University of Inuit

A unique school in Ottawa prepares Inuit students for university and the wider world

APART FROM WHERE HE GREW UP, Randy Kataluk is a typical 22-year-old. He plays the electric guitar and pretty much any sport. He loves Metallica and the Leafs. He is also from Coral Harbour, Nunavut, a community of 800 people on Southampton Island at the top of Hudson Bay. Like most Arctic settlements, Coral Harbour is only accessible by plane, prone to blizzards and offers basic services — a health centre, a grocery store, a two-person RCMP detachment, a couple of churches. Jobs here are scarce. Continue reading

Beyond the bottom line

A young social entrepreneur mixes profit and charity

THE IDEA THAT CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL CAUSES can co-exist may be anathema to some, but a growing number of businesspeople are using their corporate savvy and innovation skills to address sweeping social or environmental issues alongside the traditional business goal of generating profits. It’s called social entrepreneurship, a 30-year-old term that is still gaining awareness even by those who practice it. “I had to Google it,” says Rumeet Toor, owner of Jobs in Education, an online employment board that also helps fund her Toor Centre for Teacher Education, a teacher’s college and general training facility in Kenya that opened earlier this year. “I didn’t even know what a social entrepreneur was until someone asked me to give a talk about it.” Continue reading

Gold Mining Roars Back to Life

The sky-high price of gold has sparked a modern-day rush to Ontario’s mining towns.

WITH THE PRICE OF GOLD CURRENTLY HOVERING around US$1,300 an ounce—up 45 per cent since early 2009—Ontario’s mining towns are exhibiting the classic symptoms of a boom: inflated house prices, overbooked hotels, frantic construction, labour shortages and a collective sense of optimism after decades in a slump. Across the province’s northern gold belt, defunct mines are being revived and exploration activity has taken an almost frenzied pace, as gold has become an investment safe-haven amid global economic uncertainty and a weak U.S. dollar. “I’ve been here a long time,” says Brock Greenwell, statistical analyst for Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “And 2010 is looking like a record year for gold exploration. It’s unprecedented.” Continue reading

Managing the Older Workforce

As today’s retirees linger in the workforce, gen-Xers will find themselves in the tricky position of being their managers

MARILYN FRYER IS 73 AND STILL WORKS AS A BOOKKEEPER. She could work from home, but prefers to go to her clients’ offices three days a week for the “social scene” and to “keep up the grooming.” If her body aches with age, she tries not to show it. When everyone is talking about the latest movie or Lady Gaga video, she listens with amusement. After 30 years in the business, she sees no need to retire, and plans to work as long as she still can. Continue reading

A Modern Migration: Inuit Go South

Inuit are the least urbanized of aboriginal groups – less than 20 percent live in an urban centre – more are now moving to cities, a modern migration that seems inevitable and, some would say, even necessary.

WHEN YOU CONSIDER WHERE RHODA INNUKSUK was born, it seems remarkable that she now lives in a three-bedroom brick house on a leafy street in suburban Ottawa, where her 12-year-old adopted son and his friends are currently holed up in the living room playing Rock Band. A selection of classic-rock staples howls through the kitchen as Innuksuk prepares a pot of coffee. “Forgive the mess,” she says, referring to the boxes piled by the door. She has been sorting through winter clothes in preparation for a trip to Qaiqsut, an ancient hunting camp near Igloolik, Nunavut, where she was born in a tent while her father was out walrus hunting. That was in 1952, sometime in August – her exact birth date is unknown. Continue reading

How Peer Pressure Makes Us Greener

It worked for smoking and seat belts; now social marketing can change your eco-habits, too.

ON A JUST-ABOVE FREEZING MORNING in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, the residents of Collins Street emerge from their Victorian homes, lugging bags and bins to the curb. It’s garbage day, not normally cause for anxiety, but on this particular day in April 2007 people may be feeling a little exposed. For the first time, their week’s trash will be on display in newly mandated clear garbage bags. The worry is not so much that the neighbours will get a peek into the refuse of their private lives (residents are allowed a single opaque “privacy bag” for anything embarrassing), but that if a bag contains any trace of organics or recyclables, haulers will mark it with an orange sticker and leave it at the curb, branding its owner as the neighbourhood eco-boob. Continue reading

An Introvert’s Guide to Schmoozing

How to get ahead in an extrovert’s world

IT WAS DURING HER YEARS ON WALL STREET that Nancy Ancowitz figured out she was an introvert. She did the famous Myers-Briggs personality assessment, which confirmed that she is the type to feel drained after too much socializing, and relishes alone time. For Ancowitz, then a marketing executive, the results explained so much – why she needed to collect herself in a quiet room before a big meeting, or had to walk the block in the middle of the day, or dreaded the aimless chitchat of work functions. Continue reading

Jonathon Power brings squash to the streets

Canada’s world champ comes home to craft his grand squash plan

BEFORE RETIRING IN 2006, JONATHON POWER was notorious for shouting at refs, throwing fits and playing an unpredictable, vicious brand of squash that earned him world titles and top ranking. Now a somewhat mellowed dad, he is about to open a cavernous, $1.3-million, 10-court squash club in a decommissioned military airplane hangar at Downsview Park, set to launch this fall. The National Squash Academy isn’t just a slick state-of-the-art facility. Continue reading

After 75 years, Alcoholics Anonymous still rankles

For all AA’s seeming success and worldwide acceptance as *the* alcohol-recovery program, its references to God and spirituality have always rankled — even turned away — non-believers

IN A CLASSROOM ABOVE A TORONTO SUBWAY STATION, an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting gathers. The room is dreary, with harsh lighting and plastic chairs, and every few minutes a train rumbles below. Tonight roughly 25 people have trickled in — young professionals, students, middle-aged family men, a few first-timers — all here because they are alcoholics seeking the camaraderie and support of fellow alcoholics. But unlike a traditional AA meeting, this group makes no mention of God or any kind of “higher power” as prerequisite for recovery. This is “AA for free-thinkers,” an intergroup called Beyond Belief. “We found AA was getting a little too evangelical,” says Joe C., who co-founded the group several months ago and, in the AA tradition goes only by his first name. “In its purest form, AA works,” he says. “So, we kind of take what we want and leave the rest.” Continue reading

Tim Hortons Takes Manhattan

Tim Hortons’ slow and stealthy invasion of America has taken on new urgency

AT 6 p.m. ON A FRIDAY LAST JULY, nine Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants throughout Manhattan closed shop quietly — a little early, but otherwise inconspicuously. Over the next 56 hours, an army of contractors and designers gutted, rebuilt and re-equipped the spaces. By Monday morning, sporting red balloons and free coffee, the stores reopened as Tim Hortons outlets. The New York media jumped on the story, declaring a “donut war” and speculating how an unfamiliar Canadian brand would fare against not just big-name coffee chains like Dunkin’ and Starbucks, but with finicky, choice-saturated New Yorkers in general. Continue reading