PHOTOS: Santa comes to Scarborough

Families in Scarborough were treated to a morning of  arts & crafts, complementary breakfast, holiday carols and a visit from Kris Kringle himself as one community service centre held their annual Christmas Breakfast charity event.


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Brothas from the 6ix

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Award-winning photographer Lawrence Kerr teamed up with Jeff Martin and the youth mentoring group “Brothas from the 6” to re-create an iconic photo with the hopes of inspiring young men in the community while challenging stereotypes.

Martin, the founder of Brothas from the 6, started off with a Facebook group to share stories of black men from the Greater Toronto Area. The purpose of the group is to highlight the accomplishments of black men in the community and provide positive images for young black men to look up to. For Martin, Brothas from the 6 is a “movement and” chance to “be a part of something big.” He came across the picture on Facebook and when he shared it, it garnered a lot of positive feedback so he and Kerr arranged to make it happen. Martin hoped the photoshoot would get the same kind of positive response.

“Our goal is to have as many men and boys as possible in the photo, as a symbol of unity in the black community and just to combat all the negativity you see in the media,” Martin told ByBlacks. 

As the men in attendance did interviews and talked amongst themselves they spoke about the power of  visuals and being able to see that their goals are achievable.

Leroy Wright, a member of Brothas from the 6 said “we really want to let them (young black men) know that you may come from the ghetto but you don’t have to stay in the ghetto and you can be a role model too,”

The event gathered dozens of men and their families as well as other black-focused mentoring groups, including the Lion’s Circle. The Lion’s Circle is a Canada-wide group, which was formed 11 years ago and is a “a peer leadership group for black men, helping them achieve their goals & and they want to become,” according to one of it’s founders Mark. A. Smith. Smith said the event and the photo were equally important for the public to see to in order to help dispel some of the negative stereotypes surrounding black men but also for the young men who have become accustomed to those stereotypes, for example baseball caps and pants down to the knees.

“It’s important within the black community so young men can see that they don’t have to carry themselves like that and even if they do you can still be eloquent and gentlemen so people don’t look at you and think ‘this is what you are.’

Mickey Hutchinson, one of the other founders of The Lion’s Circle hopes that the young men in attendance and at home will see them as role models in their lives.

“Know that (you) can grow up and be the kind of men (you) see,” he added.

Mickey also runs a right of passage program for teen-aged black boys called “Rope.” He says that he is able to act as a role model because of his upbringing and the people he surrounds himself with. According to Hutchinson, being a role model means acting respectfully and with professionalism.

Pride and permanence: Toronto-themed tattoos

Written by for the Toronto Observer.
Toronto had a lot to be proud of in 2015. There was the successful hosting of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, three of our four major sports teams made it to the post-season, plus Drake and The Weeknd dominated the Billboard Charts. Some Torontonians were so proud they decided to show it permanently.
After waiting 22 years for a playoff spot, the Blue Jays and their fans were launched into hysteria when Jose Bautista’s three-run home-run clinched the American League Division Series. Baustista celebrated the hit with his now-viral bat flip. Blue Jays “superfan” Bryan Bevins decided to mark the occasion with a tattoo of Bautista’s bat-flip on his thigh.

Bevins wasn’t the only one to celebrate Toronto’s success with a with ink.
One Torontonian got a large tattoo of Scarborough-native Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye on his leg earlier this year. The R&B-singer enjoyed a hugely successful 2015 which included seven Grammy Nominations, two-almost-sold-out shows at the Air Canada Centre and holding the top two positions on Billboard’s Hot 100; the latter being the first time a Canadian accomplished the feat.

This year was also a good year for the “6 god”, Drake. The rapper (real name Aubrey Graham) started off the year with the release of his fourth mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.” The mixtape spawned countless memes as well as 17 tracks on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The album only had 17 tracks. Drake also matched The Beatles record of having 100 of their songs chart on the Hot 100. And if that wasn’t enough for Drizzy, he almost broke the internet in late October when he released the video for his single “Hotline Bling.” The video has inspired everything: Halloween costumes, Christmas sweaters, parodies, jewellery and tattoos.

As odd as these particular tattoos may seem, seeing people with body art has become more in Canada. According to Lightspeed Research 22 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men have at least one tattoo. Even our prime minister has one. Justin Trudeau has a tattoo planet Earth inside a Haida raven on his left shoulder, making him the only current world leader with a (known) tattoo.

Tattoo artists and their clients believe that tattoo culture isn’t a sign of delinquent behaviour but rather a legitimate art movement. The amount of people with inked skin suggests that some of the taboo surrounding tattoos is starting to fade away. In 2010, Pew Research Centre reported in 2010 that 38 per cent of millennials (then the 18-29 age bracket) acknowledged having at least one tattoo.

By Nazaneen Baqizada

Tattooing has become so popular some people are even getting their eyeballs tattoo’d.Seriously.

For those who aren’t thrilled about the prospect of having demonic eyes here’s an infrographic to let you know a little bit more about tattoo placement.

By Marcus Medford

We sat down with local-tattoo artist Justin Murphy of Adrenaline Toronto to talk about the shift in tattoo culture:

Councillors lobby to feature women on banknotes

Published on the Toronto Observer.

Last month Justin Trudeau reminded Canadians that “it’s 2015” when he announced that his Cabinet would be gender balanced. However, some Canadians are still not satisfied with the representation of women in Canada.

City councillors Mary Fragedakis of Toronto-Danforth and Marvin Rotrand of Snowden in Montreal have written to Finance Minister William Francis Moreneau asking that more women be featured on Canadian bank notes.

The letter is a reaction to another from Stephen Poloz, the governor of the Bank of Canada, indicating that more women may feature on the next series of bank notes. The councillors are hoping for a more “proactive” response from the government.

“We ask that the new government let the Bank of Canada and the Royal Mint know that promoting equality is a fundamental Canadian value,” Rotrand wrote.

No women have been featured on Canadian bank notes since the $50 bill from the 2001 Journey Series, which honoured Thérèse Casgrain and the Famous Five.

Historian and author Merna Forster has been campaigning to have more females celebrated on Canadian banknotes for years. Forster is the author of the book, 100 Canadian Heroines, and raised money for a statue of famous artist Emily Carr in Victoria, B.C.

After Casgrain and the Famous Five were removed from banknotes in 2011, Forster “felt it was necessary” to start a campaign. In 2013, Forster launched a petition with to have more women featured on Canadian money. The petition has gained more than 64,000 signatures.

Her goal is to “ensure the amazing women from Canadian history are not forgotten,” she said.

Jean Augustine, former Minister of Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, was involved with the motion that got Casgrain and the Famous Five on the old $50 bill. Augustine believes it’s important to honour the women who have contributed to Canada’s history.

“It gives credence that women are respected and acknowledged for their contributions,” Augustine said.

Augustine remarked that Trudeau’s decision to have a gender-balanced Cabinet sends a “great message” and creates role models for women. She added that it’s important that Canada’s diversity be represented in our every day lives.

“If you can’t see yourself there it becomes harder to get there,” Augustine said.

Fragedakis believes Trudeau’s decision will affect how both men and women think of females in the political sphere.

“I think it’s a signal to men in society that we’re all equal,” she commented.

When it comes to making decisions that impact everyone, Fragedakis said it’s important to have multiple perspectives.

“Gender is one aspect of diversity in our society and we have to reflect our society in it’s truest form,” she added.

England and Austrailia have already chosen some women to be the face of their currency. England is introducing a 10-pound note that will feature novelist Jane Austen and Australia has a man on one side and a woman on the other for most of it’s banknotes.

Merna also worked with to create a website where people can suggest notable Canadian women who could be featured on banknotes. There is an interactive tool that customizes an image of the $100 bill and let’s users share their suggestions.

Learn about distinguished Canadian women in the timeline here:

Inspiring quotes by powerful women. Watch the video below:

The best Canadian cities for millennials

Generation Why is a financial advice website for millennials by millennials. 
Generation Why's goal is to teach you the lessons about money school forgot to. 
Read more here.

Toronto and Montreal have been rivals for decades. Whether it’s the Leafs vs the Canadiens, UofT vs McGill or a debate about which city has the most attractive people, Toronto and Montreal are always in competition.

But which is a better city for millennials?

We asked a group of millennials what things they would consider before moving to a different city and compared those factors for Toronto and Montreal. We’re going to put an end to this silly debate once and for all! Probably not but here we go:

Median income

Toronto: $72,830     Montreal: $73,250

Median age

Toronto: 39.2             Montreal: 38.6

Crime rate

Toronto: 0.81%       Montreal 0.96%

Unemployment rate

Toronto: 7.8%         Montreal: 7.8%

Rent (1 bedroom apartment)

Toronto: $1,492.88, outside of city $1,142.12     Montreal: $942.90, outside of city 654.26

It looks like Montreal is the better city for millennials because the cost of living in Toronto is too damn high! According to Numbeo, Montreal is more affordable than Toronto in matters that most effect young adults like cost of rent and transportation. By Numbeo’s calculations the cost of living Toronto is 18% more expensive than in Montreal. You would need about $5,290.49 in Toronto to maintain the same lifestyle that you can have with $4,400.00 in Montreal.

People have often said “Toronto is a great city to live in…if you can afford it.”

Earlier this year the Angus Reid Institute conducted a survey which revealed that 45% of millennials are “seriously considering” moving out of Toronto because they don’t think they’ll ever be able to own a house there. Currently the cost of a house in Toronto is upwards of half-a-million dollars; and 8% increase since the last quarter. Many millennials feel as if they’re being pushed out of the housing market and being forced to rent. Unfortunately, that situation isn’t much better; according to Diana Cappa, student housing coordinator at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, Toronto’s vacancy rate is anywhere between 1-2%. That means if there are 100 rent-able apartments only 1 or two of them will be available at any given time in the year.

The high prices of owning and renting a place in Toronto means that many millennials will end up living at home longer than their parents did. Some have called this phenomenon of millennials living at home “failure to launch syndrome” while others say it’s a good idea. Even on the national level more and more young adults are living at home longer according to StatsCan.

According to Angus Reid Institute45% of millennails in the GTA  are “seriously” thinking of leaving the GTA due to the high cost of home ownership. And 48% of them are “frustrated” by how far they live from work or school. So if you’re tired of living at home or tired of how much it costs to live in Toronto you could always move. According to, it’s not even one of the top five cities of millennials. Neither is Montreal. Below is a map of Canada hi-lighting some of the best cities for millennials along with some important information about them cities.