Can you see Canada in places it shouldn’t be?

toronto(NC) You probably know that in many movies, Canadian locations serve as stand-ins for American ones. But these examples may surprise you:


Could it be that a movie named after ‘the Windy City’ was actually shot in Canada? Better believe it. Chicago, the 2002 Oscar-winning musical was shot mostly in Toronto, in some of the city’s period buildings. It makes sense. The two cities share similar architecture and follow a similar urban-sprawl pattern due to the lakes surrounding them.

Detroit Rock City

This rock ‘n’ roll cult favourite was filmed almost entirely in Ontario, despite being set in Detroit. Lucky KISS fans from Hamilton were cast as extras in the movie’s concert scene and got to watch KISS play live at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum.

Seven Years in Tibet

The glorious opening shots, supposedly of the Himalayas, were shot on Mount Waddington in British Columbia. To prepare themselves for the shoot, lead actors Brad Pitt and David Thewlis underwent intensive mountain-climbing training to conquer Western Canada’s most popular peak.

“The diversity of scenery in Canada, from the natural environment to the colourful cities, makes it a great backdrop for blockbuster films,” says Kate Brennan, senior communications manager for Redbox, a leading name in new release movie rentals. “It really shows the transformative power of movies, giving you a glimpse of a world that may be closer than you realize.”

Brennan points out that for a low cost, the Redbox service offers a wide range of new-release DVDs and Blu-ray discs, featuring the most popular celebrities and characters. It’s also the best option for Canadians to view new release movies, not available on Netflix or any other streaming services on the market. You can reserve them online at, or make a selection in the kiosk at your favourite retailer.

What movies do you know are impersonated by Canada?


Make a New Year’s resolution to stay safe online

(NC) This is the time of year when we take stock of the year that was – and then make our resolutions for the year to come. When it comes to new technology and using the Internet, here are two easy resolutions you can make right now:

1. Think before I app. 2. Keep a clean machine.

Just like resolutions to improve our daily diet or to add more exercise, both resolutions aim at improving the quality of your life. The following ‘cyber safe’ resolutions, for example, could have an impact on your personal identity, on your online accounts, and they could even affect your financial activities:


Keep a clean machine

• Make sure the software is up to date and use the most recent versions of your mobile operating system, security software, apps and Web browsers. Resolving to do these simple things is among the best defenses against malware, viruses and other online threats.


• Protect your personal information: Check privacy settings on your online accounts. Use strong passwords, and be careful of what you share online including your name, location, and other personal details like where you go to school or your age.

• Secure your device: Use a passcode to lock your smartphone or tablet.

Think before you app

• Before you download it, understand what information the app would access and share like your location, your contacts, social networking profiles, etc. Always download apps from trusted sources.

• Back it up: Sync your contacts, photos, videos and other mobile device data with another device or ‘cloud’ service on a weekly basis.

Making these resolutions will help to keep you safe online. More information can be found at

Like a good wine, Jim Cuddy only gets better with age

Jim Cuddy

“I’m not interested in going solo full time. I like it as a sideline, but I like my main act the most.” ~ Jim Cuddy

I get the opportunity to spend time with and write about a wide variety of celebrities and artists, but none has excited me more than Jim Cuddy. 

Being a fan for more than 20 years, travelling across country to enjoy sold out concerts, and having a crush on him that even my husband knows not to challenge, it’s an honour to be able to give our readers a glimpse of the man behind the singing/song writing legend.

Jim Cuddy is one of the most talented and kind musicians I know in the music industry. Toronto Maple Leaf fan, devoted husband, wine connoisseur and lover of crossword puzzles; Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame and frontman for the Jim Cuddy Band is a proud Torontonian.

Born December 2, 1955 in Toronto, he has been happily hitched to Canadian actress Rena Polley for over 30 years, and father to their three children; Devin (born 1987), Emma (born 1988), and Sam (born 1992).

He fondly remembers that special day in 1978, while out on a jog. “This girl (Rena) jogged by me – I was immediately smitten. I found out who she was and asked her out on a date. She agreed to meet me the next day for breakfast at Morrison’s Restaurant.  We spent hours upon hours chatting.  We’ve been together ever since.”

With 3 solo albums behind him; All in Time (1998), The Light That Guides You Home (2006) and Skyscraper Soul (2001), the sexy Jim Cuddy seems to only get better with age.  Claims Cuddy, “I’ve always appreciated that I’m in a profession that won’t put you out to pasture just because you’re getting old.”.  As I get older, I’m just more vulnerable and that’s reflected in my songs”.  His voice is as strong as ever, and he’s hitting ranges better now before surgery removed some nodes from his throat that were challenging some high notes than a handful of years ago.

Jim Cuddy Band

A photo op with Jim Cuddy. Eeeek!

With a mix of romantic ballads, country soul, country-rock, and upbeat diddy’s – Jim is enjoying his solo career, but says; “I’m not interested in going solo full time. I like it as a sideline, but I like my main act the most”

“When I write songs for my solo material, the songs tend to be a lot more personal than what I write for Blue Rodeo. I sit down with all of these instruments and work at building the ideas until a song emerges.”

Influenced by such artist as Gordon Lightfoot, The Beatles and Rolling Stones, Cuddy says however that he’s a lover of all music.  “Music always completely captured my attention.  If I was talking to somebody, and a song came on that I liked, I could no longer talk to them, I just became so distracted by what was playing.”

Cuddy’s most recent solo single is one of my all-time favourites, Everyone Watched The Wedding, a song he wrote about a ordinary people and their thoughts on the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate.  This song and his album really takes us on a journey of perspective from many views.

Jim Cuddy

I’m star struck again with Jim Cuddy.

If you have a chance to see the Jim Cuddy Band on one of their various tour dates, I highly encourage you to do so.  Cuddy and his band put on an incredible show for their fans time and time again.   The show and Cuddy himself – are simply spectacular.

For more on Jim Cuddy and the Jim Cuddy Band:




TV personality and tech expert makes learning fun for kids


(NC) Television host and tech expert Amber Mac is no stranger to helping kids learn. With a young son, she is constantly striving to find fun, innovative ways to help her child learn more. Here are her kid-tested tips that will help your child enjoy learning more:

• A day trip to a local museum or science centre is an excellent way for kids to learn new information and skills. Suggestion: use an audio guide, if available to help boost their listening skills.

• A vacation is often a new learning experience for kids, exposing them to a new environment or culture. Amber Mac also suggests packing some learning tools in your suitcase or carry-on. She says one of her favourites is the Leap Reader (by LeapFrog) for under fifty dollars. It is a complete learn to read and write solution that is compact, transportable and economical.

• An art project will encourage your child to express their creativity. Give him or her free reign, so they can showcase their personal style and focus their attention – a necessary skill when learning any subject matter.

• Crosswords, board games and trivia challenges are engaging ways to ensure your children learn new words and boost their grammar. “Another favourite from LeapFrog is the LeapPad Ultra,” says Amber. “It has a content library with more than 800 resources for children and it also contains a suite of trivia games that help kids enhance their learning while having fun.”

Stay on your brand name medication but pay generic prices

Pay generic prices for brand name medications!

Pay generic prices for brand name medications!

It happens more often than you think. Your doctor writes a prescription for a brand name medication, but when you take it to the pharmacy, you’re sometimes given another pill with a different name in an effort to save you money. But what if you want to stay on your brand name medication? Is it really going to cost you more? Many Canadians have benefited from a program allowing them to choose to remain on their brand name medicines at generic prices.

Last year, Canadians who used RxHelp Patient Choice cards to purchase their brand name medicines saved $50 million. More than 1.2 million prescriptions were filled using these cards – a new tool that allows you to choose to remain on your brand name medicines while paying lower generic prices.

These cards are available for Canadians who require medicine for chronic conditions, such as high cholesterol, arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, Parkinson’s disease, asthma and migraines, as well as, for anyone who requires monthly medicine for family planning.

“Consistency in medication is very important to achieving results,” says Dr. Anu Poldes, a family physician in Toronto. “Active ingredients, dyes and other inert materials can vary slightly from one manufacturer to another and some patients are sensitive to such variations. Staying on the same brand removes this risk.”

All you need to do is take a valid prescription from your doctor, present it to your pharmacist along with a RxHelp Patient Choice card and ask for your brand name medicine to be dispensed. Cards can be used at any Canadian pharmacy and can be downloaded to a smart phone, or printed as a PDF from They can also be ordered by calling 1-866-RxHelp4 (1-866-794-3574). Cards are free of charge; there are no hidden fees, no monthly charges and patient privacy is protected.

Skin protection tips for baby’s first summer

baby's first summer

baby’s first summer

(NC)—For many new moms, summer weather means quiet afternoons exploring the backyard, baby’s first steps barefoot in the grass and shared giggles while treating your little one to a refreshing swim. But when it comes to baby’s sensitive skin, some summer firsts, like sunburn, heat rash and dryness are best avoided. Did you know that a baby’s skin loses moisture nearly twice as fast as adult skin?

Baby skin barriers are less mature and are still changing and developing during the first year of life, making them more susceptible to dryness. This barrier protects against water loss, prevents the entry of bacteria and provides temperature regulation. As a result, baby’s skin is more sensitive to sunlight and has a higher potential for developing irritation and infections. To maintain the healthiest condition, parents can use gentle cleansers and frequently moisturize their little ones.

Baby skin is also much thinner, so it’s best to use a wide-brimmed hat and loose-fitting cotton t-shirts to protect from the sun’s strong rays. During outdoor activities, make sure to set up in cool, shaded areas at parks or recreation spots to help prevent heat rash. While it’s recommended to consult your doctor before using sunscreens for infants under six months of age, a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains at least SPF 30 can be used on older babies and toddlers. Sun shades and visors can also be helpful to keep hot rays off baby’s skin during car trips and walks in the stroller.

If dryness is a concern, products like Johnson’s Baby Lotion with moisturizing aloe vera and vitamin E work very well to maintain baby’s natural skin moisture. In addition to nourishing dry skin for up to 24 hours, this gentle, effective formula is mild enough for delicate newborn skin.

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