Student Life

A powerhouse entrepreneur wants to turn Montreal into a clean city

How Kelly Lovell is coaching youth to take part in her initiative

My Clean City was introduced to a national audience almost immediately and is edging its way to Montreal.

At 22-years-old, Kelly Lovell isn’t busy walking into bars, she’s walking into boardrooms. Don’t be fooled by the curls, cute floral dresses and hair bows because her resume would make some executive profiles pale in comparison.

“I definitely get looks,” says Lovell. “It’s incredible to see the level of respect drop in some professionals’ eyes when they realize I am the CEO they are supposed to meet.”

As the youngest winner of the 2013 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award, Lovell has a roster of achievements, which includes her current CEO position for a national initiative called My Clean City, a leadership program built to encourage youth to get involved in building sustainable communities in Canada.

Born and raised in Waterloo, Ont., Lovell just completed two years at Western University with pre-acceptance into the Richard Ivey School of Business. However her loyalties lie in her mission to create, implement, and participate in projects that foster youth participation and leadership development.

“I had previously been doing individual consulting work where I was consistently being asked to assist NGOs in engaging youth,” explains Lovell. “I realized that many organizations struggled to bridge the gap.”

In the summer of 2012, after being named Canada’s Top 20 under 20, Lovell was inspired to create The Kelly Effect, a company that assists and teaches grassroot organizations to build sustainable initiatives by specializing in community engagement. She describes it as “creating a butterfly effect of change with a Kelly pizazz.”

Yet Lovell hasn’t always had that so-called “pizazz.”

“I used to be like many of my disengaged peers and viewed volunteerism in a negative light,” she admits. “I never picked opportunities that matched my interests, rather I chose those that would knock off the most volunteer hours.”

My Clean City was born in light of Lovell’s unfulfilling volunteer experiences.

“[It] was created to dissolve this negative stigma of volunteerism and break the cycle of younger people volunteering without having a meaningful experience,” she says.

During the 2013 annual international leadership summit, One Young World, one of the top six world issues debated was the environment and sustainability, which was voted as one of the most important among the youth. Lovell decided to run with it.

In recent years, environmental awareness has not just been embraced by treehuggers and celebrities. There have been eco-documentaries, carbon emission studies, greening initiatives and Earth Day activities all dedicated to one of the world’s biggest tasks at hand: moving from a wasteful way of life to a more sustainable one.

According to a 2007 Households and the Environment Survey by Statistics Canada, being eco-friendly is trending. In the past decade, Canadian households have increasingly engaged in activities that are both energy saving and environmentally conscious.

Acknowledging the ‘new’ volunteer generation, My Clean City speaks to the youth demographic on their level.

“We provide a unified portal to access community programs over a social media powered interface,” explains Lovell.

Engaging the youth can be a challenge, which is why My Clean City introduces a volunteer experience full of rewards, both literally and figuratively.

“We use a merit-based model that recognizes youth for their actions by rewarding them with CleanCreds©, which are based on both effort and impact. Those with the highest cumulative total at the end of our program will be awarded scholarships, mentorships and other daily rewards.”

Anyone with a business sense will advise that you need to first build a pilot and then go through the motions of a local model, then scale to provincial and then a national level. However, Lovell admits that she is one to “ride the bike before it is even built.”

“A common mistake of many entrepreneurs is they get so fixated on their idea and spend all their effort trying to make that idea work, even if it doesn’t fit the market’s needs.”

Lovell didn’t want to waste her time trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

“I was able to let the idea mould itself into the market’s demand.”

My Clean City was introduced to a national audience almost immediately and is edging its way to Montreal. Lovell admits that building a national, large-scale program without funding is an incredible feat, especially when trying to build partnerships to grow the program and garner credibility as a startup without financial backing. Therefore, the next step was to engage with leading brand companies, and Lovell had a vision.

“Kelly was the one to reach out to us,” says H&M public relations manager, Emily Scarlett. H&M was the first fashion company to launch a global initiative called Garment Collecting, where customers are encouraged to bring in unwanted clothes of any brand and in any condition to help turn old textiles into new, recycled, ones.

“The My Clean City Campaign and H&M’s Garment Collecting Initiative were a natural fit,” Scarlett says. “Both campaigns aim at a more sustainable future so we were eager to link up and work together.”

H&M has decided to combine the campaigns.

“Participants sign up to take part in the program and get an account online. Then when they bring in a bag of clothing, the store will scan a QR code which translates to CleanCreds on their account,” explains Scarlett. “At the end of the program people will redeem their clean cred for different things. H&M gifts cards being one option.”

Staples has also joined forces with My Clean City.

“Both Staples and H&M are youth-relevant brands that believe in our generation,” says Lovell. “Their commitment and dedication to inspiring environmental change while simultaneously supporting young leaders is what My Clean City is all about.”

Lovell believes that the youth “play a critical role in prompting change” and she is a testament to that.

“What started off as an idea to create a national program transformed into a full fledged startup and organization that has a heart and breath of its own. It is incredible what following your passion can produce.”

Lovell currently lives in Toronto. She is poised for a variety of philanthropic and leadership opportunities. She says her most memorable moment was speaking at TEDxYouth last year.

“I want to be able to share this experience with my peers.”

It’s not only about encouraging others to increase their green footprint; for Lovell, it is about leaving her mark on the world but also — and more importantly —  with the people she meets.

People can get easily distracted from Lovell’s ambition because she enjoys watching comedies, likes to dance, bake, shop and really embrace her girliness.

“Being young has its advantages in connecting and understanding our target demographic but when it comes to the business world, ‘youth’ typically translates to inexperience or a lack of qualification,” says Lovell.

Despite this, “you always miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take” is the advice she still remembers from her fifth grade school teacher. It’s what drives her straight into the offices of large corporations, to stick out her hand, open her mouth and proudly introduce herself.

Student Life

Concordia to have a new cultural student group

The Montreal Youth Italian-Canadian Association is  eager to spread Italian culture

Montreal has a widespread Italian community and, as a result, many second and third-generation Italians have not fully maintained their cultural roots. This is the sentiment that has led the Montreal Italian-Canadian Association (MYICA), a non-profit, non-partisan association, to join the roster of student groups at Concordia.

MYICA has made it their mission to encourage younger Italian-Canadians to not only be connected to their heritage but to keep in touch with Italy’s modernization. Press photo

“We thought of no better way to get in touch with the young generation of Montrealers than starting a university group,” says executive member and Concordia student, Nicholas La Monaca. “The cultural diversity at Concordia is astonishing, and creating a student group whose objective is to promote cultural modernity among the student body seemed like a perfect match.”

MYICA has made it their mission to encourage younger Italian-Canadians to not only be connected to their heritage but to keep in touch with Italy’s modernization.

“Any form of culture should always be maintained,” says La Monaca. “The Italian culture in Montreal seems to have slowly come to a halt [and] it appears as though the knowledge of Italian culture had not gone past the late ‘90s.”

MYICA is also pushing to change the perception of Italian-Quebecers.

“There are stereotypes on what it is to be Italian that need to be erased,” explains La Monaca.

However, MYICA feels that the Italian community is in the right place for a “fresh and modern update on what it’s like to be a contemporary Italian.”

The Concordia Italian Association (CIA), an already established student group in Concordia’s Student Union, welcomes MYICA with open arms and foresees a collaboration on future events at the university.

“Our mandate differs from the simple fact that we are a city-wide association and that our network and events are not limited to Concordia and the student body,” says La Monaca. “We look forward to collaborating with forward-thinking and positive individuals and organizations that believe in the unity of all Italians.”

La Monaca explains how MYICA is not exclusive to Italians.

“We are open and extremely welcoming to anyone who wishes to be a part of this cultural movement or simply interested by it.”

MYICA will be hosting their launch event, Cibo di Strata, which translates to street food, on March 28 at the Casa D’Italia at 6 p.m.. They have decided to commemorate a recent addition in Montreal cuisine — food trucks — but putting a MYICA twist on it,demonstrating street food done in an Italian way.

“Cibo di Strada will showcase popular culinary trends that branch out from three different parts of Italy, the northern, central and southern regions, in which we will promote through our local Montreal,” says La Monaca.

Tickets for the event are $20 and with that guests can sample three dishes: La Piadina, Panino di Porchetta and un Arancino.

“Of course, with that comes wine, coffee and who can forget, gelato,” says La Monaca.

MYICA is in the final stages of its approval to be granted official status as a student club at Concordia. Once granted official status, MYICA will offer Concordia students member discounts on their events and the opportunity to be an active part of the city-wide association.

For more information visit or check out their Facebook page

Student Life

Working up a sweat has never been more fun

Not only can you smell the sweat but the energy is at high altitudes at extreme trampoline centre, iSaute. Featuring 10,000 square feet of interconnected padded trampolines, it is a jumper’s paradise.

Photo by Jonathan Panetta

iSaute is the first indoor trampoline facility in Québec however according to their website, they will soon be opening other locations in the greater Montreal area.

In the large open jump area there is a trampoline dodgeball stadium, basketball dunk centres, foam pits for aerial jumping and a slack line.

I headed straight for the foam pits and didn’t hold back on embarrassing myself. I gained some momentum on the trampoline and then belly flopped — that’s right, the most awkward and unathletic of jumps —  straight into a pit of foam that felt more like quick sand. The easy part was the jump, it took me close to five minutes to remove myself from the pit. Needless to say, it was cause for a good laugh.

Trampolining is an activity that almost everyone can enjoy because who doesn’t like the idea of springing into the air without the fear of getting hurt. The little kid inside is sure to come out at iSaute.

On Saturday nights there is an over 16 policy so the place isn’t crawling with too many young-ins.

Every Friday and Saturday iSaute turns into ClubJump. The lights are turned down and on come the lasers and black lights. It definitely makes the experience more fun and slightly trickier. Wear white to be more visible to the other jumpers so they don’t tramp your style.

Adding trampolines to a game of dodgeball is probably not good for anyone who can’t do two things at once. Jumping and dodging is not only challenging but will most definitely leave you heaving and begging for water.

According to iSaute’s website, “If you can walk, you can jump and chances are you’ll want to.” iSaute is a great alternative to the typical night out with friends and won’t cost you much either. It is $14 for the first hour and $8 for the second hour. However, special group discounts are available and checking in on Facebook or instagramming a photo will get you a couple dollars off.

iSaute promises to be as entertaining as it looks but readers beware, you’ll feel muscles you never thought existed.

iSaute is located on 2045 Dagenais Ouest, Laval.


Music in the News – Jan. 14, 2014

Flavor Flav arrested over 16 license suspensions

William Drayton, better known as Public Enemy rapper, “Flavor Flav,” was arrested last week for driving with over a dozen suspensions on his license. According to a New York State Police statement, the rapper was also in possession of “a small amount of marijuana.” Drayton was quickly released despite the suspensions and illegal substance possession, because he was allegedly driving to his mother’s funeral, according to Rolling Stone. Drayton has previously been arrested several times over driving offenses and is due in court at the end of January.


Miley Cyrus’ and Britney Spears’ music videos banned on French daytime TV

According to NME, Britney Spears’ and Miley Cyrus’ music videos are too risqué for primetime TV in France. The Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), the French equivalent of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, has deemed Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” and Spears’ “Work B*tch” too controversial to be aired before 10 p.m. on television.


Beyonce speaks to gender equality

In a new collection of essays called The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink; Beyonce Knowles tells all her single ladies that gender equality is a myth. A self-described “modern-day feminist”, Mrs.Knowles called upon men to join women in the push for true equality and show women that they can earn the same, or more, than their male-counterparts.

OutKast to reunite at Coachella

Coachella recently revealed its 2014 lineup: Arcade Fire, Muse, and OutKast will be headlining the famous summer festival confirming the rumors that circulated last November of a potential OutKast reunion. Nearly 20 years ago, OutKast released their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, in April of 1994. They will be returning to the stage in over 40 festivals worldwide this year, leaving Montrealers with fingers crossed that Osheaga may be on that list.


New York square could get a Beastie flare

The corner of Ludlow and Rivington Street in New York City will potentially be renamed “Beastie Boy Square,” according to Rolling Stone. The corner featured on the New York rap group’s album Paul’s Boutique is located in the Lower East Side and prompted a “superfan” to set up an online petition to get the corner renamed. The Community Board and the City Council will vote on the matter on Tuesday.

Student Life

JMSB hosts largest and most highly respected student-run competition

Last week marked the annual John Molson MBA Case Competition, a flagship event that involves over 350 volunteers, 270 local business

Press photo

executives and 200 MBA candidates from around the globe. Behind the scenes were organizers and JMSB students, Bita Sehat, Leila Mosalaeepour, Hanaa Badaoui and Elliott Atlilia. The Concordian got an inside look at what this competition is all about as each of the organizers explain how it gets put together.


What is the Case Competition?

Sehat: The John Molson MBA International Case Competition was created in 1981 and is currently the oldest, largest and most international competition in the world. It is a robin-round format where teams of four MBA candidates are given three hours to solve a business case that they have never seen before. They then have twenty-five minutes to present their solutions to a panel of judges selected from local executives. Thirty-six teams from thirteen countries participated this year and competed to win the Concordia Cup and a cash prize of $10,000.


Why is it an important event for Concordia?

Mosalaeepour: It is a first-class event where talented students from prestigious business schools meet and compete is a unique environment.


How did you get involved?

Badaoui: I was a lead volunteer at the competition last year and it was a stimulating and rewarding experience that pushed me to be the hands-on organizer.

Atilia: I heard so much about the competition before starting the program that I wanted to get involved. After meeting several classmates who organized in previous years, I decided that I would take advantage and be part of such a unique opportunity.

Sehat:  I volunteered last year at a team host event before attending my first class at JMSB. So it was clear to me that I found my calling in becoming an organizer.

Mosalaeepour: The competition is the oldest of it’s kind; it was an honor to be part of this legacy. It is also an unmatched learning experience that can’t be taught in any classroom. That was why I joined.


How much or your time and sweat went into organizing this event?

Badaoui: It took nine months of planning and the workload was 65-80 hours a week. The four of us worked by ourselves from March until September then five executive assistants joined our team in September to help finalize the event that took place Jan. 5-10. It was very stressful and rewarding at the same time since it is entirely a student-run event.


How does an event like this benefit students?

Mosalaeepour: The students get an unparalleled opportunity to network with local executives, connect with other students from around the world, and observe the case competition format in a lively manner.


Anything particularly interesting or special happen at this year’s event? Any important people in attendance?

Atilia: The highlight of the competition was the live case that was presented on Jan. 8 by The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada and current UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti. Mrs. Jean was joined by Mr. Rene Jean-Jumeau , the minister of energy in Haiti to present a live case about the energy crisis in Haiti.


It’s a competition, so who won? What do they win?

Mosalaeepour: The 3 winners are as follows:

1st place:  University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management (USA).

They won the Concordia Cup and a cash prize of $10,000.

2nd place:  University of South Carolina – Moore School of Business (USA).

They won a cash prize of $7,000.

3rd place: University of Kaiserslautern

They won a cash prize of $5,000.


Was organizing this event all worth it?

Mosalaeepour: Yes absolutely! We gained friends and contacts from over 13 countries. We learned how to plan meticulously and at the same time act momentarily to ensure that all stakeholders have an unforgettable experience.

Badaoui: It is by far the best experience we had at JMSB!


Final thoughts on your experience?

Sehat:  It is a strong commitment that translated into an unprecedented success and remarkable support from the Montreal business community.


Student Life

HPV vaccine may not be the only form of prevention for women

McGill PhD student Joseph Tota, has recently launched a new research project on HPV prevention under the supervision of Dr. Eduardo Franco. This project, called CATCH, stands for Carrageenan gel Against Transmission of Cervical HPV and seeks to evaluate a possible alternative to the vaccination by the use of a lubricant that contains the algae carrageenan.

Photo by Flickr user Tulane Publications

“CATCH is a randomized controlled trial that was designed in response to a discovery made by scientists working at the National Cancer Institute where they identified carrageenan, an inexpensive gelling agent that is non-toxic, safe on animals and humans, to be a potent HPV infection inhibitor,” explains Tota.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the human papilloma virus (HPV) is the second-leading cause of cancer among women in the world, following breast cancer. With more than 120 types of HPV that fall into low-risk and high-risk categories, 75 per cent of sexually active women will acquire the HPV infection over a lifetime. HPV-6 and HPV-11 are two of the more common low-risk infections that infect the skin and genital area and can produce warts.  HPV-16 and HPV-18 are categorized as high-risk infections that can lead to cervical cancer.

In 2006, the Federal Drug Association approved the HPV vaccine, commonly known as Gardasil or Cervarix. The Santé et services sociaux website explains how Quebec offers the vaccine to girls and women as early as the age of nine as part of a free vaccination program administered in schools. Other girls under the age of 18 can be vaccinated for free at the CLSC or with their doctor. However women over 18 who don’t have medical insurance must pay approximately $130 per dose, a price set by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board of Canada. For both teenagers and adults, three doses of the vaccine over a six-month period are recommended for proper protection, therefore the total cost is rather expensive and Tota explains perhaps not the most preventive after all.

“The current available HPV vaccines only target up to four different HPV types: 6, 11, 16, and 18,” and are  “effective only if administered to girls prior to the onset of sexual debut,” says Tota.

The carrageenan gel being studied by CATCH may be effective in preventing all types of HPV, if administered immediately before sex and among women of all ages. Accessibility and cost of HPV prevention is something Tota and his team are keeping in mind while they run this study.

“If our trial demonstrates carrageenan to be effective in protecting against all genital HPV types, then we expect that many more personal sexual lubricants will become available by different manufacturers containing carrageenan,” says Tota. “Despite being required to apply the gel on an ongoing basis, its costs are substantially less [than the vaccine].”

The gel must be self-applied prior to each act of sexual intercourse, “in the same way as other personal sexual lubricants that are purchased over the counter,” says Tota. A small amount (five to 10 millilitres) may be applied directly to the vagina, penis or condom prior to sex. Afterwards, the gel may be removed with warm water.

This discreet method of prevention would make it empowering for women, explains Tota, especially “women who are unable to refuse sex due to cultural, social, or financial arrangement.” For women in developing countries, where HPV infection is rampant, this gel may prove to be a useful adjunct to the vaccination which would have “enormous and immediate public health implications,” according to Tota.

Currently the HPV vaccine is the only form of prevention and has faced criticism over the years. In 2012, The Globe and Mail published an article expressing parents’ concerns and how their biggest fears revolved around not having enough information about the vaccine, feeling rushed to make a decision about whether their children should get it, and how they questioned its safety. The vaccine looms in the shadows of Big Pharma and some are sceptical about whether it is just a push to promote their vaccines.

In the United States, the vaccine has been argued to promote sexual promiscuity among young teens, an issue The New York Times addressed last October after a study proved that the vaccine is not going to give girls a license to sexual activity.

“Despite our best attempts to convince parents of its safety, some will continue to deny permission to vaccinate their daughters,” says Tota. “For children and adults who have been denied access to vaccination for whatever reason (cost, safety, or other reasons), a carrageenan gel may be the only other effective means to protect against HPV.”

For individuals who are against vaccines, Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate has labelled the CATCH project as a natural intervention. Carrageenan is a gel naturally derived from three species of red algae. It has a long history of human use and has been employed extensively in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries as a stabilizer and emulsifier. CATCH has received the support and ethical approval from Concordia’s Student Health Services and the microbiology department at Université de Montréal, something Tota explains is necessary when trying to recruit students to be part of the trial. However, “[Carrageenan gel] should not be considered as an alternative to HPV vaccination in countries that can afford both methods of protection,” reiterates Tota.

HPV is a serious health issue for women and young girls and while there is a lot of talk about HPV in the media. Gabriella Szabo, health promotions specialist at Concordia, explains how it is important to get a pap test, get tested for STIs and discuss the vaccination.

“Unfortunately, the majority of women coming now to get the vaccine have already had changes in their cervical cells,” says Szabo.

“Cervical cancer screening with the pap test and/or the HPV test is a proven way to prevent cervical cancer,” says researcher and clinical specialist in women’s health, Dr. Marie-Hélène Mayrand from the CHUM research centre. “I will always argue that we should and could be doing more to improve women’s health, although, I would like to point out that Canada leads some of the most cutting-edge, academic research in HPV, as the new study by Dr. Franco’s team underlines.”

If you are a heterosexually active woman between 18-29 years of age and you are interested in participating in this study, check out

Student Life

Con U students should know more about electronic cigarettes

Cristian Sava is not your typical smoker. He is a 24-year-old John Molson School of Business (JMSB) student currently pursuing a bachelor of commerce,who on Aug. 1 launched This e-commerce site sells electronic cigarettes. The Concordian spoke to Sava and asked him to expand on the e-cigarette industry and shed a light on the pros of this vaping device.

Press photo

How did ElegantVape start?

I started thinking about ElegantVape a few months after having tried my first electronic cigarette. Even though it was a very low-quality, yet terribly expensive model that I had to throw away after a few weeks, it was enough for me to understand that I was in possession of a truly life-changing device. A few months after purchasing my second starter kit, having witnessed several positive effects already, I began planning

In March of 2013, after meeting Nathalie (my current business partner), we began setting the whole thing in motion. After losing several members of her close family to lung cancer due to tobacco and shisha smoking, Nathalie saw ElegantVape as the perfect resolution to a problem that destroyed her family and still affects thousands of families throughout Canada.

What is the purpose of ElegantVape?

The purpose of ElegantVape is very simple: to provide smokers with a very qualitative, less detrimental alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.

What is the difference between a regular cigarette and an e-cigarette?

There are several notable differences between regular cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.

First and foremost, electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco and there is no combustion involved when vaping. The fact that there is no combustion when using e-cigarettes is very important, as there is no production and inhalation of tar, carbon monoxide and other dangerous toxins.

Second, a tobacco cigarette contains more than 4,000 chemicals when it is burning, 70 of which are known carcinogens. E-liquid, on the other hand, contains only a handful of ingredients (food-grade propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, water-soluble flavoring, distilled water and/or small quantities of food-grade alcohol, and optionally nicotine), all of which are found in consumable products. Nicotine, for instance, is naturally found in potatoes, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Many mistakenly believe that nicotine causes cancer, however, a lot of scientific studies show that nicotine by itself is not a carcinogen, and that its effects on the human body are pretty much the same as those of caffeine.

With e-cigs you have no smoke and no secondhand smoke, only an odorless and harmless (scientifically proven) vapor.

An electronic cigarette does not taste like a regular cigarette and probably never will. While the sensation (in the mouth, throat and brain) is very similar, due to the lack of combustion and lack of many chemical substances, e-cigarettes have a rather smooth taste, not a burnt one.


Is this an effective way to kick the habit?

In my opinion (the guy who actually tried several quitting products – patches, gum and medication, all unsuccessfully), it is the most effective way. Many studies actually show that traditional methods of quitting have a low rate of success, and that many of those who manage to quit temporarily relapse. The majority of vapers that I know personally did not switch to e-cigarettes in order to quit, but because they wanted to smoke better. They do not have the slightest intention to kick the habit, as they do not feel any harmful effects associated with this “new habit.”

However, those who do switch for the purpose of quitting have been able to do so with the help of the electronic cigarette, and numerous forum discussions available on the Internet can confirm this. When people want to quit, they start with a level of nicotine that corresponds to their usual consumption. Over time, they are able to decrease the nicotine strength at their own pace – from high, to medium, then low, and finally to zero nicotine. Another thing that I witnessed with some of my clients is they switched from a tobacco flavour to a fruit flavour in order to move further away from the cigarette-like experience and stop the habit completely.


What is the appeal?

Smokers switch to electronic cigarettes for a variety of reasons. From my experience, the most common are:

–  Getting the same enjoyable sensation without the whole collection of harmful effects;

–  To save money;

–  To relieve family of secondhand smoke;

–  For the great variety of flavours;

–  To avoid the bad smell and ash.

Is this a cheaper option?

Rechargeable electronic cigarettes are definitely a cheaper option.

After the initial investment of $50-100 for the starter kit, a person who smokes the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes/day will pay around $40 in e-liquid and accessories per month. Compare this with the $200-300, depending on the brand, paid for regular cigarettes.

One year after the purchase of my first e-cigarette, I decided to calculate out of curiosity how much I had economized and was amazed to realize that I was able to save almost $2,800 by switching.


Are there any regulations on the manufacture, sale and marketing of e-cigarettes?

At the present time, Canada does not regulate the manufacture, sale and marketing of electronic cigarettes. This can be problematic, as there are companies who enter this industry only for the potential financial benefits, without fully understanding the product and smokers’ needs. These vendors often purchase the cheapest possible products, without care for consumer satisfaction or safety.


Just because e-cigarettes are a lesser evil doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Do you think this business encourages smoking?

I highly doubt it. It only happened to me once for a non-smoker to ask me “Hey, can I try your electronic cigarette?” and my answer was “No!” Adults know all too well that cigarettes are addictive and those who never smoked have no interest in electronic cigarettes. It would be as if I offered a nicotine patch to a non-smoker. Teenagers, on the other hand, curious and wanting to try everything, might be more interested in trying them out, as they do try tobacco cigarettes even though they are underage. Fortunately, the majority of e-cigarette companies do not market its products to youths and do not allow sale to minors. When it comes to e-commerce sites, at ElegantVape, for instance, we have a strict 18+ policy and PayPal is set to check the date of birth of the cardholder. Minors could, for example, make a purchase with their parents’ credit cards, but the fact that each of our kits costs between $50 and $100 (material amounts), chances are that will not happen too often, if at all.


Do you consider yourself a smoker?

I consider myself an electronic smoker. “Electronic” because I do not associate e-cigarettes with all the troubles caused by tobacco, and “smoker” because I enjoy vaping as much as – if not even more than – I used to enjoy “real” smoking.

For more information, check out our article on electronic cigarettes.


Kings of Leon Top 10

Like old-time minstrel families crisscrossing the countryside to tell their stories, the Followills — brothers Caleb, Nathan, Jaredc, and cousin Matthew —  make up the Kings of Leon, traveling worldwide to share their music. Here are our picks for their finest songs.


10. “Family Tree”- Mechanical Bull


Kicking off with some old-school KOL bravado and rolling drums, this funky tune has a fresh backbeat and Motown feel. The song rumbles through a quiet/loud arrangement and explodes with an infectious chorus that will get you grooving along to this good ol’ Southern gospel hand-clapper. “Family Tree” is definitely a highlight on the album.


9.”Milk”– Aha Shake Heartbreak


You might find yourself pressing the ‘skip’ button on this one — but trust me, don’t. Slow to start, the basic guitar and drumbeat allow the lyrics to speak for themselves. Give this a listen on headphones to truly hear Caleb’s heartfelt vocals as he remembers a girl that was once his.

8.”Beautiful War”– Mechanical Bull


KOL has come a long way from their raunchy debut album Youth & Young Manhood. Written on the same weekend as hit-single “Use Somebody” back in 2008, this sultry down-beat song aches with sentiment and teaches us a lesson in love. Clocking in as the longest song on the album, Caleb definitely asserts his presence throughout. Get your lighters in the air for this future favourite.


7.”Back Down South”– Come Around Sundown


KOL takes us back to the simple days of family gatherings on this country-inspired tune. The lap steel guitar and violin give it that country twang, reminding us of their southern roots. Recorded in Nashville, “Back Down South,” embodies the laid back feel flowing through Come Around Sundown.

6.”Charmer” – Because Of The Times

The Kings have surely met their fair share of girls on the road — I mean come on, look

at them — but with the shrill of this tune one can only imagine how many times they’ve

had their asses handed to them. Everything from the paranoid bass line, frazzled

lyrics and Caleb’s high, piercing, schoolgirl yell makes this one of their most distinct songs.


5.”Closer” – Only By The Night


This haunting tale of a torn soul lets us know the depths of vocalist Caleb’s thoughts. While his voice is nothing short of powerful on this one, it’s his brother Jared’s chilling bass line that captivates you from the very beginning.


4.”Four Kicks”– Aha Shake Heartbreak


The gritty guitar licks remind us that these boys were born and raised in the south and know a thing or two about booze and brawls. Caleb and Nathan, the two eldest members of the four brother band, don’t fight often, but when they do, make sure to get the hell out of the way. In 2007, Nathan ruffled up some rooster feathers after a night out in Nashville that left Caleb with a dislocated shoulder. The song is a short two minute bar fight anthem that will pump you up and leave you bloody. If anyone ever confused KOL for the Hanson brothers, this song is sure to set them straight.


3.”Red Morning Light”– Youth & Young Manhood


We may not be strangers to KOL’s dirty lyrics commonly heard in Youth & Young Manhood, but their mother is. Unable to understand a word he’s saying throughout, much like a mouthful of marbles, Caleb purposely does this so his mother can’t understand the song’s salacious lyrics. The aggressive beat accompanied by Caleb’s high-pitched shrills epitomizes the bands earlier stuff and gets the crowd ready to rock.


2.”Cold Desert”– Only By The Night


Putting a spotlight on the sinning, searching and tortured faith in singer Caleb’s vocals, this song, despite never meaning to be on the record, is the track that closes nicely Only By The Night, an album fueled with anthemic rock ballads. The track was originally incomplete — with only the first verse written — but in a drunken stupor and a quick hit of the record button, an honest moment was captured. Most of the lyrics free-flowed off Caleb’s tongue — the most heart-wrenching “Jesus don’t love me” is a line that Caleb may not remember saying but will surely raise the hairs on your neck.


1.”Talihina Sky” – Youth & Young Manhood (Hidden Track)


This hidden gem can be found eight minutes into their LP “Holy Roller Novocaine.” Showing us a softer, more sentimental side to their usual head banging rock, the southern rockers literally step out of where they came from,foreshadowing their slower yet brilliant tracks heard on Come Around Sundown and Mechanical Bull.


Student Life

Concordia students are encouraged to join in the search for the hungriest campus

Twenty-five universities will be going stomach-to-stomach this week as round one for the search to find the hungriest students across the country begins.

Twenty-five universities will be going stomach-to-stomach this week as round one for the search to find the hungriest students across the country begins. Press photo

JUST-EAT Canada, the online takeaway food delivery service and the organizer of the competition, “likes to do things a little differently from most consumer brands,” said Luke Sheehan, marketing director at The idea was conceived over lunch when one of the interns made a bet that she could eat an entire pizza in two minutes. This led to the launch of the first ever Campus Chompionship. “[We thought] it would be a lot fun to discover who Canada’s best student eater was, and the extreme lengths they would go to prove it,” said Sheehan.

Sheehan joined JUST-EAT in January 2011 in the UK and moved to Canada the following year to lead the marketing team. Sheehan’s a competitor himself. Nicknamed “The Intestinator,”, he was born into a life of food; his mother went into labour whilst queuing for shawarma and he says that since then he “has feasted at every available opportunity.” Sheehan and Takeru Kobayashi, a Japanese major league eater who holds several records, will be among the judges.

This ‘chompionship’ is no joke, but a highly organized three round competition. Surviving the post-contest tummy ache may not be easy, but joining is a piece of cake. Students create a profile on and collect as many votes as possible. Sheehan suggests campaigning to your student body to get them to support you.

Press photo.

Round two is titled “Video Showdown” in which 25 semi-finalists will be challenged to create a 60-second video for YouTube. The five person judging panel will then look for and grade the following criteria: the desire to compete, a visually compelling video, and the innovative use of takeout food.

On Oct. 28, semi-finalists will head to Toronto to compete against each other, and special guest Kobayashi, in a three minute eating competition. “The hungriest finalist — that is, the one who consumes the highest number of square cheese pizza slices — will win bragging rights as the 2013 Campus Chompion and $25,000 in prizes,” explained Sheehan.

“Not only does the prizing benefit the entire student population,” said Sheehan, “the competition drives friendly rivalry amongst schools.” A cheque for $5,000 will be presented to the winner and the affiliated university will win $20,000 worth of prizes delivered to the campus by a JUST-EAT truck over five days in November.

 JUST-EAT invites Concordia students with an appetite to join in. It’s a fun way to earn cash and a possible opportunity to beef up your resume with a 2013 Campus Chompion title. Visit for more information.

Student Life

Montreal’s got a whole lotta shakin’ going on

People tend to use music as an identifier, a way of organizing themselves into groups. Rockers, rappers, hipsters and punks are among the numerous subcultures around the world, adopting the composite lifestyle. Rumour has it that there’s a new trend that has caught on in Montreal that has people jumping and jiving.

Rockabilly may have started in the early 1950s, but it seems to have experienced a revival in our city with a new generation of fans. Rockabilly is a vibrant style of music that combines elements of country and blues. Artists including Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Bill Haley & His Comets are known to have experimented with rockabilly, but it was Elvis Presley who brought the style to the mass media in 1954.

For fans, rockabilly is more than just their favourite music; it is a way of life. The men take on a classic tough guy look with the coiffed pompadour, leather jacket and a pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers, while the women tend to emulate pin-ups with curls and cherry red lips.

Rockabilly broke the barriers of the ‘50s play-it-safe kind of music. It moved away from mainstream and expressed a sense of freedom and rebellion, and the rockabilly subculture seems to revere the bold and innovative ways of this era.

Rockabilly 514 is a 2008 rockumentary that sheds light the growing rockabilly community in Montreal, documenting the lives of devoted followers of this movement. The film is narrated by Concordia University professor, author and ethnomusicologist, Craig Morrison. “Rockabilly is one of the most important of the styles that are part of the genre rock and roll,” said Morrison. He believes Montreal feels the effects of that because “Elvis was big everywhere!”

“Since the Stray Cats emergence in the early ‘80s, [rockabilly] has been present again, and seems here to stay,” said Morrison.

Since 2006, Montreal’s Jive Studio has been offering rockabilly jive lessons, combining swing, rock and roll and rhythm and blues. Communications director of Jive Studio, Chantal-Irène Coulombe, signed up for classes in 2010 because of her reverence for ‘50s music. “It is a lifestyle,” says Coulombe. “There are people that are purists when it comes to the rockabilly era.” It  truly is a throwback to easier times.

Jive Studio is also responsible for hosting events at the Rialto Theatre, M-Bar and l’Alizé where Bettie Page look-alikes and Jimmy Dean greasers come together for a night of dancing and drinking.

The last event at the Rialto Theatre began with basic how-to dance steps for the newbies, but it didn’t take long for the place to be crawling with people decked out in polka dots and gelled hair. The night went on to play fun and energetic music like “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Great Balls of Fire,” followed by a live set from Montreal rockabilly band Rocket ‘56.

The rockabilly subculture is growing and Coulombe agrees. “When I started dancing we only had around 40 to 50 dancers in total signed up in the school. Now we have 200 per term!”

According to Morrison, we owe credit to Sophia Wolff, a well-versed dancer who returned from London and “brought jive dancing to Montreal.” After releasing a popular instructional video, Do the Jive! in 2002, Wolff became privy to the niche of rockabilly jive in the city and “we are still feeling the ramifications of that,” said Morrison.

It proves to be true as this year marks the ninth edition of the Red Hot & Blue Rockabilly Weekend that will take place at the end of August at the Rialto Theatre. The four day event includes disc-jockeys from Canada, the United States and Europe: 12 bands, free dance lessons from Jive Studio, as well as 1950s fashion shows and vintage car shows.

It’s clear that this feel good kind of music and lifestyle attracts many Montrealers. Rockabilly and all of its quirks are major identifiers for those who belong to this unique subculture. For some it may be a negation to mainstream trends, but the rockabilly scene shares with it a sense of freedom and self-expression that Montrealers seem unable to shake!


Jive Studio is located at 24 Mont-Royal Ave. W., suite 202.

Student Life

Batter up at Brit & Chips

Brit & Chips, with its cartoon fish jumping out of a Union Jack logo, pays homage to traditional chippy shops in Britain by serving up the staple dish of fish and fries. I know fish isn’t for everyone but it is hard to argue that fried food isn’t good food. When it comes to Brit & Chips, it definitely hurts to be health conscious because that would mean missing out not only on the wide range of savoury fish, but the variety of innovative, unique batters.

The cod was moist, not too salty and cooked perfectly, encased in a Burgundy Lion batter that was light, puffy and melted in your mouth.

Photo by Rae Pellerin

The salmon with Guinness batter did not disappoint either, and was a great balance of textures for the flaky fish with its crunchy coating.

What tied this delicious meal together was the sweet flavour of the tartar sauce which complemented both the fish and fries.

The short-cut fries brought in more of a Quebec flavour and style, but still no objection. Nothing paired better than the Fullers London Pride beer. This smooth pale ale, suggested by the waitress, was the best choice of the night. I tend not to venture too much with beer for fear of not liking it, but this was a winner and helped cut the grease of the fish ‘n’ chips with impeccable grace.

Other nibbles on the menu that looked mouth watering were the tandoori popcorn chicken, and haddock in a maple syrup batter, which upon my second visit are sure to be picked. Not to mention the lists of extras offering half portions of fish, pickled onions, scotch egg and the option to deep fry anything for $3.50!

Brit & Chips is located on 433 McGill St. and 5536A Côte-des-Neiges Rd. (Photo by Rae Pellerin)

The combination of Led Zeppelin playing in the background and the food served atop a sheet of newspaper gave the whole place a really cool vibe.  Its casual tone and affordable prices ranging between $5 and $15 makes this place perfect for a student’s palate and pocket.

However, it seems that Brit & Chips may have bigger fish to fry when the Côte-des-Neiges Rd. location recently received a visit from the Office québécois de la langue française. The restaurant was issued a letter demanding a change in certain menu listings and a switch their window decal from “fish and chips” to  “poisson frit & frites.”

Owner Toby Lyle told CTV he “can’t comply with this because it will literally kill [his] business” and went on to explain that he understands the “reason for the law, but if laws like this exist to wipe out businesses it is the exact opposite of what the government should be doing.”

Montreal may be in a language upheaval but Montrealers are resilient, especially when it comes to their appetite. English signs or French signs, none of that takes away from the delicious, finger licking fish ‘n’ chips that will surely leave you satisfied.

 Brit & Chips is located on 433 McGill St. and 5536A Côte-des-Neiges Rd.

Student Life

A more sustainable fashion future

Graphic Jennifer Kwan

In early 2010, the New York Times released a story of a Manhattan H&M store caught red-handed disposing of unworn clothes, most of which seemed intentionally slashed and torn to avoid reuse. The clothes were packed in garbage bags and thrown to the curb.

This incident left consumers aghast and caused H&M to reevaluate their green footprint and become a little more socially and environmentally responsible. In 2011, H&M launched the Conscious collection, which is made from sustainable fabrics including organic cotton, recycled polyester and Tencel, a fabric made from wood pulp and processed in a closed-loop production which releases no toxic materials into the environment.

Vanessa Paradis, French actress, model and singer, is the new face of the 2013 Conscious collection which is full of optimism for the spring with romantic styles, sporty shapes and tropical prints. However, the most exciting part of the collection is that is coincides with the Conscious garment collecting program, an initiative that seems just as optimistic. Starting in February, customers can now bring any unwanted garments from any label to selected H&M stores, such as the downtown Montreal H&M, and in return for each bag, they receive an H&M voucher.

The H&M Conscious garment collecting program has partnered with I:CO, short for “I collect,” whose mission is to get heavy hitting retailers to help create sustainable consumption by participating in the environmentally friendly sorting and reuse of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing.

Turning old into new has become somewhat of a trend, especially in Montreal given the number of vintage clothing pop-up shops. Fashion icons like Gwen Stefani and Amanda Seyfried are all known to rock eco-conscious clothing such as garments made with low-impact dyes and organic cotton.

H&M is definitely keeping with the trend in their effort to encourage garment return, preventing clothing from going to landfills and as a result, increasing unnecessary air emissions, residual and water waste. According to the CEO’s message in the 2011 Conscious Actions Sustainability Report, Karl-Johan Persson stressed that “H&M’s target is to use only sustainable cotton by 2020,”  by tackling challenges of “climate change, working conditions, wages at supplier factories and the long-term availability of natural resources” that affect all fashion retailers worldwide.

Given H&M’s size and global reach, it will hopefully inspire other retailers to get informed on how they can contribute to sustaining the environment. Les Oubliettes owner Daniel D’Amours is devoted to recycling and giving new life to vintage clothes. “Being conscious is the mission behind Les Oubliettes,” said D’Amours. The company is a great example of how you can still keep with the trends while shopping second-hand.

D’Amours agrees “there is so much waste,” however, hopefully the upcoming H&M campaign “will inspire people to change the way they think and shop.”

Our levels of consumption and waste probably figure higher than we can imagine, however, there are ways we can still help sustain a healthier environment, even in the fashion world!

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