Last September, the Montreal Shaw Direct Customer Care Centre
decided to put their shoulder to the wheel and get involved with some
very special fundraising.
St-Viateur Bagel & Café on Monkland St. held an event called Back-to-school Bagel-O-Thon,
in collaboration with the Generations Foundation organization. On
September 18, donators could order one dozen bagels and pick them up
between 6am and 10am. To help grow the success of the event, Montreal’s
Shaw Direct team ordered a total of 175 dozen bagels! The organizers
were delighted with their participation and all proceeds went to the
About Generations Foundation: They directly help young children in
the community. Every day, thousands of students go to school with empty
stomachs because their parents do not have sufficient resources to
provide them with three meals a day. Experience shows us that when
children are supported by balanced meals and snacks, they perform better
in class and achieve better results. It is also a well-known fact that
eating in the morning is essential, particularly for children and
The Generations Foundation offers breakfasts, snacks and hot meals to
more than 7,700 students in 96 schools and learning centers. It also
introduced a feeding program to help children in becoming independent
and autonomous regarding nutrition. Cooking classes and programs were
set up so that older students could help younger ones. The difference
Generations Foundation makes in the lives of these young people is
remarkable and undeniable.
Generations Foundation receives no government aid and requires no
cost from the children or their parents. Thanks to the generosity of
caring people who support the Generations Foundation, they can continue
to help these young people.
You can find more information about the Foundations Generations here.
Ah, the Calgary Stampede – When the
population of Calgary increases by almost a million people for ten days
of cowboy hats, deep-fried food and twangy country music.
Toted as ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on
Earth,’ the Calgary Stampede does not disappoint. Held on the Stampede
Grounds for 102 years, there are so many things to see and do. People
come from literally all corners of the map to participate. Two of our
favourite reasons to keep coming back: The Rodeo and The Midway (food and fast rides. What could go wrong?)
The temperature almost every day we went
surpassed 30 degrees Celsius with only a few clouds to give us a
well-wished break from the searing torment of the sun. If you don’t have
something that closely-resembles sun stroke by the end of the day
you’re not stampeding properly.
The Stampede always kicks off with a
monstrous parade that blocks off most of downtown for hours. We got wise
and went down to the parade route the night before to set (read, tape) chairs down in order to get front-row seats, went home for some excited ‘squee’s’
and a quick sleep before returning at 5:30 the next morning to defend
our turf. The parade didn’t start for another four hours – Queue over-caffeination and screaming children.
When the parade did start, we had a
really good time. Took lots of amazing pictures and got to wave at
William Shatner, the Parade Marshall. You can check out the entire
parade album on our Facebook Page.
Our main goal of visiting the grounds was to try all the wicked new food that had been posted on the Calgary Stampede website for
months prior. We saddled up and headed down to the grounds. You can
always tell when Stampede as the ratio of cowboy hats and boots goes up
wherever you look – trains become more difficult to board and suddenly
the view for shorter people like me turns into a sea of pressed felt and
There are so, so many things to do at the
Calgary Stampede. I’ll be concentrating on food for this blog post.
Sorry if you were looking for reviews on the rodeo and Super Dogs, but
I’m sure there are lots of other blogs out there for you to imbibe.
Let’s get to it!
Red Velvet Mini Donughts
I was really
excited to try these little wonders. Everyone who we had talked to
prior exclaimed how rich and dense they were. I’m a fan of true Waldorf
red velvet cake which, due to food rationing during World War II, was
coloured with boiled beet juices and was extremely moist and sticky.
These were neither moist nor sticky. We
were handed a stick of doughnuts that looked suspiciously like regular
mini-doughnuts and were assured ‘the red was inside’. Nope. No red. More
like a light-tinted rose on the insides of them. The flavour: Less than
that of a regular mini-doughnut with the only saving grace being the
cream-cheese frosting they had dunked the entire stack into before we
We still ate all of them. Why waste food?
Ranking: 1 out of 5 Cowboy Hats
Takeaways: Disappointing reality after reviews, no colour
What could go wrong? Oh, right –
Everything. These looked and smelled delicious upon receiving them.
Battered lightly with some pieces of that mystery green vegetable you
find in instant soup broth. Things were going great until we took the
Did they mistake Cheezies for Styrofoam
peanuts? These were horrible! I tried eating the breading from around
the now rock-hard remains but the ‘cheeze’ in the Cheezie had melted,
gone nuclear and created some sort of biome inside of the
battered-atmosphere. It was like lighting an aerosol can of cheese on
fire and devouring what’s left (don’t try this at home). At least the fried bits of dough on the bottom were tasty.
Ranking: 1 out of 5 Cowboy Hats
Takeaways: Alien environment contained by breading, styrofoam-like squeaking on my teeth
Deep-Fried Cookie Dough
I was so happy to find the booth selling
deep-fried cookie dough! Delicious little balls of sweet goodness dusted
with confectioner’s sugar… until you bit into it and realized there was
a molten mass that resembled a microwaved tube of Keebler Elves. The
dough collapsed, my mouth, face and shirt were flooded with goo of all
shades of brown and my only reaction was to cough powdered sugar all
over everyone within a ten-foot radius. The dough was sweet and
resembled a chocolate-chip cookie but the fact that the treat drooled
all over the place after the breading was broken was a total ‘nope’ for
Ranking: 1 out of 5 Cowboy Hats
Takeaways: Brown goo, a new take on the ‘cinnamon challenge’ with confectioner’s sugar
Scorpion, Mealworm & Cricket Pizza
Maybe I’m rating this higher than a 1 because I was really hungry (read, hangry).
I’ve eaten bugs before on purpose; Candied grasshoppers and
cockroaches, teriyaki scorpions and centipedes among other weird things
so my expectation for the pizza was fairly positive. I ordered a slice
for $10 (TEN DOLLARS!) and was greeted with mealworms standing
up on their end, wingless crickets and one dilapidated scorpion. I don’t
know what tasted foul, the cheese or the bugs. Everything was dry and
dirt-flavoured. For ten bucks, you could at least put some bugs on a
primo piece of pizza. The scorpion still had some substance, but the
crickets and mealworms were so dry and hollow it was like biting into a
stale chip filled with air. This is the only food I did not finish
simply because I could have gotten better pizza from a garbage bin.
Ranking: 2 out of 5 Cowboy Hats
Takeaways: Tastelessness, legs stuck in my teeth, high price
Maple Bacon Doughnut Cheeseburger
This was both fulfilling and disgusting
all in one quick-serve meal. I’m one of those horrible Canadians who
dislikes anything maple. This bad-boy was a cheeseburger with maple
doughnuts acting as buns. The patty, cheese and bacon were all pretty
tasty. The fact that the grease from the meat was melting away the maple
glaze, creating a sticky coating of sweet/savoury that made my palate
shriek with confusion and horror was enough to keep me from eating the
entire thing. Thankfully I had two other members of my team to help. It
was actually fairly comical how fast I requested a hand-washing station
once we were through with the ‘burger’.
Ranking: 2 out of 5 Cowboy Hats
Takeaways: Maple, proximity of hand-washing station from food stall
Flower Cotton Candy
Another high-priced item, ringing in at $10 for a whopping $0.10 of sugar, the remainder of the value was found in the labour (each piece took about five minutes to craft).
I got to pick my colours and watched the master at work. They were
using coloured brown sugar rather than white which gave the flower a
very robust, deep flavour. The three of us destroyed the bloom in under a
minute. R.I.P., cotton candy art.
Ranking: 3 out of 5 Cowboy Hats
Takeaways: Complexity, high price
Oh my gosh, perogies. This in itself is
enough to get me intrigued. Smother them with fries, cheese curds and
gravy? Where’s the wheelchair because I’m going to be too large to walk
myself off the grounds. The perogies were pretty tasty, along with the
sausage that was smothered in sour cream and gravy. The poutine portion
itself was a tad disappointing. Poorly-cooked crinkle-cut fries, very
little cheese and watery gravy lapped in the bottom of the cardboard
tray after we had massacred the meal. I’d go back for a second one, just
no fries please.
Ranking: 3 out of 5 Cowboy Hats
Takeaways: Limp fries, perogies in anything (mmm…)
Ah yes mini doughnuts. A midway staple no
matter where you are in North America. The company who technically
invented these little treats and patented the machine they use graces us
with their presence every year on the Stampede midway for $5 a dozen.
Best use of money ever! They’re hot, sweet and greasy. A perfect balance
of cake and crisp, fried outside. Everyone knows the smell of
mini-doughnuts, I hope you don’t pass these up the next time you smell
Ranking: 4 out of 5 Cowboy Hats
Takeaways: Deliciousness, price, midway classic
Deep-Fried Macaroni & Cheese
Triangles of Heaven is what these should
be called. Delicious, piping hot macaroni and cheese breaded in fine
crumb served with nothing but napkins. They’re not too saucy to be a
mess but not too dry to be disappointing. We all burned our mouths on
them though, so be careful because I’m pretty sure they’re baked in a
nuclear reactor. They were pretty greasy, served in a tray of seven with
four napkins. I used a napkin per and was still whining for another
hand-wash station. If it wasn’t for the last entry, I would have gone
back for a second order. Mmm cheese…
Ranking: 4 out of 5 Cowboy Hats
Takeaways: Perfect little triangles, brings me back to my college days, grease
Turkey Dinner Poutine
Literally just like Grandma used to make.
Delicious hand-cut fries, thick gravy, aromatic bread stuffing, real
cranberries and a mound of juicy, well-seasoned turkey breast that
reminded us of Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one takeaway
container. This was another dish served directly from a volcano-oven, so
we had to take turns playing ‘hot-potato’ with the container until it
decided to cool down. (Side note: You don’t place your food down at the
risk someone else will smell what’s cooking and approach asking to
share). This had all the right herbs and spices, the fries were
golden-brown and crisp, the gravy had an amazing fat ratio that made it
stick to everything. Oh – and cheese curds! Hello.
Ranking: 5 out of 5 Leopard-Print Cowboy Hats (because why not)
Takeaways: Turkey. Poutine. Cheese.
All in all, we spent a lot of money on
food that would make any nutritionist have nightmares and cold-sweats.
But it was totally worth it. My jeans are tighter now than ever and I’m
proud of my Stampede Belly. Want to see our Food & Fun gallery?
Check out the Facebook Album.
Tickets for the 2015 Calgary Stampede (July 3rd-12th) go on sale October 6th, 2014. Hope to see you, cowboys and cowgirls!
you know that you can refer your friends or family members to Shaw
Direct and receive a free month of service in return? With our
Refer-a-Friend program, it’s simple!
If the person you refer opens an account with us and keeps it open
for at least 60 days, we’ll cover your bill for one month. Do you have a
bunch of people you’d like to refer to us? Go right ahead! For as many
people you refer to us that sign up and stay for 60 days, we’ll give you
the same number of free months. Pretty cool, right?
So, how does our Refer-a-Friend program work? All you have to do is fill out a form on our website. Once we have the information, we’ll take care of contacting your referral and getting them ready to go!
The day their equipment is installed and their service is turned on
is the day the countdown to your free month begins. We automatically go
through all of the referrals we receive, and assign the credit for your
account once the 60-day period is up.
There are a few things to bear in mind with the Refer-a-Friend program:
– Referrals can
only be brand new customers, or former customers who have not had
service for at least six months.
programming credit is non-transferrable, so it can only be applied to
your account. It also has no cash value.
programming credit covers your base programming package (so, if you have
Digital Favourites with a Take 2 added on, we’ll cover the cost of
Digital Favourites only), and excludes applicable taxes.
– In order to
receive the credit, your account (the referrer) will need to be current
Have any questions about our Refer-a-Friend program, or anything else? Let us know in the comments!
cats, pumpkins, spiders… These Halloween icons are all pretty well
known to Canadians, but when you look a bit further into Halloween
history, you quickly realize that these are not necessarily common to
other countries. Are you as curious as we are? Here’s what we found:
The Chinese typically put food and water in front of pictures of loved
ones on Halloween day to accommodate and feed their spiritual hunger.
Germans put knives away to avoid hurting the spirits that are returning on that day
Many Russians believe blue cats bring luck in Russia: one would see a
Russian Blue, British Blue, or Burmese on that day and be lucky all year
The Spanish get a special pastry called Bones of the Holy on Halloween day, which is shared with close ones.
The Odo Festival is celebrated on that day to welcome the spirits who
are returning to earth. Nigerians believe that they remain on earth for
over six months. Their departure is quite emotional for Nigerians, as
the spirits don’t return for two years.
It is believed that people who enter churches on Halloween day will find
the benches filled with ghosts kneeling before a ghost priest at the
In Hong Kong
Pictures of fruit or money are burnt during Halloween. It is believed
that by doing so, one reaches the spirit world and comforts ghosts.
Austrians leave bread, water and a lit lamp on the kitchen table on Halloween night to welcome the spirits of the dead on earth.
Chairs are placed beside the fireplace for the day – one for each living
member of the family, and one for each spirit member of the family.
Halloween is actually not celebrated in France – people believe the day is too Americanized to be celebrated.
The Friday before the Day of the Saints, Swedish universities open only for half of the day and schools are closed.
On behalf of the Shaw Direct team, whether
yours will be traditional Canadian or a little bit of everything, have a
very happy Halloween!
In honour of International Animation Day, here are 10 facts about the history of animation:
1. An early predecessor of the projector existed around 1650. This
was called the “magic lantern,” and consisted of a translucent oil
painting, a very simple lens, and a candle or oil lamp. The images would
be projected in a darkened room, and often were used to convince
viewers that they were witnessing something supernatural.
2. The flip book was patented as the “kineograph” in 1868 by John Barnes Linnett.
3. Thomas Edison announced the creation of a device he called the
kinetoscope in 1889. This projected a 50 foot length of film in about 13
4. Charles-Émile Reynaud is considered the pioneer of projected animated films. After inventing the praxinoscope, his animation Un bon bock was the first he showed publicly in 1892. It was shown alongside Le Clown et ses chiens and Pauvre Pierrot. In 1910, Reynaud threw most of his films into the Seine in Paris. Pauvre Pierrot is one of two that survived.
5. The first entirely animated film recorded on standard picture film was created in 1906. This was called Humourous Phases of Funny Faces,
and was created by James Stuart Blackton. This featured scenes drawn on
a chalkboard. Blackston is considered the father of North American
6. In 1908, Émile Cohl created the first animated film using what
became recognised as traditional animation – hand-drawing the images on
paper. The film, called Fantasmagorie was made up of 700 separate drawings (cells), and is about 80 seconds in length.
7. Not one to stop trying new techniques, Cohl created another animation called En Route
in 1910, which was the first paper cutout animation. This allowed the
animator to save time by simply repositioning the paper drawings rather
than having to redraw each new cell.
8. Walt Disney owned a studio in Kansas City called Laugh-O-Grams
prior to opening Disney Studios. It went bankrupt in 1923, which is when
Disney moved to Los Angeles and opened his new studio.
9. Disney originally wanted to call his famous mouse Mortimer. His wife disliked the name and suggested Mickey instead.
10. The first time computer animation was used for an entire film was with Toy Story in 1995. The last film of the franchise, Toy Story 3, was the first animated film to earn more than $1-billion worldwide.
Philippe Sicotte, the Eastern Regional Manager at Shaw Direct, isn’t
afraid of challenges. For the second time in two years, he ran to raise
money for a cause close to his heart: the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Sicotte ran 80 kilometers last year for the organization whose goal is
to deliver dreams to children who have a life-threatening illness. This video,
prepared by his son last year (in French), will take you through the 10
hour 47 minute journey through which he raised over $6,000 for
Children’s Wish. This year, Sicotte challenged himself in running the
approximate distance of two and half marathons, 100 kms, and to raise
$10,000 in donations. Leaving from Chambly, QC very early Saturday
towards Longueuil, weather wasn’t on the runner’s side. Finishing his
run in 13 hours and 45 minutes, he arrived at the Marie-Victorin Park,
welcomed by his supporters. Several members of his family followed
him along, his dad for instance, running the last kilometer by his
Since its creation in 1984, Children’s Wish has made the wishes
of over 20,000 children come true. The organization reports that
the more popular wishes are travel, entertainment centers, computer
systems and meeting celebrities. They explain that for the children,
accomplishing these dreams have a remarkable effect on the healing
process. Sicotte, who is quite involved with the organization, mentions
how much work is done by them and the incredible reach they have.
Sicotte’s goal is to raise enough money to cover the average cost of one wish. Donations are of course accepted all year long – here’s a link to their website if you would like to do so. Prefer giving directly towards Sicotte’s fundraiser? Just click here to access the website (in French) or contact us directly and we will give you more detail on how you can help.
Community engagement is very important for Shaw Direct. The company
was indeed very involved throughout this event. The team in Montreal
also organized a fundraiser barbecue the week before Sicotte’s run,
where $1,533 was raised and added to the total donation. Here
is a link to an interview that was done by Global News. Congrats to
everyone that was involved in making this fundraiser a success, and
especially to Sicotte, who, for another year, has shown incredible
courage and perseverance.