Canada – ONWA and Mount McKay

I spent my penultimate day in Thunder Bay with Ornge, the air ambulance provider: unfortunately, there were no calls that I could go out on so the day was quite slow. But, that’s just how things go!

On my final day, we went to the Ontario Native Women’s Association‘s (ONWA) for their Sisters in Spirit Vigil, to remember missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Continue reading

Canada – Thunder Bay, Class and Tobacco Making

Yesterday, I sat in some first year classes at NOSM. We spent two hours playing a brilliant game about the social determinants of health. Each team rolls their dice initially to determine their sex, socio-economic status and race. They were then given “vitality points”, determined by these randomly-assigned factors. As they progress through the game, they progress through stages of life and rolling dice determines things like whether they get a good education (with the odds higher for those of a higher socio-economic status) and whether they smoke. Factors that become apparent early in the game (such as smoking and level of education) affect the odds of adverse events later in life, such as illness and job loss. Some plays on the board increase their number of vitality points (such as a public health intervention that improves the population’s health), others reduce them (getting hit by a car because their neighbourhood isn’t bike friendly) and one team were unexpectedly out after a series of unfortunate dice rolls had them die in a car accident as a teenager.

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Canada – Thunder Bay, Walking With Our Sisters

Walking with our Sisters is a exhibition commemorating the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada. It started as a call for crafters to donate 600 “vamps” (the upper part of a moccasin, also called a tongue, they are often beautifully decorate with intricate beading); a year after the call was made, over 1 600 vamps had been donated. I only found this out after, but one beading group was based just up the road in Aberdeen – they received tuition via Skype!

The exhibition is touring Canada, and is currently at Thunder Bay Art Gallery, so I went along to have a look.

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Canada – Thunder Bay, Ornge Air Ambulance Open Day

Ornge is the air ambulance service here in Ontario; they cover a huge area and their website has a fantastic tool that gives daily statistics on what they’re up to.

Last Saturday, they had an open house, which was a community engagement event that invited the public (enticed with pizza and popcorn!) into their hangar to see what happens behind the scenes.

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Canada – A Greyhound Journey

Yesterday I took an ten hour bus from Sault Ste Marie to Thunder Bay. It wasn’t very eventful as I slept and read (Oh, Mr Darcy!) the whole way.

Some excitement was, however, to be gained at the Greyhound bus terminal in Sault Ste Marie, as they had a vending machine, unlike anything I’d seen before.


pie-machine1When you select your scran, the giant freezer door opens and the package is sucked up and delivered…pie-machine2

…ready to be microwaved and devoured.

It was much better tasting that I thought it would be!

Canada – Sault Ste Marie, Agawa Canyon Train

Just a quick update on my weekend…

I took a train journey (that was over four hours and 114 miles each way) on a lovely tourist train to visit the Agawa Canyon. It was gorgeous: with “fall” fast approaching, the trees were changing colours (hi, Lisa!) and there was plenty of time for a walk (or a hike, for the North Americans…) around the waterfalls at the top.

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