‘It’s something new every single time:’ Kelowna music school gets ready to rock n’ roll – Okanagan


Rehearsals are underway for one of Kelowna’s biggest rock concerts of the year.

But the performers are not rock stars: They’re students.

“We’re putting on a tribute to our fallen heroes,” said Noel Wentworth, vice president of education at Wentworth Music. “It’s a musical celebration, so people like Prince and David Bowie and Michael Jackson.”

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Wentworth, the largest music school per capita in Canada, has been hosting these rockin’ recitals twice a year for over a decade and it’s their 25th recital this time around.

“We’ve received international attention. We’re doing something that very few other schools are doing,” Wentworth said. “I get people on a regular basis saying ‘this is a really good show.’ The seven o’clock show usually sells out.”

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The music school has over a thousand students –- anywhere from six years of age to 76 — with many performing at the recital.

“I’m nervous but I’m excited because, apparently, a lot of people come to watch it,” said piano student Emily Fortin.

Fortin is new to Wentworth and this is her first rock concert performance.

“If you want to pursue music, you have a lot of open doors for you instead of just taking at-home lesson,” Fortin said.

And from newbie to veteran, Reece Wernicke has been with the school since he was three years old and has performed in 23 of the 25 recitals.

“It’s really evolved and it’s gotten so much bigger,” Wernicke said. “It’s just a really exciting thing that I get to do twice a year and it’s something I look forward to.”

The concert is a fundraiser, with all proceeds going to support youth.

“We’ve raised over $212,000 now for the Kelowna General Hospital to help children,” Wentworth said. “We’re making a difference in people’s lives by doing something that we love to do.”

Watching these students perform, it’s difficult to believe many of them are beginner musicians.

“I love seeing students succeed,” Wentworth said. “I love seeing them go from square one, and the process of them stumbling and learning, and then, by the time we get to do the show, they’re nailing it. That’s what it’s about.”

The Legacy – A Musical Celebration of Our Lost Legends concert takes on Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite but they are selling out quickly, especially for the evening show.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Time to ‘push back’ against federal government, Conservative leaders say at Sask. pro-pipeline rally


The battleground for pipelines and the oil and gas industry was set in Moosomin, Sask., on Saturday, as the federal  Conservative Leader blasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his handling of the energy file.

« His attack on Canada’s energy sector is by design. It’s on purpose, » Andrew Scheer told the audience gathered for the pro-pipeline rally, also attended by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Conservative Senator Denise Batters.

« This is the one area where he’s doing exactly what he said would do. »

Trudeau has spoken about transitioning Canada away from fossil fuels. Scheer says, if he becomes prime minister, he would  promote Canadian oil and gas. 

« I will travel around the world promoting Canadians’ energy sector, as a source of ethical and responsible and sustainable energy around the world, » he promised, to cheers from the audience.

The federal government had bought the Trans Mountain pipeline in order to make progress on a stalled project, but a Supreme Court blocked further progress, ruling that Canada’s efforts to meaningfully consult with Indigenous people, as required by law, fell short.

Scheer criticized Trudeau for overpaying for the pipeline by $1 billion.  

« Justin Trudeau paid more than the sticker price for a pipeline that he can’t even build, » he charged.

Crowds gathered in Moosomin, Sask. to hear from various politicians and other pipeline advocates. (Trevor Botherel / CBC)

Scheer had set the stage for Saturday’s pro-pipeline appearance with an appearance in Saskatoon on Friday night, talking about the need to build pipelines.  

« We know that the best way to transport that energy, the most environmentally friendly way, taking oil and gas off of rail cars, is to build pipelines, » Scheer said, while speaking in Saskatoon on Friday, one day before news of a derailment of a train carrying crude oil in Manitoba.

« We need a government that has a plan to get them built through the private sector by providing certainty and clarity in approvals process and that’s what my plan will do. »

Scheer said his plan, if he is to become prime minister in this year’s election, would be to repeal a carbon tax and repeal Bill C-69, which he argues muddies the approval process for pipelines. Bill C-69 provides a process for assessing the environmental, health, social and economic effects of pipeline and other projects.

Instead, these pipelines need to be declared in the national interest, because of the benefits they confer to every single region, said Scheer.

« And come October, after forming government, we will start to clean up the mess that [Trudeau’s] left us, » he promised the crowd.

Moe also took to the stage, saying the strength of the audience on a frigid February day spoke volumes about their frustration with the downtrodden oil and gas sector.  

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe walks through the crowd before speaking at a pro-pipeline rally. He said ‘It’s time for us to begin to push back and we need to push back pretty hard’ against the federal government. (MIchael Bell/Canadian Press)

« For far too long, this conversation has been dominated by those who disapprove of how you and myself and and our neighbours in this province make a living in our communities, » he said, adding the federal government was simply not listening to people whose livelihoods depended on sectors like oil and gas and mining.  

« The moment has come in the nation of Canada. It’s time for us to begin to push back and we need to push back pretty hard. »

Speakers were scheduled to address the crowd on issues affecting the oil and gas sector. (Trevor Botherel / CBC)

Moosomin economy driven by energy 

The rally was organized by Moosomin Economic Development, with Moe saying that the southern Saskatchewan town of about 2,500 people was among the communities that depended on a thriving oil and gas industry. 

A news release indicates « Moosomin would have played a part in the cancelled Energy East project with a 1,050,000 barrel tank farm planned for the Moosomin Compressor Station and a feeder pipeline from Cromer, Man.,  to the Moosomin Compressor Station, both part of the Energy East plan. »


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Men killed in Winnipeg restaurant shot each other at the same time, police say


Victims of a double homicide in downtown Winnipeg earlier this week were members of the same street gang, and shot and killed each other, police say.

Anthony Brian Cromastey, 30, and Rodney Albert Kirton, 25, died after opening fire on each other inside Johnny G’s, a popular late-night restaurant and pub on Main Street, around 1:30 a.m. CT Wednesday.

« The investigation has determined the deceased males died as a result of simultaneous gunshots to each other, » said a Winnipeg police spokesperson, Const. Rob Carver, on Friday.

Carver said both handguns have been recovered.

Investigators used surveillance video and witness accounts to conclude guns were fired at the same time, said Carver. 

« So the two individuals were basically in a gunfight in a public restaurant and shot each other fatally on the spot, » he said.

A simultaneous double homicide is « incredibly rare, » Carver said. The police spokesperson said he was unaware of one ever happening in Canada before. 

« We did a bit of research and it looks like it’s happened in the [United] States once or twice,  » he said. 

About a dozen people were in the restaurant at the time, with many running out and flagging down a police cruiser that happened to be passing nearby. 

A female server was hurt by a ricochet bullet and sent to hospital where she was treated for a non-life-threatening injury and released.

Carver said he’s surprised there weren’t more casualties because there were a lot of bullets flying.

Both men known to justice system: police

Cromastey and Kirton were members of the same street gang, but Carver wouldn’t say its name.

« I never announce the gang. I’m not going to give any gang the publicity. »

Criminal records show both men were familiar with the justice system.

Cromastey breached a bail order in 2013. At the time, he was not allowed to possess a cellphone. Kirton served time in jail twice for possessing drugs and was banned from possessing firearms. 

Immediately after the shooting Wednesday, another man at the scene assaulted Kirton, police said. An 18-year-old was charged with assault for that attack.

« Kirton was still alive when the assault took place, » Carver said, noting he and Cromastey were rushed to hospital in serious condition where they died shortly afterward.

Their deaths are the city’s fourth and fifth homicides of the year.


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Time running out for Okanagan ice wine producers


A blanket of fog hovers over Penticton on Saturday.

Temperature: One degree. Balmy for late January, but there are some who wish it gets colder so local wineries can make ice wine.

In order to make it, the grapes have be picked at no less than minus-8 degrees Celsius.

Someone who’s watching the thermometre is Burke Ganton at Red Rooster winery.

“Fog is a little bit unusual for us right now, but certainly we can get this,” said Ganton. “I recall in past years we pulled ice wine in November.

“So we’ve done it in November, we’ve done it in January and we’ve done it other months, too. So it is very much a waiting game.”

WATCH BELOW: (Aired Jan. 20, 2019) Know where your wine comes from

Dave Carson is the winemaker for Jackson Triggs in Oliver. He’s been in the industry since the early 80s and says this mild winter brings back memories.

“I do remember in 2002 when I was making ice wine for Sumac Ridge when we actually harvested it (ice wine) in March, amazingly enough. But this is very unusual. We don’t like to see this situation for the industry,” Carson said.

The ice wine business in Canada is a big industry. Canada’s wineries produce more than two million bottles of the liquid gold per year worth more than $70 million.

Jackson Triggs got lucky this season, pulling most of its ice wine harvest in early December during a brief cold snap. But Carson says the cut-off date for the other Okanagan wineries is quickly approaching.

“When we talk about cut off points, in my mind, I start thinking around early to mid-February. If you’re not seeing anything happening, the chance of it happening are very small,” Carson said.


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This B.C. woman’s recipe is one of the most popular of all time — and the story behind it is bananas


It’s been nearly 20 years, but Shelley Albeluhn remembers the day in 2000 when she decided to mash an additional three very ripe bananas into the batter of her very first banana bread.

At the time, she hoped the on-the-fly tweak would yield a tender loaf with a sweet and deeply intense banana flavour.

Little did she know her creation — which baked up beautifully and received rave reviews from friends and family — would soon become a worldwide banana bread sensation.

Albeluhn, who lives in Port Hardy on the east coast of Vancouver Island, is the creator of Banana Banana Bread on Allrecipes.com, the much-loved website that collects recipes submitted by home cooks.

Since she posted the recipe in 2000, Banana Banana Bread has been viewed more than 35 million times and is Allrecipes’ second-most popular recipe of all time. In 2018 alone, it clocked more than 4 million views.

“This literally could be the most-viewed banana bread recipe in the world,” says Esmee Williams, vice-president of consumer insights at Seattle-based Allrecipes. She believes Albeluhn is the only Canadian to have a recipe crack the website’s all-time top 10 list.

“For a long time, it was the only recipe that came up when you Googled banana bread and for many years it was the number one recipe on our site. Shelley was definitely ahead of her time.”

Albeluhn, 53, never set out to change the global online trajectory of banana bread.

“I can’t believe this,” she says, after a Star journalist tells her of the enduring popularity of her Banana Banana Bread. “That many millions of people have seen my recipe? That’s amazing. It’s just a recipe.

“But I guess sometimes there is nothing better or more simple in life than making a really good banana bread.”

Read more:

Canada’s most popular online recipes, from Newfoundland to Nunavut

Albeluhn doesn’t remember the origin of the recipe she adapted into the now legendary Banana Banana Bread, which calls for 2 1/3 cups of mashed, overripe bananas. That’s the equivalent of five or six bananas; many banana bread recipes use just two or three.

“I winged it, really,” she says. “I remember thinking: ‘Let’s see how banana-y we can get this, so let’s put in another banana, and then another and another.’ ”

Albeluhn also recalls that she swapped brown sugar for white sugar, and replaced oil with butter.

It turned out so well she decided to post her adapted recipe online to Allrecipes.

At the time, Albeluhn was living in Port Alice, a village on Vancouver Island that, in 2000, had a population of about 1,200, many of whom were supported by the local pulp mill, which has since closed.

That Albeluhn had internet access in such a small town nearly 20 years ago is just one of the curious things about the ongoing viral popularity of her recipe, says Anatoliy Gruzd, an associate professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management with expertise in social media.

“It’s also interesting that something posted so long ago is still alive on the web — and still popular,” he adds, noting that Allrecipes has found a way to stay relevant even though it launched in 1997, whereas some other websites of its generation have gone extinct. “Think of something like (the social network) MySpace.”

“It also shows you that, in some cases, things that are posted many years ago can still be viral now. Modern forms of social media favour real-time trending stories. If something trended yesterday, it’s considered too old and we move on.”

Gruzd says that while Albeluhn’s recipe probably tastes good (he hasn’t tried it), its popularity is more likely due to Albeluhn’s impeccable timing: she posted the recipe on Allrecipes at just the right moment to ride the wave of the website’s overall success.

Williams, who has worked at Allrecipes since shortly after its launch, says the website’s appeal has always been that it caters to home cooks, many of whom gravitate toward recipes that are simple and timeless, just like Albeluhn’s banana bread.

In Canada, Good Old Fashioned Pancakes, submitted by Dakota Kelly, has remained the most popular recipe for years, netting more than 1.65 million page views here last year. It’s not clear whether Kelly herself is Canadian — Allrecipes doesn’t generally track users’ locations.

Williams says this kind of cooking is something that has not gone out of style, even amid the increasing online presence of celebrity chefs, sophisticated food bloggers and the meteoric rise of impeccably styled foods suitable for Pinterest and Instagram.

“There aren’t that many places where home cooks have a voice online,” she says, adding that the millions of recipe reviews submitted by Allrecipes users help build trust in the website. “Before you ever turn on the oven or the stove, you know exactly how a recipe will turn out. You’ll know whether it’s a kid-pleaser, or whether your husband might like it, whether it will be a hit at a potluck, and how you can alter the recipe to suit your tastes.”

More than 10,000 people have reviewed Banana Banana Bread on Allrecipes and it has a 4.5 (out of 5) star rating.

Albeluhn, who peeks at the reviews from time to time, is thrilled her beloved recipe has touched so many lives.

Not just because she believes her version, with its deep banana-y flavour, is one of the best banana bread recipes around, but also because she hasn’t tasted it since 2001.

Dietary restrictions for health reasons mean she has had to forgo the treat. But she remembers exactly how it tastes and the best way to eat it.

“It’s wonderful toasted,” she says. “Take a slice and put it in the toaster oven so that it gets a bit golden brown on the outside. It will still be soft on the inside, and when it’s warmed up, you get that nice, buttery flavour. It’s just so good.”

Albeluhn hopes that Banana Banana Bread continues to find its way into kitchens around the world. It’s OK, she says, for people to try it with nuts or chocolate chips, make it into muffins or serve it in restaurants, or tweak the recipe to suit individual tastes, just as she did nearly 20 years ago.

But there is one element that she insists must remain to ensure the treat is truly Banana Banana Bread: “You must make it with very ripe bananas that are dark brown, very soft and with very little or no yellow. That is key; I wish I had written very overripe bananas in my original recipe. It’s the only way you get that super strong banana flavour.”


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Rescuer of 11-year-old found facedown in snow was in the ‘right place at the right time’


He wasn’t on duty on Thursday, but when a Foam Lake volunteer firefighter heard about a missing 11-year-old girl, he knew he had to do something to help with the search.

« I was at a work and I’d seen cop cars taking off from different directions from town here at Foam Lake, » said Cole Maksymytz, recalling the scene when police received word at about 5 p.m. that the girl had wandered away from her Bankend home. The tiny hamlet is located about 200 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.

He followed the police and talked with officers, who explained to him that a 11-year-old girl had been at home sick, and wandered away from the house while her mother was away, some time between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.. The mother had seen tracks heading west from the house, but couldn’t find her daughter nearby, recalled Maksymytz.

« I was thinking Jesus, if it was one of my kids, I’d want somebody, I’d want everybody that could help out there helping, » said Maksymytz, who has four children of his own.

Small footprints in the snow

Officials told him they had crews on the search and didn’t need extra help, but Makysmytz kept his eyes peeled as he drove toward home with two of his children with him in his truck.

« Driving down the back road, I noticed on the field, a trail. At first, I thought maybe it was a deer or a moose or something, » he said, explaining a closer look revealed footprints.

« ‘Well, this could be her,' » he recalled thinking. « It had to have been, because the footprint was so small. »

Maksymytz followed the trail in his truck, until his kids piped in to say they saw something black up ahead.  

Cole Maksymytz’s two children, Danica, 6, and Cade, 4, were in the truck when with their father when they spotted something black lying ahead of them. (Submitted by Cole Maksymytz)

« So we drove up there and there she was, laying face-first in the snow, » he said, adding his thoughts immediately went to whether she was alive.

At this point, it was 7:40 p.m. in the evening, and the girl had walked nearly six and a half kilometres from her home, he said.

Relief filled him when he checked and found the girl still breathing, with Maksymytz quickly carrying her to his truck.

« It happened that my daughter knew this girl because she goes to school with her, » he said, adding his six-year-old daughter was able to tell him the girl’s name as they drove her back to the police and the ambulance.

I’m happy I did something to save someone’s life.– Cole Maksymytz, volunteer firefighter

On Friday, he learned the girl was recovering well, after receiving treatment for hypothermia and injuries related to exposure.

It reminded him of why he wanted to be a volunteer firefighter in the first place, to help people.

« I’m happy I did something to save someone’s life, » he said. « It just so happened that I was in the right place at the right time. »

Maksymytz also serves in the Wishart fire department. His fire chief there, Darrell Bzedl, was among the locals giving credit to the volunteer for his actions. 

« He went above and beyond to do what he did, » said Bzedl, adding, « We have a good ending thanks to it. »


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A Rent Week Gingerade for Dry January (and All the Time, TBH)


I don’t drink during the month of January. Go ahead, criticize me all you want. Call me a trendy millennial cleanse exponent. Explain to me that taking a cold turkey break from booze for a month and then hopping back on the train on February 1st isn’t doing much for my liver. Whatever. I am one of those No-Drink January people, and I have been for the past few years. It helps me realign my mind. It reignites my appreciation for and ability to taste the alcoholic beverages I love. It sheds a couple pounds off my frame. And as a side effect, my wallet rejoices.

I usually save a ton of money during January, mostly because I’m not rationalizing wild purchases at wine stores, breweries, amaro bars, or cider shops. There’s no post-bar pizza or dumpling stops. My dinner bills get cut in half, because iced tea isn’t quite as expensive as a martini. But where I prosper financially, I suffer in terms of drink variety. Kombucha and seltzer can only do so much. I need something more involved. More interesting. More rewarding.

Wait. Did you feel that? Yeah, that little rumble beneath your feet. That was progress, my friends. This a momentous occasion. This dry, bleak, booze-free January brings with it the first drink recipe in the history of Rent Week. A beverage! Wow! Neat-o!

The answer to my problem is a homemade gingerade that turns seltzer into a whole new thing. If you’ve been a Bon Appétit reader for a while, you may have made our Lemon-Ginger Brew, which is similar to this recipe conceptually, although a little different in terms of flavor and consistency. Regardless, this Rent Week recipe is going to be quick, easily scalable, and something you can enjoy over the course of a few weeks. So throw on this Same Ol’ Me playlist (filled with the usual high-quality tunes and free of charge), and grab a pot and some oranges. We’ve got some juicing to do.

rent week gingerade 1

You can store this gingerade for weeks in the fridge.

The general gist of this recipe is that we’re going to simmer ginger, spices, and fruit, let it reduce, and strain out the solids so that we’re left with zesty, addictive liquid gold. (Actually, it’s murky and brown, so use your imagination.) But instead of just using water to boil, we’re going to cut into that with orange juice. Grab a saucepan and measure out 3 cups of water, emptying them into the pan. Then grab a juicer—not one of those fancy ones, a hand-powered guy will do fine—and juice 2 cups of orange juice. This is going to take about 8 naval oranges, but before you juice the last two, use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin off of the oranges in strips. Throw the 2 orange peels and the 2 cups of orange juice into the pot with the water.

Now we need our ginger. Usually, a recipe calls for just a bit of ginger. This gingerade is not one of those recipes. We want about 10 oz. of ginger, which is about 10 1.5” x 1” pieces of ginger. It’s a lot of ginger to peel, but we’re going to get through it like the champs we are. The reason we peel the ginger is so we can expose the maximum amount of flesh to the liquid we’re simmering it in. Once your ginger is peeled, you can either grate it (if you’re feeling ambitious) or slice it into thin medallions (if you’re feeling lazy, which is totally fine and what I usually do). Add the 10 oz. of sliced or grated ginger into the saucepan.

A little bit of spice is what we need next. Add ½ Tbsp. of whole cloves and 1 Tbsp. of whole black peppercorns to the liquid. You can also add ½ Tbsp. of anise seed or fennel seed in there, if you have it. But no pressure. I don’t want you to go out and buy spices during Rent Week.

Bring the liquid into the saucepan to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the pot simmer for a little over an hour. You can give it a stir and admire the smell every fifteen minutes, just to make sure everything is getting enough love in there.

rent week gingerade 5

Garnish it. Make it nice.

By simmering the liquid for a while, we’re evaporating some water and concentrating the flavors. You’ll notice the amount of liquid in the pot start to reduce, and once it’s been simmering for an hour-ish, you should have less than half of what you started with. Remove the pot from your stove. We’re about to cross the finish line.

Pour the contents of the saucepan through a fine mesh strainer and into a large measuring cup or mixing bowl. That gingerade is going to be immensely flavorful, but also a bit unbalanced. The bright flavors and sweetness in the orange juice faded throughout the cooking process, so we need to reintroduce them. Add the juice from 2 limes and ¼ cup of honey into the concentrate and stir.

Look at that! It’s murky and brown and honestly not that good-looking. But this gingerade is destined for refreshment. It’s going to satisfy your thirst. I like to double the recipe and store my brew in a couple of Mason jars in the fridge, where it’ll last for weeks. And when it’s time to mix up a drink, I fill a glass with plenty of ice, add 3 parts seltzer to 1 part gingerade, and garnish with an extra slice of orange peel and/or a lime wedge. (The garnish is key—it really makes it feel like a cocktail.)

You’ll understand when you sip this, but the balance of bright citrus, warm spice notes, gingery spice, fruity notes from the orange peel, and sweetness from the honey almost make me think I’m drinking a spritz. Almost. And after 30 days of drinking this gingerade, I’m sure I’ll be ready for a real one.

Want a real Rent Week meal to go with your gingerade? Here ya’ go:

20181127 GIFT GUIDE WEB4669.jpg


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She broke three ribs on the job. Now this Toronto bike courier is helping others take time off for injuries


When Leah Hollinsworth was hurt on the job she didn’t get any time off to recover.

“I remember it because it was one of those cold grey November rainy days when you have that Guns N’ Roses song in your head,” she recalls of the accident almost 15 years later.

Hollinsworth was coming down Blue Jays Way on her bike with a delivery when a car turned left in front of her, and she crashed into its rear-view mirror. She broke three ribs.

“I was a single mother the entire time I was a bike messenger so taking that time off work wasn’t an option for me,” she said, “I just couldn’t walk away.”

Her employer let her make some adjustments, walking to deliveries around the downtown core instead of cycling because that hurt too much. But she knows not everyone is so lucky.

It’s one of the reasons why the now 39-year-old is devoted to the charity Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund.

The global non-profit donates money to bike couriers injured at work, who are mostly independent contractors without health benefits, disability leave or even sick days.

The transient nature of the industry makes it hard to pin down exact numbers of such couriers in Toronto.

But the rise of food service delivery apps means more independent contractors and a shift toward the gig economy that leaves many workers without the safety net of a traditional employer, despite the risks that come along with cycling through Toronto’s often treacherous streets.

Most courier companies and app-based delivery services don’t pay into the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board for messengers because they classify them as independent contractors, Hollinsworth said.

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“Other jobs that are dangerous generally have some sort of pay that goes along with that,” says Toronto-based Hollinsworth, one of two volunteers who run the non-profit, which was started in 2004-2005.

The wages of a bike courier vary widely from city to city depending on how many shifts they work, but she said the average is about $80-100 a day — wages that were decent in the ’90s but have stayed stubbornly low with inflation.

“Most messengers are pretty hand to mouth, so the idea of not having two or three paycheques in a row is pretty devastating,” she added.

“If you get hurt on the job oftentimes that meant not only were you out of work but you could potentially lose your job indefinitely.”

The fund takes personal and corporate donations. But Torontonians contribute the lion’s share of the funding through an annual May Day bike race event, which has raised more than $25,000 over the years.

To apply for a $500 (U.S.) grant, bike couriers need to be working full time (more than three shifts a week, according to Hollinsworth), be injured on the job and unable to work using their bike for at least a month. The money, which is the same amount for everyone, is meant to help with costs of food and medicine.

The funds made a difference for Emily Glos, 32, a former bike messenger who had to stop work in 2010 after she was rear-ended by a car and broke her arm.

“It was pretty isolating,” she said of the incident, over the phone from Sayulita, Mexico, where she is now living.

Glos couldn’t ride with her injured arm, and turned to family for financial help. She also applied to the emergency fund, which gave her money to help cover costs for food. It also made her feel less alone.

“I think it’s so wonderful that it’s there to help financially. But it also adds a sense of community, knowing that there’s something you can dip into,” she said.

“That aspect of it is really beautiful.”

After she recovered, Glos helped start the May Day races as a way to give back. The fundraiser has grown over the years and allowed the charity to contribute $500, up from the $300 she had received, toward bike messengers who need help getting back on their feet.

A few companies are starting to recognize the gap that those two-wheeled messengers can face when they fall or are hit by a car.

At Foodora Canada, one of the most visible food delivery services in the city with its bike couriers bringing Thai food, pizza and burgers in bright pink containers through snow, sleet and rain, the company pays into WSIB (or provincial equivalents) on the riders’ behalf, said managing director David Albert in an email.

“This covers them for loss of earnings in the event they get injured while working. We feel it’s important to protect our riders to the best of our ability while they are on the job,” he said.

Facing court challenges in the European Union on its relationship with its drivers, Uber announced in spring 2018 it would partner with insurance company AXA to provide insurance coverage there — including sickness, injury and maternity and paternity payments.

But nothing like that exists for its drivers and couriers in Canada.

Xavier Van Chau, spokesperson for Uber Canada, wrote in an email they are “currently in active discussions to see how we can further support coverage for our delivery partners,” in Canada “and look forward to share more on this when possible.”

Andrew Cash, co-founder of The Urban Worker Project, an organization that fights for the rights of precarious workers, said he applauds the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund, but its existence highlights a growing underlying problem.

“It’s a good example of how the economy is continually loading all the responsibilities and all the risk on to individual workers themselves,” he says.

“Many of them would completely fall through any kind of safety net.”

The bike courier system is also set up so that it incentivizes people to bike faster, make more deliveries and more money, which can put them at risk for collisions, he said. And the rise of delivery apps has meant that many restaurants now go that route instead of paying their own employees.

A 2018 report from the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario research group, a collaboration between university researchers and community groups like the United Way Greater Toronto, found just over 37 per cent of workers in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area have some degree of precarious employment.

That’s defined as part-time, temporary and contract, self-employed or full-time employment without benefits, regular hours or a guarantee of at least one year’s work.

“This is a brave new world,” Cash said, where the “matrix of rules and regulations” that governed employer-employee relations has been upended.

As that world shifts, we need to start thinking about new tools to adjust to the new reality, he said. For example, extending short- and long-term disability benefits to independent contractors.

“So that fewer are a bike accident away from the financial abyss.”

May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11


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Oh, I Work at a Food Magazine Now? Guess It’s Time to Learn to Cook


In case we’re meeting for the first time here, let me start with a confession: I work at a food magazine, yet I am a terrible cook.

Why? Not sure. Perhaps it’s because my greatest childhood food memories are tied to branded shortcuts: Pillsbury Funfetti cupcakes slathered with Duncan Hines frosting straight from the tub; pre-cut broccoli baked beneath a bubbling blanket of Sargento shredded cheddar; the indubitably excellent mouthfeel of dinosaur-shaped Perdue chicken nuggets sidled up next to Nickelodeon-orange piles of Kraft mac and cheese that my brothers squeezed honey into for a gourmet twist. Perhaps it’s because I’m afraid of failure. Perhaps it’s because I am very lazy. Whatever the case, I’ve always enjoyed eating very much. I just never got into the cooking part.

But since I started working at Bon Appétit back in April, a large part of my job became: getting into the cooking part. Or at least not having a panic attack every time I’m asked to cook through a recipe. And thus, I have dedicated the last eight months to learning my way around a kitchen, that room I’ve always had in my house but mostly used for storing alcohol and making salads from a bag. Recipe by recipe, food fail by food fail, unfollowed piece of Test Kitchen advice by unfollowed piece of Test Kitchen advice, I have grown. And now, as I prepare to enter 2019, I know one thing for sure: I’m no longer afraid of cooking. No, I’m not a master yet—not even really at the level of first-kid-to-get-kicked-off-MasterChef Junior. But I’m learning, and actually…kind of…enjoying it! So here, to round out the year, a look back at some of the biggest kitchen lessons I’ve picked up so far. And with them, a vow: In 2019, I will officially stop calling myself a terrible cook.

1. Always be salting. I grew up in the ’90s, when salt was the devil and margarine was something people actually paid money for—instead of throwing it into a dumpster where it belongs. Which means I always had this scary little voice in the back of my head screaming “NOOOOO” when my hands reached for the shaker (funny enough, these were the same hands that often shoveled entire not-individual-sized bags of Goldfish into my mouth in one sitting). But as I cooked through recipe after recipe, I realized that salting properly means going about 75 percent beyond your comfort zone, and building as you go. At no moment did this lesson become clearer than when I was making Basically’s Spaghetti Pomodoro, which instructed me to make my pasta-boiling water AS SALTY AS THE DAMN OCEAN. Surely that’s insane?? thought I. But I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, reached for the Morton canister, and poured. And you know what? It was the tastiest pasta I’ve ever made.

2. Read the whole recipe BEFORE you start cooking. File this one under lessons learned the hard way. The hard way being me going home starving at 7 p.m. to make a stew that ended up requiring not just about three hours of cook time but an additional 12 hours of chill time before it was actually ready to consume. I would have known this had I spent the literal two minutes it would have taken to read through the instructions before I flounced off to the grocery store to buy my chicken. But I did not. It was a disaster, and the next day on office Slack no one even felt sorry for me. “READ THE RECIPE ALL THE WAY THROUGH BEFORE YOU COOK, CADIGAN. RULE NUMBER ONE.” Oh.

3. Don’t use crappy equipment. For more years than I care to admit, I cooked my scrambled eggs in a scratched-up mini frying pan I’m pretty sure my ex-roommate purchased at the Dollar Store in 2010. My eggs never cooked right—and often had a kind of weird chemical-y aftertaste that I still fear has shortened my life by several years. But it’s not that I was bad at cooking eggs—it was that I was desperately in need of a new pan. Once I upgraded (my colleagues recommended this tried-and-true yet not-that-expensive Zwilling non-stick), everything changed. Now my eggs are fluffy and my heart soars free. The lesson? You don’t need to go out and blow all your money on top-of-the-line everything. But flimsy knives and too-small cutting boards are a form of masochism neither you nor I should abide, and this entire list of kitchen essentials costs less than $250.

4. Browning butter makes it better. As anyone who knows me knows, I love butter. Like, a lot. I slather it onto breads with a thickness most reserve for cheese (butter is better than cheese; fight me) and bury half a stick inside my mashed potatoes so I can tap into it later and watch it flow out like lava. Butter makes everything better. But until I made Chris Morocco’s famous Snickerdoodle Party Cookies, I’d never embarked on the adventure that is browning butter. The first time you try it, it may seem like something bad has happened, like maybe your Dollar Store pan is decomposing into itself and shedding poisonous faux metal bits into your melted butter pool, but no, those are the milk solids (milk solids! Look at me now!), and when browned on the stove they suddenly taste like your wildest, smokiest, nuttiest, fattiest dreams.

5. Cook to the indicator, not the time. One of the crappy equipment issues I can’t solve is the crappiness of my oven, because it is not technically my oven but my landlord’s and I cannot afford to buy one of my own. Which means the fact that the thing lies to me every day is beyond my control. “Four hundred degrees!” she says, and we both know it’s not true, because I was told to cook that chicken at 400 degrees for 35 minutes and it’s been 51 minutes and the thing will definitely poison us all if I take it out now. And therein lies this very important lesson: When you’re cooking, DO NOT rely on the cook time the recipe gives you. Instead, use the helpful indicators it provides right afterwards: “until golden,” “until the meat is almost falling off the bone,” “until the rice begins to crisp.” The indicators are your friends, even when your lying sack of shit oven is not.

6. Lock your cats in the bathroom while you cook. Otherwise, they will lick all the chicken and you’ll admit you ate it anyway and people will destroy you on Twitter. But like, at least I salted it.


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Constance Wu’s Best Night Includes Pajamas, a Perfect Manhattan, and Bunny Time | Healthyish


*In Person of Interest, we talk to the people catching our eye right now about what they’re doing, eating, reading, and loving. Up next is Constance Wu, the Golden Globe-nominated star of Crazy Rich Asians and Fresh Off the Boat on ABC.

Constance Wu grew up in a Taiwanese household, but when she thinks of her comfort food, she doesn’t think of spicy mapo tofu (though it is her favorite Taiwanese dish).

“I love Taiwanese food, but I think its aromas and its flavors are a little bit too intricate and delicious to be comfort food—I think comfort food is kind of bland,” Wu said while hosting American Express’s Pay It Plan It event in New York City. “I think of mashed potatoes as comfort food, because they kind of taste like nothing.”

Even though she has never learned to cook her mom’s Taiwanese classics like a thousand-year-old black duck egg with tofu, green onions, and soy sauce, she has fond memories of dishes like that and eats them when she can. But her perfect meal is probably Italian food like a good bolognese or a Caprese salad.

Here’s what else Wu is into right now, from a surprising travel snack to her pet bunny .

My idea of a perfect meal is… probably Italian food, eaten slow and leisurely with people I love and a great cocktail. My go-to drink is a Manhattan—and I take it perfect.

The next place I want to travel is… New Zealand. I really love Lord of the Rings, so I want to go to all the places where they filmed, like the Shire.

My dream dinner party guest list would include… the cast of Crazy Rich Asians, Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah, Ghandi, and Legolas [Orlando Bloom], obviously.

I always travel with… my Kindle and those pastel-colored fruity Mentos. I carry at least two packs of them. Normally I read physical books, but when I’m traveling, I don’t like to have so much bulk in my bag.

The book on my to-read list is… Ann Patchett’s new book, Nashville: Scenes from the New American South . That’s next, because I loved Commonwealth, which takes place partially in the Commonwealth of Virginia where I grew up.

I’m listening to… Miguel and Khalid on repeat lately.

But my Fresh Off the Boat character, Jessica, would jam to… wholesome, female-driven music like Barbra Streisand, Shania Twain, and Amy Grant.

When I’m stressed out… I love to get full-body massages. That’s when I’m really stressed. If it’s just after a regular long day at work, I like to just talk on the phone to my old friends from high school. I prefer phone calls to texts, because it’s an actual exchange. It’s a flow, and it’s not preplanned. I respond a lot to people’s voices, and I just love conversations. I don’t even like podcasts that are just one person talking.

Podcasts on my rotation are… Another Round, Two Dope Queens, and Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations.

At the end of the day, I unwind by… immediately changing into pajamas. It’s always the first thing I do. It’s a matching set: the button-up, long sleeved shirt and the pants in some kind of fabric that is lightweight and has a bit of stretch to it, like just a regular plain cotton.

My favorite piece of clothing is… a miniskirt. I love to wear miniskirts when I go out with friends. I have a few denim miniskirts and a corduroy one. I like the way it makes my body look, and when you feel like you look great, it boosts your confidence. When your confidence is boosted, you’ll have a great time.

To practice self care…. I take my bunny, Lida Rose, to work with me. She hops around my trailer all day. It feels like self care to take a moment to care for an animal and spend time with an animal. It’s doing something that doesn’t have to do with a screen or with your job; it’s really just about downtime.

If I could give a young Asian person advice, I would say… there’s no one right way to push representation forward. Do what speaks authentically to you and focus on that. Not only will that help with representation, but it makes better work.


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