Preserved Stories Blog

Humber Heritage Walk on Sept. 24, 2016 starts at 9:30 am

Following notice is from Geoff Kettel:

Re-enactment Walk of the first day of Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe’s 1793 journey up the Toronto Carrying Place. (Learn a bit of history and about the Humber’s impact on Canada)

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, 9:30 am

Leader: Madeleine McDowell, Humber Heritage Committee

Start Rouseaux Site, south of 8 South Kingsway (Petro Canada Station)

End Eglinton and the Humber, just north of Scarlett Woods Golf Course

No Charge

[End of message] 

Posts about the Humber River

Click here for previous posts about the Humber River >

 

Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Message from Mississauga Ward 1 Councillor Jim Tovey regarding new Port Credit pay parking structure

The following message from Jim Tovey is from Facebook; I am pleased to share it with you:

Many people have been comparing the new Port Credit pay parking structure to Clarkson and Streetsville. Respectfully, this is not an accurate comparator. Port Credit has become a destination in the past few years. Our festivals, culture and waterfront attract well over a million visitors a season now, and growing. A more accurate visitor comparison would be Harbourfront in Toronto, which as we know has much higher parking rates plus parking garages.

This study has been ongoing for more than three years and has had many Public meetings, as well as engaging the Port Credit BIA who supported the changes.

I do understand people being upset, no one, myself included likes any increases in anything. Here is the point.

Our previous parking operation was not adequate to control parking on side streets, or on Lakeshore.

Our previous parking operation was resulting in taxpayers dollars subsidizing parking operations in Port Credit.

Our previous parking operation could not provide us the funds to build a parking garage for the village. 16 to 20 million plus land.

All of the additional revenue stays in the Port Credit parking account to be used to purchase more parking land and build parking garages.

My residents have for the past six years expressed their dissatisfaction with the parking situation on their streets and that they are subsidizing people who do not live here with their taxes.

I agree with my residents and the fairness of a user pay system

Here is why

We will now be able to control parking more efficiently

Parking spaces will turn over more quickly, we have already seen this effect. That is actually good for business.

We will be able to issue street parking permits for local resident

We will be able to have restricted parking on residential streets to provide more on street parking for people who live in Port Credit.

The streets around the GO station have already become unclogged

Our taxpayers will not be subsidizing parking for people who do not live here.

The parking funds are dedicated to finally building a suitable parking garage for Port Credit.

Our taxpayers will not be footing the bill for the parking garage.

The side benefits are:

More people will be taking Public Transit to visit us.

We will be able to increase bus service on the Lakeshore 23 Route to every ten minutes.

 

Share this:

Posted in Mississauga, Newsletter | Leave a comment

At a post regarding Cartierville and Ville St.-Laurent history, I have added some Comments about the history of Ville St. Laurent

The History of Montréal: The Story of a Great North America City (2007) also features a map (p. 41) of the French Empire in North America as it appeared in 1712. The next year, 1713, marked the first step, through the Treaty of Utrecht, the caption on p. 42 notes, in the dismantling of the empire. Click on the image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

The History of Montréal: The Story of a Great North America City (2007) features a map (p. 41) of the French Empire in North America as it appeared in 1712. The next year, 1713, marked the first step, through the Treaty of Utrecht, the caption on p. 42 notes, in the dismantling of the empire. Click on the image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

A previous post is entitled:

Q & A with Graeme Decarie regarding the history of Cartierville and Ville St. Laurent

At a Comment at the latter post, I have added some details, which were new for me, concerning the history of St. Laurent (or Saint-Laurent, as it is also spelled, in some sources). By way of bringing attention to the details, I am featuring them at the post you are now reading.

I am really pleased to have the opportunity, 53 years after I finished Grade 11 at Malcolm Campbell High School. to be learning these new things, that I had not known about before, about the history of Ville St. Laurent (also spelled as Saint-Laurent).

My knowledge remains indistinct and hazy; any assistance that you as a site visitor can provide by way of adding accurate details to my understanding of the history of Cartierville and Saint-laurent will be much appreciated.

A book called Opening the Gates of Eighteenth-Century Montréal (1992) describes how, when Montreal grew beyond its original boundaries (the boundaries being a walled fortification), one of the suburbs that developed on a road leading north of the walls was the Saint-Laurent suburb.

Saint-Laurent the suburb c.f. Saint-Laurent the ward

A passage (pp. 97-77) in The History of Montréal: The Story of a Great North America City (2007) has enabled me to learn of the distinction between Saint-Laurent (the suburb) and Saint-Laurent (the ward). The passage reads:

The History of Montreal: Th Story of a Great North American City (2007) includes (p. 65) a redrawn version of an older map of Montreal in 1761, a year after the Capitulation of Montreal (that is, after the British takeover of New France following the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759). The map shows Fouberg (Suburb) Saint-Laurent north of the fortified walls of the town. Click on the image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

The History of Montreal: The Story of a Great North American City (2007) includes (p. 65) a redrawn version of an older map depicting Montreal as it appeared in 1761, a year after the Capitulation of Montreal.  The Capitulation in 1760 occurred subsequent to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The map shows Foubourg (that is, the suburb of) Saint-Laurent north of the fortified walls of the town. The map also shows suburbs to the east and west and the camps of the British occupying forces. The original older map is featured in Opening the Gates of Eighteenth-Century Montreal (1992). Click on the image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

In 1792, the government redefined the boundaries of Montreal, setting them at a distance from the walls of 100 chains, based on the old British measurement, or approximately two kilo­metres. The new territory, an enormous rectangle, contained the old town, the suburbs, and a sizable rural area around them.This ensured Montreal had plenty of room to grow for decades to come.

The trend continued: the suburbs especially grew and in 1825 contained a little over three quarters of the population. The biggest were the suburbs of Saint-Laurent, Quebec, and Saint-Joseph. In 1831, the government divided the area into wards for the first time, and then redivided it in 1840 and, in particular, in 1845. As of 1845, Montreal had nine wards:three in the old town (West, Centre, and East) and six elsewhere (Sainte-Anne, Saint-Antoine, Saint-Laurent, Saint-Louis, Saint-Jacques, and Sainte-Marie). The town would remain divided in this way, with only minor modifications, until the end of the century.

[End of excerpt]

The above-noted book – which includes a map, based on a historical map (where the details are harder to make out), showing among other things the early St. Laurent (or Saint-Laurent, or in English: St. Lawrence) suburb north of the original fortified walls – is written in the style of a breezy travelogue through time – fun to read, but if you seek a more nuanced account, there are other sources that also warrant a close read.

Lives of Montrealers in the nineteenth century

A related Comment, at a post entitled Graeme Decarie served as historical advisor and commentator for a 1993 NFB film about the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, has also been a source of much interest to me, as it provides a sense of what life was like in Montreal – including in the suburbs – in the nineteenth century.

The text of the latter Comment has already been featured in a separate post, and I am pleased to include it in this post as well. The text reads:

Peopling the North American City: Montreal 1840-1900 (2011)

Another book about Montreal history is entitled: Peopling the North American City: Montreal 1840-1900 (2011). I enjoy this book because among other things it talks about the lives of everyday people.

Generalizations related to economic, political, and social trends are of interest, and have their place – as do descriptions of everyday life – and death, and overviews of the individual choices that people make in the course of their day-to-day lives.

Chapter 4, “The Hazards of City Living,” is particularly instructive, and evocative.

By way of example, research based on archival records indicates that the age of weaning had a significant impact on infant mortality rates in nineteenth-century Montreal.

That is, cultural differences related to breast-feeding practices gave rise to differential rates of infant mortality in the three major communities (French Canadian, Irish Catholic, and Protestant) that comprised the majority of the population.

The study notes (p. 106) that “Public health agents today argue that child-saving interventions require alteration of a sociocultural system.

The chapter prompts me to think about the ongoing relevance of health epidemiology even now, with regard for example to what research continues to discover concerning the deleterious effects of sugar over-consumption.

Culmination of twenty-five years of work

A blurb for the book reads:

Benefiting from Montreal’s remarkable archival records, Sherry Olson and Patricia Thornton use an ingenious sampling of twelve surnames to track the comings and goings, births, deaths, and marriages of the city’s inhabitants. The book demonstrates the importance of individual decisions by outlining the circumstances in which people decided where to move, when to marry, and what work to do. Integrating social and spatial analysis, the authors provide insights into the relationships among the city’s three cultural communities, show how inequalities of voice, purchasing power, and access to real property were maintained, and provide first-hand evidence of the impact of city living and poverty on families, health, and futures. The findings challenge presumptions about the cultural “assimilation” of migrants as well as our understanding of urban life in nineteenth-century North America. The culmination of twenty-five years of work, Peopling the North American City is an illuminating look at the humanity of cities and the elements that determine whether their citizens will thrive or merely survive.

[End of text]

The book notes (p. 362) that “Before Expo ’67, Mayor Jean Drapeau ordered the removal of 350 families and demolition of the centuries-old [Goose Village] neighbourhood, whose nickname recalled the geese of the march.”

Given my strong interest in the lives of everyday people as a subject of historical inquiry, I am highly impressed with this detailed, evidence-based resource. It’s a great piece of work!

Nineteenth century climate

When I read about the nineteenth century and earlier centuries, I think about the changes in carbon emissions that were set into place starting around the early 1600s and that began to manifest themselves in centuries that followed.

Regarding these trends, a Sept. 18, 2016 Five Thirty Eight article is entitled: “Why We Don’t Know If It Will Be Sunny Next Month But We Know It’ll Be Hot All Year.”

 

Share this:

Posted in MCHS 2015 Stories, Newsletter | 1 Comment

How to brew loose leaf green tea – Excerpts from the Fragrant Leaf and the Kitchn

For many years, I’ve been following research about the health benefits of green tea. I love the taste of green tea – especially now that I’ve learned to brew it properly.

I have an interest in evidence. Evidence is of interest to some people not to others. Years ago, evidence meant nothing to me. The evidence in favour of green tea is strong, but I only recently got around to brewing green tea every day.

I’m aware that when it comes to persuading people about any topic, stories not strongly based on evidence, but which have a strong emotional appeal, are likely to get a much better response that stories based on dry evidence. I’m in the minority who would be persuaded by the dry (that is, without a strong emotional wallop) evidence.

The health benefits of chocolate and wine, which were widely publicized in previous times, are no longer supported by the available evidence. However, the evidence in favour of the health benefits of green tea remain strong.

While I’m on the topic of evidence: The question of whether a variable-height desk is going to benefit your health remains an open one.

To my knowledge, there is no strong evidence at this point that such desks are better for your health than a sit-down desk. For quite some time, the evidence that was available underlined that the deleterious effects of sitting at a desk for eight hours a day could not be ameliorated by getting some exercise.

However, more recent evidence suggests that an hour a day of strenuous exercise will counter the effects of sitting at a desk all day.

I use a sit-down desk for much of my work but I get up from my desk and walk around a lot, never sitting still for extended periods. Most days I also get about an hour of fairly strenuous exercise.

How to brew green tea

I’ve recently begun to drink green tea pretty well every day and have learned some things about how to brew it.

Two good posts on the topic of how to brew loose leaf green tea are:

Green Tea Brewing Tips – at thefragrantleaf.com

How to Brew Loose Leaf Green Tea – at thekitchn.com

Below are excerpts from each of the above-noted websites. I like the precision regarding water temperatures in the first excerpt. Both passages are of much value.

1. Excerpt from thefragrantleaf.com

Why is water temperature important?

Water temperature is a critical factor in bringing out the best qualities of green tea. If the water temperature is too hot, the tea will be too bitter and much of its delicate aroma will be lost; if the water temperature is too cool, the full flavor contained in the leaves will not be extracted.

Why are green teas better at lower temperature?

A number of substances in the leaf contribute to the flavor and aroma of green tea. The overall flavor and sweetness of green tea is determined by a variety of amino acids and natural sugars. Bitterness and astringency are contributed by polyphenols (“tannins”). Amino acids dissolve at 140°F (60 °C) while tannins dissolve at 176°F (80°C). Therefore, brewing green tea at lower temperatures will ensure that its sweet and complex flavors will not be overpowered by the bitter-tasting flavors.

What is the right temperature for green teas?

As a general guideline, green teas taste best when brewed at temperatures between 140°F – 185°F. The grade of the tea and the time of its harvest will also influence the appropriate steeping temperature. Green teas picked earlier in the spring will benefit from lower temperature brewing due to their overall higher levels of amino acids.

Here’s an example of how one might adjust the temperature for brewing Japanese green teas. Gyokuro, one of the highest grades, is best brewed at 122°F – 140°F (50°C – 60°C). Spring-picked Sencha tastes best at 160°F – 170°F (70°C – 80°C). Summer-harvested Bancha and Genmaicha will exhibit their best flavor with a short infusion at higher temperatures of 170°F – 185°F (80°C – 90°C).

How do I achieve the right temperature?

The most accurate way is to use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water in the kettle. One approach is to heat the water in your kettle to the desired temperature and then pour it into your teapot. Another approach is to heat the water to boiling and then let it cool down a bit before pouring into your teapot.

To cool down the water quickly we recommend the following methods:

  • Pour water from the kettle into a Pyrex glass cup and let sit 2 – 3 minutes to reach 160°F – 170°F or 5 minutes to reach 140°F – 150°F. Then pour into your teapot and brew for the desired length of time. You may need to adjust the sitting time based on the size of your Pyrex cup and the amount of water. Our example uses 6 oz of water in a 1-cup Pyrex.
  • Pour water from the kettle into a cool glass or ceramic cup and pour back and forth between cups until the desired temperature is reached. Then pour into your teapot and brew.

How long should I steep green tea?

Green tea does not require much time. Too long a steeping time will result in more bitterness and a less balanced flavor. We recommend experimenting with a range of 1 – 3 minutes. Japanese green teas generally taste best at 1 – 2 minutes while Chinese green teas seem to prefer 2 – 3 minutes (the smaller leaves of Japanese teas will extract faster than the generally larger leaves of Chinese teas). Steeping time should be balanced with water temperature: the lower the temperature, the longer the tea can be steeped.

[End of excerpt] 

2. Excerpt from thekitchn.com

While black tea and green tea have some obvious things in common, they need to be brewed in significantly different ways. Green tea is much less robust than black tea, requiring lower water temperatures and less brewing time. It has a short window in which its fullest flavor profile can be enjoyed, so it needs to be brewed and drunk immediately.

1. Choose your tea. Quality loose leaf green tea is widely available these days but it is also a very perishable product, so be sure to buy from a reputable seller. The tea should be fresh and come in an air-tight container that ideally can be resealed. Air is an enemy of green tea as it causes oxidation.

2. Choose your pot and cup. Green tea is best when the entire batch is drunk right away. So choose a pot and a cup appropriate to how many people you are serving. The pot should be large enough that the leaves can fully expand and steep in the water. (See note below.) Cups for green tea tend to be smaller as you want to sip the tea somewhat quickly before it cools too much and the flavor changes.

3. Time and temperature. Your tea should come with specific brewing instructions but in general green tea uses 180-190°F (82-89C) water and is brewed for no more than 3 minutes. When you are starting out, an accurate thermometer is helpful for water temperature, but with time you will be able to tell by feel.

4. Water. Some people insist on using distilled or bottled water. I don’t bother (San Francisco water is pretty good) but you may want to do this if your water has a strong taste.

5. Heat your water. Never brew green tea with boiling water! The method below does start with boiling water, but allows for it to cool.

6. Gather some tea treats, if having. It is traditional to serve a small, very sugary treat with green tea but you can also serve pieces of candied ginger or a butter cookie, if that appeals more.

7. Warming the pot, cooling the water. When the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat and pour it into your teapot. This will heat the pot and cool the water a little. After a minute or so, pour the water into the cups, discarding any remaining water. This will do three things: cool the water further, heat the cups, and measure the amount of water you will need for the tea.

8. Measure your tea. While the cups are warming, place a large pinch of tea per person being served into your pot. (Or if you need more specific measurements, 1 tablespoon per 16 ounces of water is often recommended.)

9. Brewing. Check the temperature of the water and if cooled sufficiently (180-190°F), pour the water from the cups into the tea pot and cover. Brew from 2 to 2-1/2 minutes.

10. Pour. Carefully, gently, pour the tea back into the cups. It’s OK if a few leaves fall into the cups but if you find you can’t control it, use a strainer. Eventually with practice you will be able to pour without too many leaves escaping.

11. Enjoy. Green tea should be sipped somewhat quickly as the taste will really shift as the tea cools down. I also like to pause and just focus on drinking the tea in order to enjoy and give my attention to its subtle flavor. All in all, the brewing and drinking takes less than 15 minutes (more like 10) which makes it a perfect break time activity.

12. More? You often can get up to three brews from your leaves, so if one cup isn’t enough, brew a second or third cup by simply pouring the hot (180-190°F) water over the leaves in the pot and steeping for the same amount of time.

[End of excerpt]

 

Share this:

Posted in Newsletter | Leave a comment

You may have to look into a “hidden” folder at iTunes to find all of the songs you’ve ever purchased

Some time back, I came across a situation where I had deleted a large number of iTunes songs – dating back to about 2008 – from my iPhone, and I wanted to get all of the songs back on my phone. I had not been making a practice of backup up my iPhone on my computer or on iCloud.

I’m writing this post in the event you ever come across a similar situation.

I thought of various options and then realized that I could go to the iTunes website and re-download all of the songs, dating back to 2008, that had been purchased from iTunes.

However, it turned out that there were 1,000 songs that had been purchased and only 200 of those were listed under my name at the iTunes site.

At first, I thought this was really bad news but then I read a lengthy document at the iTunes site, explaining how to find your past purchases.

At the end of the length document, which I scanned through quickly, I came across a reference to the fact that some of a person’s past purchases may be in a “hidden” file at the iTunes website. Once I knew that fact, the rest of the work was pretty straightforward. By following the instructions at the iTunes site, suddenly all of the missing 800 songs were back! When I knew that we had the songs back, I jumped in the air! What a feeling that was!

I’m pleased to share the story with you, in the event you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

 

Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Richmond Hill wins court battle against OMB over parkland; fight far from over – Sept. 17, 2016 Toronto Star

A Sept. 17, 2016 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Richmond Hill wins court battle against OMB over parkland: An Ontario court has ruled that the Ontario Municipal Board exceeded its mandate when it set new policy on parkland.”

The opening paragraphs read:

The Town of Richmond Hill has emerged victorious in its challenge of an Ontario Municipal Board decision that would have significantly reduced the amount of parkland the municipality could demand from developers in exchange for building condos in the booming suburb.

In a decision released this month, a panel of divisional court judges struck down a 2015 OMB decision that set a cap on how much green space the town could request from builders.

It also found that the OMB — the provincially legislated board with the power to overturn municipalities’ planning choices — exceeded its mandate when it demanded the town use the rate it had set, and not the one determined by the Planning Act.

“The approach taken by the OMB is not only unreasonable on the plain wording of the legislation,” says the divisional court decision. “It is inconsistent with the role that it is intended that municipalities will play in deciding individual planning decisions that affect their citizens.”

[End of excerpt]

Fight not over

The article notes that, given that the decision is being appealed by developers, the fight is far from over.

 

Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Right of way and easement legislation in Ontario

From time to time, people have questions regarding right of way and easements in Ontario. I’ve recently put together some information (see below) that I have found online.

The article at the end by Brian Madigan strikes me as the most informative, of the articles that I’ve posted to date.

Any additions or comments would be appreciated.

April 3, 2015 Toronto Star article

An April 3, 2015 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Right-of-way ruling upheld in neighbour dispute: The neighbours continued to have reasonable access to the laneway, judge ruled.”

The article is by Bob Aaron, a Toronto real estate lawyer. The article notes he can be reached at bob@aaron.ca , on his website aaron.ca, and on Twitter, @bobaaron2.

Mutual driveways article at Ontario Real Estate Source website

An “Ontario Real Estate Source” website has posted a PDF file (it appears it may be from some years back) entitled:

Mutual Driveways: Ownership, Use and Maintenance

The writer is listed as Brian Madigan LL.B., an author and commentator on real estate matters, Coldwell Banker Innovators Realty, 905-796-8888. The contact information may or may not be current.

Oct 5, 2015 article at “Protect Your Boundaries” website

An Oct. 5, 2015 article at the “Protect Your Boundaries” website is entitled:

How easements affect private property rights

May 5, 2007 Toronto Star article regarding easements

A May 5, 206 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Easement dispute points to value of survey.”

Aug. 4, 2007 Toronto Star article regarding mutual driveway dispute

An Aug. 4, 2007 Toronto Star article, posted at the Aaron & Aaron website, is entitled; “Neighbours in talks after mutual drive dispute.”

April 20, 2010 Toronto Star article regarding driveway dispute

An April 20, 2010 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Driveway dispute divides neighbours:
A family in the Keele and Bloor area is stressed by new neighbours who are laying claim to a mutual driveway.”

Blog by Brian Madigan discusses easement issues in depth

A blog post by Brian Madigan is entitled: “Mutual Driveway or Just a Laneway? ”

The post, which is informative and comprehensive, discusses the relevant issues in some depth.

 

Share this:

Posted in Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Presence (2015) by Amy Cuddy – Powerful Poses, Powerless Poses

powerful-poses007

Powerful Poses. Click on the image to enlarge it. Source: Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (2015) by Amy Cuddy (p. 200)

Forty years ago in Toronto – in the mid-1970s – I spent a year and a fair amount of money in the intensive study of a variation of the Alexander Technique.

I really needed the training. I was born slouching. I had the appearance of a person that life had beaten down.

Like many other things that I got involved in during the years that followed, those lessons changed my life.

For one thing, my rib cage expanded remarkably in size as though someone had filled a half-filled balloon with air. What a difference that made. Pretty much everything about me changed – especially in my encounters with people who had not known me previously.

Source: Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (2015) by Amy Cuddy (p. 201)

Powerless Poses. Click on the image to enlarge it. Source: Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (2015) by Amy Cuddy (p. 201)

My posture and bearing – even how I walked and certainly how I sat – went through very considerable changes. My way of looking at the world also changed – as did the infrastructure of emotions that I brought to bear, in my day-to-day dealings, with the stuff of everyday life.

For several decades, in the years that followed, I was involved as a leader in volunteer work in which public speaking at large meetings, and media interviews, were a key part of my work. My posture made a huge difference in how I approached my role. Figuratively and literally, I stood straight and I stood tall. Had I been slouching all the time, I would not have been able to achieve what I did – in a form of volunteer work, at the local, national, and international levels, that I like to call community self-organizing.

The work that I began those many years ago continues even now, long after I had retired from a leadership role, because from the start we made the concept of leadership succession and continuous improvement a key part of the process.

A version of this collection of poses (that is, a series of drawings of the poses) appears in Cuddy's book,

A version of this collection of poses (that is, a series of drawings of the poses) appears in Cuddy’s book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (2015). Click on the image to enlarge it.

With the passage of the years, however, I was starting to slouch once again, as I had done in my teenage years – but since getting involved, over the past year, with serious strength training, and high-intensity interval training, my posture is now once again in pretty good shape.

Stereotypes, biases, and prejudices

I mention these topics because some time back I began to read the work of Amy Cuddy. In particular, I’ve made a close study, over the past summer, of an article by Cuddy et al. (2008) concerned with research about stereotyping. I’ve devoted a post to the research that I was most interested to read about this summer:

Perceptions of warmth and competence drive our stereotypes, biases, and prejudices (Cuddy et al., 2008)

From my reading of the article, I have the sense that a social infrastructure of stereotyping exists, and each of us is in one way of another enmeshed within the confines of such an infrastructure. My sense is that, if one seeks to step outside of such an infrastructure, it’s useful to know first of all that it exists.

Just Because I’m Nice, Don’t Assume I’m Dumb

In exploring what other work Amy Cuddy, who teaches at Harvard Business School, has done, I’ve read an article in The HBR List: Breakthrough Ideas for 2009 (2009), which features an article by Cuddy entitled: “Just Because I’m Nice, Don’t Assume I’m Dumb.”

The article takes the findings cited in the Cuddy et al. (2008) paper, and applies them to some practical scenarios. It’s worth a read. You can borrow the book from your local library. The gist of her message is: Don’t make the mistake is using stereotypes to make snap judgements. She also says (p. 13) that forming impressions isn’t a zero-sum game: “Warmth and competence aren’t mutually exclusive.” The latter point is also underlined in the title that was chosen for the article.

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (2015)

Cuddy is also the author of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (2015) and a YouTube video entitled: “Your Body Shapes Who You Are”:

 

 

Research concerned with body language

When I was studying a variation of the Alexander Technique, with a teacher who did not (as I learned subsequently) really follow all of the instructional features of the Alexander Technique, I learned a lot about body language.

I would notice things about my own posture, and about the posture of other people, that I would not have observed before.

I also became interested in research that focused on linking forms of body language – for example, how a person walks – with emotional states. In those days, the research was pretty rudimentary, but many researchers did have a strong interest in pursuing this line of research in any way that was possible. I’ve been delighted to learn about how much progress has been made in this area in recent decades.

In reading Cuddy’s 2015 study, I was most interested to learn how far this form of research has advanced. By way of example, she refers to the work of Niko Troje at Queen’s University; the following video gives a brief overview of his work:

 

 

You can learn more about Troje’s work by visiting the Bio Motion Lab website.

I’m also pleased, in concluding this post, to share with you a link about the Alexander Technique.

YouTube Alexander Technique Video

 Click here to view The Alexander Technique: First Lesson >

In conclusion, my advice is: Stand tall.

Getting back to the Alexander Technique, that is harder to do than it sounds, unless you learn how, because to make it work – to really stand tall – you need to learn to relax some key parts of the body, such as the back of the neck, where tension can build up from day to day, and indeed from year to year, in many of us.

 

Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Peopling the North American City: Montreal 1840-1900 (2011)

In a previous post I’ve highlighted several books from the Toronto Public Library that I’ve borrowed after viewing a 1993 documentary entitled The Rise and Fall of English Montreal (1993).

Graeme Decarie, at that time a History professor at Concordia University, discusses the history of anglophones in Quebec, in NFB film, "The Rise and Fall of the English in Montreal (1993)."

Graeme Decarie, History professor at Concordia University, discusses the history of Anglophones in Quebec in The Rise and Fall of the English in Montreal (1993).

Another book about Montreal history that I’ve written a recent Comment about, and that I want to highlight in a separate post, is entitled: Peopling the North American City: Montreal 1840-1900 (2011).

I enjoy this book because among other things it talks about the lives of everyday people.

Generalizations related to economic, political, and social trends are of interest, and have their place – as do descriptions of everyday life – and death, and overviews of the individual choices that people make in the course of their day-to-day lives.

Health epidemiology

Chapter 4, “The Hazards of City Living,” in Peopling the North American City: Montreal 1840-1900 (2011), is particularly instructive, and evocative.

By way of example, research based on archival records indicates that the age of weaning had a significant impact on infant mortality rates in nineteenth-century Montreal.

That is, cultural differences related to breast-feeding practices gave rise to differential rates of infant mortality in the three major communities (French Canadian, Irish Catholic, and Protestant) that comprised the majority of the population.

The study notes (p. 106) that “Public health agents today argue that child-saving interventions require alteration of a sociocultural system.

The chapter prompts me to think about the ongoing relevance of health epidemiology even now, with regard for example to what research continues to discover concerning the deleterious effects of sugar over-consumption.

Culmination of twenty-five years of work

A blurb for the book reads:

Benefiting from Montreal’s remarkable archival records, Sherry Olson and Patricia Thornton use an ingenious sampling of twelve surnames to track the comings and goings, births, deaths, and marriages of the city’s inhabitants. The book demonstrates the importance of individual decisions by outlining the circumstances in which people decided where to move, when to marry, and what work to do. Integrating social and spatial analysis, the authors provide insights into the relationships among the city’s three cultural communities, show how inequalities of voice, purchasing power, and access to real property were maintained, and provide first-hand evidence of the impact of city living and poverty on families, health, and futures. The findings challenge presumptions about the cultural “assimilation” of migrants as well as our understanding of urban life in nineteenth-century North America. The culmination of twenty-five years of work, Peopling the North American City is an illuminating look at the humanity of cities and the elements that determine whether their citizens will thrive or merely survive.

[End of text]

The book notes (p. 362) that “Before Expo ’67, Mayor Jean Drapeau ordered the removal of 350 families and demolition of the centuries-old [Goose Village] neighbourhood, whose nickname recalled the geese of the march.”

Given my strong interest in the lives of everyday people as a subject of historical inquiry, I am highly impressed with this detailed, evidence-based resource. It’s a great piece of work!

Information about sugar that was kept from us in the 1960s

I like to read stories that tell us things we did not know, at the time, about what was going on in the 1960s.

By way of a recent example, a Sept. 13, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Sugar industry paid scientists for favourable research, documents reveal: Harvard study in 1960s cast doubt on sugar’s role in heart disease, pointing finger at fat.”

Click here for previous posts about sugar >

Public relations

The selling of sugar is also addressed in a previous post entitled:

Backstories related to public relations in the United States and China

Two backstories related to public relations

An excerpt from the above-noted post reads:

Backstory No. 1: Public relations

A backstory related to [Luigi] Tomba’s research is provided by Evan Osnos at an interview entitled: A ‘New Yorker’ Writer’s Take On China’s ‘Age Of Ambition’

An excerpt reads:

“And what they said was, we need to become much more sophisticated about how we conduct what’s known as Chinese as thought work. And so they began to study the masters, really. They began to study the United States and the origins of public relations culture. So they went back and they actually – if you look in the textbooks for Chinese propaganda officials today, some of the things that they cite are the success of Coca-Cola. They say, if you can sell sugar water in effect to people, well, then we can sell anything at all.

“They also looked very admiringly at the way that the Bush administration dealt with the press in the run-up to the war in Iraq. They think this is an example of a successful relationship with the press. They also look at the way that Tony Blair’s government in Britain handled the media around the issue of mad cow disease. And so there’s been this real effort to study what’s been done in the West and to take from it the best attributes – or at least the most efficient and effective attributes of the free-market public relations industry.”

[End of excerpt]

Backstory No. 2: Soft drinks

The reference to Coca-Cola and public relations brings to mind a previous post:

World Health Organization recommends that no more than 5 percent of your caloric intake – that is, 25 grams – should come from sugar

I have written in previous posts about the relation between sugar and health.

Also of relevance with regard to public relations: The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations (1998)

A Jan. 6, 2015 CBC article, is entitled: “Taxing sugary drinks could help cut consumption, researchers say.”

A Jan. 17, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “Sweet nightmares: a guide to cutting down on sugar: Sugar is making us fatter and sicker. Yet we still don’t realise how much we’re eating. As the government considers imposing a tax, we look at how to cut down without missing out. Plus: alternative recipes.”

A March 5, 2016 CBC article is entitled; A Canada’s Food Guide should seek inspiration from Brazil: researcher: New Senate obesity report suggests introducing a sugar tax in Canada.”

 

Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Fascism and the Italians of Montreal: An Oral History: 1922-1945 (1998)

I’ve added several Comments to a previous post about a 1993 documentary about English Montreal. By way of bringing attention to the Comments, I’ve created a new blog post featuring one of the Comments:

Fascism and the Italians of Montreal: An Oral History: 1922-1945 (1998)

I’ve also been reading Fascism and the Italians of Montreal: An Oral History: 1922-1945 (1998). Among the people interviewed is Hugh MacLennan who had the opportunity to acquaint himself with fascism and antifascism while travelling in Italy in the 1930s during his student days at Oxford, where he had arrived from Nova Scotia as a Rhodes Scholar.

The oral histories include a comment by MacLennan who observes (p. 55) that “Canada was built by losers.” He lists among the losers “the French, who explored most of the continent,” the United Empire Loyalists, “who didn’t go along with the American Revolution,” the Highland Scots, “who were kicked out by their own clan chiefs,” and the Irish, “victims of the potato famine.”

The comment prompts me to think of key points in history when Canada was a winner. By way of example, the War of 1812 is, as I understand, seen by the United States as a victory because the U.S. was able to hold its own in a war with the major power of the time, namely Great Britain. On the other hand, from the Canadian perspective, the war was a victory for Canada given that the U.S. did not succeed in its project to conquer and annex Upper and Lower Canada during the war:

John Boyd committed his infantry before his artillery could properly support them: Battle of Crysler’s Farm, Nov. 11, 1813

Battle of Chateauguay (1813) was one of two great battles that saved Canada

The author of Fascism and the Italians of Montreal: An Oral History: 1922-1945 (1998) notes that archival resources, regarding the relation between fascism and Italian Canadians during the period under study, are scarce. Oral history serves as a great way, I would say, for readers to learn what individuals recollect about times gone by, and the mindset they bring to perceptions about the past.

My sense is that reference to archival sources – such as are available, or that become available with the passage of time – is also essential, nonetheless, if a person wants to get a sense of what was actually going on, with regard to fascism in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada during the 1930s and 1940s.

Archival resources that come to mind, with regard to the period under review, include among others:

Young Trudeau, 1919-1944: Son of Quebec, Father of Canada (2006)

Young Trudeau, 1919-1944: Son of Quebec, Father of Canada (2006) is the first book in a two-volume series; the second volume is entitled: Trudeau Transformed, 1944-1965: The Shaping of a Statesman (2011).

The blurb for the first volume reads:

This book shines a light of devastating clarity on French-Canadian society in the 1930s and 1940s, when young elites were raised to be pro-fascist, and democratic and liberal were terms of criticism. The model leaders to be admired were good Catholic dictators like Mussolini, Salazar in Portugal, Franco in Spain, and especially Pétain, collaborator with the Nazis in Vichy France. There were even demonstrations against Jews who were demonstrating against what the Nazis were doing in Germany.

Trudeau, far from being the rebel that other biographers have claimed, embraced this ideology. At his elite school, Brébeuf, he was a model student, the editor of the school magazine, and admired by the staff and his fellow students. But the fascist ideas and the people he admired – even when the war was going on, as late as 1944 – included extremists so terrible that at the war’s end they were shot. And then there’s his manifesto and his plan to stage a revolution against les Anglais.

This is astonishing material – and it’s all demonstrably true – based on personal papers of Trudeau that the authors were allowed to access after his death. What they have found has astounded and distressed them, but they both agree that the truth must be published.

Translated from the forthcoming French edition by William Johnson, this explosive book is sure to hit the headlines.

None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948 (1982)

None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948 (1982)

A blurb for the book is not available at the Toronto Public Library; however a blurb for the following book (below) refers to the 1982 study.

Nazi Germany, Canadian Responses: Confronting Antisemitism in the Shadow of War (2012)

Nazi Germany, Canadian Responses: Confronting Antisemitism in the Shadow of War (2012)

A blurb reads:

It has been thirty years since the publication of Irving Abella and Harold Troper’s seminal work None is Too Many, which documented the official barriers that kept Jewish immigrants and refugees out of Canada in the shadow of the Second World War. The book won critical acclaim, but a haunting question remained: Why did Canada act as it did in the 1930s and 1940s? Answering this question requires a deeper understanding of the attitudes, ideas, and information that circulated in Canadian society during this period. How much did Canadians know at the time about the horrors unfolding against the Jews of Europe? Where did their information come from? And how did they respond, on both public and institutional levels, to the events that marked Hitler’s march to power: the 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws, the 1936 Olympics, Kristallnacht, and the crisis of the MS St Louis?

The contributors to this collection – scholars of international repute – turn to the wider public sphere for answers: to the media, the world of literature, the university campus, the realm of international sport, and networks of community activism. Their findings reveal that the persecutions and atrocities taking place in Nazi Germany inspired a range of responses from ordinary Canadians, from indifference to outrage to quiet acquiescence. It is challenging to recreate the mindset of more than seventy years ago. Yet this collection takes up that challenge, digging deeper into archives, records, and testimonies that can offer fresh interpretations of this dark period. The answer to the question “why?” begins here.

Contributors include: Doris Bergen, Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Chair in Holocaust Studies, University of Toronto, Richard Menkis, Department of History, University of British Columbia; Harold Troper, Department of Theory and Policy Studies in Education, OISE/University of Toronto; Amanda Grzyb, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario; Rebecca Margolis, Centre for Canadian Jewish Studies, University of Ottawa; Michael Brown, Department of Languages, Literatures and Lingustics, York University; Norman Ravvin, Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies, Concordia University; and James Walker, Department of History, University of Waterloo.

 

Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment