Indigenous social media influencer donates to Montreal shelter

Inuk TikToker Shina Novalinga donated over $12,000 in goods to the Native Women’s Shelter in Montreal

In the beginning of January Shina Novalinga, a well-known Inuk TikToker from Montreal, donated 100 gift bags to the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal (NWSM) for the holidays.

“This year we want to give back,” said Novalinga in a TikTok alongside her mother Caroline, who also has a popular TikTok account. The two had decided to use GoFundMe, a popular crowdfunding platform, to fundraise money to donate gift bags for the women at the shelter.

“They’re often forgotten on Christmas day,” said Caroline in the video, referencing the Indigenous population in Montreal. The video was posted on Dec. 25 and gained 379,600 views. By the beginning of January $12,482 was raised, with donations varying from $5 to $500.

The 100 bags were worth roughly $120 each, including items such as disposable masks, hygiene pads, clothing, Indigenous handmade earrings or bracelets, $15 Tim Hortons cards, and bannock — an Indigenous type of fry bread.

Much more was included in the bags, such as heartfelt handwritten notes that said things such as “I love you for no reason” or “You are worthy of a beautiful life.”

“It’s important to give back to our community and it has always been part of our values,” Novalinga stated on the GoFundMe website.

Novalinga and her mother became popular Indigenous TikTokers through videos of the two throat singing, where traditionally two women face each other and sing in a contest to see who will outlast the other.

The NWSM is the only women’s shelter in Montreal that exclusively serves Indigenous women and their children.

With COVID-19, the shelter is no longer able to pick up donations, but they are currently doing drop-off days for donations twice a month, according to the website.

Kate Legrand, an Administrative Assistant at the NWSM, said that donations can also be made by credit card or cheque, but they are not currently accepting e-transfers.


Graphic by @the.beta.lab

Student Life

Clothing is more than a commodity

Improve lives and make a difference by donating to shelters

As the production of the garment industry has evolved over the decades, it has become a commonality to constantly rotate our closets as the seasons change. For that reason, more and more of our clothes accumulate in the “reject pile.” Although those items may seem meaningless, they are valuable in the eyes of many women who live in shelters.

Sally Richmond, the executive director of Logifem, one among dozens of women’s and children’s shelters in Montreal, explained that they are constantly looking for goods to give to their residents. Originally from the United Kingdom, Richmond completed her academic education in Montreal and earned her general master’s of business administration (MBA) from Concordia’s John Molson School of Business. Being consistently drawn to current social issues, she devoted her career to supporting those in need.

Logifem is a non-profit organization and housing program that accommodates women and girls facing difficulties and living under strenuous circumstances. Whether their situations are due to domestic abuse, struggles with mental health, immigration issues or any other material insecurity, Richmond said the main purpose of the shelter is “to empower women and girls to face the future with hope and dignity.”

Donated items are displayed in Logifem’s boutique, which is open exclusively to its residents. Richmond emphasized the importance of bringing in goods that are in decent condition. “When we get [clothes] in poor conditions, we have to ship them out to [second-hand] stores, but that ends up costing us money because we have to pay the shipping fees,” she explained. Donating is a gesture that is much more valuable and appreciated when it is in the best interest of others, and that can be achieved by carefully sorting the unwanted items beforehand.

Oftentimes, Logifem lacks various essential supplies. In the past, they’ve turned to Facebook to announce their need for specific products, such as unworn undergarments and unopened toiletries. Richmond recalls being pleasantly surprised with the feedback. “There was a much bigger response than we anticipated.” People from all across the country sent in packages of brand new underwear and other items listed in the Facebook post, and some packages were even sent anonymously. “The support was so organic,” she said.

Richmond mentioned that some donors who return regularly—typically annually or biannually—have begun to form a relationship with the members of the organization. “They become a part of our family,” she said.

Donating articles of clothing is not merely giving material objects to other people. Giving contributes to the well-being and stabilization of another life. “People need these things because they come with very few possessions,” Richmond explained. “But oftentimes they really just need a little boost—something for them to feel nice in.”

In our city, on many street corners and alleys, there are those who are less fortunate. The Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, West Island Women’s Shelter, Chez Doris, La rue des Femmes and Maison Grise de Montréal are all within reach of Montrealers and could benefit from a range of donations, not just clothes. Anyone can lend a helping hand, and volunteers are always appreciated and welcomed.

Graphic by Ana Bilokin


Grey Nuns to receive $851,000 for restoration

Downtown residence granted funding under Parks Canada initiative to support National Historic Sites

Concordia’s Grey Nuns Motherhouse was granted $851,000 for preventative and restorative maintenance earlier this month as part of the Parks Canada National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places.

Concordia spokesperson Mary-Jo Barr said the funding will be invested in measures to reduce deterioration to the 146-year-old building. Barr said planned restoration efforts include replacing the building’s masonry and thoroughly cleaning all the surfaces in the Grey Nuns Chapel.

On Oct. 12, Marc Miller, the member of Parliament for Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Sœurs, made the funding announcement on behalf of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who oversees the cost-sharing program. The funding was granted after an application process in which the university outlined the need for and costs associated with restorative work. According to Parks Canada records, Grey Nuns is one of 143 National Historic Sites that are receiving funding from the cost-sharing program.

“Our government has taken a leadership role in the protection and promotion of Canada’s invaluable and irreplaceable heritage such as the Motherhouse of the Grey Nuns in Montreal,” Miller said in a public statement. “This new funding will ensure the preservation of one of Montreal’s treasured heritage sites for future generations and help foster a healthy local economy and thriving tourism industry.”

Completed in 1871, the building was originally the Motherhouse for the Sisters of Charity of Montreal, commonly known as the Grey Nuns. For decades, the Grey Nuns used the building to serve the poor and take care of community members, including in times of hardship, such as the Great Depression and the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. According to Concordia’s website, the building was officially designated a historical monument under Quebec’s Cultural Property Act in 1976.

In 2007, Concordia University purchased the building. It was renovated and refurbished before being officially opened as a campus building in September 2014. Currently, the building offers a reading room, cafeteria and daycare centre, and serves as the only residence building on the Sir George Williams campus.

According to Barr, the restoration budget and projects will be managed by the university’s facilities management department. While the current project will focus on restoring the building’s chapel, the university is planning on restoring the facade and interior of the building’s other wings in future years.

“As stewards of this historic building, the university’s goal is to ensure that minimal restoration work is required over the next 100 years,” Barr said.


JMSB to spend big on seeing if it’ll stay in the family

National Bank donates $1 million to family business research

Quebec is expected to see a pivotal shift in small business ownership as owners retire over the next few years without clear succession plans. Now, thanks to a generous $1 million donation from the National Bank, Concordia’s John Molson School of Business (JMSB) will be at the forefront of research and analysis on how small business perform their critical duties to the economy and what the shift will mean for Quebec.

The surprise announcement came at an event on Thursday, Nov. 13, and was attended by numerous university faculty, including the president and the dean of JMSB, local business figures, and bank representatives. It followed an earlier talk on family entrepreneurship by students. On hand to share their experiences in family business were Groupe Park Avenue Inc. President and CEO Norman E. Hébert jr., who is also on Concordia’s Board of Governors, and sports company Lanctôt President Diane Lanctôt.

The gift is going towards the creation of the National Bank Initiative in Entrepreneurship and Family Business. The initiative will bring in researchers and professors who will carry out their work on the topic, as well as mentor and provide support to students carrying out their studies in entrepreneurship and family business.

Undergraduate students will have the ability to apply for new bursaries through the program, while their graduate peers will be specifically eligible for awards. The other half will be reserved for researchers and their assistants.

“Out of all businesses, 70 to 80 per cent are family businesses. That’s the reality in Quebec and Canada and also around the world,” said Alexandra Dawson, associate professor in the department of management and the newly-appointed director of the initiative. She says CIBC predicted half of all business owners will cease running their operations over the next decade.

“This is the largest transfer of ownership that has ever happened in Canada, and it’s because all the baby boomers are retiring.”

For Dawson, this makes it a natural topic of focus for JMSB, banks, and other economic entities, all the more so when figures show only a quarter have clear succession plans.

“Transferring a business is not something you can do overnight.”

The academic research will be centred in Quebec, but due to the universality of the business experience it will be applicable to governments, other researchers, and think tanks.

Thursday’s announcement means it’s a bit too soon to be greenlighting specific projects, though a committee will soon be nominated to begin formulating criteria for researchers and their proposals. Dawson intends for operations to really begin at the start of next semester.

Student Life

Vintage sale gives new lease on life to old clothes

CASA Cares supports community of senior citizens

Girls sporting oxford lace-ups and guys wearing tweed blazers browsed racks of woolen coats and displays of sequined shoes. For a moment, I thought the ultra-contemporary EV building atrium had been transported to the ‘50s.

Just kidding—I knew that the hip students combing through second-hand pants and jackets were only looking to score the next unique addition to their wardrobes, at the third annual Vintage Couture Sale held by CASA Cares, the Commerce and Administration Student Association’s (CASA) not-for-profit wing, and the John Molson Sustainable Business Group.

The selection of vintage and used clothing at the sale included both high and mid-range pieces. Highlights from designer brands were a grey checked two-piece suit from Salvatore Ferragamo, strappy Manolo Blahnik sandals, and a ruffled Marc by Marc Jacobs dress. Prices were more than reasonable, with the Ferragamo suit going for $20 and pairs of pants priced at $5. Towards the end of the day, shoppers could fill a bag with as many items as they could fit in it for $40, and individual items went for $2. The shopping was guilt-free not just because of the low prices, however, but because the proceeds went to a worthy cause.

The Vintage Couture Sale benefitted the New Hope Senior Citizens’ Centre. Harpal Dasord, CASA Cares’ director of fashion sponsorship, said that the student group tries “to benefit various different organizations.” This year, the volunteer association had already hosted a terrasse party in support of ONEXONE’s First Nations School Breakfast Program and a fashion show to benefit the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and will also hold a gala to raise money for Movember on Nov. 21. The vintage clothing sale helped CASA Cares to target different age groups, accordint to Dasord.

All of the clothes in the sale were donated by members of New Hope Senior Citizens’ Centre, “ladies who don’t wear [the clothes] anymore,” CASA Cares’ first-year representative Frédérique Morrissette explained. “That’s why we get really high brands like Prada or Dolce and Gabbana.”

New Hope is a day centre that promotes civic involvement, and provides social activities and meal plans to senior citizens in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. Its mission statement is “to provide a friendly environment where seniors can thrive through a variety of social and community-based services and activities.” It seems fitting that the members’ clothes should be given new life, by matching them with new owners who will prolong their wear. The sale aligns well with the aims of an organization that brings, well, new hope to a demographic of the population that often struggles with isolation.

Morrissette said the student group would like to add even more high-end clothing in the coming iterations of the annual event. Her advice to those who missed this year’s shopping opportunity? “Come early to get the best stuff because it’s going really fast!”

The Vintage Couture Sale was held in the EV Building’s atrium, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14. CASA Cares will be hosting other events in the coming months, and the Vintage Couture Sale will return next year. For more information on the New Hope Senior Citizen Centre, visit

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