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Never make a laundry mistake again with these helpful tips.1. Not turning clothes inside out
|This story was originally part of "Your Ultimate Laundry Guide" in the April 2015 issue.
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Historian Cheryl Foggo brings the stories of important African-Canadians to life with her books, films and plays
How much do Canadians know about our country’s black history? How many people would admit to knowing little about Viola Desmond before the campaign to choose a woman to appear on the new banknote? Most of us might say our knowledge stops at the Underground Railroad or Nova Scotia’s Black Loyalists. But this country is rich with stories of African-Canadian experiences on the east coast, west coast and everywhere between. While classrooms play catch-up in diversifying history curriculums, learning the names and stories of African-Canadian men and women is a conscious effort that should no longer be set aside.
Cheryl Foggo is a playwright, historian and author who’s committed to making the names and tales of African-Canadian settlers known. Based in Calgary, Foggo actively combs archives and documents recounting the lives of Alberta’s black settlers. One of her projects is a documentary film about the legendary black cowboy John Ware, who was considered a hero in Alberta’s ranching frontier.
We spoke with Foggo about her latest projects, Alberta’s lesser-known African-Canadians and why celebrating Canada’s black history is important not just in February, but year-round.
When did you first become interested in Canada’s black history?
From a young age I was interested in the stories I heard my mother’s family tell when we visited my grandparent’s home in Winnipeg. Although I wouldn’t have defined it as history at that time—it was just my Mom and her siblings and their parents talking about their lives—I found these stories interesting. As I got older, I gradually became aware of a disconnect between the history I was learning in school and what I was hearing from my family. I began to wonder why our stories were absent from the historical record.
Why do you think Canadians don’t know much about our country’s black history?
I think it’s up to Canadians to ask ourselves this question. Even what Canadians do know about the Black Loyalists and the Underground Railroad is limited to a “happy ending” narrative and skewed away from the realities of the struggles black Canadians faced historically.
Western Canada’s black history isn’t widely known or taught. Share the story of one lesser-known African-Canadian and her contribution?
It’s tough to choose, but I’ll pick a woman from Alberta. Violet King, the first black female lawyer in Canada. She was a trailblazer throughout her life and an accomplished classical pianist. She was also the only woman in her graduating class from the faculty of law at the University of Alberta in 1953, the same class as former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed.
King went on to work for Citizenship and Immigration Canada before becoming the first woman named to a senior management position with the American National YMCA. She also happened to be among the best friends of my mother, Pauline, and her twin sister, Pearl, and a bridesmaid for both.
In your opinion why is knowing more about Canada’s diverse history so important?
A history that is incomplete is damaging. A history that is purposely incomplete is sinister. How can Canadians move into a sustainable future if we can’t acknowledge our past? And how can we acknowledge and reckon with our past if our canonical history is missing pages?
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a documentary film about the legendary black cowboy John Ware and a collection of articles and essays that will anthologize my writings about Alberta’s black history.
Can you recommend some resources for Canadians who want to learn more about Canada’s black history?
There are many ways to gain more knowledge about this subject. Here are a few places to start:
> The Black Lives Canada Syllabus
We spoke to Dr. Jessica Shepherd to find out why the area around your vagina needs a little more TLC than you might think.
You’re probably cleaning your vagina wrong. Actually, you shouldn’t be cleaning your vagina at all. But your vulva (the external area around your vagina) does need to be cleaned, and it needs a little more than a bar of soap. We spoke to Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a gynecologist and women’s health expert, to find out what we’re doing wrong—and how to fix it.
I didn’t know I could clean my vagina incorrectly
The vagina refers to your internal muscles that connect the external genitals to the cervix, while the vulva is the external area that includes the labia and the clitoris. Unless you have a special soap formulated for your more intimate areas, you’re probably using a product that’s too harsh.
“The vagina has a very sensitive lining that can be easily irritated by douching and harsh soaps and cleansers,” says Dr. Shepherd. “I always tell my patients to never wash inside the vagina. It cleans itself, so let Mother Nature do her job.” So, when cleansing, remember to only clean your vulva.
Why are regular cleansers bad for my vagina?
Cleansers formulated for your body tend to include glycerin. “Glycerin is a sugar-based product that yeast loves,” says Dr. Shepherd. Cleansers can also include irritants like fragrance or have the wrong pH.
“A healthy vagina has a pH range between 4 and 4.5,” says Dr. Shepherd. “Traditional body washes and bar soaps can range between a pH of 6 and 10.” This can upset your vagina’s natural chemistry. “This area is home to a finely tuned system of good and bad bacteria, and when it’s disrupted, it can cause yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis and lead to chronic irritation.”
What products should I be using?
“You want to look for a product that’s pH-balanced and that doesn’t contain glycerin,” recommends Dr. Shepherd. Other things to look for include natural ingredients, sulphate-free products and cleansers that won’t strip the natural moisture from your skin.
Sweet Spot Labs Neroli Mandarin gentle wash, $15, sweetspotlabs.ca.
Dr. Shepherd’s tips for keeping your vaginal area clean:
1. Wash the outside of your vagina with a natural pH-balanced, wash that’s glycerin-free.
2. Dry the skin by patting gently with a clean towel to reduce moisture and bacteria growth.
3. Wear cotton underwear, which allows the skin to breathe.
Canadian Living editor-in-chief Jes Watson shares how the food always comes first when her family reunites.
Our crew is like most Canadian families. We're tight-knit, but sprinkled across a wide expanse of geography, scattered through cities, towns, provinces and a few distant countries. We're lucky to live in the time we do, when communication has never been easier, and we stay in touch with regular phone or FaceTime calls, emails and social media. But there's nothing quite like when we're all in the same room together, 30 or so familiar faces, the same features (in our case, twinkling eyes and proud sets of buckteeth) echoing through the generations.
Despite the distance between us and the time we've spent apart, when we do meet up, it's like nothing has changed. Conversations seem to pick up where they left off, as if the months or years separating visits were nothing more than a short pause. Seeing my relatives again feels as comfortable as slipping into a favourite pair of well-worn jeans, or picking up a beloved book I've read a hundred times. No matter where we are, or who is hosting, it's like coming home.
The Watsons try to make get-togethers an annual occurrence, with a generous relation offering to host at a different location each year. Because we're polite folk who don't want to descend like a herd of hungry elephants on a poor aunt, uncle or cousin, the agreed-upon tradition is to make the feast potluck. We're each assigned a course to bring (appetizers, main or dessert), and we spend hours doting on hot stoves and ovens, prepping veggies and icing cakes. When we arrive, each of us ports our wares in casserole dishes and Tupperware from the car to doorstep like precious cargo.
It's no accident that even before the hugs and the small talk, the dish each person provided is the primary topic of conversation; the first question out of everyone's mouths is "What did you bring?" And because we've been having our reunions for as long as I can remember some of the recipes that appear are like family members in and of themselves. My cousin Dawn makes the cheesiest, ooey-gooiest lasagna that I can't ever resist having seconds of, and when I see it there on the dining table, I feel waves of nostalgia and familiarity (not to mention hunger). Some recipes are re-created in honour of relatives who have passed away or can't be there: My late Aunt Barb's trifle is a bittersweet, but mostly sweet, way of remembering her. Of course, we welcome new recipes, too, much like new babies; my 10-year-old niece wowed us last year when she made a batch of perfectly chewy yet crispy cookies from scratch.
Maybe it's not that the recipes are like relatives in their own right, but that the food we bring is an extension of who we are. Our secret recipes and special ingredients, year after year, become entwined with our personalities. They're a way for each of us to show our love for our family, and for them, in return, to show their love for us. When I look forward to our next reunions, I always vividly imagine the food that's going to be there, and each of the people I adore who'll bring them.
Want to plan your own big family reunion? Visit caltelli150.ca for your chance to win 1 of 3 Catelli Family Reunion Experiences valued at approximately $10,000 each. To celebrate its shared 150th birthday, Catelli is saying thanks to Canadian families with the this gift of togetherness. Contest runs from February 28 to April 4 and is open to Canadian residents only.