Dueling tariffs. Troubling words traded between two long-standing friendly nations. Divisions built on inherent tribalism, with little to no discourse between opposing sides.
Canada and the United States haven’t been this opposed to each other in centuries, but to those who live in a border town, this development is entirely puzzling.
That’s the way Windsor, Ontario singer Amy Rivard views it. She grew up on the Canadian side of the Detroit River and looked across at Detroit every day. She spent many a day in the United States and viewed Americans as neighbours. Today, a resident of New York, this proud Canadian is equally proud to call America her home.
It’s a perspective only those who were raised in a border town can truly understand, and that includes those living on both sides of the border.
It’s a message that not only resonates with her, but exudes from within her song When We Come Together.
“I don’t want to fight with you. Let’s walk hand in hand,” Rivard sings. “We’ve made mistakes. We’ve been foolish and wrong.
“When we come together, we can make something beautiful.”
They aren’t just words to her. They are a way of life that she grew up immersed in living on the Canada-U.S. border.
It’s a unique experience that molded her as she became an adult. Border residents interact with people on the opposite side of that border. They shop there, they entertain there. Thoughts of boycotting products or companies because the actions of politicians aren’t simply symbolic gestures to a border resident. In some instances, it would feel like sticking it to a family member.
“People from Windsor spend a lot of time in Detroit, and people from Detroit spend a lot of time in Windsor,” Rivard said. “We have many shared experiences. We’ve shared an international fireworks display for 60 years.”
The annual fireworks display, the highlight of the Freedom Festival, held on barges situated between the nations on the Detroit River, is designed to celebrate the birthdays of the two countries – Canada Day on July 1 and the U.S. independence day on the Fourth Of July – and brings people from both Canada and the United States together in celebration, reminding everyone that we share much more in common than we are separated by differences.
Rivard, who sang O Canada at the Running Flat’s Canada D’eh Race at Historic Fort Malden in Amherstburg, Ont., considers Windsor and Detroit to be like a giant community, separated by a river and yes, by a border, but certainly not by opposing philosophies.
Deep down, no matter how different we appear or have appeared on the outside, we’re the same people on the inside, sharing the same hopes and dreams. This is the message Rivard seeks to amplify with her 360 music video When We Come Together. She is joined in the video by a number of area people, including music students from Assumption High School.
“When we come together, we can inspire,” she sings. “When we come together, we can change the world.”
Until he took up adventure racing, Sam Johnson had no idea what Stinging Nettle was. He knows now, and surprisingly, he’s come to enjoy the pain.
Stinging Nettle is a plant that, as the name indicates, is armed with hollow stinging hairs on its leaves that feel like a hypodermic needle when they jab into your skin.
“My first experience with Stinging Nettle really hurt,” Johnson recalled. “Now, they kind of help you get through the race. It’s like it gives you a jolt of energy, a wake-up call when you need it.”
You could say the same thing about Johnson’s relationship with adventure racing. Over the years, he’s come to embrace the hurt.
Johnson and teammate Jeramie Carbonaro combined to win a recent South Coast Adventure Race at Holiday Beach conducted by the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA).
“You get to see parts of Windsor/Essex that you otherwise would never get to see,” Johnson said. “I like the aspect of going and bushwhacking through these places. It’s fun. Is had a mental component. It’s more fun than running a marathon.”
Carbonaro can speak to that latter fact with authority. A former track athlete with the Windsor Lancers, he’s put his body through the challenge of both of these daunting punishments, and gives the nod for toughness to adventure racing.
“It’s just different,” Carbonaro said. “It’s a different use of muscles. You’ve got to make sure you’re hydrated out here.
“I just did the Cleveland Marathon five weeks ago. It’s completely different. You will literally seize up in this race, whereas in a marathon, you will not.”
The SCAR event at Holiday Beach – that’s the acronym for the series, and yes, it is an entirely appropriate handle, because when the racers cross the finish line, their bodies are awash in lacerations and bruises – covered a 70 km course that saw competitors cycling, paddling, running and most of all, orienteering their way through thickets of brush and forest.
Contestants are not given their maps and informed of the route they must take until just before race time, adding a further element of intrigue to the day’s event.
“Part of the adventure is them strategizing how to get from one checkpoint to the next,” race organizer Danielle Breault-Stubbing explained. “You have to use your navigational skills. It is quite exciting.”
Most work in teams of two or three, though there are some racers who opt to go it alone. For most, though, it’s the teamwork that is vital to success.
“We always stay with 25-50 metres of each other and we’re talking all day,” Carbonaro said.
Johnson, a kayaker and rock climber, and Carbonaro, an elite runner, have found their individual skills mesh well.
“I do all the navigation,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t know his left from his right.”
“He reads the maps and I run and get the flags (at the checkpoints),” added Carbonaro, who insisted it was “impossible” not to get off course at least once during an event.
“If you get lost for less than 10 minutes, you’re happy,” Carbonaro said. “That’s a goal in any race.”
Top teams finished the journey in approximately five hours, while the slower teams completed the 70 km sojourn in the eight-hour range.
Adventure racers come from all walks of life – Johnson is a chemistry professor at the University of Windsor and Carbonaro and engineer at Ford – and from around the province to compete, and many first timers are perplexed to find out how challenging the course proves to be in relatively flat Essex County.
“They generally associate adventure races with areas with more topography, like the Niagara Escarpment or the Muskokas,” Breault-Stubbing said. “People were surprised when they came down here and saw the many natural and beautiful areas we have here.”
As with any endurance competition, it takes a certain type to want to tackle an event where the first thing they do after you complete the course is check you for ticks.
“It’s nice to get out and stupid stuff with your friends sometimes,” Johnson said. “Everyone’s a little off. That’s for sure.
“You have to have this thing about Type 2 fun. Fun that is after the fact fun, not in the moment fun.”
Regardless, they are unique individuals who can say they’ve achieved quite the accomplishment when all is said and done.
“It’s someone who is willing to do something that is out of the box,” Breault-Stubbing said. “It’s very much a mental competition, in some ways more so than the physical aspect of it.
“People who are able to correct on the fly and not let it shake them too much are the ones who are going to do well.”
Those that do it find it to be like an elixir. They can’t wait to sample the next batch.
And when they complete the journey, as the sign at the finish line suggested, they are “SCAR-red For Life.”
When Western’s Ivey Business School was contemplating the notion of adding a Google virtual tour, they decided to put the tour to the test.
Professors asked their MBA students to perform a case study to determine whether the tour would add value to the school’s web page. The answer that some of the shrewdest business minds in the country arrived at was that not only was it advisable to have the tour done ASAP, the tour would pay for itself and then some in no time at all.
Graduates of the Ivey Business School have been shaping the global business sculpture for nearly a century. When the decision was made to open a business school at Western in London, Ontario, another case study was held, this one determining that the business school they should model themselves after was the one housed at Harvard.
Today, Ivey takes its place right there alongside Harvard and all of the world’s other most prestigious and well-respected business schools. The school offers full-time undergraduate (HBA), MBA, MSc, and PhD programs, and also maintains teaching facilities in Toronto and Hong Kong for its EMBA and Executive Education programs. One of the oldest business schools in Canada, Ivey is credited with having established the country’s first MBA and PhD programs in the Business discipline.
In 2010, Ivey joined the London School of Economics, Bocconi University in Milan, Ecole des hautes etudes commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) and Barcelona’s Escola Superior d’Aministracio i Direccio d’Empreses (ESADE) as the first North American-based business school to offer the CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education.
Ivey lists an academic staff of 109 who oversee the education of 1,300 undergraduate and 300 post graduate students. Ivey’s alumni numbers more than 26,000 and includes the likes of former Alberta Premier Don Getty, Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka, President’s Choice founder Dave Nichol, NASCAR vice-president Gene Stefanyshyn and venture capitalist and Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary.
Their ranks also include a former member of Parliament and Federal Cabinet Minister (Gar Knutson), and corporate CEOs such as George Cope (Bell Canada), Christine Magee (Sleep Country), Michael McCain (Maple Leaf Foods), and David I. McKay (Royal Bank).
In both 2014 and 2015, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Ivey as the No. 1 business school in Canada and the best business school located outside the borders of the United States. Bloomberg also noted that more than half of Ivey alumni held the title of Chair, President, C-Suite level, Vice-President, Managing Director, or Partner. The Financial Post reported that Ivey grads earned the highest salary of any Canadian business school graduates.
Ivey is known worldwide for its case study work, listing more than 8,000 cases in the school’s collection. Ivey Publishing adds better than 350 classroom-tested case studies each year.
Fittingly, it was an Ivey case study that determined not only that a Google virtual tour was a desirable addition to any organization, it in fact was an integral part of growing any business in today’s digital age.
The numbers back up the hypothesis put forth in the Ivey case study. Since August of 2017, the 200 spheres of the Ivey Business School have been viewed more than 61,000 times, proof that a Google virtual tour will draw eyeballs and customers to your site.
But is anyone surprised? If there’s one thing that Ivey grads have proven time and time again over the years in the business world, it is that they know their stuff.
In his modest home studio, Soul Brother Stef makes magic happen via his MPC-style beat machine. His creations are a mesh of soul, funk, jazz and hip-hop, arranged around vocals, live sounds, samples from vinyl cuts and drum beats. Drawing inspiration from MF Doom and J Dilla, Soul Brother Stef’s beats will envelope you and have you tapping along before you know it.
They all told him it would never happen. The doctors, the physiotherapists. All of them advised Paul McCrary to accept that he’d never walk again.
He simply took their words as inspiration.
Standing in front of a group of Windsor Selects baseball players as he directed them through their paces during a workout, personal trainer McCrary paused to recollect the personal journey that brought him to this point – the operator of his own gym, Windsor’s Limitless Training Centre. And limitless is a word that aptly describes the fire that burns inside McCrary’s belly.
Injured eight years ago at the age of 17 during a football game while playing for Catholic Central high school, McCrary suffered a broken neck on the opening kickoff of a game against Sandwich. He was diagnosed a C5 quadriplegic and told he’d be wheelchair-bound for his remaining days on earth.
“I was given little hope of doing anything past moving and getting around in an electric wheelchair for the rest of my life,” McCrary recalled. “I couldn’t really move my arms much or anything below my shoulders.The prognosis was that it would stay similar to that level of function.”
He heard their diagnosis, and then got a second opinion from within his own mind.
“I did a lot of physical therapy over the next 4-5 years, 3-5 hours a day, most days of the week, pretty consistently through that whole time,” McCrary said. “I was constantly changing facilities and therapists every six months to a year, trying new things, pushing myself in different ways. Just challenging the beliefs of my therapists, my doctors and myself, to just try to get better all the time.”
Within the first year, he was able to stand. By the second year, he was walking, first with the aid of parallel bars, and soon thereafter via crutches. Within five years of the accident, he was on the crutches full time, leaving his wheels and his chair behind.
The human spirit can attain spectacular achievements. McCrary believes there was a will within him prior to his injury, but that the objective of overcoming the injury ramped it up so much further that it even surprised him at times.
“The accident definitely brought out another level of it,” McCrary said. I was always very dedicated toward the sports I was working on or the activities I was involved with, along with training in general, and that was a great base, a foundation for my recovery. But the pressing need to recover, to live the life I wanted to live, was extra motivation. It pushed me a lot harder than I would have been pushed.”
That life goal was always to do exactly what he’s doing today – to be a personal trainer, to operate his own gym, and McCrary dangled that carrot in front of his own eyes to keep the drive within burning brightly.
He credits family for playing a large role in that motivation as well.
“There was kind of like a moment after about two and half years after my injury,” McCrary remembered. “I was sitting in the basement with my cousin around 2 a.m. and we were having a conversation.
“I was at that time enrolled in mathematics, computer science for university. I was talking to him about how I don’t like sitting around all day, being stuck at a computer, how I don’t want to live my life that way. I wanted to be on my feet doing things. We just decided at that moment that I was going to get on my feet and do things.
“By the end of that summer, I’d made so much progress that I decided that I wanted to do the career that I wanted to do in the first place, which was training or physiotherapy, so I went and changed my major to human kinetics and made it a goal to do that.”
He opened his gym late in 2016 and it has quickly become a place to go for some of the area’s elite athletes.
“What I am really happy about is the amount of athletic training that we have going on here,” McCrary said. “There’s a lot of baseball players coming in from the Windsor Selects and a lot of the Windsor Lancers football players as well.”
Recently, Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle and fellow Catholic Central alum Tyrone Crawford dropped in for a workout with McCrary.
“Everything has gone to plan or better than to plan so far,” said McCrary, who keeps a constant reminder of his journey aloft in the ceiling of the gym – his wheelchair.
“It really just makes me appreciate every second,” McCrary said. “If I’m having a tough time, if the gym’s dead or things aren’t going the way I want them to, it’s there.
“It reminds me of where I was, of where I could be in my life.”
It keeps him going because, as the message on the wall at Limitless Training Centre reminds us all, ‘The Grind Never Stops.’
Something old. Something new. Something spectacular. Something tried and true.
When it comes to the athletic facilities at the University of Guelph, the seamless combination of tradition with cutting edge technology makes for a one of a kind experience.
Originally opened in 1957, the W.F. Mitchell Athletic Centre remains the focal point for varsity athletes, recreational, instructional and intramural athletes, club and work out activities.
This is where the legendary Gryphons track and field team competes. A dominant force in USports track and field, the Guelph men have won four national titles since 2007-08, while the women have been crowned Canadian champs twice in the same span.
Renovations to the W.F. Mitchell Athletic Centre allow it to maintain its historic legacy, while still catering to the ever-changing sporting landscape. Cardio and weight rooms replaced the two spectator balconies over-looking the main gym. Five international squash courts were constructed where the dressing rooms were at either end of Pygmy Gardens and the original north American squash court have been converted into climbing walls.
Alumni Field, home to the 2015 Yates Cup champion Gryphons football team, features a state of the art synthetic turf football field and newly renovated track. The CFL-sized football field measures 110 yards long and 65 yards wide with 20-yard black and red checkered end zones. In addition, the stadium showcases a brand new video scoreboard. In 2013, Alumni Field served as home to the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats while their new stadium Tim Hortons Field was under construction.
The most recent addition to the world-class facilities on the Guelph campus is the Athletic Centre, a 140,000-square foot fitness complex that features a suspended running track, varsity basketball and volleyball courts, a climbing wall and numerous multi-purpose rooms for fitness and recreation activities. Included are a 2,200-seat event centre, social spaces, concession areas, a merchandise store and new locker rooms.
The popularity of Guelph’s athletic complex is evidenced in the interest displayed in its many facilities. Since November, the 150 spheres of the new Guelph Gryphons Athletic Centre have been viewed 15,500 times, a clear sign that a Google Virtual Tour will bring eyeballs and attention to your facility.
Raymond Kusch intends to do the impossible, and while that might seem a tall order, Kusch is not a man whose perseverance and dedication you should doubt.
A sergeant in the U.S. Army who served combat tours with the Third Infantry Division in both Iraq and Afghanistan from 2009-12, Kusch is a gritty, determined winger for the Michigan Warriors who makes up for what he lacks with a never say die determination.
The first thing that you notice Kusch is lacking is his left leg. On a night time patrol in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in 2012, Kusch scaled a wall, When Kusch landed on the other side of the wall, he stepped right on a pressure plate and his leg was blown off.
It’s for people like Kusch that Josh Krajewski founded the Michigan Warriors hockey team, a club comprised entirely of wounded war veterans.
A U.S. Army Specialist who served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2005-09, Krajewski, whose wounds included a back injury and tinnitus of the ear, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, sought an outlet to make him feel normal again once he got home from war, as well as something that offered the same sort of mutual bonding he’d shared with fellow soldiers in the military.
He found it on the ice.
“I really needed some kind of outlet for my PTSD, the anxiety of being home and being out of the service,” Krajewski explained. “So I picked up ice hockey and immediately fell in love with the game. It’s hard not to.”
Krajewski was surprised to discover that there was no wounded warriors hockey program in Michigan, so he reached out to teams in other states for advice and launched a club in Michigan. Slowly, players began showing up for ice time – about a dozen regulars at first, but soon, it blossomed. Now, they sign up five or six new players a month, and there are ice times available for wounded veterans in Detroit, Saginaw, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids.
The long-range plan is to get 10 centers up and running, allowing them the organize their own veterans hockey league.
Several of the skaters, including Krajewski and Kusch, had never played the game before.
“After I lost my leg I tried skating and I was like Bambi on ice,” Kusch said. “I was stuck to the boards. It was painful, because my stump was going wrong with my prosthetic. It was just a terrible experience.
“That was one of the few things that I’d written off, that as an amputee I’d never be able to do.”
Kusch works at the Student Veterans Resource Center at University of Michigan-Flint. He got to talking about the Detroit Red Wings with a fellow employee, and soon was invited out to skate with the Warriors.
“At first, it was the same thing,” Kusch said. “Bambi on ice. I was scared. They had a couple of professional coaches and they really built up my confidence.
“Within five-10 minutes they had me off of the supports and I was skating around, chasing a puck. I was addicted from there. Now I go to as many skates as I can. Every day I’m building my confidence, seeing myself get better and better. There’s nothing more satisfying than taking something I had written off, saying I’d never be able to do, and now thinking not only can I do it, but I can do it well.”
The players on the Warriors roster describe their weekly ice time as 60-minute therapy sessions.
“The moment that someone new walks into the locker room, they’re a brother to us. We take him in as family,” Krajewski said.
Only a couple of the players knew each other while in the service but they instantly bond in the locker room through their shared life experience, experiences they’d much rather not share with those they love the most.
“You don’t want your family to feel the negative things that you’re feeling,” Jason Gomez said.
A Sergeant in the U.S. Army who served three tours to Baghdad, Gomez was wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated under the vehicle he was riding in. Thrown off the vehicle by the concussion of the explosion, Gomez landed on his tailbone, crushing several vertebrae and leaving him with partial paralysis of the right leg.
“It’s not that you shut your family out,” Gomez added. “You withdraw, you’re more quiet. You don’t want to hurt them with what’s hurting you.”
When Krajewski encouraged Gomez to come out and suit up, he was initially reluctant.
“I pondered it,” Gomez recalled. “I was dealing with depression, survivor’s guilt, PTSD, physical injuries.You’re listening to what you’re being told that you’ll never be able to do this again, that you’ll never be able to do that again.
“Listening to Josh, my wife (Theresa) finally said, ‘You need to try it.’ And I did.”
He’s never looked back.
“This has done nothing but bring families together,” Gomez said. “It helps bring back that camaraderie of the brotherhood/sisterhood. It’s bringing in the veterans to feel part of a team movement again, to feel that camaraderie and to once again have the confidence to get back out.”
As hard as it might seem to think that people with the bravery and courage to serve in the military, stand in harm’s way and face up to the horrors of combat would be in need of a shot of courage, that’s exactly what these men insist playing hockey together has injected into their bloodstream.
The bond of chasing a puck together around the ice has once more instilled within them the ability to get out there and live life again, to pursue their dreams and turn them into reality.
“You don’t realize it but before long, you’re doing things in the public that you never done before when you’ve got out of the military,” Gomez said. “People have come out of that shell.
“I sat around depressed for years, thinking it was all over. You have a sense of self pride again.”
For Kusch, the difference in his approach to things since he took up hockey a scant six weeks ago is like night and day.
“I’ve played football, baseball – I’ve played it all – and there is just no other sport like this,” Kusch said. “The exhilaration, the rush and the fact that I’m doing it with my brothers from combat arms, there’s a camaraderie here that I’ve never experienced before.
“I couldn’t imagine myself getting the courage to go out for a beer league. Being an amputee, there’s a mental barrier there. Man, I don’t want to mess these guys up. These guys don’t care about that. Even when I mess up, getting the camaraderie from my guys saying ‘You did alright,’ there’s nothing like it.”
Buoyed by their belief in him, Kusch is making the impossible happen.
“I’m skating backwards, I’m doing crossovers, I’m doing one-legged stops,” he said. “I can’t stop on my prosthetic – yet.”
He puts a hard emphasis on that last word.
“I’ve talked to other amputee skaters and they say it’s difficult if not impossible but my goal is to change that,” Kusch said.
Defense has been the story for the Michigan Wolverines this season, and as they face their toughest test of the Big Ten campaign, a road trip to Penn State to face the No. 2 Nittany Lions, Jim Harbaugh, coach of the 17th-ranked Wolverines, is confident they will carry the day yet again.
“The defense is playing really well, and then you start to stack up some of the things they’ve done in terms of limiting teams in total yards,” Harbaugh explained. “There’s a stat there that we’re one of 10 teams that have allowed 280 yards or less in their first six ballgames since 2000.
“There’s the most punts against us of any team in college football this year. The three and outs. The turnovers, the interceptions. Some really great things.”
Michigan rates first in the nation in defense, allowing 223.8 yards per game. The Wolverines are No. 1 in third down conversions allowed (20.5 percent) and pass efficiency defense, third in pass defense (138 yards per game) and sixth in stopping the run (85.8 yards per game).
With 10 of 11 starters gone from last season’s defensive lineup, most experts expected Michigan to take a step back this season on the defensive side of the ball. Instead, the Wolverines have proven to be punishing and stifling.
Harbaugh wasn’t certain about how his defense would stack up this season, and to be honest, he didn’t give it a lot of thought.
“I don’t put that kind of expectation on it,” Harbaugh said. “If you put an expectation of where you think you’re going to be, you limit the upside.
“Instead, let’s have at it. Let’s better every day. Better today than yesterday. Better tomorrow than today. It’s a simple formula.
“We thought we’d be good. Coach Brown (defensive coordinator Don Brown) thought we’d be good and our players thought we’d be good. We’re playing good and improving.”
The 6-0 Nittany Lions will throw wrinkles at the defense of the 5-1 Wolverines that they’ve yet to see this season, led by Heisman Trophy contender Saquon Barkley at running back and elusive quarterback Trace McSorley.
“We’ll need a team effort defensively as we go against a great player and a really outstanding offense – great quarterback, great receivers, line and backs, hitting on all cylinders,” Harbaugh said. “Guys are excited for that test.”
Stopping the versatile Barkley might be too much to ask of any defense. Containing his chunk plays will be the key to Michigan’s gameplan.
“He can catch the ball out of the backfield,” Harbaugh said. “He can run all the assortment of runs – inside the tackles, on the edge. He’s a very good pass protector.
“He is a multi-purpose back that can do everything well.”
Heading to Beaver Stadium, one of college football’s most intimidating locales, will be another challenge placed in the path of the young Wolverines.
“I’m excited about it,” Harbaugh said. “I feel like the players would feel the same way, excited for the opportunity. They’ve been on the big stage already this year multiple times in big games and have another crack at it.
“Knowing our guys the way I do, they’re competitors. I feel they’d be excited.”
There were no Pinky And The Brain moments along Kylie Masse’s journey from obscurity to international celebrity, Olympian and world champion.
When people asked about her goals a few years back, when she didn’t even rate a spot among the top 200 female backstroke swimmers in the world, Masse wouldn’t pronounce that she was intent on trying to take over the world.
No, she set bar much at a much lower level.
Her objective? To get better every day. To constantly continue her improvement as a competitive swimmer.
“You’re always trying to take that next step and keep improving,” Masse explained as to her daily ritual when she awoke early each morning before the sun rose to trek to the pool and put in her laps, a level of commitment then known only to those closest to her.
“It’s just progress, keeping up with training, getting back in the water after each race and doing different things to try and be the best that I can.”
Her mission led the 20-year-old swimmer from LaSalle, Ont. to that spot she never allowed herself to realistically envision in 2014 when she was ranked 201st in the world – to No. 1 on the planet, the fastest female 100-metre backstroke swimmer that’s ever jumped in a pool.
When Masse won her signature event at the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, she not only became the first Canadian female to win a world title, she did so in world-record fashion, stopping the clock at 58.10 seconds, snapping the mark of 58.12 that had stood since 2009.
To encompass the rapid rise of Masse from unknown to the best there’s ever been can seem mind-boggling. More significantly, it is not only inspirational, but also reaffirming that anyone with a goal in front of them can achieve the seemingly impossible if they are willing to put in the time and effort that it requires in order to make that journey.
“I think that’s something I think about a lot,” Masse admitted. “I wasn’t really an on-the-radar athlete. I kind of came from nowhere and improved pretty quickly.
“I think that can give a lot of people hope and inspiration.”
Masse first gained notice in university, where she won several national titles and set USport records competing for the Toronto Varsity Blues. But that still was a long reach from there to international acclaim and Olympic status.
The latter came in 2016, when she earned a spot on the Canadian Olympic team and won a bronze medal at the Rio Summer Games in the 100 backstroke, setting a Canadian record in the process.
Masse wasn’t just on the radar. She was in orbit.
“I think when I made the Olympic team that was kind of an eye-opening experience for me and obviously a dream to make that Olympic team,” Masse said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I made the team. Let’s see what I can do.’”
What she has done is take the swimming world by storm and show that as long as you have a passion for something and are willing to keep chipping away at the task in front of you, dreams do come true.
“You don’t have to be going to certain meets and doing certain times at certain ages,” Masse said. “If you set a goal and you have a dream and you keep working hard, you can accomplish it.”
Every day, she took those baby steps, and all that dedication, sacrifice and work ethic eventually led her to take the most significant step of all.
Is there anything more adorable, endearing and as life-affirming as the wagging tail of a happy dog, their eyes alight with the excitement of possibility? The beauty of Woofa-Roo is that it is an event for the whole family, including the four-legged members.
In fact, it’s especially designed for the four-legged members of the family, and the joy they gain from their time at the festival is palpable.
Friendly, leashed dogs are welcomed at Woofa-Roo, the celebration of all things canine that is based at Amherstburg’s Libro Centre. Every breed is embraced here in this all-encompassing environment. Your dog can interact with other dogs and be entertained by celebrity dogs and working dogs. Woofa-Roo is billed as a fun-filled day of activity for pets and their people. Watch daredevil dogs perform dock diving feats into the water, and see frisbee-playing dogs in action as they run down the object of their affection and leap and bound into the air to make spectacular catches. You can check out other dogs playing in Flyball tournaments, or displaying their skills of agility through a challenging obstacle course. Watch the Windsor Police K9 team display their dynamic crime-fighting skills.
Head over to Woofa-Roo’s Pet-Ucation Centre at the Libro Centre’s indoor soccer field to get dog advice from the professionals. If you are looking to add a dog to the family, there are pet rescue organizations on site to help connect you with a pet in search of a forever home. Several local animal-based charities benefit from funds raised by Woofa-Roo.
Dogs aren’t the only animals on display at Woofa-Roo. There are also parrot and reptile areas, and there’s plenty of fun for two-legged members of the family, too, from pony rides to face painting.
There’s so much to do at Woofa-Roo, it’s a good thing that it’s a two-day festival, because you will need both days to take it all in.