March 2011

Guest Post: The Safest Cities in Canada – Low on Crime & High on Family Values

Downtown London

When you’re raising a family, it’s important to be sure that you’re living in a safe, kid-friendly location. Fortunately, there are many places in Canada that fit that description, so it’s not difficult to find the right city for your family. According to a study profiled in Today’s Parent, the top five family friendly cities in Canada are Quebec City, Ottawa-Hull, Halifax, Winnipeg, and Calgary, with Quebec City achieving the best rating. However, the city of London in Ontario is also gaining recognition as a safe, family friendly city due to its low crime rate and excellent health care, among other factors.

The following are some more detailed descriptions of Canada’s safest cities for families.

Quebec City

This location scored well with the evaluators because of its excellent health care, progressive child care system, and active Ministry of Family and Children. Quebec City spends the most per capita on parks, recreation areas, museums, activities, and festivals – all of which are family friendly and safe. This city also boasts the second-lowest child poverty rate for kids under the age of five and the lowest housing costs by income.

Ottawa-Hull

This city has plenty of civic attractions and parks, boasting low crime numbers that attract families to the area for excellent safety.  Ottawa-Hull and Calgary tied for the fourth-lowest child poverty rate in Canada.

Halifax

Out of all the crimes that could plague a city, Halifax is most concerned with graffiti – and that means there’s no focus on homicide or other violent crimes because they rarely affect Halifax. Its crime rate is the second-lowest in Canada, with St. John’s taking first place. Halifax also has a wealth of maritime value with a variety of beaches, fishing and sailing opportunities, and a program to address harbor pollution. Its parks, cycling paths, hiking trails, and clean air make it a great place to raise a family. The only downside to Halifax is its low high school completion rate: the second-lowest in Canada. In general, this city is a solid destination for a safety-conscious family.

Winnipeg

This city scored well in environment and community involvement, which are two important initiatives for a family friendly location. Volunteering is a popular activity in this area, so kids learn the importance of helping others early in life. Winnipeg is the third-best city in per capita charitable donations and is well above the midpoint in education and child care. The only caveats for families considering this city are relatively high poverty and violent youth crime rates.

Calgary

The United Way raises more money per person in Calgary than in any other location included in the study. This city also enjoys a healthy economy, low child poverty rates, and very little business for its food banks. Assaults, property crimes, and drug offenses don’t affect Calgary as much as other cities in Canada. However, Alberta’s health care, education, and low spending on civic attractions leave it at the bottom of the list of the top five safe, family friendly Canadian cities.

London

Located in the impressively safe province of Ontario, London is a great addition to this list of top family friendly cities in Canada. In 2006, the province of Ontario reported the lowest crime rate in Canada for the third year in a row: 5,689 per 100,000 or roughly 5.7%. This province also outperforms all others on health care with short waiting lists for treatment and very few childhood injuries. Its per-child spending on child care is the second-best out of all Canadian provinces.

London’s wide variety of safety programs includes a Children’s Safety Village which enables children to put what they learn about safety into action when they “practice” being safe in this kid-size model village. Additional programs such as Neighborhood Watch and Pool Safety help to keep families and children safe in this pleasant city.

If you live in any of these cities while you raise your family, you’re in good hands, so enjoy spending time with your children as you watch them grow up in a safe place.

Maria Rainier

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degrees and what it takes to succeed as a student taking a bachelors degree program from home. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

City Mom

An Unusual Persepctive on London

When I asked my friend Kimberly from All Work and No Play to guest post on City Mom, I knew one of two things was going to happen.

1.  She would grace us with a moving and raw story about her struggles and triumphs with Postpartum Depression or…

2.  We’d get a hilarious post that splits your sides and makes you smile for the rest of the day.

Guess which one we got?  I bet you never thought you’d read about Solid Gold on City Mom…Enjoy and thank you to Kimberly!

BWS tips button

The summer sun blazed through the sun roof as our 4 door yellow Focus barreled down the 401 towards London. The wind whipped my hair wildly in every direction but I didn’t care. The highway air felt refreshing…

…until someone in the backseat decided to bake a brown air biscuit.

Shawn (my husband): “Whew! Whatever that farmer is using to fertilize his crop is sure rancid!”

*laughter erupts from the backseat

Shawn: “Oh man Kenny. That was a good one!”

Kenny. How do I describe this?

Shawn and Kenny have been the best of friends since Bon Jovi donned his first pair of tight leather pants.

Yum.

I digress.

Even though Shawn and Kenny came from separate wombs, they are somehow tethered together by an umbilical cord that no woman can ever sever. They are inseparable.

They form a relationship that can be referred to as a “bromance”.
And yes, it is nauseating.

Where was I? Oh yes, on our way to London. We were meeting 3 other couples at London’s Armories Hotel for a mini vacation. When we got settled there we headed to Labatt’s Blue Brewery to see how beer was made and to watch the men drown in their own drool. Then us women subjected the men to hours of shopping.

And maybe we made them sit through our pedicures. It was only fair right?

Then some stuff happened. Most likely there was alcohol involved and perhaps there was a dare. Either way, at some point in between being completely obliterated and being just annoyingly drunk and adventurous, we found ourselves standing in the middle of Solid Gold. A strip club.

I remember that I focused heavily on my watered down overly priced drink that I sucked back anxiously in a mere 2.5 seconds because I didn’t know what I needed to do. Like was I supposed to just sit and smile at the dancers? Should I have tried to carry on in conversation about politics while “Diamond” shakes her naked junk in front of our faces?

It was awkward.

But the most awkward part was when I was approached by a peeler bar patron.

Old Dude: When do you dance?

Me: Oh. No, I am not a dancer.
*I begin fiddling with my straw.

Old Dude: You should dance up there.

Me: No, I’m not dancing. (*elbowing Shawn)

Old Dude: Come on get up there. I have money.

Me: Shawn. Shawn! Shawn.
*Shawn turns to me

Shawn: Shhhhhhhhh…..I’m talking to Kenny!
*Shawn turns his full attention back to Kenny.

See what I mean. I’m not important when Kenny’s around. Not even a creepy old dude with a strong graying moustache hitting on me can penetrate its force of love.

Bromance. Le sigh.

Anyhoodles, the rest of the trip was a smash and we’ve all been itching to go back…

…and not because we all caught something when we were at the strip club.

Because London is fabulously fun.

Or in our case…Solid Gold.

Fabulous Female Friday – Jodi Tiller

Fabulous Female Friday

Fabulous Female Friday

As a woman who has lived through and overcome Postpartum Depression, I am thrilled that Jodi Tiller and Life With Baby have come to London.   If Jodi had opened up shop during the time I was unwell, I think life would have been that much easier.

Recently I did a review on Life With Baby and was able to meet Jodi and her colleagues at LWB.  After just a couple of visits with her I knew that she was undoubtably a Fabulous Female and that she deserved an entire feature on City Mom devoted just to her!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a fun-loving, passionate woman who, in recent months, took a huge leap of faith for the sake of pursuing a longstanding dream of creating a business like Life With Baby. I am so grateful for my moment of being fearless. I’m loving the adventure!!

I’ve been working as a psychotherapist in London for over a decade. The focus was always on helping families begin with a healthy and happy start. What I’m most passionate about is helping mothers recover from postpartum depression.

Tell us a little about Life With Baby.

Life With Baby is a comfortable and supportive community for mamas-to-be and new mamas to connect, share, and be well. We offer a full-range of holistic health and wellness services geared to the specific needs of pre and postnatal families. A collection of fabulous practitioners offer yoga, fitness, Pilates, naturopathic medicine, registered massage therapy, breastfeeding support, counseling and childbirth education – all under the same roof, which happens to be a beautiful century home located across from Victoria Park.

How did Life With Baby come about?

It’s been a vision of mine since studying mother-infant attachment during my undergraduate degree in honours psychology over 17 years ago. I quickly got the sense that the best way I could help children is to help their parents – their mothers in particular. And so, my work in supporting and empowering mothers began and I always knew that I wanted to create a ‘village’ of support for mothers – a bigger circle of support.

What has inspired you to work with new and ‘to-be’ moms?

The transformation that occurs when a woman becomes a mother is so profound and so fascinating. It’s such a significant moment in a woman’s life that I just love bearing witness to. That juxtaposition between being so vulnerable and yet so strong is amazing.

As a culture, we don’t always do a very good job of supporting mothers. Most countries around the world honour the proverb “it takes a village” – knowing that a family’s well-being (and ultimately, a community’s well-being) needs be a collective effort and responsibility. Mothers and families are so disconnected in our North American culture and the pressure to ‘do it all’ and do it perfectly is unbelievable. I love being able to offer mothers different messages – messages that empower, heal, allow them to let go of the ‘shoulds,’ that help them trust themselves, believe in their inner strength and wisdom.

How did you select your downtown London location for Life With Baby?

When I moved to London over 10 years ago, I was immediately drawn to the building. I knew it was the place where I would be creating a wonderful community for expectant and new families. It was just a matter of time for the opportunity to present itself.

What is your favourite thing about Life With Baby?

I love the positive and warm energy that’s immediately felt when you enter the building. You just know you’re in a good place.

I also love the sense of community and sisterhood that’s developing amongst the mamas. Women thrive in connection and I love being able to facilitate meaningful connections at a time when women need them the most. One more thing…I love giving mamas the message that their health and well-being matters.

What are you working on next?

A community garden in the backyard of Life With Baby. The mamas are excited to get going on this fantastic project. I can’t wait for families to enjoy yummy, fresh vegetables and leave Life With Baby with a beautiful bunch of flowers for their home.

If you could give a new mom only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be loving and kind to yourself…and patient. Oh, and make use of the words ‘good enough’ as often as possible.

What is the last song you listened to on your iPod?

I’ve been doing some personal training with the fabulous Bernice Robinson, so I’ve been rockin’ out to some Jay-Z, Madonna, whatever will get me through the hour!

What is the last book you read?

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It’s amazing!

——————————————————————–

Thanks to Jodi for devoting her time to this feature and for brining Life With Baby to us!

City Mom

Tangled On DVD March 29th – Giveaway

Tangled the Movie

Tangled the Movie

A couple of months ago my husband and I decided to take a gamble at the  movie theater.  You see it was little S’s first time going to the show.  She had only just turned three and we weren’t sure if she’d be able to sit through an entire movie.

We knew that if there was any chance at all that she’d make it through the show seeing Tangled was our best bet.  We were right!  Right from the start we were all captivated!  We went with S’s two cousins who are boys aged five and seven and they loved it too.

Tangled features Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a young girl hidden away from the world by her overprotective mother, Gothel.  Rapunzel dreams of discovering what the world holds, when suddenly Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi), a caddish drifter stumbles into her life.  They strike a deal and Flynn agrees to lead her through the forest and find the hidden strength she never knew.

The colourful designs, upbeat music and loveable characters make this movie a ‘can’t miss favourite’.  We have been anxiously awaiting the DVD release. 

WIN IT

This just in.  The prize has been upgraded to a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack!

Today on City Mom one reader will win a newly released DVD copy of Tangled and one of the following bonus items (randomly selected):

  •  A Pascal Beanie Baby
  • Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel T-Shirt
  • Official Disney Paper Lanterns

HOW TO WIN

1.  Click on the ‘Tangled DVD’ tab above and watch the decorating tips by Designer Claire Keane video.  Leave a comment letting me know who was shown in the video with her.

OR

Take a photo of yourself and/or your kids doing the Tangled Talents and email them to nnordella@dbawest.com.  Leave a comment on City Mom letting me know you did.

EXTRA ENTRIES

2.  Click on the ‘Like Tangled on Facebook’ button above and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

3.  ‘Like’ City Mom on Facebook.  Leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

4.  Tweet the following on Twitter: ‘Enter to win a Tangled DVD Prize Pack on City Mom: http://www.citymom.ca/?p=1206′ (Can be tweeted once daily – leave a comment for each tweet)

RULES

  1. Contest is open to Canadian & US Residents
  2. One winner will be chosen at random using And The Winner Is
  3. The winner will be notified at the email address used upon entry
  4. The winner will have 24 hours to respond.  Failure to do so will result in a new winner being selected
  5. The contest will run from March 23 – April 4, 2011 at 6PM ET

Good luck and enjoy the show!

City Mom

Convenience for Parents in London

zenChild

Being a parent in London just got a lot easier thanks to 1-888-ZEN-CHILD, a local disposable diaper delivery service.  Gone are the days of running out of diapers, wipes and other baby care needs.

There’s nothing like losing track of the diaper count to find you’re on the last one.  Or learning you’re out of wipes when Junior just made a big mess. Zen Child carries many popular brands of diapers and diapering essentials like wipes, lotions and body wash that can all be delivered right to your front door!

HOW IT WORKS

First you visit www.zenchild.ca to view their catalogue of products.  Next you call 1-888-ZEN-CHILD to place your order, make your payment and set up delivery.  I was able to pick a time that was convenient for me and they were very willing to work around my schedule, offering an alternate delivery time if needed.

To add to the convenience, in the next few weeks, clients will be able to place and pay for their orders online on the Zen Child website.  Currently the telephone ordering system is available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

 PRICING

I did a price comparison from a leading retailer and the prices were the same diaper for diaper.  And the particular brand of wipes I ordered was actually cheaper with Zen Child.  What’s better with Zen Child is that you don’t have to leave your home, load the kids into the car or wait in line to get your diapers.  As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better way to buy your diapers and diapering essentials.

Delivery is very reasonable as well.  Orders under $25 dollars will have an added $5 delivery fee.  Orders over $25 include free delivery in their primary delivery area. Orders over $50 will receive free delivery in their secondary coverage area. Parents know how easy it is to spend over $25 on diapers so free delivery can almost be assumed.

SPECIAL OFFER

Today Zen Child is offering all City Mom readers a 10% discount on all of their Diapering Essential products.  This includes wipes, powders , lotions etc. You just need to mention this review on City Mom to receive your discount.  This offer will be good until April 30th, 2011.  What a great time to stock up!

After trying out this service and researching some competitive pricing, there isn’t anything I don’t like about Zen Child.  I highly recommend this convenient amenity and London is lucky to have them!

You can also find Zen Child on Facebook and Twitter or contact them through email at  info@zenchild.ca.

City Mom

Foto Friday – Capture Your City

fotoFriday2

Welcome to the second installment of Foto Friday.  If you want to learn what it’s all about check here.

Wellington St. London

WINTER ON WELLINGTON STREET

Here in the heart of downtown winter was in full swing last week after a major dumping of snow. Today however, is a much different story. I was glad I was able to capture this before the warmer temperatures arrived.

GRAB THE BADGE:

LINK UP



City Mom

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