Posts Tagged Canada

Social Media Unites to Feed The Hungry With #HoHoTO


Image by Matthew Burpee via Flickr

In 2008 some twitter friends decided to do something about people who couldn’t afford to eat. Through social media connections HoHoTO was created, and was a big success.

HoHoTO is a big party held each year in december to raise money and collect food donations for the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank so people who can’t afford a Christmas (or any other holiday) dinner, can have one. Each year millions of people go to the Daily Bread Food Bank and HoHoTO is a great way for you to help out… and attend a great holiday party.

So get tweeting, blogging and networking, donate if you can, or find some other way to help out. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #HoHoTO. Lets make the world suck a little less.


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What War Is Worth Fighting

Afghan and Canadian soldiers board CH-147 Chin...

Image via Wikipedia

To keep it simple, one that threatens me. Sounds selfish but if I’m going to put my life on the line to fight for a cause, it has to be one I believe in. One that affects me. It could be a threat on my country or even a direct threat to my safety.

To give examples, lets look at the current Canadian “combat mission” (don’t call it a war, thats politically incorrect) in Afghanistan. If a recruiter asked if I would join the armed forces to defend my country by fighting in Afghanistan I would say no. Last time I checked Afghanistan wasn’t attacking Canada.

It makes me sound anti-…something. War? Canadian? Troops? I don’t think I’m any of those. Actually, I might be a little bit anti-war. Then again, so are lots of people. I’m definitely not anti-Canadian. I love my country almost as much as Americans love theirs. And certainly not anti-troops. I support the troops. I think they are the best Canadians we have and we all should be proud of them. But I wouldn’t join them.

We all have our own talents and skills and it just so happens that mine aren’t armed forces related. Perhaps if one day there is a threat to me or my country then I would consider it but not until then. Its a personal choice. I’m not discouraging people from joining up, if they want to then thats their choice. All of our troops should be applauded for their bravery. If you see a Canadian soldier you should go up to them and say “thank you” for representing your country and keeping peace around the world.

If you ever disagree with their causes just remember that they didn’t have a choice about where they were deployed, but they went and did their best. And for that they should be thanked.

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Stop Shouting and Start Talking Sense

Choosing who to vote for in this Canadian election is quite tough. It’s never been easy but this time it really is quite a challenge. This is because there have been so many elections recently that the candidates have run out of new things to promise and have resorted to just insulting the other candidates and occasionally tossing in an idea that they had last election that they thought was a good idea.

It has become a shouting match between three grown men. Stephen Harper is saying a vote for Michael Ignatieff is a vote for higher taxes and a man who has no loyalty to Canada who will desert us half way though his term in office. Michael Ignatieff says a vote for Stephen Harper is a vote for a man who will ruin the country and has already broken parliamentary laws. Then, Jack Layton is saying you shouldn’t vote for either of them because they both are bad and will do awful things. To be honest, I stopped listening by the time he started talking. And finally, Elizabeth May and Gilles Duceppe who are both being ignored. One, more than the other.

I think it’s time to get back to having proper elections. Ones where the leaders represent the political parties and are talking about real political issues instead of just insulting the other leaders. So far as I can see, the only party doing this is the green party.

Get your act together gentlemen and lady. Start talking politics instead of accusing one another of ruining the country and insulting the voters.

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Time To Be Mature

Yet again Canada is faced with another federal election. This is thanks to the fact that no one can actually decide on who should be in charge of the country. The main problem is that no one is actually going out to vote but everyone is complaining about the decisions being made. But I think I can see some of the reasons why people are not voting.

I was looking though the options in my riding (Toronto-Danforth), an area that always elects the NDP candidate, who in this case just happens to be NDP leader Jack Layton. Only a few days into the campaign there was already a sea of orange signs with Jack Laytons name on them. That’s when it hit me. The reason people are not voting is because lots of ridings are naturally leaning towards one political party. In my riding, if i wanted to vote for any other party would it really matter? It has basically already been decided that the seat will go to the NDP. So why should I vote if I support any other party?

I’ll tell you why. If everyone thought like that, no one else would ever get elected. The parliament would never change and eventually democracy would die (although if you ask some people, it already has).

This doesn’t mean that you should vote just for the sake of voting. Really think about who you’re voting for. Do a bit of research about all the political parties. Go on the internet, watch some TV, read a newspaper (they are those paper things you see people reading on the subway). During the next month pay attention to what these people are saying. When its done you can go back to killing zombies in Call of Duty and watching videos and talking to your friends on FaceTube or TwitBook.

Its time to be mature about this. No matter who you are, young, old, fat, skinny, tall, short, as long as you are Canadian, GO VOTE! This is your chance to make the country the way you want it to be. If you don’t vote then you are leaving the decision in the hands of other people.

Do you really trust others to make the right decision?

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Movie A Day: Day 10

Cover of "National Lampoon's Going the Di...

Cover of National Lampoon's Going the Distance

continuing the Canadian theme for another day, today’s movie is National Lampoons: Going The Distance

This movie is not to be confused with the new movie called Going the Distance which has Justin Long and Cameron Diaz. It is a story about a boy who travels from a small island in British Columbia to Toronto in order to see his girlfriend at the Much Music Video Awards.

This is a typical road trip movie. It has fun, adventure and of course naked women. A few times. What more could you want in a movie? How about some Canadian celebrity cameo’s? Like Avril Lavigne and George Stroumboulopoulos.

This is a movie you should watch. Although it might not be a movie to buy.

Recommendation: Download (if you can find it)

Don’t forget. If you have movies to recommend, send me a tweet at @william_penman or email

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The Next Governor General

Despite the calls from the Canadian public to have William Shatner as the next governor general of Canada, this guy has been appointed (article from the globe and mail).

David Johnston, an academic of lengthy credentials who is president of the University of Waterloo, will succeed Michaëlle Jean as governor-general.

Mr. Johnston will speak to reporters Thursday morning, the first time he has made a public statement since he became the odds-on favourite for the vice-regal position several weeks ago.

His appointment Thursday came at the end of a lengthy search process, officials said.

Mr. Johnston’s installation, which will take place on Oct. 1, marks a change in direction for the post of governor-general which has, through the term of Ms. Jean and her predecessor Adrienne Clarkson, been served by captivating female former journalists, both of whom were immigrants.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is said to have wanted a man in the role this time, but insisted the candidate be fluent in both official languages, which ruled out several prominent aboriginal contenders.

Mr. Johnston has been a law professor for a number of Canadian universities. He is the author of two-dozen books, holds honourary doctorates from over a dozen universities and has been awarded the Order of Canada.

While at Harvard, he was twice elected to the All-American Hockey Team and is a member of Harvard’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

The 69-year-old was chosen by a special committee appointed by Mr. Harper and led by Kevin MacLeod, the Canadian Secretary to the Queen and Usher of the Black Rod for the Senate – considered to be Parliament’s top protocol posting.

Mr. Johnston was likely chosen for his constitutional knowledge and level-headedness, observers say. The committee reportedly nixed candidates from the sports, entertainment and art worlds, preferring someone who is well versed in the inner workings of federal government.

The Sudbury, Ont., native became a highly respected legal expert after studying at Harvard, Cambridge and Queen’s University. He captained the hockey team at Harvard, nabbing a spot as a minor character in a novel his dorm mate was writing at the time. Erich Segal’s Love Storybecame a pop-culture icon in the early 1970s.

Before becoming president of the University of Waterloo, Mr. Johnston spent 15 years as the principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University.

His legal work dipped into the political realms, and he was lauded for being non-partisan, having worked for both Liberal and Conservative governments.

He has worked with the Conservative government most recently, when Mr. Harper asked to help write the terms of reference for the Oliphant inquiry, which probed the business transactions between former prime minister Brian Mulroney and German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.

Mr. Johnston is married to Sharon Johnston who has a PhD from McGill University in rehabilitation science. She is currently enrolled in a creative writing program at Humber College in Toronto and is writing a historical fiction novel. They have five daughters.

Yet again someone that not many people have heard of becomes governor general. Would it hurt to listen to the public? And people wonder why the public isn’t too fond of the governor general.

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Tips For Visiting Canada Pt.1

Many people visit Canada without the basic knowledge needed to survive without getting lost, killed or embarrassed. This is because all they are told about is what language we speak and even that is sometimes usually wrong. The rest of their knowledge is just rumors and stereotypes that have built up over the hundred and forty three years that Canada has been a country (happy birthday canada!!). So to solve these problems I have compiled a list of things that all tourists and people thinking about emigrating should know before they get off the plane and wonder where all the penguins are.

1. Bring Shorts and a Big Warm Coat. It is not always cold in Canada despite what you might think. Many tourists have shown up at the border in july with their skis strapped to the roof and the sled dogs on the back seat. Summer here is like summer in most places. Hot. That doesn’t mean you won’t need a coat. It gets cold randomly and although true Canadians don’t really seem to notice or make a big deal of it, you will notice so be prepared to put a coat or sweater on because we will all stay outside on the patio of whatever pub, bar or tavern you happen to be at.

2. Be Prepared To Stay Outside. No Matter What. Canadians like to stay outside as much as possible between April and November because we know whats coming in December. Christmas. Or as marketing people like to call it, the Primary Gifting Period. Canadians then like to spend all their time inside. Shopping. Visiting family. Or just generally staying home hibernating or watching hockey. This means that no matter what the weather, as soon as March turns to April, most Canadians will emerge onto patios and decks and the Barbeque’s will heat up. By easter weekend everyone will be outside. This brings up another weather related problem for tourists. No matter what the weather, Canadians will stay outside on the patios. Now you Be thinking what about the cold and rain? Well that has been solved with patio heaters and large “Patio Size” umbrella. Two very Canadian items. This also explains the very popular clothing combination of shorts and a coat.

3. Our Corners are Larger than Most. A popular phrase used by Canadians when giving directions is “Oh, It’s just round the corner” or “It’s just down that street”. You must remember that Canada is a very large country (second largest! Second is good for Canada. Usually we get 13th. Remember that) so “just down the street” is quite a lot farther then many other countries “just down the street”. So be careful cause sometimes “just…” could be hours away. (Example: Toronto is just round the lake from Kingston)

4. All Roads Go Where You Think They Are Going. In many countries lots of roads that seem straight, are not. This sometimes means that you will drive around in circles for hours saying “That tree looks familiar” four of five times before you realize it is the same tree or you will drive down a street going north only to have it end up turning east with no way of turning off the street. In Canada, over 80% of the roads actually are straight and will go where you think they are going. There is still that 5-10% that go in circles but you can see that they are without having to waste time driving around. There is also the rest of the roads that are bendy and fool you into thinking they aren’t going anywhere but will actually take you where you want to go easily. A good example is Highway 7. (goes from just north of Toronto to Ottawa. google it if you don’t know where it is)

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