‘Intimate, loving’ town of Port Colborne says goodbye to family killed in fire

Three of the people killed in the Dec. 9 fire were honoured in a private funeral Friday

CBC News Posted: Dec 23, 2016 10:32 AM ET

Many members of the community attended the private ceremony for Tammy Burd and her children Josh and Samantha, who died in a fire in their Port Colborne home. (Clare Bonnyman/CBC)

Continue reading “‘Intimate, loving’ town of Port Colborne says goodbye to family killed in fire”

[VIDEO] Sinkhole filled in as burst watermain cleanup underway

The city worked through the night to repair the water main break on Forsyth Avenue

CBC News Posted: Dec 20, 2016 8:24 AM ET

Crews fill the sinkhole on Forsyth Avenue, after repairing a water main that burst Monday December 19. (Clare Bonnyman/CBC)

Continue reading “[VIDEO] Sinkhole filled in as burst watermain cleanup underway”

[VIDEO] Canadian entertainer Gordie Tapp dead at 94

Host of Country Hoedown, cast member of Hee Haw, Tapp was iconic Canadian performer

CBC News Posted: Dec 19, 2016 11:28 AM ET

Gordie Tapp (CBC Archives)

Continue reading “[VIDEO] Canadian entertainer Gordie Tapp dead at 94”

Hippos, horses and hockey sticks for sale in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Kelsey’s Restaurant in Thunder Bay is renovating, and getting rid of everything in a silent auction on May 5, 6 and 7. Collectors and bargain hunters alike are finding the auction a unique place to shop for essentials and mementos, including a giant hippo head, carousel horse, and vintage neon Miller Lite sign.

The restaurant, which has been on Memorial Avenue for 19 years, is doing a complete overhaul to adopt new brand standards, said owner Claudio Foresta.

The auction has more than 500 items listed, including countless pieces of memorabilia that have lined the walls of the restaurant.

“It’s all got to go,” said Monique Crago, who has worked at Kelsey’s for 13 years and is organizing the auction.

Rob Cain, Pastor at Slate River Baptist Church, said the auction was a unique opportunity to shop with his four-year old daughter Ellie.

Cain is opening up a coffee shop at the church and was on the market for some chairs, tables and bar stools, almost 100 of which are being auctioned off by Kelsey’s. Ellie, on the other hand, was drawn to the carousel horse.

“There’s a lot of good stuff here on offer,” he said, but the variety of items is tempting.

“Once you start  looking around at things you kind of want things you didn’t think you wanted when you first came in. It’s difficult to control yourself.”

No new bike lanes this summer in Thunder Bay

CBCCity switches gears into internal systems, rather than infrastructure

By Clare Bonnyman, CBC News Posted: Apr 29, 2016 7:00 AM ET

Thunder Bay is looking to long term developments for it’s Active Transportation Plan. (Bert Savard/CBC)

For the first summer in years, residents of Thunder Bay, Ont. won’t see new additions to the city’s 40 km of bike lanes.

“This year is a different year,” said Adam Krupper, mobility coordinator for the City of Thunder Bay. “The work we’re doing is really behind the scenes.”

The focus for this summer he said, is investing in long-term strategies to more effectively gather data and reduce the maintenance effort required for bike lanes.

Every spring the roads crew sweeps salt and dirt off of all 40 km of the lanes, and repaint the lines and symbols; a process which can, and often does, take all summer, said Krupper.

This summer Active Transportation Thunder Bay is looking into permanent pavement markings, using a thermo-plastic paint that is melted into fresh asphalt.

The paint is a mixture of glass beads, pigments, binder and filler materials that become liquid when they’re heated.

Thunder Bay mobility coordinator Adam Krupper said investments will help with the long term maintenance and quality of the city’s biking infrastructure. (Adam Burns/CBC)

They are “much less labour intensive in the long run, and they don’t peel off,” said Krupper. “All they have to do is get washed off in the spring.”

It’s part of their plan to switch from building a larger network of lanes to streamlining the maintenance for that network.

New tools to gather data

The city also plans to gather more usage data for existing bike lanes.

This summer the City is purchasing long term counters that are automated, cutting down on the manpower associated with collecting data manually.

“We don’t have to have a person sitting by the road ticking off a box every time someone comes by, and they allow us to do longer term counts like month long counts,” said Krupper.

He said measuring use over a month is more effective than the usual 12 hour recording period.

“What’ll happen is if it’s cold and rainy that day, the numbers get skewed based on the weather. A longer term count, those types of variances will be captured but we’ll also see longer term trends.”

Even with new technology and plans in place, Krupper said that ongoing education remains top priority for the city to promote road safety for cyclists and motorists.

“Most people who ride a bike also drive, where we find frustration and confusion is when people just aren’t obeying the law,” he said.

For information and maps of Thunder Bay’s bike paths and lanes visit the city’s Active Transportation website.

Thunder Bay paramedics 1st in Canada to try Yoga for First Responders

Yoga for First Responders now a crucial part of Superior North EMS mental wellness strategy, paramedic says

By Clare Bonnyman, CBC News Posted: Apr 25, 2016 9:59 AM ET

Thunder Bay is the first city in Canada to run Yoga For First Responders classes. Instructor training is based out of Des Moines, Iowa. (Yoga For First Responders)

Paramedics in Thunder Bay, Ont. are the first in Canada to take part in a wellness program that aims to help them reduce their stress load.

Called “Yoga for First Responders“, the city-sponsored program was introduced in December of last year, said Marika Listenmaa, acting superintendent of professional standards at Superior North EMS.

Each week, two classes offer breathing and stress relief exercises to help paramedics deal with stress on the job — and in the office.

“[It’s] helping us to deal with a lot of the traumas that come with the workplace, as well as the political problems that we’re having with call volume, labour disputes, and issues like that,” Listenmaa said, adding it’s proving to be “a wellness program that’s well rounded.”

FullSizeRender jpg
Marika Listenmaa assisted in bringing the Yoga For First Responders program to Thunder Bay, Ont. with the help of Leanne Wierzbicki of Breathe Live Breathe Yoga. (Superior North EMS)

Paramedics in Thunder Bay will be in a legal strike position as of April 28. They recently voted 100 per cent in favour of going on strike.

“Nobody wants to have that sort of labour dispute,” said Listenmaa.

As discussions continue, she said it’s important to have a positive space for paramedics to meet outside of work and engage in healthy activities. But for shift workers, it’s often hard to find the time to do so.

The program offers “a nice place to work together in wellness with people you don’t often see,” she added.

This is a positive step for first responders like paramedics, who are all too often associated with negative news.

Listenmaa said it’s important to recognize the positive work going on in Ontario for these crises workers.

“Paramedics are often times not in the news when there are good things happening,” she said.

“This is a good thing for paramedics. We are trying to move forward in a proactive approach, and yoga for first responders is one of those approaches.”

On May16, Superior North EMS will be kicking off EMS Appreciation Week with yoga class led by acting chief Wayne Gates.

Check out this video of Yoga for First Responders at the Los Angeles, CA Fire Department 

The Price of Unpaid Internships

By Clare Bonnyman

The voices of students used in this piece were collected anonymously from a sample of 37 post-secondary students that have completed unpaid internships.

Today’s graduating students struggle.

Many earn a degree, but have little or no technical experience, and an obvious solution is an internship.

Today, unpaid internships are becoming infamous, warranting headlines and strong reactions.

“I think they are so insidiously evil,” said Bridget Eastgaard, creator of personal finance blog Money After Graduation.

“There is this mind set of the people that have completed unpaid internships. They act like it has made them a better person because they had to struggle so much,” she said.

Eastgaard calls it “The Bootstrapping Millennial Martyrdom Complex”, and has written about it in her blog. Essentially, those who suffered in the early years of their career see it as a rite of passage, and believe all others should too.

And with discussions within federal government trying to protect young workers, the limits of student suffering are up for discussion.

Today, more than ever students are paying to work, giving in to the ‘hidden costs’ of unpaid internships.

The hardest cost is deciding between paid work or an unpaid internship, but for Eastgaard, the benefits of working for free is not worth doing full time.

“I don’t want to see young people working 100 hours a week because they have to have two full time jobs,” she said

More than 50 per cent of the post-secondary students surveyed had part time jobs, and more than half kept those jobs while completing an unpaid internship.

Current proposed federal legislation would allow unpaid internships of four months or less. Originally proposed under the Harper Conservatives, the proposed changes to the Canada Labour Code focus on internships in federally regulated sectors that are “primarily for the benefit of the intern.”

Advocacy groups representing students pulled out of the consultations due to this proposed change.

The average part time job is 15 hours a week, and minimum wage in Ontario is $11.25 an hour; the average student taking four months off of work loses out on at least $2,700 dollars over 16 weeks.

Full time hours would earn them at least $6,300.

Internships can push students to work overtime, creating a struggle to balance budget and build a decent resume.

Quitting a paying job can make things harder.

“It’s one thing to take a job that you’re not getting a pay cheque for, but it’s quite another to leave a job to take a job that you’re not getting a pay cheque for,” said Eastgaard.

Other issues include relocating or commuting costs.

“A really good opportunity sometimes comes with those associated costs of moving,” said Eastgaard.

One student surveyed relocated to stay with family for free, while another spent $1,000 dollars on flights. When asked why they simply said, “one day I want a job.”

Another student took an opportunity abroad that also came with a costly commute. Her employer had promised a bus pass, but that never materialized, causing problems for a tight budget.

Student’s reported spending anywhere from $50 to $10,000 on relocation costs for unpaid positions, with 40 per cent of respondents spending more than $1,000.

Some costs are less obvious as well.

Unpaid internships can also force students into buying new equipment, clothing or joining networking activities.

Students reported spending up to $600 on these ‘satellite’ costs.

Tallied up, internships ranged from one week to five months, and cost anywhere from nothing to $10,000, not including lost wages.

Students keep costs low by staying close to home, living with friends or family, and keeping a tight budget for food and clothing.

In any case, internships are a serious financial burden, but a dream opportunity is hard to pass up.

Eastgaard’s advice is to evaluate the ROI— return on investment.

“When you’re considering an internship that is going to impact your finances in a negative way, make sure that it ultimately will have a positive ROI in your career,” she said.

“It can’t be just like ‘yay I’m bringing someone coffee in publishing.”

When it comes to the students, some call internships “a necessary evil,” while others feel they “should be illegal.”

For Eastgaard, it’s very simple.

“People should just be paid, period.”

A Day in the Life of a Newsatarian.

An experiment in scheduling; I want to block out (mostly for myself) a day in the life of a Newsatarian/Journalism student. So much of my preperation for my journalism career comes from how I take in the news everyday, and how I digest it. Immersion in the culture is a must. To really look at how often I take in news and how I consume my news is to look at how I can increase my intake or improve the content I’m already taking in. Also, it might prove just how big of a NewsJunkie slash RadioJunkie I am. (Hint, HUGE).

So this summer, as I work as a marketing assistant in downtown Toronto, here’s how I’m engaging in the news even when I don’t have time to practice my reporting (or do anything else).

6:00 AM

My first alarm goes off. I reach over and struggle to turn off the alarm on my phone, while simultaneously turning on my CBC Radio One app. I tune it to whichever local CBC Radio stattion I’m nearest. During the school year it’s Ottawa Morning with Hallie Cotnam. When I’m back home, I’m all over Metro Morning with Matt Galloway. Now THAT is a solid voice to wake up to everyday.

6:10 AM

My second alarm goes off. In an attempt to actually wake up, I open up my phone and flip onto Twitter. I flip right to my News List and start scrolling through the headlines, seeing what’s up for the day, anything new, etcetera. At this point too I check my phone for CP (Canadian Press), CBC, Globe and Mail, National Post and Ottawa Citizen news updates that may have come through on my apps while I was asleep.

6:20 AM

I actually get out of this point… Usually.
I take my phone around the house with me as I get ready, listening to the news updates as they come in, and listening to people who are far more awake than I am. I like to think of it as inspiration.

7:00 AM

I leave the house to catch a train, and say goodbye to my wifi. At this point theSkimm has arrived in my inbox on my phone. Probably one of my favourite sources of news at any time of day (but especially the morning), they summarize news and conflicts in a way that is understandable, fresh, often tongue-in-cheek and just in general awesome. This also gives me -as a Canadian- a great rundown on U.S. politics and U.S. National news in a way that I can actually wrap my head around. I read this on the train on my way downtown, which usually takes about 45 minutes.

8:00 AM

At this point I’m usually in the office if not far off. Back with internet (PRAISE) I log on, check my email and set up my screen for the day; newsmap in one tab, CBC Radio One open in another, and everything else I need for work.


I tune in and out of the Radio, trying to catch as much of shows like The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti or Q with Jian Ghomeshi. As a hopeful radio producer/journalist I try to soak up as much of CBC Radio as I can. The national news service offers a wide vareity of programming that covers so many topics, and each show is produced in a unique way. If you like marketing/business or just want to hear something really cool, I highly recommend Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly. Like technology? Spark with Nora Young features some incredible stories about science and technology. White Coat Black Art with Dr. Brian Goldman is great for the health conscious etcetera, etcetera. I highly recommend looking into CBC Radio programming, you won’t regret it.

I get daily updates on my phone from different apps and keep myself up to date on events as they unfold. Through my job and my company’s twitter account, I get  a great insight into Canadian News and Canadian Military News, particularly news releases from the Department of National Defense and the Canadian Armed Forces.

Facebook gives me plenty of updates on news as well. For lighter fare I’m a fan of Refinery29, a unique lifestyle and fashion website that I have fallen in love with. They post a ‘Things you Need to Know This Morning’ everyday which is a great roundup for a collection of news. On any given day you’ll find entertainment stories, international news events, business and commerce news, and some celebrity gossip to boot (the Snickers bar of the Newsatarian diet).

5:00 PM

By this time, I’m usually on the train home, or at least headed to it. If I haven’t used up my data for the month I flip through the news on twitter, but more often than not I just zone out and sleep. No shame.

6:00 PM

Back at home, radio is back on, and I’ll generally settle in to do some work, edit some writing, scope for scoops etcetera. I’ll generally tune into the TV news if I’m at home and have cable. Generally CBC or CTV fits the bill.

A couple of times a week I listen to a Radiolab podcast in the evening, by far one of my favourite radio shows and experiments to come out of the U.S. (which I have to admit, is far more experimental and diverse than Canadian radio). It’s a great show to listen to, to really experience what incredible radio production can do. Radio becomes a visual art if used the right way, and Radiolab uses editing and tools to the fullest.

Again, back on twitter, news, etcetera until I fall asleep. Luckily, even if I’m doing something else, breaking news will pop right up on the front of my phone and I can quickly tune in to the latest developing stories as soon as they happen. Timeliness is everything in the modern journalism and communications world, so as a student I’m working to acclimate myself to news around the clock.

And that’s a very general -and rough- day in the life of a Newsatarian slash Radio Junkie.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to do.

BBC News and Biased Views in Belfast.

In Belfast one of the more memorable experiences I had was visiting the BBC Northern Ireland headquarters and visiting with Claire SavageMark Devenport and Martina Purdy.

It is always an incredible opportunity to be able to learn about the journalism industry from individuals who have worked first hand in it, but I found it fascinating to learn about the news system in Northern Ireland, and how it differs from the rest of the world.

In a country where religion transcends almost everything, and one’s faith influences political ideologies, moral beliefs, historical understandings and more, it is only natural that the same ideological separation exists in how one consumes the news.

Claire was telling us how she published a ‘neutral’ newspaper at one point during her career. The attempt was to create a single news source that everyone in Northern Ireland could read, regardless of religion or ideological/political beliefs. While staying away from religion and politics, it would serve the community as a whole.

When she first mentioned it I must admit that the idea struck me as ingenious. In a world where religion is seeming to have less of a visible influence over youth and the general population, it only seemed natural that the transition to a ‘neutral’ news source would come in time as it has seemed to in other countries.

In Canada, no blatantly religious newspapers are widely distributed. Apart from the Anglican Journal or other church-published newsletters there is little religious bias or focus in the journalism industry. Political bias absolutely, but that is held apart (mostly) from religion.

In Northern Ireland the political climate is unique. The religious beliefs of the Catholics and Protestants are tightly bound to the beliefs of the Nationalists and Unionists, respectively. And so where in North America we have clearly Conservative or Liberal newspapers (Republican or Democrat in the United States), Northern Ireland has Catholic or Protestant.

(For more information here is BBC UK’s ‘Brief History of the Troubles, to explain the divide).

Claire’s newspaper unfortunately didn’t make it past six weeks, which only stands to demonstrate the work that is still to be done in Northern Ireland, but also shows the current climate in the international journalism scene as well. Print is going out of style, and it is becoming harder and harder for new print publications to exist. The web is taking over, and only those pre-established newspapers are finding any readership; and even that is declining.

As printed newspapers are “phasing out” it will be interesting to see how these biases and ideologies choose to present, produce, and distribute their news, whether it be to continue printing the papers, or to amalgamate into one large journalism mass, or maintain their bias in an online presence. As the climate in Northern Ireland shifts towards a more unified people it will also be interesting to see the influence on the NI journalism business. Will these biased papers drop off the earth, or will the religious and political knots eventually untangle themselves and settle into their respective corners?

Certain Belfastians are optimistic about this separation of church, state and community as a whole. A gentlemen named Tom, who led me and my peers on an incredible Black Taxi tour around the city over the weekend, believes that the young people of Belfast are setting the stage for a new era of history. By putting aside religious segregation and biases, he believes the Peace Walls will be down by 2023, and a new Belfast will be ushered in led by a non-partisan youth.

As for me, I certainly hope he’s right, and that newspapers like Claire’s can exist and thrive in a bright community that reflects on it’s past while still marching forward.


A Brief Introduction.

Welcome to my blog. My name’s Clare, and I am into just a little bit of everything. I’m passionate about writing, literature, art, fashion, old TV shows and movies, radio, music and travel; I’m passionately curious, and maybe a bit obsessive about learning. I’ve spent half my life in the woods of Northern Ontario, and the other half in the concrete jungle that is the GTA. I’ve worked for years to enter Carleton’s journalism program, and now that I’ve reached that dream I’m searching for the next one.

I’ve wanted to be a journalist, since I was a little girl and my mother braided my hair while we listened to The Current, with Anna Maria Tremonti. It was there, sitting in her lap, that I’d listen to Anna on the radio interviewing interesting people, asking the questions that I wanted to ask and getting the answers I needed. It was then that I learned that journalists are the people who get to expose the answers. Journalists get to dig deeper. Journalists get to explore subjects, people and stories. And it was then that I decided I wanted to be a journalist.

And I haven’t looked back since.