Joshua Ostroff
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Entries by Joshua Ostroff

Canada's First Indigenous Business District Is Coming To Toronto

(25) Comments | Posted January 12, 2017 | 5:36 PM

Toronto is planning to create the country's first indigenous business and cultural district.

"It's a timely initiative considering the reconciliation efforts that are underway across the country," said city Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam. She initiated the idea about six years ago because her ward has one of the city’s largest indigenous...

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The Best Video Games Of 2016

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2016 | 10:04 AM

2016 has been a transition year for gaming.

We're deep enough into the current generation of consoles that developers are focused more on building worlds than figuring out the tech, resulting in some great games. Developers have also started taking some of the racial and gender diversity talk to...

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16 Best Songs Of 2016: Music Was The Year's Only Saving Grace

(1) Comments | Posted December 29, 2016 | 4:36 PM

It's been an awful year in the music world just everywhere else. Bookended by the deaths of legends like David Bowie and George Michael, we also lost artists across the musical spectrum including Leonard Cohen, Phife Dawg, Glenn Frey, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, Sharon Jones and Prince.

But as painful...

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A Gay Refugee's Journey From Syria To Proudly Marching Next To Justin Trudeau

(16) Comments | Posted December 28, 2016 | 3:14 PM

Bassel Mcleash, a gay Syrian refugee, came to Canada on the Rainbow Railroad.

The 29-year-old HIV-positive man, who once had to keep his sexuality a secret to avoid prison, arrived in Toronto in May as part of the organization's refugee resettlement program. A few weeks later, he was...

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Thank God (And Seth Cohen) For Chrismukkah

(4) Comments | Posted December 22, 2016 | 3:56 PM

born and raised

Every kid, no matter their cultural background, loves games and treats. So when I stopped by my son's Grade 1 and 2 split class this week to explain Hanukkah traditions, I arrived bearing dreidels (a spinning top game), gelt (chocolate coins) and...

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CFL Legend Michael 'Pinball' Clemons Says Systemic Racism Is Bigger Than The Police

(0) Comments | Posted December 21, 2016 | 12:03 PM

Anti-black racism has been one of the defining issues of 2016 as police violence, racial profiling and trials (or lack thereof) prompted Black Lives Matter protests across the continent, including BLM-Toronto setting up camp at police headquarters and staging a sit-down during the Toronto's...

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Virtual Reality Is the Coolest Tech Gift For Christmas 2016

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2016 | 11:34 AM

Eighties pop culture made a lot of predictions about the future that are coming true. "Back to the Future II" foretold the Cubs’ World Series win and the triumph of Biff Tannen Donald Trump.

The 1990s, meanwhile, led us to believe that virtual reality...

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Best Video Games For Grown-Ups: Gift Guide For Christmas 2016

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2016 | 9:22 AM

Gaming's fall flood is an annual tradition in the gaming world that ensures there's plenty to play while hibernating over the winter. But the fact that most of the best video games come out in the months before the holidays also means that they make great Christmas gifts.

There...

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Racist 'Alt-Right' Snowflakes Boycott Rogue One Because 2016

(32) Comments | Posted December 16, 2016 | 4:41 PM

The alt-right may soon have their Emperor in the White House, but before they got political to help force Donald Trump into the presidency, the movement was largely focused on fomenting culture wars.

So it's hardly a "Luke, I am your father" surprise...

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Review: Rogue One Gives Star Wars Fans A New Hope

(0) Comments | Posted December 13, 2016 | 12:46 PM

Rest assured, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits its target like the filmmakers were Luke Skywalker bullseyeing womp rats in his T-16 back home on Tatooine.

That's not just a too-clever comparison, either.

The farm boy-turned-Jedi's memorable boast from Star Wars: A New Hope was Luke claiming he...

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'Star Wars' Gift Guide: These *Are* The Christmas Presents You're Looking For

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2016 | 11:00 AM

A long time ago under a Christmas tree far, far away, there were no "Star Wars" presents to be opened.

Well, those dark times are long gone and thanks to Disney's cinematic revival — first with last year's "The Force Awakens" and now with "Rogue One," LucasFilm's first "A...

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Stars Wars Gifts Canada: 27 Ideas For Kids (And Parents After Bedtime)

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2016 | 3:36 PM

Disney is nothing if not ingenious. This is the second year in a row that they've released a "Star Wars" film just in time to flood toy store shelves with potential Christmas gifts from a galaxy far, far away.

But it's also the second year where the new film, in...

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'The Last Guardian' Is 2016's Best Video Game, And Its Most Emotional

(2) Comments | Posted December 6, 2016 | 12:04 PM

"Video games can be viewed as entertainment but that definition is really dependent on you," says iconic game designer Fumito Ueda, via translator and Skype, from Tokyo. "Is it just a source of entertainment or is there more to it?"

"For me, it's important that there is more to it....

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Sandy Hook Promise PSA: Gun Violence Ad Shows We Don't Know How To Watch Our Teens

(4) Comments | Posted December 5, 2016 | 11:37 AM

First things first, please watch the PSA ad below about a bored high school boy named Evan and his secret pen pal.

Done?

The lengthy public service announcement was released by Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization of parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook massacre four years ago and are trying to reduce gun violence.

The ad purports to tell a love story before coming to a shocking conclusion — a conclusion that wouldn't be so shocking if we'd known what to look for.

sandy hook promise adA screengrab from the Sandy Hook Promise ad "Evan." (Photo: YouTube)

When the ad starts over to show us what we missed, it raises awareness of the importance of looking for subtle signs in our children, friends and students before it becomes too late.

The ad purports to tell a love story before coming to a shocking conclusion — a conclusion that wouldn't be so shocking if we'd known what to look for.

"When you don't know what to look for, or can't recognize what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant. That can lead to tragic consequences," Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Nicole Hockley said in a statement. Hockley lost her first-grade son Dylan in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

Campaign has trained 1.5 million over past two years

"It is important for us to show youth and adults that they are not helpless in protecting their community from gun violence — these acts are preventable when you know the signs. Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives."

"Evan" is part of the organization's "Know the Signs" campaign which they provide to schools and community groups, training 1.5 million students, teachers, and parents over the last two years.

As a result of this training, Sandy Hook Promise says it has "helped intervene on multiple threats – including a school shooting, suicides and bringing firearms to schools, as well as helping to reduce bullying and getting hundreds of individuals mental health assistance."

But there is always more work to do. Sandy Hook Promise says that 80 per cent of school shooters and 70 percent of people who commit suicide told someone of their plans beforehand without anyone intervening....

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India Just Turned On The World's Biggest Solar Power Plant

(20) Comments | Posted December 2, 2016 | 10:46 AM

While Justin Trudeau approves pipelines in Canada and police forces faces off against anti-pipeline protesters in Standing Rock, North Dakota, India has gone ahead and built the world's biggest solar power plant.

The Kamuthi Solar Power Project in Tamil Nadu has a 648 megawatt capacity —...

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Doug Gilmour Launches Most Canadian Fundraiser Ever For Gord Downie's Brain Cancer Research Fund

(2) Comments | Posted November 30, 2016 | 4:57 PM

If there's anything more Canadian than hockey, it's the Tragically Hip. Now both are coming together as hockey hall of famer Doug Gilmour takes a slap shot at raising money for his friend Gord Downie's brain cancer research fund.

After announcing that he had incurable brain cancer last May, Downie...

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Best Video Game For Kids: Gift Guide For Christmas 2016

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2016 | 10:46 AM

The weather outside is about to get frightful, which makes playing video games on the couch quite delightful. That's why games are always such great gifts to give to kids for Chrismas or Chanukkah or, in my house, Chrismukkah.

But not all games are created equal — plus different...

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Margaret Trudeau Calls Indigenous Mental Health Crisis 'Our Shame Forever'

(21) Comments | Posted November 27, 2016 | 11:59 AM

Margaret Trudeau, the former wife of one prime minister and mother of another, has spent the past decade building her own legacy as one of Canada's most outspoken mental-health advocates.

After becoming international tabloid fodder during the 1970s – a time when most assumed the young mother of three was...

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A Nazi By Any Other Name Must Still Be Stopped

(85) Comments | Posted November 22, 2016 | 4:09 PM

cnn jews

Most parents are very excited to introduce their kids to Indiana Jones. Me, I was dreading it. Not because Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Holy Grail aren't awesome movies, but because they feature Nazis.

Nazis may seem like run-of-the-mill bad guys to...

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David Suzuki Slams Conservative Party's Trump-Like 'Rejection Of Facts'

(65) Comments | Posted November 21, 2016 | 7:08 PM

Much like climate change, the effects of Donald Trump's election will not stay on the southern side of the U.S.-Canada border.

There have already been hate crimes since the American election results and, as David Suzuki told The Huffington Post Canada, Trump's anti-diversity and "frightening" campaign...

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