Fall trees in Montreal

Best Motivational Books by Canadian Authors

(Opinion Article | Please note: Article includes Affiliate links to Amazon)

With isolation upon us, it’s the time to find alternative ways to lift our spirits and try to break free of the mold of our current mundane situation. We decided it would be an ideal time to introduce our top 5 inspirational books by Canadian authors to help you along that path. A motivator of sorts, we believe that inspirational books are a great way to spark a positive change in our everyday lives.


What are the best motivational and inspirational books written by Canadian Authors?

Here is a list of the Top 5 inspirational books by Canadian authors:

1. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

We wanted to start off with a true Canadian classic. Originally published in 1908 it is a book that most Canadians have probably read in elementary school if not at least one point in their lives. Regardless of if you read it or not it is an incredible book to discover or revisit. The general premise is that Anne is trying to escape her stale life in Prince Edward Island by using her imagination to overcome her hurdles in life. It is a light story of pure fun and is truly a joy to read.

Find it at: https://amzn.to/2UGyNWz

2. The Camino Within  by Tarek Riman

Montreal tips founder Tarek Riman wrote “The Camino Within” about his adventure by bike along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. He dropped everything at home to pursue his journey and wrote this book about his experiences while there. He wanted more out of life and opted to get a change of scenery and took on a challenge that would change his perspectives and gain clarity on life. The book follows Tarek through his series of encounters, lessons, and trials while trying to find the true meaning of life. It really pushes its readers to find out they are capable of and to simultaneously encourage you to take a new journey of your own!Find it at: https://amzn.to/3aOudLS

The Camino Within Book

3. Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin Montreal Born

Alix Ohlin, a Montreal born author wrote her inspiring book called “Dual Citizens”. “Dual Citizens” is about Lark Brossard our main protagonist whos mostly felt invisible throughout her life. She, like everybody else, has her issues with a variety of things but it is in the way she handles herself and the situation at hand which is admirable and can really stay with you as a reader. It is a wonderful coming-of-age story that branches out into relationships with her lover, mother and especially her sister who plays a crucial role in the novel. Without giving away too much, it is a powerful novel that tackles themes such as ambition, self-knowledge, and sisterhood.
Find it at: https://amzn.to/2wiE0L6

Books laid down next to a bed

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

4. The Better Angels of Our Nature By Steven Pinker

As we could all use a little bit of good news these days, “Angels of Our Nature” certainly delivers in that aspect. The book is essentially about how violence has declined in the short and long run in the world. He backs this theory up with data while also highlighting certain reasons as to why it is on the decline. Pinker also suggests how our generation is currently one of the most peaceful eras in human history in which explains why and how in the book. Overall, its a book with a positive message which we can surely use right now. It’s also worth mentioning that Bill Gates once tweeted that it is one of the most inspiring books he’s ever read.

Find it at: https://amzn.to/39OgMu4

5. Chorus of Mushrooms by Hiromi Goto

For something a little different, “Chorus of Mushrooms” is simply about her family in a small town in Alberta. It goes into detail about the generations of Japanese women in her family. The story delves into Japanese folk legends and also has some rom-com mixed in. It offers an interesting perspective about somebody’s cultures and traditions while also keeping it a light and pleasant read.

Find it at: https://amzn.to/2V2BmRL

Date: March 28, 2010 | Author: Adriano | Category: Health Recommendations 


The top 5 workout equipment to workout from home with

In-Home Fitness Equipment

(Opinion Article | Please note: Article includes Affiliate links to Amazon)

With the gyms being closed down it has become harder for people to stay active. While we can go for walks and runs sometimes it is not enough. While we are in quarantine it is important to, first of all, be safe but can also be a period for inner growth. Remaining active during this time is really important and can really be a morale booster for your physical and mental health. Looking good makes you feel good so we suggest picking up some home gym equipment to get you to stay active during these trying times.


TRX

The first option we suggest is the TRX which are suspension body-weight trainers. The great thing about these is that they are usable indoors and outdoors so you can complete a full-body workout wherever you have something sturdy to attach it to. The TRX is also beginner-friendly and a great addition for people with gym experience. It really shines as a product because of the versatility of exercises you can do with it. 

What makes the TRX a worthwhile investment is that it has a very healthy post-purchase support. They have a great app available but we also especially like the fact that it provides its users with free workouts for those who don’t really know where to start or for those who are new to the TRX. It is also space-efficient and is an overall great choice for anybody looking to stay active during the outbreak.

TRX

Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

 

You can find the TRX through its homepage at https://www.trxtraining.com/ or on Amazon.com. On the homepage, however, they have different options for the TRX and also have fitness bundles which can be an interesting option as well.

Price: ~$179 (depending on what package you get)


Door Frame Pull Up Bar

Attachable pull-up bars are a great way to keep active during the quarantine. The concept is simple as you can do only a couple exercises with it but are powerful ones as they are not for the faint of heart. The pull-up bar is a great upper body workout that is really challenging to anyone because you are lifting your own dead weight up. It is also one of the most effective exercises you can do as it hits a majority of your upper body. 

We believe that a door frame pull-up bar also has a psychological effect on some people. Seeing the pull-up bar acts almost like a reminder for you to get a few reps in whenever you pass by the door. If you manage to keep up with this you will see that your strength will increase very quickly. This could be a perfect fit for you if you’re having trouble staying committed to remaining active while you are at home.


Power Tower

A power tower is something that is extremely versatile when it comes to what workouts you can accomplish on it. It is basically like a station at the gym with multiple functions, for instance, there is a pull-up section, push-up station, a dip station as well as a knee raise station. 

The main muscle groups it targets are the arms, chest, shoulders, and core. You can really get a full upper-body workout because of the flexibility of a power tower. Keep in mind that for a Power Tower you will need some space in your house to set this up!

There are other options but here is where you can start your research. 

Find it at: https://amzn.to/3bukMki

Price: $157 


Kettlebells

Kettlebell’s for those who don’t know, are essentially an iron or steel metal ball with a handle on it. The beauty of a kettlebell is its ability to be used for a variety of different workouts, from the upper body to lower body exercises you can really get a high-intensity workout in. You can easily find kettlebell workouts online and are an easy way for you to stay active at home. Kettlebells are extremely easy to use and don’t need a lot of space to be used efficiently. You can also store a kettlebell fairly easily so there is no issue for them taking space.

Kettlebell exercises are known to improve flexibility, overall muscular strength, core strength and helps burn fat and keep muscle lean. They are a great tool in anyone’s fitness toolbox because of their flexibility.

Find some at: https://amzn.to/3bpCDJk

Price:~starting at $25 but price increases with heavier kettlebells

 

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash


Rowing Machine

Rowing Machine

Photo by Kyle Kranz on Unsplash

Many swear by rowing machines as they are a great way to engage your whole body and keep the calories off. It is something that you can do in a short amount of time as well like 15-minute workouts which are high intensity but deliver solid results. If you are someone who wants something simple that will challenge you every time you get on, a rowing machine can be perfect for you. It is an amazing cardio machine that has really outmatched the treadmill and exercise bikes because of its capabilities to be able to train more than just legs while keeping thew rhythm at a high tempo.

What’s great about a rowing machine is that you are able to challenge yourself without hurting yourself. It is a safe machine that minimizes injuries and you can really push hard to try and beat your previous rowing stats. A rowing machine excels when it comes to burning calories and building a good foundation for your muscles to be stronger and better defined. 

Like all the equipment on the list, you can easily find workout programs for rowing so you can try something different every time. Rowing machines don’t take up too much space and can be easily folded and stored for future use. While it is the most expensive item on our list it is definitely worth the investment because of the dividends it could pay off for you.

Find one at: https://amzn.to/2QOrEkV

Price: $900

 

 


Bonus: If you really want to challenge yourself try to pick up a weighted vest from Amazon. They add 20-50 pounds to your current weight. They are a relatively cheap expense that can bring out some big change as it really pushes you to work for that extra weight on you. It will make every single workout that much harder and can also be used as an additional accessory to every single piece of equipment on our list.

Top 10 things to do indoors in Canada

Top 10 Home Activities During the Coronavirus Outbreak

  1. Read that book you’ve been putting off

    Most of us have that book or series that we’ve been wanting to read forever but haven’t gotten the chance to do it for a multitude of reasons. Why not decide to go for it while you have the time? We know we have a few from our list that we’re getting to (or trying to do so, at the very least)!

  2. Create a list of movies and tv-shows you’ve been wanting to watch

    In the same space as reading that book, take this opportunity to finally get around to those movies and tv-shows that your friends have been begging you to watch, but have always been putting off to watch something else.

  3. Video chat with friends

    Use your Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime, Zoom or whatever app you use to stay in touch with your friends. Having face to face contact is sometimes better than texts, besides, who doesn’t like seeing their friends?

  4. Have a board game night with some close friends

    Speaking of video chats, Is there anything that brings you back to childhood faster than a board game night with friends? Make the effort and ask your friends to have a couple of games through video chat. Our favorite is Dungeons & Dragons which can easily be played over video or voice chat!

  5. Workout at home with yoga and bodyweight exercises

    With gyms being closed, it could be a good opportunity to keep up or start with bodyweight exercises. Some great programs can be found with a simple google search. Motivate yourself to take the leap! We also encourage you to try yoga as it is a great workout and a fantastic stress reliever.

  6. Get ahead on some spring cleaning

    This could be an opportunity to get ahead on something that we know is coming up for most, the dreaded spring cleaning. We suggest listening to podcasts or audiobooks while doing the cleaning to keep you interested for longer!

  7. Work on a new hobby

    Being indoors is a great time to try out a new hobby! Whether it is trying new recipes you’ve been wanting to do or a learning language on Duolingo to picking up a new instrument. Learning new hobbies can really be a fulfilling and rewarding experience.

  8. Do some home projects

    If you’ve been planning on moving furniture or wanting to repaint a room, now would be a great time to take advantage!

  9. Take online classes

    If you’re like us and love to learn, consider taking online classes when and where they are available. Usually, you can use your local university site as a starting point in your search for a course. They’re very informative and can maybe spark an interest you didn’t think was there.

  10. Start a journal

    We find journaling to be a very relaxing way to spend the time. So why not give it a shot? If you’ve had stuff on your mind, want to write down an epic story or you just want to organize yourself better, start journaling, it could be a cathartic outlet for you to put your ideas and thoughts on paper at this particular point in time.

Bonus: Google chrome has released the Netflix Party extension so you can watch Netflix at the same time as your friends, another way to stay contacted and do things together at the same time.

After surviving another cold, long and relentless winter, Montreal always finds a way to bounce back come summer. It almost turns into a different city when the heat rolls around. As Montrealers, we want to use all the energy we’ve been conserving from our hibernation and take advantage of any half-decent weather.

That being said, while there is a plethora of things to do in the rest of Montreal this summer, there is a black-sheep among the neighbourhoods on the island: the East-End. The East-End often gets overlooked by visitors and locals alike because it doesn’t have the flash and glamour that downtown Montreal and Old Montreal has, but you know what, that’s perfectly okay with us because the East-end is about getting back to basics and enjoying the simpler things in life!

 

Here are 5 of the best things to do this 2020 summer in Montreal’s East-End

 

  1. Food truck festival “First Fridays” at the Olympic Stadium

 

As the name suggests, the food truck festival named First Fridays takes place every first Friday of the month between June 7th to October 4th (June 7, July 5th, August 2nd, September 6th and October 4th) and operates between 4:00pm to 11:00pm.

There are many ways to access the festival grounds as well. You can go by car and make use of the underground parking at the Olympic stadium, but travellers be wary – there will be a fee. You can also travel by bike or Bixi, but the easiest way is to take the metro (green-line) to either Viau or Pie-IX station and take a short walk towards all the hubbub.

First Fridays is one of, if not the biggest collection of food trucks in Canada. That being so, the crowds are big and some lines tend to require a patient constitution, but fret not, it is totally worth the wait. It boasts 50 food trucks from around the city and as Montreal is known as a food haven you can expect some amazing eats from every one of them. The site offers 500 spaces to sit around at themed terraces to eat with a total of 3,000 seats available around the entire festival site. Just when you think it couldn’t get better, there is no entrance fee to join the festival!

With 50 food trucks available at your disposal It has a wide range of food options to satisfy any of those knacking cravings. From poutines, tacos, burgers, Asian cuisine and desserts there is something for everyone here. Based on past years they’ve also had many vegan options as well! 

If the food wasn’t enough to entice you, there is also the SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec) and a handful of microbreweries on standby that offer something to cool your throat to go along with the copious amount of food you definitely won’t be able to stop devouring. First Fridays are a perfect date spot or just a simple evening with family and friends. Eat drink and be merry we say and if that doesn’t call for a perfect summer evening in Montreal, we don’t know what does!

Food Truck in Montreal

Photo by Should Wang on Unsplash

2. Spend an afternoon or evening at Parc de la Promenade-Bellerive

Located in the Mercier-Est borough, Parc de la Promenade-Bellerive is one of the more unique parks located on the island. It is hard to believe that a park like this exists in the middle of Montreal. It really offers something for everybody and here are a couple of our favorite ideas on how best to spend your time here!

Biking

For those of you who want to take your bikes to the East-End make sure to take advantage of the bike path here. If you look at the park on a map, it doesn’t seem that you would be here long but it is bigger than the image suggests! The path is traditional in the sense that it circles the park but what sets it apart from the others is the incredible view as you bike alongside the St-Lawrence river. With boats passing by and the noises of it all, you can really get immersed in all of it. The park also has a lot of kite-flyers on nice days so you will have a great view for your entire bike ride. 

Picnic

For those preferring a more relaxing experience, why not spend the day outside and have a picnic! At the park, there are plenty of tables and gazebos in which you can bring a lunch or supper and enjoy it by the waterfront. You can eat and watch the boats pass by and enjoy some alone time and of course, you are encouraged to bring family and friends! 

Visit during the evening 

If you chose to go during the evening, you can sometimes catch local bands playing in the gazebos which can be a lot of fun as quite a bit of people end up showing up and having a good time. 

Park in Montreal

Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

  1. Take the Promenade Bellerive-Boucherville Ferry

If you’ve got more time on your hands and are looking for a bit more adventure, look no further! Bellerive park also provides you access to Charron Island!  At the southern edge of the park, you will find the ferry which will take you across. The ferry will run you about $10 Canadian and takes about 15 minutes to cross. Once on Charron island, you’ll have a few options on what to do! You can check out Longueuil Beach, A disk golf center or our top recommendation of visiting Îles-de-Boucherville National Park

Here you can really take advantage and do a ton  of different activities. From taking a picnic to biking, canoeing, and kayaking it can be a daunting task on what to do. Asking the friendly staff members or getting yourself a map of the island can help plan your day ahead. It also has quite a bit of wildlife to be found ranging from deer, birds, and beavers so if you have an interest in photography, this can be a great spot for you. The island is also big so be prepared with the essentials when arriving!

 

  1. Check out Village au Pied-Du-Courant

Village au Pied-Du-Courant is a very unique event that happens in the East-End during summer. It is located on Notre-Dame Street East, almost under the Jacques-Cartier bridge. The village started back in 2015 and was a creative way in which Montreal used its empty space. This reinvented public space was the product of many collaborators across the city that made this happen. It really has encouraged the communities to get together which creates a very attractive atmosphere to be a part of.

 

The village is a fantastic way to spend a day or evening, however, make sure to check the hours of operations as they still have not released the information. (Assuming they do the same hours as last year it goes as follows. Mondays to-Wednesdays they are closed. Thursday 4-9 pm, Friday 5 pm-12 am Saturday 4 pm-12 am, Sunday 3-11 pm). It is important to note that Pied-Du-Courant is absolutely free!

 

The village really has a beach-themed/boardwalk feel to it with features like (you are quite literally walking on sand) live music, barbeque, a bar inside, food trucks with various activities present on-site throughout the day. It is also very much a kid-friendly environment providing family spaces and activities for kids and family alike. During the day, it is generally accepted that it is for everybody of all ages as the vibe and environment changes a little as it gets later.

  

 During the evening you will have a bit of a different experience than earlier in the day. At night, the village slowly turns into more of a loungy party area, which is a great time if you are looking to let loose a little and have a unique date idea or outing with friends. A mix of the gathering people, the cool summer breeze, the atmosphere, and the view of the Jacques Cartier bridge, LaRonde and the St-Lawrence scream Montreal at its finest. If you truly want to round out your night out, plan to go on a Saturday night where LaRonde will have its fireworks show which is sure to create some great memories for Summer 2020.

P.S You are not allowed to bring your own alcohol and make sure to bring cash as they do not have debit or credit card machines on everything!

Village au Pied-Du-Courant

Photo by Jenns Johnssnon on Unsplash

 

  1. Saint-Leonard Cavern

For those of you wanting to do something different and adventurous have you ever thought of spelunking right here in Montreal, let alone right here in the East-End? That’s right, in the St-Leonard borough there’s a cave that was used as a weapons armory during the 19th century. It is now turned into an explorable cave in which you can visit and pay tour guides to take you around. 

The tour is short, but is very informative. It is something you never really think about doing, but once you actually try it out you realize how unique and enriching of an activity it could be. It’s a great experience for all ages and something else to knock off that bucket list. 

Here you have it, the 5 best things to do in Montreal’s East-End in summer 2020. As we all eagerly await another beautiful summer in Montreal, try to plan something new this year and come back to simpler times in Montreal’s East-End!

 

Melissa Dawn on the news

Conscious leadership just might be the next big evolution in business leadership as well as in the global marketplace, with Canada uniquely positioned to take the lead is forging this new path. In Montreal, conscious leadership is already being practiced or explored by many organizations.

What is Conscious Leadership?

To understand what it is, we need to understand what it is responding to. For a long time, leadership was about command-and-control. You were the boss and your job was to get people to do what you told them to do.

It makes a certain sense. You are the boss. You decide what’s best for the team or the company, you tell your employees what to do, and they should do it. Right?

Well, it turns out, that isn’t very motivating or engaging for employees. It also doesn’t allow much room for creativity, innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, designing new solutions and all those great qualities and skills that organizations need in order to grow and succeed.

Conscious leadership is a leadership movement in response to that. The aim is to shift our leadership approach so that the focus is on creating cultures of growth – growth of individuals, teams and the overall organization – where employees are highly engaged, fulfilled and dedicated to bringing their best selves to the work that they do.

 

Why Canadian Companies Should Embrace Conscious Leadership?

Melissa Dawn is a Conscious Leadership Coach here in Montreal and founder of CEO of Your Life coaching services. She works with individuals, teams and organizations to develop their leadership and help them evolve forward.

According to Melissa, a conscious leader is someone who:

  • Aligns strategy, decision-making, hiring and all other business practices with the purpose, vision, culture and values of the organization; 
  • Seeks out new team members whose gifts and values are aligned with the organization’s and bring strength to the team;
  • Actively looks for the unique strengths and talents of current team members, and helps them bring those gifts forward;
  • Doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations, but instead embraces them as opportunities to learn, overcome challenges and strengthen interpersonal relationships;
  • Seeks to cultivate cultures of trust, integrity, accountability and openness;
  • Continually works on their own personal and professional development;
  • Prioritizes the personal and professional development of those around them;
  • Is able to marry the nuts and bolts of getting things done with compassion and care for the people doing the work, so that both the work and the people can move forward successfully.

Melissa says that while these skills and habits can feel difficult at first, if people approach them with an open mindset and a willingness to learn, they usually start to see the benefits right away – benefits which will continue to grow and spread as the work moves forward.

“In his book, Conscious Capitalism, John Mackay states, ‘The quality of our leaders affects the quality of our lives.’

We all know this to be true,” says Melissa. “We’ve all experienced the stress, frustration and even anger that can result from ineffective or toxic leadership, or even just a culture where we don’t feel valued as whole people, or free to just bring the best parts of ourselves out at work. However, the opposite is also true. Really great leaders – leaders who value others, uplift them, encourage them forward – have a truly positive impact on our wellbeing and quality of life. It makes us better people and better at our jobs. And that matters to the organization because it’s great people who help businesses succeed. As a leader you’re in a position to bring out the greatness in others and conscious leadership is a powerful way to do that.

“When it comes down to it, conscious leadership is about co-creating with employees, teams, management, clients, suppliers, communities, stakeholders and so on. It’s about creating workplace cultures where people feel comfortable being themselves, which makes them happier, more engaged, more productive, more collaborative… all of which we know leads to higher ROIs. And finally, it’s about keeping a mindset of what is best for the general good of the people and the community. When you put conscious effort in your employees and the people around you, you build genuine trust and a reputation for integrity that people – customers included – want to support.”

A professional discussing leadership ideas

When Does a Company Need Conscious Leadership?

We asked Melissa what kind of issues conscious leadership might help address.

She gave several examples of what it can help with for both the individual leader and the organization:

  • A feeling of being stuck – like you need to move forward or change direction, but you just can’t see how;
  • Behavioural issues like defensiveness, procrastination, feelings of hostility, passive aggressiveness, placing blame, etc;
  • Consistently missing objectives or struggling to clarify objectives;
  • Moving through transitions;
  • Motivating employees or teammates;
  • Finding and keeping top talent;
  • Looking to get an edge in the millennial job market;
  • Interpersonal issues or struggling to communicate effectively.

And there’s one big one that Melissa says everyone struggles with and everyone can benefit from confronting:

“The difficult conversations. We all have them and we all know them! It’s those conversations that we know, if we could just have them, openly, honestly, without judgement or fear, everyone could move forward more easily and understand each other better.”

 

How to Get Started With Conscious Leadership?

In Montreal, conscious leadership coaching is just starting to take hold with some business and leadership coaches training in this specific branch of leadership coaching. Montreal has always had a very forward-thinking business community, so it’s no surprise that local organizations are open to the benefits of conscious leadership. 

If you’d like to get started on your own or look into adopting conscious leadership within your organization, you could start by reading up on case studies and other resources, but one of the best ways to really dive in is to get a conversation started with a specialized coach like Melissa Dawn of CEO of Your Life.