Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why Just Shovel When You Can Dance?

A Bhangra dance troupe based in Halifax has been generating attention for months with their performances and videos across the Maritimes.

For heir latest video, the dancers decided to liven up the snow removal and stay warm by partnering up with their shovels:

Read more about the group here:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fun For Your Saturday

Check out the sweet moves by a Durham Constable who thought he was coming upon a fight last Sunday night but instead found a dance troupe from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology shooting a video. It turns out Constable Jarrod Singh is no stranger to the world of dance, having been part of a troupe at Durham College.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Closing Out The Year With A Righted Wrong

Earlier  this month at the Canadian Museum of History, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz announced that Viola Desmond, a 20th Century Black businesswoman and beautifician from Halifax, will be the first Canadian woman to be featured on the ten dollar bill. In 2018, she will replace Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister, on the purple banknote. 

For those who don't know her story, Desmond has been claimed as Canada's Rosa Parks, although her moment in history happened nine years earlier. On November 8th, 1946, while on the road selling her own line of beauty products, she stopped to see a movie at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow while her car was being fixed. The ticket seller couldn't sell her a ticket for the downstairs where whites sat, but Desmond, who could afford to buy the more expensive ticket, was indignant and sat downstairs. An usher approached her and told her she would have to get up. She declined and offered to pay the higher price to stay, but that was refused. He called the manager and the two of them dragged her out of the theatre. She was arrested for not paying the theatre tax and jailed overnight. She was convicted of defrauding the province of a one penny tax, which was the difference between the upstairs and downstairs seats. 

This was not the first time Desmond experienced discrimination firsthand. When she had wanted to open her salon, she had been denied formal training in Halifax because she was black. She had to go to Montreal and the US for her training and learned from the legendary Madame CJ Walker. In addition to her salon, she also set up a school to train other black women. 

Desmond paid her her fine and court costs and then unssucessfully appealed her conviction. Her case is believed to be the first  legal challenge brought by a Black woman in Canada. As reported by the CBC, Morneau stated that "Viola Desmond was a woman who broke down barriers, who provided inspiration to Canadians around social justice issues and showed that each and every one of us, individually, can make a difference." 

Desmond died at the young age of 50 in 1965. Thanks to the efforts of her youngest sister, Wanda Robson, 89, Desmond was finally granted a posthumous pardon in 2010 by former Nova Scotia lieutenant-governor Mayann Francis, the first black person to serve as the Queen's representative in the province. The provincial government also issued a formal apology.

In Halifax there is a harbour ferry named after her and in 2012 the postal service issued a commemorative stamp.

Learn more about Viola Desmond here:

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Huge Loss To The Music World This Week With The Death Of Legend Leonard Cohen at 82

The Montreal-born singer and songwriter had a lengthy career, filled with songs that so many of us know, "Hallelujah" arguably being the one that fans and fellow musicians most readily identified him with over the years. The soulful singer was also known for his romances with singer Joni Mitchell, his musical muse Mariannen Ihlen, who passed away in July and actress Rebecca DeMornay, to whom he was once engaged.

In a lengthy tribute, Prime Minister Trudeau wrote that he was "a most remarkable Montrealer" and "one of the most influential and enduring musicians ever."

Countless musicians took to Twitter to express their admiration for Cohen including Elton John and Justin Timberlake. John tweeted "Leonard Cohen was unique. A giant of a man and a brilliant songwriter. Irreplaceable. Loved him and his wonderful music." Timberlake said he was "A spirit and soul beyond compare." Singer Rufus Wainwright, who was raised in Montreal, became famous in his career for his soulful rendition of "Hallelujah." He co-parents a daughter with his childhood friend Lorca Cohen.

Cohen's funeral was Thursday afternoon in Montreal at the Shaar Hashomayim Cemetery on the slopes of Mount Royal. Per his wishes, he was laid to rest in a traditional Jewish rite in a family plot.

Watch Wainwright pay his respects  here:

And read Trudeau's tribute here:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Finally, Emmy Recognition For Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany

At the 68th Annual Emmy Awards that aired earlier tonight, fellow Canadian Keifer Sutherland presented Maslaney with the the long-overdue Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama. Maslaney was nominated for the first time last year, answering the prayers of many fans of the BBC America show that films in Toronto. She beat out Claire Danes, Taraji P. Henson, Keri Russell, Robin Wright and last year's winner, Viola Davis. In her speech Maslany said, "I feel so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the center." Next season will be the fifth and final one for the show.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Great Opportunity To Move To Bucolic Cape Breton, If You Can Work In Canada

Is the concrete jungle killing your soul? Have you always yearned to be closer to the land? Do you want to see what small town life is all about? The island of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is looking to grow beyond its population of 150,000. The Farmer's Daughter Country Market, a bakery and general store, is in need of employees and put a call out on Facebook. Anyone who is willing to relocate (and can work legally in Canada) will be offered a job and two acres of land.

Check out their Facebook page here:

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Milos Raonic Is In His First Wimbledon Final As The First Canadian Man To Play In A Grand Slam Final

Raonic, ranked #6 in the world, is playing Scotland's Andy Murray, the #2 seed. The Canadian is making his bid to take the title after beating Roger Federer on Friday in five sets after dropping the second and third sets to the seven-time Wimbledon champ. Raonic is being coached by former champions Carlos Moya and John McEnroe.