Fall trees in Montreal

This Montreal Startup is Ending Food Waste & Saving You Money

 

Did you know that ⅓ of all the food produced around the world ends up going to waste?

 

Waste happens at many points along the way, from the farm all the way to our homes, and it’s one of the largest contributors to climate change. That impact is due to a number of factors. There’s the water, fertilizers, land and other resources used to produce food. Then there are all the fossil fuels used to harvest, transport and store food. Finally, there’s the food itself, which produces harmful methane gas when it ends up in landfill conditions.

 

That’s right… when food gets thrown in the garbage, it doesn’t just quickly decompose. A landfill isn’t the same environment as compost. Landfills are usually oxygen deprived, which slows down decomposition. Food can sometimes take decades to break down, and is giving off greenhouse gases for that entire time.

FoodHero application with IGA open

Source: https://foodhero.com/

What’s the solution? For one, we all need to get better at only buying what we need, and using up what we buy.

 

But there’s more to it, and that’s where companies like FoodHero come in.

 

What is FoodHero? FoodHero is an exciting new startup based in Montreal that’s partnering with local grocery stores to put a big dent in food waste.

 

Here’s the thing: grocery stores often have surplus food. Sometimes an item is over-ordered, doesn’t sell as quickly as anticipated, isn’t as popular as it was expected to be, or even things like bad weather can come into play, where people choose to stay in and order delivery rather than head to the stores.

 

The result is too much fresh, high quality food to sell in a reasonable time. Stores will often mark these items down for quick sale, but that relies on people actually coming into the store to see the sale.

 

FoodHero has created an app that lets stores publish these quick sale items to the FoodHero community (all the consumers who have downloaded the app). As a consumer, you can search all the deals in your area, focus on your preferred store, or even shop by dietary concern. You order the items you want directly within the app, then go to the store to pick up your items, which will already be packed up for you and ready to go.

 

It’s a really great initiative because once items pass their best before or sell by dates, grocery stores don’t have much choice but to throw them out. Most grocery stores do work really hard to limit in-store waste (after all, it is money in the garbage too), but not all waste is avoidable.

 

With apps like FoodHero, stores can recoup a bit of that lost profit by selling their surplus at reduced prices and, for consumers, there’s a lot of money to be saved on perfectly good grocery items. With recent reports suggesting Canadians could be spending nearly $500 more on groceries in 2020, now is as good a time as any to start looking at ways to cut your grocery bill.

 

Many IGA locations in Montreal and around Quebec are already offering FoodHero in their stores, as well as a few Metro locations that recently joined the effort. The FoodHero folks have also said that more grocery store partnerships will be launching in the very near future.

 

Where can you find and download FoodHero?

FoodHero is available for iOS and Android. If you want to check it out, you can download the app at https://foodhero.com/ or search for FoodHero in the App Store or Play Store.

 

Bon appetit! 

 

Top 5 Winter Canadian Foods You Must Try

 

Everyone has a favourite thing about winter. Even if your favourite thing is when it ends. But, even if the leaving of winter is what sparks joy in your heart, chances are you have another favourite part of winter… comfort food!

 

Warm, fragrant, comforting dishes, often with crispy golden crusts, melty cheese, aromatic spices, or sticky sweetness are one of the best parts of winter. Even better if you can enjoy it with people you love, or snuggled up on the couch with cozy socks and a whole lot of Netflix.

Here are the best Canadian Comfort Food Dishes to Get You Through the Winter

So without further ado, here are 5 foods to eat in a Canadian winter that’ll warm your heart, comfort your soul, or even bring loved ones together:

 

  • Swedish meatballs

    Swedish Meatballs

    Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

    Winters are typically cold, dry and dark in Sweden, but the Swedes are known for embracing the season by enjoying outdoor activities, chilly walks, and even commuting by bike year round. There is even a Swedish saying that “there is no bad weather, there are only bad clothes.” So they bundle up and head outdoors! But, they also fully embrace the coziness of being indoors on a frosty evening. While this is obviously not a Canadian dish, it’s one Canadians should really embrace… beyond the infinite walls of Ikea.

    Swedish meatballs are hearty, comforting and even a bit festive with a hint of allspice and nutmeg. Paired with a dollop of leftover cranberry sauce, it almost feels like Christmas dinner.

    The Recipe Critic has a fantastic, heartwarming recipe for Swedish meatballs. Although making meatballs from scratch instead of using frozen can be time consuming, these are totally worth it. You can even make them in large batches and freeze, then make the gravy on the day you plan to serve them.

    If you want to make a vegetarian (though not vegan) version, add a pinch of allspice to cooked or canned lentils, then make just the gravy for the meatballs and add in the lentils. Add a diced carrot and a few handfuls of fresh or frozen kale, simmer slowly until carrots are tender and serve over creamy mashed potatoes. Yum!


  • Butter tarts

    These classic Canadian cups of decadence are to die for with a cup of coffee or milky tea, or dare we say… a little spiced nog? Despite the name, they don’t have a whole lot of butter in the tart filling (plenty in the pastry though), but they do have a buttery, caramel-y yumminess that just seems to melt in your mouth.

    Adding chopped pecans to the filling is AMAZING. Raisins are optional, and if pecans are too pricey, chopped walnuts are great as well. Some recipes suggest chocolate chips, but as far as we’re concerned, that’s a big no-no. It just makes them overly sweet. So, if nut allergies are a concern, just leave out the nuts altogether. Sans nuts they’re still delicious and if you aren’t used to that nutty flavour, you probably won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.

    The Food Network has a great roundup of 26 butter tart recipes with a few unique takes including butter tart squares, pinwheels, cheesecake (totally non-traditional, but very yum), bacon butter tarts (intriguing) and more.

    butter tart

    Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash


  • French Canadian baked beans

    Not to be confused with Boston baked beans! Which are also good, but nothing beats slow cooked baked beans flavoured with maple syrup, thick sliced bacon (or not, for a veg version), molasses and brown sugar. Even better, beans are insanely nutritious, wallet-friendly, and as a cultivated crop they have a pretty low carbon footprint. What’s not to love?

    Traditionally, baked beans were simmered with chunks of fatty, salted pork to add flavour and much needed calories in those early days of our country’s colonization when food was about survival. Today, you can skip the pork without skipping on flavour. Just be sure to keep the maple syrup and molasses to get that hearty flavour unique to the French Canadian style of baked beans.

    Now, if you’ve had canned baked beans and you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal?” Well, trust us when we say they just don’t hold a slow cooking candle to homemade!

    This is a great recipe to try that includes a dash of worcestershire sauce to give a delicious depth of flavour. These are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, are amazing as a side to fried eggs, baked ham, tourtiere or even sauteed greens. They reheat amazingly and even freeze well. Enjoy!

    Baked Beans in Canada

    Photo by Jacob Stone on Unsplash


  • Beaver Tails

    Beaver Tails

    Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/B45QBo_gPfq/

     This is the quintessential treat to eat outdoors (always outdoors!) during Canadian winters. If you’ve never had one, what it is is fried dough (roughly in the shape of a beaver’s tail) that’s been dipped in cinnamon sugar. Kind of like a fresh, flat doughnut, Beaver Tails have a crispy outside with a soft, doughy inside. Although they are fried, because they’re fried at a high heat, they aren’t super greasy. Instead, the light frying melts with the cinnamon sugar when you bite into it for pure deliciousness. But it’s not all crispy fried dough and sugary yums. Beaver Tails are classically made with whole wheat flour. So.. you know… fibre!

    There are now several permanent Beaver Tail kiosks around Montreal, but the very best are the pop up stands and food trucks you’ll often find around winter carnivals and skating rinks. On a crisp, cool afternoon, nothing beats grabbing a Beaver Tail along de la Commune in the Old Port and taking a tasty stroll through the old city. For a truly Canadian experience, grab your skates (or rent when you get there) and take yourself to Ottawa to skate along the Rideau while enjoying your Beaver Tail.

    Although getting Beaver Tails to-go is the classic way to enjoy them, if you have a deep fryer at home, you can also try making them yourself!

 


  • Indigenous Foods


    No winter table in Canada should be considered complete without honouring the indigenous people of this land who have known for thousands of years how to thrive during our harsh winters. Indigenous recipes have slowly been working their way into the mainstream spotlight and there is so much deliciousness and powerful history to discover within them.

    From caribou stew and bannock, to three sisters soup and wild rice with mushrooms, winter can be filled with warmth, comfort and discovery.

    Check out these recipes from the CBC for salmon with garlic and sage, wild rice stuffing, and apple, cranberry and wild sage crisp. Make a hearty three sisters soup and share the beautiful story and message of growing together with your family. Or try wild blueberry scones and invite a few close friends for coffee and a catch up.

     


What’s your favourite typically Canadian dish for winter? Please share it in the comments! Recipes are more than welcome ;-)

Looking to go to the outdoors this winter, make sure to check out Best winter shoes brands in Canada and the best winter jackets to keep you warm in a Canadian Winter.

Also here is some general advice on how to dress for winters in Canada.

Indoor Activites to do in Montreal for Winter 2020

Baby, it’s cold outside! And as much as we strive to embrace the snow – it is here for long enough, after all – sometimes embracing the cold means enjoying all the amazing indoor activities Montreal has to offer.

So, if you’re looking to spend some time not freezing your baguettes off, here are some of our favourite indoor activity spots for the 2019/2020 winter season:

Nerf gun in hand

Get Physical

Here is list of activities that require physical effort in Montreal.

If staying active is important to you, there’s no reason to give that up in winter. There are plenty of indoor activities that go beyond your neighborhood gym, but still get your heart (and muscles) pumping:

  • Climbing: This is a great activity for almost all ages and is fun solo, or with a group. And two great climbing gyms are super close by: Allez Up and Centre Vertical.
  • Nerf: Yes, you can have an all out Nerf war with your friends, family or coworkers. It must be pretty popular because there are several highly rated places including Sports de Combats, Combat Nerf and Nerf Hero. Look out, Aunt Ida! The family reunion’s about to get wild!
  • Trampoline: Get your bounce on at your choice of Sky Zone (Dorval), iSaute (multiple locations), Sky Tag (DDO) and more.
  • Escape rooms: So you can “escape” winter! Sorry. Unavoidable dad joke. You can find our top 5 escape rooms here.
  • Axe throwing: Do you get angry in the winter? Angry at the ice? The snow? The traffic? The cold? The 4pm darkness? The 12 layers you have to put on before leaving the house? Get that rage out, axe style! Try Rage Axe Throwing (Montreal and St. Hubert), Combat d’Archers (Montreal) or Maniax (St. Leonard).

 

Get Artsy

Here is a list of artistic and creative activities to do in Montreal.

Not everyone wants to throw axes (or at least, not all the time). Some people want to create! If arts and crafts are more your thing, check out these activities:

  • Ceramic Cafe: With locations in Montreal, DDO, Laval and Greenfield Park, there’s bound to be one not far from you. Ceramic Cafe is also a true cafe, so you can get food and drinks to enjoy while you work on something special for yourself or as a gift.
  • Paint Night: Unleash your inner Bob Ross and a few “happy little trees”! A lot of people feel intimidated by painting, but Paint Night isn’t about doing it perfectly. It’s about having fun and trying something new. There are events held all over the city, so check out the website to see what’s coming near you.
  • Museum workshops: Did you know that many of Montreal’s museums offer workshops? Check out the art workshops available at le Musée d’art contemporain, the many workshops and programs available from the Fine Arts Museum, or some of the arts and crafts activities at the McCord.
  • Take a pottery class: Lose yourself in clay! Check out the upcoming winter session at Atelier Spirale (starts January 2020), sign up for a workshop at Atelier Forma, or choose a workshop or course at Atelier Make (new session of courses begins every 8 weeks).
Girl painting Ceramic cups

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

Expand Your Mind

Here is a list of Educational Activites to do in Montreal:

  • Museum exhibitions: There are always great exhibits to check out. Happening this winter is: 
  • Science time: There’s plenty to learn and experience at the Planetarium, the Science Center, the Environment Museum at the Biosphere, or leg it out to Laval for a trip to the Cosmodome.
  • Grow your career: Why not take advantage of the winter to learn a new skill or expand your knowledge? Both McGill and Concordia universities offer a range of workshops to help expand your career possibilities as well as your professional network.
museum hallway

Photo by Deanna J on Unsplash

Get Musical

Here is a list of Musical Activites to do in Montreal:

There is live music all over this city, and it doesn’t disappear with the sun. It just moves indoors! Here are a few hotspots where you can take in live music, often for free or very little cost:

  • Hurley’s Irish Pub – Live music and entertainment 7 nights a week
  • Bistro a Jojo – Live blues & jazz 7 nights a week
  • Casa del Popolo – Live shows most nights for a small ticket price – be sure to check the calendar!
  • The Rialto Theatre – While not free, and sometimes a bit on the pricey side, there are some really unique shows at the Rialto, while the venue itself is something to be experienced as well. If you really want to get decadent, they’re holding a “Party Like Gatsby” event in April 2020 (which, let’s face it, is still winter in Montreal).
  • Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill – Live shows 7 nights a week – check their calendar as they have some great folks lined up!
People playing jazz music in montreal

Photo by Jens Thekkeveettil on Unsplash

Get Board

Here are some places to play board games in Montreal:

As in, board games! Check out your local independent cafe, as many of them have board games on site. Most will allow you to bring your own board or card games, as long as you’re also purchasing something. Aside from that, there are actually dedicated board game cafes in Montreal. Our top pick is La Récréation on Ontario street, but there’s also Randolph’s with several locations in and around the city. 

Whether you’re looking for things to do in Montreal in December, January or the many more long months of winter, there is plenty to choose from that doesn’t end with a case of frostbite.

Board game on a table in a bar in montreal

Photo by Christopher Paul High on Unsplash

What’s your favourite indoor activity in or around Montreal? Share it in the comments!

 

New to Montreal? New to Canada? Here’s How to Dress for Winter!

Whether you’ve recently arrived from a country without a yearly deep freeze, or you’re from one of those Canadian oases that stays mild (by Canadian standards), your first winter in Montreal can be a little… startling.Girl Wearing Winter Clothes

The ice, the snow, the WIND! Oh, the wind! With wind gusts taking us down to -30℃ (-22 ℉) and below on the reg, just how do Canadians survive winter?

It’s all about the layers! But you need to get strategic and plan for where you’re going and what you’ll be doing.

You also need to put aside any hangups about looking a bit ridiculous. Trust us, you’ll be warm and you won’t care.

Now, if your commute and lifestyle are such that your only outdoor time is getting from door to car and back again, you don’t need to worry as much about blocking out the cold. But, if you have to (or want to) spend more than 15 minutes at a time outside, dressing warmly and smartly is a must. So without further ado…

Here is what Montreal Tips thinks you should wear in Canada in winter:

The Coat

Let’s start with the most basic of Canadian winter essentials – the winter coat.

What type of Coat should you get for a Canadian winter?

You have 2 options, the super warm or the moderately warm. Check below for details on each.

Super WarmGirl Wearing Winter Clothes

If you want something that will keep you warm, even over a simple t-shirt, your best bet is one of the higher end brands. These are brands like Canada Goose, North Face, Arc’teryx, Nobis and Patagonia. They are typically very pricey, but they will do the job and they’re built to last. Many are made with goose down, or another down blend, but there are synthetic animal friendly materials as well.

Many of these coats can run you well over $400 and high price tag isn’t the only downside. If you’re walking around a mall or museum or anywhere heated with one of these on, you’ll quickly end up dripping in sweat. On the other hand, they are oh so very warm and cozy.

Moderately Warm

Of course, there are plenty of winter coat brands that are moderately warm and can be found at stores like l’Équipeur, Winners, The Bay and even places like Walmart and Old Navy.

These coats are usually warm enough up to about -20℃ (with no windchill), but beyond that, you’ll be feeling the cold. That’s where layering comes in. If you opt for a moderately warm coat, ensure the fit allows for a heavy sweater underneath, then look for something in a chunky knit – ideally a wool blend, but synthetic works too. Chunky knits work really well at providing an insulating layer and keeping you toasty. Opt for a cardigan style that does up and you can even use safety pins to attach it to the inside of your coat, making it easier to put it on and take it off as one piece.

Fleece layers can be great as well, but they aren’t as breathable, so if sweatiness is a concern for you, avoid fleece.

See a list of the best jackets to wear in a Canadian winter. 

 

The Boots

What type of Boots should you get for a Canadian winter?

You WILL need good boots. Boots to keep you warm, to give you traction on snow and ice, and to keep your feet dry, especially when slush happens (and it happens a lot).

All that to say, you want to look at three key things when choosing winter boots: temperature rating, treads and waterproof level.

As with many things, the best performing brands also tend to be the most expensive. When it comes to boots, those brands include Sorel, Bogs, UGG, The North Face, Timberland, Columbia and more.

With many of these brands, you can often find an excellent pair for between $150 and $200, which can be a lot upfront, but with proper care, they should last you several years. Proper care means regularly cleaning them (to get rid of road salt, which can be especially damaging) and using protective sprays.

If these options are out of your price range, the Canadiana line at Walmart is also decent, and you can find good options at stores like Joe Fresh, Globo or Winners.

With lower cost options, prioritize waterproofness. Buy them one size – or half a size – larger and you can layer warm socks or even add in thermal insoles which make a world of difference. For traction, you can buy products like GripOns that turn virtually any boot into prime winter wear.

See the best boots for women in a Canadian Winter.

See the best boots for men for winter in Canada.

 

Girl wearing winter boots in canada

The Pants

 

Remember back at the beginning when we said to let go of looking ridiculous? Even lifelong Montrealers struggle with this one, but when that temperature drops and the windchill kicks up, being afraid of looking silly leads to frozen – sometimes literally – legs. Is it too cold in Canada? Well, when your thighs are burning from cold and then start to itch and ache as they thaw out, it sure does feel that way.

So here’s the thing: give snow pants a try. You won’t be among the majority, but you also won’t be alone.

What pants to wear for winter in Canada?

Depending on where you shop – which can be anywhere from Walmart or Aubainerie, to MEC or even L.L Bean, you can pay anywhere from $25 to $200 and beyond. Higher-end pants do tend to be warmer (and a little better looking), but if you’re using these for commuting, picking the kids up from school, running errands or the occasional skating or winter hiking adventure, you don’t need to go high end. If you plan to do a lot of skiing, skating, snowshoeing or any other outdoor activity, you may want to opt for something higher quality and waterproof.

Winter scarfs stacked on a shelf

 

The Accessories

What kind of accessories should you have for a winter in Canada?

Hat, mitts, neckwarmer… you need all three! 

  • Hat

There are a lot of great looking hats out there. And most will be just fine when things aren’t too cold. Even a headband or ear muffs will do the trick. But, when it really gets cold, you’ll want a proper hat – either fleece, or knit with a thermal lining. Pom poms are cool, but they don’t always fit under hoods, so they may limit your coziness factor.

  • Mitts

Mittens are usually warmer than gloves, but with newer materials like gore tex and even tried and true textiles like merino wool, you can get decently warm gloves as well. That said, if budget is an issue, opt for mittens as they will keep you warmer when made with less expensive materials.

  • Neckwarmer

A scarf is definitely an option over a neckwarmer, but for safety’s sake, style it tucked under your coat so there are no loose ends. The safety concern is greater with children, with many schools and daycares outright banning scarves, but the danger doesn’t disappear for adults. Scarves can get caught in bus, metro or even car doors, so make sure those ends are tucked, or opt for a neckwarmer or infinity scarf instead.

Beyond 

If you really want to avoid the cold, or if you’re dressing for outdoor sports, a full-coverage balaclava is great for keeping the frost off your nose and cheeks.

 

Layering

So we’ve got your outerwear covered, but here’s another concern when it comes to dressing for winter in Canada: indoor heating! Or being outside for extended periods! Ugh. So may things to consider.

Layering for indoor heating

If you’re a student or work indoors, odds are your workplace or classroom are heated. Sometimes OVERheated. So you dress warm for outdoors, then sweat half to death throughout the day.

You need to layer. When choosing winter clothing, focus on light fabrics like cotton or thin knits and layer a sweater or cardigan overtop. You can also layer warm socks over tights or thin dress socks for outdoors. Dress for the temperature of where you’re going, then layer on top of that for warmth outdoors.

Layering for outdoor activities

Whether it’s winter sports, long walks, watching your kid’s hockey practice or an outdoor holiday market, there’s no reason to spend the whole winter inside. Instead, layer up and embrace the season!

Thermal long underwear is, hands down, the best way to go. Often called a “base layer”, long underwear is another instance where price range varies immensely. If you’re opting for a lower price range, look for a breathable fabric. Cotton waffle knit is a great option. It will give you the insulation you need to stay warm, but will be breathable enough to keep you from overheating. 

 

Guy and girl standing in the snow

Of course, every Canadian (and every Montrealer) has their own favourite tips for staying warm throughout the winter or for how to pack for a winter trip. What’s your top tip? Share it in the comments! You just might save a tourist or new arrival from the dreaded windchill thigh burn.

Business owners, managers, leaders, human resources professionals… do you want to create a work environment that brings out the best in your people? An environment where they showcase and grow their greatest strengths, where creativity and new ideas flow, productivity is rarely an issue and people are truly engaged with and motivated by the work that they do? 

 

More and more businesses are incorporating wellness and personal development into their workplace cultures, with truly inspiring results. It turns out, when you invest in the wellbeing of your people, those people are empowered to bring the best of themselves to the work that they do! 

 

These days, stress, anxiety, burnout and lack of engagement are skyrocketing. People are overwhelmed and disconnected. This is bad news for physical and mental health, and for businesses. You need people to feel truly connected to their work, their colleagues and the business, and you need them to feel good about themselves and their contributions. You need that because when you have it, productivity, engagement, creativity, initiative and collaboration are what skyrocket.

 

That all sounds great, but… how do you actually make that happen?

Le Sommet de mieux ȇtre au travail is an immersive event happening this month, right here in Montreal. At this event, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with industry leaders who are blazing trails in creating work environments where people thrive, so that businesses can thrive. You’ll get advice, ideas and guidance from a range of experts including a COO, a Director of Organizational Development, company founders, and even a certified Mindfulness Teacher and Business Consultant. These inspiring leaders will share how wellness programs can truly transform work cultures and drive businesses forward. 

 

You’ll also have the opportunity to mix and mingle with other attendees, share ideas and learn from their experiences.

 

The event takes place November 28 at le Grande Bibliothèque on de Maisonneuve. Early bird pricing is available until November 15, so grab your tickets now!

 

If you truly want to take your organization or your team to the next level, the time is now to start investing in the wellbeing of your people. Don’t miss out!