Archive for June, 2010


Cultural Thoughts….

As we prepare to celebrate Canada Day this week, I find myself thinking about cultural identity and how it is perceived by immigrants and their Canadian-born or Canadian-raised children.

In Canada, a model nation of multiculturalism with one of the largest populations of immigrants in the world, the notion of culture becomes quite complex. Where things get really complicated is in the relationship between the immigrant parent and the Canadian-born/raised child.
Many immigrant parents argue that the need to integrate in the new country should not override the richness or value of their culture, and that the values they will pass down to their children are non-negotiable. Still, many children born to immigrant parents accept that cultural identity is a multidimensional thing in Canada, and there is more than one way of looking at the world.
I should know. As the immigrant parent of a child born in Canada, our life is about building bridges: ethnically and in terms of cultural tradition. Add to the mix a set of live-in grandparents who recently moved to Canada, and you suddenly wake up to a full plate of one rich and saucy cultural salad.
If you ask my 7-year old daughter, she would say that at home she is very much Romanian, although at school she is as Canadian as anyone else.
Although the passing down of culture should be a question of give and take, a process where “children blend what they inherit,” many admit that fitting into the mainstream is often a necessary survival tactic to succeed in Canada. In other words, the experience of migration across borders means a necessary redrawing of cultural lines.

Many new immigrants point out there is a risk involved in this: alienation. In Canada, there is a new culture and in many cases, a new race to assimilate — to get rid of our Old World baggage as we come here and become Canadian, and make sure our kids are fully Canadian.
The notion of integration leading to alienation is on the minds of many youth born or raised in Canada to immigrant parents.
Some of my friends feel neither Romanian nor Canadian. The kids feel more security than their parents do in joining Canadian society since they are not displaced, per se. However, the complexities of having to choose between embracing Canadian mainstream culture and their parents’ values and traditions could be overwhelming.

Being pulled between two cultures means that conflict is a daily reality for children of immigrants. They can start feeling like they don’t fully belong in either culture. Meanwhile, parents who bear the more immediate challenges of economic stability are often unable to attend to their children’s resulting emotional needs. Unfortunately, there are few resources out there to assist in dealing with such cultural conflicts.

With multiculturalism literally enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a new definition of culture may be necessary. Perhaps “culture” in Canada is a metaphor — literally, in the sense that it means more than one thing, and, figuratively, because its meaning is a bridge or balancing act between the old and new.
After all, culture in the multicultural Canadian context can never be a single expression — it is the amalgamation of various expressions, lifestyles, ideologies, values and traditions. We are a nation where diversity and integration can function hand in hand. It’s all about finding that balance.

As you are preparing for the fireworks party and wondering where in the closet are those bright red 2010 Olympics T-shirts, have yourselves a Happy Canada Week!


The Seventeen Magazine Project

Thirty Days According to the Ultimate Teenage Handbook!

How often do we read magazines and actually commit to absorbing all of the suggestions, instructions, and tips into our  own daily lives? One high school senior flipped through the pages of Seventeen magazine this Spring and was inspired to undertake a fascinating experiment. Here in Jamie Keiles’ own words is the description of her endeavour:

What would happen if an actual teenager were to apply all of these “tips and tricks” to her life? Would it actually improve? Would she actually become cuter/hotter/thinner/fitter/healthier/more popular? Do embodying these traits even make one’s life more fulfilling? This is what I will set out to explore. The goal of this project is to simply explore a dying aspect of teenage culture. I will live my life according to the tips provided by the June/July issue of Seventeen magazine and from today until the weekend of my high school graduation (June 21). Conveniently, this project will also span the Most Important and Magical Night of My Teenage Life (i.e. senior prom). I will use this blog to record my findings, and to provide commentary on teenage life/the adolescent experience.

Here are the rules of the project:
  1. I will read the entire June/July issue of Seventeen magazine from cover to cover.
  2. Every day I will utilize at least one “beauty tip” (hair/makeup/skincare/whathaveyou) and one fashion tip.
  3. I will follow all diet and exercise tips provided in the issue to a T.
  4. I will participate in every activity recommended by the magazine (i.e. host a fright night, score your hottest summer hookup ever, be confident in a bikini, etc.)
  5. I will apply for every single “freebieoffered by the magazine, every day.
  6. I will consume all media recommended by the magazine at least once. (books/movies/music)
  7. I will hang all provided pictures/posters of “hot guys” in my living environment.

  Jamie has recently completed her experiment and recounts the experience on her blog. For interesting insight into the perspective of a savvy and witty teen who’s looking beyond the surface of style magazines, link to her commentary here.

To read an earlier post from The Image Builders on magazines, link here.



A busy week this week so have been tardy in getting this post up for you … I had a stack of ideas and was settling down to write when I received an email link to the following blogpost over on one of my favourite magazine sites “Mentalfloss” … The blog posting was called “The Kindness of Strangers” and after reading just a few entries I found I was hooked. I simply had to share it here with you!

 The entry by Ransom Riggs begins with:  “I was out of town at a wedding last weekend, and when I got back, I found a strange thing on my doorstep — a bag with a bottle of wine in it, on which was written: ‘I parked and bocked your driveway. Thanks for not towing me.’

 Leaving aside the fact that I wasn’t around to be annoyed by whatever driveway-blocking may have taken place over the weekend, I’d say that’s pretty much the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me. A bottle of wine? I have to assume that the three other apartments in my building, who all share my driveway, found similar goodie bags on their doorsteps. What a gentleman (or woman)!

Let’s start the week off with some feel-good vibes: what’s the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

At last count 195 comments detailing heartwarming, funny and generous stories followed. Tune in here to follow the thread. A similarly toned column runs in The Toronto Star on a daily basis and can be read here.

In August of last year, we began our own list of Random Acts of Courtesy … read that entry again here.

May much kindness find its way your way today … whether it’s your birthday or not!


HELLO! Canada Celebrates Style in Keepsake Issue

HELLO! Canada pays tribute to the most sophisticated and sublime icons of style, both past and present
Coco Channel, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy, Sarah Jessica Parker, George Clooney, Madonna, Lady Gaga. These highly recognizable stars all have one uncommon thing in common: they possess an enduring and awe-inspiring sense of style.

These  icons are just a few of the high-style celebrities featured in HELLO! Canada!’s Style Icons inaugural special issue. In a mix of old-world glamour and modern-day celebrity, this glorious 116-page issue is rich with beautiful photographs, fascinating facts – and memorable quotes, including:

– “I have to choose simple clothes. Nothing fussy is becoming to me.”  Grace Kelly
– “I still regret wearing a black wedding dress.” Sarah Jessica Parker
– “Her power was to fascinate. She crossed the populist with the regal.” Valentino on Jacqueline Kennedy

From who wore it first to who’s making it work today, HELLO! Canada Style Icons celebrates all of the stars whose inimitable sense of style has influenced and directed the worlds of fashion and films.



– Audrey Hepburn’s son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer tells the story of his mother’s inimitable style
– Coco Channel Breaks All the Rules by fashion writer Nathalie Atkinson
– Grace Kelly’s Elegance Lives On in Hollywood



Photos- Rogers Digital Media 2010 All Rights Reserved


The Sartorialist – What Real (Cool) People Wear in Real Life



Scott Schuman just wanted to take photographs of people that he met on the streets of New York whom he felt looked great.
His now-famous and much-loved blog, , is his showcase for the wonderful and varied sartorial tastes of real people across the globe. 

His book The Sartorialist is a beautiful anthology of Scott’s favorite images, accompanied by his insightful commentary. It includes photographs of well-known fashion figures alongside people encountered on the street whose personal style and taste demand a closer look.




On the Street…Out of Nowhere, Paris



From the streets of New York to the parks of Florence, from Stockholm to Paris, from London to Moscow and Milan, these are the men and women who have inspired Scott and the many diverse and fashionable readers of his blog. After fifteen years in the fashion business, Scott Schuman felt a growing disconnect between what he saw on the runways and in magazines, and what real people were wearing. The Sartorialist was his attempt to redress the balance. Since its beginning, the blog has become hugely admired and influential in the fashion industry and beyond. is consistently named one of the top blogs in the world. He has been named as one of Time magazine’s top 100 design influencers.



On the Street…Out of Nowhere, Milano


PS. Check out the vintage photos contest on!




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