An Inside Look at the Life of a CTV Reporter: Dana Levenson

By Matthew Lindzon and Esther Eisen

Since 2000, Dana Levenson has been a member of the CTV Toronto News Team. Dana graduated from Western University in addition to Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts program. The Golden Falcon Newspaper reached out to Levenson for an interview about her career as a reporter.

Follow her on Instagram

How did you become a news anchor? 

“Well, I’ve been at CTV for 18 and a half years and so I started a long time ago. I started as a general news assignment reporter, which I still am half of the time and just working through the newsroom and various positions. I’ve worn pretty much every hat in the newsroom and that’s pretty much how, in terms of my journey, it happened. But in regards to before CTV, I went to school first at the University of Western and got a degree in Film Theory and Criticism and then I went to Ryerson, where I received a Broadcasting and Journalism degree in RTA.” 

What do you find are some of your challenges as a news anchor, specifically at CTV or in your career?

“I feel like the days are jam-packed. There’s so much to cover [with] being a local news reporter. We have so much to cover every day because we have to get that information out there. Now what I’m finding, I guess you could call it a challenge, is that media is multi-layered, so it’s not just the traditional newscast as we’ve known [where] you tune in at noon, 6:00, and 11:30, which we still have our faithful viewers, that still watch religiously during those times every single day and on the weekend, but people do expect to have news streaming 24 hours a day and where they turn to. That, of course, is social media. It’s not, you know how news morphed into cable news networks where we had 24-hour news cycle going on, television and radio, and now we have social media. So, the challenge for myself is to constantly be in the know, be aware of what’s happening all the time and be able to get that information out there and be able to take it in 24 hours a day, except for when I’m sleeping! Haha! I do sleep a little bit, not that much, but a little! 


What would you say are your favourite parts of your job?

“Number one favourite part of my job is meeting new people every day. Often, given any week, I’m meeting 3 to 5, sometimes even 10 new faces every week, telling different stories, which is the best part of my job. Every day is a new day, so I wake up with the idea that I could be doing a political story, I could be doing a crime story, or a special feature story and that, to me, has kept the excitement of news alive for me because every day is a different day. Now on the weekends, I also anchor the weather. So that’s exciting too because the weather changes every minute! Haha! So often, while I’m live on television, the weather is changing, so I have to keep up with that too, so I find that very exciting. But I would say that the very best part of my job is meeting people and telling stories that I would say not necessarily anybody would ever know about.” 

How do you determine which stories will be broadcast?

“So we have an assignment team and several assignment producers that start every day bright and early and go to all the news cycles from the evening, overnight, what’s happening in the morning, breaking news, ‘news you can use’, weather news, anything you can think of and they determine what has to be covered immediately. So that team, who I would say is probably the highest regarded team in our newsroom (it’s sort of the great minds come together; our news director, our producers, our assignment team), come together very early in the morning and they go through the day. That’s always changing too because of news breaks. That changes the whole line of the day; it changes where the reporters are going to be sent, where the camera people are going to be sent and what is covered. But generally, it starts with the assignment team and they decide where everybody goes and how they start their day and then that changes. So yesterday, for example, I started my day covering a story of the Yonge and Finch van attack and then I received a phone call on my way to that story saying ‘when you’re done that story, can you please head over to this story?’. So I had to do two stories yesterday and both were actually human interest stories. So often you go about your day doing one thing and then it changes or often you do many stories.” 

CTV News

We took a look at your biography and something that we found really interesting was that you broke a story about unsterilized medical equipment at the Lakeridge Health Centre. Can you please tell us a bit more about that? 

“We received a phone call in the newsroom. I had just come off the air. These were the early days of my career so we didn’t have Twitter back then or social media. The phone call that I received was from a viewer who spoke to one of our producers but had asked to speak to me. The producer, of course, took the call and she told the producer this story, which was that she was breastfeeding her 5-month old baby and she had received a phone call from the clinic where she had just had a medical test – a colonoscopy – and they said to her ‘There may have been a problem with sterilization and you have to stop breastfeeding[…] So she gets this phone call and they said ‘We don’t think this equipment was sterilized properly and we’re not sure, so you need to stop breastfeeding your child because you could be at risk of all these various diseases but one of them [was] HIV’. She also had two young children and was freaked out so she called the newsroom. Now why this story meant so much to me at the time was it really was good old-fashioned hit-the-pavement journalism. It was a news tip that came in and it was hit-the-ground-running. We flew out the door to this woman’s home (myself and a camera person) to go talk to her and find out if there was any truth to this and then start that good old fashioned knock on doors, try to get into the hospital, try to get into this medical clinic that was associated with the hospital, which at the time was Lakeridge Health. It became a huge national story. So I went to speak with this woman, she told me her story, and in fact, it was true and there were hundreds of people that were called in various parts of the Durham region being told that they were at risk of HIV because of unsterilized equipment. From there, this sparked a provincial reaction, so the province had a news conference a couple of days later saying that they were investigating certain hospitals. From there, it went federally, so there was a national response to this story. It became a massive story. It became completely bigger than me. We followed through and there were hundreds and hundreds of people that were affected by just that one news tip.”

Do you have any advice for young journalists in terms of how to get those amazing opportunities? 

“Well, I think for sure it starts with yourself and having a very positive attitude about where you are at that point in your career is very important so I really believe that you need to have that attitude. As an example, I interned for years and didn’t make a penny and it was years before I landed a job. I just kept slugging it out, living at my parent’s house, trying to get a job. So I think it starts with that positive attitude and of course education is incredibly important, whatever that may be. You need to be educated. You can’t just go into journalism and say ‘I just want to tell stories’ or ‘I just want to write because I’m a good writer or a good storyteller’. I think education is very important and should be highly regarded. I also think that once you do get the job or whether you’re an intern or it’s an entry-level position or you’re a high-level executive in a newsroom or wherever you may be, you need to be a team player. Nothing about my job, I feel, is just about me. It has to be about the people you work with and surround yourself with. I surround myself with the most intelligent, highly-capable humans every day and I am very grateful for that. I have always said I work with the best team in the business, but I really do work with the best team, CTV. […] I think if you look for that and then you act in that way, you’ll have a successful career, for sure.”

CTV Toronto – CTV News

Can you walk us through a day in your life of a general news reporter? 

“If it was a typical day or a day shift as I call it, I wake up at 7:00 AM, I get my kids up, and as I’m making breakfast everything is up and running. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are all on. I get my kids to school by 8:30 and then if I haven’t heard from one of our assignment producers by 8:30, I check in. So as soon as my youngest one is in his school, that’s my first email. I don’t usually email anybody before the kids are at school. That’s my personal thing unless I’m needed. Sometimes I’m called early in the morning for a story or I’m emailed about something and of course, I respond. But typically, it’s not before 8:30 until the kids are tucked away safely at school. Then at 8:30 I’ll find out what I’m doing for the day and I exercise. [I exercise] almost every day to also help with that positive outlook and that’s my zen. I try to take care of myself that way. Then I quickly jump in the shower and get ready, get bedazzled and bejewelled for work and go to the location and then we start our day. We start our stories, [we start] interviewing, sometimes we’re live at noon, often not, come back to the station, write the story, edit the story and then the story will be on at 6:00. We’re live at 6:00. Then my day shift is done at around 6:30-ish and then I go home and resume ‘Mommy’.” 

People Should Come From Away to See Come From Away

Come From Away is a musical about the hospitality of a minuscule town called Gander in Newfoundland after 9/11. This town had 38 planes make emergency landings there after the terrorist attacks over doubling the size of the population. The town declared it a state of emergency and had aid workers and citizens working 24/7 to help these stranded ‘plane people.’

The play follows many Newfoundlanders and visitor as they all try to cope with the disasters of 9/11. The show is laced with Canadian humour about Shoppers, Tim Hortons and other Canadian relics. The actors are really talented in the play. They are able to nail so many different accents, going from African to Newfoundlander to British.  The woman, who plays the pilot, Beverly has an identical voice to the pivot on the recorded album even though it is not her.

Center on the Aisle

You may have thought that you don’t want to see this show as you don’t want to be depressed for its duration; however, you spend the majority of it laughing and feeling proud. I will admit there are a few moments in the play when the whole audience lets out a collective tear.

This is musical touches on the tragic events of the incident but it more is a celebration of kindness and charity. In current political conditions, people are taught to fear immigrants; Millions of immigrants denied entry to increasingly xenophobic nations.  However, this is the story of a whole town who opened its arms, without thinking twice about it, to a boatload of international travellers.

Logan Paul is Making Some Noise

By Nat Jenkins

On December 31st, YouTube “star” Logan Paul uploaded a video to his channel featuring a suicide victim in Aokigahara, commonly known as the “suicide forest” because of the large number of people that take their own lives (estimates claim that over 100 suicides take place each year, although Japan no longer releases its death counts.)

Forbes Magazine ranked Logan Paul as one of the top entertainment influencers in the world; major companies pay him considerable amounts of money to post sponsored videos. With 15 million subscribers, it is no doubt that his videos have an impressionable effect on his audience, targeting mostly teenagers and children.

The extremely problematic video consisted of Paul and a small group of his friends planning to stay overnight in the woods where he hoped to “focus on the haunted aspect of the forest” and potentially film supernatural events. Paul’s attitude throughout the entirety of the video is disgusting, it is hard to tell whether or not he is being serious. In fact, upon discovering the body of a man who recently had commit suicide, his reaction was not of respect, but rather excitement:

“This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel,”

and continued to say that “this is YouTube history because it never been done before.” While this in itself is repulsive, Paul continued to film the body of the victim and failed to hold back a laugh. “This was all going to be a joke; why did it become so real?” Aokigahara was and never will be a joke, Aokigahara is not a tourist attraction; it is a mass grave. In fact, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and at Aokigahara, Japanese officials have signs displayed around the forest asking victims who may be suffering from mental illness to seek help.

The following day Paul had received overwhelming backlash, as he should. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, and American Actor Dylan O’Brien are some of many who had criticized him for his actions.

In an attempt at good faith, Paul uploaded a one-minute-long “apology video” to his channel (notably, which did not contain any resources for anybody suffering from mental illness, which he claims to support.)

He also uploaded an apology to Twitter:

“This is a first for me. I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before. I’m surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I’m still a human being. I can be wrong. I didn’t do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity. That’s never the intention. I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought ‘if this video saves just ONE life, it’ll be worth it,’ I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video. I still am.”

Paul’s apology is not sincere. He is only defending his actions. If he truly wanted to “raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention,” then he should have included resources and tools that can help people who are suffering from mental illness. Not only that, but the video is monetized, meaning that if you allow the presence of advertisements before your videos, YouTube will charge advertisers for these and share the fees with you, allowing you to make some money from people viewing your videos.

After it was revealed that the video was monetized, Twitter went on to boycott Paul’s YouTube video to ensure that the vlogger would make no further profit. The fact that Paul’s video is monetized clearly raises the questions as to whether or not he is truly sorry for his actions, and if his initial intent was to raise suicide awareness and prevention.

Some people are frustrated with YouTube’s lack of intervention since Paul himself removed the video. Recently, however, YouTube has finally decided to reprimand Paul for his actions.

YouTube posted a statement on their Twitter account apologizing to its users and promised that “changes are on the way,” implying that “further consequences” would be at hand for Paul.

In addition to this statement, a YouTube spokesperson stated in a press release that the company had removed Paul from its Google Preferred advertising tier, cancelled the upcoming fourth season of the YouTube Red series Foursome, and temporarily stopped the production of Paul’s films in its “Originals” category, including the upcoming sequel to YouTube Red’s first feature-length thriller, a dystopian sci-fi called The Thinning.

Despite this, his self-created business empire still exists. He will continue to make an estimated eight-figure profit each year – according to a Forbes estimate – since he earns the remainder of his income without YouTube involvement, mostly through brand deals and his popular merchandise.

That means that Paul’s financial success is not entirely up to YouTube, but mostly to his fans and sponsors. If his fans stopped going to his meet and greet and buying his merchandise entirely, his earnings could drop 50% at least. This is unlikely, however, as PewDiePie (another YouTuber who had a recent controversy) managed to earn $12 million last year.

It is sickening that Logan Paul will virtually face no significant consequences for his actions. Suicide is not – and never will be –  a joke.


Editors Note: Contributing article by Natalie Jenkins. Natalie’s conclusions expressed in this editorial do not represent the predilections’ of our writers, contributors and editors. If you would like to comment on our articles or columns, refer to our contact section above.


This Was Going To Be A Movie Review


By Sophie Gold

My brother is a movie nut. On his recent birthday, we went to see the newest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to you.  It has a great twist of an ending on par with The Usual Suspects which I won’t spoil for you.  In prep for writing this review, I had a look at what other critics thought of the film. I was surprised that many panned the movie because I liked it.  However, there emerged a theme among the most critical critics:  the remake (as they called it) was unnecessary and didn’t measure up to previous films based on the same book.  It is true that there have been other film adaptations of the book as is the case with lots of movies being made these days.  There seem to be lots of redo’s and their near cousin the franchise extension these days.  So why does Hollywood tend toward redos and franchise extensions?  Is there a lack of creativity among today’s movie makers and story-tellers or is there something else at play?  Are today’s film studios so risk averse that they are too afraid to step out of their comfort zones?  Or are we as movie-goers the ones who are risk averse and crave the comfort of nostalgia and happy (or at least known) endings?  

Save for low budget indies, it has become prohibitively expensive to make and market new movies; it’s risky business indeed.  Remaking old movies provides film studios with a critical success factor or crutch depending on your perspective: bankability.  If you think of a movie on a theatre screen like a consumer product on the shelf at Shoppers or Loblaws, there’s lots of competition.  And there are too many movies for the available prime “shelf space” or movie screens. The independent and newbie studios and movies just don’t have a level playing field because the resources required to get on screen are huge and getting huger by the day.  So only tried and proven movies made by tried and true makers get made again and again.  If that is the case, going to the movies may soon become similar to tuning into another episode of that TV show you watch every week or binge watch on Netflix over the holidays. Film studios remake old movies and extend franchises because they are less risky to make and market. Remakes and extensions practically market and sell themselves, whereas upstarts have to fight for the scarce real estate that is the theatre screen.  Remakes and extensions are also more readily translated and sold globally and often spin off a heap of merchandising opportunities to boot.   But it’s not just the movie makers who are responsible for this trend.  


We the viewers to like our comfort food.  We like what we know and like knowing how we will feel at the end and that we got what we paid for.  There’s a reason why McDonald’s keeps cranking out Big Macs:  people love the special sauce that they are familiar with (truth be told, I’ve never eaten at a McDonald’s but have heard stories about McFood).

Then again, there’s a case to be made for remakes. First off, they’ve been made for generations.  Romeo and Juliet became West Side Story and has been retold to new generations for decades. New technology and well-known actors introduce old stories to new audiences who might never otherwise see them. My brother never would have taken us to see Murder on the Orient Express but for the modern cast including some of his favourite actors. I would never have been introduced to the great story and awesome plot twist and not have written this article.  We like our comfort foods and film studios will continue to oblige us for good reason: we call it comfort food for a reason and there’s no place like home and a bowl of mac and cheese on a cold night.  

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Farewell 2017

By Linda Cako

2017 was supposed to be the year we were going to see change. And change we saw. Not all was good, like President Trump’s Muslim Ban, North Korea starting to flex its emerging nuclear prowess, and the UN warning us that we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since WWII with up to 20 million people being at risk of starvation in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria. There were three powerful hurricanes to hit consecutively, and France ended its State of Emergency after two years of attacks and will start having a more intense police presence throughout the country instead.

Clearly, it was not the best year for global issues.

Some changes and events, however, were good and celebrated throughout the world, such as Australia passing it’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill. The first gene therapy treatment for cancer, Kymriah, was FDA approved in August and has already begun to be used on patients with leukaemia and is being considered a miracle cure, and Google’s DeepMind AI taught itself to walk.

It was a time of great change in Forest Hill as well. We changed school principles, had our very first dance, and said goodbye to great teachers and hello to new and old faces.

While it seems that every year we want to label as The Worst Year Ever, 2017 was hardly the worst year. Scientific discoveries gave us hope for the future and made us realize how far we have come as a species, and emerging politics made us understand how far we have yet to go to achieve our goals of becoming a more fair and just society.

Going into 2018, it’s time to reflect how we want to proceed. What pressing issues must we address? What issues have inspired us to make a change? What do we have left to work on? Even as a high schooler, we can all make an impact. All it takes is to find your passion and advocate for change. It does not have to be enormous. Small steps eventually lead to great distances being crossed so it’s never too late to start.

Ms. Fuentes’ said in her first speech when she came to Forest Hill that she wants us all to take advantage of our unique positions to make a difference in the school. How do we want to leave Forest Hill? Better than when we entered it, for sure. Whatever the definition of better is to you, take 2017’s lessons and make something good come out of change.

Linda is a grade 12 student at FHCI and is a Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.

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The Mandela Effect Will Make You Question Everything

By Amanda Restano

Do you remember the iconic line in Star Wars “Luke, I am your father”? What if someone told you that Darth Vader never says this in the movie? Many people recall that famous quote from “The Empire Strikes Back”. The phrase can be found on t-shirts, phone cases, and anything in between. Except that is not what Darth Vader says. The actual quote is “No, I am your father.” So how come so many people remember it the other way? This can be explained by the theory of false memories, recently dubbed “The Mandela Effect”.

The name “Mandela Effect” comes from paranormal consultant Fiona Broome, who discovered she and many others claim to remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s when he actually died in 2013.

Some believers of the Mandela Effect claim it to be evidence that we are living in an alternate universe. According to them these memories can be a result of someone time travelling and changing history. But these theories lack proof, it is more probable that the “glitches” happening are in your brain, not in the universe.

No example of the Mandela Effect has created more talk than that of the children’s book and TV series The Berenstain Bears. Many claim to remember it being called The Berenstein Bears and were shocked when they found out the actual spelling.

Here’s a list of some other Mandela Effects that have taken over the internet:

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 8.32.25 AMSome people insist that Target has more rings on their logo. The first logo is the correct one.


Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 8.32.59 AM.pngSome claim they remember The Laughing Cow having a nose ring but she never had one.


Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 8.33.55 AM.pngMany remember Pikachu’s tail having a black mark in the end but if you go back and look at him, you’ll see nothing there.


Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 8.40.53 AMSurprisingly, Curious George never had a tail.

Whether this means that we are living an alternate reality or that our brains are simply confusing facts after seeing these things so often misrepresented, it is amazing how many of us share the same false memories.

Amanda is a grade 11 student at FHCI and is a Technology Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.


Image Citations:

Hudspeth, Christopher.

Hudspeth, Christopher.

Winter Break, Binge Session: Top Netflix Shows to Watch

Bored During the Winter Break? Here are some suggestions for entertaining TV shows to fill your time:


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Scandal is a show a show about ‘lawyer’ gladiator, who goes around and fixes problems for people while deciding whether to pursue a relationship with the president or a secret agent.

-Grey’s Anatomy


A medical show that follows a group of doctors transition from interns to physicians.

-How To Get Away With Murder

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A professor of law covers for her law student’s murders. The question is will they get away with their many many murders.

-Gilmore Girls

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A mother and a daughter with the same name drink a lot of coffee.

-The Mindy Project

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A gynaecologist fails to balance her personal and professional life.

-Prison Break

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One man breaks his brother and a group of other inmates out of prison. This follows his journey in prison and after their escape. Proceed with caution because everything you learn in this series will be wrong in the new series.


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Follows FBI recruit Alex Parrish who is blamed for a terrorist attack watch her prove her innocence in this exciting show.

-Black Mirror

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A Sci-Fi show that is creepy and thought-provoking.


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A wanted man with connections to basically all other criminals turns himself in if he gets to work with one specific agent only. This crime-fighting show follows their interesting relationship.


-Downton Abbey

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Follows royals and their transition through the war. The family is made up of a hilarious grandma (seen in the gif), 3 daughters, an American Lady, a British Lord and other surprise add-ons.

-How I Met Your Mother

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An AMAZING SHOW that follows a gang of friends:

TED: the annoying main character.

ROBIN: the Canadian, enough said

LILY: married to Marshal and a great side-kick to Robin

MARSHALL: married to Lily and a great side-kick to Ted

BARNEY: the reason to watch this show (he is the best)

-Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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The 99th Precinct is where we get to see the hilarious Andy Samberg and his funny friends.


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A crazy show about terrorists, spies and love.

-Shark Tank

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A show to brush up on your math skills while watching new products pitches and laughing hysterically at the Sharks’ comments.

-Ru Paul’s Drag Race

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“Chante you Stay” Ru Paul. Enough said.


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A funny show about women who wrestle for TV.

-Full House (the original)

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This is a cute show that follows a rambunctious family, with three daughters, 1 dad, and 2 father figures.


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A group of kids, who have an alcoholic dad need to raise themselves and stay out of trouble.

-Mr D.

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A show that shows us how teachers really think.


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A lawfirm hires a fake lawyer, who is smarter than all of the other lawyers. Well he has a photographic memory but he also just bends the law a bit.

-Jane the Virgin

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A writer gets accidentally inseminated with her bosses baby…GASP

-Friends from College

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The name says it all, the show is about friends from college who are reunited.


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An endearing show about a family with a son with autism.

-Drop Dead Diva

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A supermodel is killed by a truck of cantaloupes and is reincarnated in the body of a lawyer. That should be enough to get you hooked.

-The Fosters

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It’s about a diverse family that has 2 fostered kids, 2 adopted twins, 1 biological kid and two lesbian moms.

-The Good Wife

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A show about lawyers, who fight for their clients. It’s dramatic and addicting, at least for the first few seasons.


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Takes place in Nashville and it follows a bunch of country singers and their families.

-That 70s Show

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A comedy about a group of friends in the 70s.

-Lie to Me

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A show about a man who can basically tell someone’s thoughts based on the movement of their eyebrows and lips.

-Switched at Birth

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Two girls are born on the same day and then accidentally given to the wrong families. They grow up and then realized they were switched…du du duuu.

-The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

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Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-air

In west Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground where I spent most of my days
Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys, they were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighbourhood
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
And said “You’re moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-air”

-One Day at a Time

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A sitcom about a modern family that deals with immigration and LGBTQ issues.

-American Vandal

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A mockumentary about whether a high school student committed an act of vandalism at his school.

-Life in Pieces

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A story following an extended family with different sections of the show following different parts of the family.

-This is Us

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-Me Selfridge

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A true-ish story about a man who opens a department store.

-Angry Bird

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This Is Me In Grade Nine

By Sophie Gold

Change can be scary.  And high school definitely means change.  The prospect of entering high school was never far from my thoughts over the summer.  I felt anxious and excited, apprehensive and eager all at the same time.  The Labour Day weekend was less a vacation than an extended waiting game before the change became real. But hey, what did I know about high school?  Only that passed on to me by friends and family who had survived (and even thrived in some cases), teen movies and the Barenaked Ladies’ This Is Me In Grade Nine.  In hindsight, I was unreasonably nervous, irrationally fearful yet always hopeful.  I bet some of you felt similarly.  Seven weeks in, I am relieved, involved and settling in.  Most of the things I had been so worried about never happened (or haven’t yet); those that did aren’t scary after all. Needless to say, there were still some big changes.

The biggest difference is the schedule. Previously, my schedule consisted of all of my courses year-round, with each period lasting about forty-five minutes.  Suddenly, I have only four courses, every day, each one for seventy-five minutes.  Sometimes I feel that I’m stuck in a Groundhog Day loop.  At this point, I am accustomed to my schedule, and appreciate that I have an easier timetable to memorize and fewer books and binders to carry to and from school.

Another challenge has been learning to navigate a new and larger building packed with many more people.  My previous schools were tiny in comparison.  Entering FHCI on the first day of school, I was lost in a totally new geography. For the first few weeks of school, I struggled to find my locker and classes.  I am thankful for the school map conveniently included in the school agenda but that we need a map in the first place … ?  I still get lost from time to time and have yet to find the girls’ washroom on the second floor.  That said, it’s all part of the adventure and I get to find someplace new weekly if not daily.

Then there’s the traffic in the hallways.  It’s one thing being lost; it’s another being lost in a sea of humanity moving in every direction, some of whom are presumably also lost.  Some days getting to class is very similar to rush hour traffic without any rules of the road.  No amount of warning or training could have prepared me for this chaos and confusion.  The number of times I have apologized for bumping into people (and lockers) would put any Canadian to shame.  On the upside, 12th graders seem to float effortlessly through the madness like an expert skier shredding moguls.  Maybe in time I too will master the double black diamonds of our hallways.

One thing I was very excited about was, and still is, the wide variety of extracurricular clubs and activities that FHCI offers.  We seem to have a club, team or committee for everyone and about everything.  Many people helpfully advised me that “getting involved” would be key to finding my place and my people in such a large school.  As it happened, I probably took too much advice too literally.  When the club fair rolled around, I eagerly signed up for too many clubs and my inbox has never quite been the same.  It’s been a bit overwhelming at times, but in a good way.  Learning to juggle classes and clubs keeps me busier, busier than I was in middle school.  

Yeah, change happened and continues to happen.  And seven weeks in, it’s not scary and never should have been.  But if you are like me, when worried or unsure, you assign an irrationally high probability to those things you don’t want to happen and downplay the likelihood that everything will work out in time.  I’ll find that second floor girls’ washroom in good time, and if I get lost along the way I’ll be excited to see what else the school has to offer.  

“Love of Violets” from New York, I Love You: A Film Commentary

 By Marian Pascual

     It is hard to capture the definite meaning of this film, but what intrigues the audience most is probably the delicate mystery that unfolds, ever so slightly.  New York, I Love You is a recreation of the original film, Paris, Je T’aime, where a variety of segments are filmed in different parts of each cinematic city.  The seventh segment of New York, I Love You featured the chicer part of the city – Fifth Avenue- where a woman revisits a hotel and encounters very strange things during her stay there.  I urge you to watch this film because it raises the question of existentialism and because overall it is a very beautiful film.

     In “Love of Violets,” a woman revisits a fairly vacant hotel in Upper Manhattan, where she is assisted by a crippled Russian bellhop.  We learn that she is a retired opera singer, and about her love of violets.  She requests for some to be brought up to her room, and somehow there were already some violets waiting for her in the lobby… coincidence? Not just yet!  The bellhop reveals that his father, who is also the manager of the hotel, was a great admirer of her singing back in the day; he had watched her perform many times in Paris.  Suddenly, the bellhop has a random violent nosebleed inside her hotel room, and then leaves the scene (as if things could not have gotten weirder).

     At the end of the film, the bellhop offers to close the window for her.  As he walks towards the window, he slowly starts to fade into the light. He says his final words before he falls to his death, “How can you bear it? I don’t know how you can bear it.”  It could be that perhaps he relates to how she feels about not being physically able to do the things that make her happy, the same way he is crippled, which restricts him from enjoying life to its maximum capacity.  Or it could be that the melancholy bellhop is part of some kind of schizophrenia she has (because she was seen talking to herself in the first few minutes of the film) and symbolizes who she is on the inside, crippled and physically restricted from doing what brings her the most happiness – to sing.  This theory is backed up by the fact that whenever the bellhop made an appearance in her room, he was reflected in the mirror that the woman was also reflected in.  Therefore, it is to say that she was symbolically looking back at herself in the mirror, and the bellhop represented the struggling part of her inside that we tend to mask to the outside world in order to portray a happier image of ourselves.

     After the bellhop commits suicide, something even more strange occurs.  A second bellhop, who we can assume to be the original one, climbs back from the balcony to tell the woman that there was no one down there and suggests she could have just seen something in the street.  He then offers to close the window for her once again, and she  replies very firmly: “Yes, please close the window.”  This could mean that she accepts the sad truth of never being able to sing again, and that she wants to start new, without having that sad person conscience restricting her from living her life.  Towards the end of the film, she was seen dressed in a white gown, almost like she was getting engaged.  A wedding symbolizes a new beginning, and in this case it was the beginning of an end, and that is what I think Shekhar Kapur intended to do with this beautifully haunting film.

Humans of FHCI: Sophia and Mien

Do you have any favourite Halloween memories?
Mien – “Once I did this really scary Halloween mask and people think it’s funny right when they show up at your door like I will scare them. But then there was this three-year-old kid who walks through my door, I didn’t know. I open the door and she starts crying. I felt so bad but so good at the same time.”
Sophia – “This is what inspired my ghost costume. Last year I went to a door and this old lady opened it up and she looks at me and says in a thick accent ‘this is for the little ones’. She takes one tiny butterscotch candy and just drops it into my bag. Now I’m dressing up as a ghost so when I go tricker treating people

FHCI’s Best Dressed: Halloween Edition

By Befftwo Ali

On this spooky holiday, Forest Hill was filled with spirit! Here are some of the highlights:

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The magical Ms Jephcott dressed as a Hogwarts student from the iconic Harry Potter franchise.

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Jori, Paige and Izabel dressed up as middle school slumber party girls, and we’re here for it.[restrict]

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Probably one of the most terrifying costume yet (minus Winnie) so far. Amelia, Sage, Tianna, Krystael, Rebekah and Trisha all posed up as the cast from the Purge.


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Ms Newman looked aesthetically pleasing today with her pop art makeup inspired by Roy Litchenstein.

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We also have the lovely Ms. Burnip dressed as one of the monsters from Where the Wild Things Are.



Last, but certainly not least, we have Evelyn dressed up as our former principal, Peggy Aitchison.


To view more costumes, browse through the FHCI Photo Stream. Have a spooky Halloween falcons!