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Maclean’s: What it feels like to be Canadian

Maclean's | posted Tuesday, Jun 30th, 2015

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To celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday, Maclean’s has produced 148 short videos that showcase the vibrancy and breadth of Canadian experiences from coast-to-coast. “What it feels like to be Canadian” bring audiences closer to the action.

From joining the Sourtoe Cocktail Club in Dawson City and climbing an ice-covered Niagara Falls to an intimate concert with the Barenaked Ladies, the diversity of content reflects the lives of Canadians from across our nation.

Categories include sports, outdoors, heritage, experience, adventure, and arts.

Click here to watch the series of 148 videos.

10 Canadian movies to watch this Canada Day

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Jun 30th, 2015

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Ok, we’re not suggesting you sit and watch 10 movies back-to-back this Canada Day — particularly if it’s sunny outside! But once you’re home from that Canada Day party and ready to kick back for a few, toss on one of these Canadian flicks for a little entertainment.

We’ve selected some older movies, some newer, and a few from our favourite Canadian directors. We think it’s a good mix of light-hearted, and more dramatic fare. Hope you agree!

Goon (2011): We admit, we weren’t the biggest Seann William Scott fans until we saw him in this surprisingly sweet comedy about a bar bouncer with a heart of gold who’s hired to be the resident goon on his town’s minor-league hockey team, despite the fact that he can’t skate. Doug Glatt (Scott) soon finds himself at odds with both his team’s star player (Marc-Andre Grondin) and the league’s top goon (Liev Schreiber). Will this unlikely hero lead his team to victory? You’ll certainly be rooting for him to!

Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006): When the body of a hockey league executive is discovered on the Ontario-Quebec border, the police forces from both provinces are forced to work together on the case. Enter strait-laced Martin Ward (the always excellent Colm Feore) representing the Ontario Provincial Police, and wildcard David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) of the Surete de Quebec, and you have the makings of a classic buddy cop film.

Canadian Bacon (1995): *Family-friendly!* Michael Moore directed this satirical John Candy vehicle about a low-in-the-polls U.S. President (Alan Alda) who tries to up his approval rating by starting a cold war against Canada. While this hilarious film is rife with talented comedy actors, among them Alda, Rhea Perlman, Kevin Pollak and Wallace Shawn, this film belongs to the late Candy, playing a sheriff who takes the U.S.’s new stance very seriously.

Les triplettes de Belleville/The Triplets of Belleville (2003): *Family-friendly!*Nominated for two Oscars, this animated film is as beautiful to watch as it is to listen to. The story revolves around Madame Souza and her dog Bruno, who team up with the Belleville Sisters to find her missing grandson Champion, who disappears during the Tour de France.

One Week (2008): Michael McGowan’s film about a young man (Joshua Jackson) who takes a motorcycle trip from Toronto to Tofino following a devastating medical diagnosis is a true love letter to Canada and all its beauty and eccentricity. Given its at-times heartbreaking subject matter, this is a wonderfully uplifting and funny film. We also adore Campbell Scott’s narration.

Goin’ Down The Road (1970): Doug McGrath and Paul Bradley star as two friends who move from Nova Scotia to the big city, Toronto, in the hopes of finding jobs and a better life. This classic Canadian film was subsequently parodied on SCTV. It’s interesting to see how much Yonge St. has changed since the film was made.

Juno (2007): Starring Canadians Ellen Page and Michael Cera, and directed by Canadian Jason Reitman, we’re claiming this film as one of our own! Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, 16-year-old Juno MacGuff (Page) makes the controversial decision to carry her child to term so that she can place it with an adoptive couple. Diablo Cody won an Oscar for her smart script.

Away From Her (2006): Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie turn in wonderful performances as an aging couple dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Sarah Polley proves she’s as talented behind the director’s chair as she is in front of the camera in this heart-rending film.

Eastern Promises (2007): David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen follow up the excellent A History of Violence with this equally powerful and disturbing film about a midwife (Naomi Watts) who becomes entangled with the Russian mafia while investigating the death of a pregnant teenager. Mortensen is fantastic as mafia driver Nikolai, but it’s Armin Mueller-Stahl who steals the show as the outwardly warm, but secretly brutal and cold-hearted, restaurant owner/mob boss Semyon. Not for the faint at heart, this film has scenes of brutal violence.

Barney’s Version (2010): Based on the acclaimed Mordecai Richler novel, Paul Giamatti is perfectly cast as the irascible Barney Panofsky, who falls in love with a woman (Rosamund Pike) at his second wedding. This touching drama also stars Dustin Hoffman as Izzy, Barney’s father, and Minnie Driver as Barney’s second wife. A film that proves how important good writing is to good moviemaking.

Happy Canada Day! Share your favourite Canadian films (or films directed by Canadians) in the comments below!

10 mistakes to avoid when decorating a small bedroom

Alexandra Gater | posted Thursday, Jun 18th, 2015

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Mistake 1: Ignoring the corners.

Use the corners of your bedroom to create more storage. A corner hanging bar such as the one below can be used for sweaters or blankets.

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Mistake 2: Buying furniture that doesn’t have a dual purpose.

Invest in a bed that has storage underneath or a desk that folds against the wall to maximize space effectively. This simple and practical storage bed frame is from West Elm.

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See more common mistakes here

Hot weather warnings: What to remember

Claire Gagne | posted Tuesday, Jun 16th, 2015

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Strong Sun

The UV Index is a measure of the intensity of the sun’s rays. Environment Canada (weather.gc.ca) forecasts the highest level of UV for the day, which you can expect around midday. If the UV Index is between three and five, simply slather on the sunscreen and head outdoors. But if the forecasted UV Index for the day is six or higher, plan your outdoor activities for before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m., as the sun will be less intense. Check The Weather Network (theweathernetwork.com or download the app) for current readings, and be especially careful when the UV Index is eight or higher, as skin can burn very quickly. (Though rare in Canada, a UV Index of 11 or higher can cause skin to burn within minutes!) “Young kids can get bad sunburns before you even realize there’s a problem,” says Michael Dickinson, a paediatrician in Miramichi, NB.

Bad Air

The Air Quality Health Index tells us how much pollution is outside on a scale of one to 10, and is more likely to affect people in large cities, near industry or close to areas prone to forest fires. When pollution is high—at seven or above—young kids and people with asthma or heart conditions should limit strenuous outdoor activity, according to Health Canada. That doesn’t mean you can’t go outside at all—just use Environment Canada’s hourly air quality readings and next-day forecasts to plan. Keep activities low-key and monitor children closely. “If your child is getting tired more easily than normal, or if she’s coughing, wheezing or seems to be working harder to breathe, those are signs of respiratory trouble because of the pollution, and you should bring her indoors,” says Dickinson. 

Heat Waves

The definition of extreme heat varies by where you live, but generally, a heat warning is issued when it’s deemed the temperature increases the potential for health problems such as heatstroke and dehydration, which can be fatal. All children can be affected by heat, but it’s most dangerous for infants, young children and people with asthma or heart disease, says Dickinson. It’s best to plan a movie day or hit an indoor playground when a heat alert is issued.

Pollen

In warmer months, trees, grasses and weeds procreate by releasing tiny grains of pollen, which are carried by the wind. The Weather Network tells us how much and what kind of pollen is floating around. Pollen is high on dry, windy days, is released in the morning and typically peaks in urban areas midday. “Pollen counts are particularly important if you’re prone to allergies and asthma,” says Dickinson, so monitor the pollen forecast and plan your outdoor time for when counts are low. If your allergic child will be outdoors when pollen is high, speak to your doctor about giving him an antihistamine before he goes out.

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A version of this article appeared in our June 2015 issue with the headline “Weather warnings,” p. 24.

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