The 2022 Gem and Mineral Show

Hobbyists and collectors flocked to Montreal’s Palais des congrès for the 61st annual Gem and Mineral Show show.

Between Oct. 28-30, the Palais des congrès was the host for the 61st annual Gem and Mineral Show.

This event was hosted by the Montreal Gem and Mineral club.

A brief history

Founding members Dick Britton and Ernest Windisch met at The McGill’s Redpath Museum in 1957.

The rock and mineral display caught the attention of both Britton and Windisch. They bonded over their shared interest in mineral collecting and brought up the idea of forming an official club.

The club was eventually created on Feb. 14, 1957 at Britton’s home, and it has been growing ever since.

The club’s active board of directors were present on-site for this year’s show and were very gracious to serve as our guide. 

Constance Guignard, the vice president of the club, met up with The Concordian and explained how the show works and what her own role in the club is.

“I do volunteer work here, and we organize this show every year and use it as our fundraiser. We’re making a comeback after three years. We missed 2020, we missed 2021, so now we are coming back,” Guignard said.

Guignard made an interesting statement about all the different things one could do with gems and minerals that not a lot of people might know about. 

“People can sculpt with the gems and minerals. At our club, you know, sometimes people will buy big rocks. We have saws so that people can cut big slabs and do whatever they want with them,” Guignard said.

Walking around the show, one could see all the dealers and vendors present on site. It was easy to get lost in the things to see, touch and learn about. 

One interesting kiosk featured a coconut geode visitors could look at and have cracked on-site. The vendors guaranteed a hollow crystal centre.

Another interesting booth allowed visitors to get forever bracelets welded onto their wrists.

Our Community Editor went through with getting the forever bracelet, and spoke with Ash Charania, the owner of Rainbow Minerals

“Forever bracelets is a trend that just hit Canada. In the past in the US, there have been lineups outside the boutiques for people that want to get this. It always takes a while to get to Canada but it’s finally here. It’s really new so no one really understands it yet,” Charania said. 

The look of the bracelet is very dainty and wearers can barely feel it against their skin. The bracelets are custom-measured to the wrist, and visitors can choose between sterling silver, gold, and rose gold for the metal.

While most of the vendors on-site were experienced Gem and Mineral show-goers, this year’s edition was a first for some.

The owner of Petite Plume, Chloé Strum-Thibault, expressed her thoughts about her first time at the show. 

“There are so many beautiful things to see that I feel that my eyes hurt. I already spent a lot of money and I know I am going to spend more,” Thibault joked. 

Thibault takes inspiration for her jewelry creations from growing trees. Over the pandemic she was truly able to take her inspiration and turn it into her business.

The Gem and Mineral Show not only provided shoppers with gems and minerals from all over the world, but also gave them valuable insights to use towards their hobby.

Photographs by Kaitlynn Rodney/THE CONCORDIAN


Montreal vegan festival 2022 review

Hundreds of Montrealers got their veg on at the festival.

After two years, the Montreal vegan festival returned to the Palais des congrès on Oct. 8 and 9.

At this year’s edition of the festival, self-taught cook Loounie (a.k.a. Caroline Huard), the creator of “magic tofu,” was the spokesperson for the event. 

Loounie, along with other creators during the weekend, were giving cooking demonstrations. There were also many different vendors on-site, including kiosks that were promoting the vegan Babybel, Cookie Conscious Bakery, PB & Me, and Montreal’s own Aux Vivres restaurant.

The Concordian had the opportunity to speak to the spokesperson herself and find out more about what exactly her creation is. 

“My magic tofu is a recipe that I developed like four years ago. I developed it because I was never a big fan of tofu myself. I always thought that it was really high maintenance, you need to press it, marinate it and think about it a few days in advance. So this recipe makes tofu bites that taste like chicken. You can use this tofu in recipes like curries and sandwiches. You can also eat it cold or hot,” Loounie said.

Loounie explained that she sold her “magic tofu” in grocery stores and due to its popularity, as of last year it is no longer available in Metro grocery stores around the province. 

If you are interested in trying “magic tofu,” Loounie explained that you can buy it ready-made and ready to eat.

Loounie told The Concordian that she hasn’t been a vegan all her life, and that she doesn’t even come from a vegetarian household. 

“I changed my diet 11 years ago because I was a runner back then. I really wanted to eat, I would say a cleaner diet,” Loonie explained, emphasizing “cleaner diet” with air quotes. “The term clean diet is not a term that I relate to anymore. I am very aware of diet culture.”

As Loounie became a plant-based eater, she started to do more research on animal ethics. She was shocked at the results of her findings and wanted to do her part in protecting animals.

Being knowledgeable and doing your homework about veganism and a plant-based lifestyle was a common thread at the festival.

The festival also debunked a lot of myths about the vegan diet itself, one of those myths being that the vegan diet is restrictive.

Walking through the various kiosks, there was a huge selection of different food that attendees could taste. 

One kiosk in particular put vegan smoked salmon on display. The smoked salmon was made out of carrots. 

The star of the show was the vegan Babybel kiosk. The Concordian spoke with Tess Bouvain, the employee working the kiosk during the weekend, to find out what the Babybel is actually made out of. 

“Vegan Babybel is made out of coconut, and then we also have a 100 per cent recyclable packaging,” Bouvain explained.

Alongside the different food items one could try at the festival was the wide array of healthy beverages. 

The Concordian was able to speak with Pierrich Picard, the co-founder of Gutsy Kombucha, about the health benefits of kombucha. 

“Kombucha is fermented tea, we take tea and mix it with sugar and then we add SCOBY leaves [symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast]. There’s this good bacteria in these leaves and it creates this drink that is fizzy. The taste is a bit vinegary and we add some flavours to it, ” Picard explained. 

Picard also made a point in addressing that kombucha is a way healthier alternative than the regular energy drink that most students would reach for. 

“You are putting a lot of good bacterias in your gut. It’s like sending some soldiers to war to fight against the bad bacterias. It’s full of organic enzymes. You get more out of your food,” Picard said.

The festival as a whole was just a great resource for learning more about plant-based diets and getting to know more about health in general.


The Inspirations exhibition offered visitors the chance to embark on an immersive audiovisual journey

OASIS immersion’s latest exhibition showcased several unique presentations that were guaranteed to transport individuals into unforgettable worlds

Exhibited at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, OASIS immersion’s latest show Inspirations sought to inspire its visitors by showcasing the artistic prowess of Quebec. “Inspirations is about hope, optimism and reaching one’s full potential,” explained Denys Lavigne, co-founder and executive creative director of OASIS immersion. “Through a carefully constructed collection of audiovisual experiences, our goal was to connect with our audience in such a way that would trigger something inside, and empower them in taking action on something they feel passionate about.”

Lavigne and his colleagues planned to achieve this goal using the immersive properties of the three rooms located in the OASIS immersion studio. The 105 laser projectors and 119 surround sound speakers enable the OASIS immersion team to create customizable 360-degree projections on the walls and floors in each of the three rooms.

The immersive nature of the exhibition became apparent as soon as one stepped into the first exhibition room, known as the portail. Mellow music interrupted by bird sounds played loudly as colourful shapes merged and shifted across the walls and floors. Seated visitors were given the opportunity to look upon poignant, ever-shifting walls as swirling multicoloured lines ran across their backs. Touching tributes written by loved ones adorned the walls and served as introductions for the exhibition’s main artists.

“We felt [loved ones] were the best ambassadors to relay the backstory of each topic and share the type of authenticity we wanted to provide our audience to set the stage for the exhibit,” Lavigne explained. “Secondly, because in more traditional museum environments you’ll often have exhibit introductions that intellectualize a theme, [or] a topic to a point [where] it creates a disconnection between the art and the visitor; we did not want this to happen, and favoured a more intimate approach that best suited the tone we had chosen for the exhibit.”

Next, visitors could enter a room known as the teleporteur room, where they would be transported across the world. From the depths of the Pacific to the International Space Station, the ground beneath their feet was constantly shifting. Accompanying sounds varying from thrusting spacecraft engines to rocking waves helped to captivate the audience.

After their journey through Earth and space, visitors arrived at the final immersive room, known as the panorama, where the bulk of the exhibition waited. Visitors were treated to several different audiovisual presentations, including a production by YouTuber Émile Roy that highlighted some positive aspects amidst the gloom of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this room, onlookers were also transported across the Pacific Ocean, where they were given the chance to discover unique flora and fauna. Amidst this vast expanse of water lay breathtaking islands with lush forests and bursting volcanoes. Visitors also got the chance to observe the incredible people who call these islands and waters home virtually.

In addition to this, visitors were also treated to an ethereal performance by pianist Alexandra Stréliski. An animated projection of the talented musician walking among a forest of three-dimensional neon shapes could be admired during this presentation.

The panorama room also featured a presentation detailing astronaut David Saint-Jacques’ journey from humble engineer to space pioneer, as well as a presentation that featured a rendition of hygge through dance directed by Vallée Duhamel. In Scandinavian culture, hygge is a way of life that prioritizes enjoying the present and establishing deeper connections with others.

The final presentation of the exhibition was an ode to Quebecois creativity. The spirit of Quebecois culture was a fundamental element in this presentation. “In a way, this project is homage to the creative spirit in Quebec and Montreal, and how it’s been recognized globally,” Lavigne added. “We sometimes take it for granted, but the rich cultural environment in which we live is a privilege that we need to handle with care, and we wanted to play a small role in enriching its outreach.”

Overall, this project was a vibrant experience that granted visitors the opportunity to travel to far-flung spaces and enjoy the richness of Quebecois artistry without ever having to leave the Palais des congrès. It was also a great way to spend a Saturday night for individuals who may have been looking to broaden their horizons.

The Inspirations exhibition was displayed at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.


Photograph courtesy of Denys Lavigne

Student Life

Sixth annual Montreal Vegan Festival is bigger than ever

This year’s Montreal Vegan Festival was back and better than ever. Boasting over 160 kiosks, over a dozen conferences and cooking demonstrations, and close to a dozen workshops, the Montreal Vegan Festival showcases the different aspects of a vegan/plant-based lifestyle.

During its first year, in 2014, the Montreal Vegan festival saw a mere 5,000 attendees at the Université du Québec à Montréal Coeur des sciences. The following two years, the festival was held at the Bonsecours Market, seeing 15,000 attendees in 2016. Now in its sixth year, the 2019 rendition of the festival was expected to accumulate nearly 20,000 attendees at the Palais des Congrès over the Sept. 21-22 weekend.

Christoper the Pig. Photo by Cecilia Piga.

Many of the kiosks showcased food items such as ready-to-eat products you could purchase there. There were cooking ingredients from brands like Redpath, plant-based drinks, cheeses and meat alternatives — but there was so much more. There were kiosks showcasing food supplements, clothing, reusable and sustainable alternatives for everyday items, makeup, and even kitchen supplies geared towards making an effort to be more environmentally conscious.

With all these different aspects, there was a variety of people in attendance, including families with young children and babies. Also in attendance was Christopher the Pig, famous on Instagram — he has more than 82,000 followers and his profile describes him as a “public figure” — for being a rescued miniature pig (who actually isn’t so small). Christopher is featured on merch of Vgan Styles, a clothing brand that had their own kiosk at the festival.

If you’ve ever wondered how long it takes to organize a festival of this size, Jonathan Levac-Chaloux says people were working on it since before he was elected president of the administration council at the general assembly in April. One of the reasons it took so long, Levac-Chaloux explained, is that they were trying to find more zero-waste serving options for the festival.

“It was better this year compared to last year, we definitely took a step forward; it wasn’t the full distance we hoped to achieve, but we’re going in the right direction,” said Levac-Chaloux.

Vegan since Sept. 1, 2014, Levac-Chaloux is familiar with the festival, having attended it in previous years. He has seen the evolution and the growth of the festival as well as the vegan movement in Montreal.

“This year, being on the organization team, I see the extent of the progress and the extent to which people know we’re a big festival in Montreal,” said Levac-Chaloux. “The fact that we have more exhibitors helps with having more of a variety of services available at the festival,” he added about the different kiosks at the festival.

He explained that at the beginning there was a focus on food. But now there is a shift in what was showcased, as already explained — some of it still related to food.

“Me, being a vegan, I know that being vegan is more than just about food,” said Levac-Chaloux. “It’s a lifestyle.”

Photos by Cecilia Piga, Video by Calvin Cashen

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