Celebrating with a different kind of holiday star: The unexpectedly pagan side of Christmas

Sharp smells of pine needles and holly, twinkling lights, and heaps of food spread out at parties, are just a few things that come to mind once December hits Canada every year. Widely known as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is one of the biggest North American holidays. But despite the holiday having primarily Christian roots, a lot about Christmas as we know it today, has unexpectedly pagan origins. While Christianity emerged as a monotheistic religion during the Roman Empire, experts say many of its holiday customs were influenced by the dominant Western polytheistic pagan religions around them. And even with the dominance of Christmas’ Christian narrative, some still appreciate and believe in the pre-Christian pagan […]

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Youth homelessness in Ottawa: the most at-risk people in the capital

When people think of what a homeless person looks like, a child doesn’t usually come to mind. A large number of homeless Canadians are children and young adults. With the winter fast approaching, many are looking for a way to escape the cold.  Last year, there were 844 youth using shelters in Ottawa. Compared to adult homelessness in the capital, 1,352 male and female adults over the age of 50 used shelters, according to Kaite Burkholder Harris, director of A Way Home Ottawa, an organization whose goal it is to prevent and end youth homelessness in Canada. “We don’t really have a sense of the bigger number, because there’s not that many youth shelters,” she said. “There’s many young people […]

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The Furry Solution: how fostering could improve your mental health

As semester one wraps up, stress levels rise amongst many Carleton University students. Interactions with a furry friend may be the answer to reducing some of this stress. Several studies in Canada have shown the benefits of animal therapy for students in particular. Shannon Noonan is a faculty member at Carleton University who works with the Centre for Initiatives in Education, doing pet therapy as a retention initiative for students in the Enriched Support Program. Her partner is her five year-old Great Dane-Pointer, Blue.   “There have been studies showing that coming in contact with an animal increases your oxytocin levels, which is your stress fighting hormone,” Noonan said. “It can also decrease your cortisol levels. Cortisol is your stress […]

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Welcome to Ground Zero: fighting the opioid crisis

The trailer sits nestled against the side of the old brick building next to the Shepherds of Good Hope on 256 King Edward Ave. It will soon become the safe haven that many injection drug users will turn to once the winter rolls around. The site will be the first government sanctioned and supervised injection site in Ottawa. The trailer will remain open 24-7 in hopes to fight the opioid crisis that has been gripping the country for years.  To fight the increase in opioid related overdoses, many organizations have taken it upon themselves to offer services to injection drug users seeking help. Ottawa Inner City Health (OICH) is the group that will be running the supervised injection site on […]

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Let’s talk about sex: a conversation about sexuality in the millennial era

As Ottawa and Carleton get ready to welcome winter, the cold and the constant indoors has more than a few of us wanting to hunker down with someone special. While many of us crave the security of being in a relationship, many millennials would prefer to stay single. However, this doesn’t mean they’re having more sex. Are millennials really having less sex? From the New York Times to Vice, recent articles on sex in the 21st-century are suggesting that millennials are having less sex and fewer sexual partners than previous generations, with little explanation as to why. Harar Hall, co-ordinator of Carleton University’s Womyn’s Centre, debunked the idea that millennials are less sexually active than previous generations by looking at the […]

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