Oscar Peterson award to be handed out at York U gala

Hollywood has its Oscars gala. We now have our gala for Oscar, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 7. That’s the celebration of the Oscar Peterson Scholarship, the annual $40,000 prize given to a first-year York University jazz student. The inaugural gala is being held Friday, Nov. 8 at York University’s Tribute Communities Recital Hall. The scholarship is named for Oscar Peterson, the superstar Canadian jazz pianist/composer who taught through the ’90s at York’s music department before his death in 2007, aged 82. Read full story.

Brendon Larson: As Canadian as . . . the Norway Maple
Canada’s new $5 and $10 polymer notes are now out, but they have the wrong maple leaf. Just as they did with the new $20 earlier this year, botanists and conservationists across the country will complain that it’s not a Sugar Maple, that iconic symbol of all things Canadian and source of our sweet national elixir. Rather, the leaf is a Norway Maple, a non-native European species that doesn’t behave: It exudes seeds and shade, outcompetes native species, and “invades” natural habitats. . . . We might devalue Norway Maple because of the damage it causes, yet research by York University biologist Chris Lortie found “it’s not really kicking ass yet in Canada” even though “it’s been around as long as Canada was a nation or longer,” said Lortie in the National Post Nov. 7. . . . These Norway Maples have now grown into big beautiful trees that we pass along city streets each day. They “kick ass” in a good way by shading our gardens and homes, improving air quality and sequestering carbon. Read full story.

East Gwillimbury advocate continues accessibility fight
Looking out for others is something Ruthanna Dyer likes to do, reported the East Gwillimbury Era Nov. 6. After moving to East Gwillimbury in the early 1990s, she wanted to get involved. Fast forward two decades and she has served for the town’s heritage committee, the committee of adjustment and continues her long tenure on the town’s accessibility advisory committee. While accessibility issues can fade under the cloak of invisibility for many, they stick out like red flags to Dyer. That is because she took part in the accessibility audit the committee conducted on town buildings. . . . She now works on accessibility issues at York University, where she is an assistant professor. Read full story.

You can take back control from chronic pain
A recent study, in conjunction with York University, of 232 fibromyalgia outpatients ranging in age from 19 to 82, confirmed the tangible benefits of the Fibromyalgia Therapeutic Education Program at Southlake Regional Health Centre, reported the Aurora Banner Nov. 6. The study examined the short-term outcomes of patients with fibromyalgia who attended the program. In particular, one objective was to examine the impact on patients’ self-reported anxiety and depression symptoms. . . . The study confirmed many patients felt their anxiety levels decreased as symptoms were validated. Read full story.