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As a person who has great passion for travelling, and I am considering myself as one, I have a great number of destinations that I would love to visit. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to travel much yet, only few cities and countries here and there… Although, I truly believe that one day my dreams will come true and one of the first destinations where I will be able to go would be Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Why that destination? Simply because I have a friend from Brazil who always tells me stories, interesting geographical and cultural facts about that place… So, one day I have decided to learn more about that place… Unfortunately, for now only with the help of Internet and colorful magazines.
What I have learned so far, is that Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city of Brazil. It is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere andit is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova (Brazilian music), balneario beaches (seaside resort towns) such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon.
Some of the most famous landmarks, in addition to the beaches, include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (“Cristo Redentor”); Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums. In addition to urban areas with a variety of charms, Rio de Janeiro also has other locations that offer natural beauty of that place. Known as the cidade maravilhosa, the ‘marvellous city’, Rio de Janeiro stretches between rain-forest covered peaks and white-sand beaches, with a wild mix of architecture – from beaux-arts theatres to art-deco apartment buildings – scattered along its buzzing tree-lined streets. Pretty impressive! Isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be cool after the graduation to get rewarded with such trip? Especially if on that trip you can get some of you best friends with you…
I believe that with the help of S-Trip! It will be 100% possible. Because for over 35 years S-Trip! Has been a leader in student travel providing life-changing trips to over 40,000 students annually in over 40 destinations around the world. S-Trip! Travelers are encouraged to become global citizens; opening their eyes to new cultures, languages, and experiences. Recently named Profit Magazine’s 25th fastest growing company in Canada, and recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies by Deloitte and CIBC, S-Trip! Is a leader in student travel in North America? Find out more at www.s-trip.com.
But getting back to my dream vacation….
In Rio de Janeiro I would really like to visit places such as:
- National park Tijuca with its Corcovado Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue. Tijuca is a small part of the extensive Atlantic rain forest; this 120sq km national park is packed with plant and animal life and offers some challenging hikes and great views amid verdant jungle. Corcovado mountain , meaning “hunchback” in Portuguese, is the 710-metre (2,329 ft) granite peak well known worldwide for the 40-meter-tall open-armed saviour 38-metre (125 ft) statue of Jesus atop its peak, entitled Cristo Redentor or “Christ the Redeemer” – one of Rio’s icons.
- Lagoa – a salt water lagoon often visited by people who want a relaxing bike ride or run around the coastal strip which has a length of 7 kilometers.
Of course, as any teenager, I love music and dancing parties. I was blown away with the number of Street Parties and Street Carnivals offered in Brazil… And I am not even mentioning their breath taking costumes and carnival platforms… Carnival is an annually held highly-advertised party which lasts for almost two weeks!
But if at some point you will get too overwhelmed with all that festivity, you can always find yourself a spot on the beautiful Brazilian beach… where you can explore multiple outdoor seaside activities. And remember – Brazil has summer like temperature almost all year around!
However, not only the destination makes your trip, but also with whom you go there… As I have already mentioned, I would love to have my best friends with me during the trip. So, we all can get lifelong experience with the acknowledgment of all our achievements and huge inspiration for the future.
I have a strong feeling that all my friends will love such trip. Especially with the thought on the back of our minds that later we will be seeing each other not as often as we used to in high school… We all will be starting our “adult” life and who knows where the life might bring us.
S-Trip! Takes student travellers on unforgettable adventures around the world. Celebrate the exciting conclusion of high school in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica or Bahamas with all your friends on Grad Trip. Spend a weekend skiing or snowboarding at one of Canada’s premier mountain resorts on Ski Trip. Experience culture, sightseeing and events in Montreal or Quebec City on Busaway. Make a difference in an underdeveloped country on an impactful student Volunteer Trip. Explore the culture and history of Europe on Euro Adventure. For more information visit www.s-trip.com.
Port Coquitlam is an ideal destination for outdoor pedestrian-oriented and nature lovers. Here the nature is a part of our lifestyle and we admire it, we explore it and we try to protect it. As humans we are mostly oriented towards consuming and the damage that we already have done to the nature is huge. Fortunately, most of us start to realize and act on that…
When I started my search for the most environmentally friendly building in the area where I live (Port Coquitlam, BC) I was pleasantly surprised that we have quite a few of them and there are more to come… As it appears, Port Coquitlam’s Walmart Supercenter has the largest green roof in the region. Moreover, it is the first example of Port Coquitlam’s 2006 bylaw amendment. Port Coquitlam was the first city in BC to introduce the requirement that all new buildings over 5,000 sq m (53,821 sq ft) in size are required to install green roofs. The whole shopping area is extremely pedestrian friendly; it has linkages between the stores which encourage people to walk once they get to the mall because all of their shopping needs are in one place. Such design will contribute to reduction of automobile traffic and emissions will result. Port Coquitlam is an ideal destination for an outdoor pedestrian-oriented shopping destination because people love to walk here, as evidenced by the Len Traboulay-PoCo trail which is a short distance away. This is the information that I have easily got from Internet… It was so impressive that I have decided to go there and learn more about their green initiative.
So, I went to Walmart to get more information about their green roof and other environmentally friendly tips. The experience that I have gotten there excited all my expectations! But let’s start from the beginning…
It’s 9 am and I am at Walmart, waiting for Suzanne, one of the store managers. She promised me some inside printed information about their roof and other in store recycling projects. Although, she had a better plan for me: I can actually go on top of the roof and also have a tour throughout the entire store and see all “behind the scene” areas of Walmart!!!!
First, I went to meet Phil, the store manager, who gave me some information about the green roof and also talked about their amazing recycling program (almost everything goes into recycling there).
Then, Suzanne and I went for a tour throughout the places that as a regular costumer you would never be allowed to access.
The first destination of the tour and, of course, one of the most interesting ones was the actual green roof, roof which is not designed for public access. We climbed a 30-foot ladder and went directly on top of Walmart. Now, if you would expect a green garden of Eden with flowers and grass, you would be very disappointed. What I found up there were tiny, colorful, drought-tolerant plants that more-rightly belonged in rock crevices or an alpine meadow stretched out as far as the eye could see… In our case they were 220,000 hand-planted sedums and succulents planted on 113,467 sq ft of the Walmart Supercentre’s green roof surface of 151,290 sf. Bigger than two NFL-sized football fields, the roof is one of the largest in the region. Amazing!!! Yes? According to one of the roof builders the plants would not grow bigger than they are how (a few inches), so, there is no need to worry that they would be too heavy for the roof or maintenance will be too complicated.
How does it work?
A green roof is an extension of a building’s roof that allows vegetation to grow. From a design standpoint, a green roof is an aesthetically pleasing architectural element. More importantly, it is also highly functional: it reduces the urban heat island effect of large buildings (the tendency of developed areas to be significantly warmer than their surroundings), boosts energy conservation and controls cooling costs. Such roofs also filter pollution, promote natural storm water management and even create bird habitat.
It was a huge project for the builders and cost them $1 million. As we can see, the investment was significant but will be offset by reduced heating and cooling costs. However, the project went even further …With the main idea to stay green and to reduce the impact on the environment, builders incorporated into the project landscaped bioswale where water from the roof is channeled into a pipe, then drops 35 feet, before bouncing off a couple of boulders to disperse into an attractively-laid out rock and gravel bed below. There, it slowly percolates into the groundwater.
Bioswales are vegetated open channels specifically designed to attenuate and treat storm water runoff for a defined water volume. Like open ditches, they convey larger storm water volumes from a source to a discharge point, but unlike ditches, they intentionally promote slowing, infiltration and cleansing along the way.
The bioswales will naturally filter the storm water. As storm water runoff flows through bioswales, pollutants are removed through filtering by vegetation and soils. Above ground plant parts (stems, leaves, and stolons) retard flow and thereby encourage particulates and their associated pollutants to settle. The pollutants are then incorporated into the soil where they may be immobilized and/or decomposed. In particular, bacteria within healthy soils can help break down carbon-based pollutants like motor oil. The bioswales create less stress on the city’s storm sewer system too. The landscaped bioswales also could be found throughout the parking lot…
Photo: bioswale that will filter water from the green roof
The structure of the roof
Talking to building and parking lot maintenance personal, I found out how the green roof has been structured. It comes in layers and goes as followed:
- inside deck,
- rigid isolation (about 2-4 inches),
- layer of polyamide (that keeps the water out),
- layer of rubber,
- ecological ground,
The roof also has a self regulated irrigation system. That means that the system is sensitive to weather changes and senses when it rains or not and it turns on and off according to this.
Photo: Maintenance guys: Jody (on the left), me (in the center), and Bill (on the right).
The Walmart’s recycling system
I also have learned that all employees at this Walmart are highly engaged in the recycling program. They have a goal to recycle as much as they can and they actually recycle 94% out of their garbage. They recycle cardboard, metal, plastic, paint, aerosols and batteries. The organic waste collected separately. I even had a chance to see how they make recycling “sandwich” packs. Those packs are made from cardboard and plastic, and called like that because these two “ingredients” got put into the press in layers and final “product” comes out as a huge sandwich.
Photo: The sandwich
Photo: View of the sandwiches from the roof
Photo: The Sandwich maker
Photo: Me on top of the roof
Other environmentally friendly features of the building:
- outdoor LED lighting; downward and photo voltaic lighting to reduce light pollution and energy use
- energy-efficient appliances,
- low-flow fixtures and faucets to conserve water
- programmable, automated thermostats for controlled environments
- control systems that provide real-time information on electricity usage and costs
- photocell controls in parkades, common areas, and the exterior to save energy
- multiple heating and cooling zones for comfort and efficiency
My Sustainability Plan
As environmental sustainability continues to be one of the top issues on the minds of many people, Walmart decided to design a new program, which will empower their associates to engage sustainability in their own lives and on their own terms. The program called My Sustainability Plan (MSP).
“My Sustainability Plan” asks Walmart associates to identify something they are passionate about, develop a plan to make it part of their daily lives, track their progress, and share their story to inspire other associates at the meeting they have every morning. Examples of MSP include carpooling, cleaning up a local park, quitting smoking, recycling, switching to sustainable products and using reusable shopping bags. Overall, that plan encourages people live healthier, greener and better.
Every associate (employee) has access to Walmart information database about MSP that provides suggestions for smart usage of products. There are suggestions regarding food consumption (Green kitchen), water usage, water gardening, chemicals handling, vacation planning, raising environmentally conscious children, lighting choices, saving energy, saving gas.
Walmart’s long-range sustainability goals are to generate zero waste, to be powered 100 % by renewable energy, and to sell products that sustain resources and the environment. MSP is the latest idea of sustainability actions that Walmart made in the last few years to cut off any waste or energy through daily choices.
Special “Thank You” to TIOCOAT International For sponsoring Miss Teen Canada-World 2013 (1st blog challenge)
We all know that “Beautiful British Columbia” is famous for its unique climate, nature and culture. It is truly the best place on Earth to live. Here you can find things to do for everybody: mountains, lakes, rivers, ocean, wild forests, parks are for people who is looking for outdoor adventures; museums, theaters, cultural centers, beautiful spas, restaurants, dance halls, hotels, casinos, shopping malls are for people who like the business of modern life and city environment; stadiums, swimming pools, skating rinks, golf and ski resorts are for people who want to stay active… and that list can go on with things that will keep you busy in our province.
I am proud to live in BC and represent a small but absolutely unique portion of that beauty – Port Coquitlam.
Port Coquitlam is located right in the heart of the Lower Mainland (Vancouver and Fraser Valley area). However, natural setting and small-town make it feel like miles away from business of urban life. Port Coquitlam is famous for its trails, parks and green spaces accessible within short distances.
Traboulay Port Coquitlam Trail is #1 premier attraction of Port Coquitlam
Visitors and locals alike use this 25-kilometre loop trail to experience nature, get some exercise and even to get around. This flat walking, cycling, skate and even horseback trail is suitable for exploring at any time of the year. For every visitor it is a perfect opportunity to enjoy nature, be active and discover the community.
The PoCo Trail was born in 1967 as an idea for a Centennial project for the City of Port Coquitlam, to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday. It began to physically take shape in the early 1970’s. Later, in 1997, City Council adopted a plan to upgrade the PoCo Trail and make it truly a source of community pride. Its name trail got only in 2001, when it was renamed into ‘Traboulay PoCo Trail’, in honour of the late Mayor Len Traboulay.
This 25-kilometre trail encircles the City of Port Coquitlam, traversing a varied landscape that includes forest and creek, meadow and marsh, riverfront and urban development. The paved Downtown section winds through areas where local residents live, play and work. It’s well used by recreational users as well as bicycle commuters. From there, you can cycle through the serene and historic Colony Farm section, which features more than 150 bird species and is one of the most biodiverse parts of the region.
Traboulay PoCo Trail spectacularly winds through many of Port Coquitlam’s parks including Hyde Creek Nature Reserve, Wellington Park, Coquitlam River Park, Lions Park, Gates Park and Colony Farm Regional Park… All these parks, along with many others, create absolutely irresistible green paradise of our community.
Belcarra Regional Park is a beachside park along Bedwell Bay and Indian Arm with a pier. It has beautiful playground and picnic area. You can come here all year around and enjoy fishing, crabbing and walking trails.
Buntzen Lake also has beautiful beach and picnic area. During the summer time it is one of the most popular places for hiking and walking trails, swimming, and canoeing.
Colony Farm Regional Park is famous for its lowland marsh wildlife and bird sanctuary with excellent walking trails in Port Coquitlam.
Golden Ears Provincial Park has number of trials where you can challenge your hiking skills; however, don’t get discouraged if you are not that advanced – there are plenty of trials for leisure walker too. Beaches on LaTourette Lake, incredible waterfalls and campground areas will also leave a life-long impression on you.
Minnekhada Regional Park has diverse hiking and walking trails in a wildlife and bird sanctuary. Cranes, bald eagles, ducks, geese, and hawks are among its commonly seen inhabitants.
Pinecone Burke Provincial Park is famous for its natural hiking trails and world-class mountain biking on Burke Mountain.
White Pine Beach is another beach area with trails and natural hiking trails.
When you are done with the exploring the nature and ready for a snack and some shopping, make your way to Port Coquitlam’s historic and authentic downtown. Pick up a latté and stroll along charming Shaughnessy Street, lined with trees and shops for browsing. A variety of other services and shopping areas are a quick walk or drive away. And for a taste of some old-fashioned small-town spirit and family fun, visit Port Coquitlam during one of its many community festivals.
So, as you can see, that regardless of your age and interests, you’ll find plenty to see and do in our city.
Come see what we have to offer!
Special “Thank You” to Niagara Falls for sponsoring the Miss Teen Canada-World 2013 (2nd blog challenge).
Through this ad I would like to emphasize Personalized Bath Towels from Signature Towels as a brand which (despite changing times, fashion trends, hostile moments) puts well being of each towel user on the first place. It is the brand that creates moments of joy, encapsulates emotions and passes on memories…
The main idea of the ad is to emphasize how such a simple thing like a bath towel can be turned into a symbol of love, care, support, comfort, success and become a constant of our life. Something, which can accompany each of us through the period of life; something, which can unite generations…
I would like to start my ad with the pictures of a newborn baby wrapped in a big and fluffy bath towel. Towel that offers him protection and warmth, welcomes him into the big world. Happy face and a smile of the newborn can melt everything… The emotions that emerge from the pictures should be filled with pleasure and calmness bringing the sense of trust and security that newborn experiences during such moments of his life.
As the baby starts to grow, the next episode of the ad turns into a picture of a toddler who is having a bath. At the end of the bath time mom wraps him with one of the Personalized Signature Towels. With the help from his mom toddler is rubbing the towel over his body and at the end happily wraps himself in it. During that episode we all can see the process of growth: it is not the same naive baby anymore… That little person already starts to learn and explore the world; he already knows the routine and things that may provide comfort, warmth, sense of security for him. Of course, he doesn’t understand yet what does the “state of well being” mean…. However, it does not prevent him to make his first steps towards it.
The next episode shows the kid at the beach with his family. We all can feel their joy and happiness of being together. They are all playing in the water, splashing, fooling around and simply having fun… And even though the beach is a place to play, have fun and explore the nature, the towel (that lies on the yellow sand, surrounded by water and beautiful scene of nature) is his return point. It is the spot that feels like coming back home, the spot that allows him to take a break, to catch his breath and have some time to rejuvenate. It is the spot that gives him again and again that sense of trust and security. Although, at this age that child, probably, still does not understand all of that… It is still intuitive…
The next episodes include teenagers who are involved in different sports.
- Here is the teen that plays soccer and has the Personalized Signature Towel on the bench waiting for him. After the match he will use the towel to wipe his face and neck and later have a shower.
- Group of teenagers who competes with other teams in synchronized swimming. We all know that everything what we can see now is the final product of their hard and dedicated work. Work which was done over and over again throughout the several months or even years. All that time they had something special that was invisibly supporting them – Signature Bath Towels… Even now those towels are patiently waiting beside the pool to share the joy and pride of victory…
The idea of having a Signature Towel in all these episodes is to send a message: “It does not matter what you do in your life – you are always will be invisibly supported”. Towel here is like one of your friends who will support you after the game or practice and would silently encourage you: “You did great!”; it will give you strength and will push you further, to the new limits.
And now you become an adult… You are at the beginning of another phase in your life… Phase, where you will start building your own life based on experience and knowledge that you already have. Here is your high school and then university graduation… Among of many other presents that you will get is a bath towel from Signature towels…something which will start a new life with you… That episode in my ad will be followed by another one where we can see a young couple on the beautiful beach. Two people are in love… they are making plans… they are dreaming together… We cannot see anybody else on the beach… only beautiful bath towel from Signature Towels beside them.
With the next episode the whirl of life puts us and the same couple in the middle of their wedding day. Lots of smiles, happiness, flowers, family, friends, guests and the variety of presents… One of them is the monogrammed Signature Bath Towels for both of them…
After that the couple goes for their honeymoon… They are in the hot tub…Lots of flowers around them… We can all sense their love and happiness….at this point they still do not need anybody else…it is their own moment of magic… and only one invisible friend is allowed to be there and share that magic – Signature Bath Towels at the edge of the hot tub.
Next episode of my ad is a picture of a woman at the spa wrapped in a Signature Towel. She is getting a relaxation massage on the spa table… she is enjoying her time and moment to herself. It is the time when she can find the perfect balance between work, family and social life. The Signature Towel is there as a part of that balance. Balance brought by the same quality that transcends the decades.
Next on the screen comes a picture of a family (mother, father and two kids) coming together. Now, when you have your own family, you will surround them with love and care, you will provide the best experience and show them what sense of belonging means. Here begins the new circle of life…
The final episode of my ad will be a couple of pictures with an older couple that, despite of passing decades, are still enjoying themselves. The presence of the Signature Towels during the final episodes meant to send the final message that time cannot defy the quality.
On one of the pictures that couple will be coming back to the same beach where that woman went with her parents as she was a little girl.
Next episode will bring the same couple on the beach where they were together many years ago… before their own story have started….
As a background of my ad I have chosen progressively energetic music by Lindsey Stirling “Electric Daisy Violin”, which will represent the progress of life with all its ups and downs… Watch the short summary of my ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5h-ydLtw0
On April 27th I and other finalists from Miss Teen Canada-World BC 2013 were honored with invitation to participate at Teen Expo 2013 in Victoria, B.C, which was also first in Canada. We were all invited as special guests who will have an amazing opportunity meet and greet people as well as speak to them during our 15 min on stage time.
It was a great opportunity for us to see people, talk to them about pageant in general, about our support of Free the Children Foundation, about our personal goals and missions. And, of course, we had a chance to see each other one more time after BC finals and before going to Toronto. It was so cool to see Miss Teen Richmond-World 2013, Danica Tan; Miss Teen Fraser Valley-World 2013, Brittany Clough; Miss Teen Victoria Island-World 2013, Christina Scheurle; and Miss Teen Burnaby-World 2013, Herleen Sethi.
Anastasiya Toropova, Herleen Sethi, Brittany Clough, and Christina Scheurle (from left to right).
Lots of pictures were done with people who attended the event.
But I want to put everything in order…
The day when I’ve got my invitation got even better when my family decided to go with me to Victoria Island…. They were so proud and excited that the decision of mini family vacation came almost instantaneously. We’ve decided to leave Vancouver day before the event…We had so much fun together… Trip on BC Ferry is always fun, sightseeing of Victoria was amazing – we even tried new Hippo Tour (trip around Victoria on the bus which can ride on the road and go in the water as a boat)! The day was perfect… even weather was cooperating with us! Our hotel was located in Downtown area, so, we were able to go for a walk along the seawall and see Victoria at night time – absolutely spectacular! Although at the end of the day I could not think about anything else besides tomorrow’s event.
Getting ready for Hippo Tour
I felt huge responsibility in general and especially for my own 15 min on stage time. The dilemma of what will be the best on stage followed me for quite a long time. I was torn between two options: just giving the speech about my platform or do a short presentation of my platform framed with the song (because as you probably already know, singing is my other greatest passion). As you all probably can guess that speech framed by songs option has won! But that decision brought another dilemma (OMG…so many dilemmas) – what songs to choose? The winners were “It’s my Life” by Bon Jovi and “Always” by Arash & AySel (sorry guys, you probably don’t know those artists, they are from Azerbaijan). I choose “It’s my Life” by Bon Jovi because I love the main idea of that song. That song sends strong message that you are the only one who is in charge of your life, never give up, learn how to speak up for yourself, and ” …better stand tall when they’re calling you out, don’t bend, don’t break, … , don’t back down…”. My other song was about “love”, beautiful feeling that happens to people, which most of us, teenagers already have experienced. So, as a final product of my on stage time was a brief speech about my platform and two songs. Hope everybody enjoyed it.
Of course, it was not only us who were performing on stage; they had other guests who were talking about various topics related to teenagers. Victoria Teen Expo was the event that gave teenagers tons of useful information and suggestions which were brought to audience in a very fun but at the same time informative way. It was a great idea of managers to let teenagers participate and, to some extent, lead the event. Lots of different companies came to support the event: Victoria Youth Musical Theater Company, Camp Qwanoes, ICBC and Saanich police, BC Extrication Society, Girl Guides of Canada-S.V.I., Eaton Arrowsmith School, P.A.R.T.Y Program (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth Program), The power of Hope, Restorative Justice Victoria, Childsplay 101, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria and Area, Victoria Pride Society, and others…
As a “Meet and Greet” people we were privileged to speak with people of different ages – it was an amazing experience. I hope we all sent our messages well and people have learned something from us. Although, I know for sure that I’ve learned a lot from that event. For example, it was very inspiring to talk with Anabel Wind (Larsen School of Music) who encouraged me to follow my singing passion; Geroy Simon amazed me with his beautiful speech where he emphasizes the importance of personal attitude awareness, with his own examples he illustrated how wrong attitude towards things around you and towards life as whole may affect and sometimes even destroy your life. During the event everybody had a chance to go and see/try different stations – lots of amazing information was represented there. Station which was represented by members of MADD Canada (Mothers against Drunk Driving) and P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) made huge impression on me. With the support from local police department they’ve created the scene of the car accident happened while young driver was texting and driving. At that station everybody also had a chance to try “drunk glasses” in which your vision was alternated to the same extent as you were drunk. They had 3 levels of such glasses. The experiment that they did was easy but results were shocking… Each participant was asked to catch the golf ball without glasses and then try to catch the same ball wearing those glasses… As for me, who is non-drinker, the results were horrifying – I couldn’t catch the ball, it was hard to keep the balance and focus on things around me, my movements were awkward and funny. Funny… as I was wearing those glasses, but it is not fun to be that impaired while you driving. Hope all teens that tried those glasses and saw that station have learned a lot.
Geroy Simon and Anastasiya Toropova
Organizers of that event did a good job. I think that everybody is looking forward for the Teen Expo next year. Maybe in Vancouver?