#GreatBigCrunch March 1, 2:30 pm

#GreatBigCrunch March 1, 2:30 pm

When it comes to food and health, there is a ton of debate on what and how to eat … but the one thing almost everyone agrees on is that fresh veggies and fruits rule. There are many reasons why, from healthier people to a healthier planet, and now we have “moodbooster” to add to the list. An Australian study in 2016 found increasing veggies and fruits by 8 servings/day made people happier. How much happier? The same amount as going from not having a job to gainfully employed (HUMONGOUS!).

Let’s celebrate our happiness-inducing veggies and fruits with a #GreatBigCrunch, a Foodshare event now in its 11th year.

All About the #GreatBigCrunch

When: Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 2:30pm EST – but you can crunch anytime.

What: Get together, bring your favourite crunchy produce (like apples, carrots, radishes, celery, but not potato chips) and take a big, synchronized bite to celebrate your crunch!

Share: your crunch photos/videos (sound high!) using #GreatBigCrunch (If you’re at UHN, use #GreatBigCrunch #UHN and we’ll retweet you for days).

Register: with Foodshare so every crunch counts.

Who & Where: Anyone can participate anywhere across Ontario: workplaces, schools, outside or at home … perhaps not in a sterile operating theatre, but pretty much anywhere else is game. Help make noise for food literacy and a national school food program.


From our friends at Foodshare:

Since 2008, over 1 million people have joined us for the Great Big Crunch, an annual moment of anti-silence where everyone gets together and bites into crunchy fresh local produce in unison. The symphony is loud, whether you munch on apples or carrots. From coast to coast to coast, celebrate and enjoy healthy snacking with your class, colleagues or friends. Using vegetables and fruits as stars in recipes and fun activities will make you cherish the local bounty around us all.

Hungry for more food articles? Dig in…

In Respect of Farmers

Garden of Eatin’

Freshest Thing on Wheels: GROW

Bon Appetit: OHA HealthAchieve Session: Food in Hospitals

Toronto’s New Holiday: Urban Ag Day

Drugs in my food’s food

New Year’s Resolution on Safer and Healthier Food


Random thoughts and observations of an itinerant cyclist


As a year-round bike commuter at UHN who also travels widely, I am fortunate to be able to sample the local cycling culture in these distant locales.  Recently Lisa Vanlint asked me to contribute to this forum by sharing some of my world-wide cycling experiences.  I am happy to do so.  To wit, I was in Medellin, Colombia last week giving some lectures (Medellin?!  Yes, think drug cartels, Pablo Escobar, cocaine capital of the world…  but those heady 1990s gangster days are mostly behind them:)


For some context — Medellin (pronounced Me-de-dj-in) is a relative large (GTA-sized) city in the Andes, located in a picturesque valley with steep hills / mountains on both sides.  In terms of public transport, it has a surprisingly nice above-ground Metro that is widely used.  Most lines runs along the valley, but there are a couple of gondola-based “Metro-Cable” lines that head perpendicularly up the slopes into the poorer neighbourhoods on the mountainsides. Very nice!


In terms of cycling, Medellin is actually reasonably advanced.  It has a bike-share city program and some bike lanes.  The latter are not too extensive, and are often quite challenging to navigate in the car-dominant urban environment (think GTA?!:), but at least there are some!  Further, it is not clear who has the right of way when a bike lane crosses a street — there are not many 4-way stops in Medellin — so by default cars seem to dominate.  And I could not find a city cycling map to know exactly where these lanes are, even though I checked in 3-4 bike shops…  But overall, I was still impressed that people actually bike in this populous South American city!  In fact, some locals say cycling is Colombia’s national sport #2 (though a distant second after football/soccer:)



Alex and Lisa during Bike to Work Day in the GTA. You can tell by the sunshine and warmth, it’s not a recent photo.

P.S. from the editor … though cycling is our favorite kind of clean air commute, can you answer 3 questions about electric vehicles? Thanks!

Do we need more EV charging stations?

Normally we talk about cycling, walking and TTC, but sometimes we think inside the car, especially an electric car. Before we go any further, can you answer 3 questions about electric vehicles?

Done the survey? Thanks! For more on EV’s, see Chad’s test drive and write-up.







You down with DCV at KDT? Yeah you know me!

Whether you want to send a car to space or implement an energy project, you must measure and track results! One of the biggest things we do here at the Energy and Environment team is to measure and track project results because it gives us real world information that we can use to accurately evaluate similar projects in the future. This post is about the recently completed demand controlled ventilation (DCV) project at the Krembil Discovery Tower (KDT). This project follows in the footsteps of similar projects that we worked on with UHN Research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower (PMCRT). Since we had such good proof of concept results from PMCRT, it made for a much easier decision to proceed with the project at KDT. Let’s take a look at the project and results!

Here’s a preview of the savings for those that don’t have time for all the details:

  • Electricity Demand Savings: 310.6 kW (equivalent to about 630 window AC units)
  • Electricity Consumption Savings: 1,433,353 kWh (equivalent to 161 typical Canadian houses annual consumption)
  • Natural Gas Savings: 418,343 cubic meters (794 tons of CO2, equivalent to taking 169 cars off the road)
  • Utility Cost Savings: $241,337

Krembil Discovery Tower (Image Source)


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Platinum Win! just in time for Carpool Week

BikeRacksElizTGH-JustinJoannaMeganWhen it comes to awards, what’s better than gold? Platinum! Happy to announce that for the first time ever, UHN won the Smart Commute PLATINUM Workplace designation, the highest mark in Metrolinx’s program.

How? By the Continue reading

What you said … Best of Intentions 2018

With the first month of 2018 more than 2/3rds done (I know, right!), we’re checking in on those New Years Resolutions while they’re still semi-fresh. We asked a few weeks ago what your best of intentions were, and are pleased to see your answers. From lowest to highest, let’s see what you plan to do…

18. Tied: “I will fix my basement and make it less drafty”, and “Use transit instead of car to get to work”.

Thankfully, between Save ON Energy rebates and Energy Star appliances, there’s lots of energy savings beyond the lightswitch.

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Once Upon A Time – Talkin’ Trash, New Year 2018

One of the benefits of getting older (aside from the abundance of reading glasses in a seemingly endless variety of styles and colours…not!) is that if one pays enough attention along the way, one just might learn something.  And one thing I’ve learned while studiously avoiding eye contact with the reading glass displays that seem to inhabit every single checkout line in the city…is that stories are important.

Stories are how we express ourselves, how we learn, how we relate to others, how we empathize and share…all bundled up in a package that, at a minimum, hopefully entertains, but at its best inspires and motivates.  And the beauty of stories is that even tales of ordinary people trying to do mostly ordinary (though sometimes amazing) things under mostly ordinary (though sometimes extraordinary) circumstances can make the world a better place.

Like a stand-up comedian telling of his everyday ups-and-downs in a way that can be simultaneously funny and poignant… sometimes without a single word being uttered…

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