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Welcome to the bi-weekly boost, brought to you by [EDIT] and Tourism New Brunswick.
A twice-monthly digital publication packed with timely news stories, opinion pieces, current affairs, arts curation, community messaging and positive local tales. The same quality journalism and world-class photography that you expect from [EDIT], but all unique to [EDIT]ION.
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Design by Lindsay Vautour
Featured in the issue below are:
Andy Hay went from being a self-proclaimed MasterChef nerd, to now having made the Season Five finale in 2018, and is currently making waves (and sushi!) on MasterChef Canada: Back To Win. This current season, airing now on Sunday nights on CTV, features the best of the best from past seasons, brought back to once again fight for the chance to win the $100,000 cash prize and fame that comes with it. The premise of the show is home cooks competing in cooking challenges, judged by some of Canada's best Chefs— Claudio Aprile, Alvin Leung, and Michael Bonacini.
Andy Hay stood out in Season Five both because of his impressive creations, and his charming personality. Throughout the season he celebrated East Coast roots as a Nova Scotian, showcasing classically Atlantic Canadian dishes. Since making it to the final two in 2018, he has started his own cooking and food content brand, East Coast Kitchen, noting that “keeping on representing the East Coast will be a pillar of the brand.”
Andy tells [EDIT]ION that the brand started on Day One of the COVID-19 quarantine, when he grabbed his phone and decided to do a 'fridge forage' cooking video “and I said almost as a joke ‘Hey everyone, welcome to the East Coast Quarantine Kitchen, today were going to cook gnocchi,’ and I just did it on Instagram stories and day one I got a lot of really positive feedback.” It organically grew from there and he “just kept on doing it and did it for 100 days straight and it became a little bit of a movement.” Suddenly his audience surpassed the fans he had gained from the show, and he had people around the world cooking with him.
His personality driven food content is entertaining on a few levels, his two daughters and wife often making appearances and judging his recipe creations. Although the world-renowned judges on the show are tough, the judges at home “definitely keep you humble,” says Andy.
Now on the current season, Andy still is just as excited, saying that “the first time around was cool, it was just a dream come true going up there and seeing the kitchen and realizing that you are now a part of the MasterChef experience. Then getting invited back this time it's crazy to think that I’ve watched every episode of this show and love it, and I’m part of the group that gets called back, that's pretty cool.”
[EDIT]ION: As a self-taught cook, how did you first get into cooking and when did you know it would become a career for you?
Andy: Getting into cooking really happened when my wife and I did a trip to South East Asian, probably 10 years ago now at this time. We flew in and landed in Bangkok and started to see the street vendors and tasted the food. The food was spectacular and changed my life as far as flavours, but it was the cooking that really caught my interest. There was no separation between the cook and you eating it. You're watching the flames, getting the smells, seeing these people that are so good at their one dish and their craft, that it was really inspiring.
[EDIT]ION: In Season Five you brought a lot of East Coast flavours with you, like making donair and lobster. Why was that important for you to showcase?
Andy: I think it's multifaceted what drew me to do it. I didn't go up there with a plan to cook East Coast food, but it came honestly from my background in sales and marketing. You look at chefs that make a career out of food and a lot of them make and own the food of where they're from and what they know. I know East Coasters support each other like crazy, so I thought if I want to make a career and cook East Coast food, tell the East Coast story and get people fired up, I know they'll come out and support me.
[EDIT]ION: You competed against cooks all across Canada. Experiencing that, what do you think sets apart Atlantic Canadian cuisine from other parts of Canada and the world?
Andy: I think for us it's all about hospitality and comfort food. I think that's what we do really well. When you start thinking about what it means to be an East Coaster, there's different elements to it. When I think of East Coast food I think about the experiences you're going to have around those dishes. For me if you're having a chowder — which I think is delicious and is one of the most underrated things — those are super satisfying for the soul king of dishes. They tell a story in a way. I'm eating chowder on a cold rainy day. And it’s not just about the lobster roll it's about eating that on a beach on a summer day, when there's no better place to be in the world. It's connecting the food to the experiences here and the people and culture. That's what's powerful about food in general, but what's special about East Coast food — telling the story beyond just these humble dishes. It's what they represent.
[EDIT]ION: What was your favourite dish you made, or moment, from the show?
Andy: I think for me the most exciting was the finale dishes from Season Five. That was a cool moment for me, where I think there was only one other East Coaster who had ever made it to the finale, Line in Season Two. So, I just looked at it as a massive opportunity to launch my business in some ways, because I knew I was going to go into food. It was a big thing, and I knew the East Coast was going to be rooting for me so why not do a type of love letter home. So I did food that was pretty fun, like the donair salad as a starter and a hodgepodge, and a Newfoundland touton since my mom is from Newfoundland. That was really fun and I felt really proud of it. It was something that even after the show so many people were like “I remember when you did the donair, that was crazy!” And “I love that you did the East Coast stuff!” That's the part that I'm most proud about and dishes that I'm most proud about, just representing the East Coast.
[EDIT]ION: You talk a lot about your daughters and wife when on the show, do they inspire you in your work?
Andy: For sure. I am a Dad first and foremost. I have two little girls, Violet and Lucy. Violet is four and a half, Lucy is a year and a half. There's no glamour in being a parent of young kids (laughs), it's tough. I think that was the special sauce that made the Quarantine Kitchen series that I did so special for people. There were kids running around, there were moments where I was incredibly frustrated when having to parent non-stop. I think people saw that and connected to it.
Andy: It's the people. I find the East Coast has so many characters that are just so funny. I love the little sayings, I love how everyone smiles at you and is just generally friendly. These are all just cliches about what it means to be an East Coaster, but I think it really is real.[EDIT]ION: As someone who is not just a cook, but an entrepreneur, what is your advice to another entrepreneur just starting out?
Andy: I think authenticity is imperative. If you're going to have a brand that you're the driver of you have to try to figure out who you are and be authentic to that. On top of that as well I think that one thing that I've found is that you should always be exploring and finding your lane...If you're in your lane and an area you're interested in, it's a lot easier than going against the current…. If you're doing something that you enjoy, even if you don't become a wild success I think that you can build a really good life.
You can watch Andy on MasterChef Canada: Back To Win Sundays at 10 pm (AST) on CTV.
Diani Blanco remembers growing up in the Dominican Republic as every weekend the community gathering for a big dinner celebration. “There would be a roasted pig and everybody would be around, having a drink, the kids running all over, the music playing, and everybody just being a big family.” This sentiment of community is what she brings with her in the running for Moncton city council, as well as is a reflection of her contagiously positive, warm, and fun personality.
Diani moved to New Brunswick when she was 10 years old, where she faced bullying in school and domestic violence at home. She was placed in foster care at the age of 15, and faced dating abuse. Now at only 23 years old, Diani is an accomplished inspirational speaker and advocate against dating abuse, and a single mother to her two kids. She is the CEO/Founder of Infyno Group, a nonprofit which helps teenagers who are going through dating abuse, and is the Co-Founder of Queens of Heart, which was created to help single parents struggling with food availability during the pandemic. Finally, she is also the podcast host of Real with Diani Blanco, and of course now is running for the Greater Moncton City Council.
Her platform focuses on working together for the next generation, placing a focus on the health of the children in terms of activity and food access, community events, and the bringing the community together to create a safe and healthy environment. She sat down with [EDIT]ION’s Morgan Leet to tell us more about how she is continuing her path of making change.
[EDIT]ION: Can you tell me more about what it was like for you coming to New Brunswick, and what led you to now decide to run for city council?
Diani: I moved from Dominican Republic when I was 10, to Shediac, New Brunswick. It was an interesting journey. I was bullied at school, and there was domestic violence going on at home, and after that I was placed in foster care. I remember after the first few years being here in New Brunswick, I was always looking for every way to not be here. Growing up, honestly I didn't like New Brunswick and didn't want to live here...I was really negative, but now I have two young boys and my love for New Brunswick has grown so much. I don't see myself moving away now. I just love it here. Especially in Moncton now, I feel at home. Before I felt disconnected because I was missing Dominican Republic because it was my home and it was my life, but now I can say that I'm home here and I'm good here. It is really funny though when it comes to politics, because I thought I was doing something crazy running for city council, but everybody was like “well that's not crazy.” So apparently people were seeing that in me and I wasn't ready to see it yet because I thought it was crazy! So before I had no intention to run for politics, growing up I always saw it as a negative. I saw it as everybody against each other to see who was going to be the leader and the boss. I thought to myself “this is not how it's supposed to be, we're supposed to be working together to help the people, so why is it all about who is winning?” With Queens of Heart though, there's a lot of things that I’m seeing, my mind is more open and I see the things that need to change, especially as a single mother myself I've seen a lot of things and I've been through a lot. I think that it's really important for women to have a voice, and for families to have a voice. I think for me, right now, I feel proud of myself even if I don't win. I think just encouraging other women to know that they can do this too is amazing, and I see this change. I love change and I love us growing together and as a city council member I can be a part of that change that's happening and I can be a voice for the community. I think we need more diversity too, and if I do get elected I'll be the first Black person in the council in Moncton, the first Black woman too.
[EDIT]ION: How have your experiences in the past played a role in your desire for political change?
Diani: I think that life experience makes you who you are, you can have a different way of seeing this. We’ve had conversations about youths running away, or being suicidal. All of that, I've been through that and I can bring a different point of view that maybe someone that has never experienced that wouldn't. The empathy is there, I know how that person is feeling.
Diani: I am a very open minded person who is there for the community, there to represent them. My values are about families. I grew up in the Dominican Republic and everything was about the community helping each other, and that's what I want to bring here to the Greater Moncton Area. We already have it, but I just want to spread it more. It's there but I want to help it grow, and for people to feel it and realize that only through working together can we really make a change. I want them to see who I am, in a way that they can see themselves in me. I always say that we're all the same, so I want them to see that I have those same values as them. I want the safety of our kids, and I want to be their voice. I'm not a boss, I'm just your voice.
Queens of Heart Facebook: @Queens of Heart
Newfoundland and Labrador's Art History
by Morgan Leet
Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador is breaking ground as the first-ever art history of the province. Goose Lane and The Rooms Corporation co-published the breathtaking book that is authored by Mireille Eagan. The book also features contributions from some of Newfoundland and Labrador's most celebrated authors, creatives, and artists.
Once opening the book you are confronted with scenes of Newfoundland and Labrador that will never cease to amaze you. The volume includes an incredible variety in art, time period, and styles; from legendary artists such as Gerald Squires to more contemporary ones like Kim Greeley.
Author Mireille Eagan met with [EDIT]ION to discuss the unique volume and the meaning behind it.
[EDIT]ION: The book is unique in that it arose from a two-part exhibition at The Rooms. Can you explain to readers what the book is?
Mireille Eagan: The book is the first major art history of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador— but it is not the final say. Instead, like the exhibitions it is named after, it is a chance to ask: “What should history look like?” It explores how history is constantly shifting within the present, and the role we each play in creating that history.
The exhibitions, both titled Future Possible took place over the summers of 2018 and 2019 at The Rooms. The first half looked at the province’s cultural narratives before 1949, bringing together iconic artworks and texts to explore how the past still resonates in the present. The second iteration, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the province joining Canada, examined iconic artworks and texts from 1949 onward. It also turned its attention forward to ideas of the future and how the stories we tell ourselves as province might affect us. The goal was for visitors to the exhibitions to examine their own biases, their own stories within the larger conversation.
The publication follows the same generous, collaborative approach as the exhibitions, but it is intended to take on its own life beyond the gallery space. It also allowed for a more comprehensive story than could be achieved in the gallery space. It includes more than 180 images and has contributions from 18 authors from many different backgrounds. The many topics they explore range from Indigenous knowledge, rural life, feminist art history, to the building of cultural infrastructure. The forms of their histories are all different as well, ranging from personal, to chronological, to interview format, to academic writing styles.[EDIT]ION: What inspired you to write this book?
Mireille Eagan: My job is to understand context – the people, stories, and artworks that exist in a place— and to share these with others locally and nationally. In a way, the book is the gift I could give, a space that I was able to make, thanks to the support of The Rooms and the community. Before I moved here, when I was curator at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Prince Edward Island, I was tasked with curating an art exhibition about Newfoundland and Labrador’s 60th anniversary of its Confederation with Canada. I researched the place and was struck by how little was written about the province’s art history — a few online articles, a few newspaper articles and specialized texts about particular artists or places. There wasn’t even a mention of this provinces’ visual culture on Wikipedia. I was later hired at The Rooms and moved to St. John’s. After a couple of years of learning about the province in my capacity as curator, I took it upon myself to write the Wikipedia entry for the art history of this place, digging into the archives and library holdings at The Rooms and reaching out to others. Years after that, as we approached the 70th anniversary of Confederation, I thought: “What about a book?” Four years and a great deal of work later, here we are.
A key part of my curatorial practice, particularly working at the province’s cultural institution, is to consider authority – both in terms of authorship (who is writing), but also who has the space and ability to speak. For me, genuine authority sees its limits. It should therefore see value in open-ended discourse. I have lived in this province for ten years, but I am not from here. I am deeply aware that it is not my place to speak for histories that are not my own. My job is to listen, to foster a space for sharing where I can. So, 18 authors were approached for Future Possible – each tremendous figures in the cultural landscape of this place and each with important things to say. And yet, many more voices could have been added. Many more images could have been included. Much is still missing, but this book is a good start.
Mireille Eagan: This is a place that has seen many hardships, but believes deeply in itself. It is community-oriented and it fosters innovation, often in the face of massive uncertainty. The title, Future Possible, comes from a mindset that the St. John’s performer and writer Andy Jones coined for how he approaches the world: “Future Possible, Possibly Horrible.” By always preparing for the worst, he once stated in a theatrical monologue, one maintains a sense of control and preparedness for an inevitably negative outcome. When I learned of it, the approach resonated with what others were telling me about Newfoundland and Labrador. It was a time when oil prices had plummeted and the economic landscape looked dire. Over the course of creating the book, with continued economic decline and then a global pandemic, the title felt increasingly relevant globally.
Compare Andy Jones’ approach with a map on Signal Hill in St. John’s that places this province at the center of the world. I often cite this image for the fundamental shift in perspective it can provide about this place — not as existing alongside, but rather as a touchstone. Often, this place is viewed as isolated and behind the times – whether for good or bad. But, this is place with a vibrant history that is highly connected to the rest of the world. This province can, and should, be seen as a place with its own measurements, its own perspectives and its own valuable contributions. Within that, it is the site of several unique histories that are in the process of being uncovered, including important shifts in understanding and honouring Indigeneity, the often undocumented provincial connection to the transatlantic slave trade, and the vibrant cultural discussions brought with the influx of new Canadians. The past continues to change within the present.
This is why artists matter. They show us ourselves. Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest per capita ratios of artists in the country. It is a vibrant and thriving place for culture, whether music, theatre, visual art, or literature. Its cultural history is long and deep – from arts, crafts and folk traditions to fine arts. Its cultural infrastructure such as art galleries and art schools, however, has only been developing since Confederation. And yet, within a short period of time, one now sees a proliferation of artist-centres, arts festivals, residences, commercial art galleries, and world-class public institutions—all in dialogue, all contributing uniquely to this place. The culture of this place is the result of many people building, supporting, and valuing culture here. It is the result of pride and a can-do attitude that are both embedded in the culture of this place. This place shows the value of starting with what is here, by taking responsibility for fostering and caring for what is here.
Future Possible can be purchased from The Rooms Gift Shop at their online shop (shop.therooms.ca), but it can also be purchased from Amazon, Chapters, and the Goose Lane Editions website (gooselane.com/products/future-possible)
Award-winning actor, writer, comedian, songwriter, podcaster. Tricia Black is all that, and more. Tricia holds two Canadian Comedy Awards for Best Live Production and Best Ensemble. Tricia writes, composes, and produces original Canadian musicals with the award-winning theatre company, Tweed & Company Theatre, and works with The Second City out of Toronto.
Originally from New Brunswick, Tricia tells [EDIT]ION “I grew up watching SCTV, The Carol Burnett Show and my all-time favourite — The Golden Girls. However, it wasn’t until I started performing improv while attending Mount Allison University (created by fellow New Brunswicker and Dewie in School of Rock on Broadway, Justin Collette) that I was truly thrust into the world of comedy. Mind you I had always been cast in comedic roles throughout high school and University but performing improv was unlike any other, and it even led me to live in Chicago for a while and study at The Second City.” This passion for comedy quickly translated into all performances, inspired also by East Coast artists like The Rankin Family and Great Big Sea.
Tricia’s career has continuously evolved, from moving to Toronto in 2012 and starting at The Second City, to now becoming “more involved in film, television and animation. Which has been an incredible ride! I was lucky to be in a Lotto Maax commercial that I often get recognized from - Janes Lake - which people often shout at me 'JANES LAKE' and it makes me giggle. The getting to work with the Baroness’s of Baroness Von Sketch to a small role in the film The Broken Hearts Gallery to working with some incredible women on the indie web-series Band Ladies, that has been sweeping the festival circuit. And currently having the opportunity to work on CBC’s Pretty Hard Cases starring Meredith McNeil and Adrienne C Moore - it truly has been an exciting time in my career.”
In the height of her thriving career though, the pandemic allowed Tricia to take some time to return home to New Brunswick. “It’s honestly so lovely. It’s so peaceful in New Brunswick. It’s so beautiful. My partner and I quarantined in a lovely bed and breakfast in Cambridge Narrows called The Norwood before spending time with my family. Toronto is wonderful and has its own unique charms that I love but nothing beats home. I’m often homesick for the east coast and New Brunswick — to be close to the ocean again, go to the bar to hear some live music (give me a fiddle and I’ll have a right swell time no matter where I am) and drink a sweet sweet Picaroons beer — which sadly I cannot get in Toronto so if someone can make that happen I would appreciate it,” says Tricia.
Right now, you can catch Tricia in a recurring role as Detective Tara Swallows on CBC’s Pretty Hard Cases. You can stream the web series Band Ladies on Highball TV. They also have a podcast One More Round with Tricia Black.
Fundy Hillside, 2021 Oil on canvas 48" x 36"
Emily Phillips' On Painting Nature
by Morgan Leet
Drawing inspiration from the nature surrounding her in New Brunswick, Emily Phillips art is beautifully bright and diverse. Emily moved to New Brunswick in 2010 from Baltimore, and has since fallen in love with the flourishing scenery, painting landscapes of all that she sees. [EDIT]ION met with Emily to discuss her passion for art and the province she now calls home.[EDIT]ION: When did you first find your passion for art?
Emily: My passion for art has been ever present. I have very early memories of drawing with my mom. Lessons I learned in my first grade art class still inform my practice today: “no thing is one colour”. I took every art class available in school, as well as extracurricular classes throughout my education. Even in university, when studying geography and environmental studies, I was always making art on the side, and found ways to incorporate my interest in the arts in these other subjects. Looking back, it is the most important formative element of my experience growing up.
[EDIT]ION: What made you move to New Brunswick?
Emily: During my third year of university, I was awarded a Killam Fellowship to participate in a one semester exchange to Mount Allison University. At the time, I lived in Washington, DC and attended American University. I decided to apply based on the recommendation of a friend who had participated in the program the year before. I moved to Sackville, New Brunswick in September 2010. One thing has led to another, and I am still living in New Brunswick today!
Emily: I first experienced New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy region shortly after arriving in Canada. I was fortunate to make friends who were eager to show off this area to a newcomer. I kayaked in the bay, visited the Hopewell Rocks, and hiked in Fundy National Park and on the Fundy Footpath. These places are majestic, many remote, and markedly different from the metropolitan region where I grew up. I had never lived in a place with so much undeveloped wilderness and was eager to keep exploring. There is so much beauty here, it is impossible to pick one favourite spot! That being said, the coastal corridor followed by the Fundy Footpath is particularly special to me.[EDIT]ION: What do you love about living in New Brunswick, and the local community here?
Emily: The people of New Brunswick are incredibly welcoming to newcomers. When you share a passion, such as the arts or outdoors, the community is very inclusive and supportive. Culture, relationships, and connections to place are highly valued. Living in New Brunswick also permits a lifestyle conducive to being an artist. Time is more abundant and the costs of living are lower than many other places. I have been able to balance working full time with building an art career and starting a family.
Brothers' Brook, 2020 Oil on canvas 48" x 36"
[EDIT] + TOURISM NEW BRUNSWICK
A Brotherhood of British Stained Glass in Fredericton
The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is renowned for having one of the finest collections of British art in North America. One of the Gallery’s treasured works often on display is the oddly-shaped 1869 drawing “The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden” by esteemed artist Ford Madox Brown (1812-1893). Brown helped found the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the mid-19th century, and he worked with Arts and Crafts master William Morris. Many of Brown’s earthy and humanist drawings were used as patterns for the Morris studio’s beautiful stained glass windows throughout Great Britain. One of his masterpieces is the 1869 east window of Holy Trinity church in Meole Brace, Shropshire, England: a re-interpretation of Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Here, Brown presents a powerful scene of contemporary figures clearly in angst, their heads cast down, with two angels aside them.
If the latter’s theme sounds familiar to the Beaverbrook piece, you’re right on the mark. The drawing in the New Brunswick collection is indeed the final study for the church window on the other side of the Atlantic, and the bottle-shaped pencil/ink on paper masterwork is prominently featured alongside the final window in a sumptuous new book on British Pre-Raphaelite stained glass.
Author William Waters and photographer Alastair Carew-Cox have highlighted these in the final volume of their stunning trilogy of books featuring the best examples of British Pre-Raphaelite stained glass from 1850 to 1898. The current book Saints & Symbols joins their previous Angels and Icons (2012) and Damozels and Deities (2017) to complete the story of Pre-Raphaelite stained glass. Waters' considerable research is complimented by Alastair Carew-Cox's beautiful photography. It is the intention of author and photographer to make this important body of glass virtuosity better known, creating a desire to visit and protect these works of art.
During the mid- to late-19th century, celebrated British artists such as Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Henry Holiday, among others, fed the public's interest in the creative arts, enabling the glow of decorative glass to flourish. Ecclesiastical windows grew more beautiful and sensitive in appearance, and domestic stained glass became as dazzling and poignant as those found in churches. As Carew-Cox says, “The nineteenth century English artistic renaissance is justly highly regarded, but the art of stained glass has not, until recently, been given the place it deserves. In its day, stained glass was regarded as an art form equal to any in the fine arts, and artists of the highest calibre gave the medium as much attention.”
Atop a hill in southern New Brunswick sprawls scenic farmland. The red post-and-beam barn within the scene is 150 years old, still intact and true to its history but enhanced by modern touches.
It is surrounded by greenery and wildflowers — and salty air from the close-by ocean. Inside the barn the warm lighting, modern decor and statement chandelier all work to create a one-of-a-kind wedding venue, Ticklebelly Hill. Just a short drive away from the historic and popular tourist destination of Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, this magical venue is the brainchild of owner Sarah Conley.
Conley and her family live in a house on the property, fitting right into the fairy-tale setting with their own romantic story, warm-heartedness and love for the life that they have created on Ticklebelly Hill. Her business was a long-time dream that began when she lived in Scotland for three years. She tells [EDIT] of watching countless television shows about the renovation of rundown buildings and how it dawned on her to reimagine an old barn to create the perfect wedding getaway. After she returned home to Ontario, her dream idea stayed around: “It just sat in the back of my brain for eight years, until my husband and I were looking for a place to live and buy, and I thought about how if we could find a property that could be used as a venue as well that would be a bonus. So when we came about Ticklebelly Hill and saw that great big barn, it just felt right. It was one of those moments like ‘this could be it,’” she explains...
Click here to read full feature in French and English.