Ken’s World

Inside Ken Wilson’s Store WOW, and the tricky business of deciding what’s garbage, what’s not, and what normal looks like.

sexplanations from creative commons

Sexplanations: Romance and Friendship

Do you know a happy couple? You know, with the type of relationship many people are looking for: they laugh together, they cry together, they take on the world together. You may wish you knew their secret or you might want to barf. Either way, this couple probably has a relationship based on a deep friendship.

letter to the editor from creative commons

Letter to the Editor: Close the Gender Wage Gap

I was glad to read Marc Xuereb’s article, “Union Fights WLU Sub-Contracting,” in your January issue. In the future, I would appreciate reporting about the gendered wage gap in Ontario.

In my work I’ve noticed different ways that the gender wage gap is institutionalized and/or perpetuated—this is not strictly a dollars and cents issue.

brfc on beer by jesse bauman

BRFC on Beer: Homebrewing, Part Two

If you’re into beer, try brewing it yourself. Whether you brew one gallon once in awhile, or 10 gallons every weekend, it’s a satisfying hobby that may increase your knowledge and enjoyment of beer as a whole. It can also introduce you to some great people, and maybe lead to winning some awards. If nothing else, it’ll probably get you drunk, if that’s your thing.

wear out there from creative commons

Wear Out There: Love Yourself

Love your body and its imperfections. This is a tall order for most people. When we look in the mirror, we often focus on the aspects of our appearance that we are unhappy with, while ignoring the parts that make us beautiful. This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to give yourself a little love, and work on accepting your body for what it is: unique and incomparable.


“We Just Have To Show Them Our Hearts:” Islamophobia in WR

Noor describes November 16 as an unseasonably warm day—a high of 15 degrees Celsius according to Environment Canada—and, pointedly, “the first Monday after Paris.” On that Monday her car windows were rolled down as she sat waiting for the lights to change at the intersection of King and Weber Streets. “When the arrow opened for the cars beside me to go left, I didn’t see the man’s face, I only heard him yell ‘you are a terrorist!’ and go, he was gone,” Noor, who is Syrian, said. “And then the light opened for us to go straight, but I hear a beep! beep! because really I was shocked, and in shock,” she continued, explaining the disorienting moments that followed.

After a few residents at Bread and Roses Co-Operative Homes shared these welcoming words, the Co-Op decided to reserve an empty apartment for a refugee family in 2016.

It Takes A City: Refugee Resettlement In WR

Media coverage of the arrival of Syrian refugees reflects our collective excitement, along with fear and uncertainty and anticipation. Yet the history of local refugee resettlement can ground us. Instead of asking, “how will we do it?” we can consider, instead, “how have we been doing it?”
People fled to Canada long before the label “refugee” became a legal way of categorizing those in need. Unless you are indigenous, you or your family arrived and had to integrate in some way. Often, this resettlement work is informally shouldered by those who once made a similar transition. Many of those unofficial settlement workers assisted others simply by being members of a community: by stepping in to translate because they knew the language, by helping find employment, by explaining the bus system, or where to find the best injera.

20121208-IMG_7681 higher res

On Yoga, And Teaching What Wasn’t Ours

So why did I change my philosophical presentation of yoga, but still continue teaching the poses? The answer is complex. I have a deep, embodied relationship with the physical poses, one which I developed from my own personal investigation. I believe that movement practices are vital for our well-being, and I have seen many students derive great physical and emotional benefit from practicing yoga. It made sense to me to continue to offer my own embodied understanding of the physical practice of yoga to people, but share themes and metaphors that were from my own cultural background. However, I am also aware that this could be considered another, subtler form of cultural appropriation, one where the origins of a cultural practice are changed and/or erased.


If Streets Could Talk: Tremaine Park

There are Kitchener neighbourhoods rich in history, and then there’s Tremaine Park.
With the first residents moving in less than 10 years ago, the neighbourhood loosely bounded by Fairway Road, Sims Estate Drive, Janine Street and Tremaine Drive is one of the youngest in Kitchener. Despite its newness, the neighbourhood has quickly developed a community spirit and strong sense of identity.


New Dry House Has Deep Roots in WR

In weaving together the evolution of the houses, both Cachagee and Bender stress the collaborative nature of the project; it, as the saying goes, has taken a village. The fruits of those efforts belong to the community, too. Cachagee and Bender share stories of where their “walking with” has led, from hearing men’s heartfelt speeches at their residential treatment graduations, to witnessing one dry house resident stand before the Stirling congregation to share his gratitude for the program. “Everything had changed,” Cachagee marvels, “his language, his outlook on life.” “The biggest treat,” Bender concurs, “is watching people transform before your eyes.


Is The Boathouse Undemocratic?

Victoria Park could be an oasis of public space in a city that, by and large, doesn’t have much of it. Yet, it presents an unusual contradiction, one that may not seem so nefarious at first glance—it is, after all, just a restaurant. But, considering its profit-interested mandate, and its capacity to create class distinctions, I propose sober thinking about the whole enterprise. What is good public space? What makes a park special? Because of its location, when we gaze upon The Boathouse, we encounter more than just another restaurant. Rather, we encounter yet another opportunity for consumption, demanding our time and money, offering a forbidden fruit in the park. All it takes is a little cash, then, to have a special seat with the pretty view. Need another drink?


Letter From the Editor: New Year, New Beginnings?

Jesse Bauman EDITOR IN CHIEF I am a bit of a navel-gazer, and so I tend to look back during New Year’s celebrations, to reflect on what was, as I sketch a course towards what will be. Because I try to keep my own history close, I am often skeptical when we talk about “new…


Trip To Shakespeare Pies Worth The Dough

When it comes to pie, nothing beats that one special recipe passed down from generation to generation. For me, it’s grandma’s apple pie, so skillfully made in her absence by my mother. Sitting down to this pie, the hungry dessert seeker encounters whole apple slices surrounded by a light fluffy crust that is somehow still doughy on the inside.
But it’s the 21st century, and few of us have the time or the skill to pinch and fill crust like grandma.


While Parts of Downtown Kitchener Bloom, Budds Closes

Though the closing of their store is tinged with sadness, the Budd family are also optimistic about the future. “We’ve walked King Street every day for 50 years,” says Howie. “We’ve seen the best, and we’ve seen the worst. We’re leaving at a time when King Street is on an upswing, [with] the new condos, high-tech, the LRT. It’s all going to form a new, vibrant King Street which will be the heart and soul of our community. People will be proud of it. No question.”


Union Fights WLU Sub-Contracting

A union representing custodians, groundskeepers and tradespeople at Wilfrid Laurier University is drawing a line in the sand over the University’s attempts to contract out their work to companies that pay poverty wages.
In what is shaping up to become a battle emblematic of the broader fight for good jobs and against precarious work in this province, the members of Local 926 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) may end up on strike or locked out by the University over an issue that would also affect the next generation of workers at Wilfrid Laurier.

Man Hanging from Pull-Up Bar

Better, Faster & Much Less Happy

The new year has arrived, and it’s time to be a better you!
Every January, we’re fed the same line by advertisements for gyms, beauty products, clothes and self-help books. The underlying message is something like this: you are unhappy now, and that is because you are not good enough, but if you acquire or achieve this or that, you will become good enough and therefore, finally, you will be happy. This logic is great for business, but bad for mental health. Fortunately, it’s also total bullshit.

The author's backyard Buddhist wedding in Waterloo this November.

Seeker’s Corner: Buddhism in WR

In a new series, TCE survey’s our region’s spiritual landscape. This month: Buddhism in WR.

An excerpt:
Christianity’s ubiquity has been steadily curtailed in Canadian public life over the past 50 years, as part of a secularization process that some would say is far from complete. Since the surest way to privilege no particular religion(s) is to represent no religion at all, a politically pragmatic secularism keeps Waterloo Public Square at once peaceable and unspiritual. Absent from our social institutions, Waterloo region’s gods, buddhas, spirits, and other superhuman beings tend to live between the walls of private religious institutions and individuals’ homes where they can be comfortably postulated and interacted with by the spiritual subcultures that comprise our region’s religious diversity.

Front Cover

Artin’ Around With Janice Lee

From the outside, Janice Lee has had a successful year. She received the “Leading Women, Building Communities” award from the Ontario Women’s Directorate, was the 2015 Oktoberfest Woman of the Year in Arts and Culture, and as the City of Kitchener’s 2015 Artist in Residence, just wrapped up her Folk Myths of Kitchener project.
Given these accolades, you might be surprised by a recent post on Lee’s blog, entitled “I feel like giving up.” In this post, Lee describes being exhausted by the token support she receives for her art, her role as the go-to champion of K-W’s spoken word scene, and the systemic oppression she experiences as a woman of colour.


Die, Bad Science

This Idea Must Die focused solely on cognitive science, but we would do well to question ourselves, our ideas, and generally to practice a bit of intellectual humility. In five, 50, or 150 years what notions will be considered horribly out of date? Maybe our labelling of mental illnesses will bite the dust? Perhaps our obsession with fossil fuels will shuffle off this mortal coil? It’s difficult, if not impossible, to say definitively which modern ideas should die. But that is no reason not to try.

Premier Wynne meets with the founding members of the We Give Consent Campaign.

Sexplanations: Teaching Consent

By giving children the choice of whether or not to be touched, and teaching them to respect their body and the bodies of others, we are teaching and normalizing respect and consent in the next generation of adults. And this is a good thing.


BRFC on Beer (And Community)

The best part of the current Ontario craft beer movement is obviously all of the great beer, but second to that is the community that has sprouted up around it. From the beer drinking enthusiasts to the home brewers to those employed by the breweries, the scene is full of people who love to drink local and support local. That’s a great thing to see.

G8 First ladies sign a commemorative canoe at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto on Friday June 25, 2010. Left to right are Madam Callista Mutharika, Mrs. Svetlana Medvedeva, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, Mrs. Laureen Harper, Mrs. Nabuko Kan, Mrs. Geertrui Van Rompuy, Madame Patience Goodluck Jonathan, and Mrs. Margarida Barosso.

Wear Out There: Dress for 2016

It’s a new year, fresh, untouched and full of opportunities. With unlimited ways to make your mark in 2016, you may be setting goals to hone your direction. While exploring your personal style may not have made the list, now is the perfect time to reflect on your current wardrobe and needs. There is no better tool to help yourself attain your goals than a polished appearance that truly reflects who you want to be.


Advertising Entertainment

Advertisements are, no matter how emotionally compelling or resonant, still trying to sell us something. Aren’t we being manipulated to connect the feelings stirred in us to the brand in question? Even if the idea seems to stand on its own, even if we are moved to laughter or tears, the ad is still an ad, and still trying to sell us something.
I suspect this matters more and less to different people. Sometimes the story loses its impact when the brand is revealed, and even where the meaning is compelling, when an advertisement tugs on your emotions it can make you skeptical of what the company is selling.
And yet, this doesn’t necessarily make an advertisement’s story any less provocative.


Building Resilience: Brains!

No doubt 2016 will require us all to face periods of disorganization and disruption. But, by adopting strategies to build our brain resiliency, we will more quickly adapt and return to living well again, and find ourselves more resilient and able to enjoy more “sunny ways.”

IMG_3391 (1)

Gluten Free, Vegan Holiday Recipes

No matter your diet sensitivities or choices, here are three delicious and simple recipes to guide your holiday eating. Read on for tried, tasted and true vegan and gluten free feasts from TCE.


Charlotte’s Web Spins Tale of Friendship

Charlotte’s Web didn’t bring me to tears, but really did allow me to reflect on life and the value of friendships, through Wilbur’s realization of just how much his multi-legged friend had done for him. The radiant, yet humble pig really does remind us of the value of honouring our friendships, a great lesson for young and old.


#BestofWR 2015 Winners!

5,217 of you voted, and after multiple re-counts, Supreme Court challenges, and no small amount of gerrymandering, the results are in. Here are your favourite spaces, places, and people. Congratulations!

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons


For those dreading the upcoming holiday break, some advice from those who’ve successfully managed the demands of the season, from the Canadian Mental Health Association.

unbuilt web


In the mid 2000s, soon after the Waterloo Town Square mall was partially demolished, the King Street frontage redeveloped, and the remaining indoor section rebranded as “The Shops,” a luxury hotel was set to rise next door at Caroline and Willis Way.


Pure & Local Holiday Gift Guide

The seasonal—and sometimes stressful—gift-giving time of year is upon us. But relax! This time of year is about spreading love and joy, not dollars and cents—don’t let any commercials lead you to believe otherwise. Nevertheless, exchanging a gift with a friend, family or lover is one of the most joyful things to do, so embrace the season and put some thought in to it.

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons


Stigma is a big problem in the professional cuddling business. Some clients are ashamed of using the service, and parts of Canadian culture perpetuate the belief that paying for affection is for losers. Psychological studies have shown that physical connection can improve an individual’s mood and quality of life. Seeing a cuddler is like going to a specialist.



Miss Oktoberfest is no longer a beauty pageant. Women like Pearson and Kalbfleisch want to make a positive impact in their community, and the crown and sash let them do that. But in order for the role to really grow, all of K-W has to get on board and look past the crown.



The small town of Elmira is well known for its maple syrup, horse-drawn buggies and streets named after birds. Fewer people know it as the site of a special night of drunken vandalism, which would set into motion significant changes to the Canadian criminal justice system.


A Long Way From Damascus

We are lucky to live in as prosperous a community as we do. And we are far too lucky to not do our part to help others in need.

Haida Web


Canadian documentary looks closely at the people, land, and history of Haida Gwaii. The island, known to many by its prior colonial name, the Queen Charlotte Islands, is 160 kilometres off the coast of British Columbia. The film presents Haida Gwaii as a microcosm of how the world could be.


Web Sneak Peek: Owen Pallet Interview

TCE sat down for a long conversation with Owen Pallett this month, in anticipation of his show, tonight, November 29, at the Starlight Social Club. Pallett shared about the intersection of community, identity, and art, among other things. Here’s an excerpt of that interview.


The Berlin: A “Kitchener” Restaurant in the Making

Downtown Kitchener will soon be home to a new restaurant at 45 King Street West. The Berlin, slated to open late November, is co-owned by Head Chef Jonathan Gushue and General Manager Ryan Lloyd-Craig. The two are currently hard at work transforming the space, which formerly housed Peter Martin’s The 41 Gastro Pub. Their vision is for a simple, laid-back restaurant that focuses on sustainability and the basics of cooking.


A Grand Orgy

“How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town” is more than a provocative title, and viewers will be drawn, delightfully, into Jeremy LaLonde’s latest indie film. The story delves deep into what happens behind closed doors in a close-minded town, and questions society’s treatment of sexual empowerment.



Night\Shift makes it clear that no amount of cold, rain or costume parties to attend will stop our community from keeping downtown vibrant.


Boring Beer Pays Off

Craft beer is theoretically the antithesis of these macro-brewing corporations. They’re the little guys, brewing interesting beers with heart. When one of them starts to get bigger, it’s like when Rudy finally gets on the football field. They’re still not getting major percentage point shares of the industry, but they’re doing well. And that’s happening more and more often.

Someone's family, courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons.

A Full House

My three millennial children are presently living at home. This has not always been the case, as they have come and gone for various periods of time, for school or work in other cities. We don’t know how long we will be living this way, but for now we are choosing to create a home life that is rich in memory making and is leaving us deeply connected to each other.


Start Up Watch, November

Medella Health // Palette Gear // Plum


The Morning After Voting Strategically

The so-called Anyone But Conservative campaign also attracted a great deal of criticism. Now that we are on the other side of the election, TCE checked in with voters, to see how the process made them feel. Here are select responses, edited for clarity, along with each person’s riding.


Region Behind on Energy Efficiency

Many of us are concerned about environmental issues like climate change, but don’t know what, personally, to do. I am often overwhelmed by the severity and complexity of the issues, which causes me to question whether all my composting, biking and farmer’s market shopping are really helping to create a greener human population that this planet can sustain.


Music to our ears – Music for our souls

Waterloo Region is alive with the sounds of music. Whether you’re taking in a concert, streaming hits on your smartphone, singing in the shower or learning to make music, rhythm, harmony and melody are everywhere


On Maker: The Film, and The Culture

Viewing this film is a bit like opening up a scattershot family photo album jammed full with scads of cousins, nieces and nephews; it may not always clear how all these snapshots are related, but getting to know each one is an enjoyable moment in itself.


Time For Craft Brewers To Go Local

I love to think about what it would look like to work within the confines of local—by using only local unaltered water, local malt and grains, local hops, local yeast, and any other possible local ingredients—to create a style that is true to our region and climate.

Many Ontario breweries are already incorporating local hops into their beers, and a few brave ones are using local malts, which have a long way to go before they can match the quality and consistency of those from the Prairie Provinces and Europe.

In the meantime it is up to beer lovers to continue supporting local craft breweries, and to ask the brewers what exactly makes their beer “local.” In time, maybe Ontario will be home to its own unique beer style.


Wear Out There: First Impressions Count

First impressions count. Research shows it takes seconds for individuals to form an opinion about a person’s characteristics and traits, and once formed, those initial conclusions are hard to change. This year’s federal election has brought the psychology behind first impressions to the forefront as candidates travel the country looking to spark support for their idea of a better Canada. With governance on their minds, candidates are using all available tools to ensure they appear confident and credible. This includes presenting a polished and professional look.



There’s no shortage of real problems in this country, and in this community. And there’s no shortage of smart people with good policy ideas to tackle them. What’s in the way, however, isn’t just politics – it’s the attitudes that each of us hold about what’s important.

Politicians build off of those perceptions and feed them right back to us. So perhaps it’s time for all of us to stretch our necks and look beyond our backyards. Rather than simply thinking about how a particular policy might help our pocketbooks, it would be nice if more of us could remove our heads from the sand and think about how we keep a great place like Canada great.


Strategically Voting For Change

Derided by many as cynical and imprecise, the strategic voting movement nonetheless makes it clear that many in Canada still care deeply about the democratic process.


Pure & Local: Rose Water

Rose water is my favorite of all hydrosols, or floral waters, and with good reason. Gentle, with many skin-enhancing benefits, it can help hydrate, refresh, soothe and even cleanse your skin. Plus it smells simply divine!

bin bin

Tech Makes Big Impact on the Stage

Elizabeth McFaul CONTRIBUTOR Different technologies have shaped Kitchener-Waterloo’s landscape in different ways, from Iroquoian farming practices to roundabouts and start-up incubators. IMPACT 15, Kitchener’s biennial international theatre festival and conference presented by MT Space, showed us how technology is also changing the language of live performance. Across the six day festival’s 50 shows was a…


Poll Numbers Show Your Vote Matters

In 2008, the winner in what is now the Waterloo riding won by just 17 votes, and if you study the polling data, publically available from Elections Canada, you will see just how close most of the polls were. Many were tied or had less than 10 votes separating candidates. The significance of every vote is clearly shown in the Poll results. Your vote counts!


Review: Kitschy Goodness at the Mercury Cafe

Nestled in the corner of Duke and Ontario Streets is the surprisingly large Mercury Cafe. The cafe opened at the end of August and has already started garnering a reputation for fresh, delicious, locally-sourced food.
Four double americanos out of five double americanos.


Sexplanations: Truffle Butter

Stacey Jacobs COLUMNIST I was recently asked by a friend if I knew what truffle butter was. I immediately began to imagine the delightful tastes of truffle and butter becoming one. I had heard about such delicacies on the Food Network and I was excited to learn more. And then my bubble burst. My friend…

unbuilt colour copy

Unbuilt WR: The TD Tower(s)

The iconic postmodern Toronto Dominion tower at King and Ontario Streets graces the city’s skyline with its unique, stepped profile, sturdy marble façade, and ornamental pediments, domes and clock faces. The construction of the tower alongside City Hall in the early nineties ushered in a new sense of architectural opulence in the downtown cityscape but…

jesse portrait


An independent community newspaper like this one can and should be many things: speaker of truth to power; teller of stories, big and small; and, through those and other functions, builder of community. It depends also on your participation, and input.

Help Us Be Better, Maybe Win Some Art: Fill Out TCE’s Readership Survey

We have not surveyed you, dear readers, for some time. And, as you know, a good relationship requires honest communication, understanding, and bubble baths. Our bathtub is full of newspapers, but we aim to be an understanding, honest communicator.

We just need a bit of your help. Help us!

We’ve put together a readership survey. If you fill it out, you could win a painting by a local artist. You’ll also, you know, support independent community media in these dark times of corporate media consolidation. No no, we’re not playing games, don’t feel guilty.

But seriously, please fill out the survey. It only takes a couple minutes.

Throw-way-back Thanksgiving Photo: Welcoming Refugees from Russia, 1924

Following the Russian revolutions starting in 1917, many Mennonites were caught between passionate peasant movements, and violent national armies. In his book A Russian Dance of Death, Dietrich Neufeld includes excerpts from recovered diaries from that time, including the following, from October 23, 1919: “we feel as if we have been condemned to death and…


Affordable Housing Needs Investment

One in four Canadians spend more than 30 per cent of their income on a place to live. That means a lot of people may be one pay cheque away from losing their home. In Waterloo Region, there are 3,000 people on the waiting list for subsidized rental units. Some people may have to wait six years for a unit to become available.

Rudi Okot. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Gray

We All Come From Somewhere

This region is made up of people from somewhere else, not including our indigenous neighbours. We arrive here for different reasons, but we stay and thrive because of the hospitality shown to us by those who came before.

WR residents discussed challenges and opportunities in the arts, with local #elxn42 candidates at THEMUSEUM's Cultural Exchange 5.0

Don’t Commodify Art, Candidates Told

Art is not a commodity. That was the message leaders in the local arts community had for the 10 Waterloo Region MP candidates in attendance at THEMUSEUM’s event A Cultural Exchange 5.0.



TCE chats with Tina Riddell, owner of Living Fresh Flower Studio & School and Helena Kwiecinski, owner of StylFrugal, to hear how small, independent businesses are fairing during ION construction.


Start-up watch

TCE is launching “Start-up Watch,” a series featuring what the best and brightest technical minds are creating in the region’s backyard.


Plan B Co-operative seeking support

What started out as a longing for a feminist sex toy store has morphed into the desire to create an intersectional trifecta of support. Plan B will focus on creating a space for all members of the queer community to establish roots in the downtown core.

No more posts.