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Fiction is an important part of society. Stories have captivated people's imagination for ages, with high emotions that mirror our lives and make them seem larger at the same time. They have been told at gatherings around fires at night, and stone stages where all actors wore masks, and projected into 47-feet-tall screens.

Nowadays movies, tv shows, books, and games are created in the hopes that their story will be the next big thing, so that people talk about them and eagerly await the next instalment. But there's a subset of fans who are unsatisfied with simply watching, reading, or playing, and take these stories into their own hands to expand them. Writing new scenarios with or drawing the characters, expanding on what's already there, fandoms have been growing for decades. With the new way the internet has allowed us to communicate, fan creativity has been gaining more notoriety.

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Mid-November, I attended the two-year anniversary of an ingenious Montreal-based company called Alvéole. At its heart is the goal of reconnecting people to local food production. They install beehives on rooftops, maintain them and harvest honey in some of the most active neighbourhoods of the city, demonstrating with ease what it is like to initiate an innovative, sustainable enterprise whose process offers sweet returns.

In his hosting speech, co-founder Alexandre McLean shared interesting insights into benefits of beekeeping. Due to the pollinating assistance of these insects, an Alvéole client was able to obtain seven times more raspberries in her garden throughout the season. Seven times. Can it get more exciting than that? I spoke with Alexandre Ferrari, who is working with the founders on an important new addition to Alvéole's range of services: complete rooftop gardens. We talked about productive food systems, honey making and the various ways Alvéole plans to reconnect individuals to nature.

Secretly Fabulous - Montréalités Love

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A thousand words in one photograph, taken by Anand Roy.

At first glance, Anand Roy seems to live up to his name. His first name means joy in Sanskrit, and he certainly fits that description. Always cheerful and seemingly stress-free, he's got that knack of fitting into any situation he might find himself in. This undoubtedly comes from practice and from his ease with secrecy, which he himself will explain in better detail. I meet him at Kafein on Bishop Street, since we are both Concordia students. He has an hour to kill before he's off to his next Film Studies class. Tall and lanky, dressed in a faded hoodie along with skinny jeans, he doesn't look twenty-four years old and could easily pass for a teenager. "It's the Indian genes." he tells me cheekily as he sips on his mocha. As a fellow Indian myself, I concede he does have a point since no one ever believes me to be nearly thirty-one.

Anand is born and raised here in Montreal, of Indian origin. He is a Film Studies student, with a passion for video editing. He's an avid gamer but thankfully hasn't let it take over his entire life like a lot of his counterparts. He also happens to be gay.

Love is in the air, but how did it get there? What was the trigger to a love that's withstood the test of time?

If you've ever wondered the same here are the answers straight from the source. Lovers and partners for the last thirty years ATP (the badass war veteran) and RO (the country girl in the big city) tell all...

It's a Sunday afternoon in the suburbs of Montreal. The couple sitting across from me are cuddled up, holdings hands, relaxing. From the way she looks at him and the wry smile on the corner of his mouth I can tell theirs is a deep love story, so I ask them -

When was the first time you saw each other?

RO: The very first time was very embarassing let's say.

professor.jpgDanièle Marcoux

Sessional lecturer

Co-ordinator of Undergraduate translation programs, Graduate Diploma in translation and Graduate Certificate in language localization

Academic advisor (translation)


It was already dark outside when I entered Madame Marcoux's office at Concordia. I had come about five minutes earlier than agreed, paused before coming in, and, bracing my energies (it was my first ever interview!), slid into the frame of the door - it was wide open. Madame Marcoux was at her computer, tapping out some instructions to a student. Evidently, she was hurrying up - she knew I was about to come. Slightly startled at my knocking politely on the open door, she told me to come in and close the door behind me. As I was settling back into a chair taking out my elaborate Q & A notes, she let out some words of obvious irritation about her slow computer. Embarrassed, she pointed out that I had come a little bit earlier anyway, so I could excuse her taking time to finish off her interactions with the student. I felt a bit confused - I did not want to make her feel uncomfortable about it - so I just told her to take her time. At the same time, I felt how determined she really was to give feedback to her students - not a common trait in quite a few other teachers I have come to know. Taking advantage of the minutes I had to wait, I observed the office. It was not too big, nor small, but, what I liked the most about it was its part where a wooden book cabinet stood. It was literally packed with numerous reference books, dictionaries, thesauri, and other language-related tomes. What stood out to me in the first place was, naturally, the bulky but priceless 'Le Petit Robert'. You could easily tell you were in the realm of a translator. At last, Madame Marcoux turned off the computer, turned to me in her chair and we started. I was later amazed at how full and detailed her answers were. Indeed, her French was beautifully smooth and coherent, she was by far one of the most articulate people I had ever heard talk. In the streets of Montreal, you rarely have the chance to come across a native speaker who does as much justice to the beauty of the French language as this woman does.

Learning to live together - Montréalités Arrival

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Diane Proulx is one of those Francophones who have a special relationship with and a deep understanding of the process of immigration to Quebec: her job is to assist the new arrivals along their way to social integration. She has been a French teacher with MIDI (Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion) for almost 35 years now. The program she works for consists in nine months of full-time French classes, and most of her students start going through it as soon as they step into the province. For many of them throughout these years she has represented the first contact with Quebec culture, lifestyle and values.

Diane has graciously agreed to share some thoughts about her work, her students and the situation of French language in Quebec - all this in English, for which I couldn't be more grateful.

Le Canadian - Montréalités Langue

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It comes as no surprise that 56% of Montrealers are bilingual, but it is curious as to how much of that percentage are Quebecers who are as fluent in English as they are in French, if not more. Felix Mercier, a third-year Concordia student studying business administration, belongs to the latter category. Born at the same time as his twin brother Hugo in Montreal to full-blooded French-Canadian parents, he moved with his family to Connecticut when he was five, only to return to his hometown for university studies, thirteen years later at the age of 18. Despite not speaking a word of English at the time of his arrival in the United States, he now says he is more comfortable in it than his mother tongue of French. Felix happens to be an ideal specimen for investigation into the mind of someone who is divided not only in language, but also in identity, given most of his upbringing in a country elsewhere than that of his birth. What follows are his personal thoughts and opinions on such musings:

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The phone connection was crackled and quiet--but Brahma Blue's voice still boomed through the speaker. Blue is an up-and-coming musician who lives on Vancouver Island. Last week, we sat down to discuss the tribulations of music and life . . .

Curtain Call With Vittorio Rossi - Montréalités Theatre

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Vittorio Rossi is a very important figure in the world of Montreal theatre and to the Italian community. His work has won him awards and recognition as a playwright, actor, screenwriter and director. Some of his best-known plays are A Carpenter's Trilogy, a series that constitutes three parts (Hellfire Pass, Carmela's Table, and The Carpenter), and Paradise by the River. His newest play, The Envelope about the film industry begins in March 2015 at the Centaur Theatre. The show will mark Vittorio's tenth play produced at the Centaur Theatre. I caught up with Vittorio in the warm and welcoming family atmosphere of Da Franco's restaurant in Old Montreal. This restaurant is the inspiration for the setting of The Envelope, and also happens to be and owned by my cousins! Here's what Vittorio had to say about his latest work and his successful career.

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It was a cold Saturday morning as I began to walk to the entrance to Captaine Quebec. I made it to the door before realizing I had left my tea in the car. Having forgotten what parking space number I was, I turned around to check only to recognize a familiar figure. Walking down St-Catherine with a smile on his face was Myles. He was wearing a puffy coat with familiar motif: Spider-Man.

"I saw your cousin the other day" Myles said with a smile.

"Oh?" I replied, knowing fully well that my nearest cousin was a seven hour drive away.

"Yea, the one who looks just like you." He answered laughing.

With that said, we made our way to the store entrance; a large glass door with a stairs leading down. I was immediately comforted by the familiar sights and signs, as much as I was by the heat of the building. We chatted casually as we walked down the stairs, leaving our coats at the cash. Excusing himself for a second, Myles disappeared to the back of the store. Grabbing a quick cup of coffee from his backroom, Myles returned seconds later and ready to begin.

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The city of Montreal is a bastion of bilingual culture. It ranks higher than any other Canadian city in bilingualism, with young adults thriving in multiple languages. Fred Genesee has a wealth of examples to draw from for his research on childhood bilingualism--examples like Montreal-based games journalist Jessica Beaudoin.Jessica's experiences reflect how much of her generation has been exposed to language and bilingual culture. She grew up bilingual; though her parents are monolingual francophones, her schooling was in both English and French, providing a bilingual language base that her parents never had. She represents one of the most common faces of Canadian bilingualism.

Jessica, to my ears, has no accent. This is something I quickly correct myself on; I'm a monolingual English speaker, and sometimes we forget that we're a minority in the world. Still, it reflects a difference in the bilingual and monolingual mindsets. I can't help but define everything by a single language. Jessica, having grown up educated in two, approaches language in a wholly different way. I try to clear myself of monolingual assumptions, having now read extensively on Genesee's research, but there is no substitute for the first-hand experience Jessica has to offer.

A Session with Joel Massinon - Montrealites Culture

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Joel Massinon at Marcus Reichenbach's apartment studio recording Noko's album "It Comes, It's Calm, It's Gone," released on October 25th, 2014. (Photo: Facebook).

Joel Massinon is a 24-year old up-and-coming artist and producer in the Montreal music industry. He has played with a number of musicians across Canada in a number of different roles. After graduating from Concordia University in 2013 with an undergraduate degree, he has recently graduated from RAC (Recording Arts Canada). Joel is currently based out of Montreal working on his career as a musician and a producer with his band Noko.

On Friday night, Joel and I sat down at his house with a case of beer and a couple guitars, and he answered some of my questions about this exciting new direction in his career.

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The city is quiet as I exit the metro at Place St-Henri. I walk a block or two and come to a large building in front of which Jean-Richard Beaudry, Compulsion Games' 3D animator, is standing. He greets me and we begin the walk up a loud metal staircase and eventually emerge in a wide hallway. We walk past several doors until we come to a gray one with the Compulsion logo next to it.

The first thing I notice as I enter the studio is how much it feels like a large living room. There are no cubicles, but rather large desks cluttered with books, figures, coffee cups and bonsai trees. Besides a conference area and a small kitchen, there aren't any distinct rooms. Computers line the walls, but the centre space is dedicated to a TV and a bright red couch. Some Contrast merchandise decorates the studio, a reminder of Compulsion's debut in the games industry. Beaudry had turned all the monitors off prior to my arrival so as to make sure I don't get an accidental peak at the developers' currently unannounced title.

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Tricia at the Landmark Showcase Event

"Do what makes you happy. Everytime you make a decision, think if it's going to make you happy in the long run."

In the cozy back room of Le Cagibi café, located in St-Laurent, fans, friends, and family gathered to hear local talent while supporting Jam for Justice. Jam for Justice is a showcase for local talent, where the ticket proceeds go to fund charities. Tricia Fitz, an aspiring Montreal artist graciously agreed to meet me before her set, to chat about music and life.

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The La Belle Province restaurant sign.

A.K. is a Greek Canadian from Montreal, Quebec. Now 50-years old, he has been part-owner of his fast-food restaurant for over 15 years. His work is his passion, and through this he has met all kinds of people and seen all kinds of things. I delve deeper to find more about his past and his particular views on government and law over scotch.

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"You'll never know the outcome, but if you have a lot of faith and you're strong, you have better chances of making it." When questioned about her support network during her two and a half year treatment, this was Theresa Priolo's answer, a 53-year-old lymphoma cancer survivor, wife, and mother of two. Armed with a bachelor in biology from our very own Concordia University (1986), and over 25 years of first-hand experience working at the Montreal General Hospital in parasitology, microbiology and hematology, Theresa's field experience elegantly compliments the retelling of her lengthy journey to recovery. Her knowledge base allows you into the world of a cancer patient's sentiments like never before seen, while her endless praise for church and family serves as a reminder that having a support network is key in all such circumstances.

As an interview with a cancer survivor who has also worked in the very system she was treated in, this piece lends to a fresh perspective on the inner workings of cancer rehabilitation. When asked about her treatment experience, Theresa affirmed that her specialized knowledge, experience, and personnel resources allowed her to be better prepared for the two-and-a-half-year-long journey she was about to embark on. "I was blessed, I really was. Within a week and a half, everything was done." How nerve-wracking it must have been to witness the systematic caring of patients from the opposite end of the health spectrum: Theresa was no longer the caregiver but now one of her own patients. She was now under the very microscope and scrutiny that her patients once were.

Life According to Scott - Montréalités Wellness

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It's a beautiful morning in mid-October. My friend, Scott Simcoe, who you may remember from the profile "Meet Scott," has graciously permitted me to pick his brain once again and ask potentially invasive questions about his illness and his personal life to share his experiences with the world. I have offered to meet him anywhere in the city and at any time, and he has chosen "the slope across from the park by the south-eastern edge of the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery" for breakfast. Obscure directions notwithstanding, I know exactly the place he means, which is one of my favourite spots on my way to and from University. He offers to bring pumpkin spice tea and cupcakes, and I am bringing roasted Mediterranean vegetable wraps and a blanket. I arrive fifteen minutes in advance, as is my habit, and am surprised to see Scott coming over the crest of the hill, early in a way I am not accustomed to from my friends. In spite of the cool breeze, Scott is wearing shorts and sandals, as well as a Billabong sweater, his bronze-tinted Ray Bans hiding his eyes. His smile is boyishly charming as we spread the blanket out on a gentler slant of the hill and serve out the food and drinks we brought. Before we can start the interview, there is one thing I need to know.

Who Cares, Just Eyeball It! - Montréalités Eats

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DSC_0201.jpgJust Eyeball It! creator Jonathan Cote Lahue. Photo taken by Olivia Robinson.

Having a YouTube channel is not new for Jonathan Cote Lahue, who has been experimenting with his cooking channel Just Eyeball It! for two and a half years now. With the success of the channel and the drive to experiment with other genres Jonathan has started four other YouTube channels that focus on everything from gaming to daily events. Being an official YouTuber comes naturally to Jonathan who is upbeat, lively and excitable. Key aspects that any successful YouTuber needs to have.

IMG_2475.JPG"Before the EP came out I had never even sung at a show before. It was all very new and terrifying, but I had the support of Montreal and the great musicians here. So I just started getting confidant, figuring out my style, and growing as an artist."

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After a being on hiatus since 2008, the metal-core quintet Fayne returned to the Canadian metal scene at Montreal, QC's La Vitrola on November 20th, debuting their third EP 'The Queen of Kings'.


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(Photo Property of NKT-IKBU)

"Your age doesn't matter," said the teacher to Gen Donsang once upon a time, "All you need to do is seriously engage in the Buddhist practices and have a good heart." At only 35 years old, Gen Donsang is a Buddhist monk belonging to the Kadampa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He is also the resident teacher at the Kadampa Meditation Centre in Montreal (KMC Montreal), located not even 5 minutes away from the Laurier subway station on 835 Laurier East.

Gen Donsang was not always Buddhist. In fact, his parents were non-practicing Roman Catholics who allowed their son to explore different types of spirituality. At one time, he was studying social sciences, where he touched upon psychology and philosophy. At first, Gen Donsang wasn't very interested in spirituality. "My interest in Eastern religion philosophies was more of a philosophical questioning," he said. Just like others in their late teens, Gen Donsang found some philosophies quite appealing and started to read about them. One thing leading to another, he eventually met with a Tibetan teacher. "That's the form of Buddhism I'm practicing nowadays," he said, "however, it's not typically Tibetan Buddhism because it's a Tibetan teacher who adapted Tibetan Buddhism to the modern world." He also insisted that they study everything that is presented at Buddhist universities.

By Amanda Marchese

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Take a stroll in Little Italy, and you can't miss it. Caffè Italia is located on the main street, near the famous Italian grocery store, Milano's. Walking into the caffè is like traveling to Italy, but more wallet friendly. Every time I visit, I'm welcomed by the murmur of conversations from customers and baristas in Italian, as well as the sweet-sweet smell of Italian treats. Caffè Italia is reminiscent of an old caffè in Italy where everyone knows your name and your regular order. Unsurprisingly, the caffè has gained loyal customers who have been going there for years. I say "caffè" instead of "café" because of the very simple fact that this coffee house is Italian not just in its brew, but also in its essence.

The place is buzzing, there's a television in the back playing the soccer game, the espresso machine is sizzling, and the place is bustling with people--inside and outside. The caffè offers typical espresso-based beverages, like lattes and cappuccinos for $2.75 and espressos at $1.75, as well as Santal Juices and Italian soft drinks. And if you're in the mood for a snack, they also have a variety of sandwiches, cornetti (croissants), and of course, panettone.

Caffè Italia is owned by Luciana Serri and her two daughters, Laura and Nadia. I recently got the privilege to talk with Laura Serri, who takes care of payroll and baking her famous carrot cookies. In our interview together, I discovered the true meaning of Caffè Italia, as well as a few secrets.

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Mic Patterson, the Man!

I must confess I'm no wrestling aficionado. I must also confess that my first International Wrestling Syndicate match at the Plaza Theater in Montreal on November 15th was spectacular. One more confession, it was my first ever wrestling match in my life; and heck, it was professional.

While the matches most likely are fixed and fake, the brutality, courage and athleticism are real. The performances are reminiscent of classic comedy acts such as The Three Stooges, brilliant and simplistic slapstick, accompanied by adrenaline, exuberance, and self-mocking rowdy fun that goes hand-in-hand with a physical performance that is breathtaking and rather insane.





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