All Hallow’s Eve

Jack O'Lantern hell

Halloween in Canada and The United States is quite a big and fun celebration for both kids and adults.  In general people put a lot of effort to celebrate Halloween by decorating their homes and gardens  with  carved lit up pumpkins, constructing life-size replica graveyards or dungeons, fake cobwebs and spiders, huge blow up decorations and some people even make small haunted houses for kids to go through when trick or treating.  Kids dress up in Halloween costumes and go door to door trick or treating and fill up their bags with a lot of candy! Many places of work will allow and encourage you to dress up in a costume for the day.

There is also a ton of events in Calgary to the run up of Halloween for adults and kids to enjoy. They have boo in the Zoo, zombie walks, haunted houses, ghost tours, screamfests and many other events to enjoy.

Here is some safety tips for trick or treating from Health Canada:

  • Go trick or treating with your children each year until they are old enough to go with a friend.  When they are old enough, make sure they go with a friend or in a group, and know the routes they will be taking. You can also follow along at a distance to keep an eye on them.
  • Tell your children to walk, not run from house to house and to stay on the sidewalk or at the side of the road facing traffic. They should only cross the road at the corner and look both ways before crossing. If you are driving on Halloween, be aware of children, drive slowly and enter and exit driveways and alleyways with caution.
  • Give each child a flashlight to carry, to make them more visible to motorists and others.
  • Tell your children to stay in well-lit areas and only visit homes that have their outside lights turned on. Make sure they know never to go inside homes or cars.
  • Take a backpack along, to empty goodies into if the loot bag becomes too heavy.
  • Tell your children not to eat any goodies until you have looked them over. Throw out any treats that are not commercially wrapped, have loose or torn wrappers or have holes in the wrappers. If you suspect tampering with any of the treats, notify the police. Serve dinner before your children go out, so that they will be less tempted to eat goodies along the way.
  • Be cautious about giving children any treats that could be potential choking hazards. Some treats such as chewy candies, peanuts and hard candies could be a choking hazard.
  • Check toys or novelty items for small parts. If they do have small parts, do not let children under three years of age play with them.
  • You might want to consider an alternative to sugar-based treats, like sugarless gum. Stickers or multi-coloured pencils can be a nice replacement for traditional treats. Ask your children for suggestions.
  • For diabetic children, monitor the treats so that they fit into their specialized meal plan. Leftover treats can be traded with other children or given away. Treats may also cause severe side effects (adverse reactions) in children who have allergies or sensitivities.
photos by: Plutor & kevin dooley

News direct from Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Canada - FED - Canada Immigration OfficerNews direct from Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Press Release — October 21, 2013


Minister Alexander Expands Start-up Visa Program to Include Business Incubators

Toronto, October 21, 2013 — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announces a new visa stream to attract foreign entrepreneurs to Canada.

As part of our government’s focus on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, it is critical for Canada to attract the best entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world,” said Alexander. “This new stream will partner Canada’s world class business incubators with immigrant entrepreneurs, driving economic growth and placing Canada ahead of its competitors in the global economy of the 21st century.

The launch of a new Business Incubator stream under the Start-up Visa (SUV) Program to recruit dynamic foreign entrepreneurs will complement existing venture capital and angel investor streams. It will attract early-stage and high growth businesses, and entrepreneurs who can contribute to a culture of innovation and commercialization in Canada.

Business incubators provide promising entrepreneurs with valuable mentorship, and help them to attract investors and grow their start-ups into sustainable businesses that can create jobs in Canada.

We are honoured to partner with Citizenship and Immigration Canada on this exciting new initiative,” said CABI President David McNamara. “Our mission is to help small businesses grow and succeed. Connecting immigrant entrepreneurs with Canada’s accredited business incubators will broaden our respective networks and bring us all to the next level. The possibilities are endless!

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will designate eligible business incubator programs in consultation with the Canadian Association of Business Incubation (CABI). The new stream will begin accepting applications on October 26, 2013.

Alexander also announced today that five additional Canadian venture capital funds will soon be designated as SUV partners. An updated list of all designated organizations will be made available on the CIC website as of October 26, 2013.

We are excited about the expansion of the Start-Up Visa and look forward to welcoming innovators through this program in the near future,” said Alexander.

The SUV is a five-year pilot program and is limited to no more than 2,750 applications per year. It is designed to attract high quality and select entrepreneurs who can advance the Government of Canada’s innovation agenda. In addition to standard admissibility requirements, SUV applicants must meet certain program eligibility criteria.


For further information (media only), please contact:

Kevin Menard
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

What to do in Calgary

cow tower (a simple look at things)

Calgary is situated in the foothills and prairies just east of the beautiful renowned Rocky Mountains. There are so many wonderful opportunities for both indoor and outdoor fun in and around Calgary. Whether you enjoy strolling around the many pathways/parks in Calgary to skiing or golfing there is so much you can do to explore this beautiful city,  here is a list of some of the Calgary attractions:

Calgary tower:

Is a 191-metre free standing observation tower located in the heart of the downtown core which offers a 360 panoramic view of the city. It also has a glass bottom floor for all the thrill seekers and for a bird’s eye view to the street below. You also have the option to dine in one of the two restaurants they have.

Calgary Zoo:

The Calgary zoo is the 2nd largest zoo in Canada, located east of the city’s downtown. See over 1000 animals, botanical gardens and prehistoric dinosaur park. Experience the animals in their different exhibits in their most natural habitat possible. Note they offer different seasonal activities throughout the year, check their website for more information.

Telus Spark Science Centre:

The Telus World of Science is a brand new science museum located right next to the Calgary Zoo. It is a beautiful building which invites people of all ages to explore and learn through their different interactive exhibits, programs and educational presentations.

Devonian Gardens:

Is a large indoor botanical garden located in the downtown core shopping centre. It has over 10,000 shrubs and 550 trees to create this beautiful park. It offers ponds with water features and fish, seating all around and a children’s playground.

Heritage Park:

Heritage park is a historical village located on 127 acres of parkland on the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir along Calgary’s southwestern edge. As Canada’s largest living history museum by number of exhibits, it is one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions. It is mainly closed throughout the winter but does offer activities during Halloween and Christmas, check their website for more details.

Prince’s Island Park:

Prince’s Island Park has been recognized as an urban oasis and is an important contributor to the cultural and recreational quality of life for Calgarian’s. This is a beautiful park in downtown Calgary that holds many large events throughout the year including the Canada Day celebration and Calgary Folk Festival. It features picnic areas, playground, canoe access to the river, pathway and hiking trails and flower gardens. The Bow river pathway is accessible from the park on both sides of the Bow river and spans a total of 48km throughout the city.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary:

Is a wildlife reserve that is home to almost 270 species of birds, located along the bow river in SE Calgary and boasts numerous nature trails and on-site Nature Centre for exhibits and information on the sanctuary. There is no entrance fee and is open throughout the year. The best time to visit this sanctuary is during the summer and spring.

Calaway Park:

Calaway Park is Western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park. The park is located 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) west of the city of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. The park features a variety of rides including a large log flume, the rides Chaos and Storm, and the park’s two biggest attractions is The Vortex and the Dream Machine. There are many other rides that are unique to the park.



For the shopaholic, Calgary has plenty to offer and there are several shopping malls and districts to choose from around the city. For shopping malls you have a choice of:

  • CrossIron Mills
  • Chinook Centre
  • The Core
  • Southcentre Mall
  • North hill Centre
  • Deerfoot Mall
  • Sunridge Mall
  • Market Mall

There are still plenty of  places to visit in Calgary and this list is just a simple overview of what to do in Calgary. If you have any specific questions please feel free to email or call me at:



Tips On Finding A Job In Calgary

Employment Opportunities

Resume And  Cover Application Letter

A resume and cover application letter is the first thing that companies would require when you are applying for jobs in Canada. Make sure your resume is up to date, emphasize experiential qualifications, academic qualification and qualifications that have relationships with the job. This will draw attention and focus on your best asset and best qualifications as an applicant.

Tips on writing a resume:



Having contacts and networking is a great way of getting in the front door of some companies. Recruitment specialists are also another option. Linkedin is a great resource to connect with other people and finding jobs. If you are looking for a job in Calgary, here is a list of different websites advertising jobs:


  • Monster.ca
  • workopolis.com
  • Calgary Herald
  • wowjobs
  • City of calgary
  • Calgaryjobshop.ca
  • kijiji

Here is a list of some of the recruiters that I know and have worked with:

Hays Specialist recruitment
Ellisa Nuttall
Joy Cohen, BPA, RPR, Staffing Solutions Specialist
Tech Skills Resources
Toll Free in Canada: 1-877-939-0997
E: joy@techskills.ie
W: www.techskills.ie
Kerry Muenchrath
Technical Recruiter at CDI Professional Services


Experience and Education 

Your British qualifications may not be recognized or equivalent here depending on your chosen
profession. You may have to re-qualify or update your qualifications. To work in Canada, you will need
to have your credentials assessed to see whether they meet Canadian standards or whether you need
more training, education or Canadian work experience.
For more information on your credentials:

If you are not in Canada yet, make sure you bring you bring with you: any documents you can produce that prove your educational
record, professional training and work experience, i.e.

  • Degrees, diplomas or certificates from universities, colleges, secondary schools or trade schools
  • Program descriptions or syllabi related to your studies; transcripts of grades
  • Letters of reference from former employers


 Practice The Interview

To boost confidence, formulate possible questions and create good answers,  good research about the job is vital. The knowledge and experience of applicants about the job is vital in Canada. By doing so, you will have a greater chances of landing your chosen job.


Be presentable During The Interview

 Being presentable and looking modest is essential in Canada, which reflect politeness and respect. The applicant should come to the appointment in reasonable and decent clothing unless the job indicates otherwise.

News direct from the British Consulate in Calgary

English: no original description

English: no original description (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

News direct from the British Consulate in Calgary


Press Release: Tuesday 6 August 2013




The British Government is making important changes to the passport service for British nationals living overseas. From 12 August 2013, the application process will be centralised and British nationals in Canada should submit their passport application to Her Majesty’s Passport Office in the UK.

This important change follows reviews by the National Audit Office and is designed to achieve economies of scale, greater security and consistency in decision making. All British passports have enhanced sophisticated security features designed to reduce the likelihood of identity theft and passport fraud.

Notes for Editors

Before 12 August, British nationals living in Canada submitted passport applications to a regional processing hub in Washington, United States. From 12 August, information on the UK Government website will advise British nationals on the new passport application process.

All the information required to make an application will be found at https://www.gov.uk/overseas-passports. Applicants will be required to send their applications to the Passport Customer Service Centre in Durham. There will be no change to processing times.

Fees charged to British nationals applying overseas are based on the current costs of providing the service. As overseas volumes are much less than UK volumes it is harder to gain efficiencies overseas. That is why we have taken the decision to repatriate the issuing of passports to British nationals overseas to the UK. Once this has been completed Her Majesty’s Passport Office will be seeking to create closer alignment between the two sets of fees.


For further information:

Nathan Skolski

Head of Media and Public Affairs


Tel: 613-364-6131

Cell: 613-327-0928

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The tipping culture in Canada

So I have been asked this  question a few times now, about the tipping culture in Canada, and so thought it would make a good article.

Note,  this is in reference to Calgary- but is similar, as far as I know,  across the country (but let me know if you have had a different experience of this)

So  the ‘servers’  (waiters and waitress’s)  get paid minimum wage and so they  ’rely’ quite heavily on their tip to top up their salary . In bars and restaurants, all food/beverage prices  that are posted don’t include ‘service’ (unlike UK where it is embedded) so… its hard to get used to having to pay it at first. Also  it is apparently ‘discretionary’ but is usually between 10 and 20% but 15% is typically the  ’usual’.  It is usually fairly easy to work out though, because the GST  (VAT equivalent) , for Alberta is 5% (again is added- not already included)- so  usually just x the GST by 3 and do that as a tip.

Note- though, that in some restaurants or bars, if it is a group of 6 or more- they often say it is minimum 15% or sometimes 18% and that it is added automatically to the bill- MOST will tell you about it when they give you the bill- but not all!!

In Taxi’s  I am not sure what the ‘expected’ is- i usually round it up to the next 0 or 5 depending on the length of journey, time etc.

At petrol pumps, some of them have full service pumps, where the guys will fill the car, wash front screen/check washer fluid etc- but note tip is NOT  required here….

For bell boys etc, if they help with luggage, I usually do $1 /piece. For other services, eg spa/beauty/hair etc I believe it is discretionary but I now use a salon with a no tipping policy, so I don’t feel quite so ‘uncomfortable’!! Note I did do some research to get a ‘Canadian’s view’ regarding Canadian tipping policies, and this is from a Bar,  in the South, called the Windsor Rose (which by the way, allows children in during the day on a Sunday- and offers a good brunch menu at the weekends too) … what it should be- and this was the response-

Tips don’t end at providing wages for just your server… the kitchen staff preparing your meals, the bartender pouring your drinks, the host greeting you at the door and expediters running your food orders all receive a portion of the gratuity you leave behind. Costs towards broken dishes and lost cutlery are also covered with gratuities. Some guests are unaware that by not leaving a gratuity, your server is actually paying to serve you at the end of the day. This is because the allocated portion to his or her colleagues is due no matter how much is left by the costumer. Tipping in Canada is calculated at 15 – 20% of the total bill. Auto-gratuities only occur on large parties to ensure the server will not suffer a large loss after service.
So as you can see, it is actually a bit more in depth than we would first think- and while it is still deemed to be discretionary, by realising the reasoning for it, and being aware that is is not included in the price of the food- hopefully  can make it a little easier and less awkward, when its time to ‘pay’!