What do the Irish think of St. Paddy’s Day in Toronto?

William Jenkins is a York University professor and historical geographer [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], wrote the Toronto Star March 16, in a story about how the Irish in Canada view St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Jenkins came to Canada in 1996 when he was 24, but grew up in Clondalkin, a suburb of Dublin.

“When I was growing up in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day was a very solemn day,” Jenkins explains.

Jenkins says he’s got nothing against the way Canadians choose to celebrate per se.… “What you get here is this kind of a Celtic Disneyland – giant leprechauns (and) inflatable Guinness glasses,” Jenkins explains, adding our “Disneyfication” of St. Patrick’s Day has made its way back to Dublin.

As the only Irishman among his friends, Jenkins faces some pressure come St. Patrick’s Day to take them somewhere “authentically Irish”. The problem is that everywhere that’s “authentically Irish” will have a long line. So instead, he tries to take his friends to a bar that’s not quite as Irish, and may have a shorter line. Unfortunately, his nationality doesn’t get him preferential treatment at Irish pubs. “It would be nice to go up to the bouncer and use my accent instead of my money to get into the place,” Jenkins laughs.

Remembering Radio hopes to uncover memories

Calling all 78-year-olds – and better. A team of researchers from York University in Toronto would like Langley residents aged 78 and over to tune into their research on radio, wrote BClocalnews.com March 15.

Aidan Moir is one of the research assistants working on the Remembering Radio project with Professor Anne MacLennan [Communications Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies].

"The objective of the Remembering Radio project is to record and save early memories of radio in the lives of everyday Canadians," Moir said. "The hope is to discover more about the role of radio in the homes and lives of ordinary Canadians from its inception."

The phase of the project involving local seniors is centred on listeners’ memories from the 1930s, she added, noting that studies of radio audience, their opinions, likes and dislikes, program preferences, and the role of Canadian radio, are rare.

"The information that the listeners from that time period have to share is very valuable to this project," she said.

The study is Canada-wide, but is weak in a number of areas, especially in British Columbia, Moir said.

Free lunch is over for public sector

John Moore states that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker "stripped public workers of the right to collective bargaining." He did no such thing, wrote Terry Heinrichs, professor of political science at Glendon, in a letter to the National Post March 16. Under his Budget Repair Bill, union bargaining powers are still intact, though they are limited to wage and salary increases, Heinrichs wrote.

Moore also says that Governor Walker "exempted those unions (from bargaining restrictions) that supported him during the election." He is referring to the police, firefighter and state troopers unions. The fact is, however, that of the 314 police and firefighter unions in Wisconsin, a whopping four endorsed Walker; the rest supported opponent Tom Barrett.

Moore goes further off the rails when he says: "Wisconsin was actually in a surplus when its union-bashing governor came to power in January 2011, but Scott Walker gave 117 per cent of it away to business in the form of tax cuts." The current budget deficit is, as Governor Walker claims, $137 million, and there are no tax cuts in the budget so the claim that he gave business 117 per cent in tax cuts is pure fantasy. The previous Democrat governor, Jim Doyle, illegally raided the state’s pension fund to the tune of $200 million. Counting the debt obligation created by Doyle’s raid, the current deficit is really closer to $340 million.

Setting kids up for a healthy life a national priority

Professor Angelo Belcastro, chair of York University’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science [Faculty of Health] and a researcher with University of New Brunswick’s KIN Kids program, offers these tips for parents looking to help their kids adopt healthier lifestyles, wrote Postmedia News March 16:

  • Find out what activity your child likes rather than what you like. Kids need to feel successful or it will reinforce negativity.
  • Focus on non-competitive, non-structured activities with attainable goals. Starting with a few steps and throws rather than a marathon builds confidence and allows children to progress at their own pace and feel good about being active.
  • Provide opportunities to be active. Don’t take play out of the equation but instead offer downtime that encourages movement.

York prof to talk about winery’s history

Four heritage organizations – the Heritage Advisory Committee, Heritage Mississauga, Mississauga Library System and Museums of Mississauga – are teaming up to present a series of free lectures on the city’s past, wrote The Mississauga News March 15.

On May 5, York University Professor Richard Jarell’s topic is “The Clair House Winery and the Founding of the Canadian Wine Industry in Cooksville”. Long before it became part of Mississauga, Cooksville was home to Canada’s first commercial winery and vineyard, the Canadian Vine Growers Association, which produced wines under the label of “Clair House” and “Chateau Clair Wines". This lecture takes place at Cawthra Community Centre, 1399 Cawthra Rd. The lectures begin at 7pm. Admission is free.

Content is the key to social marketing

If you’re a small-business owner, there’s nothing to fear about social networking, wrote the Toronto Star March 15.

“I find that small companies who are not on social media and don’t exploit it need it the most,” says Peter Freer [BA Spec. Hons. ’85], an e-marketing specialist and principal of Toronto-based Messageworks Communications and Easy Peezy Social Media Marketing. “It’s a fairly inexpensive investment and you get a phenomenal return on investment.”

But it’s important to have a strategy, he cautions. “Social media is a hot conversation piece and so many people come out of nowhere who have no formal experience in marketing and communications and say they are social media gurus,” he says.

Freer graduated with an arts degree from York University and started working in marketing in the 1990s for large Toronto creative agencies and corporate clients.

Freer says finding content is the biggest challenge. For his own business, he has worked with a developer who created a custom application that lets him take Google news alerts and turn them into RSS feeds, which he can share on Twitter.

Financing an MBA

When it comes to paying for your MBA at a Canadian business school, there are a variety of government student loans, preferential bank lending schemes and scholarships that can ease the financial burden of returning to full-time study, wrote The Globe and Mail March 16.

Anita Labudzki [MBA ’09], a recent graduate from the Schulich School of Business at York University, was the recipient of the John Hunkin Financial Services Award of $5,000, one of more than 100 awards, scholarships and bursaries funded by the school’s alumni. For Labudzki, the award enabled her to reap the full benefits of her studies. "It alleviated the financial costs associated with my education. As a result, I was able to lead a balanced lifestyle of academics and networking, which ultimately led to my successful job placement."

On air

  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about the high cost of the government’s current advertising campaign, on Kitchener’s 570 News radio March 15.
  • Ken Wu, president of York’s Japanese International Students Association, spoke about his organization’s origami fundraising campaign for the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, on CBC-TV Toronto March 15.