Joshua Ostroff
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Entries by Joshua Ostroff

Music Festivals Like WayHome Provide Refuge From The Real World

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2016 | 5:42 PM

arcade fire wayhome 2016

The opening licks of Arcade Fire's "Rebellion (Lies)" launch a chorus of 40,000 screams of recognition that coalesce into the classic song's first verse. As the Montreal band's rapturous music rings out and up into the starry sky, these tens of thousands of...

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Trump Is Fuelling The Rise Of White Fright

(104) Comments | Posted July 22, 2016 | 12:47 PM

laura ingraham
Radio Host Laura Ingraham gestures while speaking during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

It seems forever ago that Justin Trudeau made the world swoon by matter-of-facting that his cabinet...

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Duran Duran Remind Us Why '80s Music Deserves More Respect

(11) Comments | Posted July 15, 2016 | 12:28 PM

The late, lamented Vancouver nightclub Luv-A-Fair launched its signature '80s night pretty much the first Tuesday of 1990. Effectively, it just meant was that gritty warehouse club would continue playing the new wave "Retro Klassix" they'd built their reputation on.

But it was also a cheeky flag-planting...

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This Is What You Mean When You Say, Tweet Or Sing 'All Lives Matter'

(99) Comments | Posted July 13, 2016 | 5:47 PM

On the eve of the third anniversary of Black Lives Matter, a movement that exists to prevent anti-black racism by the police, one of The Tenors inserted the phrase "All Lives Matter" into the lyrics of "O Canada" during major...

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What Is 'Pokémon GO' (And Why's Everyone Gone Crazy Trying To Catch 'Em All)?

(3) Comments | Posted July 11, 2016 | 4:59 PM

Don't call "Pokémon GO" a comeback, Pikachu's been here for years.

Twenty years, to be exact, an anniversary celebrated this past February. But even if kids like my poké-obsessed six-year-old have never stopped playing and trading the collectible card game, the viral launch...

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Canadian Muslims Donate $250,000 Eid Gift To Rebuild Fort McMurray Homes

(16) Comments | Posted July 5, 2016 | 4:56 PM

To mark this year's Eid al-Fitr, the July 6 celebration concluding the fasting month of Ramadan, a Canadian Muslim charity is giving $250,000 to the people of fire-ravaged Fort McMurray.

The Toronto-based International Development and Relief Foundation, founded by in 1984, was named one of...

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Black Lives Matter Protest Proves Pride Needs More Empathy, Less Prejudice

(511) Comments | Posted July 4, 2016 | 2:31 PM

black lives matter toronto
Members of Black Lives Matter argue their case with the public who wanted the Pride Parade to go on. Photo by Roberto Machado Noa, Getty.


Toronto's Pride Parade on Sunday was an historic success. An estimated million revellers were joined by,...

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Let's Celebrate Immigrants This Canada Day

(47) Comments | Posted June 30, 2016 | 5:51 PM

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

While on Kenya's south coast last week, I got a preview of the eventual Brexit vote when a couple blonde British ladies began ranting about immigrants. They took offence when I pointed out their views were kinda...

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Baby Storm Now: Dad David Stocker On The Uproar And Storm's Gender Identity

(361) Comments | Posted June 30, 2016 | 12:05 PM

storm stocker

Baby Storm, a then-four-month-old Toronto tot who was being raised "genderless," became one of the biggest viral news stories worldwide back in 2011.

A Toronto Star article headlined "Parents keep child's gender secret" explained how Storm's parents sent a birth announcement email that...

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How Canadian Technology Is Tackling The Food Waste Crisis

(34) Comments | Posted June 28, 2016 | 10:00 AM

The issue of food waste has grown from your parents telling you to finish what's on your plate into one of the defining challenges of our era. Despite rising food insecurity, $31 billion of it is wasted every year in Canada, a number soaring to $1 trillion worldwide...

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Matthew House Is Where Refugees Who Have Nowhere Else To Go Find A Home

(24) Comments | Posted June 20, 2016 | 4:26 PM

Dr. Paulin Rukiko Polepole greets me warmly in the lobby of his downtown Toronto apartment. He's wearing a natty, navy suit jacket paired with a bright blue button-up, shiny, black leather shoes, a metal watch and stylish socks.

He works at SickKids Hospital, counselling pregnant women and new mothers....

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Ken Dunn, Mountie-Turned-CEO, Giving Away A Million Books To Promote Literacy

(3) Comments | Posted June 7, 2016 | 3:36 PM

Once upon a time, Toronto's Ken Dunn was a police officer, working in everything from SWAT to homicide for the RCMP and Ottawa police.

In his 14 years in that career, he noticed a correlation between low literacy rates and criminals.

Fast forward to today and the cop...

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Paul Martin Rejects Jean Chrétien's Suggestion That People Should Leave Attawapiskat

(12) Comments | Posted June 1, 2016 | 2:37 PM

In the wake of a wave of suicide attempts in Attawapiskat in April, former prime minister Jean Chretien, as well as various columnists and countless commenters, have suggested the solution is for "some people" to leave their land.

"It's not easy, it's difficult, there is no economic base there for...

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Superhero Diversity Takes Flight As Comic Books Fight For Gender, Race And LGBT Balance

(37) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 2:49 PM

Clark Kent. Bruce Wayne. Peter Parker. Steve Rogers. Tony Stark.

T'Challa.

That final name, the one not like the others, belongs to Black Panther, a scene-stealing new addition to Marvel's movies, star of this year's biggest-selling comic book and, of course, the first mainstream black superhero.

He's...

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Know What's Deeply Traumatic, Elbowgaters? Needing Assisted Dying

(319) Comments | Posted May 19, 2016 | 2:27 PM

Can we discuss the privilege involved in calling an accidental elbow "deeply traumatic" during a debate on an assisted-dying bill? ‪

I think it's clear that everyone was in the wrong in this #Elbowgate fiasco. I'm not going to defend the Prime Minister for giving into his frustration and wading...

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Wab Kinew On Canadian Racism, Relocating Attawapiskat, And The 'Criminal' State Of Aboriginal Education

(127) Comments | Posted May 17, 2016 | 3:16 PM

"You can't deny the facts," says Wab Kinew, newly elected Manitoba NDP MLA, when asked about author Joseph Boyden calling Canada "absolutely a racist country" last fall.

"I carry a piece of identification in my wallet based on my ethnicity. Kids that grew up in a situation like...

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Tanya Tagaq Proves Residential Schools Aren't In Our Deep Past By Posting Her Apology Letter

(12) Comments | Posted May 12, 2016 | 5:08 PM

Inuk throat-singer Tanya Tagaq, an award-winning artist known for taking bold stances on indigenous issues like the seal hunt, posted a stark reminder during the week that Canada finally embraced the 2007 UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, of how recent Canada's painful history actually...

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Text And Drive Billboard By Toronto 'Funeral Home' Is A Perfectly Powerful PSA

(4) Comments | Posted May 12, 2016 | 11:01 AM

Anyone with kids knows that reverse-psychology is a powerful persuasion tool. So what a perfect approach for this provocative billboard PSA aiming to convince Toronto drivers, especially teens, to stay off their smartphones with the slogan "Text and Drive," sponsored by the fake Wathan Funeral Home.

According to an American texting and driving safety site, 13 per cent of "drivers age 18-20 involved in car wrecks admitted to texting or talking on their mobile devices at the time of the crash." It also reports 34 per cent of teens say they have texted while driving and, even worse, 77 percent are very or somewhat confident they can safely text while driving.

Shocked drivers who saw the billboard on Toronto's Gardiner Expressway and googled the alleged advertiser -- hopefully after they got out of their cars -- reached a fake funeral home website that revealed the thinking behind the ad campaign.

"If you're here, you've probably seen our "Text and Drive" billboard. And if you have, you probably came to this website to tell us what horrible people we are for running an ad like that. And you'd be right.

It is a horrible thing for a funeral home to do.

But we're not a funeral home.

We're just trying to get Canadians to stop texting and driving, which is projected to kill more people in Ontario this year than drinking and driving. That's right. More. And while most people wouldn't even think about drinking and driving, over half of Ontario drivers admit to reading texts while behind the wheel. That's more than half of the drivers on the road today risking their lives, their passengers' lives and the lives of their fellow motorists and pedestrians.

Which should make you even madder than our billboard did."

Article continues after slideshow

Clicks on the site's links for flowers, caskets and monuments revealed more statistics such as the fact that distracted drivers contributed to the deaths of 78 people in Ontario last year, killed 77 per cent more people than speeding in 2013 and that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash.

Though not stated on the website, Adweek reports that the campaign is the brainchild of Montreal ad agency John St. and Toronto outdoor ad company Cieslok Media.

"People see and hear the words 'Don't text and drive' almost every day, but the number of people doing it keeps going up and up," John St. managing director Mylene Savoie told Adweek.

"So we wanted to think of a different way of saying it that would make people think about the real consequences. Which is where 'Text and drive' came...

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Germany Generated So Much Renewable Energy People Made Money Using Electricity

(32) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 1:56 PM

Everyone loves complaining about electricity costs, right? Maybe not in Germany, where the country recently produced so much renewable energy that customers had to be paid to use electricity.

Yes, really.

For a few hours on a sunny, windy Sunday, May 8, Germany broke renewable energy records.

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It's Time To Rip The Band-Aid Off Canada's Daycare Crisis

(34) Comments | Posted April 26, 2016 | 5:44 PM

A petition to get Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to extend maternity/parental leave for Canadians to 18 months is currently making the social media rounds, earning praise from parents and complaints from the childless along with 40,000 signatures.

It addresses a specific offshoot of Canada's national daycare crisis, which...

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