You probably aren’t going to read this entire blog post.

And that’s totally fine. But here’s a recent example of why you should always read beyond the headlines:

Last week, WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan was quoted out of context. In Swaminathan’s original statement, the warning in regard to mixing COVID-19 vaccines was given to those who are already fully vaccinated and may be deciding for themselves if they need an extra “booster” dose (CBC News, 2021). The media’s representation of Dr. Swaminathan’s statement, however, failed to provide context as headlines along the lines of “WHO Warns Against Mixing and Matching COVID-19 Vaccines” flooded the internet. 

With one thing leading to another, false rumors about mixing and matching vaccines had essentially spread across the globe. What was initially given as a warning, had quickly escalated into a chaotic situation of broken telephone in which Canadians were beginning to doubt their own country’s vaccination strategy—which includes mixing and matching vaccines (CBC News, 2021). In a tweet following the press conference, Dr. Swaminathan clarified that mixing vaccines is completely safe and that public health agencies, not individuals, should make decisions on mixing and matching COVID vaccines, based on available data (Reuters, 2021). 

TLDR: “Context is extremely important.”

According to infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, if there’s one thing to take away from this situation, it’s to always remember that “context is extremely important.” In his interview with CBC News, Bogoch states that WHO officials “were really referring to people who had already received, for example, a full course of a vaccine series and then were, you know, for lack of a better word, choosing their own adventure and trying to get additional doses of a vaccine” (CBC News, 2021).


CBC News. (2021, July 14). What the World Health Organization really said about mixing COVID-19 vaccines | CBC News. CBCnews.

Reuters. (2021, July 12). WHO warns individuals against mixing and matching COVID vaccines. Reuters.

About the Author

Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

The Long Haul: Post-COVID Conditions

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has directly impacted over 185 million people worldwide (including those who have deceased as a result of the virus). With just over 4 million of those 185 million+ cases being fatal (Ritchie et al., 2020), the remaining individuals are notoriously those who have supposedly recovered from their initial COVID symptoms. Recently however, a number of these “recovered individuals” have reported experiences of post-COVID conditions.

What are Post-COVID Conditions?

Post-COVID conditions, otherwise known as long COVID, post-acute COVID-19, or chronic COVID, involve a number of new and/or persisting symptoms that occur “four or more weeks after first being infected” with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (CDC, 2021). While post-COVID conditions have a tendency to affect those who experienced severe illness during their infectious period, these symptoms can affect anyone who has had COVID—regardless of whether or not they were asymptomatic during their infectious period (CDC, 2021). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled a list of some the most commonly reported symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  • Cough
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Pins-and-needles feeling
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleep problems
  • Fever
  • Dizziness on standing (lightheadedness)
  • Rash
  • Mood changes
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Changes in period cycles

Who is at risk?

It is common for many to assume that the older population and/or those with pre-existing health conditions are at a higher risk for experiencing post-COVID conditions. While this is most likely true, a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway reveals that long-term symptoms after having mild COVID-19 can also impact young people (Neustaeter, 2021). 

After analyzing the symptoms of 312 COVID patients six months post-COVID infection, the study found that 61% of these patients experienced post-COVID conditions (Neustaeter, 2021). Moreover, 52% of patients between the ages of 16 and 30 who suffered mild COVID-19 infection reported prolonged symptoms that included but were not limited to, loss of taste/smell, fatigue, shortness of breath, and impaired concentration (Neustaeter, 2021). The study mentions that these symptoms were “independently associated with severity of the initial illness, pre-existing conditions and increased convalescent antibodies” (Neustaeter, 2021). 

“The cognitive symptoms of impaired memory and concentration difficulties are particularly worrying for young people at school or university and [ultimately] highlights the importance of vaccination to prevent the long-term health implications of COVID-19.”

  • Bjorn Blomberg 

Multiorgan and Autoimmune Conditions

Those who experience severe COVID-19 illness during their infectious period may also experience multiorgan effects and/or autoimmune conditions post-infection. Multiorgan effects can involve damage to the body systems, including a combination of heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain functions (CDC, 2021). Autoimmune conditions on the other hand occur when the immune system misinterprets and attacks healthy cells, ultimately causing inflammation and/or tissue damage (CDC, 2021). 

Associate professor and study author Bjorn Blomberg claims that more research is needed to further assess the long-term impacts of the disease on other organs (Neustaeter, 2021). Based on the Norway study findings, he adds that it is crucial to understand the need for vaccines and other infection control measures—not just for the older population, but for younger age groups as well.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Post-COVID Conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Neustaeter, B. (2021, June 23). Young adults with mild COVID-19 suffering from persistent symptoms six months after infection: study. CTV News.

Ritchie, H., Ortiz-Ospina, E., Beltekian, D., Mathieu, E., Hasell, J., Macdonald, B., Giattino, C., Appel, C., Rodés-Guirao, L., & Roser, M. (2020, March 5). Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) – the data – Statistics and Research. Our World in Data.

About the Author

Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

If you’re reading this, book your HPV vaccine at!

It is reasonable to say that COVID-19 vaccines are of utmost priority given the current situation. With that being said, it is crucial to remember that there are serious healthcare issues that have and continue to exist alongside the pandemic. 

What is HPV?

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (CDC, 2021). It can also be passed down from a mother to her offspring during childbirth. There are many types of HPV that lead to a variety of health issues including certain cancers. Getting an HPV vaccine however, can help protect against these outcomes (CDC, 2021).

What does HPV have to do with Cervical Cancer?

According to Dr. Raymond Mansoor, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Sir Lester Bird Mount St John’s Medical Centre, HPV is the “direct cause of 99.7 percent of all cervical cancer cases and so there is definitely some argument or discussion that can be had as to the benefits of vaccination against cervical cancer” (Williams, 2021). 

Cervical cancer is also the second most common form of cancer in females, following breast cancer (Williams, 2021). Because all females are at risk for contracting HPV, it is imperative to receive the HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer.

Herd Immunity and Cervical Cancer

While “herd immunity” is a term that is often used to help describe how a community can combat COVID-19, Dr. Mansoor claims that it can and should be applied to the prevalence of cervical cancer (Williams, 2021). In Australia, current epidemiological research has demonstrated a 50 percent reduction in reported cervical cancers per year, which is an indication that the HPV vaccines are a highly effective preventative measure against cervical cancer (Williams, 2021). 

If you have yet to get your HPV vaccine, easily book an appointment using!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, January 19). STD Facts – Human papillomavirus (HPV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Williams, O. (2021, June 23). ‘Herd immunity via HPV vaccinations will reduce cervical cancer cases’ – Dr Mansoor. Antigua Observer Newspaper.

About the Author

Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

Is It Safe to Gather With Others During The COVID-19 Pandemic? Use This Tool to Find Out:

The Visit Risk Calculator ( is a new assessment tool launched by the NIA (National Institute of Ageing) in partnership with the Government of Canada to help Canadians assess the risk-level associated with social gatherings.

Using the best available scientific evidence and the input of leading experts in infectious diseases, public health and epidemiology, the website was developed to help people of different ages and states of health better understand the factors that affect the risk of getting COVID-19 when visiting or gathering with others.

As vaccination programs ramp up across the country, restrictions are slowly loosening. Canadians want more guidance on what fully-vaccinated people can do safely. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says, “We would like to enable people to take themselves through [this] kind of risk assessment while respecting local public health requirements.”

To use the tool, you will be asked a series of questions related to your vaccination and health status, and that of the people you want to gather with, details of the event and what the local infection rates are.

“This tool uses the best available scientific evidence to support people of all ages and states of health to make more informed decisions about gathering with others during the pandemic,” says Dr. Samir Sinha, NIA Director of Health Policy Research. “After working through the questions, people are assigned a risk level in accordance with the gathering they are considering, along with public health advice on how to meet more safely with others.”

Based on your answers, you will get a “risk score” from Low to High, a personalized report to help you understand the level of risk associated with your planned visit or gathering, and tips on how to make your visit or gathering as safe as possible for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The vision behind the tool is to prepare you and your loved ones to better discuss the potential risks and benefits of visiting or gathering with each other and in the end make a well-informed decision on how to make any necessary visits or gatherings as safe as possible.

“These risk assessments depend on your individual risk, who you’re about to get into contact with, as well as the epidemiology of your specific community,” says Dr. Theresa Tam.

As of June 25th 2021, 75% of the population 12 years and older has received at least one dose and 22% is fully vaccinated. However, COVID-19 remains an important public health issue as transmission with new variants of concern continue to circulate. Careful assessment before deciding to visit, gather, or meet with others remains vitally important.

To learn more about the COVID-19 Risk Calculator or to use it for yourself, click here.

Disclosure: EMPOWER Health helped the NIA build the online experience of the risk assessment tool, and provided technical guidance along with testing.  As always, our team is proud of our work with Public Health Organizations to help conquer COVID! Visit us at!


Rabson, M. (2021, June 22). Risk-assessment tool for fully vaccinated people coming soon, Tam promises.

The wealthy bird gets the worm: Getting a head start on second doses

With the Delta variant continuing to spread in various parts of Ontario, it is crucial that second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are accessible to those who are most vulnerable. According to recent data however, it appears that those living in wealthier postal codes are moving well with the rate of second doses—even more so than the poorer and more racialized communities that need it the most.

Ontario has identified and targeted the following regions to receive an increased amount of second doses: Toronto, Peel Region, Halton and York Region. 

The independent research organization ICES claims that as of June 7, 2021,

the wealthier postal codes among the targeted regions appear to have an
increased amount of second-dose recipients  (Woodward, 2021). The postal code that led the race at the time was M5P which includes parts of Forest Hill where 17.55 percent of the residents had received their second dose (Woodward, 2021).The area around Jane and Finch, as well as Rexdale had significantly lower numbers, at 4.97 and 4.58 percent respectively (Woodward, 2021).

Dr. David Burt of the Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity states that “many [racialized and other vulnerable community members] are in the service industry, they can’t work from home, they have to take public transit, they have to work in the health-care sector”.

Distribution Solutions

The inequities with the rollout of second doses are no different than the first. In order to create a more balanced distribution, Toronto’s Sprint Strategy is working towards targeting areas of interest. On the other hand, pop-ups such as the ones held by Scarborough Health Network are focused on the population that lives and works in high-risk postal codes (Woodward, 2021).


Woodward, J. (2021, June 15). Ontario’s wealthiest zones get head start on second doses, data shows. Toronto.

Author, Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her)

Bairavie Piravakaran is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently volunteers with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

10 Health Hacks For Canada’s 149th Birthday & Canada Day Holiday Hours

Over here at, we’re all about boosting and improving the health of our fellow Canadians.

For the Canada Day long weekend, we’ve collected holiday hours for healthcare services, so you can easily use the website or iPhone, Android or BB10 app to see whether a pharmacy or clinic is open.

And, to celebrate Canada Day, we’ve created a list of 10 cool health hacks that celebrate and advance our daily marriage with our own health.  Here they are!

1 – Nappuccinos
What is this sorcery? Nap…puccinos? The last time I had coffee before taking a nap, I lay awake on my bed jittering uncontrollably for 40 minutes. But as with all techniques, effective execution is necessary for its success.

Time for a super quick (simplified) science lesson:Your body consumes molecules called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to release energy, and produces adenosine molecules as a result. In the brain, adenosine can act as a central nervous system depressant, which makes us sleepy. The longer we stay awake, the more adenosine accumulates; when we sleep, the body replenishes ATP from the produced adenosine (a.k.a. rest). Caffeine keeps us awake because it essentially acts by blocking the effects of adenosine.In concept, napping and caffeine both do the same thing – they make us more awake by reducing the effects of adenosine. So it’s really no surprise that the two paired together are an effective strategy to potentiate naps. You see, caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in – so if you consume a cup of coffee and immediately take a quick power nap, you wake up with a wonderfully compounded wakefulness!

2 – Train your brain! (with music)
Music is such an intrinsic and natural component of life. Everywhere from the rustle of the leaves to the whispers of the wind, melodies arise and caress our ears. But we usually don’t pay much attention to what this could actually be doing for us. Music is actually shown to exert many benefits on our health that are worth learning about:
– Music, as a distraction element, can effectively reduce the perception of pain, and improve performance during physical activity.
– Music has a huge impact on mental health, being shown to help combat depression, relieve stress, and just to elevate moods in general.
– Music (especially when playing music) is shown to boost neuroplasticity and cognitive performance.
So why not try exploring some new genres or types of music this Canada Day? Taking care of mental health is equally if not more important than physical health, and music is a very easy way to do it.

3 – Download our app!
Sometimes health might escape us. But that’s okay. The most important thing to do when we fall is to get up. And we can help you with that. Remember to download app on Android, iOS, or Blackberry (or just use the web app). Our app is tiny in size and big in impact, so you won’t need to worry about it taking up your precious smartphone storage space while also having it ready to help you when you least expect it.  You can do all sorts of things with our app.. like check where the nearest walk-in clinic is, book your doctor’s appointment online, find doctors accepting new patients (including clinics with doctors that let you book appointments online), look for diagnostic labs, and even see real-time wait times for walk-ins that use our virtual waiting room service! What’s even better is that for the upcoming Canada Day long weekend, we’ll display updated holiday hours.. so you can access healthcare when & where you need it. Even if you just need to pick up some sunscreen at a local pharmacy, we’ll help you protect your skin! Our service is especially useful to keep those on great Canadian road trips healthy.. if you’re visiting a new place, you can rely on use to ensure that your nearest healthcare options are just a couple of taps away if anything (hopefully not) happens.

4 – Ditch the whiskers
Allergy season got you down under the weather? Rocking a sick moustache? Well… it’s time to make a decision. It turns out that moustache hair is very good at trapping pollen and other airborne allergens (like pollen grains) that trigger seasonal allergies. A very easy and quick fix to this without having to take those drowsiness-inducing antihistamines would be to…ditch the whiskers and shave that ‘stache. Alternatively, as hygiene is ALWAYS important, making sure to clean your facial hair regularly throughout the day could achieve a similar effect.

5 – Offer to dog sit
Ever heard of dog therapy? It turns out that having dogs as company has great therapeutic effects. Playing with a dog can increase levels of the stress-suppressing hormone oxytocin, while simultaneously lowering your body’s production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Other benefits include lowering blood pressure, increasing
post-heart-attack lifespans, and a general increased happiness. So… if your neighbours are planning a road trip for the Canada Day weekend but can’t take their dog with them… why not be a  benevolent member of the community and pick up on some dog-sitting with a side of mental therapy?

6 – Hypothermia
Okay, this one’s even weirder than the nappuccino tip. Hypothermia? And the summer? Compromised heat regulation…in the heat of the summer? It just doesn’t make sense… Well, as it turns out, the CDC has found that there’s been an alarming number of deaths occurring due to hypothermia… in June.Why? Well, the answer is simple, really. People are unprepared. In the winter, everybody likes to bundle up with layers upon layers upon layers. But in the summer, it’s very common for people to go for a dip in the lake at the cottage (even at night), and just walk around in swim-clothes, unaware that their body heat may be declining rapidly. The tip here, is to stay prepared. Towels and light extra layers are key, especially if you’re planning on getting wet!

7 – Apply cold (tea) to area of burnThis tip is super useful for the summer. If you find yourself sunburned in the hot summer sun (you should be putting on sunscreen to prevent this in the first place), or brushed against some poison ivy, or bitten by mosquitoes, you can use TEA as a remedy! The many natural organic compounds in tea have many powerful therapeutic effects. Black tea applied to sunburns can speed recovery. Anti-inflammatory agents in chamomile tea can reduce irritation from poison ivy and bug bites. Biting into tea bags can also be used to relieve cold sores! Check out this article on for more information about the amazing benefits of tea:

8 – Sniff some fruits and flowers
Having a bad day? Headache’s got you down? Can’t sleep? Mother nature’s full of solutions – and they’re easier to access than you think. Studies have found that odorous molecules released by oranges can relieve anxiety and boost mood, the scent of green apples can reduce the magnitude of pain perception in some individuals, and the scent of lavender oil has soothing effects that can facilitate the sleeping process. I guess whoever said that you need to take time to “step back and smell the roses” was on to something… 

9 – Exercise with your immune system!
People are always nagging you to do exercise because “it’s good for you”, but often don’t really offer much more information beyond that. So how do you actually know it’s good? Well… it goes deeper than “it boosts your metabolism” or “it makes you feel good”. It turns out that when you regularly do exercise, you are concurrently training your immune system (that part of your body that defends against illnesses and infections) to be stronger. Ever heard of a white blood cell? Well, there are several types of these, and two of them are directly impacted by your levels of exercise.Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells) are the virus and cancer-killing white blood cells. Your body is constantly producing “busted” cells that have the chance of developing into cancers… but the reason why everyone doesn’t have cancer is that their NK cells are there to destroy the bad cells before they can do damage. Macrophages (a.k.a. “big-eaters”), are another member of your body’s general immune defense, and literally eat up illness-inducing pathogens that may enter your system. Doing exercise has been found to boost the number of NK cells AND making them more powerful, while also making macrophages more responsive to your body’s chemical signals, and more capable of destroying unwanted invaders. Exercise, then, not only makes you stronger, but makes you more resistant to disease and keeps you healthier for longer!So…yeah. Next time someone tells you that “exercise is good for you”, make sure THEY know why too.

10 – Tune your mind to your body
Have you ever just looked at your hands and marvelled at how, with barely a thought, you can make your fingers move exactly how you want? Have you ever sat down and just wondered how all the multiple molecular intricacies in your body dance together to create the fully functioning organism that is you? So many of us simply take our bodies for granted, without realizing how amazing this complex vessel we are born with and grow with for our entire lives really is. Cited in multiple realms with different names, such as “mind-muscle connection” in weightlifting, “zen” in Buddhism, or “mindfulness” in colloquial terms, establishing a connection between your mind and your body is a topic of increasing importance. This mindfulness allows for the defusing of stress, a momentary reset, and just feeling more in tune with yourself as a person. Check out these 5 bonus health tips to get started on your journey to become more mindful in your everyday environment:

Happy Canada Day everybody!!!  We hope these health hacks are useful to help you live happier every day.


The Team

Sources and the 2015 Ontario Action Plan for Health Care

A few weeks ago, the Government of Ontario released a follow-up to the 2012 Action Plan for Health Care. The new plan, called Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, built on the foundation that was laid down in 2012. The plan introduced four key objectives:

  • Access – Provide Ontarians with better access to the right care
  • Connect – Coordinate services so that Ontarians can receive integrated care within their community
  • Inform – Inform Ontarians through education, information and transparency so they can make the best health decisions
  • Protect – Ensure that our health system is sustainable by making evidence-based decisions

What does this mean for

In December, partnered with the Mississauga-Halton LHIN to help with their Holiday Hours / Emergency Department Surge strategy. Over the winter holiday, collected clinic & pharmacy holiday hours throughout the region and posted it online. Doctors were also able to update their hours in real time (one doctor even updated his hours on Christmas Day!). This meant that patients looking for their their doctor’s office hours were able to easily get the most up-to-date and accurate information.

At the core of this initiative are the very key objectives as defined in the Action Plan. Every year, health administrators prepare for the “holiday surge”. This is when emergency rooms across the region experience a higher than normal number of visits; which commonly coincides with the holiday season. However, it isn’t limited to just the holiday season – surges happen throughout the year. Surges not only mean that Canadians may not be getting the best access to care, it also means that a huge burden is placed on the system.

With, Ontarians in the Mississauga-Halton LHIN region are able to get the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date healthcare service hours through our website and smartphone apps. These benefits are helpful for patients and the healthcare system year-round, so our partnership has become a year-long partnership.  You will soon hear more about how that year-long initiative will look.

In addition to our LHIN partnership, we are also working on expanding our e-booking system to more clinics and pharmacies. This will ultimately help more Canadians navigate the healthcare system… and, this too supports the objectives of Ontario’s Action Plan.

What does this mean for you and me? 

Everyone at is a patient too. This new Action Plan means that we can expect improvements in how we interact with our care teams and community healthcare providers. It is important that everyone – you, me, our friends and family – can navigate the complexity of a healthcare system. This means will always have work to do when it comes to creating and improving apps that help accomplish that.

For our healthcare provider friends, we will continue to improve and expand our products to help you streamline your practice. We want to help you improve the patient experience while efficiently delivering care. If you can provide any insight on how we can do that, feel free to connect with us.

Niagara Region: The Seven Wonders & The Finer Things

Summer is the best time to travel; adults and children alike. To help you with your travel plans, we’re profiling some of the best travel destinations in Ontario.  We started the series with the capital of Canada, Ottawa, and last week we traveled up to nickel town Sudbury, and this week is the Niagara region!

Don’t know where to go for a family weekend, a couples getaway, or road trip with your buddies? If so, the Niagara Region may just be the destination for you! Located only 2 hours away from Toronto, the Niagara Peninsula is a must-visit tourist attraction and locals hangout spot.

Don’t know where to go while there? Here are the top 5 attractions of the Niagara peninsula:

1. Niagara Falls 


Niagara Falls, the name of the three waterfalls straddling the boarder between U.S.A. and Canada, is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is considered one of the must-visit destinations while travelling around Ontario, not to mention it is the honeymoon capital of the province. Every evening, the falls will be lit in the colours of the rainbow, and there are often fireworks over the falls. Never will you be so mesmerized by a body of falling water; the view is truly spectacular day or night.


2. Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory 


Most people have been to zoos, but have you ever been to a butterfly zoo? The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory is a fun place to visit for adults and children. The conservatory allows you to be in close contact with over 2,000 butterflies of 60 different species from Costa Rica, Australia, Philippines etc.

3. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark  


The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is located on the 20 acre Falls Avenue Resort directly across from Niagara Falls and is the ideal family vacation destination. The waterpark offers 16 thrilling slides up to six stories high, a giant wave pool, outdoor pool/sundeck, and the Beach House Rain Fortress with 1000 Gallon Tipping Bucket.

4. Wine Tours 


Are you a wine lover planning a trip to the Niagara Falls? If so, then you need to stop by Niagara Wine Country; the area that makes the world’s largest volume of ice wine and voted as Canada’s #1 Food and Wine Destination by TripAdvisor. Take the tour behind the scenes with one of the 26 wineries in the region, where you can sample rare vintages, special reserves and many wines that are only available at the winery.

5. Shaw Festival Theatre 


Being the second largest repertory theatre in North America, the Shaw Festival (named after an Irish playwright Bernard Shaw) has become one of Canada’s cultural icons. The Shaw Festival Theatre plays 10 productions in four theatres attracts more than 250,000 audiences from around the globe per year. Visiting the Shaw Festival is the perfect weekend getaway if you enjoy the first class theatre experience.


Niagara Fallsview Casino


For those who are above 19 years old, Niagara Falls is Canada’s Las Vegas. Built on a cliff overlooking the world-famous Horseshoe Falls, Fallsview Casino Resort is the largest and most elegant gaming resort facility in Canada. Aside from the gaming facilities, this resort is also known for its quality entertainment packed with performances from world famous performers and their luxurious buffets.

Nearby Healthcare Providers

Forgot to bring a camera to the Falls or sunscreen for the wine tour? Or, what if you need to find a pharmacy, walk-in clinic or ER for whatever reason?  Don’t forget that healthcare providers are just one-click away using the app (iPhone, Android & BB10) and website!

You can never prepare too much while planning a trip, so here are the information of five healthcare locations near the attractions:

1. Niagara Health System – Greater Niagara General Site (Emergency Room)

5546 Portage Road
Niagara Falls , L2E 6X2

2. Queen Street Pharmacy

4421 Queen Street
Niagara Falls , L2E 2L2

3. Shoppers Drug Mart (Open 24 Hours)

6565 Lundy’s Lane
Niagara Falls , L2G 1V1

4. Simpson’s Apothecary

233 King Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake , L0S 1J0

5. Primary Health Care Clinic (Walk-In Clinic)

176 Wellington Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake , L0S 1J0



Happy Birthday Canada!

Happy 147th birthday Canada!  Canada Day We have a lot to be proud of as a country.  From the Canadian Pacific Railway to Universal Healthcare, Canadians from the past and present have truly made Canada one of the best places to live! is launching a blog series highlighting some of the top travel destinations in Ontario.  When you’re these locations, keep the iamsick app handy just in case! To commemorate Canada Day, let’s start with Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Ottawa 1) Parliament Hill


House the offices of the members of Parliament, the House of Commons and the Senate. The perfect place to celebrate Canada Day with free concerts, fireworks and 25,000+ fellow Canadians.  Enter the Parliament Buildings for a free guided tours that delves into Canadian history and explains the workings of our political system. 2) Rideau Canal


One of the oldest landmarks in Ottawa, this canal is filled with boats in the summer and becomes the “World’s Longest Skating Rink” in the winter.  You can paddle the full 202 km length of the Rideau Canal from Lake Ontario [Kingston] to Ottawa River [Ottawa] through 45 locks, and in the winter you can skate the 7.8 km length of the Rideau Canal skateway from Carleton University (Hartwell Locks) to downtown Ottawa (Chateau Laurier), including Dow’s Lake in between.  Dow’s Lake is also home to an annual Ice Sculpture competition, and other Winterlude festivities.  You can also find warming stations, beavertails & hot chocolate along the length of the canal. 3) Peace Tower


The Peace Tower commemorates the end of World War I, and harbours the best view of Ottawa. Nearly 100 m tall, it is located in the front middle of the Center Block building of the Canadian Parliament.  Inside the Peace Tower is the Memorial Chamber and a Carillon. 4) National Museums & Galleries OttawaMuseums Ottawa is home to many National Museums & Galleries.  These include the Canadian Agriculture & Food Museum (aka Experimental Farm), the Canadian Aviation & Space Museum, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Science & Technology Museum, the Canadian War Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint, and many local historical museums and galleries. Explore the collection of artifacts, unforgettable photos, art & knowledge that have shaped Canada into what it is today. 5) ByWard Market


Ottawa’s ByWard Market is a few blocks from Parliament Hill, and is one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets.  You’ll find cafés, galleries, museums, specialty food shops, boutiques, restaurants, pubs, busking, and even the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.  It’s farmer’s market is open year-round, and offers fresh produce, flowers, baked goods and crafts.  With many outdoor patios & street performers busking, it is a great place to take a stroll while visiting Ottawa.   Ottawa Weather


The average July maximum temperature is 26.5 °C (80 °F), and the average January minimum temperature is −14.8 °C (5.4 °F). Winters can be very cold with temperatures dropping as low as −36 °C (−32.8 °F), while summers are warm and humid. Daytime temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) or higher are commonplace. So, it’s important to bundle up to avoid frostbite and windburn in the winter, and to keep hydrated and slather on the sunscreen in the summer.  Don’t forget that you can use the app to find the nearest open pharmacy to pick up sunscreen, drinks, mitts, and pocket handwarmers. Healthcare Providers Near the Attractions

1) James Street Medical Clinic

613-233-6240 58 James Street (near Bank St & Somerset St W) Ottawa , K2P 0T6 

2) Watson’s Pharmacy and Wellness Centre – Ottawa East

613-238-1881 192 Main Street (near Main St & Lees Ave – a few blocks from Rideau Canal) Ottawa , K1S 1C2

3) Rexall – Sparks & Bank

613-238-1198 240 Sparks Street – Unit C-102 (on Sparks Street – 2 blocks from Parliament Hill) Ottawa , K1P 6Z9

4) Bruyère Pharmacy

613-562-6308 75 Bruyere Street (near Sussex Drive & King Edward Avenue – next to Royal Canadian Mint) Ottawa , K1N 5C8

5) Ottawa Hospital – Civic Campus

613-761-5355 1053 Carling Avenue (near Carling Avenue & Parkdale Avenue – near Dow’s Lake & Experimental Farm ) Ottawa , K1Y 4E9   To search for more healthcare providers near you, visit:, Ontario & Open Data

What is Ontario’s Open Data?

We hear a lot about open data and its potential, but what is it?  Also, does Ontario have an open data strategy?  Why is that important, and how can Canadians benefit from such an initiative?

Recently, the Open Government Engagement Team consulted Ontarians, legislators, journalists, government staff and public servants about how to improve government engagement with the public.  As reported, there was an overwhelming positive response to open up government data so that it is more accessible to the public.  The concept of Open Data has been around for a while, and it is the process of making government collected data freely accessible by the general public.  Some members of the public analyze the data, creating charts, infographics to identify stories & trends.  Others leverage the data to create tools.  Sometimes those tools (ie. help improve the delivery of public services.OpenData-1 Ontario’s Open Data Goals

  • Complete: All data is published automatically, unless there are valid privacy, security or legal reasons not to do so.
  • Primary: Data is published with the most detail possible (i.e. not aggregated).
  • Timely: Data is published as quickly as possible after it is collected.
  • Accessible: Data is made available to the widest range of users for as many purposes as possible.
  • Non-discriminatory: Data is available to anyone and does not require registration for access.
  • Non-proprietary: Data is free and is available in formats that no one has exclusive control over.
  • Licence-free: Data is released under a licence that does not restrict its use (i.e. no copyrights or patents).

OpenData-2 Why is Open Data Important?

Open Data has the potential to change the way government works internally by promoting more transparent decision making and efficient use of public resources. The Open Engagement Team has recently consulted with the team about making healthcare providers information more accessible to Ontarians. By disclosing healthcare provider information to the public, it would help social enterprises such as create tools that will allow the government to improve and efficiently deliver healthcare services that cater to the needs of a diverse spectrum of Ontario residents. Tools that leverage open data can improve all sectors and levels of government, and Open Data has a huge potential for improving the lives of Ontarians. The best thing about Open Data is the creativity of the concepts, tools and analysis created with the data. Whether it’s a high school, student, journalist, scientist or entrepreneur, people will look at the data from different perspectives that may lead to great ideas or insight.  The way we see it is clear to us: making healthcare provider information public through open data initiatives will help bridge some of the gaps in the current healthcare system: awareness, access and appropriateness of care.

Ryan-presenting-to-OntarioMinistries2 President & co-Founder, Ryan Doherty, explaining how Open Data could be leveraged to improve healthcare across Canada during an Open Data Day event for Ontario public servants.

OpenDataEngagementTeam-Nov23-2013a team meeting Ontario’s Open Engagement Team. 

Crowdfunding & Open Data

One of the main purposes of the open data initiative is to give the public a voice and increase knowledge of the decision making process within the government. The Ontario government aims to open data so the public can leverage the information and accomplish good. And, this is exactly what does: we leverage government information to improve public service delivery.  Crowdfunding is a useful tool that can augment open data initiatives. It is a way to raise money, allowing free services like to improve and expand. Our crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo takes it one step further, by giving the public a voice; anyone who pledges $1 or more will get a vote to decide which province we will expand our service to next.  Our campaign also includes perks, like Get Well cards and Canadiana cards from local artists and photographers, which help bring the community together to support our social enterprise.

Open Data & Social Good

Social enterprises like can use open data to improve public services, build an engaged community of users, and bring public concerns to government awareness.

Be the change you want to see in Canadian healthcare, visit our indiegogo crowdfunding page and see how you can make a difference!