza Brothers, have spent their whole lives making music in the Maple and Richmond Hill areas. Now, their passion seems set to pay off. Sitting with his brother in the basement studio of his Woodbridge home, Lucas explains how the two have come to work with some of the power players in the music industry. “A friend of mine wrote ‘success happens to those who wait,’ ” said Lucas, recalling a Facebook post he saw. “I said ‘no, success happens to those who hustle.’ ” The Rezza Brothers have been hustling almost as long as Van McCoy. In fact — as if the Aretha Franklin and James Brown posters weren’t enough of a hint — they said many of their musical influences come from that same era. While their peers were watching Italian programming with their parents, the Rezza’s were going to see Ray Charles and Chaka Khan with theirs. While their classmates were listening to grunge or house, the Rezza’s played hip-hop. And while members of their young band were moving on to other interests, the Rezza’s were mastering their music. “Everyone, their passion died,” Adrian said of their former band mates. “But for us it was like look, we’re still doing it man.” Their perseverance led them to a record deal with Universal Music where they made songs in English and Italian. However, the pair parted amicably with the conglomerate three years ago and they haven’t looked back since. “Your best manager is yourself,” Adrian said. “Most of the people we’ve worked with have been all because of our own merit.” Currently, the two are producing albums for the soul group The Commodores and R&B singer Divine Brown. They are also working on a collaborative project featuring Canadian rocker Sam Roberts and Maestro, one of the founding fathers of hip-hop in Canada. They’ve also recently completed songs with DMC, one of the founding fathers of hip-hop anywhere, as well as other rap acts such as Bone Crusher and Obie Trice. The strength of their music and a little help from social media was all it took for the Rezza’s to establish such contacts. “I was just Myspacing DJs but then my brother


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: My 8 year old child was injured in her gymnastics class at school. She fell off the pommel horse in the middle of an exercise and fractured her arm in two places. The gym teacher did not have any spotters in place. Is it possible to sue the school for my daughter’s injuries? : The school may be responsible for your child’s damages if the physical education instructor was negligent in his or her supervision of class activities. As your child is a minor, an action could be brought by you on her behalf. You may also be entitled to damages personally under the Family Law Act if you have provided nursing or other services to your daughter or have experienced a loss of her companionship. You should obtain the names of any witnesses to the incident, including staff and students, and should ensure that a proper report has been made to the school board. You should consult a lawyer promptly if you intend to pursue a claim on your daughter's behalf.


PETER KENT MP THORNHILL Serving the constituents of Thornhill

Feel free to write me or visit my office for: * passport applications * immigration questions * federal government services assistance * communications with me I also welcome all queries on the everyday issues that matter most to you

Hon. Peter Kent, MP - Thornhill 7378 Yonge Street Unit 41B Thornhill, ON L4J 8J1 Telephone: 905-886-9911 Email:


Vaughan Mills-based show host keeps fashion current By Ann Ruppenstein


espite being on maternity leave, Afiya Francisco plans to update her fashion blog, The Style House, and keep up her role on the web series the Style Agents. As co-host of the Vaughan Mills-based show, alongside Janette Ewen, she has covered a range of fashion-related topics such as the latest trends, celebrity-inspired style and specific advice like how to mix and match patterns since 2009. “The Style Agents is a great marketing mastermind, in my opinion, from Vaughan Mills mall, which was a way to introduce their fashionable clients to a way to think about trends, think about shopping and really give editorial information in an online format,” she says. “Easily digestible quick tips.” She says they come up with themes and topics based on what is current as well as relevant and practical given the time of year the episodes air. This year they are expanding their online presence by adding a Facebook component with separate accounts for both co-hosts so they can each post the individual outfits they come up with. “We’re really going to highlight our favourite picks every week so it’s going to be an interactive opportunity for us to expand on the relationship with our viewers and really highlight personal picks,” she says. Francisco says she’s looking forward to finding out whether or not they’ll wind up with similar outfits since they don’t always have complimentary tastes and lead different lifestyles. “Janette is super busy, traveller, single gal,” she adds. “I’m also quite busy, but a mother of two as well, so there is a little bit of difference there and I think it’s going to be really nice for people to also be able to ask us questions directly over Facebook.” One of her favourite episodes to date was a blogger challenge in which contestants were given $100 gift cards and a one-hour time limit to come up with the best outfit. “That was really nice to see people’s creativity and to really see how people shop at the mall

and what they can come away with for only $100 in such a little time,” she says. Another memorable episode was when they hit the streets for a show about Kate Middleton’s style during which they talked to viewers and were surprised by how many people were actually interested in fashion. “Janette spoke with someone who was in the middle of jack-hammering the sidewalk and he knew exactly who she was and had an opinion and I thought that was really fun,” she says. Despite enjoying the blogger challenge with limited time constraints, she says a main shopping tip she’s taken from doing the show is having enough time to shop and knowing ahead of time what you are looking for. “I often think that if you set aside the time to shop as opposed to impulsive shopping that’s often when you walk away with the best things,” she says. “I do, of course, get distracted and strayed and love impulsive buys as much as the next person, but if you’re conscious of your budget, you’re looking for something in particular, I think it’s really important to go in with a set focus.”



mall cop’s


Being head of security for Vaughan Mills is a 24/7 job for Jose Baruca By Mathieu Yuill


ose Buruca was sitting outside a store at Vaughan Mills during the holiday season waiting for his wife who was busy shopping inside, when he noticed through the glass someone acting suspiciously. He watched as the person pocketed item after item from the shelves. Suspecting he was witnessing a shoplifter in action, Buruca called mall security. The person attempted to leave the store without paying, but was apprehended by security. It turned out the perpetrator had been banned from Vaughan Mills for shoplifting from another store just the month before. “My wife was so mad at me,” Buruca says with a laugh. “She said ‘Even when you’re not working, you’re working.’ ” That’s because Buruca isn’t just another shopper when he’s at Vaughan Mills, he’s the director of the mall’s security force overseeing the patrol of the premises. A graduate of Seneca College’s police foundations program, he’s been working as a security guard since he was a teenager, previously being employed at Canada’s Wonderland. “I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” Buruca says. “Pretty much every security guard you’ll meet probably wants to be a police officer, but I’ve always taken my job as a security guard very seriously.” Buruca says it all became “real life” to him one day while working at Canada’s Wonderland. A woman approached him and said her son had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom. “Unfortunately the boy had waited an hour after the incident to tell his mother, so the alleged perpetrator was long gone,” he said. “But that was the day I realized what it meant to be a security guard, what it meant to be the first on a scene.” According to Mike Fenton, director of

consulting and client services with Paragon Security, the company contracted to perform security operations at Vaughan Mills, this particular mall is actually one of the safest. “Since we opened in 2004 there have been no reports of sexual assaults, no reports of unwanted sexual acts in the bathrooms, no armed robberies of tenants, no homicides and no suicides,” Smith says. “That is quite uncommon for most malls and, considering that upward of 50,000 people a day come through here during the holiday season, that’s a testament to what Jose and his team does.” Buruca says 90 percent of the job is actually customer service because it’s an important part of security. Helping people with directions, pointing them in the direction of the washrooms and giving cars with dead batteries a boost is all part of the job. “But when you see someone walk in and you get that sixth sense about them, I encourage my guards to walk up to them with a smile and say ‘Hi, how are you doing today? Welcome to Vaughan Mills,’ ” he says. “One of two things will happen. Either the person is there for a legitimate reason and they’ll think the customer service is great or if the person is there with malicious intent they’ll start to think we’re on to them and they’ll be paranoid we’re watching them now.” “Our job is to prevent problems from happening in the mall and sometimes that is tough to measure,” he added. “But we think if we’re visible and people see us being calm and friendly then that’s a CONTINUED Page 12

“I’ve always taken my job as a security guard very seriously.”


Cont. from Page 12

deterrent to the bad guys.� In the field of mall security, the 31-yearold Buruca is a seasoned veteran. Most of the guards reporting to him are between 19 and 21 years old and have a thirst for action he thinks is misplaced. “A lot of the young guards will tell me to call them when there’s a fight, a conflict or a theft and we’re performing an arrest,� he says. “But they don’t get it that when those things are happening it can be dangerous.� He points to occasions when people are being arrested for theft. Buruca says in those cases most of the time the person is stealing because they feel they have to or because it’s their job and in both situations, the person doesn’t want to be arrested. “It’s not about getting down and dirty,� Buruca says, “It’s about being professional.� Security guards at Vaughan Mills don’t carry batons like guards at other malls do and Buruca is fine with that. “Security is a changing industry,� he says. “I see it becoming more of a service industry.� “I have to be on top of things and remain calm and I’ve got to lead by example,� Buruca added. “I want to see the younger guards who work here see that this is how you do your job.� Although he hasn’t applied to a police force yet he thinks in the next year or two he will. But he won’t discount the work he’s done at Vaughan Mills. “There is nothing quite as special as reuniting a child with their mother,� he says. “Kids run away in malls, it’s almost like they know what

mathieu yuill/vaughan today

ON GUARD FOR THEE: Head of security at Vaughan Mills Mall, Jose Buruca says he finds his industry is more of a service industry, and that being professional is key to public safety.

they’re doing — they wait until their parent is paying at the register and just take off and, by the time the parent realizes, the kid is halfway down the mall.�

“But it’s still an extremely stressful time for the parent and being a father myself, I get it,� he added. “It really is the best thing I get to do here: bring a child back to their parent.�

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nadia hussein/vaughan today

THE MEALS THAT BIND: Parenting expert and psychotherapist Alyson Schäfer says having families functioning better and strengthening the ties that bind them is what’s important, and sharing a meal together is a great way to do that.

Family feasting a favourable feat By Nadia Hussein

t’s a common saying that the family who eats together, stays together. However, with long workdays, schoolwork and recreational activities putting a strain on people’s time, family meals are fading and parenting expert Alyson Schäfer says the table needs to be reclaimed. “I think people need to realize that when they say ‘yes’ to ballet they’re saying ‘no’ to family time,” she says. “When they say ‘yes’ to karate they’re saying ‘no’ to a slower paced evening.” Family meals provide a chance for members to tune in to each other and turn off electronic devices, says Catherine Moffat of Family Services Toronto. “There needs to be focused time on talking and being together as opposed to having a TV on in the background,” she says. “So meals can be good for building communication. We need to be more present When it comes to discussion topics at the table, parenting expert Mary Gordon says meal times don’t have to be serious sit-downs. “You don’t want to be bringing any worries to the children,” she says. “But you do want to bring the essence of who you are.” Gordon says dinnertime offers a chance for parents and kids to share their feelings by reflecting on their days, which is especially beneficial for young children. “When the parent shares something vulnerable or funny or that they’re really proud of, or any element of how they felt about their day, what it allows little children to see is that they can reflect on how they felt and it builds children’s resil-

ience,” she says. Gordon adds children will remember if they laughed at some silly conversations during meals and Schäfer agrees table time should include plenty of playfulness.

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“Are you going to be laughing because you’re playing I Spy?” says Schäfer. “Or is it going to be the shared memory of ‘every time we came to the table Johnny got yelled at for his bad manners?’ ” CONTINUED Page 14

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Cont. from Page 13

Last year, Mary lost sleep worrying how her mom was managing alone

This year, mom is living at a Chartwell retirement residence and they are both sleeping better. More than ever, we’re balancing a variety of responsibilities including caring for our aging parents. When we can’t be there or distance separates us, we may begin worrying that they are not eating well enough, taking their medication regularly or remembering to lock the door while alone.

Chartwell retirement residences provide the safety and security your parent needs with the services and activities they want. At the same time, you’ll know that help is available 24 hours a day. If the time has come to start considering the options best suited to your situation, we can help.


Visit us online at or scan our QR code and see how we’re Making People’s Lives Better!

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Family bonding can begin even before the first bite and extend after the final mouthful as Moffat says the whole clan can cooperate in meal planning. “Whether someone sets the table for everybody, helps makes salad, cooks part of the meal, cleans up afterwards and contributes to the experience of eating together, then everybody has a role in the family meal,” she says. Schäfer, who is also a psychotherapist, says feeling connected is one of the biggest pillars of mental health. “Human beings need to know that we’re embedded with other people and that first social unit is a family,” she says. “So functioning together by saying ‘I make the dinner, you clear the table’ is foundational to mental health.” Schäfer, Moffat and Gordon all agree with having an open table policy in which friends and other family members eat as a group. In Schäfer’s case, her parents took in boarders, so she remembers consistently having extra guests at the table. “Your parents teach you how to be social,” she says. “I don’t think

it needs to be ‘our little family of 4.’ I think we’re way too selfabsorbed in our own little family unit.” The timing of the dining should also be flexible, says Moffat. “If dinner is not realistic, it can be a Saturday or a Sunday morning brunch,” she says. “Families can make it more special with more than just cereal.” Moffat recalls having a weekend brunch ritual during which her husband would prepare items such as pancakes, French toast, muffins and smoothies. Even if the food isn’t a gourmet feast, Gordon says that’s fine. “Just have something, anything on the plate,” she says. “It’s who’s in the chair and not what’s on the plate.” Ultimately, having families functioning better and strengthening the ties that bind is what’s important, says Schäfer. “It’s primal of us to share food and have that way of connecting,” she says. “So given that families are starting to sort of drift apart, I think mealtimes are an opportunity to work a little harder and get back to each other.”

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This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to connect the gallery’s interior spaces with our newly invigorated outdoor spaces and forested landscape, for the very first time.

JANUARY 28 to APRIL 22, 2012

Join us as the McMichael celebrates the artistic, cultural and natural aspects of the tree with two breathtaking exhibitions, a variety of programs, and special installations. Every weekend, participate in a full slate of fun Tree-related activities for all ages to enjoy, including: Vincenzo Pietropaolo (b. 1951) Beaver’s Work, Winter, 2011, inkjet print

Hike with Humber Valley Heritage Trail Association Sunday, March 4, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as an alternate, try the gentler Winter Nature Walk at 12:30 p.m.

The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social

Jowi Taylor and Six String Nation Family Sunday Sunday, March 11, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Plus, enjoy our Sound Makers family workshops.


March Break Wednesday to Saturday, March 14 to 17, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Participate in the Canadian Maple Festival, storytelling and art-making activities. Plus, enjoy a selection of hikes lead by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s environmental education experts. The Tree: Branching Out art program for special needs families Saturday, March 17, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Considering the tree as a subject in art, this exhibition contains diverse representations of the tree that are indicative of its enduring power as an evocative symbol of our complex and changing relationships with the natural environment.

Totems and Trees: The Passions of Emily Carr, Art Encounter with Gerta Moray Saturday, March 24, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Cost: $25 general public; $20 McMichael members. Registration required by March 9. (Winds of Heaven film screening at 2:00 p.m. is included with gallery admission.)

The Art of Bonsai with The Toronto Bonsai Society Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Earth Day Celebration Sunday, April 22, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Plus, take part in The Seed Collective—an interactive, cell phone-driven initiative that lets you plant a SEED and grow a virtual tree!

Emily Carr, Forest, 1931–1933, oil on canvas, 118.2 x 76.1 cm, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr Trust, VAG 42.3.13 Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery

Visit our website for details and for information on more of our ongoing Tree-related programs this winter and spring!








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Your health is a balancing act Tips for improving individual health By BARRY H. SAMUEL


e are a society that overworks, overeats, overspends, is sleep deprived and all too often neglects its individual health. As such, we are a society that would appear misguided. It’s an elementary case of living life to extremes and losing a sense of control. In western culture, we are habitually consumed with this “treadmill lifestyle”. That is, chronically and even mindlessly at times, getting through each day just to try to keep up to survive. Most of us can relate to living this kind of survivalist experience — that sense of doing those things that need to get done to cope. Some on the other hand are as yet not as aware of this pattern of living. Inherent with this lifestyle is the perceived need to live excessively and acquire things, including material wants we don’t really need. This validates and rationalizes our out-of-balance behaviour. Inwardly, we yearn for those rich experiences that provide joy and fulfillment beyond the daily grind of it all.  On a socio-political level, most of us are willing to acknowledge the crude reality of our healthcare system being primarily about managing sicknesses

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and disease. This creates the need for us to act ahead. On this basis, it is clear we need to act in order to spare ourselves. As we collectively overstretch in our lives, the concept of life balance has come into view now more than ever. In my working practice of the past two decades, I have seen one universal trend to this end. That is, classically, as a new season begins there is a re-awakening toward internal development and behavioural change. The appetite for healthy change is once again ignited with opportunity to gain self-awareness through personal introspection, planning and of course, action! Lifestyle Behaviour Change The responsible reality for sustainable life change is that it requires discipline in the form of consistency (time) and perseverance. The usual quick-fix is not good practice or habit and typically leads to a subsequent fall. In order to provide inspiration and leadership for others, we must begin intrinsically. The solution is to identify those small changes to

everyday living that will help enrich our experiences and add this sense of vitality. Paramount is to recognize first that without basic health, using a more balanced approach it becomes difficult to provide for others, or, even for ourselves to the fullest. Once we begin to spiral downhill, the mere thought of getting back up seems too daunting to want to work toward individual empowerment. Societal norms have it that we are conditioned to living a path of career, family, taking vacation twice a year and to celebrating special moments with friends and loved ones. Yet, nowadays, even this notion is a struggle for most to fit in among a frenetic life that can seem overwhelming and multi-directional at times. The dilemma becomes, as parent, friend or coworker: “how can I justify putting myself to focus on ‘me first’ without seeming narcissistic?” And, let’s not forget the element of conscious guilt that pervades by manifesting barriers to carving out time for yourself. It would seem in our popular culture the notion of putting yourself first is considered to be selfish and not acceptable.

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Being Ready for Me First In those moments when energy is completely drained and things feel like they are closing in around you, the notion of taking time for yourself seems nearly impossible. So, is it okay then to put ourselves ahead of family, friends and others? Lifestyle behaviour change can only begin with an awareness to being ready to accept that for one’s mental, physical and emotional health to thrive, we must attempt to make ourselves a priority and reap regeneration. The obligatory objections are predictable, starting with, “how can I possibly change myself with so many people, or, things to take care of first?� or, “where would I possibly find the time and energy even to begin?� The fact is we don’t have a choice. We must look after ourselves to care better for others.   How Do I Make Successful Change? As we strive to expand ourselves and life experience, we naturally seek out new challenges. The mere notion itself has both an exciting yet scary ring. So, how do we make changes to improve life balance and behaviours? Recognizing there is both a need and value to begin establishing ourselves as a priority is a logical place to start. While it may become clear in time, and seem simple to many, this first step is in no way a challenge of small proportions. Barry H. Samuel is a coach and advocator toward improved education, and, for a healthcare system that places an emphasis on preventive programs.

BE FLEXIBLE: Health advocate Barry H. Samuel says improving individual health starts with a lifestyle behaviour change and continues by finding a balance in your life.

Vaughan Community Health Centre Member of Vaughan Health Campus of Care


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Tallahassee bound Endangered species, guided tours and rich history By Liz Campbell


ur boat, the Limpkin, slowly putts out into the waters of the Wakulla River. Am I about to meet the Creature from the Black Lagoon? After all, this movie and Tarzan (the Johnny Weismuller version) were filmed here. To our delight, the creatures we actually see are two pale manatees, slowly swimming past the boat. Fed by one of the world’s largest and deepest fresh water springs, which keeps the water at a balmy 68F year round, this part of the Wakulla River is a favourite hangout for manatees. These endangered mammals are slow-moving, gentle giants and we’re delighted to be lucky enough to spot several, including what looks like a mother and her baby. Our slow progress further down the river brings us close to comatose alligators and enormous, lazy turtles, all enjoying the sun’s warming rays. We watch a small drama being enacted — a stand-off between alligator and vulture as the latter keeps a wary eye on the reptile as his fellows forage nearby. Each turn brings new birdlife: moorhens, wood ducks, heron, ibis, egrets, snake birds, and in a lucky find, a limpkin, the bird for which our boat has been named. These rare shore birds eat only apple snails and a few years ago, when the snail population declined, they left Wakulla. This year, one lone limpkin has returned and we’re delighted to be able to see it. As wonderful as the wildlife is, this stretch of the river is worth visiting just to see the magnificent southern pines and bald cypress, delicately draped with Spanish moss and perfectly mirrored in the still water. Too soon our boat ride is over and we’re back at the dock. At the Wakulla Springs Lodge, we lunch on fried green tomatoes and a Po’ boy sandwich of soft-shell crab — real southern cooking. The Lodge, in the heart of Wakulla Springs State Park, was once the home of financier Edward Ball, who built it in 1937 to entertain the political cognoscenti of the time. Its 28 bedrooms now welcome guests year round. A walk through this magnificent building with its Tennessee marble floors and handsomely decorated reclaimed cypress ceilings, perfectly showcases the conservational ethos of its builder. Wakulla Springs is one of the reasons to visit Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, but there are so many more. A pretty town whose two main activities seem to revolve around the state legislature and the local university, it also has several fine museums. The Museum of Florida History takes one on an exploration through time, from the


liz campbell/vaughan today

THEY’VE GOT SOME SWAMPLAND: Plenty of wildlife abounds in Tallahassee, including the alligator and vultures seen here, in a standoff while the birds forage for food.

earliest native settlers of the area to the present day. And be prepared for a fascinating tour at the Capitol Museum. Ours was conducted by Governor Jennings ( 1901-1905), aptly portrayed by historian and curator, Andy Edel, who made Florida’s colourful political history very entertaining. One of my favourite spots is the Tallahassee Museum, an extraordinary living museum encompassing 52 acres including wooden walkways through natural cypress groves, populated with wildlife like the Florida panther, the bobcat, red wolves and more local animals. Several are being protected from extinction. It’s also home to the rather rare white squirrel, whose faint grey line along its back and tail is the only deviation from its otherwise albino appearance. It strikes me that it’s lucky to survive, standing out so starkly as it does against the bark of the trees. This museum also has a permanent exhibit of Jim Gary’s whimsical dinosaurs, constructed out of old automobile parts and spray painted bright pink, blue, green, etc. There’s a curious juxtaposition, as our guide points out, since the fuel to run the cars from whose parts these dinosaurs are made, comes from fossil fuel. A visit to the San Luis Mission is another must in Tallahassee. Originally built by the Spaniards in 1539, nearly a century before pilgrims from England set foot on Plymouth Rock, the synergy

of Western and Apalache Indians was a good one and the community thrived for many years. Today, archaeologists have unearthed the remains of the original structures and from extant accounts have recreated the community as it must once have been — a living history centre. I’m impressed by the clever design of the Council House of the Apalache. An enormous round building, its interior is lined with raised seating platforms, under which coal smudges provide mosquito protection. The central firepit is designed so as to create heat in winter, but to draw away warm air up and out the central ceiling hole, pulling in cooler breezes in summer. The doors are low; a grown man must bend down, so entering with a weapon is difficult. Crafty! This peaceful spot must once have been an earthly paradise with Spaniards and Apalache living in harmony. Today, it’s close to the centre of the city and beyond its walls, the busy road is filled with traffic. Tallahassee is easily missed by those heading for Florida’s beaches, but a visit to one of Florida’s oldest cities is definitely worth the detour.

This peaceful spot must once have been earthly paradise.


Gimme some sugar

Maple Syrup Festivals

Kortright Centre for Conservation (Woodbridge) Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area (Stouffville) From Saturday March 5th until April 10th the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority runs maple syrup festivals at the Kortright Centre for Conservation in Woodbridge and at Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area in Stouffville. Kortright is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Bruce’s Mill opens every weekend, all March Break, and weekdays, except Mondays and Tuesdays, from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Website:

Or, go with healthier, more versatile option — maple syrup By Liz Campbell


ith the first signs of spring, the sap begins to flow in maple trees, and that means one thing: maple syrup! First collected and used by aboriginal people in North America, it didn’t take long for European settlers to recognize what a delicious treat came from the majestic trees all around them. They prized it for its flavour, but maple syrup is also good for you. Scientists have found maple syrup contains natural phenols, potentially beneficial antioxidants. In one study, 34 new compounds were discovered in pure maple syrup, five of which have never before been seen in nature. One ounce of maple syrup contains significant amounts of manganese and zinc, minerals that are good for your heart and immune system. Compared to honey, maple syrup has 15 times more calcium and 1/10 as much sodium. The quality of the syrup varies in characteristics such as colour, taste and consistency. In Ontario, maple syrups are labelled either Grade 1 or 2, and then given a colour grading from extra light to dark amber (the ambers are grade 2 only). In general, the lighter the colour, the more subtle the flavour, so if you’re like me and love that strong maple flavour, go for a darker syrup. Quebec is by far the largest producer of maple syrup, with about three-quarters of the world’s production coming from this province alone. But Ontario has its share of maple trees and each spring many areas stage maple festivals. Check our list below for some local festivals where you can learn about tapping trees and taste some syrup. If you’re lucky, we’ll have some snow to make maple taffy! Maple syrup is good for much more than pancakes. Used instead of sugar as a sweetener, it gives coffee a special taste. Add some to mashed sweet potatoes or drizzle a teaspoon into cooked carrots and toss over heat for a minute before serving. Add maple syrup to your oatmeal for a delicious, nutritious flavour switch. And check out the recipe below from one of Quebec’s foremost cooks. Maple Meringue Benoit Madame Jehanne Benoit was one of

Bronte Creek’s Annual Maple Syrup Festival Fresh Ontario maple syrup begins flowing at Bronte Creek Provincial Park each March when the park’s annual Maple Syrup Festival gets under way. The maple syrup festivities are open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every weekend in March and from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily through March Break. Enjoy a guided tour of the Maple Lane, where 1890s costumed interpreters demonstrate how to tap maple trees, make maple syrup and maple sugar. View artefacts in the maple museum or tour the 100year-old Spruce Lane Farmhouse. Be sure to browse through the maple products and souvenirs available in the Maple Gift Shoppe and pick up a bottle of syrup to take home. Hop on a wagon that will take you to a heated pancake house where you can enjoy fresh, hot pancakes with pure maple syrup and sausages, served up throughout the festival hours. Quebec’s gifts to the culinary world. A lifelong promoter of French Canadian cuisine, cookbook author and broadcaster, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions in 1973. She passed away in 1987, leaving a legacy of cookbooks and recipes that are still appreciated. This is her homage to Quebec maple syrup — though don’t worry about using Ontario syrup to make it. While it’s a fairly decadent recipe, it’s actually low fat and so incredibly tasty that a little goes a long way. Serve it to friends at your next dinner. I guarantee they’ll swoon. 1 _ cups maple syrup 4 egg whites 3 tbsp. brandy 1 tbsp. butter cut into small dice 2 tsp. baking powder Directions: Boil 1 cup maple syrup until reduced to ¾ cup. Cool. Measure ½ cup maple syrup and 3 tbsp. brandy and place these at the bottom of a butter soufflé dish. Dot with the butter pieces. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add ½ cup icing sugar and 2 tsp. baking powder to egg whites. Fold the cooled syrup into the beaten egg whites. Pour this mixture into the soufflé dish. Place this over hot water in 300F oven for one hour. Serve immediately. This is a glorious, no-fail dessert!


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The white stuff And we don’t mean snow By Mary Fran McQuade


hite has been pretty much missing from our colour palette this winter. No white Christmas, a soggy New Year’s, a damp Valentine’s Day, no glittering crystal tree limbs or icing-smooth snow fields. (Of course, by the time you read this, we may be buried in the stuff.) So it’s a good time to think about what white adds to our world, not only outdoors, but indoors. Really, who can resist white wicker furniture? Or soft white sheets? Or lacy white curtains? Classic and modern White is an essential in our homes. The right white background will show off collections of art, antiques, sculptures and textiles the way no other colour could. Wood furniture, in dark or mellow aged tones, begs for antique white accessories such as table settings, linens, candles or even tabletops. And crisp white exterior trim does for a house what white tie and tails did for Fred Astaire. Pure white walls, lighting fixtures, furniture, counters, cabinets, and even rugs are a hallmark of clean-lined 21st century design. We weren’t the first to think of it, though. Back in the ’20s and ’30s, legendary English designer Syrie Maugham introduced the all-white room. (Think of all those 1930s movies with glam white satin and snow-white fur costume design). Even earlier, King Gustav III of Sweden presided over a trend we still see today: graceful 18th century furniture painted white with perhaps the lightest of pastel tints. And, of course, don’t forget the U.S.’s White House, painted that colour to cover the damage done by British (and Canadian) forces during the War of 1812. White magic White does, in fact, cover a multitude of sins. Try coating unmatched lamps, occasional tables, chairs or picture frames with white paint and see how well they blend. (Just don’t use all those items at once, please). Fusspot furniture, with lots of curlicues and carvings, becomes calm and soothing when soft white restrains the visual turmoil. The same magic works on aged-

iron beds, plain weathered furniture and architectural accents like wooden pillars and arches. Slap some white paint on them and you have trendy, shabby chic pieces. I’ve even seen old wire gates given this treatment, and then sold for high prices as garden ornaments. If you like the mellow, aged look, add accessories like milk glass cake stands and crackle-glazed white pottery pitchers. They’ll stand up to the boldest — or daintiest — foods, flowers and fabrics that you care to use. On the table, too For elegant dining rooms, there’s plenty of pricey white china and fine linens to choose from. But white also makes a splash at casual picnics and barbecues. Forget those boring, pasty-white paper plates and that strange, thin crackly plastic. Instead, scout hardware stores and the import shops for shiny white, enamelled metal plates, mugs and bowls. They bring a sweetly old-fashioned flavour to outdoor dining. If they chip a little, don’t worry — that adds to their character. Bonus points: they cost just a few bucks, last forever and can go in the dishwasher. And speaking of the outdoors, what looks better in a bright garden than wonderful white furniture? Benches, dining sets, chaises and plant stands in clean whites make fine outdoor décor. White picket fences are, of course, classic for traditional-style homes. And a white gazebo in the right spot is, quite simply, perfection. The many shades of white You’d think finding white paint would be the easiest thing in the world, but just take a look at the colour chips in a paint store. You’ll find milk white, cloud white, pale ivory, blue-whites (sometimes fancifully called bird’s egg), greenwhites, pink- and peach-whites, grey-white (prettily named “dove”), Navajo white and goodness-knowswhat-all white. They’re all different, and they all have their place. The cooler whites are great in bright rooms or smaller rooms. Warmer whites, like ivory, give a sun-kissed look to darker rooms. For a romantic look, try using a tinted white with accessories in

a deeper shade of the same or a complementary colour. Some whites, in my view, don’t belong in a real home for real people. I’m thinking of plain white, featureless kitchens that always remind me of a doctor’s office. Not a pleasant environment. Then there’s the decorator’s darling: totally white interiors Mary Fran McQuade/VAughan Today about as welcoming as an ice hotel. (They’re WHITE LANTERN: To add less colour to your home. also a big joke if you have kids, dogs, messy spouses, news- a little with texture and spots of colour. Knitted or faux fur throws, boldly papers and/or an adjacent yard). patterned cushions or table linens and art in clear, pure colours will take the Fill in the blanks If all-white really, really appeals to frost out of the air — and lighten your your soul, consider warming things up heart.

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No joke Nissan Juke’s unusual design houses one beautiful speed machine By Mathieu Yuill


here does one draw the line between beautiful design and atrocities to the naked eye? The people who originally put pen to paper at Nissan Design Europe probably have a better idea than most. They’re the arm of Nissan that came up with the Juke, the mini-crossover with the incredibly high waistline and bug-eyed headlights. When it was introduced as a concept at the 2009 Geneva auto show, critics were quick to pan it for its odd design. Most notably, the front headlines stick out like a fly’s eyes and, thanks to its aggressive arches and lines, they are quite prominent. Headlights aside, the Juke is a beautiful vehicle and its rear and side profiles scream speed — and those screams aren’t cries of wolf, either. Inside the engine bay is a turbocharged, direct-injection 1.6-litre

four-cylinder engine that propels the light body faster than you think it should. There are two models, the SL and SV, both of which come in either all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. Unfortunately the CVT engine is standard on the all-wheel drive versions, which takes away a touch of the driving excitement the Juke puts out. Europeans are used to getting small vehicles with lots of options packed in, so it makes sense the Juke, designed in Europe, comes with features often not found in vehicles in the next price class up. Even at its base price of just under $20,000, the Juke includes iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. What’s missing from the Juke is space. Other small vehicles do a clever job of hiding storage in bins under seats and spaces inside the side of the trunk

to name a few spots. The Juke has none of this. And the cabin, second row of seats and cargo area are just plain small. If you were somehow able to put four adults in the Juke comfortably, there’s no way you’re going away for a weekend as the space for luggage would be taken up before persons three and four even debated whether or not to bring the extra shirt “just in case.” The Juke as a daily driver makes sense. Fuel economy sits at just under 10 L/100 km and it’s super comfy behind the wheel. Buttons on the centre stack are all within arm’s reach, but thanks to steering wheel-mounted controls, most of the common features you’d like to change are within thumb’s length. It’s quick and nimble on city streets and genuinely fun to drive. Even if everyone on the outside is giving you some strange looks.

Bullfrog to give Chevy Volt a clean charge By Mathieu Yuill


eneral Motors and Bullfrog Power announced a partnership this month that will allow purchasers of the Volt electric car to reduce their carbon footprint even further. The Chevy Volt, introduced as a concept car in 2007, began appearing in dealerships this past summer. An electric motor drives the car but also has a 35-litre gas tank used to power a generator to recharge the battery when it runs out of juice. The Volt has an all-electric range of 40 to 80 kilometres, but it still requires electricity generated by traditionally dirtier technologies like hydro, nuclear and coal. Bullfrog Power supplies power to the grid that has been produced by wind and low-impact hydro

facilities. For an extra $198, buyers can purchase the Chevy Volt Bullfrog Power edition. The $198 is used to put clean energy into the grid and the Volt is badged with a special emblem. “We don’t run an actual line to your house,” Tom Heintzman, president of Bullfrog Power said. “That wouldn’t be economical or very efficient. What happens here is when we put power into the grid it means tradition energy suppliers don’t have to supply that power. “Our customers then have a right to that zero-emissions energy.” Tracking where the actual electrons go could be challenging to say the least, so the Volt Bullfrog Power edition is more of a case of doing the right thing than actually powering your car with

energy garnered from a wind farm. The extra charge for the Bullfrog Power edition represents the estimated amount of energy use a Volt would require over a two-year period. Mike Brigham of Toronto is the

first person to purchase a Volt Bullfrog Power edition. His home’s roof is mostly covered by solar panels and light fixtures inside hold only the most power-efficient bulbs. “I was very frustrated before I found out about Bullfrog,” Brigham said. “I recycled, I used compact fluorescent lightbulbs, I bought a hybrid and drove it as little as possible and those things are great, but they’re not outstanding in the scope of what they achieve. “Here’s a way I can nullify the effect of powering my house without having to make a huge investment or take on a significant lifestyle change.” Brigham says 95 percent of his driving is less than 40 kilometres a day, so over the next two years, his Volt should produce little if any carbon footprint. MARCH 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 23


Swinging for the fences Hosting national baseball championships for the fifth year is still a daunting task By Brian Baker


t’s the fifth year Vaughan has hosted a National Baseball Championships, and it doesn’t get any easier. For Vaughan Vikings Baseball Association president, Dirk Drieberg, it’s an honour to organize an event that brings all of Canada to his city. But economic uncertainties have caused some discomfort like bursitis in a pitcher’s throwing arm. “The challenge always is being a not-for-profit organization and given the economic times we live in, we’re always trying to get sponsorship and finding financial support to make sure we can pull it off and at minimal break even,” Drieberg said. “The first couple of years we did lose some money on it. It’s part of the learning curve.” For 2010 and ’11, the Vikings had a Trillium grant from the province, which helped. There is hope in the president’s voice that before the five-day baseball extravaganza, corporate sponsors will chip in to help kids hit the diamonds, considering the hard work put in by the community through its volunteers. “I think our reputation and the success that we have enjoyed in hosting the last four events spoke

‘We’ve gone through the growing pains.’


volumes and are a testament to all those involved,” he said. “It really is a team effort because we have an army of volunteers, parents, coaches, players, grandparents and siblings who come out to help. “But also we’re very lucky to have the support of council. They’ve been very supportive of it from the get-go.” This will be the fourth year The Place to Be plays host to the bantam level. Back in 2008, the Vikings hosted the peewee nationals.

With over 500 people involved, including rosters of 18 players, four coaches, parents, officials and Baseball Canada representatives, there’s a lot of work. And after half a decade of experience, Drieberg admits the administrative side has become a welloiled machine. “A lot of it is because we’ve gone through the growing pains,” he said. “We’ve got all the paperwork done, all of the organizational stuff done. “Each year we try to make it better because we learn from the prior years, but we try to make sure we do it better.” Eleven teams, including the host Vaughan, will vie for Canadian hardball supremacy. Last season, Vaughan put the games online via live streaming, so families of teams for Quebec, British Columbia and the Maritime provinces could follow their kin on the field. Other finer details, like naming a team MVP and creating an all-star squad at the end have added to the major league feel of the tournament. “It’s all those personal added touches that go towards making a great experience,” Drieberg said. “When (the players) are a little bit older and they’re my age, hopefully they’ll look back. It doesn’t matter if they make it a college career, minor league career or they make it to the major leagues. “The 99 percent that don’t make it, they look back and say, ‘Wow, what an experience it was to play at the Nationals in Vaughan’.”

Team misses their namesake By TRISTAN CARTER


aughan City Lashers wheelchair basketball team paid homage to their namesake during the final home tournament of their inaugural season. On Feb. 4, the Vellore Village Community Centre in Woodbridge was the site of a series of games between the three top teams in the Great Lakes conference of the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League. Despite entering the tournament with an 8-2 record in their first season, the Lashers weren’t able to keep up with the Kitchener Spinners and the Variety Village Rolling Rebels, according to playercoach Reg McClellan. “We’ve got a good collection of folks,” McClellan said. “We’ve got an awful lot of experience. “We’ve got a group that requires a little more conditioning, a little more work, to be able to play with the top teams here.” The Lashers’ roster features seasoned veterans such as the coach of Canada’s national wheelchair basketball team, Jerry Tonello, as well as a slew of other former national team members. Still, both on and off the court, the group is missing their former teammate and friend, David Lash. “David was a guard and he was one of the fastest people in the game,” McClellan said of the man nicknamed Whiplash. “There wasn’t a person out there that David couldn’t beat one-on-one up and down the court.” Lash died in 2010 after a battle with cancer. Many on the Vaughan City squad played alongside Lash on the now-defunct Toronto Spitfires team that went 24-0 en route to a Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League championship in 2005. Lashers t-shirts were given away to fans and members of Lash’s family in between games at the tournament. When McClellan and team president Frank Ianuzzi decided to start a wheelchair basketball team in Vaughan, they came up with a name and logo that paid tribute to Lash. “The logo clearly is David,” Ianuzzi said. “We know for a fact that if he was still here with us he would be a part of this team. “It was our way of including someone who could not be with us.” Despite a disappointing showing at the tournament, the Lashers will head to Huntsville on Feb. 2326 for a chance to become the conference champs. However, the team already knows it will not advance any further than that. “We have indicated to the league that regardless of what ends up happening our squad would not be able to go to the finals this year,” McClellan said. “We just didn’t have the time to do the fundraising required and so on and so forth to have the team afford to go to the finals.” Ianuzzi said more support from the city in terms of finding facilities and funding tournaments would

INSPIRATION: David Lash, who died in 2010, is remembered for plays like this.

be a welcome help. In addition to the costs of travel and organizing games, individual players also face bills anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500 for wheelchairs customized for quick turns and stops involved in the sport. Even though the chairs are more manoeuvrable than when he first started playing, Ianuzzi said the focus remains on moving the ball. “Wheelchair basketball is a lot more of a team sport where there’s a lot more picking and rolling and you work as a team to get your bigger guys into the key for you,” he said. While wheelchair basketball may be seen as a sport for those with disabilities, McClellan insists that’s not always the case. “I would say about 25 percent of the people involved are able-bodied people,” he said. “People that have friends, relatives, brothers, sisters, that are participating in the game and want to have an opportunity to participate with them.” Some wheelchair ballers performed in other sports before being becoming disabled and later turned to the game. Others, like Ianuzzi and Lash, who met in elementary school, were born with disabilities and grew up with the game. “It wasn’t part of getting our life back together again,” Ianuzzi said. “It was just part of our life.”

Safe tweeting Continued from Page 7

providers to hand over a subscriber’s personal information, including address, if suspected of cyber crimes. The bill is aimed toward child predators, but could apply to defamation and anonymous commentators. Both Fairhurst and Rogers acknowledge the valuable role anonymity has played in journalism and public debate. Fairhurst believes it’s important anonymous commentary is allowed to flourish, otherwise he says activists may be apprehensive of criticizing public figures online. “I would be reluctant to rule out the opportunity for people to comment anonymously,” Fairhurst said. “I think anonymous comments have a certain value.” Rogers largely agreed, noting the role anonymous whistleblowers have played in society. But he also acknowledged the pitfalls of anonymous commentary. “Traditionally, anonymity has been critical to important communications on matters of public interest ... but I certainly can agree that it’s open to abuse.” Perhaps lending credence to Fantino’s letter is the fact that some of its most scathing criticisms were left in the comments section of where the letter was posted — anonymously, or under pseudonyms. “Does this include your friend Tony Clement tweeting that a 15 year old constituent was a “jack***”?” wrote john72, referring to the Parry Sound-Muskoka MP’s online misadventure. In a more serious accusation, JeanCoutu calls Fantino’s letter “the height of hypocrisy”, citing the 2004 case of James LeCraw. LeCraw had been arrested for charges of child pornography and was named by Fantino at a press conference. The Crown later withdrew all charges against LeCraw, but the vindication did not receive as much media coverage and he ultimately killed himself after losing his job and being shunned by friends and family. He named Fantino in his suicide letter. “Mr. Fantino certainly has no shortage of gall in making such a statement, and furthermore exhorting others to sue for alleged slanderous statements,” wrote JeanCoutu. “You don’t need to use new technology to destroy someone’s reputation — Julian Fantino did it quite effectively, using traditional news media.” And as the courts figure out how to handle the switch from traditional news media to social media, Rogers is watching closely. “These (issues) raise really challenging questions for free expression and the values we wish to protect,” he said. As a more definitive answer to those questions is explored, Fairhurst suggests social media users from all sides of the spectrum exercise caution before pressing that “tweet” or “comment” button. “Whether you’ve had too many glasses of wine or not enough sleep or you may be in a real mood, sometimes the best thing you can do is get up from the computer and go back to it an hour later,” he said. Because while users all too often see social media as a recreational tool, Fairhurst says it must be recognized that the platform’s sphere of reach is far more significant. “The social media kind of have the feel about them that they’re not the real thing maybe,” he said. “But they really are.” MARCH 2012 VAUGHAN ToDAY 25

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NAPLES FLORIDA AREA! Bank Acquired Condos Only $169,900. Same unit sold for $428,895. Own your brand new condo for pennies on the dollar in warm, sunny SW Florida! Walk to over 20 restaurants/100 shops! Must see. Ask about travel incentives. Call 1-866-959-2825, ext 15.

Steel BuildingS

STEEL BUILDINGS FOR ALL USES! Beat the 2012 steel increase. Make an offer on sell-off models at factory and save thousands NOW! Call for FREE Brochure - 1-800-668-5111 ext. 170. A-Z Technical Bldg. Systems Inc.: PreEngineered Steel Buildings. Since 1978! Stamp drawings & leasing available. Ask for Wally: Toll-Free at 1-877743-5888, Fax (416) 626-5512. www. STEEL OF A DEAL - BUILDING SALE! 20X24 $4798. 25X30 $5998. 30X42 $8458. 32X58 $12,960. 40X60 $15,915. 47X80 $20,645. One end wall included. Pioneer Steel 1-800668-5422. Vacation/Travel IRELAND CIRCUMNAVIGATION: May 4 - 14, 2012. Cruise around the Emerald Isle in the 118-Passenger Clipper Adventurer with Adventure Canada’s team of top-notch lecturers., 1-800363-7566. HAWAII ON THE MAINLAND, where healthy low-cost living can be yours. Modern Arenal Maleku Condominiums, 24/7 secured Community, Costa Rica “the most friendly country on earth!” 1-780-952-0709;



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ETA VAUGHAN WOMENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CENTRE YORK REGION H;I;DJIĂ&#x2026;J>;Ă&#x2026;<EBBEM?D=Ă&#x2026;I;HL?9;IÂ&#x201A; â&#x20AC;˘

Counselling Individual and Group


Legal Support & Referrals






Munch & Learn Educational Seriesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (4 weeks Topics may include: Custody & Access, Cycle of Violence, Impact of Abuse on Children, Social Media 101)

All services are confidential. For details, call our Outreach Centre at 905-552-0615 ETA Vaughan would like thank all of our 2011 donors and Adopt-a-Family sponsors for your kindness and outstanding support. Our families continue to be empowered by your ongoing generosity and commitment to women and children escaping violence.

ETA Vaughan Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Shelter 24 Hour Crisis Line 1-877-382-1888


March 2012  

The March 2012 issue of Vaughan Today's monthly news and community information, distributed in the City of Vaughan.

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