Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fixing the Financial Business

Financial Literacy – Let’s continue last month’s discussion: “Feeling Ripped Off?”

From bank tellers pushing unwanted products to financial advisors charging huge hidden fees for their “expertise” in managing your money, the financial business in Canada is broken.

Continue reading Fixing the Financial Business

Preserving indigenous languages one app at a time

Ogoki Learning Inc. is the world leader when it comes to language apps

Canada’s Aboriginal languages are many and diverse, and their importance to indigenous people immense. During the past 100 years or more, nearly ten, once flourishing languages have become extinct; at least a dozen more are on the brink of extinction. When these languages vanish, they take with them unique ways of looking at the world.

Ogoki Learning Inc. is trying to preserve indigenous languages one app at a time.

It all started when Darrick Baxter, President of Ogoki Learning, created an Ojibwe language app for smartphones and tablets. Soon after the release, he noticed the app was doing what he hoped it would, teaching kids the Ojibwe language while keeping them engaged through mobile devices.

From that moment Baxter, who grew up in Winnipeg’s North End, knew he had to share the app with everyone, so he released the app for free.

Continue reading Preserving indigenous languages one app at a time


Cirque du Soleil is coming back to Winnipeg, but this time with its most acclaimed Big Top Show, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities.

The show will make its home at the corner of Sterling Lyon Parkway and Kenaston Boulevard under the iconic blue and yellow Big Top for just over a month, premiering June 2nd.

Kurios will take the audience back to the latter half of the nineteenth century – to a time of innovation in a changing world. With inventions such as the telegraph, railroad systems, gramophones and bicycles, people believed anything was possible and that the world could be explored in a new way.

Continue reading Kurios

Global learning at Heartland International English School

By Derek Gagnon

There can be any number of reasons why a person might choose to learn a new language. Some do it for fun, as they look to improve themselves. Others do it in preparation for a big trip, not wanting to be unable to communicate in a faraway land. And, there are international students, studying abroad fully immersed in a foreign language to better their education and future job prospects.

For many people, English has become language of choice. It is the official language of the United Nations and there are 840 million English speakers worldwide. With Winnipeg being the multicultural hub that it is, it was just logical for an English school catering to the international market to set up in the city.

A growing demand to learn
Heartland International English School opened its doors in June of 1999, and has been growing ever since. Gary Gervais came up with the idea because his girlfriend at the time was looking to learn English, but didn’t have many viable options to learn the language fluently.

“The only option available to her wasn’t very good,” said Gervais. “So, I got the idea to start a school. I contacted my friend, Rennie Zegalski, who was also interested in starting a business and together we started the school. I got the idea in December 1998. We opened our doors and started operating in June 1999.”

The school opened with three classrooms and zero students at 508 Portage Ave. A teacher was hired, a curriculum was built and the school quickly began to grow. Gervais bought out Zegalski’s portion of the company and took sole-ownership a couple of years into the business.

By 2002, the school had outgrown its original space and moved to 161 Portage Ave. The following year, Heartland was recognized by Profit Magazine as one of the top 50 emerging growth companies in Canada. Heartland is the only accredited, private English as a second language (ESL)school in Manitoba.

By 2010, Heartland had moved again, this time to their current location in The Exchange District, the Massey Building at 294 William Ave. Demand saw them become a test centre for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in 2014. The following year, 2015, Heartland expanded yet again, opening a brand new location in Mississauga, Ontario. This January, Heartland also began offering programs in Steinbach, MB.

A diverse crowd
Heartland gets over 300 students per year, and has seen over 4,000 since opening. Students’ ages have ranged from 12 to 75. With flexible start dates and study lengths, students can start any Monday of the year and study any length of time from one week to a year or more, the program is adaptable for everyone. At any given time, there are between 50 and 80 students in the school.

Gervais says that summer is the busiest time for new students, with students staying for about three months on average.

“Last year we had students from 43 different countries,” said Gervais. “Our biggest markets, in order, are Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan. The students come with various motivations for studying English. For some, it’s a language holiday. For others, it’s learning English for their careers. For some, it could be to get into college or university. And some are hoping to immigrate to Manitoba.”

“We had a student come from Italy and studied for one week. She had done her Master’s Thesis on Margaret Lawrence and was essentially making a pilgrimage to Neepawa and tied in a week of language study. We had another student who was 75 years old and was studying English because he wanted to go on to business school to better run his two businesses in Japan.”

Learning together
“For me the best part is seeing people from different countries come together and learn about each other,” said Gervais. “We get students from all over the world and the only thing they have in common for sure is being in Winnipeg to learn English. We are used to being in a multicultural environment in Canada, but it’s not the norm most places in the world.”

“For some it may be the first time they have travelled outside their country or the first time they’ve interacted with other nationalities. They naturally bring a lot of stereotypes with them. When I see people from different countries learning about each other, becoming friends, and losing their prejudices, I think there is hope for less hatred and conflict in the world.”

For more information on Heartland International English School, visit, email or call (204) 989-8448.

In the loop

Michael Jackson in Back From The Future
Its the year 2015 and something is amiss. When Marty and Doc travelled to 2015 from 1985, things appeared to be quite different than they are now. The secret to correcting the time-line may lie in the sequined glove hand of the King of Pop. The only trouble is Doc and Marty will have to travel back through time to meet him.
The show is on at Celebration Dinner Theatre at 1824 Pembina Highway and runs until January 23. See for details.

Blind Tiger Coffee Co
There’s a secret hidden behind the alabaster walls of South Osborne’s Blind Tiger. What will be by day a neighbourhood coffee haunt, bringing rich roasts from boutique traders will by night be a dimly lit lair of exposed brick, rich colours, and ubiquitous tastes.
Only whispered about by those in the know, what waits behind the walls is something that’s not meant to be found, but to be stumbled upon by those looking for a place of subversion and seclusion.
Visit them at 725 Osborne or find out more at

Canad Inns Winter Wonderland
Canad Inns Winter Wonderland is Manitoba’s largest drive-thru light show and provides a brilliant presentation of over one million lights in 26 different theme areas. The lights will be up from December 4 to January 2 at the Red River Exhibition Grounds. Visit for more.

Hockey at the MTS Centre
The Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose are looking to light the lamp at home during December, with the Winnipeg Jets playing seven games at the MTS Centre, including games against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Manitoba Moose have five games throughout the month, with a couple of pairs against Milwaukee and San Antonio, respectively, and their traditional New Year’s Eve matinee game, which they will play against Iowa this year.

When midnight strikes, young Clara’s enchanted Christmas gift leads her into a wondrous world… with the valiant Nutcracker at her side, Clara defeats the Mouse King and his army of mice, and journeys to the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. What could be more fun for the family than to join young Clara’s Christmas fantasy, where toys come to life, the Sugar Plum Fairy spreads her magic, mischievous Filbert the Bear steals the Christmas pudding and where Hazel the Polar Bear and her twelve furry polar cubs will surely warm your heart. A holiday classic for the whole family! Being performed at the Centennial Concert Hall from December 19 to December 28, tickets and additional info can be found at

Operation Red Nose
Spend time with your friends and family celebrating the Holidays and use Operation Red Nose’s FREE designed driver program to get you AND your vehicle home safe and sound this Season! One quick call to our Red Nose Hotline and we will dispatch one of our volunteer drive teams to your pick-up location. Two of the drive team members will drive you and your guests home in your vehicle while the third team member follows in the team escort vehicle. When you arrive at your drop-off location, the team will reunite and continue on to their next assignment. Operation Red Nose begins Fridays and Saturdays starting November 27, as well as Thursday December 17th and December 31. Drivers are out and about from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. and it’s recommend that you call 30 to 45 minutes in advance of your intended departure time. Remember to plan ahead, and never drink and drive.

Happy holidays!