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Oakville’s James Hinchcliffe to start on pole for Indy 500

Michael Marot, The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

All James Hinchcliffe wanted this week was a good car.

Turns out, he’ll have the best view in this year’s Indianapolis 500 field.

The Canadian driver, who started second in the race in 2012 and 2014, edged out American Josef Newgarden on the final qualifying attempt of the weekend to claim his first IndyCar pole. Hinchcliffe posted a four-lap average of 230.760 mph, barely ahead of Newgarden, who came in at 230.700.

“It was a great run. The car was stellar,” Hinchcliffe said after winning the fourth-closest pole contest in the race’s 100-year history. “We have the best seat in the house for the biggest race in history.”

Hinchcliffe, who drives for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, turned one of the most chaotic qualifying weekends in recent memory into one of the most heartwarming stories of the year.

A year ago, Hinchcliffe watched the 500 from a hospital bed after a broken suspension part punctured him in the left leg. The injury required life-saving surgery and forced one of the series’ most popular drivers to miss the season’s final 11 races as he fought his way back to racing.

But Hinchcliffe is only part of an incredible story.

Team owner Sam Schmidt, like Hinchcliffe, was a popular IndyCar driver when he was seriously injured in a 2000 crash at Walt Disney World, which rendered Schmidt a quadriplegic. The next year, Schmidt started an Indy Lights team and now he has expanded what was once a low-budget team into a real contender by claiming three of the top 10 spots in this year’s 33-car starting field

Russia’s Mikhail Aleshin and Spain’s Oriol Servia, Schmidt’s other drivers, qualified seventh and 10th.

“It was an incredible day,” Schmidt said, noting he had won the 2011 Indy pole with Alex Tagliani exactly five years earlier. “I didn’t think anything would get better than five years ago. I had three cars in the top then and to come out here today…”

Newgarden will start second with Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 race winner, on the outside of the first row.

Roger Penske’s top qualifier was Will Power in sixth, ending the team’s streak of winning the pole in all five of this season’s previous races.

Here are some things we learned from qualifying:

HONDA POWER: The Honda cars have been better all week and, thanks to Hinchcliffe, the engine-manufacturer has its first Indianapolis pole since 2011. Now comes the real test: Which engine will perform better in race conditions?

TOUGH MONTH: Chip Ganassi’s team has struggled all month and they’re hoping a quicker-than-expected engine change could be the turning point. The trouble began when 2013 race winner Tony Kanaan was knocked out of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in a first turn crash. That was followed by rookie Max Chilton’s crash in practice Saturday, poor speeds in Saturday’s qualifying which kept them out of the pole shootout and Scott Dixon’s engine problem late in Sunday’s practice. Dixon is the team’s highest qualifier at No. 13 after crew members switched engines in 64 minutes, a job that normally requires three hours.

PAYING TRIBUTE: Stefan Wilson of England will make his first career start Sunday after qualifying 30th. But this race will be about a lot more than a rookie. Wilson is driving the Driven2SaveLives car as a tribute to his late brother, Justin, who was killed when debris hit him in the head in Pocono last August. Wilson also is wearing a helmet that bears his colours on one side and his brother’s colours on the other.

FAMILY TIES: Rookie Matt Brabham became the latest third-generation driver to make the race by qualifying 27th. His father, Geoff, made 10 starts at Indy, finishing fifth as a rookie in 1981. Jack Brabham, Matt’s grandfather, made four starts in the 500 and finished a career best ninth as a rookie in 1961.

HISTORY LESSON: Tagliani, the 2011 Indy pole winner, will start 33rd after crashing the No. 35 car during his warmup lap. Tagliani was not seriously injured but he will be the first driver since 1924 to start the race with no official qualifying speed.

Hooray for Victoria Day long weekend: what you need to know

CityNews | posted Friday, May 20th, 2016

Cottages are being reopened, the BBQ is being fired up, the backyard swimming pool is getting cleaned out, and planting season takes sprout. Everyone, do your happy dance: Victoria Day, unofficially the first long weekend of summer, is finally upon us.

We have Queen Victoria to thank for the May long weekend, also known as May two-four, as Monday is the day Canada’s honours the late queen’s birthday. The federal statutory holiday is celebrated on the last Monday before May 25. In Canada, it is officially recognized as the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, even though she was born in April.

 While some people will be heading to the cottage or another getaway, others will be celebrating the long weekend in town with a barbecue or enjoying the sunshine at an outdoor event. Below is a list of some events to check out. Click here for city-run events.

The weather is expected to be stunning this long weekend with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 20s – perfect for firework shows on Saturday and Sunday.

As always, as you make your plans, consult the list below of what’s open and closed.


What better way to celebrate the long weekend than by watching fireworks at Canada’s Wonderland and at Ashbridges Bay.

The light show at Wonderland starts around 10 p.m. on Sunday, dazzling over Wonder Mountain as music soars in the background. The fireworks show at Ashbridges Bay Park is on Monday, kicking off at 9:45 p.m.


What’s open/closed


  • TTC will run on a holiday schedule
  • GO Transit will run on a Saturday schedule
  • Tourist attractions: ROM, CN Tower, Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
  • Most malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Pacific Mall (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Square One (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), The Promenade (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Toronto Premium Outlets (9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Upper Canada Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills Mall (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Yorkville Village (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Curbside garbage collection is not collected on any Monday, but transfer station drop-off depots will be closed


  • LCBO stores are closed on Monday, but many cottage-area locations may remain open later on Friday and Saturday. Click here to check individual store hours.
  • Beer Store locations will also be closed on Monday butsome stores will open later on Sunday
  • Government offices, municipal buildings, and banks
  • Libraries are closed on Sunday and Monday
  • No mail delivery
  • Some malls: Dufferin Mall, Fairview Mall, Scarborough Town Centre, Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale Shopping Centre

Transit info and road closures

Transit info
GO train service will be reduced on the Lakeshore East and West lines from every 30 minutes to an hour this weekend due to track and station work.

On the west line, some trains will also be cancelled between Aldershot and Oakville, while on the east line, some trains that depart Union and Oshawa trains will be cancelled.

Road work
Queen Street West between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street is being reduced to one lane in either direction for watermain replacement and and reconstruction work. The construction is expected to last until Oct. 8.


Artfest at the Distillery
Some of Canada’s top artists will be displaying their wares this weekend, in the picturesque setting of the Distillery District.

The Spring Art and Craft Show is taking place from Saturday through Victoria Day on Monday with paintings, photography, and sculpture available for purchase. For those just browsing, there will be live music and admission is free.

Beasley Bear’s Teddy Bear Picnic
On Toronto Island, a family event, with Beasley the Bear hosting his annual Teddy Bear Picnic at Centreville Theme Park.

Bears featured on a ride at Centreville Theme Park. Photo via facebook.com/CentrevilleThemePark.
Bears featured on a ride at Centreville Theme Park. Photo via facebook.com/CentrevilleThemePark.

Admission is free, with live music, face painting, magic shows, petting zoo and a craft station. Click here to plan your trip.

Rib Fest & BBQ Bash
Meat lovers will be congregating at Yonge-Dundas Square on Friday and Saturday.

Rib Fest and BBQ Bash takes over the space, featuring the best rib teams in Canada grilling up a storm. It’s the first annual event, being held during ‘BBQ Month’ – which happens to be May. Admission is free, but there’s a cost for food, so bring your wallet along with your appetite.

World Fiddle Day
Fort York will be filled with fiddlers on Saturday to mark World Fiddle Day.

A musician holding a fiddle. Photo via Facebook.com/worldfiddledaytoronto.
A musician holding a fiddle. Photo via Facebook.com/worldfiddledaytoronto.

Free concerts start at 12:30 p.m. with some of the country’s most talented musicians. Then at 2:30 p.m. there will be a fiddle jam featuring tunes from all over the world.

Halal Food Fest
A huge food fest is taking place at the International Centre Saturday and Sunday. More than 100 exhibitors will be serving halal food in the annual Halal Food Fest. Tickets are available here.

Trinity Bellwoods bed-in
A very cozy protest takes place Sunday at Trinity-Bellwoods Park downtown.

It’s the third annual Trinity Bellwoods Bed-In, with organizers calling it a day of peace. The gathering starts at 11:30 a.m. with yoga, a potluck lunch and music. You’re asked to bring your blankets, pillows and PJs, to celebrate the day inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Subway service resumes Friday after fire

CityNews | posted Friday, May 20th, 2016

The TTC subway is back up and running on Friday morning after a fire on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) shut down service on Thursday night.

There were three separate fires. Around 5:30 p.m., TTC officials shut down service between Jane and Keele stations, and hours later, said it would remain offline for the remainder of the night.

A series of incidents forced thousands of passengers to evacuate Jane and Runnymede stations, throwing the rush hour commute into chaos on the heavily travelled Bloor-Danforth line.

Fire officials were called to Runnymede station after a report of smoke and discovered the back end of a subway car had caught fire. There was no one on the train at the time.

A secondary issue was then discovered at track level involving a cable, which fire crews were then forced to deal with.

A third issue cropped up around 8 p.m. as transit officials attempted to bring subway service back online when sparking was caused by a test train running through the station.

A TTC spokesperson said the issues were likely related and that a full explanation would be provided in the morning.

Despite all the chaos, no injuries have been reported so far.

The TTC was running shuttle buses between Keele and Kipling stations for the evening commute.

Cavaliers cruise to 2-0 series lead over Raptors

LORI EWING, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 20th, 2016

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) gestures during the first half against the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals Thursday, May 19, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Toronto Raptors’ better effort Thursday still wasn’t enough against LeBron James and his undefeated Cleveland Cavaliers.

James had a triple double with 23 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds to power the Cavaliers 108-89 past Toronto, sending the Raptors home trailing 2-0 in their Eastern Conference final debut.

The Cavs have yet to lose in 10 post-season games.

DeMar DeRozan topped Toronto with 22 points, while Terrence Ross, Cory Joseph and James Johnson chipped in with 11 points apiece. Raptors all-star guard Kyle Lowry, who was so solid down the stretch of the semifinal series against Miami, had a rough shooting night, en route to just 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting. He was just 1-for-8 from three-point range.

James’ big night, meanwhile, propelled him past Shaquille O’Neal for fourth place on the all-time post-season scoring list.

Coming off Tuesday’s humiliating 115-84 loss in Game 1, Raptors coach Dwane Casey said the Raptors would have to “out-work and out-scrap” the Cavaliers. They did for the better part of a first half that saw the lead change hands 11 times.

But a woeful final three-and-a-half minutes of the first half proved lethal as Toronto missed nine straight shots to fall behind by 14. They would never make up that ground, and trailed the Cavs 86-69 with one quarter to play.

Cleveland couldn’t miss down the stretch and when James threaded a bounce pass to Channing Frye with six minutes to play, the Cavs led by 18. A J.R. Smith three-pointer two minutes later had the home team up by 19, sending fans headed to the exits to beat the traffic.

While the Raptors won two-of-three games versus Cleveland in the regular season, the Cavaliers are the overwhelming favourites to win a series that Charles Barkley described as “guppies versus sharks.”

The Quicken Loans Arena, painted in gold “All In” T-shirts, included New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and six-time NBA MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The Cavaliers raced out to an eight-point lead and it looked like the Raptors were in for another long night, but a three by Ross capped a 9-0 run that put Toronto in the lead. Cleveland led 30-28 to end the first quarter.

The wheels fell off midway through the second, as the Cavs ended the quarter on a 20-5 run. Cleveland led 62-48 at halftime.

Game 3 is Saturday while Game 4 is Monday at the Air Canada Centre

One Canadian among 66 people on crashed EgyptAir plane

Maggie Michael, The Associated Press | posted Thursday, May 19th, 2016

An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board, including a Canadian, crashed in the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning off the Greek island of Crete, Egyptian and Greek officials said.

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said it was too early to say whether a technical problem or a terror attack caused the plane to crash. “We cannot rule anything out,” he told reporters at Cairo airport.

EgyptAir Flight 804 was lost from radar at around 2:45 a.m. local time when it was flying at 37,000 feet, according to the airline. It said the Airbus A320 vanished 16 kilometres after it entered Egyptian airspace, around 280 kilometres off Egypt’s coastline north of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. Egyptian aviation officials said the plane crashed and that a search for debris was now underway.

The 56 passengers include one Canadian, 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, one Briton, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese and one Algerian. The airline said a child and two babies were among the passengers.

Global Affairs Canada said it was “aware of the possibility that a Canadian may have been on board the flight” and that the department was “monitoring the situation closely.” The statement added that Canadian officials in Cairo and Paris are working with local authorities to confirm this information.

The “possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed,” as the plane hasn’t landed in any of the nearby airports, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Konstantinos Lintzerakos , director of Greece Civil Aviation Authority, gave a roughly similar account to that given by EgyptAir. In comments to the private Antenna television, he said Greek air traffic controllers were in contact with the pilot who reported no problems as the aircraft cruised at 37,000 feet, travelling at 830 kilometres per hour.

The controllers tried to make contact with the pilot 16 kilometres before the plane exited the Greek Flight Information Region, or FIR. The pilot did not respond, he said, and they continued to try to speak to him until 3:29 a.m. local time (2:29 a.m. Egyptian time) when the plane disappeared from the radar inside Egypt’s FIR, 11 kilometres southeast of the island of Crete.

Egyptian military aircraft and navy ships were taking part in a search operation off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast to locate the debris of the plane. Greece also joined the search and rescue operation with two aircraft, officials at the Hellenic National Defence General Staff said. They said that helicopters were on standby on the southern island of Karpathos for potential rescue or recovery operations.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault offered to send military planes and boats to join the Egyptian search for wreckage.

“We are at the disposition of the Egyptian authorities with our military capacities, with our planes, our boats to help in the search for this plane,” he said. He spoke after French President Francois Hollande held an emergency meeting at the Elysee Palace.

Hollande spoke with Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on the phone and agreed to “closely co-operate to establish as soon as possible the circumstances” surrounding the incident, according to a statement issued in Paris.

In Cairo, el-Sissi convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, the country’s highest security body. The council includes the prime minister and the defence, foreign and interior ministers in addition to the chiefs of the intelligence agencies.

Egypt’s state-run newspaper Al-Ahram quoted an airport official as saying the pilot did not send a distress call, and that last contact with the plane was made 10 minutes before it disappeared from radar. It did not identify the official.

Airbus is aware of the disappearance, but “we have no official information at this stage of the certitude of an accident,” the company’s spokesman Jacques Rocca said.

The Paris airport authority and the French civil aviation authority would not immediately comment.

Queries about the missing plane sent out to the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency were not returned early Thursday.

Around 15 relatives of passengers on board the missing flight have arrived at Cairo airport. Airport authorities brought doctors to the scene after several distressed family members collapsed.

In Paris, relatives of passengers on the EgyptAir flight started arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside the French capital, where their loved ones were last seen alive.

A man and a woman, identified by airport staff as relatives of the flight’s passengers, sat at an information desk near the EgyptAir counter Thursday at Charles de Gaulle Airport’s Terminal 1. The woman was sobbing, holding her face in a handkerchief. They pair were led away by police and airport staff and did not speak to gathered journalists.

The Airbus A320 is a widely used twin-engine, single-aisle plane that operates on short and medium-haul routes. Nearly 4,000 A320s are currently in use around the world. The ubiquity of the A320 means the plane has been involved in several accidents over the years. The last deadly crash involving the plane was Germanwings Flight 9525, in which all 150 onboard died when one of the pilots intentionally crashed it in the French Alps.

An EgyptAir plane was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus in March. A man who admitted to the hijacking and is described by Cypriot authorities as “psychologically unstable” is in custody in Cyprus.

The incident renewed security concerns at Egyptian airports after a Russian passenger plane crashed in Sinai last October, killing all 224 people on board. Moscow said it was brought down by an explosive device, and a local branch of the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for planting it.

In 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, killing all 217 people aboard, U.S. investigators filed a final report that concluded its co-pilot switched off the autopilot and pointed the Boeing 767 downward. But Egyptian officials rejected the notion of suicide altogether, insisting some mechanical reason caused the crash.

Associated Press reporters Derek Gatopoulos in Athens and Raphael Satter, Sylvie Corbet and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

With files from The Canadian Press

All-party to probe Trudeau actions that caused Commons pandemonium

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized, but an all-party committee will investigate accusations that he “manhandled” the Conservative whip Wednesday and elbowed a female New Democrat MP in the House of Commons.

Footage from the Commons television feed showed Trudeau wading into a clutch of MPs, mostly New Democrats, and pulling Opposition whip Gordon Brown through the crowd in an effort to get a key vote started.

Quebec MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau appears to be in discomfort as Trudeau pushes past her, forcing her against an adjacent desk.

The incident led to mayhem on the Commons floor, with Trudeau at one point in a face-to-face encounter with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

MPs shouted and pounded their desks over Trudeau’s actions, which came amid the superheated atmosphere of the doctor-assisted death debate.


Brosseau said she was shocked by the encounter.

“I was standing in the centre talking to some colleagues,” Brosseau told the House after calm was restored. “I was elbowed in the chest by the prime minister and then I had to leave.

“It was very overwhelming and so I left the chamber to go and sit in the lobby. I missed the vote because of this.”

Trudeau issued an abject apology, saying he was just trying to help the opposition whip get to his seat and never intended to hurt anyone.

“I took it upon myself to go and assist him forward, which was I now see unadvisable as a course of action,” said Trudeau, who called his actions “unacceptable.”

“I apologize for that unreservedly and I look for opportunities to make amends.”

A number of MPs rose to complain to the Speaker about Trudeau’s actions, with an angry New Democrat Peter Julian saying he’d never seen anything like it in his 12 years as a member of Parliament.

Speaker Geoff Regan concluded there was a prima facie case that Brosseau’s privileges as an MP had been breached, which means the encounter will be examined by an all-party committee.

Tempers ran high in the Commons all week as the government pushed through a motion to limit debate on its controversial assisted-dying legislation, Bill C-14. It was that motion the members were gathered to vote on before the confrontation took place.

Regan could barely make himself heard as he tried to read the text of the motion. It was defeated by a margin of 172-137, although Brosseau wasn’t able to register her vote.

Trudeau’s apology was followed by a lengthy parade of indignant MPs getting up to express their outrage to the Speaker, describing a scene unlike anything they’d ever seen before in all their years as politicians.

The prime minister issued another apology to a reception related to Parliament saying sorry for the Komagata Maru incident off the B.C. coast in 1914.

“I’m going to apologize again for an incident in the House this evening that might take away a little bit in the news tomorrow, and for some people, the extraordinary celebration that today is, and the important momentous occasion that this day represents, not just in the story of Sikh and southeast Asian Canadians, but in the story of this country,” Trudeau said.

“For that, I truly regret.”

Nellie McClung top choice for first Canadian woman on face of banknote: poll

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Famous Five activist Nellie McClung is the No. 1 choice to become the first Canadian woman on the face of one of the country’s banknotes, according to a recent online survey.

The survey found 27 per cent of respondents favoured McClung, a suffragette who fought for women to be legally recognized as persons in Canada.

Politician Therese Casgrain, aeronautical engineer Elsie MacGill, Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery, artist Emily Carr and black activist and businesswoman Viola Desmond rounded out the top six choices.

Related stories:

City councillor pushes for women on Canadian currency

Author ‘thrilled’ historic Canadian woman will soon appear on bank notes

Canadian woman to be featured on bank note, Trudeau declares

All 12 options in the survey came from the long list of candidates created by the Bank of Canada’s advisory council. The council narrowed its choices after receiving more than 18,000 submissions during a public call for nominations earlier this year.

The remaining six nominees all received less than 10 per cent of votes in the poll. They were poet E. Pauline Johnson, author Gabrielle Roy, artist Pitseolak Ashoona, suffragette Idola Saint-Jean, humanitarian Lotta Hitschmanova and athlete Fanny (Bobbie) Rosenfeld.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted the survey of 1,517 Canadian adults who are members of its online forum between May 10 and May 13. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this year that a woman would be featured on the next issue of banknotes due out in 2018.

Four out of five respondents in the survey agreed that at least one woman other than the Queen should be on the front of a Canadian bill.

Women have been on a Canadian banknote previously, although not on the face.

The Famous Five, along with Casgrain, were featured on the back side of a $50 bill unveiled in 2004. However, the women were dropped from the bill in 2011 when a new polymer version was introduced.

5 DIY first aid hacks every parent needs to know for summer

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Summer is finally around the corner and this means it’s time to prepare first aid kits to be ready for that inevitable fall or accident. Nutritionist Andrea Donsky shares five homemade first aid options that will do the job while being gentle on kids’ skin.

Cuts and scrapes

When it comes to cuts and scrapes, the first instinct is to disinfect the wound using hydrogen peroxide or another antibacterial product. However, new research shows that minor wounds don’t always require disinfectant but rather a simple wash with a saline solution or lukewarm water. Once the wound has been cleaned and all the dirt is removed, you can apply:

· Honey: honey has natural antibacterial and anti-viral properties that help to decrease the likelihood of infection. Research shows that wounds kept moist heal faster than those that are dry. Cover the wound with gauze or leave it uncovered.

· Thyme: you can also steep some thyme to make thyme tea. Steep for five minutes and then soak a towel or cloth in the “tea” and apply it to the affected area to clean and soothe irritation. 

If you have severe wounds of cuts, always seek medical help.


Bruises amd inflammation

If you have bruises and/or inflammation, fruit might be your best bet.

Pineapple: this fruit contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds and an enzyme called “bromelain” which helps to reduce inflammation. Rub the fruit directly on your skin to break down the blood that has clotted to form a bruise. Bromelain will help fade the bruise quickly and prevent further blood clots from forming.

Bee Stings

Bee and wasp stings

The first thing to do when you get bitten by a bee or wasp is to remove the stinger.

Bee sting: make a paste of baking soda and water and leave it in the bite area for 15 minutes to neutralize the acidic venom and reduce the pain and swelling.

Wasp sting: soak cotton balls or a cloth in vinegar and apply it to the bite for 15 minutes to eliminate the discomfort. Andrea’s personal preference is to use apple cider vinegar because it works a little bit faster. 

Bug Repellents

Bug repellent 

With the Zika virus in the news and on our minds, we want to keep mosquitoes as far away as possible!

· Basil leaves are great for repelling insects especially for mosquitoes (they don’t like the scent of basil). You can use them two ways: 

  1. Steep basil leaves in boiling water for 2-3 hours and strain the steeped water into a spray bottle and use it on your body, windows, picnic tables, doorways, and anywhere else you often see bugs. You can add vodka to make it more potent.
  2. You can also rub basil leaves directly onto your skin for a quick repellent.

· Store bought bug repellent: for everyday use, I prefer to use bug spray without diethyltoluamide, also known as DEET. It has been linked to rashes, nausea and skin irritation. Look for a bug repellent that doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, and instead use essential oils to repel the bugs. 

· In the event you do get bitten, try the following:

  • Rub a banana peel over the bite. The sugars in the peel will help draw the fluid out of the bite.
  • Apply a cut up onion or onion poultice to the bite. Wash the area afterwards (avoid using onion if the skin is broken).
  • Apply a slice of raw potato.
  • Peppermint or neem toothpaste work to relieve the pain and swelling.



When it comes to the summer sun, it is important to apply sunscreen often to protect the skin. When it comes to sunscreen, to look for brands that are free of harsh chemicals like oxybenzone and parabens.

· In the event you do get a sunburn, try the following:

Grab some fun shaped ice cube trays and freeze some aloe vera in it. This creates ready-to-go “boo boo cubes” when you need them. Aloe vera is packed with vitamins and minerals that help to relieve pain, fight inflammation and repair damaged skin cells. It also stops the burning sensation you experience with a sunburn.

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