Life in Balance

Through this online art blog/gallery we can encourage, inspire and share hope with one another…We invite who you to share your “NAPS” (News, Art ,Poetry, Songs) or inspirations. Email if you would like to share inspirations. Please note we can not post advice with regards to nutrition and exercise.

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Like a “Circle of Support”


“I’m alive today because people came together to help me.”
“…. it boils down to a common goal; the group wanted to get [her] … to safety, so they all did their part to ensure that happened”.

In the quoted article, a woman was in danger, but others came together to help her and save her life, just as we encourage developing a “Circle of Support” for recovery through community support.

Full article can be found here: A woman was trapped under a car in B.C. — until these bystanders helped lift it off her

Contact our office to discuss how you can develop a “Circle of Support” for yourself or a loved one.

Phone 905-886-6632 (please leave a detailed voicemail indicating a best time to reach you)


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Break the Stigma

June 2nd is World Eating Disorders Day!
For more information, visit

Check out the Looking Glass Foundations Something’s Gotta Give campaign!

Something’s Gotta Give is a constructive exposé of the true barriers we face in overcoming eating disorders, in really getting to the other side of this disease. It’s a call for meaningful change, for urgent action. On everyone’s part.

The Looking Glass Foundation has released a compelling #SGG series: Bust the Myths!


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Mental Health Week

May 7th to 13th is Mental Health Week!

Mental health is about more than mental illness

It’s more than being happy all the time. It’s about feeling good about who you are, having balance in your life, and managing life’s highs and lows. Everyone deserves to feel well, whatever their mental health experience. And we all need a support system to lean on.

Find events near you:

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A Bank NOTE-able Canadian Woman


Viola Desmond was selected by the Minister of Finance to be featured on Canada’s next regularly circulating $10 bank note. The selection was drawn from a short list of five iconic Canadians who, together, illustrate the diverse and important contributions women have made in shaping Canada’s history. Watch Viola’s Heritage Minute video, find out more about the selection process, and learn about other changes coming to your bank notes.

Viola Desmond (1914–1965)

Viola Desmond remains an icon of the human rights and freedoms movement in Canada. A successful Nova Scotia businesswoman, she defiantly refused to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946 and was subsequently jailed, convicted and fined. Her court case was one of the first known legal challenges against racial segregation brought forth by a Black woman in Canada.

Viola Desmond in her studio, ca. 1938. Wanda Robson Collection. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Thriving Entrepreneur

As a middle-class Black woman in the 1930s and 1940s, Viola Desmond was always a trailblazer. From her early days as a school teacher, her ambition was to set up her own hairdressing business. The first hurdle was training. Beauty schools in Halifax restricted Black women from admission, so she travelled to Montreal, New York and New Jersey to pursue various courses, eventually receiving a diploma from the renowned Apex College of Beauty Culture and Hairdressing in Atlantic City.

In 1937, Desmond set up Vi’s Studio of Beauty Culture in Halifax, which became a gathering place for women in the community. But her vision didn’t end there. Within a few years, she established the Desmond School of Beauty Culture, which drew students from across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec. Another venture—manufacturing and marketing Vi’s Beauty Products—was also generating orders from across Nova Scotia. She had made positive inroads as both an entrepreneur and a role model in her community and was an inspiration to her clients and students alike.

Viola Desmond portrait, ca. 1940. Communications Nova Scotia

Defender of Social Justice

On 8 November 1946, she was travelling to Sydney on business when her car broke down in New Glasgow. While waiting for repairs, she decided to go to a movie at the Roseland Theatre.

Unaware of the theatre’s policy of restricting Black people to the upper balcony, Desmond handed the cashier her money and asked for “one down please.” The cashier handed her a balcony ticket and, when she entered the theatre, the usher told her that the ticket was for the balcony and that she would need to go upstairs. Thinking there had been a mistake, Desmond returned to the cashier and asked to exchange her ticket. The cashier refused, stating “I’m not permitted to sell downstairs tickets to you people.” As soon as she realized that she was being denied seating on the basis of race, Desmond courageously walked back inside and took a seat downstairs. The theatre manager then confronted her, and when she didn’t move, he called the police. Desmond was forcibly ejected, arrested, charged and then convicted for failure to pay the extra penny in theatre tax required for the downstairs seat.

Desmond was unsuccessful in her subsequent efforts to quash her criminal conviction, but her story resulted in a milestone human rights case in Canada. Since the case was framed as tax evasion, the real issue of racism had been shrouded by procedural technicalities. If she had not taken further action, the surviving trial records would have left no clue to the true significance of the case—that she had been denied the downstairs ticket on the basis of her race.

Viola Desmond speaking at graduation, ca. 1945. Wanda Robson Collection. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

The legal challenge sparked by Desmond touched a nerve within the Black community and added to the growing consciousness regarding racial discrimination in Nova Scotia. Her case was an inspiration for change and part of a wider set of efforts toward racial equality across the country.

Desmond’s perseverance, and the attention generated by her case, paved the way for a broader movement to recognize the importance of human rights in Canada.

Desmond received a posthumous free pardon from the Nova Scotia government on 15 April 2010. It was granted by then-Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Mayann Francis, who was the first Black Nova Scotian and only the second Black person in Canada to hold this office. The pardon was accompanied by a public declaration and apology from then-Premier Darrell Dexter, who indicated that charges should never have been laid and that her conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

Though the events at the Roseland Theatre are now 70 years behind us, Desmond’s struggle for social justice and her singular act of courage continue to resonate with Canadians.

The Desmond $10 Note and Beyond – Changes Coming to Your Bank Notes

The Bank has now designed this new $10 note featuring Viola Desmond. Through consultation with subject matter experts, the reverse side of the note depicts symbols and images that represent the broader themes of social justice and the struggle for rights and freedoms.

To continue to celebrate more iconic Canadians, the next $5 note will also feature a new portrait subject and supporting imagery. In due course, the Bank will launch another consultation process to seek input from Canadians on the design of the next $5 note, building on the success of this most recent process.

This will be a few years in the making. The new $10 note is expected in late 2018, and the new $5 note will follow a few years after that, but soon enough two new notable Canadians will be celebrated on our currency. The subsequent notes (the $20, $50 and $100 notes) will follow every two to three years.

Macdonald and Laurier

As Viola Desmond is featured on the $10 note, and another iconic Canadian will be featured on the future $5 note, Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and our first francophone Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, will be honoured on our higher value bank notes. This will take place when the higher value notes are redesigned.

These changes mean that former prime ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Sir Robert Borden will no longer be portrayed on bank notes. The $20 denomination will continue to feature the reigning monarch.

This design approach affords the opportunity to showcase and celebrate more great Canadians, while maintaining our proud historic roots.

For more information on the process that led to selecting Viola Desmond as the portrait subject for the $10 note, please consult A Bank Note-able Canadian Woman: A backgrounder on the selection and public consultation process and the approach to Canada’s next series of bank notes.

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Art Celebrating Life

Building where Viola Desmond stood up to racism to feature art inspired by her

New Glasgow, N.S., law firm seeking submissions to adorn one side of the building

By: Emma Smith, CBC News

MacGillvary Injury and Insurance Law is renovating the historic theatre. MacGillvary Injury and Insurance Law is renovating the historic theatre. (Submitted by Alexis MacDonald)
The owners of the Nova Scotia building where Viola Desmond stood up to segregation are immortalizing her iconic protest in a series of art pieces for the former theatre.

The law firm that bought the historic Roseland Theatre building in New Glasgow, N.S., is asking artists from across Atlantic Canada to submit work inspired by Desmond, who refused to give up her seat in the whites-only section back in 1946.

“It’s an amazing story that she helped spark a change and helped create this world we’re in now,” said Alexis MacDonald, marketing manager at MacGillvary Injury and Insurance Law.

“There’s just something very significant and very powerful about being able to stand inside the building where it happened.”

The firm had the idea for the art contest when the neighbouring building was torn down last year. It exposed a 12-metre-high wall that looked like “a big, brick blank canvas,” said MacDonald. The proposed art pieces will be featured on the wall.

Viola Desmond Bank of Canada A portrait of Viola Desmond, circa 1940. (Communications Nova Scotia/Bank of Canada/Flickr)


The company’s founder, Jamie MacGillivray, bought the century-old former theatre two years ago to save it from the wrecking ball. It is still being renovated and it’s still unclear what will be in the space.

The three-storey structure, which started showing silent movies in 1913, had most recently been a night club and was in desperate need of repair.

“It was really just a big brick empty shell, so we had to tear out all of the heat, all of the electrical, all of the plumbing,” said MacDonald.

New heating and electrical is expected to be installed by the spring, she said, and the company hopes to rent the building out.

MacDonald said she’s not ruling out a return to what it used to be.

“It still has the very tall ceilings so it would certainly still suit a theatre. It could be anything,” she said.

Wanda Robson, Desmond’s sister, said she’s excited to see what the artists come up with.

“I think it’s wonderful that Viola’s is being memorialized at the theatre,” said Robson.

“The image I would hope would be all encompassing … not the incident itself but racism and the result of what Viola did.”

Deadline for proposals is end of May

Amateur and professional artists of all ages have until May 31 to submit their work. The law firm is also offering cash awards to the chosen artists.

“It’s not limited in any way to a portrait of Viola or a depiction of the event — although we certainly welcome those as well — but any art of any form inspired by her, by her story. We’re really excited to see what comes in and we really encourage people to be creative,” said MacDonald.

Old Roseland theatre In 1946, Viola Desmond made history when she refused to leave the whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, N.S. (Submitted by Alexis MacDonald)

Desmond, a beautician and businesswoman from Halifax, stopped to see a movie at the Roseland Theatre in 1946. When she refused to leave the whites-only section, she was thrown in jail.

Seventy years after that quiet but powerful protest, Robson said she’s overwhelmed by the recognition that her sister has received.

“I told my husband the other day … we should sit down and catalogue, you know, make little notes,” she said. “Viola’s here, Viola’s got a ferry, Viola, she’s in the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, she’s been on the stamp. It’s endless! I’m getting speechless here.”

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Man creates map of P.E.I. out of sea glass

Gar Gillis created this map of P.E.I. entirely out of sea glass.

Gar Gillis created this map of P.E.I. entirely out of sea glass. (Submitted by Gar Gillis)

A P.E.I. man has been creating amazing things with glass for over 15 years and his most recent project is no exception.

Gar Gillis of Point Prim has recently created a map of Prince Edward Island, made entirely of sea glass.

Gillis estimates the map has about 2,000 pieces of blue, white and green sea glass, which he has been collecting for years.

“There’s a fair amount of sea glass down here and my brother in law … he gave me a lot of sea glass,” Gillis said.

“We just saved it all up. I don’t know how long it took.”

Full article here: