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‘Sensory Friendly’ shopping experience in Arnprior

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Mark Harrison knows the struggles some people face in public places.

“My family and I are aware of sensory issues, with both my boys being on the autism spectrum.”

Harrison says loud noises, like vacuums and power tools can leave his two sons Jacob, 4, and Liam, 2, disoriented. Creating a safe space for his boys and others with sensory issues is something the new grocery store owner wanted to try.

“It was something that just kind of made sense.”

Harrison became the franchise owner of the Arnprior No Frills store in November. Since then, he’s tried to do several things to make the shopping experience better for customers, but it was one of the store’s employees Carol Greer, who came up with the idea of a “sensory friendly shopping experience” after seeing something similar online.

“I thought it was a wonderful idea,” says Greer.

The No Frills store held its first sensory shopping experience on February 4, from 8-10am. For the two hours, lights in the store were dimmed, music was turned off, announcements and pages over the store PA system were also eliminated and both customers and staff were asked to refrain from wearing strong scents.

“It was definitely eye opening for me,” says Harrison, “a lot of people were saying I suffer from chronic migraines… or I have anxiety so I don’t feel comfortable shopping regular hours.”

After the successful event, Harrison decided to do it again this week and has now added a second, evening experience, Tuesday February 12.

“People said I can’t make it Monday morning, can you try and evening? So we’re trying that just to see what the results are.”

Working at the checkout counter Greer has a chance to speak with customers on the way out,

“The response has been really great, people have been coming in specifically during this shopping period to be able to experience it and we’ve had wonderful feedback.”

Greer says the quiet experience is having an impact on her too,

“I kind of like the down time, the calmness and I’m sure other coworkers do too.”

Harrison says right now he has no concrete plans to expand the sensory experience instead he’s waiting to hear from customers to see if it’s something they want.

“We’ll see the impacts. I really want to hear from my employees and see what their feedback is as well as from customers, and we’ll go from there.”

The next sensory friendly experience will be from 6:30-9pm Tuesday February 12.  

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Ottawa Book Expo 2020 – Authors, Publishers look forward to a top-notch Canadian book fair

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Diversity has always been a complex issue, no matter where you look.Case in point, world-famous writer, Stephen King, has recently come under criticism for his views on diversity. The best-selling author had stated, “I would never consider diversity in matters of art, only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” Many criticized the novelist as being out of touch and “ignorant,” but one cannot deny that King’s opinions on diversity, mirror the thoughts of a whole lot of people in the creative industry.

The Toronto Book Expo is coming back in 2020, with a multi-cultural concept that aims to include marginalized authors.  The Expo intends to celebrate literary works of diverse cultural backgrounds, and the entire literary community in Canada is expectant. Book-lovers and writers alike, are invited to three days of uninhibited literary celebration where diverse cultural works will be prioritized. At the event, authors will be allowed to share their culture with a broad audience. The audience will be there specifically to purchase multi-cultural works.

Multicultural literary expos do not come every day. In Canada, there is a noticeable lack of literary events celebrating other cultures. This leads to a significantly lower amount of cultural diversity in the industry. The Toronto Book Expo would aim at giving more recognition to these marginalized voices. Understandably, more recognizable work will be prioritized.

The Toronto Book Expo is making a statement that diversity is needed in the literary community. The statement is truly motivating, especially if you consider the fact that this could mean more culturally diverse works of literature.

There is a lot of noticeable cultural ignorance in literature. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and books are one of the best means of improving multi-cultural diversity in literature. The Toronto Book Expo is going to fully utilize books to fight ignorance in the literary industry.

Real progress cannot be made if there is a substantial amount of ignorant people in the industry. In spite of advancements made in education in recent years, there is still a considerable percentage of adults who remain unable to read and write.The Toronto Book Expo aims to bring awareness to social literacy issues such as illiteracy.

It is important to uphold high literacy levels in the community and to support those who are uneducated. A thriving society cannot be achieved if the community is not able to read their civil liberties and write down their grievances.

The major foundation of a working and dynamic society is entrenched in literature. Literature offers us an understandingof the changes being made to our community.

The event would go on for three days at three different venues. Day 1 would hold at the York University Student & Convention Centre at 15 Library Lane on March 19. Day 2 would be held at the Bram and BlumaAppel Salon Facility on the second floor of the main Toronto Reference Library near Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto on March 21 and day 3 of the expo would take place at the internationally famous Roy Thomson Hall.

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A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $75,300 Salary

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Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.Attention, Canadians! We’re featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.Today: a biologist working in government who makes $75,300 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bathing suit. Occupation: Biologist
Industry: Government
Age: 27
Location: Ottawa, ON
Salary: $75,300
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,930
Gender Identity: Woman

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Ottawa doctor pens nursery rhyme to teach proper handwashing

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An Ottawa doctor has turned to song to teach kids — and adults, for that matter — how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Dr. Nisha Thampi, an infectious disease physician at CHEO, the area’s children’s hospital, created a video set to the tune of Frère Jacques and featuring the six-step handwashing method recommended by the World Health Organization.

Thampi’s 25-second rendition, which was co-authored by her daughter and Dr. Yves Longtin, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, is featured in the December issue of The BMJ, or British Medical Journal. 

Thampi said as an infectious disease physician and a mother of two, she thinks a lot about germs at home and school.

“I was trying to find a fun way to remember the stuff,” she said. “There are six steps that have been codified by the World Health Organization, but they’re complex and hard to remember.” 

Thampi said she came up with the idea to rewrite the lyrics to the nursery rhyme on World Hand Hygiene Day in May, when she was thinking about how to help people remember the technique. 

She said studies have shown that handwashing is effective in reducing the risk of diarrhea-related illnesses and respiratory diseases. 

“So I’d say it’s one of the most important and easiest things we can do.”

The video includes such often-overlooked steps as “wash the back,” “twirl the tips around” and “thumb attack,” which pays special attention to the first digit.

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