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Updated: 14 hours 56 min ago

Sept opéras en 24 heures !

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 14:48

Opera-BingeAfin de célébrer 60 ans d’enseignement, de mentorat et de soutien des jeunes artistes, Opéra McGill offre une série de courts opéras en un acte, présentée dans cinq salles différentes. La formule se veut conviviale et conviendra à ceux qui désirent s’initier à l’opéra. Par exemple, le 11 mars à 11heures, L’Impresario de Mozart est offert avec un café et un bagel. Même journée à la Salle du Bon Pasteur, présentation d’un programme de musique française : Manon de Massenet et L’heure espagnole de Ravel. La veille, le 10 mars, Didon et Énée, à la Salle Redpath, est un must. Il y a également Le Château de Barbe-Bleu de Bartok le 11 à 20 heures. Il s’agit d’un menu gourmand, d’un festival « Binge » festif offert à petits prix, une occasion à ne pas manquer.




Nine innovative projects backed by NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 11:05

Top row, l to right: Kirk Bevan, George Demopoulos, Yaijing Liu and David Juncker. Bottom row, l to right: Thomas Szkopek, Odile Liboiron-Ladouceur, Roderick Guthrie and Xinyu Liu.

$4.1 million in funding from NSERC will advance McGill research in next-generation nanomaterials, infrastructure solutions to support the Internet of Things, novel technology to detect marine toxins, and more

By Meaghan Thurston

During an announcement at the University of Ottawa today, 94 research projects in universities across the country were awarded funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Strategic Partnership Grants program. Nine McGill projects are together receiving more than $4.1 million from the funding envelope to partner with a supporting organization on strategic research, including highly innovative research in green energy storage.

George Demopoulos, Chair, Mining and Materials Engineering, was awarded $564,000 to assist research in the development of light-chargeable lithium ion batteries (LIBs), the “invisible” technology powering portable electronics such as mobile phones, media players, tablets, laptops, and increasingly, hybrid and electric vehicles. With NSERC’s support and in collaboration with Hydro-Quebec, Prof. Demopoulos will pursue an alternative strategy towards the improvement of the energy and power characteristics of LIBs, research which may help curb global warming emissions through increased electrification of transportation.

“Strategic project grants are an opportunity for university researchers and industry and government agency partners to work together, each contributing their unique strengths to new ideas and approaches for the benefit of Canadian society and economy,” says Rosie Goldstein, McGill’s Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “These nine research projects represent McGill’s bold innovations for improving energy efficiency and reducing the environmental impact of processes in manufacturing, extraction and energy production, as well as a variety of other applications. We are very grateful for the support shown by NSERC in awarding these grants.”

The McGill researchers chosen by NSERC for a Strategic Project Grant are:

Kirk Bevan, Department of Materials Engineering
Engineering manufacturable next generation photocatalytic nanomaterials for high efficiency hydrogen fuel generation
Three years, worth $513,000

To address growing global energy needs, new cost effective manufacturable technologies are needed that are both environmentally safe and provide the necessary energy density for automotive transportation.  Manufacturable solar energy nanomaterials represent a major opportunity to address rapidly growing worldwide energy demands and climate trends, and an important manufacturing export market opportunity for Canada. It is the goal of this project to develop a systematic engineering design approach to produce manufacturable photocatalytic oxide nanomaterials based on lower cost elements (rather than expensive noble metals) possessing high hydrogen fuel generation efficiencies.

George Demopoulos, Department of Mining and Materials Engineering
Development of light-chargeable lithium ion battery devices
Three years, worth $564,000

Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are the enabling “invisible” technology behind the unprecedented proliferation of all portable electronics such as mobile phones, media players, tablets and laptops. Now LIBs are powering plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV). This project pursues the development of light-chargeable LIBs, i.e. solar-powered rechargeable batteries. This research is undertaken in collaboration with Hydro-Quebec (HQ), a world leader in LIB R&D, and leverages McGill’s recent advances in the areas of dye-sensitized solar cell and LIB research.

Roderick Guthrie, Department of Materials Engineering
Lightweight multi-layer composite metal sheet products for the automotive industry
Three years, worth $500,500

This project will explore the production of a new lightweight multi-composite metal sheet product for the automotive industry. The multi-layer product, a combination of light metal alloys, aluminum and magnesium sheets, with (or without) an interior thin sheet of light-weighted steel (HSHD), is to be used for auto Body in White construction (the stage in automobile manufacturing in which a car body’s sheet metal components have been welded together), providing lightweight strength for crashworthiness. The new composite properties will be fed into the Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) database of the Ford Motor Company, together with our modelling of the microstructure and properties, for comparison, and for validation.

Yaijing Liu, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Induced earthquake source process imaging and groundwater chemistry monitoring in the Western Canada sedimentary basin
Three years, worth $676,955

In the past five years, there has been a drastic increase in the number of earthquakes potentially induced by fluid injection during unconventional oil and gas extraction in North America, including in previously seismically inactive areas. This project will incorporate innovative geophysical, hydrogeological and geochemical monitoring techniques and numerical tools to quantitatively image and model induced seismicity source processes at two hydraulic fracturing wells and one disposal well in northeastern British Columbia and in western Alberta. We will provide unbiased scientific knowledge for public policy making by our supporting organization, the Geological Survey of Canada, as well as regulatory policy adjustment by provincial oil and gas commissions.

Thomas Szkopek, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Advanced manufacturing of InN/Si nanowire tunnelling transistors for energy efficient electronics
Three years, worth $375,000

Since the dawn of modern computing, the energy efficiency of computation has been a driving force for change. It is estimated that 10 per cent of global electricity production is consumed on electronics, primarily on cloud computing. This project aims to address the problem of energy efficiency in electronics through the development of a scalable advanced manufacturing process for low-voltage InN/Si tunnelling field effect transistors (TFETs). The increased energy efficiency of a TFET would permit higher speed device operation. Supporting industry partners, Canadian companies Crosslight and Meaglow, will be ideally positioned to stake out a role in the integration of TFET technology into the $300 billion / annum semiconductor industry, in the specific domains of technology computer aided design (TCAD) and InN growth technology respectively.

Ultra-high quality transition metal dichalcogenide synthesis by molecular beam epitaxy for integrated light emitting diodes and ion sensitive transistors
Three years, worth $343,000

2-D materials are a new class of materials that exist as atomic monolayers, and which possess a wide range of useful physical properties. While graphene is the most well-known of the 2-D materials, it is a conductor that is unsuitable for electronics, spurring a decade of research into the development of semiconducting 2-D materials. Partnered with NanoAcademic Technologies, leading experts in nanoscale device modelling, this project aims to address this advanced manufacturing challenge at the intersection of nanotechnology and quantum materials. This work will enable the development of a scalable manufacturing process for 2-D semiconductors, will train highly qualified personnel in next generation semiconductors, and will provide our Canadian corporate partners with economic opportunities that can be realized from an international leadership position in 2-D materials development.

Odile Liboiron-Ladouceur, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Software-enable energy-efficient hardware infrastructure for next-generation data centres
Three years, worth $484,200

This project strategically addresses the challenges related to the urgent need for scaling data centres to support cloud computing and the emergence of Internet-of-Things (IoT), both of which have given rise to an exponential growth in the transmission and storage of data. Two investigators, Prof. Odile Liboiron-Ladouceur (McGill) and Prof. Glenn Cowan from Concordia University are merging their expertise in photonics and electronics to strategically target the need for an infrastructure solution to support IoT. They are teaming up with three Canadian industry partners from the hardware supply chain for data centres: Intengent, Reflex Photonics and Huawei Canada. This project will also train a total of 11 students with invaluable skills for the benefit of Canadian industry.

David Juncker, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Aptamer-based enrichment system and capillary chip for low-abundance water contaminant detection to ensure aquaculture safety and quality
Three years, worth $552,000

Aquaculture, the farming of fish, shellfish and aquatic plants in fresh or seawater, is a rapidly growing Canadian industry. There is a great need for highly sensitive, rapid and user-friendly field deployable monitoring tools for detection of trace amount of contaminants in natural water systems, as well as for tools to conduct water quality surveys, identify and assess source of point and non-point pollution, establish concentration limits and classify harvest areas based on the analysis. This project will develop a portable detection system combining an aptamer-based analyte enrichment mechanism, and a microfluidic chip for hands-off processing, integrated with a sensitive graphene-based sensor. The project will establish a novel analyte enrichment and detection technology that is capable of ultra-high sensitivity, reaching detection limit not achievable by current field deployable methods.

Xinyu Liu, Department of Mechanical Engineering
An Ultrasensitive Microfluidic Biosensor Based on Vertically-Aligned MoS2 Nanolayers
Three years, worth $486,400

Next-generation biosensors that exploit highly-sensitive, two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials could provide superior analytical performance and enable rapid, ultrasensitive tests for a variety of applications in areas such as molecular diagnosis, environmental monitoring, and food safety inspection. The microfluidic design of our biosensor also allows easy device operation, multiplexed assay, and low sample consumption.  As the first demonstration, we will apply our FET-biosensor to rapid, ultrasensitive detection of brain injury protein markers for constant monitoring of patient brain conditions during cardiac surgery.  This research will offer a powerful VAMN-based biosensing platform, which could find many important applications where ultrahigh sensitivity and very short array time are desired.

Read the NSERC press release




Short-term housing app wins student tech idea pitch competition

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 16:44
Contest winners Justin Dalrymple (left) and Andrea Cabral (right) with McGill alumnus John D. Thompson.

Contest winners Justin Dalrymple (left) and Andrea Cabral (right) with Peter Thompson. / Photo: Owen Egan

By Junji Nishihata

An app designed to help students source short-term accommodations scooped up first prize at the John D. Thompson Entrepreneurial Development Seminar last month. Shohm, the brainchild of Andrea Cabral and Justin Dalrymple, will connect tenants to landlords via a mobile interface that promises to do for student housing what Airbnb has done for vacation rentals. The team squeezed out three other competitors who also pitched their ideas at the seminar, which is in its 4th year. This is the first year that a student pitch competition takes place.

“This is a great first step for us,” said Cabral, an undergrad student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and lead designer of the potentially game-changing application. “We see this as a vote of confidence in our mission to help students focus on their studies and less on their accommodations.” The seminar, sponsored by Faculty of Engineering alumnus John D. Thompson, is held each year during the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) TechWeek and aims to inspire entrepreneurial thinking throughout the Faculty.

The seminar was kicked off by an engaging keynote speech by serial entrepreneur Dr. Robert Heft, a McGill alumnus who presented a heartfelt story of developing unique therapies for rare and incurable diseases such as Hypophosphatasia, a crippling genetic disorder that prevents proper skeletal development in infants. Heft later served on the judging panel that selected the best student-lead tech idea.

Other entrants in the competition were Immersed (2nd place and audience favourite), a language-learning app, SpeedPad (3rd place), a wireless timing device and app for swimming, and Blühen, a system for cannabinoid extraction. Other judges in the panel were Didier Toussaint, Group President of Discovery Air and Miguel Cobo, Innovation Leader at Ericsson Canada. Teams Immersed and Bluhen are currently competition in the semi-finals of the McGill Dobson Startup Competition.


Montreal is world’s #1 student city

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 16:00

Montreal-skyline.webBy McGill Reporter Staff

There’s already plenty to celebrate during Montreal’s 375th anniversary year, and now there’s yet another reason: QS Quacquarelli Symonds has named Montreal the world’s number-one student city. The global higher education analyst released its fifth annual QS Best Student Cities ranking on February 14, 2017.

Montreal jumped from last year’s seventh place to overtake reigning champ Paris, now the world’s second-place student city after four years in the top spot.

QS evaluated 125 cities to determine its Top 100 ranking. Each city was required to have a population of more than 250,000 and be home to at least two universities in the most recent annual QS World University Rankings. Three Montreal universities were in the 2016 rankings: McGill (number 30 in the world), Université de Montréal (126) and Concordia University (466).

Montreal’s improvement in the QS Best Student Cities ranking reflects gains in two of QS’s five traditional composite indicators – Affordability and Employer Activity – plus a strong performance in the new Student View category. The other three categories are University Rankings, Student Mix and Desirability. The breakdown of Montreal’s QS report card is available online.

The Employer Activity score reflects Montreal’s recent economic progress, which is outpacing that of Canada as a whole, driven by infrastructure investments and widespread gains across the service sector. QS’s metric takes into account a city’s unemployment rate, as well as how favourably international and domestic employers perceive graduates of a city’s universities. Montreal jumped 11 places in this category and now ranks 16th worldwide.

According to a 2016 study by the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, there are more than 155,252 full-time university students in the greater Montreal area. More than 23,000 of them come here from outside Canada. One-third of the city’s international students study at McGill.

The new QS Student View indicator is based on 18,000 international students’ thoughts on their adopted city’s social and cultural offerings, its attitudes toward tolerance and inclusion, and their own willingness to live there after graduation. Out of all 125 cities, Montreal placed fifth for this metric.

“This ranking is a reflection of how highly our students, and the global workplace, value Montreal’s universities,” said Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “It is also a validation of the city’s welcoming spirit and exciting creativity. Montreal is a place of coming-together: different languages and cultures, the arts and commerce, deep history and a visionary future. Our hometown is a special city, and students want to live and study here. It is particularly rewarding to get this kind of international recognition during our sesquicentennial year.”

“While I find this amazing news, I can’t really say I am surprised,” said Ollivier Dyens, McGill Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning). “Montreal is a city where ‘Il fait bon vivre.’ Montrealers, like McGillians, are tolerant, gentle and creative and they welcome students and immigrants from all over the world with open arms. And we know from years of research that the most creative cities are also the most tolerant.”

For many international students, their first taste of Canadian winter can be a shock – but the QS ranking suggests Montreal’s many charms handily offset its tough winters. A self-described “tropical flower,” Victor Frankel came to study in Montreal six years ago after living in Mexico City, Chicago, Santa Barbara and Panama. “I’ve lived in some amazing cities,” says the ecology and evolutionary biology PhD student, and secretary-general of McGill’s Post Graduate Students’ Society, “and Montreal is my favourite. It’s a city that offers everything, from art to culture to diversity to multiculturalism. Having so many universities here is a huge asset because there’s a lot of potential for intercollegiate collaboration and the universities attract people who are very cosmopolitan. They have a voice and good ideas, and that helps to change the dialogue about important issues in the city – and changes the dialogue happening across the country. Montreal is a great place to be if you really want to think about having an impact.”

Montreal is not the only Canadian city to improve its performance in the 2017 QS Best Student Cities ranking. Vancouver and Toronto, which last year tied with Boston for 13th place, are now 10th and 11th, respectively. Ottawa is 26, up from 49. The only other Canadian city to make the Top 100 is Quebec, which is 72. The overall Canadian performance benefited from gains in the QS Affordability indicator, which measures a combination of tuition fees and cost-of-living in each of the 125 cities covered in QS’s research.

Click on the thumbnail below to see how students reacted to the news.



McGill finishes 2nd overall at RSEQ swim championships

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 13:30
Highlighting the weekend for the McGill swim team was five new qualifiers for the national championships and 13 podium finishes.

Highlighting the weekend for the McGill swim team was five new qualifiers for the national championships and 13 podium finishes.

By Earl Zukerman

The McGill swim team won six races and surpassed all expectations by finishing second overall in the combined women’s and men’s standings at the RSEQ championships, a three-day meet that wrapped up Sunday at the Centre PEPS on the campus of Université Laval. The Montreal Carabins swept both the men’s and women’s titles, with McGill placing second in the former and third in the latter but second in the overall points total.

Highlighting the weekend for McGill was five new qualifiers for the national championships and 13 podium finishes, led by Kade Wist, a sophomore from Calgary, who captured three gold medals (400 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 4×200 free). Wist’s time in the 400 free was a personal best by more than four seconds, stopping the clock in 3:54.97.

Teammate Samuel Wang, a freshman from Sherbrooke, collected two gold medals (50 and 100 butterfly), one silver and a bronze. He also broke a school record in the morning preliminaries for the 200 fly, touching the wall in 53.21 seconds to break the mark of 53.44 set by Marc-Andre Benoit in 2014.

The Wist-Wang duo combined to give McGill a clean sweep in the three butterfly races.

Joining Wist on the winning relay was sophomore Duncan Burns of Fredericton, N.B., freshman Alexandre Grant of Beaconsfield, Que., and David Whiteside, a mechanical engineering senior from Burlington, Ont. McGill also collected a bronze in that 4×200, the only school over the weekend to register two podium finishes in the same relay.

McGill’s lone gold medal recipient on the Martlets squad was Jessica Warrack, a chemical engineering junior from Rocky View, Alta., who won the 400 individual medley in 4:50.35. Warrack also registered three bronze medal finishes, in the 400 free, 800 free and the 4×100 free relay.

All gold medalists automatically earned conference all-star status in addition to qualifying for the U SPORTS national championship meet in Sherbrooke, Feb. 24-26, however, they had all qualified earlier in the season. Five new McGill swimmers qualified over the weekend, bringing the team’s season total to 12 men and nine women.

The new qualifiers included rookie Alexandre Grant (200 free) of Beaconsfield, Que., sophomore Jason Galet (100 breast) of Montreal and freshman Stuart Lau (1500 free) of Edmonton, along with sophomore Isabelle Brathwaite (50 free) of Dollard des Ormeaux, Que., and sophomore Emily Goodwin (200 fly) of North Vancouver, B.C.

The Redmen collected 13 medals over the weekend, including five golds, one silver and seven bronzes, while the Martlets posted 10 podium finishes, with one gold, three silvers and six bronzes.

In the post-event awards ceremony, fifth-year Martlet veteran Valerie De Broux from Westmount, Que., received the RSEQ leadership award for best combining academics with citizenship. The 25-year-old master’s student in nursing has been the swim team representative on the Varsity Sports Council and has volunteered with the “Best Buddies” program to enrich the lives of local adults with intellectual disabilities. A peer tutor with fellow undergrads, she serves as a Teaching Assistant in nursing and has also been working part-time as a nurse at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“The most impressive thing was how we performed as a team today,” said head coach Peter Carpenter. “At the beginning of the meet we had set out one primary goal, which was to stay ahead of Laval in the combined points category (over the season’s five major meets). With a 21.5 point lead coming into the meet I was fairly confident. But in the first day of the weekend, however, Laval had made up 13.5 of those points.

“(Sunday) morning we met again and talked about reversing that trend and our team responded by reaching five more evening finals than Laval. When we met again before the evening races, I doubled down on our goal and asked the team to try and make the night special for our graduating students. We also stressed not only holding Laval off (in the season standings) but wanted to beat them in this meet overall, in their own pool. I have to say that tonight was one of those incredibly special nights when everything fell into place and everyone did their job. We ended up catching and passing them to finish second in the meet.”

Carpenter singled out Redmen team captain Keelan Marks, a finance senior from St, Bruno de Montarville, Que., who has been a key part of the team’s leadership group for the past three seasons. “In his last night of swimming for the Redmen, he posted two huge personal bests, in the 200 breast and 200 IM. I can barely put in to words what he has meant to me and the team and I am crushed to see his McGill swimming career come to an end.”

The Montreal Carabins captured the men’s banner, collecting 225.4 points over the season’s five league races, followed by McGill (185.2), Montreal (149.5), Sherbrooke (72.2) and UQTR (2.2). The Carabins also swept the women’s title, with 282.8 points. Laval was second (146.4), followed closely by McGill (137.2), then Sherbrooke (25.1) and UQTR (19.5). In the combined standings, the Carabins were first with 508.2 points, followed by McGill (322.4), Laval (295.9), Sherbrooke (97.3) and UQTR (21.7).

Beatrice Yeung: McGill’s newest Rhodes Scholar

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 12:37

Beatrice-YeungBy McGill Reporter staff

Beatrice Yeung is the most recent addition to McGill’s long list of Rhodes Scholars. That brings McGill’s complement to this year’s crop of Rhodes scholars to three.

It also means 142 McGill graduates have been awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, created in 1902, and one of the most respected in the world.

Yeung is doing a double major in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Sociology, a course program that is partly the result of volunteer work she did with First Nations in Montreal.

She worked with the Montreal General Hospital on how underserved populations can better navigate the health care system and did research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the second largest teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School.

At Oxford she intends to do an MPhil in Medical Anthropology.

Yeung joins two other McGill students who clinched 2017 Rhodes Scholarships this year, providing for up to three years of studies at the University of Oxford.

Aaron Gluck-Thaler, a prizewinning Mechanical Engineering student, is a scholar-elect from Quebec.

Angela Yu, a graduate student in Biology, who studies the initiation of DNA replication in yeast using super-resolution microscopy, is a scholar-elect chosen from the Maritimes.

“Congratulations to Beatrice, Angela and Aaron” said Principal Suzanne Fortier. “The Rhodes scholarship is internationally renowned as an acknowledgement of outstanding accomplishment. Over the years, it has recognized excellence in McGill’s student body, and their passion and drive for changing their world. I wish Beatrice, Angela and Aaron every success in their next chapters at Oxford.”

The Rhodes Scholarships, named for Cecil Rhodes, a British mining magnate and South African politician at the pinnacle of the British Empire’s influence around the world, are widely considered to be one of the worlds most prestigious. McGill counts more Rhodes Scholarships among its students than any other university in Canada.

At Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Rhodes Scholars join just over 20,000 students from more than 140 countries currently studying at the University.


Musician, heal thyself

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 16:37
The McGill Symphony Orchestra. / Photo: Owen Egan

Some examples of injuries for string players are tendonitis, focal dystonia, back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. / Photo: Owen Egan

By McGill Reporter staff

Claire Motyer is a 21-year-old violinist who’s been playing since she was four. Motyer was studying performance at The Schulich School of Music but had to switch out because of a chronic wrist injury. Changing her focus from a career as a teacher and chamber music performer she has now immersed herself in the field of musicians’ health. And that is why she and a team of about a dozen students organized Musicians’ Health Awareness Week 2017 from Feb. 13-19. Featuring a full schedule of events, the week will include everything from a session entitled Self-care for musicians: Everything you can do in a tux or high heels; and a panel on women in music; to a spinning class, and yoga for musicians.

“Musicians’ health is at the intersection of health, science, social justice, music and the arts,” says Motyer. “I think that non-musicians will find the panel discussions really interesting and learn a lot about issues they probably didn’t realize existed in the musical world, while those directly in the music community will feel this is a much needed conversation.”

Music-2An instrumental musician practices five hours a day or more, often using small muscles in highly repetitious movements. It’s as strenuous as training is for athletes. Not warming up, stretching or sleeping and eating properly can have an impact. Some examples of injuries for string players are tendonitis, focal dystonia, back pain and carpal tunnel. For brass instrumentalists, it’s the embouchure or mouth, for clarinetists, saxophonists and bassoonists it’s the thumbs, and for singers the vocal chords.

Student musicians also work in stressful environments and have high expectations in terms of playing quality as well as quantity. Research has shown that musicians are three times more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. Research also shows that over 50 per cent of musicians experience some sort of playing-related health problem.

Motyer says sometimes it gets so bad that musicians drop out of school, change career paths, and most upsettingly, fall out of love with music and music-making.

Motyer’s goal is to bring musicians, especially student musicians, the resources they need to learn how to take care of themselves mentally and physically in order to reach their peak.

Music-1The Schulich School of Music is leading the way in North America by adding wellbeing to the curriculum with a course called Music as Profession. There is also a new partnership with the Faculty of Medicine so that injured performers get the same priority accorded varsity athletes.

Jacqueline Leclair, Associate Professor of Oboe, Woodwind Area Chair, and Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, has had challenges with arm pain during her own career.

“A happy by-product of my own struggles is that I learned, over the years, what the best ways are to avoid playing-related injury and how to recover from it,” says Leclair. “The earlier we educate young musicians about these topics, the healthier and more successful they will be throughout their careers.”

Leclair teaches one of the first performance awareness courses in Canada focussing on injury prevention that teaches skills to prevent occupational health problems. She says the School is working closely with the students on the issues.

“The School of Music administration is enthusiastically supportive of the Health Awareness Week, and has agreed to fund all associated expenses,” says Leclair. “We are also including the Student Committee’s representatives on the new Music Student Well-Being Committee which will, coincidentally, have its inaugural meeting Feb. 14.”

Get more information about Musicians’ Health Awareness Week 2017


McGill repeats as winner of Bank of Canada’s Governor’s Challenge

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 15:18
 Prof. Christopher Ragan, Baptiste Cumin.

Front row, LtoR: Ludovic van den Bergen , Stephen Poloz (Governor of the Bank of Canada), Kurt Vogt Gwerder. Second row, LtoR: Jules Boudreau,, Prof. Francisco Ruge-Murcia, Eric Blachut. Back row, LtoR: Prof. Christopher Ragan, Baptiste Cumin.

By Neale McDevitt

It may not quite be on the same level as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, but McGill’s Department of Economics is starting to develop a winning reputation. On Saturday, Feb. 4, a team of five Econ undergrads won the Bank of Canada’s Governor’s Challenge. Winner of last year’s inaugural event? A team from McGill’s Department of Economics.

Despite the win streak, this year’s victory did not come easily. “We honestly thought we wouldn’t win, because we had heard that the other teams’ presentations were really good, so it was a real surprise when the Governor of the Bank announced the winners,” says Jules Boudreau, an undergrad in Economics and International Development, and a member of the McGill team. “We are all extremely happy, especially considering the amount of work we put in.”

Along with Boudreau, McGill’s winning team was comprised of Eric Blachut, Baptiste Cumin, Kurt Vogt Gwerder and Ludovic van den Bergen, along with academic advisors Professors Chris Ragan and Francisco Ruge-Murcia.

The Governor’s Challenge sees teams of undergraduate students in economics and finance give presentations on the economic outlook and make monetary policy recommendations to the Bank’s Governing Council, represented by a panel made up of senior executives from the Bank and the private sector.

For the 2016–17 edition of the Governor’s Challenge, 24 universities from across the country participated in the preliminary round of presentations held in November. Five teams were selected for the final round, representing Wilfrid Laurier University, McGill, the Université de Sherbrooke, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo.

“For the competition, we had to put together a 15-minute presentation on the global and domestic forces that are currently affecting the Canadian economy and project what the economy will look like over the next three years,” says Eric Blachut, 4th year, Honours Economics. “We then had to use this analysis to give a policy recommendation for the Bank. The bank itself does a very similar analysis every quarter, looking at the Canadian economy and then deciding on policy actions to fulfill their mandate of controlling inflation.”

And why was McGill’s presentation so successful?

“We focused on creating a clear, digestible presentation. Our mentors emphasized the importance of storytelling to guide the judges through our thinking,” says Baptiste Cumin, U3 Honours Economics. “I think our presentation clearly prioritized the driving forces behind inflation and GDP growth in Canada.”

Boudreau agrees, noting that their winning presentation (“extremely tight and polished”) was the result of teamwork and relentless preparation. “We practiced dozens of time, and critiqued each other’s part constantly,” he says. “I changed my part 10 times in the week just before the contest.

“But what separated us from the other teams was our answers to the questions the judges asked after the presentation,” says Boudreau. “Our extensive research allowed us to answer the questions in a logical and complete way.”

That research began months ago, as individuals and together as a team. “I started reading monetary policy reports and doing research as early as last August,” says Cumin. “During the year, we met for a couple of hours every week and worked for many more hours on our own. From September to November, we sifted through hundreds of datasets looking for economic trends and met with our mentors to talk about what we should incorporate into the presentation. We then practiced our presentation over, and over again up until we knew all our parts verbatim.”

On top of keeping McGill’s undefeated streak in Governor’s Challenges alive, the project allowed participants to apply their studies in new and practical ways. “It is very instructive to have the chance to apply the theory we have learned – for example in macroeconomics and econometrics – to real world, current data,” says Blachut. “Learning about the policy-making process is itself interesting, as you have to distill down lots of different models into a concise story to support your recommended action.”

In the end, the team was presented a trophy from the Bank of Canada’s Governor Stephen S. Poloz in the Bank’s head office in Ottawa. It was a modest trophy, much smaller than the one the Patriots’ Tom Brady would hoist the very next day at the end of Super Bowl LI. But the sense of pride for a job well done and the feeling of accomplishment is not diminished by the size of the prize. “I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face,” says Cumin on the team’s victory. “It’s a great way to cap six months of work.”




Le French side de McGill a le vent dans les voiles!

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 12:45

students-3Saviez-vous qu’à l’Université McGill, un étudiant sur cinq est de langue maternelle française?

Le nombre d’étudiants francophones à McGill augmente d’année en année, à telle enseigne que son fondateur, James McGill – qui était lui-même bilingue et avait épousé une francophone – ne reconnaîtrait pas le profil du corps étudiant de son université.

Le French side de McGill est présent et bien vivant partout sur les campus et au-delà de nos murs.

McGill tend la main aux étudiants francophones. C’est pourquoi elle a lancé les campagnes « McGill, c’est pour moi » et « French side de McGill ». Déployée dans le métro et en ligne, cette dernière cible les 16‑24 ans en prévision du 1er mars, date limite d’inscription dans les universités.

L’automne venu, nos conseillers font la virée des cégeps de la province, de Montréal aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine, puis en Abitibi, pour recruter des étudiants. La délégation de McGill visite au total 75 cégeps.

Par ailleurs, tout au long de 2017, il y aura de nombreuses activités à caractère francophone sur nos campus.

Cette semaine se tient l’activité Voici une journée à McGill, qui donne au futur étudiant francophone de McGill la chance de rencontrer un étudiant ayant un parcours scolaire semblable au sien.

Ce jumelage permet aux cégépiens de découvrir un nouveau milieu d’apprentissage au sein d’une université anglophone. En effet, ils vivent une journée typique à McGill en accompagnant les étudiants à leurs cours et aux divers lieux qu’ils fréquentent au quotidien.

Le programme existe depuis trois ans. La première année, 15 cégépiens s’y sont inscrits. Cette année, on dénombre plus 150 inscriptions. Les participants, qui proviennent de 25 cégeps francophones, nous arrivent de partout au Québec : Rivière-du-Loup, Drummondville, Chicoutimi, région de Beauce-Appalaches, Montréal, Sainte-Thérèse, Valleyfield, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Shawinigan, L’Assomption, Victoriaville, Québec et Saint-Félicien.

L’idée de la journée à McGill a germé dans la tête de Jocelyne Younan, registraire associée, Recrutement au premier cycle. L’activité, explique-t-elle, se déroule pendant les vacances des cégépiens et la période au cours de laquelle ils choisissent leur université.

« Je me suis dit que nous pourrions accueillir des cégépiens de tous les horizons et les jumeler avec leurs pairs comme on le fait pour les étudiants de langue anglaise. Ils peuvent ainsi prendre le pouls de ce milieu nouveau et anglophone. Ils ont le droit de remettre leurs travaux et de faire leurs examens en français, donc nous nous sommes dit que nous pourrions leur faire connaître davantage le campus. Nous espérons qu’ils repartiront avec une impression positive! »

Congrès de l’Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas) de 8 au 12 mai, 375e anniversaire de Montréal et 150e du Canada, 40e anniversaire du mensuel Le Délit et nombreuses activités prévues dans le cadre de la Francofête : en 2017, les occasions de célébrer en français à McGill seront nombreuses!

Pour la première fois, l’Université est dirigée par une femme francophone, Suzanne Fortier, scientifique de formation. La principale Fortier invite tous les étudiants à participer à la vie de McGill et de Montréal au cours de cette année phare que sera 2017.

Pour en savoir davantage sur l’activité Voici une journée à McGill.


The French side of McGill is expanding

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 12:17

1.studentsBy McGill Reporter staff

Did you know that one out of five McGill students speaks French as their first language?

Even if McGill was founded by the anglo establishment of Montreal, with names like Macdonald, Strathcona, and McConnell, the character of the student body has changed dramatically to better reflect the reality of Quebec’s demographics.

McGill make an effort to reach out to francophones with its “The French side” campaign in the metro and online. The campaign targets francophones between the ages of 16-24 in anticipation of the March 1 application deadline.

Today the Principal of McGill is Suzanne Fortier, a francophone. If you walk around campus you will hear lots of chatting and laughing in French.

It’s due in part to the good work of the people at Enrollment Services. Part of their job is to increase the user friendliness of McGill for French-speaking students.

McGill staffer Marylou Cormier spends each fall touring the province’s 75 CEGEPs encouraging French students to attend McGill. By car, plane, even by métro, Cormier travels the regions from Amqui to Abitibi inviting students to study at McGill.

Francophone students, like all students, are preoccupied by what programs are on offer, internships, and what kinds of accomodations are available. They also want to know if they can hand in their assignments in French.

The increasing numbers of francophones on campus are also due to the effect of a program called “les Journées du français à McGill” on campus.

At the beginning of each “Journée’” French-speaking CEGEP students are paired with francophone McGill students with similar interests. These duos then go to class and hang out together for the day on campus getting a feel for student life.

Les “Journées” started three years ago when a first group of 15 students signed on. This year more than 150 Cégepiens have signed on from 25 francophone CEGEPS from Rivière-du-Loup, Drummondville, Chicoutimi, Beauce-Appalaches. Montréal, Sainte-Thérèse, Valleyfield, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Shawinigan, Assomption, Victoriaville, Québece et Saint-Félicien.

Associate Registrar for Undergraduate Recruitment Jocelyne Younan says “Les Journées” are a chance for students who are considering their options to get a clearer picture of what McGill has to offer, and to test themselves in a mostly anglophone environment. “We want them to get a warm and friendly impression of the campus.”

For some would-be students, McGill is a long way from what they are familiar with – some have never even been to Montreal, and would be hard-pressed to pinpoint McGill on a map of the city. This year the visiting francophone students come from Shawinigan, Victoriaville and Quebec City.

This is going to be a big year for the French side of McGill – the L’ACFAS, l’Association francophone pour le savoir, from May 8-12, is at McGill while the city celebrates its 375th birthday and the country celebrates its 150 years.

At McGill the language of instruction is English, but students can submit work in either English or French. The University has a bilingual language policy and charter. It is one of three English-language universities in Quebec.


AMUSE Floor Fellows / Negotiation update

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 08:32

On February 6, representatives of the Union and McGill met in the presence of the Arbitrator appointed by the Ministry of Labour, to establish their positions and discuss next steps for negotiations on a first collective agreement. This meeting was held following McGill’s decision not to endorse an agreement that includes both free room & board and wages for work performed.

The University indicated its willingness to either continue the mediation with the assistance of the Arbitrator on monetary parameters, or to ask the Arbitrator to arbitrate this section of the collective agreement. The University is supportive of all other clauses previously agreed upon by the parties.

The Union informed the Arbitrator and McGill of its decision to discontinue discussions at this time, and to ask the Arbitrator to possibly arbitrate the majority of the clauses of the collective agreement, including the monetary parameters.

The Arbitrator will proceed with the arbitration of the collective agreement. The Arbitrator asked each party to provide the name of the legal counsel who will represent them in the arbitration, and the list of articles to be arbitrated. Once the Arbitrator is informed of the names of each party’s legal counsel and of the list of articles to arbitrate, a calendar of activities will be established.

The Arbitrator informed the parties that the earliest availability to begin the arbitration will be in the fall of 2017.

Mise à jour sur les négociations / AMUSE Responsables d’étage

Le 6 février, les représentants du Syndicat et de McGill se sont rencontrés en présence de l’arbitre nommé par le Ministre du travail afin d’établir leur position et discuter des prochaines étapes de la négociation d’une première convention collective. Cette rencontre fait suite à la décision de McGill de ne pas entériner une entente qui comprend la gratuité de la chambre et des repas et le paiement d’un salaire pour le travail effectué.

L’Université a indiqué son ouverture soit à continuer la médiation avec l’aide de l’arbitre sur les paramètres monétaires, soit à demander l’arbitre d’arbitrer cette partie de la convention collective. L’Université est favorable à toutes les autres clauses précédemment convenues par les parties.

Le Syndicat a informé l’arbitre et McGill de sa décision de ne pas poursuivre à ce moment les discussions et de demander l’arbitrage de possiblement la majorité des clauses de la convention collective, y compris les paramètres monétaires.

L’arbitre procédera à l’arbitrage de la convention collective. L’arbitre a demandé à chaque partie de lui fournir le nom du conseiller juridique qui les représentera à l’arbitrage et la liste des articles soumis à l’arbitrage. Une fois que l’arbitre est informé du nom du conseiller juridique de chaque partie et de la liste des articles soumis à l’arbitrage, on établira un calendrier des activités.

L’arbitre a avisé les parties que sa disponibilité la plus rapprochée pour commencer l’arbitrage sera à l’automne de 2017.



McGill surpasses Centraide goal – again

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 08:00
Members of the McGill community at the launch of the 2016 Centraide campaign this past fall, including Campaign co-chairs, Ollivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), centre with sunglasses, and Dilson Rassier, Dean of the Faculty of Education, in white McGill sweatshirt. / Photo: Owen Egan

Members of the McGill community at the launch of the 2016 Centraide campaign this past fall, including Campaign co-chairs, Ollivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), centre with sunglasses; and Dilson Rassier, Dean of the Faculty of Education, in white McGill sweatshirt. / Photo: Owen Egan

By Doug Sweet

McGill has again dug deep and come up with more than half a million dollars for Montrealers in need.

The final tally has come in for last fall’s Centraide/United Way campaign at $513,493, well beyond the target of $500,000.

“This is not just about McGill,” said campaign co-chair Ollivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning). “This is about supporting Montrealers in need. As usual, McGill has shown great generosity toward people in the community in which we live.”

Although this year’s result falls a little shy of last year’s all-time fundraising record of $525,606 – which handily surpassed that campaign’s goal of $475,000 – there was another small increase in the percentage of McGill employees who contributed.

“If all our employees contributed just $2 per paycheque, we’d surpass $700,000,” said Dean of Education Dilson Rassier, another of the McGill co-chairs. “We’ll keep working on that, but we are very grateful for the generous support we have received in this and previous campaigns. Well done, McGill!”

The 2016 Centraide campaign for the greater Montreal region was also a success raising $55,050,000 thanks to the generosity of several tens of thousands of donors. This amount will allow Centraide to support about 350 agencies that fight against poverty and exclusion in Montreal, Laval and on the South Shore. The 2015 citywide campaign raised a total of $54.3 million.

“I am extremely proud of the exceptional results we have achieved. I salute the amazing work and passion of the Cabinet members who brought this campaign to fruition, as well as the exemplary solidarity on the part of donors. This tremendous outpouring of generosity will contribute toward breaking the cycle of poverty in Greater Montreal,” said Isabelle Marcoux, co-chair of the greater Montreal campaign, in a statement made public by Centraide.

“Montreal would not be the same without the invaluable contribution of the companies, organizations, volunteers and citizens who support the largest network of aid agencies in Quebec. This campaign will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in our community,” added Mitch Garber, also a co-chair.

Every fall, Centraide (known as the United Way outside Quebec) conducts a citywide fund drive to support 350 agencies in and around Montreal dedicated to providing services to low-income, socially marginalized and vulnerable populations. Centraide estimates that the agencies they support are accessed by one in seven residents of Montreal, Laval and the South Shore.

As part of its commitment to serving the city of Montreal, McGill has been one of the top workplace fundraisers for Centraide over the past decade.



Online course goes in depth on Quebec’s North

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 16:31
Réal Mckenzie and Prof. Thierry Rodon. / Photo: Amélie Breton

Réal Mckenzie and Prof. Thierry Rodon. / Photo: Amélie Breton

By Kathryn Jezer-Morton

A new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Northern Quebec: Issues, Spaces, and Cultures is being offered by the Institut Nordique du Quebec (INQ), which is a tripartite partnership between McGill, Université Laval, and l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS).

The course is free and open to the public, and offers an introduction to the social and political issues of northern Quebec and the First Nations that are located in the region. The MOOC will be offered in two sessions: In French from Feb. 13 to April 10, and in English from April 24 to June 17. Registration for both versions is open until March 6.

Topics addressed will include northern populations’ cultures, northern representations in our collective imagination, various visions of the economic development of this territory, and its socio-political developments. The course will be led by Prof. Thierry Rodon of the Department of Political Science at Université Laval, and will include field interviews with people involved in the development and ecosystem management in the North.

The course outline is as follows:

Module 1 : Envisioning the North: between science and imagination

Module 2 : Migrations and Encounters

Module 3 : Indigenous Peoples: Between Recognition and Neglect

Module 4 : Northern Development: Homeland vs Hinterland

Module 5 : Regional governances

Module 6 : The Northern Political Economy

Module 7 : Which Development for the North?

Register for the MOOC online

Watch the promotional teaser by clicking on the thumbnail below


McGill ready to respond to Executive Order restricting travel

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 15:44

McGill-campus-fallBy McGill Reporter staff

McGill is responding to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Executive Order restricting travel to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Christopher Manfredi said Tuesday, Feb. 7.

As of Tuesday, the Order is suspended. A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined on Sunday to immediately block an order last Friday from a federal judge in Washington that had halted the travel ban, but were scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday. Experts quoted in U.S. media outlets believe the Appellate Court will rule quickly on the matter, likely within a week, but a reference to the Supreme Court of the United States remains a distinct possibility.

But regardless of the judicial proceedings, McGill is making financial support available to McGill graduate students, postdocs and faculty members “to offset unexpected costs resulting from restrictions on travel that is directly related to academic pursuit,” Manfredi said in a posting on his website. Such costs could be in the form of non-refundable academic conference registration fees or travel costs, for example. This will be reviewed if the suspension of the Executive Order continues indefinitely, Manfredi said.

“McGill remains committed to supporting international collaboration, partnership, and the free exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing, all of which are hallmarks of the modern academic world,” Manfredi said.

In addition to the financial support for unexpected costs, Manfredi outlined other steps the University is taking or will be prepared to take to help Individuals outside McGill who are citizens of the affected countries, if the travel ban comes back into force:

  • Deadlines to apply to certain undergraduate and graduate programs will be extended for citizens of the seven affected countries (Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Sudan). Application fees for admission to programs in Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 will likewise be reimbursed.
  • McGill will establish a financial assistance fund for newly admitted students who are citizens of the seven affected countries to offset unexpected costs associated with changed academic plans or additional costs incurred as a result of the application of the Executive Order.

Should the Executive Order be reinstated:

  • McGill will cooperate with Association of American Universities (AAU) member institutions to facilitate temporary exchange arrangements for citizens of the seven countries currently enrolled at U.S. institutions and whose mobility is inhibited by the Executive Order.
  • McGill faculty who are willing to host a colleague from a U.S. institution who is prevented from returning to his or her home institution as a result of the Executive Order may also apply to the financial assistance fund to offset the cost of welcoming these scholars to McGill. This might include, for example, support of the cost of office-set up or the acquisition of basic materials. The University will facilitate the granting of Visiting Scholar status to these individuals.

These measures arise from a working group Manfredi established quickly last week at the request of Principal Suzanne Fortier. In his website posting, Manfredi thanked “the nearly 400 respondents to last week’s survey on the effects of the Order for their thoughtful responses.”

Also last week, McGill confirmed its support of the Universities Canada response to the Executive Order.

Read the Provost’s full statement


Tomislav Friščić awarded NSERC’s Steacie Memorial Fellowship

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 13:34
Tomislav Friščić (right) has been awarded NSERC’s Steacie Memorial Fellowship. / Photo: Martin Lipman (NSERC)

Tomislav Friščić (right) has been awarded NSERC’s Steacie Memorial Fellowship. / Photo: Martin Lipman (NSERC)

Source: McGill Newsroom

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has awarded an E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowship to Prof. Tomislav Friščić, to support his work in an innovative branch of chemistry that aims to develop environmentally friendly alternatives to solvent-based chemical processes.

NSERC awards up to six of these two-year, $250,000 fellowships annually to enhance the career development of outstanding and highly promising scientists and engineers.

Friščić is a leading researcher in the fast-growing field known as “mechanochemistry” – an approach that uses mechanical force, rather than solvents, to drive chemical reactions. “His research has uncovered important information about how reactions occur in this process, which will help Friščić and his team find ways to use mechanochemistry to recreate reactions in a way that is faster, more efficient and more energy-effective than with solvents,” NSERC noted.

“The Steacie Memorial Fellowship is an amazing recognition of my research group’s efforts to create viable alternatives to the conventional — and often wasteful — approaches to chemical synthesis,” Friščić said. “The generous award that comes with the Fellowship will enable us to focus fully on developing ‘Chemistry 2.0′ – a cleaner, solvent-free system of chemical synthesis that could replace traditional solvent-based approaches in research and industry.

“The two years dedicated exclusively to research in sustainable and green chemistry will enable us to establish the principles and exciting new mechanisms of this approach,” he added. “It will also enable us to hammer out the best ways to adapt this approach for cleaner, energy- and materials-efficient manufacturing.”

“We are grateful to NSERC for its support of important research projects, including Professor Friščić’s innovative efforts to create safer solvent alternatives,” said Suzanne Fortier, McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Congratulations to Prof. Friščić on this well-deserved recognition of his advances in decreasing pollution from, and increasing the efficiency of, crucial chemical reactions and processes.”

Friščić last year was one of three early-career researchers to receive the McGill Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Emerging Researchers.

Friščić already shares his findings with the pharmaceutical and mining sectors, “two large industries that could greatly reduce their environmental impact and cost of doing business by doing away with solvents,” NSERC added.

Read the the full NSERC citation

Encyclopedia highlights traditional animal foods of Indigenous Peoples

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 13:13
King salmon fish meat drying.

King salmon fish meat drying.

By McGill Reporter staff

A pioneering encyclopedia of more than 500 animal species that form the traditional diet of First Nations has just been published by the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE).

Traditional Animal Foods of Indigenous Peoples of North America is a magisterial collection of First Nations’ lore and knowledge about the animals that play a central role in their way of life. The encyclopedia has been ten years in the making, and is being hailed as a crucial advance toward the protection and advancement of First Nations’ cultures. At 400,000 words and many illustrations it offers as much information as three 500-page printed volumes.

Harriet Kuhnlein, Professor Emerita in the Department of Human Nutrition, and Founding Director of CINE is one of the leads on this decade-long project.

The other is Professor Murray Humphries, one of Canada’s foremost wildlife biologists. Humphries is with the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, and successor to Kuhnlein as Director of CINE. In November, Humphries was named one of three Northern Research Chairs by the Institut Nordique du Québec.

Kuhnlein says people who are interested in First Nations’ heritage can learn a lot about local food in natural ecosystems from the web encyclopedia. “With more information known by more Canadians we hope that our international policies for protecting wildlife as sustainable resources will be strengthened,” she says. “We also hope that more people will recognize the wisdom that Indigenous Peoples have about wildlife and ecosystems so that they can be included in policy development.”

Beaver was widely consumed by Aboriginal Peoples.

Beaver was widely consumed by Aboriginal Peoples. / Photo: Neale McDevitt

Indigenous Peoples are custodians of a lot of the world’s biodiversity and natural resources. Their relationship to animals and the environment of northern North America goes back thousands of years. Now some of that history is documented in this new peer-reviewed web encyclopedia laying out traditional foods. It’s a way to document indigenous peoples’ contributions to our global heritage of food knowledge.

“There has been a lot of recent attention paid to local diets and sustainable diets and how biodiversity conservation and human well-being are inter-connected,” says Humphries. “We hope this publication helps to encourage the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples, and their knowledge, and their traditional food systems in this conversation, including whether it is people vs. the environment or people with the environment.

“The food and biodiversity knowledge of Indigenous Peoples is incredible in its depth and its breadth. Even though this publication is big, we have only scratched the surface of this knowledge,” continues Humphries. “We often say you are what you eat, but in the case of traditional food systems, you also know what you eat, in a really fundamental, connected way.”

As first inhabitants of the land, Indigenous Peoples have developed deep knowledge and a rich oral culture about the animals with whom we share the forests and water of North America. Their relationship with animals is complex, the methods used to harvest animals for food are ingenious and varied, and measures are taken to protect animals from over hunting.

The new web encyclopedia focuses on Canada, Alaska, Greenland and the northern U.S., but many of the animal species presented are also found in the northern latitudes of Europe and Asia. Close to 500 ethnographic sources in 100 languages are cited – some going back about a century. Each food stuff can be searched by region, by culture or by animal.

For example, Carrier, Mi’kmaq and Kutenai cultures considered the beaver tail a delicacy. Beaver flesh was widely consumed. One of the Ojibwa chiefs of the Temagami band quoted in the encyclopedia described the beaver as the “Indian’s pork.”

And of course there is the moose, an animal that appears in Algonquin and Mi’kmaq legends and stories. For many, the brisket, hind quarters and shoulder of the moose are like valued cuts of beef.

The web book has been positively received by First Nations leaders across Canada.

Bill Erasmus, Déné National Chief and Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Yellowknife says “This web book is an important step for Indigenous Peoples in North America and around the world to protect our traditional food and ecosystems,” says Erasmus. “The research contributes to understanding the importance of local food and its benefits to our cultures, food security and health.”

Norma Kassi, Director of Indigenous Collaboration at the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research in Whitehorse is also a fan. “In light of the food insecurity crisis we are facing in the Arctic regions, this research on our traditional foods by renowned scientists of CINE will become very useful in processes of education within our communities,” she says. “Traditional food systems are critical to the culture and health of Indigenous Peoples and this website includes a lot of useful information about traditional animal foods and their nutritional value.”

Kuhnlein says not only is this collection a first, it is open access, free online, and catalogued in the McGill Library. That means it is available to thousands of libraries world-wide. This web resource is a first of its kind. She calls it a labour of love by many people. “The acknowledgements list the many students who contributed to this work over many years. It follows on the earlier ‘sister’ publication on Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples that I co-wrote with Dr. Nancy Turner that is also available through the McGill library and free on line through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, who so generously digitized that volume of more than 600 pages.”

View Traditional Animal Foods of Indigenous Peoples of North America online



McGill grad Gillian Florence heading to Rugby Canada Hall of Fame

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 13:03
Gillian Florence

Gillian Florence, who played for the rugby Martlets from 1995 to 1997, will be inducted into the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame.

By Earl Zukerman

Gillian Florence, a McGill graduate and stellar national team player, is among seven inaugural inductees selected for the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame.

Florence, who graduated in 1998 with a degree in physical education, will be inducted into the player’s wing along with Al Charron, Gareth Rees, Rod Snow and Robert ‘Ro’ Hindson. joining them, in the builder’s category, are Robert Spray and Mike Luke. The seven inductees will be celebrated at the annual Rugby Canada Awards Dinner on March 9 in Vancouver, B.C., ahead of the HSBC Canada Sevens at BC Place, March 11-12. The winners will also be recognized on the second day of the tournament. Tickets for the dinner are available online.

Florence, a 41-year-old native of Hudson, Que., is the most decorated Canadian female player of all-time after a two-decade career with the national team. She had a stellar career with Hudson high school (1987-1992), John Abbott College (1992-1994) and the McGill Martlets (1995-1997), where she earned all-conference honours in 1995 after leading the league in scoring. The speedy flanker suited up for Canada a record 66 times and is one of only five women to earn caps in five World Cup tournaments (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010). She made her debut for Canada at the tender age of 18 in a 28-0 win over Kazakhstan at the 1994 World Cup in Scotland and retired from international competition in 2011. In 2003, she was named to the All-World squad that played against the New Zealand Black Ferns.

Domestically, Florence played for Ste. Anne de Bellevue RFC for 22 years and represented Quebec for 18 years and was part of the 2000 and 2001 sides that won the national championship. The annual Canadian senior women’s player award receives the Gillian Florence Trophy, which is awarded to the “player who best represents the qualities of Canadian rugby as voted by her teammates.”

In 1998, she was named by The McGill Tribune as one of McGill’s top 20 athletes of all time. A decade after graduating from McGill, she served with the team as an assistant coach and eventually completed a graduate certificate in technical writing at Algonquin College. She has been employed as a technical writer, authoring installation and user manuals for products used by Caterpillar, Inc., in Montreal and at Ultra Electronics Martimes Systems in Dartmouth, N.S.

“We are very pleased that Rugby Canada has approved the seven nominees who had been recommended to be inducted into the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame,” said Barry Giffen, past president and chair of the Ways and Means Committee. “This inaugural group of inductees are examples of the commitment and success of individuals who have contributed significantly to Rugby Canada’s foundation of world class standards and success.

“It is hoped that this initial group of individuals will set the standard for all future Hall of Famers.”

Last October, the Ways and Means Committee was established to develop a plan to honour and preserve rugby’s culture and heritage in Canada by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of rugby’s participants throughout the country.

Full house for launch of Black History Month

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 16:52

By McGill Reporter Staff

More than 120 people attended McGill's opening event for Black History Month 2017, held Wednesday, February 1, in Thomson House.

More than 120 people attended McGill’s opening event for Black History Month 2017, held Wednesday, February 1, in Thomson House. Photo courtesy of SEDE.

On Wednesday, February 1, more than 120 people attended the opening event of the first full-month celebration of Black History Month organized by the Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office. There were speakers, singers and dancers and even a bit of steel pan music to usher people into the event.

Adrienne Piggott, Chair of McGill’s Subcommittee on Racialized and Ethnic Persons, acted as emcee. In a nice twist of McGill history, one of her duties was to introduce her father Glyne Piggott, Professor Emeritus and member of the McGill Faculty since 1973. Glyne Piggott taught Linguistics for four decades, as well as serving terms as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Graduate Program Director, and Chair of the Department of Linguistics. He is a world-renowned specialist in the study of First Nations languages, especially Ojibwa.

Adrienne Piggott won’t soon forget sharing the experience of launching the first full Black History month with her Dad. She says her father has been part of the fabric of the university for a long time, and was an early advocate of equity and inclusion, which wasn’t always easy.

“I believe that Black History Month will continue to be important for as long as people still ask Who is Viola Desmond? or Who is Charles Drew?” says Adrienne Piggott. “The history, and in particular the achievement, of Black people is an untold and often forgotten history. There is pride and inspiration that so many could feel from knowing that their people aren’t just the typecast thugs they see in action movies; their people are doctors and engineers and scientists and freedom fighters. Their culture, accomplishments and history is as rich as any other.

McGill Black History Month organizers Shanice Yarde (left) and Chantelle Dallas.

McGill Black History Month organizers Shanice Yarde (left) and Chantelle Dallas. Photo courtesy of SEDE.

Various prominent activists and distinguished guests from the greater Black community as well as from the McGill community also spoke.

“As many people know, this is the 10th anniversary of official Black History Month celebration in Quebec,” Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Christopher Manfredi said. “It is also the first February that we are celebrating Black History Month at McGill in such a concerted way, involving many people from across McGill and wider communities…. I am impressed by and proud of the interest these events have generated. I believe that we should build on this, ensuring the celebration of Black History Month every year at McGill.”

Manfredi spoke of the importance of realizing the promise of equity and diversity. He underlined that McGill must be a welcoming place for all students, faculty and staff, no matter their identities or beliefs.

“We have been sharply reminded in recent days of how hostile to diversity our world can be. Confronted with these sizable challenges, it becomes our shared responsibility to uphold our steadfast commitment to respect and tolerance, and to take concrete measures to that end within our University,” he said. “This work is difficult but essential and, as Provost, I am committed to it.”

He also thanked organizers Shanice Yarde and Law student Chantelle Dallas, along with Veronica Amberg of the SEDE Office, as well as Adrienne Piggott.

“One of my goals for this exciting celebration is to provide a bridge between McGill and the greater Montreal community,” Yarde, of SEDE, said. “I am so proud to be collaborating with the Black community and finding ways to amplify their voices and knowledge. We all have something important to share and I am honoured to create more spaces for Black Excellence at McGill and across Montreal.”

The month of February will feature a diverse selection of campus events, workshops, and activities in celebration of Black Excellence.

A schedule of events can be found here.

There are updates on Facebook and a video of parts of the launch party can be found on the Facebook page.

Put the kettle on: Reaping the benefits from a hot cup of tea

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 00:58
5 O'Clock, by John-Bagnold Burgess (1852)

5 O’Clock, by John-Bagnold Burgess (1852)

Source:  MUHC Communications

The bone chilling February cold has settled in, and there’s no better way to fight this weather than to be drawn in by the warm embrace of a piping hot cup of tea. Experts at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) say there are any number of benefits that can be found in your favourite cuppa.

MUHC Nutritionist and Manager of Clinical Nutrition Services Deborah Fleming, says that your steaming cup of tea packs quite the punch in terms of health benefits.

  • Black tea, like Earl Grey and English Breakfast, contain a high amount of antioxidants. Consumption of these antioxidants helps to prevent the formation of free radicals in our bodies; which is what is said to be linked to the development of various forms of cancer.
  • Black tea is also rich in tannins. Tannins in combination with other ingredients found in black tea, have an anti-inflammatory effect which have been shown to have positive and relaxing effects on the digestive system.
  • Even more powerful is the almighty green tea. It’s higher in antioxidants, with three times as much as black tea. This is due to the way in which it is processed. The ingredients in green tea work together harmoniously, in turn making it a mood booster that stimulates brain function.

“The combined effect of the caffeine that’s found in green tea and another chemical in the tea, which is an amino acid called Theanine, is synergistic,” says Fleming. “So that’s why sometimes when you drink green tea it stimulates you, despite it having a much lower caffeine level than coffee.”

Like everything in life, tea should be consumed in moderation to truly reap the full health benefits it offers. As Fleming explains, the addition of too much sugar, milk, or cream in tea negates many of the benefits.

There is another key physical and mental benefit that is directly linked to the act of consuming tea. The joy of taking a break.

“When you’re having a really stressful day, just taking the time to brew and drink that cup of tea helps you relax,” says Fleming.


AMUSE/Casuals and McGill sign a new collective agreement

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 16:21

The new collective agreement between the Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE/Casuals) / Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and McGill University will last 40 months with an expiry date of May 31, 2020

On January 30, the Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE/Casuals) / Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and McGill University signed a new collective agreement. This is the second collective agreement with this unit and it will last 40 months with an expiry date of May 31, 2020.

The negotiation of this collective agreement took place over a period of 18 months, in which there were 24 negotiation meetings. Eleven of these meetings were held with the assistance of a conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour.

AMUSE members voted 84 per cent in favour of the agreement on January 9.

AMUSE/PSAC (Casuals) represents approximately 1,400 casual employees.

The full text of the collective agreement has been posted on the McGill website.

This message has been issued jointly by the Union and the University.


AMUSE/employés occasionnels et McGill signent une nouvelle convention

Le 30 janvier, le Syndicat des employés occasionnels de l’Université McGill (AMUSE/employés occasionnels)/Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada (AFPC) et l’Université McGill ont signé une nouvelle convention collective. Cette deuxième convention collective avec cette unité sera d’une durée de quarante mois et sa date d’échéance est le 31 mai 2020.

La négociation de cette convention s’est déroulée sur une période de dix-huit mois. Une entente est intervenue après vingt-quatre rencontres de négociation dont onze avec l’aide d’un conciliateur nommé par le Ministère du travail.

Le 9 janvier les membres d’AMUSE ont voté à 84 % en faveur de la convention.

AMUSE/AFPC (employés occasionnels) représente quelque 1 400 employés occasionnels.

Le texte complet de la convention collective est accessible sur le site web de McGill à l’adresse suivante :

Ce communiqué a été émis conjointement par le Syndicat et l’Université