Columnist, Manager of Reader Bridge project
Shelley is a born and raised Winnipegger. She is a proud member of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.
In 2011 Shelley graduated (for the first time in her life!) from Red River College’s Creative Communications program. It was a milestone moment for the two-time high school dropout who took a chance on post-secondary education as a mature student at the age of 28.
This was an opportunity that changed her life, and one for which she is so grateful.
While stumbling around the University of Winnipeg for two years, dabbling in a number of different courses, Shelley started volunteering at Winnipeg Harvest (now known as Manitoba Harvest). There she met many wonderful people who made an impact on her life, including Donald Benham, a former journalist, city councillor and journalism instructor, who encouraged her to apply for the Creative Communications program, thus helping her find a career path that seemed to fit.
Shelley was the first recipient of the John W. Dafoe Free Press scholarship for Aboriginal students in 2009. This scholarship led to her first newsroom experience. She enjoyed a work placement at the Winnipeg Sun in 2010 to 2011 and spent the summer after graduating CreComm as a reporter for the Portage Daily Graphic in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
Shelley’s other notable work includes covering the 2014 JUNO Awards, concert reviews and a weekly Mix of Six column for Metro Winnipeg.
From 2012 to 2021, Shelley worked in marketing and communications at Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries as a social media coordinator.
Shelley is a mom and stepmom of three as well as a companion to two rescue dogs. She and her partner Chris co-parent and raise their kids with Donna, her stepkids’ mom.
Shelley has always been a good storyteller, a trait she likely inherited from her dad, one of the most engaging and interesting storytellers of all time. She tries hard, though she makes a lot of mistakes. Thankfully, making mistakes is a good way to learn and to grow and to try to be better. It also usually always leads to something interesting to write about.
Shelley still gets excited to see her work published in the Winnipeg Free Press. Having a column has been a dream come true.
Recent articles by Shelley Cook
Honoured to share story of Indigenous teen stolen from us4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 29, 2023
Wake-up call in bedtime story embracing failure4 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 23, 2023
I was reading with my kid the other night. Bedtime stories are different now that she’s a little older. We’ve mostly transitioned from me reading to her, to us reading a graphic novel together before she goes to sleep. I love it.
The book we were reading was from the Cat Kid series by Dav Pilkey. The story is about characters who have joined the Cat Kid Comic Club, which is exactly what it sounds like: a club devoted to making comics.
The group members have been assigned to make comics, but they initially don’t even try. They have all sorts of reasons and excuses about why they don’t want to make a comic: They don’t have ideas, they can’t draw, they think the assignment is dumb. Ultimately, they don’t try because they are afraid to fail.
Club president Cat Kid and the vice-president — a floating worm character — decide to change up the assignment to have everyone make a comic and fail miserably at it. What is born out of that are a bunch of inspired students who aren’t afraid of exploring ideas, failing or even embarrassing themselves. This new perspective on the same assignment changes everything. It inspires the whole club to try because they have confidence and aren’t afraid of failing. Brilliant.
Indigenous women entrepreneurs in economic, interactive spotlight4 minute read Preview Sunday, May. 14, 2023
It’s OK to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 8, 2023
I had the worst couple of days last week — absolute garbage.
It was one of those weeks where life piled on with a bunch of things. Big things, small things. Smaller than small things. Things that wouldn’t bother me if they were simply just a one-off. You know what I’m talking about. Those days where nothing seems to go right and no matter how hard you try, the day, your outlook, and everything around you just gets more sour.
We’ve all been there.
Be kind to yourself, others are listening4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 1, 2023
I always wonder if I’ve told my children I love them enough times in a day or if I’ve remembered to tell them how proud I am of them. I often think about the ways I could have shown love better.
Undervalued, underpaid and overwhelmingly important in our kids’ lives3 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 24, 2023
Before I had kids, I never fully realized how many people would be helping me raise them when I did.
Obviously, I knew that I’d be a working mother (I can’t afford not to be), and I knew that my daughter would go to daycare, but I didn’t fully take into account that there would be people outside of my immediate family who would be help raise and shape who our children are and who they will become.
To be embarrassingly frank, I didn’t think much about the work of early childhood educators, nor did I consider the relationships our family would have with them before they became an important part of our life and our routine.
The 32nd annual Manitoba Child Care Association’s Week of the Early Educator starts today, an opportunity to celebrate the vital work of those unsung heroes and the difference they make in our lives.
RRC Polytech event shines spotlight on Indigenous talent5 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 24, 2023
Anishinaabe elder’s life calling was forged between worlds, rooted in cultural resilience11 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 17, 2023
Our stolen sisters — all of them — matter; it’s as simple as that5 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 10, 2023
I remember when Sunshine Wood went missing in February 2004. She was a 16-year-old Indigenous girl who vanished from Winnipeg’s downtown one night.
Sagkeeng First Nations woman opens heart and home to stray dogs in the community6 minute read Preview Sunday, Apr. 9, 2023
Woman devastated after theft of Sgt. Tommy Prince beadwork medallion she spent 2 1/2 years on3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Apr. 4, 2023
Indigeneity, identity at centre of questionable claims4 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 3, 2023
The issue of Indigenous identity theft has been in a spotlight lately. It seems like every time I log into Twitter or scan the news, there’s another story about a person’s questionable claims to Indigeneity.
Plainclothes passion at powwow sparks search, generous offer, cultural connection5 minute read Preview Sunday, Mar. 26, 2023
Beading becomes gateway to culture, community, contentment4 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 20, 2023
We all have a responsibility to speak out and stand together3 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 13, 2023
On International Women’s Day, Mary Simon — the first Indigenous Governor General in Canada — shared a social media post, a video reel that starts with a black screen and a disclaimer: “This video contains coarse language that may be offensive to some viewers.”
Inuk Woman of Year builds cultural, community support cornerstone5 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 6, 2023
Making, always answering classic call of parents4 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 27, 2023
When I was about 14 or 15, my parents sent me to camp for two weeks.
Shimmering legacy: Indigenous elder, educator, athlete honoured5 minute read Preview Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023
Childhood myths will be missed4 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 13, 2023
While grocery shopping with my seven-year-old daughter the other day, she stopped me out of the blue and asked, “Do you think the Easter Bunny is real?”
The kids (and parents) are all right4 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 6, 2023
My sister recently went out with some old friends and colleagues for a reunion-type gathering that happens every couple of years. (She and I used to work together at the same organization, though I wasn’t in her department.)
Women Talking evokes rage, humour and hope with its powerful script, brilliant acting10 minute read Preview Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023
Friendship keeps all afloat navigating life’s waves3 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 23, 2023
There is something to be said about those types of friendships when you click with someone and form that special kind of relationship that doesn’t wilt and wither away with time or space.
‘Pretendians’ rob Indigenous people of jobs, opportunities3 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 16, 2023
Find something to be grateful for every day4 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 9, 2023
I started using an app to track the best parts of my day.
Take time to celebrate all things great and small4 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 2, 2023
Here we are, at the start of a new year, and although I don’t usually make resolutions, I tend to get nostalgic when the ol’ calendar changes. It always feels like a clean slate and just another day all wrapped into one.
What time is it? Borrowed o’clock, I’m afraid4 minute read Preview Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022
There is this scene in the 2005 finale of the HBO show Six Feet Under that I think about often (spoiler: I am going to say something about it — if you haven’t watched the series and it’s on the to-watch list, maybe don’t read on).
Gift of permission to say no this season4 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
We are so close to Christmas, and I am not ready. At least, I don’t feel like I’m ready.
Why do Indigenous women have to beg the rest of Canada for dignity and justice?4 minute read Preview Friday, Dec. 9, 2022
Program’s stunning success putting, keeping Indigenous families back together5 minute read Preview Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022
More memories, less stuff this holiday season4 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 5, 2022
Here we are, it’s December already. How’d we get here so fast and how did it get so busy?
An easy, but meaningful, change that helps us all move forward4 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 21, 2022
Last week I read that the Girl Guides of Canada will be changing the name of Brownies — the branch for seven and eight year olds — because they’ve learned from racialized groups and former members that the name is harmful.
Sharing is caring, but when is it too much on social media?4 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 14, 2022
When I had my child, I had an overwhelming desire to share her with the world.
Stopped and searched: the humiliation of being profiled4 minute read Preview Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022
Whiteshell petroforms, ancestor site hold deep spiritual meaning for Diane Maytwayashing12 minute read Preview Friday, Sep. 30, 2022
Medicine of beading joins seekers of their place in Indigenous culture4 minute read Preview Monday, Sep. 26, 2022
Complex feelings wrap days of remembrance, mourning4 minute read Preview Monday, Sep. 19, 2022
When I was a little girl, I remember sleeping at my Amma’s house and waking early to watch Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson get married and, of course, all of the extravagance and custom that a royal wedding brings.
Poolside near miss reveals quick, quiet danger of drowning4 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 6, 2022
Earlier this summer, my sister invited us to join her and her girls at a friend’s home for a swim. She was watching the place while they were away, and they’d given her the go ahead for the gathering.
Business owner’s honest post about hardship strikes chord4 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 29, 2022
Making road trip memories with the kids6 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 22, 2022
We took our kids on a road trip. We drove through three provinces (four, if you count Manitoba) and three time zones, bought snacks and wandered through what seemed to be about a thousand gas stations from Winnipeg to Vancouver, all part of one hell of an adventure.
Practice doesn’t always make perfect, The Rehearsal shows us4 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 8, 2022
I’ve been watching a show on HBO called The Rehearsal. It’s written, directed and stars Nathan Fielder (from Nathan for You and This Hour Has 22 Minutes). It’s a docu-comedy type show that you’ll either get and subsequently love, or that you’ll hate because it’s so far out there. That’s sort of standard for Fielder, because his comedy is so awkward and quirky, but it’s also genius. At least in my opinion.
Wanbdi Wakita has been patiently listening all his 80 years13 minute read Preview Friday, Aug. 5, 2022
For the love of dogs: helping to care for pets in fire zone5 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 1, 2022
After months of painful stillness, a mother finds solace in a return to her art6 minute read Preview Monday, Jul. 25, 2022
Table at heart of women’s centre and community4 minute read Preview Monday, Jul. 11, 2022
It’s a place to gather, connect and take refuge in the shade from the summer heat or block wind from a winter chill.
The yard of the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre is a meeting spot for people in the community and, until recently, so was the rickety old wooden picnic table at its heart. The table is now gone, succumbed to time, use and Winnipeg’s extreme seasons, replaced (for the meantime) by a couple of stumps someone donated when they cut a tree down.
“There are so many ways that people use this spot — it’s a super popular spot for people in the community,” said Khalida Benedictson, office administrator of NPDWC, adding many would connect there with neighbours for coffee and conversation.
What’s more, Benedictson explained, the table outside was an accessible place for the centre to cater to clients in wheelchairs and with mobility issues, as the building located at 221 Austin St. N. (a former corner store) doesn’t suitably meet those needs of some.
Working from home tilts the balance4 minute read Preview Monday, Jun. 6, 2022
When the work-from-home model became mainstream during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was new and a bit scary.
Those of us with school-aged children were also participating in (and often failing at) home learning and trying our best not to drown in the hectic and foreign dynamic.
I remember how hard it was to adapt to this change, though I knew early on how privileged I was to be able to secure myself and my family during a pandemic.
I missed that work version of myself — the one who did her hair and wore red lipstick; someone who wasn’t being asked for a snack or a glass of chocolate milk every five minutes. I remember how sorely I missed my work friends and our cubicle and lunchroom chats. It felt isolating to be away from that building I spent nearly every single day going to and from.
Troubled past provided lessons Charlotte Nolin needed to transform13 minute read Preview Monday, May. 30, 2022
Visiting sister provides insight3 minute read Preview Monday, May. 30, 2022
My youngest daughter and I travelled to Vancouver to visit my sister on the May long weekend.
The city holds a special place in my heart. It was a whirlwind of a trip, though we made the most of our time there, packing in as much as we could.
On the last day, we were driving through the tree-lined streets of a neighbourhood just outside of downtown Vancouver, talking and listening to music. I was high on that feeling of being in vacation mode and filled with fantasies of what it would be like to live in this big, vibrant city, and my sister was basking in our company. There was a bit of sadness in the air, knowing the visit was winding down. I miss her terribly.
The conversation flowed about regular sort of things that happen in our daily lives, and we somehow ended up talking about our goals and hopes for the future — some which seemed impossible or just out of reach. It was easy for both of us to point out the things we lacked or the things we felt defeated in. Looking forward, we were at the beginning of our current journey.
Memories make old toys more than just plastic pieces4 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 24, 2022
A few weeks ago, I gifted some of my kids’ large plastic backyard toys — including a tower slide and pool combo, a small picnic table, a Little Tikes playhouse and a water table — to friends who have smaller kids.
These toys have taken up so much space in our backyard — a heap of colourful plastic telling everyone in the neighbourhood that yes, we have a bunch of kids who live here.
These structures have been well-loved throughout the early summers of my kids’ lives, though less and less. They have been the setting for some of the most fun days outside in the sunshine, and the backdrop and stage for core memories they’ll take with them into adulthood.
I can’t tell you how many times my kids have had water fights in that old pool, or about the countless dance parties that took place on the top of the tower slide. The water table brought so much joy to my toddler, who grew up too fast.
Petition seeks to get BodyBreak in hall of fame5 minute read Preview Monday, May. 9, 2022
A few years ago, in the wee hours of the morning, Virgin Radio’s Ace Burpee and Chrissy Troy were getting ready for their morning show.
“It was the end of 2019, maybe early 2020,” Troy said in a phone call. “Ace and I were in the studio before the show started and he just said to me ‘do you think Hal and Joanne are in the sports hall of fame?’”
Burpee was referring to Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod, the iconic BodyBreak duo that has been delivering their “keep fit and have fun” message on Canadian television sets since the 1980s.
Scouring the Canadian sports hall of fame website, Troy found no sign of Johnson and McLeod. She and Burpee figured the pair’s induction was a no-brainer. However, the morning show, which they host alongside Lloyd (Kevin Frobisher) and Amber Saleem, was about to start and they dropped the pre-show conversation. Nothing else really came of it — until earlier this year.
Sharing comfort of being comfortable in own skin4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 2, 2022
It was one of those days, where nothing fit and I fretted over my reflection in the mirror.
My hair wasn’t right and no amount of styling seemed to work. My three-barrel curling iron, set on high, only produced frizzled strands of singed hair instead of the beachy waves I was going for. My makeup didn’t seem to cover my blemishes, and my body seemed particularly rotund that day. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.
Body image issues were creeping in fast.
I try so hard to be body positive and to embrace and appreciate who I am and what I look like. My body, after all, has walked me through many years and experiences in life. It was my daughter’s first home, as she grew from it. It might not be perfect, but it is strong, and it is a gift.
Fierce competition, important learning… and fun4 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 25, 2022
It’s trivia, except instead of being the first one to know the answer, players of Non-Trivial Trivia strive to be the quickest to find the answer through a Google search. The goal is to learn the histories and have fun doing it.
The online quiz was born in the summer of 2020. Michael Young, a Winnipeg programmer of industrial control systems, was taking Yale University’s online course African American Studies. He started the course a few months after George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer.
“I felt like I needed to do something,” Young said, adding a friend pointed him in the direction of the course.
Young figured learning was a good first step in being part of change. The more he learned, the more the world and his view of the world changed.
Indigenous elder, military veteran and residential school survivor has found peace after all these years11 minute read Preview Thursday, Apr. 7, 2022
Weekend of hockey, weekend of pride5 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 4, 2022
HEADINGLEY — The sounds echoed in the Camp Manitou ice rink as the women-led Southern Thunderbird Medicine Drum group sang out into the unseasonably cold March morning.
The thumping of the drum, so heavy you could feel it all the way in your soul, is an invitation to gather in ceremony and celebration. On this day, the thumping was in honour of the partnership between the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre and True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd., and their commitment to investing in youth.
A fair-sized group had gathered at the spot for the unveiling of the new WASAC and Follow Your Dreams jerseys and a cheque presentation event at Camp Manitou, in Headingley. Many in attendance were wearing shirts and hoodies bearing the Indigenized Winnipeg Jets logo — an NHL first of its kind, designed four years ago by Leticia Spence of Pimicikamak Cree Nation.
John Olfert, True North president and chief operating officer, presented Lindsay Campbell, WASAC North co-ordinator, with a giant cheque for $43,447.85 — proceeds from retail initiatives that will be invested back into Indigenous youth throughout Manitoba.
Progress, like a song, takes a while to get in tune3 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 28, 2022
During lulls in the day, when my partner has a few spare moments between online meetings and work, he picks up his acoustic guitar and strums, practising notes and chords, turning them into songs.
Sometimes he’ll give commentary on how the music comes together or about the song itself. Sometimes he’ll sing along to the music he’s making or mutter in frustration when he’s made a mistake. His teacher is a guy he found on YouTube who uploads videos from his home somewhere in America.
For the most part, we are both still working from home. I’ve been listening to my partner practise over the months, sometimes in tune with his hobby and other times annoyed by it because the sounds are in the way of whatever I’m doing. He has managed to finesse sloppy chords into smooth transitions, giving life to a song and his hobby.
The funny thing is, I didn’t notice how good he’d gotten until a song he was playing one day caught my attention. I thought to myself, “Dang, he got good.”
Boot drive marches to successful season4 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 21, 2022
A few years ago, Robyn Brown was working as a family centre co-ordinator in the Louis Riel School Division. Part of her job was helping to outfit children and families, who needed a little bit of help during the winter season with attire.
She worked with community capacity builders such as Harvest Manitoba and Koats for Kids, but there were a couple of students still in need.
“I had a mom phone me to ask if I had any boots for her kids,” Brown explained in a phone call, as her one-year-old daughter gurgled and cooed in the background. “She couldn’t get her kids to school because they walked, and they didn’t have boots.”
The phone call moved her; a light-bulb moment that made act.
There is nothing quite like a health scare4 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 7, 2022
I recently had a mammogram. I’m too young to get one annually, but I found some lumps a while ago. They were deemed to be irregular tissue but must be monitored.
My appointment was a follow-up from one in 2020, after I discovered the lumps. It should have happened last year, but the waitlist is so long that this was the first appointment available to me.
The process is simple enough, and even though the squish is uncomfortable, it’s not so bad.
When you arrive, they give you a short gown for the top half of your body and have you sit in a little cubicle and wait. They take you into a room between the exam area and the waiting room that has a bunch of stalls for people to wait in privacy. You sit there until they call you to go with them or leave. After your mammogram, you wait for the all-clear from the doctor before leaving.
Eloquent words from CBC broadcaster4 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 28, 2022
I went to bed early the night Russia invaded Ukraine. I was so tired, but I couldn’t sleep.
I grabbed my phone, even though I knew scrolling through the madness of the internet wouldn’t help me sleep. I checked social media and saw tweet after tweet about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine. It was unbearable, yet I couldn’t look away. I kept scrolling through all the pictures, first-hand accounts, news stories, opinions, videos and headlines — so many headlines. An invasion was happening in real time before our eyes, but my eyes were watching it on a screen in the safety of my home, far away from the terror.
I kept watching that night and the next day, and when it became too much, I put my phone down and stopped thinking about it for a while by busying myself with other things.
On Thursday evening, I saw a tweet by former Free Press reporter Temur Durrani. He posted an audio clip of CBC journalist Carol Off on the eve of her last show with CBC Radio’s As It Happens. In the clip, which is just over a minute long, Off speaks about bearing witness to the struggles of others and staying engaged in the world and the issues people need us, as a society, to be engaged in. The clip was from a segment with Matt Galloway that aired on Feb. 18. Off was speaking about why people should stay engaged with the news. Her words were eloquent and meaningful, and she described exactly what I and probably so many other people needed to hear in that moment.
Feeling more alive in world of optimism5 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 14, 2022
Did you ever read The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch?
It’s co-authored by Jeffrey Zaslow of the Wall Street Journal. The best-seller, released in 2008, stemmed from a talk Pausch gave titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams at Carnegie Mellon University on Sept. 18, 2007. His talk was part of a series called the Last Lecture. Academics were asked to think about things that really mattered to them and speak as though they were giving their final talk. “What wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?”
In Pausch’s case, it actually turned out to be one of his last lectures. He was told his battle with pancreatic cancer was terminal only a month earlier. He was staring down death, in the prime of his life, when all the best moments were supposed to be ahead of him. You’d expect, given the prognosis, that Pausch’s lecture would be sombre (if he gave it at all). It wasn’t.
Pausch gave a talk filled with optimism, hope and even humour. It only inspired millions of people around the world, including me. The Last Lecture went viral in a time when MySpace was still the top social-media platform, Facebook was relatively new, and Twitter, Instagram and TikTok hadn’t been invented.
Breaking up with a bad habit is hard to do4 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 7, 2022
I think the universe sends me a sign when I need it most. Or perhaps I’m the kind of person who likes to look for signs and meaning in ordinary situations.
Last weekend, I broke a bracket on my braces. It was on my snaggletooth — the tooth that has been the bane of my smile for as long as I can remember because it was out of place and made me insecure. The reason I bit the bullet and opted for adult braces. (The left lateral incisor, for anyone who is curious.)
The bracket popped off the tooth as I was brushing, and it was no big deal. My teeth have straightened out so much since I got the braces in the summer. I’ve questioned (with an admitted lack of orthodontic experience) why I have to wear them for another 18 months. My teeth are nearly straight.
Within hours of the bracket popping off, my incisor and the tooth beside it started to ache. If you’ve had braces, you know this ache. It’s the feeling of teeth shifting. The pain is not a like a regular toothache that hurts deep in the nerves and is unbearable. It’s less than that, but still painful. The feeling is usually isolated to one spot in your mouth — a tooth, maybe two, and it feels like the tooth is sore.
Feeling grateful for small acts of kindness4 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 31, 2022
I was at a grocery store recently to grab a few things after picking up my daughter from daycare. The evening felt heavy, like it was already slipping too far out of my reach. We popped in for a couple of things and, as is often the case, ended up at the checkout with far more than I had intended.
A woman who made her way to the checkout at the same time as us told us to go ahead. She waited patiently as we loaded our groceries onto the conveyor belt. It was a small gesture, letting us go ahead of her in line, but one that felt was especially kind given that my patience was running thin and I was in a rush to get home and battle the mountain of things I had ahead of me.
As we stood there, my daughter and the woman struck up a conversation. Riel said hello, and the woman behind us responded by telling her that she liked her hat—a yellow Pikachu tuque. (Pikachu is a character from Pokémon.)
“My son used to like Pikachu when he was small,” the woman said.
Kid in video has big heart and big personality4 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 24, 2022
Toronto was hit with a massive blizzard last week that saw the city covered in 55 cm of snow.
There were clips of people digging themselves out from under the record-setting snowfall all over the internet and social media. One video encapsulated the experience in the most hilariously relatable way. It’s a 32-second CTV News clip of nine-year-old Carter Trozzolo letting out the mother of all sighs and explaining with deadpan delivery that he’s tired and would rather be in school than shovelling.
If you haven’t seen the clip, stop what you’re doing and type his name or “Toronto snow kid” into Google. Countless clips, stories and posts will pop up. Outlets from all over the world — including People, ET Canada and Buzzfeed — have featured Carter in response to his hilarious interview. Someone created an electronic YouTube remix song called Always Tired (Carter Trozzolo Remix), and George Takei shared the clip on his Facebook page.
People can’t get enough of Carter and his honest reaction to shovelling out of a blizzard.
A walk in service and gratitude with Mama Bear Clan4 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 3, 2022
This was not the year we thought it would be. At least, not for me. I was naive enough to believe the pandemic would be over by now.
I don’t know what kind of normal I was expecting. I don’t think I dug that far into my imagination, I just wrongly assumed things would be heading back into some sense of normalcy. I didn’t think we’d be headed into another wave with Omicron, a variant that sounds like a monster robot.
Alas, we are here. Although it’s not the place where we expected to be, there have been some bright spots throughout the year and the journey that has led us here. I am not trying to fill your head with toxic positivity or make light of how trying things have been. I am struggling, and life is a dumpster fire a lot of the time. But, as we usher in a new year, I’m looking back at the people and the goodness that have brought me joy during such a trying year.
I walked with the Mama Bear Clan earlier this year. I only volunteered with them a handful of times in the spring. I hope to do so again because I am in awe and humbled to join in the work they do.
Book by book, wish by wish, hamper goal doubled4 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 20, 2021
In October, I wrote about Ally Beauchesne, my friend who was holding an online book sale to raise money to make Christmas hampers for families in need this holiday season. This was the second year that she has organized the online sale. This year, Ally had a goal of raising enough money to make 10 hampers for families in need — up from last year’s seven.
Well, I wanted to give a little update on what she accomplished, because it’s nothing short of spectacular.
“I don’t even know how many books I sold,” she told me on a quick phone call last Thursday. “I know that there were 107 buyers and that we made $2,772. But, a lot of people donated more money with their book purchases. I haven’t had a chance to count how many books we actually sold.”
This year’s book sale not only helped Ally raise money for the hampers she put together, it also helped her form new connections and friendships with people. One person, she told me, reached out to explain they were cleaning out the home of a friend who had just passed away and had collected a bunch of books that they wanted to donate.
Picture worth 1,000 words… including a few stern ones from child4 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 13, 2021
A while ago, I took a photo of my kid after she’d fallen asleep.
When I peeked inside her room to check on her before I headed to bed, I was struck by how cute she looked, nestled under her big fluffy blanket, sleeping so peacefully. So I took out my phone and snapped a picture of her.
I didn’t think much of it. I’ve been taking photos since her birth six years ago, documenting every milestone, every cute and memorable moment — and many ordinary ones, too.
That was that. I didn’t post the photo online or show it to anyone else except for her dad, so we could marvel at the cute child we have together. I forgot all about it until a few days later, when she saw the picture on my phone and asked why I took it.
It’s easy to throw a stranger a lifeline4 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 22, 2021
Six months after my daughter was born, I made my first blood donation.
I had always wanted to donate blood. It seemed heroic and the easiest way to do something good for somebody else. But I had always been hesitant. I’m not afraid of needles or having blood drawn for lab work, but the idea of giving blood gave me a real sense of anxiety.
I remember hearing that the questionnaire was invasive (it’s not), and I remember being afraid that in my pursuit to donate they would find something incurably wrong with me, and I wasn’t ready to face that. It sounds foolish, but for so many years I had the privilege and immaturity of never having to think beyond myself.
Things shifted when I became a mom. I don’t mean for this to sound cliché, but when my daughter was born so was her mother. My kid made me a better person and changed the way I saw and lived in the world.
Excited about revival of TV show4 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 15, 2021
It has been announced the Sex and the City 10-episode revival show And Just Like That will debut on HBO Max Dec. 9 with its first two episodes, followed by releases every Thursday night.
I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am. Somewhere inside of me is a wistful 20-something 1990s gal who identifies with each character on this show and is naive enough to believe in the lifestyle it sold me. A weekly sex columnist in New York City who galavants around Manhattan with her best friends, while wearing designer clothes (and shoes) and who lives in a giant brownstone with a walk-in closet…
It’s not that I thought I would get there in my life — to have the lifestyle that Carrie Bradshaw had — but the show sure gave me a lot of wonderful scenery to use in my daydreams. To be completely honest, I never imagined that I’d ever see New York in real life. When I did in 2019, I nearly cried when I walked up from the subway station and was immediately swallowed up by the biggest buildings I’d seen in my whole life. Love at first sight.
Since they announced this reboot last January, I have been watching social media like a hawk, savouring every single glimpse of the fictional characters Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker and her besties, Miranda Hobbes (played by Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte York-Goldenblatt (played by Kristin Davis.) Bless the age of social media where people can stumble upon a movie set in the middle of a New York street one afternoon and film a little clip to post on Tik Tok or Twitter.
Reconciliation Road a step to ease pain, sadness along Highway 594 minute read Preview Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021
Living the childhood wrestling fan’s dream4 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 1, 2021
I loved ’80s and ’90s wrestling.
I grew up on the stuff — Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth, Andre the Giant, Jake the Snake, Brutus the Barber Beefcake, the Honky Tonk Man, the Hart Foundation… I used to beg my mom to buy me the WWF (now WWE) magazine when we went grocery shopping. She seldom did, but I always looked through them while she shopped.
When I was a kid, the highlight of my weekend was watching Saturday morning wrestling. My sisters and I would watch with our dad, cheering on the babyfaces and booing the heels. I thought it was real and took the storylines to heart. There was no internet back then, so finding out about wrestlers’ lives and identities by slipping down a Google rabbit hole wasn’t a thing. As far as I was concerned it was all real inside of the TV screen.
I fell out of wrestling for a few years but started watching again in the late ’90s. I was a still just a kid — well, I was barely a young adult with a job, which meant I could go to shows when the WWE came through Winnipeg. My favourite wrestler was, and probably still is, Bret “the Hitman” Hart. He is, after all, the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.
Online book sale spreads Christmas cheer to families in need4 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 25, 2021
I’ve been sorting through my kids’ books, making room for new books and a giveaway pile for the stories they’ve grown out of. I always get a little sentimental when I go through their things, especially well-loved books and favourite toys and outfits, because it reminds me how much they’re growing and changing. Still, I try not to get attached to objects.
I am giving our pile of used books to my friend Ally Beauchesne for an online book sale she’ll hold after Halloween. This is the second year she’s done the sale with the goal of raising money to make Christmas Hampers for families in need.
The books will be organized, numbered and posted on her Facebook and Instagram accounts for anyone to buy. Children’s books will be $1 and adult books $3. Proceeds will go toward buying gifts and perishable items for the hampers Ally will put together for families who she’s been matched with by Inspire Community Outreach.
She’s not sure how much money she’ll make or even how many books she’ll end up having for sale. Last year, she put the call out to her friends on social media and in her local giveaway group, asking if anyone had books they’d like to donate. People, many of whom were strangers, rallied behind her, donating books and spreading the word about the donation drive and sale. Her mom did a big purge from her own bookshelf, dropping off boxes upon boxes to Ally’s house.
Being welcomed a moving experience4 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 18, 2021
A few weeks ago, I attended a conference called Breaking the Shackles of Racism.
The two-day national event was put on by the Islamic Social Services Association and featured several speakers and panel discussions about human rights, justice, policing and the media. I bought a ticket after meeting the association’s executive director, Shahina Siddiqui, this summer.
I learned a lot, and I shared a lot — more than I expected. The experience changed me.
One of the panelists couldn’t make it on the second day, so they asked me to fill in. I humbly joined Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, who joined via Zoom, and Azeezah Kanji, the director of programming at the Noor Cultural Centre in Toronto. Kanji is a legal academic and writer whose work focuses on issues relating to racism, law and social justice.
Taking the plunge to embrace change4 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 4, 2021
I got braces a little while ago.
I opted for the full metal bracket kind that glimmers when you smile. They feel different than I imagined. For one thing, they feel a lot bigger than they are. They’re a bit intrusive, even after getting used to them. I can feel them protruding from my teeth when I talk or smile, acting as a sort of ledge for my lip to sit on.
They feel so blatant. That said, I think they’re more noticeable to me than to anyone else, partly because we wear masks in public. When I came home from the orthodontist and showed my kids my new smile, the middle kid couldn’t get over how “adorable” (in her words) I looked.
The eight-year-old thinks I’m cute!
It feels like hope is on the horizon4 minute read Preview Monday, Sep. 27, 2021
My kid brought home a picture from school last week. She made it on the first day of fall.
It said, “Goodbye Summer. I will miss,” with a blank spot for her to write what she would miss the most about summer. She wrote “Findig Seashells,” with the spelling error and both Ss backwards. Under that, she drew herself and her sisters collecting shells at the beach, with a person she said was me lying in the sand under an umbrella. It was the sweetest little drawing.
I’m glad she has nice memories of collecting shells at the beach. We did it often this summer, and last year, too. I’m not sure I’ve been to the beach as much in my whole life as I have been the past two pandemic summers. One thing this pandemic has done is dramatically slowed the pace of our lives and changed the way we spend time together. Working from home, for the most part, and remaining in our immediate bubbles means we have more time to spend together.
Of course, it wasn’t always rosy these past two summers. I think we all experienced feelings of loneliness, isolation and seeing too much of each other. But we’ve been able to spend time — time we wouldn’t have otherwise had in our pre-pandemic routines and lives — at the beach or wherever else our adventures took us.
Remembering a friend with plea for more support4 minute read Preview Monday, Sep. 20, 2021
I don’t remember exactly when I met Alyssa Stevenson.
It was at École River Heights School in the 1990s. She was in Grade 9, a grade higher than me. She was enrolled in French Immersion, I think, but I can’t be sure. I just remember her being in our friend group one day. She seemed to know everyone, and she seemed to like and be liked by everyone. She was close with my friend Stephanie, and I was her friend by association. I always felt like Alyssa had my back.
She was fiery and fiercely loyal to her friends. She greeted people with hugs every time she saw them. It was Alyssa’s signature. I wasn’t good friends with her. We never had sleepovers or hung out after school, except at dances, where our little friend group would dance in a circle to songs such as Free Your Mind, Informer and Shoop.
It’s fuzzy to look back so long ago, but there are a handful of memories that are so clear. Most of them are times that didn’t seem particularly special or memorable in that moment but are burned into my mind.
Orange shirts show solidarity5 minute read Preview Monday, Sep. 13, 2021
Earlier this summer, Parliament unanimously passed legislation to make Sept. 30 a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The day has been observed nationally as Orange Shirt Day since 2013. It was born from an event at the site of the former St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C., in May 2013, when former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad shared her story of her first day at residential school in 1973. She recalled the orange shirt her grandmother had bought for her first day, which was stripped from her tiny body and replaced with a uniform.
“The colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying, and no one cared,” Webstad said, as quoted on the Orange Shirt Society’s webpage states.
Since Webstad shared her story, the orange shirt has become a nationally recognized symbol for Indigenous children who were sent to residential schools. It represents the stolen kids who came out forever changed and those who never made it home. As the discoveries of unmarked graves of Indigenous children at former residential school sites across Canada continue to be uncovered, the colour orange has become a symbol of our grief. The colour is a way for us to mourn and express feelings that are too sorrowful for words about Canada’s ugly and barbaric legacy of racism, and stand in solidarity in the spirit of healing and reconciliation.
Backpacks loaded with excitement, uncertainty4 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 7, 2021
Our kids are heading back into the classroom this week in grades one, four and seven. The two older girls are excited, mostly because they get to see their friends. I think they’re also feeling ready to head back because school — when it’s been in-class learning — has provided a sense of normalcy for them.
The youngest is nervous and has told us she doesn’t want to go back to school. She’s developed a steadfast clinginess to her father and me over the course of the pandemic. I don’t blame her, considering it started when she was four. A big chunk of her life — the formative years, as well as her entire school experience — have been spent in a weird state that teeters from absolute isolation to kind of normal. We’ve been her two pillars, and at times her only friends, when the rest of the world had to be locked out.
She has been so lonesome for friends. I think her anxiety will taper off when she’s back at school and back in her routine, and sees kids around her own age. I think she will enjoy being with her friends and teachers again. That’s my hope, anyway.
In a lot of ways, I can’t wait for the kids to go back at school. It is something that gives me a great sense of relief, but a sense that’s riddled with worry. My biggest concern at the moment is that my two younger kids, who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated, will get sick. Severe outcomes for children who have been infected with COVID-19 have been less common than for adults in previous waves of this pandemic. As the fourth wave moves in, unvaccinated people, including children, are most at risk of serious illness and death.
Personal journal reveals right path4 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 30, 2021
I have a huge, overflowing bin of old journals in my basement. Worn-out books with diary entries, cringey poetry, and lots of doodles, stickers and pictures cut out from old magazines and glued in collages.
The books date back to my angsty teenage years in the ‘90s, well before we could shout our thoughts and opinions into the voice of the internet.
A deep dive into these personal archives is always met with a wave of nostalgia mixed with a twang of embarrassment. For one thing, I’ve used “your” when it should be “you’re” in nearly all of my writing for most of my life. It’s not a big deal, but I can’t help but smile at all of the posts blatantly riddled with typos and grammatical errors.
The entry that always gets me is from around 2008. It’s an old, pixelated photo of myself that I printed and glued onto a page of an old journal. There I am, taking a selfie in a mirror in the washroom at the University of Winnipeg. My hair is a shaggy, shoulder-length bob, and I have thick, black eyeliner on. I am using my old burgundy flip phone to take the photo (this was long before I had a smartphone), and I have a look on my face — serious but posing, and trying way too hard doing it. I wrote, “Shelley, your exactly where you are supposed to be” on the photo in black marker.
Join me in stopping global warming4 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 23, 2021
Nearly every time I read a news story about global warming or the dire state of the planet, I start to panic.
My heart starts beating so fast I can hear the thumps echoing in my ears, and I get the same sour taste in the back of my throat as when I’m about to throw up. My stomach becomes knotted, and I feel like my lungs become stiff.
I’m ashamed to admit this, but I have been teetering from sheer panic to complete denial about the climate crisis for as long as I can remember. I haven’t always done my part, and there are many ways I could be a better, more eco-conscious human. It has always been easier to pacify my anxiety with denial than to confront the issue and change my behaviour. Denial is a harder state to be in when the changes in the world have become so obvious.
I only recently learned the terms eco-anxiety and eco-grief to describe the feelings and mental toll climate change takes on a person. They are the chronic fear and sense of loss you feel when you realize or see the impacts of climate change. I think many of us have felt that doom, though it’s hard to articulate. For me, there is nothing more grim than the thought of my children’s future on fire.
Taking candy from a stranger4 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 16, 2021
A Facebook memory of a trip to beautiful British Columbia popped up on my timeline a few months ago.
My sister Christina was heading to the West Coast for an event in 2017 and decided to extend her stay to enjoy a vacation with me and my daughter, who had tagged along.
We spent the first part of the week visiting Riel’s grandparents on Salt Spring Island and the other part in Vancouver, exploring the city and visiting our Aunt Rose. The day we arrived in Vancouver, we got off the sky train in downtown Vancouver after a 90-minute ferry ride from Victoria. It was a sunny afternoon in the middle of the week. The city moved fast around us — faster than I was used to. The sidewalks were bursting with people, the streets lined with bumper-to-bumper traffic, and the skyline of skyscrapers with a backdrop of mountains was enough to take anyone’s breath away.
This wasn’t my first time in Vancouver. I’ve been there a handful of times in my life, and it has always been thrilling to be swallowed up by the big, bustling city.
Little things in life can take on big meaning4 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 9, 2021
Every once in a while, I have to try extra hard to look for the good things around me, especially lately.
I remind myself to poke my head outside of my echo chamber, and remember that even though the world seems to be on fire (literally and figuratively) there is still goodness and my soul needs to be nourished by it.
Sometimes, the brightest spot on my day is a jackpot — something like going on a vacation or finding a $5 bill in my pocket.
It’s the days that I easily make a connection with someone or have so much fun doing something that I forget about all the chaos around me.
Kids experience mini trip as vacation of a lifetime4 minute read Preview Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021
Last weekend, we got a dog sitter and took our kids to the South Beach Casino & Resort for an overnight staycation.
We chose that hotel because it has a pool and it’s close to Patricia Beach. We figured we could have a family slumber party at the hotel (with Granny and Papa in an adjoining room) and follow it up with a day at the beach before heading home.
It doesn’t seem like much, but it was likely the big vacation of our summer. The kids eagerly overpacked their small carry-on suitcases days in advance in anticipation of our little vacation. They brought books, toys, stuffies and far too many outfits for a 24-hour stay. You would think we were going on a weeklong overseas adventure.
The novelty of being a hotel guest made them giddy.
Package full of cheer was a true inspiration3 minute read Preview Monday, Jul. 26, 2021
Last week, I was loading a few items into my minivan in the parkade at the Superstore on Portage Avenue. I have a system where I don’t bag anything at the checkout. I pile everything back into the cart and bag it up at my van. It alleviates a lot of stress for me because I am the world’s worst and slowest grocery bagger.
I was standing in the parkade, bagging and loading the items while listening to a song through my earphones. My body was grooving to the music, and I was probably a bit of a spectacle. (When a good song pops up on your playlist and gets into your soul, it doesn’t matter that you’re standing in a quiet parkade — you’ve gotta go with it.)
All of a sudden, a woman walked up to me. I didn’t hear what she was saying at first because of the music.
What do you say when your child asks about death?4 minute read Preview Monday, Jul. 19, 2021
I read my daughter a book about Frida Kahlo recently. It is a children’s book from the Little People Big Dreams biography series. The story was a short outline of the artist’s life: she was born in Mexico, got sick with polio when she was young, and years later she was in a serious collision when the bus she was riding on hit a streetcar. While she was recovering, she started painting.
After we read the story, before I even put the book down my daughter asked “Is she dead?”
“Yes,” I responded.
Her big eyes widened and I could see the lightbulb flicker on in her head.
Longing for the good old days4 minute read Preview Monday, Jul. 12, 2021
Once in a while, life will stand still just long enough for me to realize how quickly it’s moving.
This could be catching a glimpse of an old photograph or noticing just how much one of my kids has grown. This could be listening to a song on the radio from my heyday that is now considered “classic,” or, when I hear people talking about somebody famous and I have no idea who it is, because somewhere along the way I fell out of the loop.
It also happens when I have time to really look at my reflection in the mirror as I get ready for the day — I don’t remember my hair being this thin and my skin this saggy. The bags under my eyes are just another feature I’ve earned from being the last to bed every night and the first to wake every day. There is no amount of eye cream that can save me now. Come to think of it, when did I start plucking the stray hairs on my chin more than my eyebrows that are still recovering from the late ‘90s?
“I’m still young,” I tell myself as I sip tepid coffee from my favourite mug, and fail miserably trying to apply my makeup like the glamorous12-year-olds on Tik Tok. (Seriously, how and when did the youngsters get so good at doing makeup?)
The end of a weird, isolated school year4 minute read Preview Monday, Jun. 28, 2021
Thursday morning started off with an online farewell ceremony for our eldest daughter (my stepdaughter) and her Grade 6 classmates.
The Google meet marked the end of a weird and isolated school year, and the end of a chapter. Little boxes of dressed-up kids, sitting alone in their homes filled the screen. Their teacher and the principal contained to their own boxes on the screen lead the event, navigating through minor glitches that come with every online meeting. They spoke about the unprecedented year, and about how well the kids navigated through it, both getting emotional when they spoke of this group of students moving on and what an important milestone this was.
In September, they’ll be in middle school.
Each student read from a prepared speech, about what they’d learned from their time at the school, and what impacts have been left of them as their words and a photo of them graced the screen. It seems like just yesterday when we watched these same kids march on from kindergarten in their paper hats with a whole bunch of years at this school ahead of them, and now we’re here at the end of that time.
Mourning long string of ‘supposed to be’ days4 minute read Preview Monday, Jun. 21, 2021
I can’t count how many times throughout this pandemic I’ve said to myself, “Oh, today was supposed to be…” insert life event here.
We’ve had so many “supposed to be” days over the past 15 months, everything from birthdays and family gatherings to weddings, funerals, graduations, concerts, travel plans…
I could go on and on, but you get it. You’ve experienced it too.
Every day was supposed to be different, something more. Or, even if it wasn’t meant to be anything beyond an ordinary day it was supposed to be a normal kind of ordinary, where crowds of people were inconvenient, but easy to wade through, and hugging someone outside your household didn’t seem like something to aspire to.
No words to describe horrific discovery3 minute read Preview Monday, Jun. 14, 2021
I didn’t say much when it was announced late last month that the remains of 215 Indigenous children had been found buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
I didn’t know what to say.
This is an act more horrific than I can fathom or put into words. People much smarter and more knowledgeable than me have spoken out in the media and on social media, writing articles about Canada’s tainted past. Leaders such as Murray Sinclair, the former senator and chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, addressed the world with empathy and poise, giving words to something unspeakable. He translated our sorrow and reminded us we must persevere on this journey to reconciliation.
In a Facebook video posted on June 1, Sinclair spoke about the survivors who shared their stories with the TRC. They gave horrendous accounts of abuse and neglect and the utter loneliness that shaped their experience. He explained about how the impact of being stolen from their families and communities and indoctrinated into a different culture against their will was a deliberate act by the Canadian government, and that one of the most common stories they heard was about children who died in residential schools.
Child’s eye can see beauty in anything4 minute read Preview Monday, Jun. 7, 2021
Last weekend, we had a bonfire in our fire pit. It was a lovely evening — warm and dark and well past our daughter’s bedtime. The embers crackled under a new log we had just thrown on as the smell of the fire lulled us into relaxation.
It was nearly perfect.
As we sat there, with the fire fading and flickering in the darkness, I thought I would go get the dried-up flowers I had got for my birthday and Mother’s Day. I hadn’t got around to tossing them out yet and figured I would throw a stem or two into the fire.
I excused myself and grabbed the flowers, dumping the vases in the sink and leaving a trail of wilted chrysanthemum leaves in my wake. When I returned, my daughter looked up at me, delighted that I brought the bunches of dead flowers.
Grieving during pandemic isn’t fair4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 31, 2021
A few weeks ago, I convinced my partner and our daughter that we needed to leave the house for a change of scenery.
I wanted to go for a drive with no clear destination in mind. I was hoping to trade in an afternoon of screen time, or walks in our neighbourhood for an afternoon of looking out the window at places that we never used to bother to notice when the world was busy and not plagued with the virus.
It felt good to dust the isolation off our shoulders, even though we were still encased in our minivan away from other people. We drove aimlessly at first, and then we started to head towards St. Clements Cemetery in Selkirk. It seemed like a safe place to go. It had been at least a year, probably longer since I last visited my father’s side of the family who are buried at this cemetery. I’m not sure if it’s the pandemic, or the work that I’ve been doing with the Reader Bridge (probably a little of both) but I have had a real sense of longing to connect with that side of my family — to figure out where my roots are, and essentially where I come from. I don’t think that I’ll find the answers at the graveyard, but it has always been the only place that I can ever remember visiting my nana and papa. They both died when I was a baby.
When we arrived at the cemetery my daughter got scared and told us she didn’t want to go in, so her dad took her for a walk down by the river, while I ventured in to visit my relatives.
Waste not, want not: ‘rescue’ food for others4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 10, 2021
There’s an agency that takes food waste from Winnipeg businesses and gives it to various agencies for people to eat.
The “food waste” is excess food that is still good to eat but can no longer be used, sold or served at a business. If not for the app, the food would likely end up in the landfill.
The Leftovers Foundation is one of Canada’s largest, tech-enabled food charities. It was started by Lourdes Juan in Calgary in 2012 and was established in Manitoba by Brandy Bobier last fall.
In the short time it’s been in operation in Winnipeg, leftovers has been taken from businesses such as St. James Burger Co., Starbucks, and Red River Co-op among others, and redirected to agencies such as the North End Women’s Centre, Rossbrook House, Bear Clan, and KaNi Kanichihk.
Protect those on Canada’s front lines4 minute read Preview Monday, May. 3, 2021
On Tuesday morning, I was getting ready for work, when my phone rang with my child’s school name flashing on the screen.
Why are they calling me at 7:41 a.m.?
It was the principal. He was calling to let me know someone in my daughter’s class had tested positive for COVID-19 and the school believed my daughter had been a close contact. We needed to self-isolate immediately, and wait for more information and instructions to follow. I was annoyed and felt inconvenienced by having to self-isolate in my home with my partner and child for two weeks. Working from home with a child in tow is nearly impossible, even when she spends much of the day with eyes glued to a screen.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized my inconvenience and experience is dripping in privilege.
Waves of grief mix into beautiful memories4 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 26, 2021
The other day, Facebook showed me an old selfie I’d taken with my Amma (Icelandic for grandma).
“Shelley, here is your most-loved photo of 2014,” read the caption, with a large button underneath inviting me to share this memory with my Facebook friends.
There we were, our heads resting together and smiling at the camera, trapped in a moment of time.
Amma died in 2015. She had the privilege of living longer than most. She had always been old for as long as I’d known her — only really advancing in age in the last decade of her life.
Mom-guilt be damned, I’m trying my best4 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 19, 2021
One of the things I didn’t expect about having children is how much guilt I tend to take on.
It’s been especially heightened over the course of this past year, but even in a non-pandemic life I feel as though I am living in a constant state of mom-guilt. Sometimes the load is heavy and other times it’s just a dusting on my day.
No matter what, that guilt is always there.
I feel guilty about the excessive screen time my kids indulge in. I feel guilty about being short with them when they don’t hustle out the door to school, or when they don’t want to go to bed. I feel guilty when I think about all the things they are missing, or how I keep promising to make up for lost time and experiences one day. I especially feel guilty for the fact they still wholeheartedly believe in and cling to “one day” — a place where the promise of replacing lost playdates and birthday parties comes true, and gatherings are abundant.
Catching up with former teachers3 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 12, 2021
The other night, as my sister and I talked on the phone, we found ourselves discussing our Grade 6 teacher, Mr. Bergmuller.
He was one of those larger-than-life teachers who left a profound impression on us. When I really think about it, I don’t even know why. I mean this sincerely, because I can’t pinpoint why we liked him so much or why he stands out in our lives. Perhaps it’s just because he was kind and he seemed to really care about us.
Our conversation manoeuvred around nostalgia and reflection, as though we were looking at vivid memory patches attached to a faded tapestry. In succession my sisters and I moved through Carpathia School and his classroom two years apart, experiencing some of the things that he’d become known for, such as reading the Chronicles of Narnia out loud to the class, and taking notice if you were having an off day.
I once went to school late, with bleary eyes, and he pulled me aside to ask if anything was wrong. His concern was sincere, though I don’t think he expected me to burst into tears when I told him that I was upset because I didn’t like my outfit.
Free Press asking Manitobans of colour to join in making our storytelling more diverse, inclusive5 minute read Preview Saturday, Apr. 10, 2021
Remember: you’re enough, you deserve to be happy4 minute read Preview Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021
A few weeks ago, I bought a bikini — a black, high-waisted two-piece with simple ruffles on the top and bottoms — online.
It looked cute on the “curvy plus” model and on the people who submitted photos of themselves wearing it on the website’s review section.
It was the unaltered photos of women of all different shapes and sizes, and their marvelling at how they looked and how good it made them feel, that convinced me to buy the suit.
Summer is coming, and I have every intention of spending as much time as I can on the beach making memories with my kids.
Cleaning up community a uniting experience4 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 29, 2021
A few weeks ago, I saw a Facebook event for a North End community cleanup hosted by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba, Anishiative and Strength in the Circle. I signed up, as I was starving for a chance to do something that might make a difference, and I also wanted to break free from my bubble.
When I arrived at the society’s parking lot on Selkirk Avenue on March 20, I felt intimidated and shy. People were just starting to gather, some in reflective vests and shirts with the name and logo of the groups they are a part of, such as the Bear Clan and the Mama Bear Clan.
There were also people who, like me, weren’t part of a larger group. I’m not a member of the North End community, but the Facebook post said everyone was welcome.
Mitch Bourbonniere, a community organizer and a new friend I had met a few weeks earlier, rolled up shortly after on his motorcycle. It seemed as if every person there knew him, because they probably did.
Pandemic’s weight an invisible burden4 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 22, 2021
Last week, I had a spare chunk of time before I had to pick up my daughter from daycare, and we were in need of fresh produce, milk and a few other things, so I headed to the grocery store.
I pushed my cart through the aisles of Superstore, passing others who were gathering their own groceries. Most were being mindful not to touch things they weren’t going to take, following arrows and maintaining physical distance from everyone else, while some paid no mind to the directional markings on the floor. It has become so normal, abiding by the COVID-19 rules, trying not to take up too much space and dodging close encounters or contact with masked strangers.
I nestled myself into an aisle of the produce department beside a table full of bananas and pulled out my phone to read my grocery list, before scanning the table for the perfect bunch. It was the most ordinary moment when suddenly I looked at the people around me and experienced this sinking feeling, a profound sense of sadness that came out of nowhere. I felt it like a sucker punch to my gut. One second I was scanning for a bunch of bananas and the next second this rush of melancholy washed over me so thoroughly, that I felt as though I might burst into tears.
Admittedly, my emotions are and always have been big, but this was something else. It was heavy and all-encompassing and in that moment, surrounded by people in the produce section, I had never felt so alone. It came from nowhere, and it arose from nothing in particular, but this sudden wave of sadness swallowed me whole.
Stay away from the thief of joy4 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 15, 2021
I have this bad habit of scrolling through social media and comparing myself with other people. I know logically that I am comparing my everyday experience with someone else’s manicured highlight reel, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it, and sometimes feeling lesser for it.
To be honest, I’ve never compared myself with someone else and felt good about it. Even in the instances where I thought what I had going on was better than someone else, it has never been something that has made me feel like a better person. On the contrary, it’s a dirty, filthy habit that I can’t seem to shake and sometimes robs me of joy.
The thing is, I have a great life. It’s gritty, it’s messy, and it’s often chaotic. None of it’s perfect, but it’s actually pretty good, and I am lucky. I also am aware I have many privileges that I put on display on my social-media accounts that other people may or may not be comparing themselves and their lives to. My highlight reel is lovely and carefully showcases a piece of my life that is extremely polished.
The things we see online aren’t real, and if they are, they have hints and sometimes gobs of embellishments. We have the tools at our fingertips to easily edit our faces, blurring out any sign of a pore or line and creating a distorted version of ourselves that society deems better or prettier. The filters on our social-media accounts have become so standard that it becomes a given that pictures we post online will be filtered and edited.
Happy memories are just not enough4 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 8, 2021
Dr. Seuss Enterprises has announced it will no longer be publishing six Dr. Seuss titles because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
There was some uproar about this. I saw many social-media posts and comments from people who thought this move by the publisher was taking things too far, and that the world has become too sensitive. Many people have a connection to Dr. Seuss because so many of us grew up with his whimsical stories and nonsensical rhymes. His work is etched into our childhood and associated to some of our greatest moments. I don’t remember a Christmas without the Grinch, and I can’t foresee ever having one, to be honest. So, I understand why people are upset. They feel like something is being taken from them.
However, warm memories and not being affected or offended personally by something isn’t enough to make it good or reason for it to withstand the test of time and societal change. Charles M. Blow from the New York Times wrote an opinion piece on the topic headlined, Six Seuss books bore bias. He begins his piece by pointing out that as a Black child in the United States, he was led to believe that Blackness was inferior. It was through toys, cartoons, children’s shows and books that he and other children had been trained and acculturated to hate themselves.
I felt those words profoundly.
Kids turn plans into beautiful chaos4 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 1, 2021
When I became a parent almost six years ago, I had this assumption of what my child would be like.
I had no basis for this, just the idea that I would cruise through motherhood with this little person who was identical to me, only smaller and cuter. Before she was even born I made grandiose claims that there would be no such thing as co-sleeping, nor an abundance of screen time in our home.
I assured everyone I knew that my child would never run wild through a restaurant or a Walmart shrieking at the top of her lungs. All her food would be made from scratch. I boasted that I wasn’t going to lose myself in motherhood.
I envisioned it perfectly.
Memories of taking my toddler to the MD4 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 22, 2021
There are things I teach my kids and there are things they teach me. For one, they have given me a new perspective on life and on the meaning and value of time. All they need to do is keep growing and changing and I’m reminded of how slowly but surely the little parts of childhood are slipping away and being replaced with a world view and life experience that is their own. Memories often look and feel different when they’ve been eroded by time.
I keep trying to capture these moments in pictures and videos and in posts in baby books and on social media. While I highlight the good, and the picture-worthy, there are other moments that aren’t so good but have given me real lessons in life and parenthood. Or, that have just been part of the journey.
I remember one time, taking my toddler for her yearly checkup. She must have been two years old. As we were making our way into the doctor’s office she had a meltdown at the entrance of the clinic. I don’t even remember what it was about, but it was one of those tantrums that filled her little body with so much rage that she thrashed around on the dirty floor and screamed as though her soul was on fire.
I couldn’t soothe her, or even scoop her up off the ground without almost dropping her as she forcefully writhed out of my grip. People in the pediatrician’s waiting room stared at us, and I felt judged even though hindsight and my own experiences tell me that most were probably empathetic to our situation.
Project helps feed students in need4 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 8, 2021
Years ago, when I was in college, I experienced something that will stick with me forever.
It was near the end of my last semester of the two-year creative communications program at Red River College. Graduation was so close, but at the time it seemed impossibly far away. My student line of credit was dwindling, and life outside of being a student pressed on even though school was all-encompassing.
I was in my early 30s. I lived alone in a small apartment and worked part-time weekend shifts as a casino security officer. I cycled between paying for rent, bills, food, all while paying down the line of credit I was using to cushion the shortfalls of my income. It was hard, but my experience was in no way worse than many other students. For a while, I would pick up extra overnight shifts at work as a way to supplement my income. I would wake up at 2:30 a.m., go to work for 3:15 a.m. and be out just in time to head to school for the day. My plan seemed feasible at first, but things quickly started to unravel. It turns out some hours in the day are meant for rest. I overestimated my ability to function with so little sleep.
My journalism instructor, Duncan McMonagle, noticed I had been struggling more than normal. I’d missed a couple of assignments, my work was sloppy, and the only thing I seemed to do was show up for class. He pulled me aside and asked me if I needed help. I remember it vividly, because in that moment I was seen. I never wanted to ask for help because I wasn’t sure what kind of help I even needed. I knew there were people more in need than me. My struggle felt heavy, but it wasn’t grave.
Embrace the mess is my new mantra5 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 18, 2021
I have a confession to make. I can’t find the surface of my dining room table, and I haven’t seen the surface of the my dining room hutch since before the pandemic started.
There are piles and piles of stuff everywhere — from toys and markers to mail and mountains of school and daycare art projects — that I haven’t had a chance to file away yet. My house is a testament to the children who live in it. In fact, right now there are 2,000 various sized water beads in a number of large containers taking up most of the surface on my coffee table. There is a laundry basket full of clean laundry in my living room, and it’s usually there, always full even after I’ve folded everything, because it is bottomless and I have learned that laundry actually never stops.
It’s amazing how the stuff adds up.
A lot of the table top spaces in my home have become a sort of graveyard for unfinished projects and activities and I teeter from not caring about the mess to caring deeply and being really bothered by it, some of which is mine. I have the greatest intentions to clean, sort, organize and give away most of the things in my home, I just need to figure out when.
I’m happy to share joy through my writing5 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 11, 2021
Last week, I wrote about getting a SK8 Skates hoodie. My column was a little story, about how I’d wanted this hoodie ever since I was a 15-year-old kid because it’s cool and because it brought back warm feelings from that part of my life. It reminded of a silly situation that my friend Becky and I got ourselves into and the remarkable people who were so kind to us back then, namely Jai Pereira, who was one of the owners of SK8, and his partner, Alana Lowry.
The story, an ancient one that I’ve recounted more times than I can remember, was a silly little tale that I wasn’t sure would be worth writing about because of how simple it was. Would it resonate with people? Is it something that people will care about? It’s an interesting process, sharing pieces of your life in the hope someone will read it and get something from it, whether it’s just a little bit of enjoyment or something more profound.
This one was different, though.
The night before my column came out, I was anxious about it. To be fair, I usually get anxious before my columns are published, but this time my anxiety was a little bit greater. Although the story touched on the impact that Jai and Alana had on me, I debated whether or not I should have written about them. Since this would be running in the newspaper, and Winnipeg is small, there was a good chance their families would read my story.
Hoodie buy takes me back to my skater youth5 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 4, 2021
On Boxing Day, I bought myself a Sk8 Skates hoodie. I’ve wanted a black zip-up hoodie like this since I was 15, and when I saw the sale on Instagram, I thought to myself, “Now is the time to buy it.”
I’m 41 years old. I’ve never really skateboarded, I tried a few times when I was younger but I never quite got the hang of it, though I swear I landed an ollie once in the St. James Civic Centre parking lot on my friend Becky’s skateboard in the mid-’90s. I don’t think she even saw me do it, but I would hold on to that claim of fame for years. I ollied once.
Becky and I wanted so badly to be skater chicks — Bettys. She was far more invested than I, because she had a skateboard, a subscription to Thrasher magazine and she looked the part. I was what you’d call a poser. I couldn’t afford to dress the part and my parents certainly wouldn’t dream of letting me even have a skateboard because they were scared that I’d get hurt. They were probably right. And to be quite honest, I didn’t have the passion for it to defy them. I just liked the culture and wanted to be cool.
All that being said, the Sk8 hoodie still holds a lot of significance for me. Not just because I think Sk8 is a Winnipeg institution, but because back then when I was a poser kid, the guys who ran the store were really kind to me and my friend Becky and they became important parts of our awkward teenage existence. In fact, we had a super hilarious and weird friendship with them that didn’t last terribly long, but that has held a special place in my heart and my life even now.
Remembering the kindness of strangers5 minute read Preview Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020
The other night I was up late, making Christmas cookies.
My kids were nestled into their beds long asleep, their dad was snoring away too. It was nearing midnight and I was tired, but these are the quiet moments to myself that I savour. I stood in my kitchen rolling out dough from a new recipe I’d found online, listening to Christmas songs on my phone and sipping on a glass of Malbec.
All day I had been preoccupied with the idea that I didn’t think I’d made enough cookies. Even though we have nowhere to go, and nobody to see or even give them to, I was fixated on making more.
This Christmas is so far away from the Christmases of my childhood. Not just in time but in experiences too. Now that I’m a mother I can’t help but look back at those times from a different perspective. More precisely, from a mother’s perspective. It’s interesting, because I have my own special childhood memories, and they’re magical, but embedded in them is a reality that I learned as I grew older. A reality that some of the happiest times in my life, were some of the hardest and most straining times in my parents’ lives. This isn’t to say that they didn’t enjoy our early Christmases too. They did, but the holiday season was a heavy burden to carry some years.
Toying with Christmas shopping season4 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 21, 2020
The other day it occurred to me that I had done what I do every Christmas. I’d put off shopping for longer than I realized.
It happens every year: December hits and there is a whole blank month ahead of me to plan for the holidays and to get my shopping done. So I usually start the month by browsing through websites, leisurely looking for the best deals on things my kids have asked for, or things I think they might like.
And then, like someone who has not been burned by this tactic every single year, I wait.
That’s right. I seldom even add things to a shopping cart, and on the off chance that I do, that’s where my purchases go to die, because I abandon them there.
Isolation feels heavy, but we can carry it together4 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 14, 2020
As so many people have during the pandemic, I created a Tik Tok account.
I quickly discovered how good some of the content is. It’s funny, thoughtful, and sometimes educational. So many of the creators are genuine and they bring a perspective that’s new to me. The majority of people I follow are Gen Z kids and millennials, and let me tell you, they are smart. I’ve learned a lot from them and from this platform.
One day I was scrolling through the app and I came across a video from a man named Kevin (@kevinktqiu) who was explaining the definition of a word he had just learned: sonder. If you’ve never heard this word that’s because it’s made up from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The meaning behind this concocted word is what really struck me.
Sonder is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own — with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness. They have an epic story that continues invisibly around you with connections to thousands of other lives. You might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Pulling positivity from 2020’s dumpster4 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 30, 2020
The other day I asked people on Twitter: “What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in 2020?”
A loaded question, seeing that this year could easily be considered the worst year ever. Or, in the very least, the worst year many of us have lived through or can remember.
However, I posed this question and there were a lot of people who took time to answer it. Their responses varied dramatically, and the highlights in their lives ranged from things like simply waking up each day to adding a new skin-care routine to spending more time with the kids.
Some people found love, while others lost love, yet found an appreciation for the extra time 2020 gave them to spend with the one they lost. A couple of people bought new houses, or had babies; some got married and a few started new jobs, both near and far.
Precious gift of shared memories4 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 23, 2020
In September, I wrote a column about my Uncle Bill and his kidney transplant. I thought if I shared my uncle’s story, it might compel someone to go online and fill out a donor registration card or maybe even consider becoming a living donor.
I didn’t expect to find a connection to my uncle, considering he’s been gone for a little more than 28 years. He died when I was just a kid, but he made a profound impact on me.
A week after I wrote my column I got an email from a woman named Wendy McLeary. The subject line simply said “Uncle Bill.” It read:
Savour the nuances of ‘normal’ in everyday life5 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 2, 2020
I have pandemic fatigue. I’m sure, at this point, I’m not alone. It’s been a long year with so many twists and turns and unexpected changes. It’s like, the rug was pulled out from all of us last March, and we are somehow trying to find our footing and live as normal as possible when everything has changed.
It’s strange to navigate.
One of the weirdest things is realizing and measuring the risk of everything you do outside of your home. Stranger perhaps is the fact that we all have different gauges of what’s OK to do during a pandemic and what’s not OK, and it’s hard to figure where the line is on any given decision.
This year, like so many people, we opted out trick-or-treating, given that Winnipeg was on the verge of going into code red. Instead we did our best to make sure they had a good Halloween with costumes and candy, spooky (and I use that term loosely) movies, and everything else except for trick-or-treating. They were disappointed, but understanding.
Friend finds joy in career taking photographs5 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 26, 2020
Ten years ago, my friend Sunny took one of the biggest gambles of her life. She decided to quit her well-paying government job of 15 years to become a photographer and start her own business, Sunny S-H Photography.
She had no way to know that her gamble would pay off, and that she would build a name for herself as a Winnipeg photographer of newborns.
On a Friday morning in the summer, we sat around the patio table in her backyard surrounded by three golden retrievers, having a socially distanced visit.
When I reached out to her, I was starved for social interaction and I think I was also longing for a little bit of hope and reassurance in the midst of all the havoc and uncertainty of the pandemic.
Cheer Board delivered magic4 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 19, 2020
Last week, the Christmas Cheer Board announced that it will be replacing the traditional Christmas hamper with food vouchers because of physical-distancing concerns and the risk to the several thousand volunteers who help the Cheer Board operate.
The Christmas Cheer Board came through for my family in a big way when I was a little kid.
Back then we didn’t have a lot, but we didn’t realize it. We lived in low-income Manitoba housing, in a neighbourhood bursting with kids. The housing complex was like its own little world.
I didn’t know it then, but my parents were barely scraping by at times. They were young and had probably bitten off more than they could chew by having three kids in the span of six years. My dad went to university and worked overnights as an orderly; my mom stayed home with us and sold Tupperware. Money was tight, but my mom is creative and frugal. She can stretch a dollar farther than anyone I know.
Sorting through baggage of existence5 minute read Preview Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020
Last month my sister moved across the country. A job opportunity came up on the West Coast and she took it. She’s always been a risk taker, unafraid of changing her entire life if the right thing came along.
I wish I was like that. I’m too scared.
For the latter part of August our mom, our other sister and I helped her clean, sort, purge and pack her belongings. There was a lot of life and memories crammed into her one bedroom apartment in St. Vital.
For someone who has no qualms about packing up and leaving for something new and different, she sure had a lot of baggage to go through before she left.
Mother mourns 'kind and sweet' daughter killed by truck fleeing police6 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 29, 2020
Heroic gift gave us seven more years with lovable Uncle Bill4 minute read Preview Monday, Sep. 28, 2020
The other day I saw a post on Facebook from someone asking for a kidney.
Right now, she wrote, her kidneys are failing her and they don’t work well enough to keep her alive without being connected to a dialysis machine four times a day.
While this machine keeps her alive, it also hinders her ability to really live.
I don’t know this person, but her post was jarring. It’s not the first post I’ve seen of someone online or in the news asking strangers to find it in themselves to help save their lives, whether it be by sharing a post, signing up to be an organ donor, or actually giving them an organ.
Daycare child proves she’s a real doll5 minute read Preview Monday, Sep. 14, 2020
Before the pandemic hit, when life used to be normal, my daughter went to daycare all day, her sisters went to school, and her dad and I went to work.
It’s funny how I look at that as normal, because that kind of lifestyle seems so far away now.
Anyway, before COVID-19 I would frantically rush around the house to get ready for the day. The clock felt like a time bomb, inching closer and closer to the school bell.
Our goals as a family were modest. I didn’t care if we were early, I just didn’t want to be late.
Finding strength in school day memories6 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2020
School is starting in a matter of days. My kids are heading back into the classroom and I’m scared to death. I’ve been in denial about the upcoming school year since home-learning wrapped up last spring, but I don’t have much more time to be ambivalent about it.
When that bell rings and classes start in a few days, it’ll be me who will have to put on the brave face. They are ready and excited to break free from our bubble. They miss their friends and the sense of normalcy that school gives them, even if this year will be anything but normal.
I understand that longing.
I dropped out of school after failing most of Grade 10.
A ‘hole’ lot of drama that doesn’t really matter4 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 31, 2020
A little while ago I got my nose pierced.
I’ve wanted this piercing since I accidentally pulled out my first nose piercing about a decade ago and couldn’t get it back in, but I kept talking myself out of it. I always had a reason for why I shouldn’t do it.
I am too old. There was other stuff I could spend that money on, because there is always other stuff I can spend my money on, and I didn’t want people to see this as a symbol of me having a mid-life crisis.
I mean, they probably wouldn’t be wrong.
For some, Christmas like any other day3 minute read Preview Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009
FOR most Manitobans, Friday was a day to celebrate Christmas, exchanging gifts and feasting on a turkey dinner with loved ones. However, for some, Dec. 25 is just another day.
According to a 2001 Statistics Canada poll, more than a quarter of Winnipeggers do not identify themselves as Christian -- mainly people with no religious affiliation.
Some Winnipeggers who don't follow Jesus enthusiastically embrace Santa anyway, but not Kien Dang, 31.
He has never celebrated Christmas, but he doesn't feel like he's missing anything, since he doesn't really know what it's like to partake in traditional Christmas festivities.
Did grief spark auto thefts?2 minute read Preview Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009
THE recent spike in auto thefts in Winnipeg may be connected with the tragic death of the city's 26th homicide victim of the year, Jessie McKenzie.
Liz Wolfe, program manager for the Empowering Justice program at New Directions, said McKenzie was a well-loved friend of many of the boys in her program, including Level-4 auto offenders.
The 17-year-old was fatally stabbed in a Main Street bus shelter on Dec. 5 after apparently trying to intervene in a domestic dispute.
Wolfe said many of the boys, ranging in age from 15 to 19, didn't know how to react to McKenzie's sudden and violent death.
Hair today, rink tomorrow3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009
Wearing a parka and heavy-duty snow boots, shop owner Edward Carriere was icing "an NHL-sized rink" behind the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre.
After enlisting the help of Claudia Venevongsa, 10, the hair salon owner spoke excitedly about the neighbourhood children's response to his efforts.
"The amount of people and kids that are coming out has really changed the feeling of the neighbourhood."
Carriere took it upon himself to change the formerly dismal rink three years ago because he was frustrated by seeing area children with nothing to do.
Free transit to return on New Year’s Eve2 minute read Preview Friday, Dec. 18, 2009
WINNIPEG Transit is again partnering with Molson Coors Canada to offer free transit service to city residents on New Year's Eve.
The "Taking You Home for the Holidays" initiative, which will offer free rides for all regular and Handi-Transit riders on Dec. 31, will run all day, with the last bus departing from downtown at 1:38 a.m. It's the second year in a row for the service.
Deputy Mayor Justin Swandel said that this initiative will help keep the streets safer on New Year's EveHe encouraged Winnipeggers who plan on going out on New Year's Eve to "make the right choice" and not drive after drinking.
Patrol Sargent Damian Turner, the impaired driving counter-measures co-ordinator with the Winnipeg Police Service, urged the public to consider the cost of an impaired-driving charge compared to using a safe alternative like the free transit service, Operation Red Nose or a cab.
Bundle up, enjoy Winnipeg winter2 minute read Preview Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009
Kevin Walters of Manitoba Homecoming 2010 wants Winnipeggers to bundle up in January and February for a 10-week event that will celebrate the frosty Winnipeg winter.
Walters, along with Festival du Voyageur, The Forks and Manitoba Lotteries Corp., launched Saison Voyageur Wednesday afternoon at McPhillips Street Station Casino.
The event offers Winnipeggers and visitors two months of winter activities is an effort to brand Winnipeg's winter season as a destination.
Walters said Saison Voyageur will be a way for Winnipeggers to enjoy the notorious winter and show the rest of the country that "we don't just sit around and hide in our basements in January and February, but that we will come out and enjoy the winter, and celebrate the winter."