‘It was hell’: Woman’s co-worker accused of repeatedly tainting her water bottle with Lysol

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Toronto police have charged a 28-year-old woman for allegedly tainting a co-worker’s water bottle with a noxious substance at a downtown department store. 

Matsa Beliashvili said she likes to drink water from a glass canteen while working at the Hudson’s Bay on Yonge Street. The 33-year-old is a business manager at the Estée Lauder counter inside the store. 

In September of last year, she began noticing that an unusual number of bubbles were forming inside her bottle when she tried to fill it up. Beliashvili considered it odd, but didn’t think about it too much.

Over the next several months, however, she started to experience bouts of nausea, headaches and skin irritations, she said. In some instances, she had to take days off work because she felt so ill.

« It was hell what I went through, » she told CBC Toronto on Friday. 

This month, she started to suspect that perhaps the symptoms were connected to her water bottle, after noticing an odd odour whenever she took a sip. So on Jan. 8, on the advice of a colleague, Beliashvili replaced her water container with a brand new one.

Her ailments continued, despite the new purchase.

« That’s when I knew 100 per cent that something was wrong, » Beliashvili said. 

Based on a hunch about what might have been going on, Beliashvili left her water container out in the open when she went home on Jan. 19. She asked security to review any footage of the counter where she keeps her personal belongings between the time she left and when she returned to work the next day. 

According to Beliashvili, the video showed her 28-year-old colleague intentionally putting a household cleaning product into her canteen.

« They actually caught her in action on camera, spraying Lysol in my water bottle, » Beliashvili said.

She admitted, however, that security officials did not permit her to view the tape herself. 

Security officers at the Hudson’s Bay store where Matsa Beliashvili worked allegedly have video footage of the accused spraying Lysol into Beliashvili’s water bottle. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

‘I’m just glad it’s over’

Beliashvili was shocked because she had thought she and her colleague had a « normal relationship » that was both professional and friendly. 

« We had to work on a daily basis together, five days a week, » Beliashvili said. « It’s really hard to believe and it’s very heartbreaking. I’m really heartbroken. »

Security at Hudson’s Bay contacted police, who reviewed the footage and arrested the accused on Monday. She has been charged with one count of administering a noxious substance with intent to cause bodily harm and one count of mischief to interfere with property. 

The accused already appeared in court once, with a second hearing scheduled for Feb. 27. 

Beliashvili said the experience has been deeply traumatic for her. She’s not certain whether she will return to work at the same location. What hurts most, she said, is that her accused co-worker knew Beliashvili is the mother of a young child.

« I could never imagine that someone would be full of hate to this extent. It’s shocking, » Beliashvili said.

« Now I’m just glad it’s over. »

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Emerald City Bagels Doesn’t Need New York Water to Make a Really Freaking Good Bagel

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You can’t find a decent bagel outside of New York City, they said.

It’s in the water, they said.

Well, guess what. Times have changed. You can actually find great bagels outside of the Big Apple. And that’s because chefs and self-taught bagel obsessives wanted better options in their hometowns and, after intense R&D, they’ve created just that.

Case in point: Deanna and Jackie Halcrow of Emerald City Bagels, a new bagel and appetizing shop in Atlanta. After moving around the country, the mother-daughter team landed in Georgia a few years ago. Neither could shake their obsession with the bagels they grew up loving in New York, so they started making their own.

Now they’re turning biscuit-loving Atlanta into a bagel destination, and showing the rest of the country that bagels aren’t just a New York thing anymore. Here the Halcrows explain how they got into the bagel business—and why they think more shops are popping up beyond the Big Apple.

emerald city bagels 1

Photo by Emma Fishman

The bagel dream team at Emerald City Bagels: Jackie (left) and Deanna Halcrow

We’re seeing bagels everywhere. Why do you think they’re having a such a moment right now?

Jackie: “I didn’t realize it’s become a trend! My mom Deanna started making bagels at home—out of necessity. We couldn’t find bagel shops in Atlanta like we had living in New York. But personally, I think it’s catching on because people are returning to naturally handcrafted food items, like doughnuts. They like to know where their food is coming from.”

So how did Emerald City Bagels start?

Deanna: “I made them at home—it took 12 hours for Jackie and me to make a hundred!—and started offering them to my neighbors. I got a lot of feedback, and I realized that bagels were something people [who moved here] missed. That convinced us that something like this was needed, so we started wholesale baking.

Did the water question come up?

JH: “This is a passionate subject for us! We get told you can’t make a good bagel without water shipped from New York. First, that’s absurd, but it’s also insulting to us and our bagels that we can’t do what we do well without this one detail. If you’re passionate, you’ll make it really well no matter where your water is from.”

How do you make your bagels?

JH: “We get hard wheat from Michigan, which is milled in Massachusetts, then mixed it with sugar, salt, yeast, malt syrup, starter, and Atlanta tap water. They’re rolled then sit overnight, before they’re boiled in malted water and baked.”

I read that your favorite bagels are Absolute Bagels on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. What makes a great bagel in your opinion?

JH: “It should be dense and chewy with a crusty exterior.”

DH: “Not too big—about four ounces. My brother still lives in New York and he sent me an article about how big bagels are getting. Six ounces!”

How’d you end up opening a shop?

JH: “That was the dream. We envisioned the bagel shop of my childhood, with people in t-shirts and more of a deli atmosphere. The idea adapted over the countless hours we spent standing at our table rolling out bagels. It’s taken three years for us to design the shop. It’s weird to put it this way, but we wanted to be Russ & Daughters when we ‘grew up.’”

What’s the response been like?

DH: “Just the other day, a young guy told us he was so happy to find a bagel shop because he’s from New York. We get that a lot.”

JH: “Sometimes we get customers who question your New York–ness or want to prove their own. But to have people appreciate your bagels is the best compliment.”

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Residents living in Regina’s older homes warned of lead pipes and water line connectors – Regina

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Some Regina residents are voicing concerns after receiving letters alerting them of water connections to their homes containing lead and the potential health risks.

Dena Hudson has lived in her early 20th century home in the Cathedral neighbourhood for 21 years. She received her letter in late November 2018.

While lead is nothing new, Hudson is just one of nearly 4,000 residents who received letters as part of the city’s push, prompting residents to take action.


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“We can’t replace 4,000 services immediately so what we need to do is make sure public health is protected,” director of Water, Waste and Environmental Services for the city of Regina, Pat Wilson said.

The city started replacing its lead pipes nearly a decade ago, a common issue in neighbourhoods built before the 1960’s, but it’s not replacing pipes on private property.

“The city is responsible for the portion from the property line, the curb box or the valve box, out to the main and then the owner is responsible just like anything on the property for the portion that goes from the curb box to the house,” Wilson said.


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Because the heavy metal is linked to neurological effects, the city is paying for those at risk to get their water tested.

“We provide two options for testing, we can come in and do a full test which involves leaving the water stand for six hours and then we take the first draw of water and test that. We can also provide an opportunity for folks to take a sample themselves,” Wilson said.

Adding, it can sometimes be difficult to know what material might be in the home because there may have been repairs or partial replacements in the past.

“Folks can have a copper system inside all of their pipes inside may be copper, but they still have some lead in the service connection,” Wilson said.


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Upon receiving the letter, Hudson collected a sample of water herself and took it to the provincial lab for testing, and within a week she received her results.

The test showed 14.4 micrograms of lead per litre of water, which is above the accepted standard of fewer than 10 micrograms per litre.

“I think what I was more concerned about was my children,” Hudson said. “Because they grew up in this home- they arrived here when they were one and three years of age and they’ve been drinking that water for 20 plus years.”

Hudson has since installed a water filtration system which is eligible for a rebate and the city is also giving away filters to anyone who has a city service connection that is lead, or test results which show high levels of lead.


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So far, the city says it’s handed out 350 filters and is replacing around 100 connections per year, hoping to be lead-free by 2050.

“Many cities have this issue, some cities have considerable more services that they’re needing to replace, we’re interested in any opportunities we have to accelerate that pace,” Wilson said.

Still, with a portion of the pipes left up to the homeowner to replace, which could cost thousands, Hudson says it’s a harsh reality.

“Who can pay for that? A lot of people can’t, it’s a very difficult economic reality.”

Anyone with questions can call the city at (306) 777-7000.

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Study finds Canadians concerned about shipping petroleum by water

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A new Angus Reid Institute study suggests Canadians have a much greater concern over marine shipping when petroleum is involved.

The survey of over 2,200 people found 94 per cent of Canadians believe marine shipping is either “very safe” or “generally safe.”

But when asked about shipping petroleum products in Canadian waters, only 61 per cent of respondents said they are more confident about the safety of the procedure than they are worried.


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Research associate Ian Holliday also notes that more than half of those surveyed mentioned the potential for an oil spill as a major risk associated with the shipping industry.

But Holliday tells Alberta Morning News that concern shows people may be overestimating how many major oil spills have taken place in Canadian waters, where at least 700 tonnes of oil have spilled.


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“Most Canadians guess that over the last 10 years, there have been at least three such spills,” Holliday says.

“In fact, there have been zero spills of that size.”

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According to the study, the support for marine shipping petroleum also varies depending on geographic location.

In Alberta and Atlantic Canada, more than 60 per cent of respondents would support an increase in oil tanker traffic around B.C.’s South Coast.


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But most British Columbians and Quebecers oppose more petroleum-carrying vessels in the same area.

The survey also found 75 per cent of Canadians are confident in the safety rules and regulations covering marine shipping, but a majority still feels the government needs to focus more on safety oversight and enforcement.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Oct. 19-29, 2018, among a representative randomized sample of 2,250 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. The sample plan included large over-samples in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada, which were then weighted back to provide a national snapshot. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size with this sample plan would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Water main break damages homes in Côte Saint-Luc – Montreal

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Several homes were damaged after a huge water main break in Côte Saint-Luc.

The incident happened at Mackle Road and Eldridge Avenue around midnight Friday.


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The break has been capped, but water is up to waist level in some home basements.

Power has been cut off in the area, and Eldridge Avenue is closed between Mackle and Kildare roads.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Police confirm vandalism after Coast Guard ship tumbled into water in N.S.

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A Canadian Coast Guard ship is partially submerged in water at a shipyard in Sambro Head, N.S., after falling from its secured cradle in a case Halifax police are investigating as suspected vandalism.

The Coast Guard tweeted late Saturday morning that the CCGS Corporal McLaren had released from the cradle at the shipyard and then slid down the slip into the water.

The vessel is at the shipyard for a refit.

Gregory Wilkie, the captain of the Canadian Coast Guard ship Corporal McLaren, says a salvage company will recover the boat from the water. (Mairin Prentiss/CBC)

Police said in a press release Saturday afternoon their preliminary investigation revealed that someone damaged the slip which caused the ship to slide into the ocean. Police are treating the incident as suspicious. 

Ray Gallant, vice-president of operations with Canadian Maritime Engineering, said Saturday the shipyard was « entered by vandals » on Friday night. He says they cut the cradle cable and safety chain.

He said Halifax police are investigating to determine who was involved in « the act of vandalism. »

Gallant said security checks determined the boat was still in its correct position around midnight. A subsequent check revealed the ship was in the water and the fire department was notified.

He said he is certain the cables were cut with a cordless mini-grinder.

« It’s very obvious. If a cable fails, it frays. This was a clean straight cut. »

He said the primary focus now is safety and the protection of the environment.

The vessel was at the shipyard for a scheduled refit. (Mairin Prentiss/CBC)

The Coast Guard sent environmental staff to the scene to examine the ship and try to prevent any risk to the marine environment.

Gallant says he believes minimal damage has been done to the vessel. The goal is to return it to its former position as quickly as possible to continue with the scheduled work on the ship.

Divers were in the water on Saturday to assess the situation.

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Water main break floods houses in Vancouver – BC

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A major water main break flooded a number of homes in Vancouver on Wednesday.

The pipe broke around 2 p.m. near Oak Street and West 29th Avenue. There was as much as one to two feet of water in the street in some places.


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“It was sort of like a river going on,” resident Jagjit Pabla said. “There was so much water. It was coming out; the earth was shaking like somebody was pounding a hammer on it.”

Resident Solly Khalifa said the basements in five of the six houses on his block were “very flooded.”

“There’s definitely going to be some insurance claims made,” Khalifa said.

Daniel Roberge, the City of Vancouver’s director of water and sewage, said they are working with the “dozen or so” houses that were affected.

Crews are hoping to have the repairs completed overnight.

A broken water main pipe in Vancouver.

City of Vancouver

—With files from Jennifer Palma

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Keto-compatible’ Hot Dog Water to appear at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Vancouver health summit

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What do $38 bottles of hot dog water (hot dog included) and Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle mega-brand Goop have in common?

Both will be making an appearance at Vancouver’s Stanley Park Pavilion on Saturday.

Paltrow is bringing her controversial wellness brand to the city on the weekend for a summit called In Goop Health, billed as a “mind-expanding day” featuring wellness experts, local chefs and a “goopified Stanley Park Pavilion.”


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Tickets for the event cost $400 plus tax, for which attendees can learn about defusing anxiety, changing personal relationships and decoding gut health. Paltrow is also expanding her product line into Canada.

WATCH: Gwyneth Paltrow’s company Goop is coming to Canada






Goop has faced criticism from some medical professionals, who accuse the brand of peddling potentially dangerous products based on bad science.

Earlier this year, the company was forced to pay $145,000 in civil penalties to settle allegations of unscientific claims made about three products, including a $66 vaginally inserted jade egg meant to improve women’s sex lives.


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That reputation of selling bogus health products is what caught the attention of Vancouver artist and Hot Dog Water CEO Douglas Bevans — who plans to crash the summit.

Hot Dog Water on display.

Franklin Sayre

You may remember Bevans from his eye-catching prank this summer at Vancouver’s Main Street Car Free Day festival.

Flanked by a “scientist” and a man in a hot dog bodysuit, Bevans presented himself as a health drink entrepreneur and hawked the slickly branded bottles of hot dog water for $37.99.

The product’s marketing described it as a gluten-free wonder drink rich in sodium and a source of electrolytes. He sold one bottle and convinced curious festivalgoers to consume about 60 litres of the stuff in sample form.

“It’s really innumerable. Our extraction experts have deemed it a miracle product and with reason. First of all it’s Keto-compatible, you can lose weight, look younger, increase vitality for sure, and last but not least, increase brain function,” Bevans deadpanned.

The stunt, Bevans explained, was meant as a commentary on the “snake oil salesmen” of health marketing.

A sign breaks down the “health benefits” of Hot Dog Water.

Franklin Sayre

Now the artist is reprising his role with a kiosk planned outside the In Goop Health event.

“It’s really not a personal vendetta against Goop. We’re calling it an unhealthy competition,” Bevans said Thursday.

“It seems like Goop is one of these companies that we want to bring awareness through critical thinking to, but it’s not necessarily Goop, we want to cast a broader net.”

In a media release, Bevans described Saturday’s event as a “playful parody of the healthy lifestyle quackery that flourishes in this credulous age.”

Visitors will be greeted by a chef stirring a giant cauldron of hot dogs, and a display of chilled hot dog water, hot dog water lip balm and hot dog water breath spray.


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“Although humorous, Hot Dog Water is not a prank, and people are not being tricked into drinking it. Rather, in its absurdity, the art performance encourages critical thinking related to product marketing and the significant role it plays in our purchasing choices.”

Attendees hoping to catch Paltrow’s summit are out of luck, as the event is sold out. However, anyone hoping to sample a cool glass of hot dog water can catch Bevans outside the Stanley Park Pavilion from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

—With files from Katie Dangerfield and Rahul Kalvapalle

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Chambly under boil water advisory until further notice – Montreal

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The City of Chambly has issued a boil water advisory until further notice following a water main break.

The order, which was issued Monday morning, asks residents to boil their tap water for at least one minute before consuming. This also applies to water used to prepare raw food and make ice.

Authorities say any ice, drinks or food prepared with tap water after 10:45 a.m. Monday should be discarded.

WATCH: Food safety expert explains how to deal with boil water advisory






A notice posted on the city’s website says tap water can be used for bathing and to wash dishes.

Riverside School Board says it will be providing water bottles for students and staff.

While the city says it has temporarily repaired the water main as of Monday afternoon, it warns there will be more work required over the coming days to permanently fix the problem.

The work will take place overnight in order to minimize its impact on residents.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘We are more than mercury’: The youth from a place known for poisoned land and water are sending a message

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The Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, also known as Grassy Narrows, is an Indigenous nation in northwestern Ontario, an hour north of Kenora, Ont.

It’s an Anishinabek community with a rich history of multicultural hunters, trappers, fishers and harvesters of the land. But in recent history, it’s been launched into the national spotlight as the First Nation poisoned by mercury.

Song written, recorded and filmed in Grassy Narrows First Nation.

Media coverage of the dumping, which began in the early 1960s, has exposed the world to the community’s incredible suffering caused by contamination of the land, water and fish, the consumption of which has made many of its members sick. (About 1,000 people live on the reserve.)

In April 2016, with support from N’we Jinan, youth in Grassy Narrows — including Darwin Fobister and Hailey Loon — released an original song called “Home to Me,” which draws attention to the community’s struggle with deforestation and contamination, but also highlights the strength they draw from their deep connection to the environment. N’we Jinan is a nonprofit organization that brings a mobile recording studio into communities across North America to help youth express themselves through song with professional guidance.

Today, the youth have a message for the public: “We are more than mercury.”

DARWIN FOBISTER, 21: ‘I decided to work with Grassy’s youth because they saw me as a leader’

Darwin Fobister on the Grassy Narrows reserve. He writes about working with youth: "I can't say kids here have everything, but I see everything in them."
Darwin Fobister on the Grassy Narrows reserve. He writes about working with youth: « I can’t say kids here have everything, but I see everything in them. »

I didn’t find out until the age of 5 about the mercury poisoning. I started having seizures — my mother’s umbilical cord had a high amount of mercury in it. The doctors knew when I was born that I wasn’t a normal baby.

When I was 8, my grandma and my dad told me everything. They said my parents ate a lot of fish, and explained about the pulp mill, which dumped mercury into the river system in the 1960s.

They told me we were sick.

Every day I have headaches, and I can’t feel my hands sometimes. They get numb. My speech was way off, too — I had to take special education.

But I never let mercury bother me too much. We need to move forward.

Now, I’m the recreational activator at the community’s multi-purpose complex. I put on activities for the kids to give them a brighter future and an active life.

Eight-year-old Patience Fobister takes a swing during a home game against the Whitedog Thunderhawks last summer.
Eight-year-old Patience Fobister takes a swing during a home game against the Whitedog Thunderhawks last summer.

I decided to work with Grassy’s youth because they saw me as a leader. They looked up to me because I never turned to alcohol and drugs.

I can’t say kids here have everything, but I see everything in them. They’re involved in their culture, they’re learning how to get the community back together instead of separated. They enjoy the moccasin game; they pick wild rice and learn how to process and cook it.

I see leaders around here. I don’t see mercury. When I think about our people, I think about our hunting, fishing and trapping — the cultural practices we still live today.

The media’s focus on mercury means we’re no longer alone. We have the world’s support and it makes everybody in Grassy feel stronger.

But our community is not all about mercury. We don’t want to think of a dying tree, we want to think of a living tree — healthy with growing green leaves. That’s the truth. I enjoy my life. I enjoy my fishing and my great-grandfather’s teachings.

Part of my happy story is filmmaking. I started taking pictures and videos as a teenager because I love nature and the beautiful sites around the reserve. I take them to bring out beauty in the community, so people don’t think that they have nothing.

Water rushes over the rocks near a waterfall in the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation's traditional territory on a June day.
Water rushes over the rocks near a waterfall in the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation’s traditional territory on a June day.

My friends from around the world like my videos. They start to see what’s really going on in Grassy, the positives and the negatives. My work is showing people that there are youth here who are interested in these kinds of things, and in honouring the land and the water the way our elders did — but with the new tools available to us.

HAILEY LOON, 17: ‘If I started a tourism business I would show people there’s so much more’

Grade 11 student Hailey Loon is a hiphop dancer and writer, seen here outside Sakatcheway Anishinabe School in Grassy Narrows. A friend had heard about her reserve. "I had to tell him it's not all about mercury; not everyone is affected by it. He just said, 'Wow.' "
Grade 11 student Hailey Loon is a hiphop dancer and writer, seen here outside Sakatcheway Anishinabe School in Grassy Narrows. A friend had heard about her reserve. « I had to tell him it’s not all about mercury; not everyone is affected by it. He just said, ‘Wow.’ «

My mom never ate fish when she was pregnant with me. I grew up mostly with my grandparents, and fish was a regular part of my diet.

But I don’t have any mercury symptoms. I’m lucky. It’s hard watching other people suffer from the symptoms.

There’s a lot more going on here than mercury problems though. I met a friend once from Ignace, Ont., and he was doing a school project on Grassy Narrows. He told me that all he could find online was mercury reports and news articles about it.

I had to tell him it’s not all about mercury; not everyone is affected by it. He just said, “Wow.” I told him my story and how I’m not really poisoned by the mercury.

This is my story: I play sports, walk around in the bush and hang out at home with my mom and we bead together. I play Scrabble at my kookum’s (grandmother’s) and we talk about life.

Last year, I joined a program called Outside Looking In (OLI) because I needed a high school credit. OLI brings dance education to Indigenous youth and their communities.

Rehearsals were tough, but I’m really glad I stayed because it was a new experience for me. I met a lot of people and it was amazing. I never thought I could dance until OLI came here. But I motivated myself to learn and try hard.

We went to Toronto in May and danced onstage in front of like 2,000 people. I feel really proud of myself and I know I inspired kids because they came up to me after I got back and asked me how my experience was, and how it was at camp, and how it felt.

I’ll probably do it again this year. If there’s one thing I would want people to know about Grassy Narrows, it’s that Grassy Narrows is a beautiful place with beautiful scenery. If I had to start up a tourism business, I would show people that there’s so much more.

DARCY WILLIAMSON, 27: ‘I want to become a paramedic or get into nursing, and bring that back’

Grass dancer Darcy Williamson performs at the Iskatewizaagegan First Nation (Shoal Lake 39) Summer Pow-Wow in August. "When people see me, I don't want them to see someone poisoned by mercury. I want them to see a culturally oriented community member."
Grass dancer Darcy Williamson performs at the Iskatewizaagegan First Nation (Shoal Lake 39) Summer Pow-Wow in August. « When people see me, I don’t want them to see someone poisoned by mercury. I want them to see a culturally oriented community member. »

I’ve been playing hockey since I was 4 years old, so I know what it’s like outside of the community and I know what’s going on inside the community.

I played in Kenora from Grade 9 to the end of high school, played for Team Ontario at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships, and then played junior A in Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto and Thunder Bay.

And I did hear stuff about Grassy brought up in those cities. I heard about the mercury problem and the forestry, both good and bad. But sports brought me out of my shell — I gained more confidence and started to find out that mercury didn’t have to be a huge factor in my life.

I feel like the media only covers the bad stuff here. Why not talk about the powwows? The cultural camp that happened over the summer? The fish derbies? The way our community and school came together during the Humboldt Broncos tragedy?

I wish they could find a balance in coverage, just like life — life needs a balance between the good and the bad.

When people see me, I don’t want them to see someone poisoned by mercury. I want them to see a culturally oriented community member.

I’m also a grass dancer, and when I dance, I dance to feel good about myself. Or when someone is asking me for help or advice, when I enter the circle to dance I pray for them and for their healing. It’s a good path to go on.

I went to Lakehead University for a while and studied Indigenous learning. I did pre-health science, and ultimately, I think I want to become a paramedic or get into nursing, and bring that back to the community — something that’s really needed.

For now, I’m the phys-ed teacher at our community school. One of my goals is to bring all the hockey knowledge that I have to the students here and show them there’s a lot more out there than what they see here.

Published with support from Journalists for Human Rights and the Ontario Trillium Foundation

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