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6 Films on Canadian culture

6 Films on Canadian culture

By Stephanie Reed

Posted on July 26, 2021

Documentaries and films are a great way to learn about history, different perspectives, national issues and triumphs, and more. Canada’s film industry and production continues to grow and explore new stories, as well as stories of the past. While Canada is sometimes only used as a filming location or background setting in movies, there are admirable pieces of work that are produced surrounding Canadian history and stories of reconciliation. The following is a list of four films and two documentaries that explore stories of Canadian culture, history, and connection.

FICTION

Indian Horse (2019)

ice hockey

This film is based on an award-winning novel written by an Ojibway—Indigenous, Algonquin speaking tribe—writer, Richard Wagamese. The film is set in Ontario, Canada during the 1950’s, an era plagued by the oppressive removal of Indigenous children from their homes and relocation to residential schools.

Saul Indian Horse is an eight-year-old boy from an Ojibway family and a survivor of a residential school, who finds a passion in the sport of hockey. What starts off as a self-taught pastime leads Saul to a major opportunity within the sport and a chance for a better life. His heritage, traumatic past, and possibility of a bright future are all connected within Saul’s journey.

Available to watch for free on CBC Gem. Watch the trailer here.

One Week (2008)

motorcycle

One Week tells a fictional story of a man with a life-threatening health diagnosis, who decides to take a trip across Canada on his motorcycle. Along his journey, viewers are shown the beautiful landscape of the country, starting in Toronto, Ontario all the way to Tofino, British Columbia. As Ben travels across the country to process his recent diagnosis, his gratitude and appreciation for the country grows fonder with each new scenic destination.

Available to watch for free on Tubi. Watch the trailer here.

BASED ON TRUE STORIES

The Terry Fox Story (1983)

prosthetic leg

The “Marathon of Hope,” a famous run across Canada by cancer research activist, Terry Fox, was documented and became a nationally recognized story. Fox’s diagnosis of bone cancer ignited his journey across the country in hope of raising money for cancer research. Against the wishes of his family, who were concerned for his health, Terry’s courage and determination to raise awareness and support for other cancer survivors and amputees touched the hearts of Canadians from coast to coast. This film is inspired by Terry’s journey with some fictional aspects included.

Available to watch on Crave with a subscription. Watch the trailer here.

Anne of Green Gables (1985)

woman in a field

This award-winning film is widely recognized for the beautiful landscape of Prince Edward Island—Canada’s smallest province, located on the east coast. The film tells a fictional story of a red-haired orphan who gets into trouble with her adventurous imagination. It was adapted from novels written in 1908 by L.M. Montgomery, who based the stories on her childhood in Prince Edward Island where she was raised by her grandparents.

Available to watch exclusively on GazeboTV. Watch the trailer here.

DOCUMENTARIES

Birth of a Family (2016)

This emotional documentary by Tasha Hubbard follows four Indigenous siblings who were separated as children during the “Sixties Scoop” (the mass-removal of Indigenous children from their families into the welfare system that took place in the 1960’s). As they meet one another for the first time since they were infants, they share their experiences and traumas while in foster care and after being adopted.

Available to watch for free on the National Film Board of Canada’s website. Watch the trailer here.

Borealis (2020)

grizzly bear

This documentary explores the role that human occupancy and invasion has on Canadian wildlife, and the requirements for our ecosystem to flourish. Across Canada, the animals, plants, bodies of water, etc. are only able to maintain and produce their natural wonders so long as human life respects the limitations, boundaries and need for protection of the natural environment.

Available to watch (free) on the National Film Board of Canada’s website. Watch the trailer here.

Common nutritional deficiencies amongst Canadians

Common nutritional deficiencies amongst Canadians

By Abisha Sooriyathas

Posted on July 26, 2021

As newcomers arrive in Canada, they might find themselves drawn to new foods and different flavours that are unique to the Canadian diet. According to the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies (AMSSA), it is common for newcomers to experience dietary acculturation—the process of adapting to the diet of their new country.

As such, it is important that newcomers are made aware of nutritional deficiencies that are prevalent within the Canadian population. A study by the University of Saskatchewan showed that both newcomer and Canadian-born children have nutritional deficiencies in vitamin D and calcium. However, newcomer children have additional deficiencies in folate and zinc as well.

It is possible that these additional deficiencies are due to food insecurity. The AMSSA states that recent immigrants are much more likely to experience food insecurity than Canadian-born individuals. This leads to an increased risk of poor health and chronic disease.

To combat this issue, there needs to be an increase in the accessibility of healthy food options, as well as an increase in education on both healthy eating and nutritional deficiencies. Below you will find a list of nutrients that are often deficient in newcomers, alongside information on the function of each nutrient and ways to obtain them through one’s diet.

Calcium

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), calcium is an important mineral that is needed to maintain strong bones. In addition, muscles need calcium to move and neurons use calcium to carry messages between the brain and the body.

There are many food sources that are rich in calcium. Primarily, it can be found in milk, yogurt, and cheese. Animal sources of calcium include soft-boned fish such as sardines and salmon. Vegetable sources of calcium include kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage.

Milk

Vitamin D

The NIH also states that the body requires vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Because vitamin D and calcium work together, vitamin D also functions to help build strong bones. In addition to vitamin D’s role in assisting calcium, it assists the immune system in fighting off bacteria and viruses.

Vitamin D is an interesting nutrient because your body can make it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight. Canadian winters consist of very low sunlight, and this may be why many Canadians are deficient in vitamin D. It is important to be aware of this deficiency and obtain vitamin D through a balanced diet, especially when spending very little time in sunlight.

Many foods, such as breakfast cereals and milk, are fortified with vitamin D. However, Vitamin D can be found naturally in fatty fish like trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as fish liver oils. It is also found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. A vegan source of vitamin D is mushrooms.

Salmon

Folate

According to an article published by Harvard’s School of Public Health, folate (vitamin B9) is a nutrient that helps the body create DNA and other genetic material. It also plays a role in the production of red blood cells, making it critical during periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy.

Some food sources of folate include dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and more. Folate can also be found in beans, nuts, fresh fruits, and fruit juices.

Brussels sprouts and broccoli

Zinc

Another article from Harvard’s School of Public Health states that the body only needs zinc in small quantities. Despite the small zinc requirement, this mineral plays a large role in crucial bodily functions. Zinc is needed for the formation of DNA and the activation of the immune response. Like folate, zinc is especially required during periods of rapid growth.

Some key food sources containing zinc are shellfish, such as oysters, crab, and lobster. Additional animal sources include beef, poultry, and pork. For vegetarian food options containing zinc, individuals can eat legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

oysters

It is important that individuals are aware of common nutritional deficiencies so that they are able to include these nutrients in their diet in order to prevent any health-related issues. For newcomers, nutritional deficiencies can arise due to dietary acculturation or due to the fact that they may have unique food habits and/or restrictions. Luckily, there are many ways to overcome insufficient nutrient intakes. This can be done through seeking out plant-based or animal food sources that are rich in certain nutrients, or through supplementation via nutrient capsules that can be found at your local grocery store.

Exploring Atlantic Canada

Exploring Atlantic Canada

By Delaney Rombough

Posted on July 26, 2021

Atlantic Canada is made up of Canada’s maritime provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island (PEI). These provinces are the easternmost point of Canada and are bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. From great seafood and boat tours to beautiful hikes, there’s lots to see and do in Atlantic Canada.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Island is a great place for outdoor activities; rich with Canadian history, culture, and heritage. You can sail or kayak along the inland sea, go hiking and biking along one of the many trails, and go camping in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. If you want to take a road trip, take the Cabot Trail, a 300-kilometre loop around most of the Island, which is among one of the most scenic drives in Canada. There are also lots of heritage sites and museums to see along the way.

Cape Breton is also home to five Indigenous communities: We’koqma’q, Wagmatcook, Membertou, Eskasoni, and Chapel Island First Nations; where you can learn about the history and traditions of the Indigenous communities in Canada.

Red Sand Beaches of Prince Edward Island

Most people expect sand to be golden brown. However, in the Red Sands Shore region of PEI, the sand on the beaches is copper red—especially at Thunder Cove Beach. Take in the picturesque views and click some photos, take a walk, check out the sandstone cliffs and caves, go swimming, or just relax on the beach. You can also take a road trip along some of PEI’s Scenic Heritage Roads.

Visit the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is one of the Seven Wonders of North America. Here, you can see the highest tides in the world. One of the best ways to get the full tidal experience is to visit during high tide, then come back again about six hours later during low tide, when you can walk on the ocean floor. Over time, the tides have also exposed fossils and seaside cliffs that you can explore as well. If you come to the Bay of Fundy between May and October, you might even be able to spot a whale or go on a whale watching tour.

Get “Screeched In” in Newfoundland

This activity is only for those 19-years-old or older. Newfoundland Screech is a rum sold in Newfoundland and Labrador with 40 percent alcohol by volume. Screech has become a colloquial term to describe any high alcohol spirit. The Screech-In ceremony is fun and non-obligatory for any non-Newfoundlanders (also known as “mainlanders” or “come from aways”). It is often done in local pubs and involves a short call-and-answer recitation, a shot of Screech, and kissing a cod fish. Trapper John’s and Christian’s Bar are two pubs on George Street in St. John’s that are known for their screech-in traditions.

Being screeched-in was traditionally done to welcome newcomers to the island and give them the experience of being a Newfoundlander. Those who have been screeched-in can call themselves honorary Newfoundlanders.

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse is one of Canada’s most well-known and most photographed lighthouses. Peggy’s Cove is an active fishing community just an hour from Halifax. It is a great place for a day trip to explore the seaside town. You can walk or bike along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and, of course, take lots of pictures along the way. Then you can stop in a local café or restaurant for some of Nova Scotia’s freshest seafood. Lobster is a specialty here.

Anne of Green Gables tour in Prince Edward Island

Anne of Green Gables Museum
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery is one of Canada’s most beloved books. It is set in the fictional town of Avonlea, which is based on the real-life town, Cavendish, PEI. If you’re a fan of the book, there are Anne of Green Gables attractions all over PEI. One of the most popular ones is Green Gables Heritage Place in Cavendish, where you can see the place that inspired the book’s setting. You can also visit the Anne of Green Gables Museum or take a carriage ride around the Silver Bush property. Finally, you can take in a performance of Anne & Gilbert – The Musical, one of Canada’s longest continually running musicals.

From newcomer student to CEO: An interview with Peter Han

From newcomer student to CEO: An interview with Peter Han

By Maria Montemayor

Posted on July 26, 2021
Peter Han

Peter Han was an ‘A’ student when he was in China, but when he immigrated to Canada, he faced an unexpected barrier to success. While he was confident in high school math and science, English was another story.

“English was quite challenging for me because I didn’t really like it that much. It was a second language for me. So, I took ESL [English as a Second Language],” Han told The Newcomer.

For university admittance, Han had to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). He spent time doing research and asking his counsellor questions. In addition to studying for the TOEFL, he worked on improving his grades to raise his grade point average (GPA).

Han was accepted into the University of Toronto as an engineering student. In his program, he encountered a new set of problems. The schedule was extremely hectic for him, with the lessons going at a rapid pace, and he had to take required courses that were unfamiliar to him. It made Han re-evaluate his decision to stay on the engineering path. During his second year of university, he changed his major to Applied Statistics.

“[In engineering,] there was a lot of material science [and] computer science, which I really didn’t enjoy much. I was not good at it. It made me think that I really shouldn’t do engineering. […] If I stayed in engineering, I figured it would become more stressful and challenging for me because we had to meet requirements, take all of the courses, and get good grades. And it would be more challenging in year two, three, and four. I felt like this was not the life I wanted.”

Han entered a data competition where he led a team to represent the University of Toronto. His team had to use data to create a business model. At the competition, Han encountered many intelligent young adults who inspired him to start a tutoring business for university students.

After Han graduated from the University of Toronto, he started his tutoring company, Bluekey Education, which was challenging in the beginning. He had to work from a small office and meet the needs of a growing number of students. He also had to figure out how to copy his company’s tutoring model across universities, to ensure that the content was always the same. Now, his business has expanded to reach thousands of college and university students in Canada, both in person and virtually.

Looking back on his undergraduate experience, Han believes that his time management skills and willingness to take risks played a larger role in his success than the specific courses he studied, or even the degree he earned. The degree that he ended up pursuing was one that he was actually interested in. Students should be open to changing their majors if they feel more passionately about other subjects and courses.

“It doesn’t really matter what you graduate with. It’s about how you manage your time, whether you have more experience with creating resumes and whether you have other achievements.”

Han has some advice for newcomer students who are entrepreneurial-minded and would like to start a business in Canada:

“Most start-ups will die within the first year or second year. When you try a start-up, you have to be persistent and have confidence in yourself, in your mindset, and in your team. You’re going to have a lot of challenges because nobody is perfect. I think that students should try while they’re young, because they have the chance to lose. When you’re young, you can always start anew.”

If students are unsure about starting their own business—if they have the support and means to start one—they should take a chance because whether they succeed or not, they will at least be able to learn from the experience. Starting a business can be a rewarding experience, even if it comes with challenges. Han suggests working for a corporation first.

“The ideal stage to do a start-up is when you work in a corporation for maybe a few years, learn the basic rules and structures of business, and then maybe you do a start-up. It will give you a lot of experience which [will prevent you from being] stuck on those barriers.”

You can find out more about Peter Han and his tutoring company, Bluekey Education, at https://bluekeyedu.com/.

The benefits of taking a gap year

The benefits of taking a gap year

By Abisha Sooriyathas

Posted on July 26, 2021
Student
If you’re nearing the end of high school and are unsure of what career path you want to pursue, you are not alone. Many students finish high school feeling stressed and confused as they begin navigating the rest of their lives. If you feel you’re not ready to jump into university and need a break between high school and post-secondary, there is a simple solution to reduce some of this stress: A gap year.

What is a gap year?

According to Algonquin College, a gap year is time taken off between high school and a full-time university or college program. Gap years can also be taken between university and graduate school. The purpose of a gap year is to give students a break from education and time to understand themselves and their goals.
motivational scrabble quote
Despite this positive definition, many students are hesitant to take a gap year. They may worry about lagging behind friends or fear that they might waste a year that could have been spent progressing towards their future. This article will explain the benefits of taking a gap year and how it can sometimes better prepare you for post-secondary schooling and life in general.

Taking time to figure yourself out

In a society that often values and even encourages productivity and busyness, it is not often that individuals take time to reflect. Although frequently overlooked, personal reflection and self-regulation make up a large component of success.

A study included in the Advances in Medical Education and Practice journal showed that students who took a gap year before entering medical school developed greater levels of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage oneself, as well as the ability to understand and manage relationships with others. This includes the development of skills such as decision-making, self-confidence, empathy, and communication. These are essential skills that are needed for most, if not all, careers. Therefore, a gap year can be beneficial for long-term career success.
graduate

Saving money

The expenses associated with post-secondary education can be overwhelming, especially for individuals who have pre-existing financial responsibilities. Taking a gap year can allow individuals to find work and begin saving money for the future. This can lessen the financial burden that might come with post-secondary education and prepare students to begin their studies without additional stress.

Gaining new experiences

Taking a year off allows you to gain experiences and expand your worldview. This can be done through work or volunteer opportunities, which are available both locally and abroad. Volunteer work is a fantastic way to meet new people, learn new skills, and become a more well-rounded individual. There are plenty of travel websites, like Workaway, that allow individuals to find volunteer opportunities in different countries for reasonable prices. These firsthand experiences foster a greater understanding of the world that we live in and help individuals learn more about backgrounds and lifestyles that are different from their own.

Avoiding burn out and redefining your relationship with education

Many students do not have a choice in whether they enter high school. For the first 18 years of their lives, decisions are made for them about how they spend their time and what they must do. Over time, this can lead to a feeling of exhaustion, lack of control, and resentment when thinking about school.

By reclaiming some of the choices they have in their education through taking a gap year, students are given time to reframe their perspective and relationship to education. Instead of school being something they feel obligated to do, it can instead be viewed as something they feel grateful for having the opportunity to do. In this time off, individuals are able to live their life free of an identity that is attached to their education or career. Instead of defining themselves as a “student,” they are able to discover who they are as a person. This allows them to have a relationship to education that feels less overwhelming and stressful.

Time to develop healthy habits

Going to college or university can at times feel like a culture shock. Between the new environment and the heavy course load, students often neglect healthy habits such as eating well and exercising. By taking a year off, individuals are able to prioritize the betterment of themselves and develop healthy habits that can hopefully carry them throughout university. Studies have shown that healthy lifestyle behaviours result in enhanced academic achievement. This, once again, supports the fact that a gap year, when used properly, is able to provide immense benefits to all individuals.
study books
Although taking a gap year can be a worrying process for some students, there are many benefits that can arise from the time off from school. It is important to remember that not all students are the same, and each one will move at a different pace. Pursuing post-secondary schooling and finding a career is not a race, and there is no need to rush the process. It can often be beneficial to take time to pause, reflect, and accept what life brings you along the way.

Everything you need to know about PRESTO cards

Everything you need to know about PRESTO cards

By Aneesh Chatterjee

Posted on July 26, 2021
Presto card
While having your own car can be expensive, public transit is very cheap, reliable and extensive, letting you travel great distances at a fraction of the cost. A PRESTO card is the easiest way to use public transit in the Toronto area, spanning buses, underground subways and train networks. Set up your own PRESTO card, and you’ll have easy access to many different transit networks.

Setting up a PRESTO account

PRESTO has an online portal where you can set up an account and pay for public transit fares online (or in person). Once you follow the prompts, complete your profile, and link your bank account, you can order a card for $6. You’ll be sent a PRESTO card in the mail after signing up, which can work on many different transit systems all over the GTA. You can start your PRESTO account setup here.

You can also buy PRESTO cards and load money on your card at customer service outlets throughout the GTA. The primary place to buy PRESTO cards is Shoppers Drug Mart, a chain store found across Canada. Here, you can easily buy a PRESTO card or load money without having to use the online portal. These are all the Shoppers Drug Mart locations in every transit region where you can purchase and load your card.
transit
You can also buy and load cards at fare vending machines and self-serve reload machines. PRESTO card fares are a bit cheaper, and more convenient than paying for rides with cash. For example, a single fare for a Toronto bus or subway will cost you $3.25 in cash, and $3.20 with a PRESTO card.

A PRESTO card will work in the following cities and regions:

  • Brampton
  • Burlington
  • Durham Region Transit (DRT)
  • GO transit
  • Hamilton Street Railway (HSR)
  • Miway transit
  • Oakville
  • Ottawa-Carlton transit (OC Transpo)
  • Toronto Transit Commission (or the TTC, including a bus and subway system across Toronto)
  • UP Express (a railway connecting Union Station in Toronto to Pearson Airport directly)
  • York Region Transit (YRT)

bus/train station

The benefits of a PRESTO card

With your card, you can load money on it from your online account directly. You can either load it manually–let’s say, $30 every week–or you can set up auto renew, which will automatically take out an amount of your choice and put it into your card whenever your card’s balance gets too low.

You also can decide how low that is, so you can make sure your card never gets so low that you can’t pay for a ride. For example, let’s say you set up auto renew to put $30 in your account every time it gets too low. If the minimum fare for a subway ride is $4, you can set your auto renew minimum at $5, so when the balance reaches $5, it will automatically add $30 to your card. If you’re not comfortable with automatic payments, you can choose to manually fill money in your card whenever you want.

Having a PRESTO card in hand gives you access to vast public transit networks, and makes your commute much easier. The initial setup process takes a little time, but it’s an investment to save you the hassle of carrying cash to pay for rides, or carrying bus tickets or transfers.
transit passenger

Transfers

It’s important to understand how transfers work. When you tap your PRESTO card onto a terminal in a bus, subway or train, you are paying for two hours of service. This means that, if you get off that particular vehicle and board another public transit vehicle within two hours of your first tap, you won’t be charged again. This two-hour window is called a transfer. Keeping this in mind can greatly benefit how you plan to use transit networks. Remember that even if you’re riding within your two-hour window, you still have to tap your PRESTO card when you board a new transit vehicle. You will only be charged for a single ride within every two-hour window.

Tapping on GO networks

If you use your PRESTO card on the GO transit (which includes green and white GO buses and trains) you’ll need to know about tapping on and off. When you board a GO transit vehicle, tap your card once; this tells the machine you’re getting on, and begins charging your card. When you arrive at your destination, you must tap again. This is tapping off; it tells the machine you’re done using the transit vehicle, and you’re getting off. Now, your card will be charged the cost of traveling whatever distance you did, because it knows where you got on, and where you got off.

If you don’t tap off, the machine will assume you traveled the entire length of the transit route, which can become very expensive. Always remember to tap off when you’re done traveling on GO transit.

Setting up an easy way to access public transit, without having to worry about buying tickets and holding on to transfer slips, is one of the best decisions you can make. With PRESTO, Ontario’s extensive group of public transit networks are at your fingertips.

Artistry and insight: A profile of Toronto-based filmmaker Ndenzi Bideri

Artistry and insight: A profile of Toronto-based filmmaker Ndenzi Bideri

By Benjamin Biro

Posted on July 26, 2021

Ndenzi Karara Bideri is a Toronto-based filmmaker, writer, and multimedia artist. As an artist, she walks her own path and discovers the world through curiosity, connection, and a keen eye behind the camera lens. Bideri has written, produced, directed, and crewed films in Canada and around the world.
Ndenzi Karara Bideri
Bideri is the youngest of four siblings, her mother a nurse and father a newspaper editor, both from Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Bideri grew up in Hamilton, Ontario and lived in Rwanda for five years during her childhood. Her journey in filmmaking and storytelling was born out of a love for photography and a difficult battle with cancer during her youth, which left her in treatment and recovery for two years.

“I was diagnosed with Leukemia and from there I had a lot of time off and I got to learn about myself,” Bideri told The Newcomer in an interview. “I don’t think we get to do that a lot of the time. You get a different perspective about life. In our westernized society we’re so in this mindset of having to chase the bag [make lots of money] or having to get into this next thing and we don’t appreciate life, and I think it takes away from the present moment that a lot of us are missing.”

“We need to remember sometimes it’s OK to settle down, to actually appreciate where we are right now,” the filmmaker said. “When I was sick, I got to learn that, and as I move on in life I try to be as present as possible.”

Her story as a filmmaker comes out of a deep physical struggle and need to create, but her work is defined by a love for human connection. Bideri has a genuine curiosity about the nature of human beings and how we relate to one another—whether it is filming R&B artists in Europe or discussing mental health within Black communities in North America. Bideri is a creator who inspires perseverance, strength, and style, pushing the boundaries of how we tell stories and share ideas.

“It has to do with the way you communicate with people and just try to navigate through that, and that comes from just having conversations with different people. I think you broaden your horizons when you talk to people or when you actually see your city. Just look around and try to understand how the city is shaped or how communities move and thrive.”

Bideri is a graduate of Humber College where she began making short films and fell naturally into the director’s chair. Her creative spark and hunger to ask difficult questions has put her on the path to becoming an incredibly powerful artist who is working to tell important stories through her films.

The filmmaker believes in the fluidity of life and art, and hopes to make various projects in the coming years from documentaries to fiction shorts and feature films. A prominent theme in her work is breaking through the labels projected onto us by others and society.

“I don’t like when people put others in a position they don’t need to be, or say how they’re supposed to act. I don’t like to stay in one certain box, I like to get my ideas from different things […] I think we are all able to grasp ideas and inspiration everywhere we look.”

Bideri spent the past winter making her documentary, We Wear the Mask, where she focuses on the chronic mental health struggles of Black Canadians. The film explores the stigma that these issues bring within the community, and the issues of intergenerational trauma, systemic racism, and oppression. The documentary speaks to the experiences of many newcomers who face these challenges every single day.

“I wanted the documentary to be a space for the Black community to talk about an issue that has definitely hindered us and been difficult for us. When you hear these voices, you’re going to hear a lot of their experience[s] when it comes to mental health, whether it be through racism, trauma, or prejudice. You’re going to be hearing a lot of experiences that hit different marks, because when you talk about mental health within the Black community it’s more than one thing.”

Through a tough production and the pandemic, Bideri has stayed focused on her film and is set to finish the documentary this summer.

Bideri pushes for what we can be rather than what we have been, focusing on potential rather than negativity. She turns her lens towards the important conversations and advocates for a beautiful community, a creative community, and a community of people who engage with the world.
Ndenzi Karara Bideri
“When you’re on the right track, you get to see what you need to see in a sense, and you need to be present. I think that is the beauty in life. It’s for us to be OK with where we are and know we are going to make it, and allow us to appreciate what was meant to be appreciated. There’s so much beauty out here and I think we’re always grasping for the next thing, and I’m OK with being where I am and I know that I’ll find my journey.”

Kind, considerate, looking for answers, open to new perspectives, Bideri is an inspiration. She has overcome many things in her life and, like all great creatives, she transcends these barriers and arrives at our doorstep a true artist of tomorrow. She is proving to be a force of creativity and vision for years to come.

She is sharp, she is strong, and she is here to stay.

Top 10 tips for a successful job interview

Top 10 tips for a successful job interview

By Amanda Owusu

Posted on July 26, 2021

Interview handshake
A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience no matter how many times you have done one in the past. One way you can beat the pre-interview nerves is by being prepared. This article will touch on 10 different tips and skills that you can use to prepare yourself for virtual or in-person interviews.

1. Do your research!

It’s important to research the values, mission, and operations of the companies you interview for. You can usually find this information on the “About Us” section on the company website. This can help you provide more specific answers during your interview, which shows the interviewer that you came prepared. This makes a great impression.

It can also help to read different reviews about the company from customers and former employees on sites such as Glassdoor, Google, and Indeed. This can give you a better idea of the workplace culture and of how your experience could go. You can also use this information to determine if this company would be a good fit for you, and if you’ll be a good match for them.

2. Review your resume and have relatable examples prepared

Look over your résumé and brainstorm a list of experiences that relate to the requirements and duties listed in the job posting. For example, think of experiences that show your communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. If you have done your research, you can take it a step further and relate your résumé and prior work experiences to the company’s mission, values, and operations.

3. Dress to impress!

An interview is a special event that you want to dress up for. You are not expected to wear extremely formal attire, such as a tuxedo or ball gown. However, make sure that you wear a professional business formal outfit.

For men, this includes dress pants, a dress shirt, and even a tie and blazer if you can. Men are also expected to wear dress shoes or loafers. For women, interview attire can include dress pants or knee-length skirts, dress shirts, dresses, blazers, and blouses and heels or dress shoes. Ensure your clothing is good quality and free from stains or wrinkles.

Indeed, a job search engine, has a detailed guide on how to dress for a job interview that can give you a better idea of how to dress. Ultimately, you want to leave a good impression with your employers, and your attire is a big part of this.

You can get affordable business formal attire from places like Walmart, Value Village, H&M and Zara.

4. Don’t just focus on verbal communication, focus on non-verbal too

Ensure that you are using professional language during your interview. Examples of professional language are not using slang and swear words and using “Mr” and “Ms” when addressing people. You should also try to use a confident and friendly tone.

Be sure to focus on your non-verbal communication as well. You can do this by maintaining confident body language and eye contact throughout your interview. Examples of confident body language include sitting up straight, not fidgeting with your hands or other items, and keeping your chin up.
Interview body language
Indeed has more suggestions on important body language tips that you can use in your next job interview.

5. Plan an early arrival or ensure you have all the necessary software

If your interview is in person, plan your transportation route and prepare to arrive at least 10 minutes early. You want to use every opportunity to impress your employer, and arriving early can be a way to do this before the interview even starts.

If your interview is online, ensure you have downloaded all the necessary software that is required, such as Zoom or other platforms. Also make sure that you have a working link that directs you to the interview before it starts. That way you can reach out to the employer if it doesn’t work. You can also prepare for a video interview by ensuring you have a clean and presentable background.

6. Prepare answers to common interview questions

A lot of interviewers ask similar questions. This means you can prepare for them ahead of time. Common interview questions include:

  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Why are you interested in working for our company?
  • Why are you the best fit for the position?
  • Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.

Glassdoor, an online career resource for employers and employees, has a list of 50 commonly-asked questions that you can prepare answers to.

7. Think before you speak

Think about what the interviewer asked you for a few seconds before responding. This is a small technique that can make a big difference during the interview. When people are nervous they tend to ramble, and you can avoid this by taking a moment to consider how to respond. Embrace the silence and use it as time to think of the best answer.

8. Use the STAR method

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This technique works well with behavior-related questions. If an employer asks you a question about what you would do in a certain situation, refer to a situation you’ve experienced that relates to the question, the task you had to complete, the action you took, and the result. This is a great way to give a detailed and organized answer without rambling.
Interview
Indeed has a great article that goes into more depth about how you can use the STAR method that includes real-life examples.

9. Practice!

Practicing your answers out loud can help you get rid of nerves and prepare for commonly-asked questions. You should allocate at least 20 minutes to practice before your interview. Even if you’re not asked the exact question you practised, this can still help you prepare. You can take one part of your answer and apply it to another context.

10. Prepare your elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is a short, 30-second to one-minute description of yourself, your strengths, your interests, and what you can offer. A lot of interviewers ask you to tell them about yourself or why they should hire you, and this is when you give your elevator pitch.

Your elevator pitch can also be used in situations outside of the interview, such as networking events and when meeting new people.

Hopefully, you feel more prepared to have a successful interview. Remember that research and practice will always be the best way to prepare for a job interview. Happy job hunting!

Keeping productive during the pandemic

Keeping productive during the pandemic

By Maria Montemayor

Posted on July 26, 2021
Woman on a couch with a day planner

Whether you are a permanent resident or a new immigrant to Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt taken a toll on your well-being. Thousands of people, throughout Canada and the world, have been directly or indirectly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As well, many people in the country have lost their jobs, closed their businesses, and struggled with maintaining their relationships. It’s easy to get discouraged by COVID-19 news and by the many uncertainties surrounding this time. It may seem like aspects of your life have come to a standstill. If you had plans, goals, and dreams during this time, you might have had to put them on the backburner.

Although the world is reopening, it may take some time for your life to return normal—whatever that looks like for you. You may still be experiencing hardships, but you can regain your motivation and pursue new endeavours and goals during this time of uncertainty. If you feel like you are in a rut and would like to feel more productive, below are five tips on how to get started.

1. Make a list of tasks, plans, and goals

Your list doesn’t have to be extensive. It can include learning a new recipe, cleaning your bathroom every week, reading a new book every month, going for a walk every day, composing song lyrics, learning how to play an instrument, learning a new language through free apps or videos, or starting a garden. Be creative! If you’ve always wanted to learn how to sketch, paint, dance, take wildlife photos, or harvest your own vegetables, now could be the best time to invest in those hobbies.
making goals

2. Prepare essential materials

You need to know what materials you need to reach your goals. You can’t garden without the necessary tools, seeds, and soil. Similarly, you can’t paint without paint brushes or sketch without a pencil and paper. Some tasks, like going for a run every day might not require you to buy anything, especially if you already have running shoes and athletic clothing. Other goals, like trying nature photography, would require you to make larger purchases. You can start off small by taking photos with your phone or a disposable camera, and invest in a DSLR camera later on if you enjoy the hobby.

3. Keep track of your schedule

Write down your daily and weekly tasks in an agenda or notebook, and keep track of what you complete and don’t complete. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment even when you’ve done only a few things on the list, like clean your room or water your plants. If you didn’t manage to complete a single task for one day, take some time to reflect on why that was the case. Did you overbook yourself on that day? Were you not feeling well? Or, did you spend most of your time on activities that distracted you from your goals, like watching entertaining videos or playing video games? Be honest with yourself about what you want to accomplish and the sacrifices you are willing to make, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you forget to work on tasks for a few days or decide to let go of certain goals, that’s okay. When you want to start again, you can always set new goals and try to follow through on them.
day planning

4. Seek an accountability partner

A lot of people can benefit from a person holding them accountable for their goals. If you have trouble completing tasks and working on goals, you can enlist the help of someone who willingly supports you and your endeavours. You should feel comfortable sharing your plans and goals with your accountability partner. They should be someone who can encourage you, but also call you out when you make excuses for not completing tasks. The person doesn’t have to live with you. You can reach out to your accountability partner via phone, video chat, or in person to share your victories and setbacks.
two women talking

5. Rejoice in small achievements

If one of your goals was to wake up at 6:00 AM every day, celebrate when you manage to consistently wake up at that time after a week or a month. For example, treat yourself to your favourite snack or buy yourself a small gift. Seemingly small goals can make a big difference in your life if you stick to them. They can even become healthy or productive habits. Goal setting should be an enjoyable process for you once you get used to it, and you will feel good about reaching milestones.
woman holding a smiley balloon

Top 3 tips for dealing with homesickness in Canada

Top 3 tips for dealing with homesickness in Canada

By Maria Montemayor

Posted on July 26, 2021
Homesick

Perhaps you have recently arrived in Canada or maybe you have lived in Canada for several years. Either way, right now, maybe Canada does not feel like home. Winters can be too cold, people speak a different language than you, and work can be tiring and tedious. You long for your home country, the food you are used to eating, and the people that make you feel loved, safe, and protected. A part of you feels like throwing in the towel and booking a one-way plane ticket back to the country where you were born. If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing homesickness.

What is homesickness?

Those feelings of longing and loneliness, whether they have lasted for weeks, months, or years, can indicate homesickness. According to counsellor and psychotherapist Adele Wilde, the feelings most associated with homesickness are grief, nostalgia, anxiety, depression, withdrawal and sadness. So why do we get homesick, and what can we do about it in Canada?

A clinical report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that “homesickness occurs to some degree in nearly everyone leaving familiar surroundings and entering a new environment.” It is common for people new to Canada to feel homesick since they are entering a new environment, and are not adjusted to the climate, people, and place. If you are feeling homesick, there are three actions you can take to help you overcome that feeling and better adjust to life in Canada.

1. Make new friends and build community.

When you have a strong support group of friends, it can help you enjoy where you are and appreciate the people you are with. Your friends can listen to you, encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone, and help you learn English. Canada is a diverse nation with people of all ages, races, and backgrounds.

You can befriend people of different ethnicities who were born in Canada and people who immigrated to Canada like you did. You will be able to gain new perspectives from all of the people that you meet. You can meet people and make friends at your school, workplace, place of worship, local community centre, or neighbourhood. Wherever you go, you can make friends by greeting people, introducing yourself, and starting a conversation.
Group of friends

2. Explore your city.

When you are feeling homesick, you might take comfort in reminiscing about the positive aspects of your country of origin. The problem with reminiscing is you might stop appreciating where you are and the wonderful things you are surrounded by. No matter which city you live in, all of the provinces and territories in Canada have interesting landmarks, malls, restaurants, and other places you can explore.

If you live in a bustling city like Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax, or Montréal, there are many interesting parks and places to visit by foot or public transportation. If you live in a city like Edmonton or Corner Brook, you can rent a car or carpool with someone to explore the fascinating landmarks. If you live in a rural area, you can explore a hiking trail or go fishing. Every community in Canada is worth exploring.
Horse and carriage

3. Celebrate your heritage.

Just because you can’t access all of the things from your native country does not mean that you can’t indulge in certain traditions and practices from your culture. Wear traditional clothing and outfits that remind you of home.

Go to restaurants that serve familiar food that you are craving or buy the ingredients at an ethnic grocery store and make the dishes yourself. Watch television shows, movies, and listen to music in your native language. Spend time with people who share your cultural background. Attend festivals and events that celebrate your culture, and if you can’t find any, create your own at home with your friends.

Canada has a lot to offer and you should give it a chance to surprise you and win you over. If you are able to find community, explore your city, and maintain some of your cultural practices, it might be easier for you to overcome homesickness.
Celebrate Culture