Saturday, March 31, 2012

Canada crowns Stirling-Rawdon with the title of Kraft Hockeyville 2012

Receives a 2012-2013 NHL® Pre-Season Game, $100,000 in arena upgrades from Kraft Canada and a visit from CBC's Hockey Night in Canada

STIRLING-RAWDON, Ontario, March 31, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The buzzer has sounded, the votes are in and the news is official - Stirling-Rawdon is Kraft Hockeyville 2012. After weeks of determined campaigning, culminating with a national vote to select the winner, Stirling-Rawdon has earned the title of Canada's most passionate hockey community.

Stirling-Rawdon will host a 2012-2013 NHL® pre-season game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets, receive $100,000 in arena upgrade money from Kraft Canada, and enjoy a visit from CBC's Hockey Night In Canada. The Ontario town will also receive $10,000 in food bank donations from Kraft Canada.

The four runner-up communities, all of which displayed incredible solidarity and enthusiasm throughout the competition, will have their efforts rewarded with $25,000 each from Kraft Canada to go towards the social hubs they so passionately promoted - their local arena.

More than 11 million votes were registered for the Top 5 communities, between March 17 and March 20, 2012. A breakdown of the final tally follows:


Ontario Stirling-Rawdon, Ontario Stirling District Recreation Centre 3,986,769

Pacific West Kelowna, British Columbia Royal LePage Place 2,789,594

Quebec Amos, Quebec Complexe Sportif De Amos 2,207,511

Atlantic Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Mariners Centre 1,655,475

West Duck Lake, Saskatchewan Beardy's Memorial Arena 903,260

"Just like in hockey, this competition requires passion and teamwork to win" said Dino Bianco, President, Kraft Canada. "I'd like to congratulate the community of Stirling-Rawdon for their tireless effort, passion and creativity. We look forward to showcasing your winning spirit when we visit this fall."

"CBC is delighted to continue to positively impact the lives of communities across Canada through Kraft Hockeyville 2012," said Julie Bristow, Executive Director, Studio and Unscripted Programming, CBC. "Alongside the NHL, NHLPA and Kraft Canada, Kraft Hockeyville allows us to bring the great sport of hockey to communities such as Stirling-Rawdon, ON that have a passion and desire to increase exposure and participation in the sport."

"Great things happen when a community focuses its passion on a cause as exciting as Kraft Hockeyville," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "The National Hockey League is extremely pleased to join Kraft in supporting this outstanding program, which ensures the longevity of a neighborhood rink and creates a legacy of hockey opportunities."

"Kraft Hockeyville 2012 is a great achievement for Stirling-Rawdon, and the NHLPA congratulates the local community for demonstrating their passion for hockey to the rest of Canada," said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. "Players enjoy being a part of Kraft Hockeyville, and the pre-season game in October will be another opportunity for the Players to connect with fans."

"We are thrilled to be participating in Kraft Hockeyville 2012 and look forward to an exciting visit with the members of Leafs Nation in Stirling-Rawdon next season," said Toronto Maple Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke. "The Kraft Hockeyville program is a great celebration of the game of hockey and the Columbus Blue Jackets are proud to be taking part in this game," said club Executive Vice President and General Manager Scott Howson. "We look forward to visiting Stirling-Rawdon next October and playing the Toronto Maple Leafs."

To view photos and videos, fans are encouraged to join the Kraft Hockeyville Facebook Fan page, check out coverage on and follow @hockeyville on Twitter.

The Kraft Hockeyville partners would like to thank and congratulate all of the communities that participated in this year's competition.

Kraft Hockeyville 2012 partners are Kraft Canada, CBC, The National Hockey League (NHL), and The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA).

Kraft Canada has supported hockey for over 30 years through sponsorships and grassroots programs. Since its inception, the Kraft Hockeyville partners have provided over $1,000,000 in arena upgrade money, equipment, and local food bank donations.

Supporting brands for Kraft Hockeyville 2012 include Kraft Dinner, Cracker Barrel, Chips Ahoy, Tassimo, Oreo, and Maxwell House.

CBC, Hockey Night in Canada, Hockeyville, and CBC and Hockeyville logos are official marks of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. NHL and the NHL Shield are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. ©NHL 2012. All Rights Reserved. NHLPA and the NHLPA logo are trademarks of the NHLPA© and are used under license. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Veterinarians want people to remember Buddy and his story

photo credit: S.E Photography/Via Flickr

MILTON, Ontario, March 29, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The staff at Walden Animal Hospital are busy planning the creation of a memorial so that no one forgets Buddy or his story. Buddy had been brought in by a caring citizen who found him bleeding at the side of a rural road in St. Charles, Sudbury, ON last week. Upon examination, the hospital determined "Buddy" had been shot in the face with a shotgun and began work immediately to stabilize him and focus on wound repair and pellet removal. "If Buddy's owner had bothered to seek a more humane end to buddy's life, they would have learned that they could have handed Buddy over to the local Humane Society, adoption could have been a new beginning for Buddy… even if euthanasia was necessary, this is a what veterinarians are trained to do, painlessly and with compassion," commented Dr. Carolyn Lariviere. Buddy's recovery story spread through social media, and funds started coming into the clinic from all over North America, adding up to $11,000. Walden Animal Hospital has since set up a trust fund for the donations.

"We are looking forward to building Buddy's memorial this spring. The site will be a garden area featuring a Wishing Well focal point constructed by a local craftsman. Buddy really inspired us, and we wanted his memorial to be a happy, hopeful place. The Wishing Well seemed like a perfect way to honour his memory. We will make an announcement when it is completed," adds Dr. Lariviere.

The cost of the memorial is being donated by the Walden Animal Hospital, this is their special gift to Buddy. The funds donated to Buddy by the public are strictly for "Buddy's Trust" which is dedicated to the medical care of abused and abandoned pets. Buddy's story raised awareness regarding the current legislation concerning animal cruelty and inspired many people to get involved. In the words of Dr. Lariviere,
"The memorial however, is a place to remember Buddy himself, and the generosity of spirit shown by the community towards a dog most only knew through photographs."

About the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (

Founded in 1980, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association represents thousands of veterinarians across Ontario in private practice, government, academia, industry and public service. Its mandate is to advance and promote excellence in the veterinary profession in Ontario, and contribute to the betterment of animal health and the protection of human health.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Report confirms agriculture continues to drive Canadian economy

GUELPH, Ontario March 28, 2012 – Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) - The recent annual report An Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System 2012, published by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada confirms the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s (OFA) position that agriculture is a driving force in Canada’s economy.

The report, released March 26, provides an economic overview of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system, and confirms the sector is becoming increasingly innovative, productive, integrated, competitive and modern. Economic and employment statistics show the agriculture and agri-food industry provided one in eight jobs in 2010 and employed more than 2 million people, an increase of 14 per cent between 1997 and 2010. The industry also accounted for more than eight per cent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a significant contribution to both federal and provincial economies.

“There’s never been a better time to highlight agriculture’s significant contribution to our economy,” says Mark Wales, OFA President. “Our industry has seen nothing but expansion, increased efficiencies and productivity and modernization, and we’re proud to see the report results reflect these positive changes.”

The annual report shows Canadians still enjoy some of the lowest food costs in the world, with food spending from stores accounting for almost 10 per cent of personal household expenditures in recent years. The food and beverage industry also accounts for significant contributions adding value and transforming primary production. In fact, 38 per cent of agricultural production is used as raw material inputs by the food processing industry, making it the most important manufacturing industry in Canada in 2010.

The agriculture and agri-food system is also a major employer in most provincial economies, contributing to jobs and economic activity. In Ontario, the agri-food industry contributes $33 billion to the provincial economy every year, provides jobs for 700,000 people and pays $7 billion in wages.

OFA looks forward to continuing to build agriculture’s economic role by working closely with the new Jobs and Prosperity Council, recently announced in the Ontario provincial budget. The Council will provide advice to the government on a new fund to support productivity growth and job creation in the business sector. OFA will work with the Ontario government to support farm businesses, encourage further productivity and an even greater economic contribution from agriculture.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 37,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Golden Horseshoe Food & Farming Action Endorsed by Toronto

TORONTO, March 27, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Toronto City Council's Economic Development Committee today endorsed the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan 2021 which calls for a more integrated and coordinated approach to food and farming in the area.

Food and Farming: An Action Plan 2021, developed by the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee (GTAAAC) and its partners, the City of Hamilton and the Region of Niagara, was officially launched on March 2, 2012. It has now been endorsed by all five regional municipalities in the Golden Horseshoe (York, Halton, Durham, Peel and Niagara) as well as the City of Hamilton and many food and farm-related groups.

The plan provides five broad strategies and numerous specific actions to revitalize the area's food and farming cluster which contributes $12.3 billion to the provincial economy, and is the second largest cluster of its kind in North America. This direct economic activity is estimated to contribute $35 billion annually to the Canadian economy.

It addresses the serious challenges impeding its growth, including multiple and conflicting government policies and regulations, rising fuel costs, a lack of integration, urbanization, competition for land, gaps in infrastructure and traffic congestion.

"As one of the pillars of our economy, Golden Horseshoe farms and related food sectors feed millions of people in the Greater Toronto Area, across Ontario and around the world," said Nick Ferri, Chair of the GTAAAC. "It also provides hundreds of thousands of jobs for Ontarians, so it is very heartening to see such wide-spread support for the plan."

"We're very pleased with yesterday's endorsement," said Peter Lambrick, Chair of the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan Steering Committee. "The fact that our presentation was so well-received signals that governments at all levels are getting behind the plan and are prepared to see it implemented."

The Action Plan is a blueprint for supporting and growing a thriving and integrated economic cluster by focusing on enhancing competitiveness, promoting sustainability and removing barriers to growth. It is the result of extensive consultations, including input from producers, industry and government representatives, the academic community and not-for-profit organizations.

Background reports to the Action Plan include wide-ranging research into best practices around the world and a detailed economic analysis of the area's food and farming cluster. The complete Action Plan and supporting materials are available at

Monday, March 26, 2012

Recycle Old Jeans into a Garden Apron. No Sewing Required.

photo credit: CHOW/Video screen capture

by Sami Grover -- Living / Lawn & Garden

From the fastest, most efficient way to cook pasta to the best way to stop an avocado from browning, CHOW Tips has offered up some thrifty, handy foodie advice in its time. But as every good cook knows, gardening and cooking are just two sides of the same coin.

So their latest tip, presented by Spring Warren of the Quarter Acre Farm, makes total sense—how to transform an old pair of jeans into a simple, utilitarian garden apron that you don't mind getting messy. All you need is, of course, an old pair of jeans, and a pair of scissors. No measuring, and no sewing, required.

Unfortunately I need the only old pair of jeans I have, as they tend to get used when I am doing garden work. Oh well...

Happy Dancing Cows Celebrate the Arrival of Spring (Video)

by Stephen Messenger - Science / Natural Sciences

Ahh, Spring. It's a time for winter-weary denizens to cast off their cold weather coats and scarves to bask once again in the rejuvenating rays of a new season's sunshine. But it's not just humans who seem to take particular delight in finding that Spring has finally sprung. Even cows, not exactly known for their enthusiasm, are quite clearly delighted to return to graze outside after a long winter's wait indoors -- proving yet again that those purest sensations of joy and hope we feel in springtime are equally enjoyed by our most humble livestock animal counterparts, with whom too often it seems we share so little.

It's hard to not to smile watching this group of Holstein dairy cows in the UK happily skipping to their grazing land having been cooped up in their winter barn to ride out the chilly weather, yet it is at the same time refreshingly disarming to be reminded of the emotional capacity of animals regularly regarded as commodities simply for their flesh.

Interestingly, some nations take such pleasure in seeing the happiness of cows racing to the fields in Spring that it's become annual tradition to watch it. Each year, thousands of Swedes gather to observe what's known as kosläpp, the cow's annual return to graze which has come to mark the end of winter -- a rare bit of interspecies merrymaking that seems to acknowledge, in some small way, that the joy of Spring is joy for all.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Expert Reveals How Canadians Feel About Water and What Needs to be Done

EDMONTON, Alberta March 22, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - To mark World Water Day 2012, EPCOR Utilities Inc. has released a series of video shorts that touch on the results of the RBC 2012 Water Issues poll, and provide perspective on what individuals and industry should do about it.

"Canadians have one of the highest rates of water consumption per capita in the world," says Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair in support of the United Nations "Water for Life" Decade in Action initiative in Canada. "Although we're all becoming more conservation-minded, our attitudes don't match our actions, and we could all do a lot more as individuals. Proactive industry should also look to best practices around the world and consult outside expertise to collaborate on a strategy to optimize water use. I've seen solutions that can be truly good for business and the environment."

The video series features Bob Sandford discussing the following topics:

...the importance of investment in water infrastructure
...the value of water in our economy
...industry and water conservation

The videos were produced to promote EPCOR's commitment to protecting our water heritage and preserving resources for the future.

"Video: World Water Day - The importance of Investment in Water Infrastructure ".

About EPCOR Utilities Inc.

EPCOR's wholly owned subsidiaries build, own and operate electrical transmission and distribution networks, water and wastewater treatment facilities and infrastructure in Canada and the United States. EPCOR, headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, is an Alberta Top 55 employer.


EPCOR Water Solutions
EPCOR videos
EPCOR customer site
EPCOR Corporate Site
@EPCOR on Twitter

Thursday, March 22, 2012

OFAH Conference provides platform for fish and wildlife discussion

photo credit pmadden21 via Flickr

MNR applauds OFAH partnership, warns of impending budget cut impacts

PETERBOROUGH, Ontario, March 21, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) hosted its 84th Annual General Meeting and Fish & Wildlife Conference in Mississauga from March 15 to 17 and welcomed more than 700 outdoors enthusiasts.

Several key staff from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) presented updates on their areas of responsibility, among them Deputy Minister David O'Toole, speaking on behalf of MNR Minister Michael Gravelle who was unable to attend due to illness. Mike Morencie, Director of Fish and Wildlife Services Branch, Lois Deacon, Director of Enforcement Branch and Christie Curley, Wildlife Management Coordinator, Wildlife Policy Section also provided overviews on the new fish and game licensing system, enforcement, and moose management respectively.

"There are so many partnerships that we can celebrate," said O'Toole, of the work the OFAH and MNR achieve together. He cited the Invading Species Awareness Program, Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program and Elk Restoration Program as examples of successful collaborations, and encouraged hunters to review the current MNR proposal to extend the elk season, and to watch for a proposal to allow leashed dogs to track and retrieve big game animals in areas of the province where it is currently prohibited. O'Toole went on to caution that all ministries will feel the effects of the upcoming budget, as the government works to reduce its $16 billion deficit. "There is no question that there will be fiscal pressure on the [fish and wildlife] program in the coming year … Every stakeholder that we deal with will feel the impact of these decisions."

"We appreciate the cooperation and commitment of the Ministry of Natural Resources under the leadership of Minister Michael Gravelle, and we look forward to continuing to work together on conservation and restoration programs that enhance our natural resources. We understand that this budget will be a tough one, but we will act on behalf of Ontario's anglers and hunters to continue to press for action on fish and wildlife issues, and to conserve our natural legacy," said Mike Reader, OFAH Executive Director.

Tim Hudak, Leader of the Conservative Party of Ontario was the featured speaker at the President's reception on Thursday evening. Associate Minister of National Defence Julian Fantino delivered the keynote address at the Conservation Awards Gala on Friday evening.

Other speakers included federal, provincial and Algonquin representatives of the Algonquin Land Claim negotiations and representatives of the Aquaculture industry. Conference presentations given between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm on Friday were livestreamed via the Internet and are currently available online at

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 675 member clubs, the OFAH is the province's largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization, and the VOICE of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit or follow the OFAH on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Xplornet Responds to Industry Canada's Spectrum Auction Announcement

MARKHAM, Ontario, March 15, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - John Maduri, CEO of Xplornet Communications Inc., Canada's leading provider of rural broadband, responded today to Industry Canada's announcement of proposed changes to foreign ownership and spectrum auction rules. Overall, Xplornet is conditionally supportive of the direction of the proposed changes.

"Industry Canada has responded to a wide range of complex issues and diverse interests around foreign investment and spectrum rules in a fair and balanced way," said Maduri today. However, Xplornet remains disappointed that spectrum auctions will continue to be biased towards urban mobile providers and against providers of rural broadband. "To acquire spectrum for rural use, bidders would be required to buy urban areas. This prices many rural broadband providers out of the spectrum market and slows expansion of broadband to rural Canadians," said Maduri.

Xplornet looks forward to participating in the upcoming auctions. However, Xplornet believes that 700 MHz alone will not be able to meet the growing capacity needs of broadband users.
"Our strongest recommendation to Industry Canada is to advance, as quickly as possible, the 2.5 GHz auction. Every delay making this spectrum available slows the development and improvement of broadband networks for all Canadians. We sincerely hope Minister Paradis makes expediting this auction a major priority," concluded Maduri.

About Xplornet Communications Inc.

Headquartered in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Xplornet Communications Inc. (formerly Barrett Xplore Inc.) is Canada's leading rural broadband provider. We believe everyone should have access to the transformative benefits of broadband, so we make our service available everywhere in Canada, including the hard to reach places. We overcome the challenges of Canada's vast geography through our deployment of Canada's first national 4G network, which leverages both fixed-wireless towers on the ground and next-generation satellites in space. Our customers live in the farthest reaches of the country and just outside of major urban centres, and through our coast-to-coast network of local dealers we connect them to all that the Internet offers. Xplornet is high-speed Internet - for all of Canada. | |

Sunday, March 11, 2012

6 Steps for Planning This Year's Garden

Phil and Pam/CC BY 2.0

by Colleen Vanderlinden - Living / Lawn & Garden

I'm not great at planning. I'll confess that up front. I am very much one of those "eh, let's try it and see what happens!" type of people. But when it comes to growing a productive, attractive garden, planning is essential. It helps you with everything from figuring out which seeds to order to deciding if you can really afford the space that growing 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes would require. It will save you money, save you time, and, best of all, save you some headaches during the gardening season.

It doesn't even take that much work. Here's what I do to plan my garden every year.

1. Assess Your Space

Look at where you'll be growing your garden. Will you be planting in raised beds, containers, a community garden plot? What kind of sun does the area get? Measure the space -- this will come in handy later on. In my own garden, I have nine raised beds, as well as a large garden space in my side yard, plus a few containers. I have the measurements of all of my beds written down. You can also draw them out, to scale, on graph paper if you want. More on that later.

2. Figure Out What You Want to Grow

So now you know what kind of space you're working with, and the fun begins. List everything you want to grow. This doesn't mean you'll grow it all, necessarily. It just gives you an idea of where your priorities lie. Do you want lots of paste tomatoes for canning? Tons of greens for salads? Maybe your family loves potatoes, or squash, or whatever. Write it all down.

3. Narrow It Down

This is where your garden measurements and your list of things to grow come together. If you have limited space, it's unlikely you're going to be able to grow both enough tomatoes for canning AND enough potatoes to store for the winter. You'll need to make some choices here. What do you REALLY, really want to grow? What will you and your family actually eat (as opposed to just wanting to grow something because it's interesting/pretty?)

This is also the time to assess when you can best grow things. Spinach, for example, is best grown in spring or fall in most areas (it bolts when the weather gets hot). So you can grow it, but what will you replace it with during the heat of summer? Maybe some bush beans would work. This step can be a lot of fun, but it can also help you get your shopping list under control as well.

4. Map It Out

You don't necessarily have to draw out a garden plan, but I often find that it helps me see things more clearly. If you're not great with a ruler and pencil (I'm not, for example...) look into online garden planning tools. Gardener's Supply has a free online garden planning tool that you can use to quickly turn your list into an actual garden plan. Mother Earth News' online planner isn't free, but it's very useful -- this is what I use to plan my garden. (Disclaimer, I also blog for Mother Earth. I'd like the planner even if I didn't.)

This step helps you figure out how much of each plant you can grow, and you can also figure out succession planting now, so it makes it very easy to figure out what you need for the next step:

5. Buying Seeds/Plants

Now is when you take your list and plan and go shopping. You still have some decisions to make, though. Are you going to start your warm-season crops like tomatoes and peppers indoors from seed, or are you going to buy transplants. If you're starting them from seed, you'll need some equipment (that's another post.) At the very least, you'll know which seeds you need now. Here are some of my favorite sources for organic seeds:

Seed Savers Exchange
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Johnny's Selected Seeds
High Mowing Organic Seeds

6. Figuring Out When to Plant

Next, you need to come up with a schedule, based on your plan, of when to plant everything. If you're using a tool like the Mother Earth News planner, you'll get emails telling you when to do these things. However, you can also learn what to plant when by checking out the following resources:

Mother Earth News: What to Plant Now
Johnny's Selected Seeds has a seed starting interactive calendar and succession planting calendar on their site.

It's not difficult, and it really doesn't take that much time. But a bit of planning will help you grow a healthier, more productive garden this and next year.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Faculty Strengthens Canada's Only MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management

GUELPH, Ontario, March 5, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The University of Guelph has a long history in food and agribusiness. The two-year MBA program combines unique face-to-face and interactive online learning with world-class professors with real-life experience. The program has graduated many industry leaders over the past two decades.

The agricultural industry is changing - new technologies, globalization, deregulation and new supply chain management - and the MBA program has responded with enhanced courses and professors in touch with the changing environment.

"We have introduced more real-time, real-world learning," says Prof. Ken Smith the new Associate Dean (executive programs). "I believe we have attracted the strongest faculty and they make our agribusiness MBA program the best in the country."

Before joining the University, Smith practised as a strategy consultant for 25 years. His extensive client work and research interests are focused on business and public policy issues related to industry restructuring. His work has been widely published in the business press, including the Harvard Business Review.

Prof. Mike von Massow is an expert in supply chain management and teaches the operations management course. He has 25 years of experience and is an active researcher and speaker in the area of food value chains. He worked for Cargill and has consulted with large and small business in the industry.

Considered an international authority in price risk management, Prof. Francesco Braga is a world-class expert in trading and hedging in agribusiness. He taught risk management to students in Europe, North and South America, and has consulted extensively throughout the world.

"Our program is designed for up-and-coming food and agribusiness professionals who want to enhance their credentials without disrupting their careers," says Smith. "And we've assembled a world-class faculty to help students learn the ins and outs of this global industry."

The MBA program begins each May and can be completed within two years. The registration deadline is fast approaching. Prospective students have until March 31, 2012 to apply.

About the University of Guelph

Receiving over $140 million of research funding in the 2010/11 fiscal year, the University of Guelph is one of the most research-intensive universities in Canada. It is internationally renowned for its broad spectrum of research. For more information about the University of Guelph's MBA programs, visit