West End community correspondent
Anne Hawe is a community correspondent for the West End. She can be reached at email@example.com
Recent articles of Anne Hawe
I was a tired elf after spending a few days volunteering at the Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain. Parents in need of support this past Christmas, and who had registered their children for Toy Mountain, relied on us volunteers to choose the toys that the children would unwrap on Christmas morning. There were toys atop of toys in boxes and bins everywhere you looked with overflowing tables covered in piles of toys categorized by age group.
Working with a wish-list and the child’s age it would generally take a circuit around the gym to gather their toys. Paw Patrol toys were in especially high demand and the plucky pups could be hard to find.
The same with Shopkins and LOLs which went quickly, almost as soon as they were put out. But there were always trucks of every type and description available in many different sizes. There were so many of the perennially- popular Barbies that they even had their own table. Of course, there was even an occasional run on Barbies which would deplete the stock.
It was always gratifying to find a toy that a child had requested and it did happen from time to time.
Often we don’t pay enough attention to icy conditions underfoot until our feet go out from under us as we slip and fall on the sidewalk. Fluctuating temperatures can cause city sidewalks to become treacherous as many have found out to their detriment.
Falling on ice is a common winter mishap that leads to visits to emergency rooms, surgeries and even hospitalizations more often than you would think.
This is the winter to go for lots of long walks as COVID-19 is less transmissible outdoors. And in the midst of all the fear and uncertainty, who hasn’t been snacking more?
Although Canada is renowned for its long winters, many of our winter boots don’t grip well on ice. The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network (TRI-UHN) treats umpteen patients every year who have fallen on ice. Hoping to find some solutions, TRI started testing the performance of winter boots in its purpose-built WinterLab in 2015. Harsh winter conditions are recreated in the high-tech lab, with volunteers wearing harnesses while walking on an ice-covered, tilting floor. Few boots rated one snowflake in the first year but boot technology is improving and some have recently earned two or three snowflakes on the TRU-UHN scale. Go to ratemytreads.com to view the latest results and see if your boots have been tested.
I am so glad that I was introduced to journalistic writing six years ago through an initiative of the Winnipeg Foundation called Community News Commons. It ended in December of 2017 but its influence on my life definitely didn’t. I am still grateful for the experience and the confidence in my writing that it gave me.
On days when the adrenaline rush of getting this column written by my deadline has changed to the dull fear that I can’t pull it together, I wonder why I do this. On the other hand. when I’m so engrossed in finishing an article that all else fades away and I lose track of time then it is surprisingly rewarding and a lot of fun.
It has been more difficult lately to submit this column as COVID-19 turned my writing routines upside down. No longer can I just drop into a library and use one of the many public computers that used to available until 9 p.m. I owe a big thank you to my niece and brother-in-law in Ottawa, as in the spring a lot of my stories were sent to them in text form so they could send them back to me in Word. It was a laborious workaround but it worked.
Working hard at a craft I enjoy gives me something to concentrate on besides COVID-19. I try to search out interesting angles and take pride in writing well-crafted articles. To write well, it really helps to read a lot so I plan on curling up on my couch this winter with lots of good books. Because I can’t afford to pay new book prices, I get a lot of books at the Goodwill Store on Princess Street downtown where paperbacks are only 50 cents (and sometimes even cheaper). I’m also very grateful to the owners of the Little Free Library a few streets over who replenish its stock of books regularly.