Senior Scope - Useful and Entertaining Information.
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V9N8 - Jan. 20 - Feb. 7, 2011:


Spotlight feature:
Gord Tumilson,
Goalie Whisperer

Winnipeg, Manitoba

By Scott Taylor

Gord Tumilson

His first National Hockey League tryout was with the Los Angeles Kings in 1971. A year later, he was the No. 3 goalie for the World Hockey Association’s Winnipeg Jets.

For a kid who started his hockey career at the old Northwood Community Centre and played Junior A for the Kildonan North Stars, even being the No. 3 goaltender with the WHA Jets was a dream come true.

“I’d tried out for the Kings and when I didn’t stick, I went and played with the St. Boniface Mohawks for a year,” Tumilson recalled. “Then I got calls from both the Buffalo Sabres and the Winnipeg Jets. Bill Gibb was the local scout for Buffalo and they were going to give me a look, but at the time, the Jets had nobody. Joe Daley and Ernie Wakely hadn’t even been mentioned yet, let alone signed, so when Bill Robinson called me from the Jets, I jumped at the chance.

“I went up against a pretty good goalie named Wayne Dahl, from Yorkton, and another guy I don’t even remember, but I won the job. I guess I was cheaper.”

Tumilson stayed for three years as the No. 3 goalie (read: practice goalie) for the Jets. He played in only three games, during the 1972-73 season, and finished with an 0-2-0 record with a goals against average of 5.66 and a save percentage of .846. Then, as he says, “I went off and got married and had a real life.”

Like most people, he’s done a lot of things during his life, but today he’s a successful marketing consultant and sales executive by day and then, at night, he has become “The Goalie Whisperer.”

Now, in his 60th year, Tumilson has taken the skills he learned as a member of the Jets – and a guy who played with two great goalies, Daley and Wakely, every day – and turned those lessons into a part-time job, a job he approaches with the same passion he did when he played.

It’s been said, by many sports experts, that star players don’t make good coaches and they might be right. Wayne Gretzky was a terrible NHL coach in Phoenix, baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams lost 90 more games than he won as a manager with Washington and Texas and the great Magic Johnson went 5-11 in 16 games as coach of the L.A. Lakers in 1994.

But players who reached a high level and yet didn’t get to play much at that level have, quite often, become great coaches. It’s been said they spent much of their time learning the game. Coaching stars such as Jim Leyland, Pat Burns, Scotty Bowman, the late Chuck Daly, were never great players, but they were all tremendous coaches.

“Arnold Palmer believed that golf was 90-per cent in your head and just 10 per cent physical ability or skill,” Tumilson said. “You absolutely have to have the 10 per cent. If you have no skill, you’re not going anywhere. But a lot of people have the skill. You have plenty of junior goaltenders. There are probably 100 goalies in the NHL, if you count it at three goalies per team. Skill is a given.

“But those guys, playing at the top level of the game, are also close to the 90 per cent mark when it comes to the mental part of playing goal. Getting goalies to the 90 per cent level is what I do.”

There are plenty of goaltending schools available to young goalies – good ones, too. But as Tumilson says, “While the assembly-line goalie coaches turn out really good technical goalies, it’s that 90 per cent that these coaches don’t bother with enough.”

Tumilson says he spends most of his time trying to get his goaltenders to the highest possible level of that 90 per cent category.

“Every goalie I’ve coached over the past two years is still playing at the highest level at which they can play,” Tumilson said. “Every kid who comes to me with is heart in it, who really wants to live the dream, is still living the dream.”

The young goalies who come to Tumilson have two advantages: (1) the experience gained from the level he reached and (2) an older coach who deals with kids in a quiet, almost dispassionate manner. He’s as much a friend as he is a coach.

Gord Tumilson, goalie for the Winnipeg Jets.

“I went a long way as a goalie without very much talent,” he said. “But I spent most of my time playing with the Jets just trying to figure it out. Everything I did and every success I had was learned. It wasn’t because I was a natural or because I was just good at it. As a result, I know what to tell a kid. I can give him all the answers in a progressive way.”

One of Tumilson’s star pupils is Eastman Triple A Midget star, Austin Lotz. Lotz, 15, is considered the best teenaged goaltending prospect in the province and was ranked as the No. 2 goalie available in the 2010 Western Hockey League bantam draft by the Everett Silver Tips.

The Everett Herald wrote: “The Everett Silver Tips didn’t target goaltending in the draft, but the team believes it got a steal in seventh rounder Austin Lotz. Lotz, who was the 21st goaltender taken, was ranked by the Tips as the second-best goalie available. Lotz, who comes from rural Manitoba, may have slipped under the radar.”

Lotz’s success makes Tumilson proud. In fact, The Goalie Whisperer still works with Lotz on a weekly basis. Lotz is a result of Tumilson’s coaching theory: “STPHF.”

“It’s an acronym for ‘Stop the Puck, Have Fun,’” Tumilson explained. “It’s great that these kids are getting better and better because they’re conquering the mental part of the game, but it also has to be fun for them. I loved playing goal. I was excited every time I stepped on the ice. That’s part of what I try to impart on these kids. I give these kids all the answers in a positive and progressive way.

“I’m not trying to knock the technical guys. They’re tremendous coaches. But it’s rare when a coach will spend the amount of time I spend with a youngster talking about the other 90 per cent of the game. Every kid I’ve coached has moved on to the next level. I’m quite proud of that.”

What makes Gord Tumilson different from many of the high-end technical coaches out there is the fact that everything Tumilson teaches was discovered through his own trial and error, through his own testing and, in a lesser way, from his own training. Tumilson didn’t become a professional goalie coach until he was in his 50s. As a result, he’s spent his life creating a program that would produce results.

So if you have a grandchild or even a teenager who just so happens to be a goalie and wants to reach the next level, Gord Tumilson might be the answer.

“We teach a kid everything he needs to know in the first two practices,” Tumilson said. “Then we spend the rest of the year putting the mental and emotional side of the game together. Stop the Puck, Have Fun. It’s a philosophy that I know works. I see it working every day.”

(Read more in the Jan 20 - Feb 7/2011 issue of Senior Scope)

Fraud Prevention:

Winnipeg, MB:

RCMP Commercial Crime laid charges in relation to Illegal Lottery Scheme January 13, 2011

Following a lengthy investigation, the Winnipeg Commercial Crime Section has charged 13 individuals and a corporation, in connection with an Illegal Lottery Scheme – occasionally referred to as a Pyramid Scheme.

Police began their investigation following complaints about “Business in Motion” in and around Steinbach, Manitoba. Charges relate to activities between Spring 2008 and Fall 2009.

All of the accused have been summonsed to appear in Steinbach Court on January 13, 2011.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, Pyramid Schemes are defined as:

“Frauds that are based on recruiting an ever-increasing number of investors. The initial promoters (those at the peak of the pyramid) recruit investors who are expected to bring in more investors, who may or may not sell products or distributorship. Recruiting newcomers is more important than selling products.

No new money is created in pyramid schemes. Investors who get in early take their profits from investors who join later. At some point, no new investors can be found and as a result the last investors, who are at the bottom of the pyramid, lose their money. They also face prosecution, as pyramid schemes are illegal.”

- Canadian Anti-Fraud Center

For additional information on Pyramids and other scams visit

Cst. Ben Doiron
Winnipeg RCMP
Commercial Crime Section

(Read more in the Jan 20 - Feb 7/2011 issue of Senior Scope)

Advertising Feature:

Psst! Heard about one of
Winnipeg’s Best Kept Secrets?

It’s Fred Douglas Heritage House...

Nestled behind Portage Place at 100 The Promenade (which runs directly off of Vaughan Street) is Fred Douglas Heritage House. Fred Douglas Heritage House was a "pioneer" in the Supportive Housing when it opened its doors in September 1999. Supportive Housing is a unique concept created by Manitoba Health for those of us wanting the freedom and privacy of our own suite, but looking for a higher level of support and safety… a great option for seniors needing assistance due to physical limitations or other health concerns, (e.g., mild to moderate dementia), but don’t need quite the level of care provided in a personal care home.

Fred Douglas Heritage House, centrally located in downtown Winnipeg.

Heritage House is staffed with Tenant Companions twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Ninety-five percent of our Tenant Companions are Certified Health Care Aides, and provide assistance to help seniors maintain their independence. For example: medication reminders, shower assist, cueing for ADLs (activities of daily living), 3 nutritious meals plus 2 snacks each day – prepared on-site with a home-cooked feel, weekly laundry and housekeeping service, and a host of other daily activities. Our Tenant Companions are like those "great neighbors and friends you can always count on." Heritage House staff enjoys working here and it shows in the warm happy atmosphere our tenants call "home." We offer a tailor-made service plan for each tenant. If nursing care is required, Home Care will provide, and house-call doctors are only a phone call away!

Food is an important part of our lives. At Heritage House, we take this to heart! Our in-house chefs prepare three hearty, nutritious meals on-site, and you’ll enjoy these served by our multi-tasking Tenant Companions in our central dining room, along with a mid-afternoon and evening snack. We design a dietary profile for each Heritage House tenant, taking into consideration your needs, likes and dislikes.

Suites at Heritage House are the largest of all Supportive Housing sites in Winnipeg.

Heritage House has 28 one-bedroom suites ranging in size from 500 to 730 ft2. We are proud to say that of all the supportive housing sites in Winnipeg, our suites are the largest! Suites are also large enough to accommodate couples. In a couple’s scenario, both can qualify for supportive housing, or one person may need the extra supports that come with Supportive Housing, and their spouse can live in the same suite paying just the service package. All suites are wheelchair accessible. Each suite has its own temperature control for heat and air conditioning. You can keep the temperature as warm or as cool as you like! Suites have lots of windows, and each window can open, if desired, to allow fresh air on a breezy summer day. Each suite comes with an emergency pull cord in every bathroom and bedroom, and its own "tea and toast kitchenette" complete with microwave and full-size fridge with a freezer on top for those all-important midnight ice cream snacks! Suites are spacious enough that the look and feel of your previous home can be re-created to make it feel like "home." All personal laundry, linens and towels, and housekeeping are done weekly, and you’ll never have to vacuum again! As well as having all meals prepared… it doesn’t get much better than this!!!

Various activities and exercise programs are scheduled throughout the week, and you can partake in as many or as few as you like. You can also choose just to sit in the sunny atrium area, enjoying the sunshine and listening to our pet Cockatiels… isn't life grand! A full-service hairdresser visits Heritage House once a week, and our Spiritual Care Coordinator (chaplain) leads an ecumenical worship service, followed by refreshments, conversation and visiting every Tuesday afternoon.

Centrally located in downtown Winnipeg, Heritage House is within walking distance to major medical facilities. Family members who work downtown can stop by for a quick visit at lunch or after work. Through skywalks, you can access many downtown destinations without having to step outside – a welcome feature especially when it’s -36°C outside! Wheelchairs are available for family members wishing to escort you on shopping excursions, if walking a distance presents an obstacle.

How do you or your loved one qualify to be able to live in such a fantastic establishment? Call today and find out! Our Site Supervisor, Shauna Gladish, is happy to answer any questions, and provide information as to criteria for living in Supportive Housing (telephone – 949.9027, e-mail –

Perhaps you’d like to arrange for a tour, and see for yourself what a wonderful place Heritage House is to live!

(Read more in the Jan 20 - Feb 7/2011 issue of Senior Scope)


Financial Planning:

Should I contribute to an RRSP, a TFSA or both?

BRIAN G. KONRAD CFP, Financial Consultant

The introduction of the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) represents the most important change to the way Canadians save money since RRSPs were launched in the late ‘50s. But the big question on many people’s minds is whether they should contribute to a TFSA, the tried-and tested RRSP or possibly even both?

Before shedding some light on their question, let’s first get a firm grasp on some of the innate differences and similarities. First and foremost, both RRSPs and TFSAs provide investors with the opportunity of tax-sheltered compound growth for investments held inside each plan. But unlike an RRSP, contributions to a TFSA are not tax deductible, amounts can be withdrawn tax free at any time and withdrawn amounts are added back into your TFSA contribution room the following year.

Now that we’ve established their unique characteristics, let’s get back to our original question:

Which is best?

On a very basic level, looking at your pre-retirement and expected post-retirement marginal tax rates can provide you with an idea how to best allocate your investments. If you expect to be in a lower tax bracket during retirement, contribute to an RRSP is generally more beneficial. However if in retirement you anticipate being in a tax bracket that is equal or higher than your pre-retirement tax rate, the TFSA may be more tax-efficient.

Click on image for larger chart

Hold on; not so fast.

Although it’s tempting to settle on a simple rule-of-thumb, the decision on whether you should use a TFSA or RRSP is not that simple – your advisor needs to work with you to consider the entire spectrum of financial strategies at your disposal that could ultimately impact your approach.

Even if you anticipate having a lower marginal tax rate in retirement, maximizing your RRSP contributions may not always be the most tax-efficient long-term strategy. Since RRSP withdrawals (directly or through your Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) or an annuity) increase your taxable income, those withdrawals may affect certain government income-tested benefits and credits such as the Old Age Security benefit and the Age Credit.

On the other hand, if your expected marginal tax rate in
retirement is equal or higher than during your accumulation years, contributing to your TFSA may not be the best approach either. For example, RRSPs that are converted to a RRIF or an annuity after age 65 can produce income that is eligible for the pension income tax credit, and thus qualifies for pension income splitting with your spouse. Other income splitting strategies such as the use of spousal RRSPs could effectively distribute a portion of your taxable income to a spouse with a lower marginal tax rate in retirement, further reducing your tax bill and reducing the claw-back effect on your income-tested benefits and credits.

So where does this leave us?

Generally speaking, a TFSA may be better suited for shorter-term goals, such as an emergency fund or saving for a major purchase, since there is no tax on withdrawals and these plan withdrawals are added back into your TFSA contribution room the following year. However, for long-term objectives, RRSPs are generally the vehicle of choice since there are strong incentives to keep your money invested, in the form of taxes and lost contribution room on the withdrawals from an RRSP. The TFSA can also be a powerful retirement savings tool. However due to the ease with which TFSA savings can be accessed (no taxes on withdrawals or loss of contribution room) only a disciplined investor who can resist the temptation to dip into their savings prior to retirement will fully benefit from its potential as a source of retirement income.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, there is amultitude of variables that must be taken into consideration. In many cases, the TFSA should be used
as a complementary product, along with your RRSPs, as they both have their own advantages. Your personal savings strategy needs to take into account your unique circumstances as well as your short and long-term objectives.

To discover which approach is best for you, contact your Investors Group Consultant.

Financial Consultant
(204) 489-4640 ext. 246

Written and published by Investors Group as a general source of information only. It is not intended as a solicitation to buy or sell
specific investments, nor is it intended to provide tax, legal or investment advice. Readers should seek advice on their specific circumstances from an Investors Group Consultant.
Commissions, fees and expenses may be associated with mutual fund investments. Read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

™Trademark owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary corporations.

“Should I contribute to an RRSP, a TFSA or both?” ©2010 Investors Group Inc. (03/2010) MP1492

(Read more in the Jan 20 - Feb 7/2011 issue of Senior Scope)


Recreation in Winnipeg, Manitoba:

Lots To Do Even with Snow on the Ground

By Scott Taylor

Helene Dobel has every right to
be proud of her accomplishment.
The 86-year-old Winnipegger, who loves nothing more than spending time on a great cruise ship, is now the proud holder of a Norwegian Cruise Lines record.

“On my last cruise (on the Norwegian Pearl) I was he oldest person ever to go down the water slide (she was 85 at the time),” said Dobel proudly. “They even made an announcement on the ship. I’m in great shape.”

Helene Dobel on a cruiseship waterslide.

Dobel is in great shape because she’s one of dozens of seniors who get up every day and work out in the gym. It’s not always easy and there are days when it’s not always fun, but it’s helped give Dobel and a number of other octogenarians in Winnipeg a long, happy and active life.

We’re fortunate in Winnipeg. There are all sorts of tremendous gyms, many within walking distance of your home — Shapes, Good Life Fitness, Curves, the Re-Fit Centre, the Rady Centre and of course the YMCA. Every day, hundreds of seniors descend on these gyms to stay toned, balanced and strong.

Dobel, however, is a member at what I call “My gym:” the Assiniboine Athletic Club at Fort Garry Place in downtown Winnipeg. This gym is a haven for seniors and among the proud members are Earl Fast, 89, and Romeo Manaigre, 86. They’re in the gym, early in the morning, every single day.

“I would say that we’re very senior friendly,” said Neil Dalrymple, 50, the gym’s long-time manager. “We have members that range from their 50s all the way up to 90. I just think they find it comfortable.”

Assiniboine Athletic Club is the home of Manitoba’s Masters bodybuilding champion, 65-year-old Tom Heffner, but it’s also the home of retirees and seniors such as Ken Collins, Terry Johnston, June Wiebe, Valentina Wilson (who is nearly 70 and still does three sets of a dozen pull-ups every day) and Pastor Bruce Miles.

It doesn’t hurt that the music that’s played through the gym’s sound system comes directly from the new FAB 94.3 a local station that plays music that is 40-50 years old and Dalrymple, himself, who has “been here forever,” is well-known to all of his members. That’s why, for seniors, it’s a pleasant, friendly place, in a city where many gyms are full of 20-something stick-figure women and huge, strutting muscular men.

L-R: Back Row: Earl Fast (89), Romeo Manaigre (86). Front Row: Helene Dobel (86, but at 85 pictured as the oldest person to go down the 3 story waterslide on the Norwegian Pearl), Valentina Wilson, Helen Yakiwchuk.

“I think it’s the comfort level we provide that encourages our seniors to come back every day,” said Dalrymple, who always jumps to provide advice when a member has a problem with a fitness machine or the free weights. “We’re a small gym and we don’t provide any group activities for seniors, but many of our members have been here for a long time because there is no pressure and they can do whatever they like to stay fit. It’s pretty obvious that we don’t care if you’re big or small or old or young. We only care about you and the fact you want to stay fit.”

It’s been said that you’re never too old to learn something new. We all know it’s true.

But here’s an adage that can be proven, too: You’re never too old to get in shape and stay active.

Winter is upon us and that means if you aren’t getting up early to walk around the mall, you’d better find another way to stay active. Heading off to the gym every morning is one way to get in shape, but not every one is comfortable with the big machines, free weights and the stick-figure 20-somethings.

However, that doesn’t mean you just say, “I can’t be bothered.” There are plenty of fun ways to get in shape, often at no cost, no matter your age.

Like ice skating? Did you know that you can skate every day of the week inside a Winnipeg Arena for free? It’s true. On Sunday, you can skate at the Billy Mosienko Arena on Keewatin from 3:30 to 4:30. You can skate Monday from 11 a.m. to Noon at the St. James Civic Centre; on Tuesday at the Bertrand Arena in St. Boniface from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.; Wednesday at the Eric Coy Arena on Oakdale Dr. from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.; on Thursday at the Maginot Arena from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., on Friday at the River East Arena from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and on Saturday at the Terry Sawchuk Arena on Kimberly Ave., from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. Just visit for the entire free skating schedule at more than 13 arenas in Winnipeg.

If you’d prefer dancing, and you’ve definitely decided not to go to a gym for a dance-aerobics class, there are plenty of great opportunities in Winnipeg for not a lot of money. You can take a 10-week line dancing course at the St. James Civic Centre ($52), you can join Zumba gold, a dance fitness program designed for seniors at either the Cindy Klassen Rec. Centre on Sargent, the Elmwood/EK Seniors Centre on Poplar, the Fort Rouge Leisure Centre on Osborne or the Pan Am Pool at 25 Poseidon Bay, depending on the day or the region of the city that’s most convenient ($57).

Speaking of the Pan Am Pool, you can swim at any one of 12 pools (including the Pan Am Pool) or three city-operated leisure centres every single day or evening of the week. A 30-visit pass is $153.00 while a full three-month pass costs $137.00. Swimming is a wonderful way to stay toned and strong without all the wear and tear on your joints, bones and muscles.

There are so many places in Winnipeg to get fit, be active and feel healthy that it’s almost impossible to list them all here. Quickly, here are 10 ways to feel good about yourself this winter and spring:

1. Go bowling: Just get on your personal computer and google “Bowling alleys in Winnipeg.” It’s incredible. You’ll come with a list of more than two dozen alleys around the Capital Region. Bowling, five- or 10-pin, is a great way to get together with friends, socialize and have a little workout all at the same time.

2. Aqua-fitness: For those who are aging this is the perfect way to get some cardio-vascular and muscle-toning exercise without beating up your joints. Bonivital Pool and Sherbrook Pool both have Aqua-fitness programs that will cost about $60 for a 10-week program.

3. Pilates: a system of exercise where smooth motions and proper breathing will tone and lengthen your muscles. For $75 you can get involved at half-a-dozen pools, arenas or leisure centres in Winnipeg.

4. Cardio-fitness: the city has a 10 week cardio-fitness program for those over the age of 50 (it began last week but I’m told you can still register) at the St. James Civic Centre. It’s just $31 to join up.

5. Body toning: This is a flexibility class and we all know that flexibility is one of the first things to go. It’s held at the Elmwood/EK Seniors Centre and the Greendell Park Community Centre. A 10-week program costs $44.

6. Aerobic fitness: Improve your cardio at the St. James Civic Centre for 10 weeks and just $44. You can use your Active Living Passes to drop in on these classes.

7. Sing: You can sing at the Glee Club at Fort Rouge Leisure Centre at 625 Osborne St. every Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

8. Play Badminton: You loved it in high school. Why did you quit? The Greendell Seniors 55-Plus Badminton players meet every Monday and Thursday from 12:45-2:45 p.m. and on Wednesday from 9-10:45 a.m. at the Greendell Park Community Centre, 75 Woodlawn Ave. Call them at 253-9112 if you have any questions. Meanwhile, the Glenwood Community Club Seniors also have a badminton program on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Just call Ray at 253-2542.

9. Yoga: There is a yearly drop-in yoga class at St. James Assiniboia Centennial Pool on Parkdale. Yoga is perfect for older, active adults who want to maintain flexibility, balance and range of motion.

10. Basketball and volleyball: If you want to work on your game, join a team or meet people who just like to play, head straight to the Winnipeg’s Central YMCA. Monday to Friday from Noon to 1 p.m. it’s open basketball at the Y’s big gym and if you want to play volleyball try Wednesday nights between 8-10. Who knows, you might find some folks who’d like you to play on their team.

There is no excuse for any healthy senior in the Capital Region to find a place to stay active, keep fit and be healthy. In fact, there are so many recreational programs in this part of Canada, that you couldn’t possibly do it all.

So get up, get out and get active. Just ask my 86-year-old friend Helena at Assiniboine Athletic Club. You could be the next octogenarian zooming down the water-slide on your next cruise.

(Read more in the Jan 20 - Feb 7/2011 issue of Senior Scope)

Travel feature - Walt Disney World:

Disney is Even Better Without the Grand Children

By Scott and Sally Taylor

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – So you’ve been to Florida’s Walt Disney World with the kids and the grand kids and you loved it. You loved it because it was fun and because there is nothing better on this earth than seeing your grand kids with great big smiles on their faces.

Well, fellow 60-plussers, guess what? A trip to Walt Disney World (WDW) can be a lot more fun without the kids. Honestly. There is no better place on the planet to take a vacation for so many reasons. In fact, there are so many great reasons to go to WDW that there isn’t enough space here in Senior Scope to list them all.

But, just for chuckles, let’s start with safe, convenient and economical. For older couples, a Disney vacation is a great vacation.

Now, in the time-honored tradition of full disclosure, we are Disney regulars. In fact, we are annual passholders. We’ve often considered taking vacations at more “adult” resorts or in big American cities (and yes, we love Washington, D.C., Boston, Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago), but after adding up the cost and the effort, we, more often than not, return to WDW. We love the weather, the location, the safety, the service and, most of all, the price.

Contrary to popular belief, a Disney vacation is not expensive. In fact, as a sportswriter, when I go south to cover the NHL, the NFL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball, I stay at a Disney resort for two important reasons: (1) the location, just west of Orlando on Inter-State Hwy. 4 gives me instant access to nine major league sports franchises all within 30 minutes-to-four hours by car (plus all those spring training baseball games in March) and (2) because Disney is so economical.

It’s also safe. When we go to WDW, I can leave the hotel at 4 p.m. to head off to a Lightning game in Tampa or a Magic game in downtown Orlando, and Sally can go off on a Disney bus and do anything she pleases, all by herself. In fact, many of her favorite moments at Disney have happened when she’s alone at Epcot or Animal Kingdom or Downtown Disney and she doesn’t have a husband to drag around.

In recent years, it’s become extremely easy to get to WDW now that WestJet has a direct flight and, take our word for it, it’s a great flight. Of course, you can always use your airline points or Air Miles and make one easy stop along the way.

When you reach Orlando International you are arriving at one of the world’s great airports. Just listen to the flight attendant’s instructions and follow the signs and we guarantee, you can’t miss your baggage claim or your ground transportation and when you return to the airport to head home, there are plenty of places to eat and relax before you catch your flight.

During the recent winter baseball meetings at Walt Disney World, I was talking to my old friend, Buck Martinez, the Toronto Blue Jays play-by-play announcer. Buck lives near the beach in Sarasota, Fla., but during our conversation, he said, “I was thinking why so many people were moving to the Orlando area and it’s pretty simple really: No taxes, plenty to do, great weather and the best airport in the country.” He’s right about that.

If you have no plans to rent a car (we always do and we rent from Alamo because of the convenience of having a number of outlets on Disney property), you have two options. (1) You can wait and take Disney’s Magical Express. It will pick you up at the airport and drive you to your Disney Resort for free. It could take some time, but you’ll save $70. (2) If you aren’t staying on Disney property or if you’re just in a hurry to get settled into your resort, a taxi ride is anywhere from $60-$80 depending on where you’re staying.

Disney resorts come in three price categories: value, moderate or deluxe. We love the deluxe rooms, but when you stop and think about it, if you’re really planning on enjoying your Disney experience, you aren’t going to spend all that much time in your room, so why spend all the dough. We usually choose the moderate resorts, but have had some great times at the value resort, Pop Century.

The Waterfall at Wilderness Lodge Resort.

Of course, if you haven’t taken your grand kids to the parks and if you’re going as first-timers, your initial question is: What do we do once we’ve arrived? Fear not, you have an abundance of choices.

In fact, you probably have three days of choices without even going to a theme park. There is shopping, eating, a great movie theatre and of course Cirque de Soleil’s magnificent La Nouba, all at Downtown Disney. You could play four sensational 18-hole golf courses (our favorite is Lake Buena Vista) or you can walk nine holes at Oak Trail and that’s always fun – and cheap, too.

Fulton’s Crab House at Downtown Disney.

If you’re staying at a moderate or value resort, get on the monorail (it counts as a ride) and head over to a deluxe resort and just hang out. If we’re staying at Pop Century, we often go over to the Grand Floridian for a swim and a meal. And if you have some disposable cash and a few extra friends, book a fireworks cruise. It’s the best way to watch Wishes at the Magic Kingdom or Illuminations at Epcot. Or grab a spot on the beach at the Polynesian Resort and watch Wishes from across the lake. It’s relaxing and very entertaining.

Walt Disney World Monorail.

However, let’s assume you’re going to WDW to take in the theme parks. You’ve purchased your Hopper Pass, the pass that allows you to go to all four parks on an unlimited basis, and you’re ready to take on the crowds. Let’s take an adult look at the four parks (we love thrill rides, but for this piece, we’ll leave the thrill rides to the kids):

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is filled with attractions and shows: the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, the 33-minute Lights, Motors Action Extreme Stunt Show, the live stage show of Beauty and the Beast and then, at night, Fantasmic.

It’s a fun theme park to walk (especially at Christmas time) but we usually don’t eat here. Instead, we’ll take the two-kilometer walk to Epcot, where you’ll find our favorite park, the one where we eat, drink and, to be frank, spend most of our time.


We love Epcot. It’s the adults park. We love walking the 2.4-kilometre circle that’s called the World Showcase. We spend more time eating at this park than we do eating at Florida restaurants. That’s probably because we eat on the go and we seldom sit down to eat. It just takes too much time.

Epcot Theme Park.

Our favorite snack-and-go spots are the new La Cantina de San Angel (Mexico), the Lotus Blossom Café (China), the Yakitori House (Japan), the Boulangerie Patisserie (France) and the Yorkshire County Fish Shop (United Kingdom).

We also have two favorite times of the year to be at Epcot: From March 2-May 15, 2011, for the Flower and Garden Festival and from Sept. 30-Nov. 13, 2011 for the annual Food and Wine Festival. The Food and Wine Festival is always a highlight of any year.

We tend to justify what we eat by how much we walk.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom has the best thrill ride at all the parks, Expedition Everest, but we’re not here to stand in line
waiting to lose our lunch.

Animal Kingdom is loaded with some tremendous attractions (Kilimanjaro Safaris), walking trails (the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Maharajah Jungle Trek and Rafiki’s Planet Watch), shows (Finding Nemo – the Musical and Festival of the Lion King) and the daily parade (Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade).

When it comes to food, it’s not our favorite park, but we enjoy snacks at the Yak and Yeti Counter Service or at Pizzafari and there is nothing better than watching people while enjoying a cold beverage at the Dawa Bar (we suggest an ice cold Safari Amber).

The Magic Kingdom

You can’t escape children or families here and we find that everyone is a child at the Magic Kingdom (remember, there are no adult beverages served here), but if you want to stick to your “adult” schedule, how about avoiding the park and spending a day enjoying the Magic Kingdom Resorts?

The Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and the Polynesian are all on the monorail line that passes through the Magic Kingdom, so visit the resorts, enjoy a meal, stop in at a bar, take a dip (They do frown upon it, but who’ll ever know?). You can get off the monorail and take a boat from the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian and back to the front gate of the Kingdom. You can walk from the Kingdom to the Contemporary and stop in at the Wave for a drink. Take a walk from the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian and stop in at Mizner’s Lounge (open from 5 p.m. to midnight) for a little jazz, a beverage and a snack.

It’s scooter world at Epcot.

There is so much to do at WDW without spending time at a theme park and without spending a lot of money. In fact, you can always save the cost of a couple of theme park tickets and use the money to see La Nouba, take a fireworks cruise, play some golf (mini-golf, as well) rent a boat and go fishing on Bay Lake or spend time in a spa.

Always remember this: At Walt Disney World, you’re never too young and you’re never too old and that means there is always something to do without the grand kids.

(Note: If you’re looking for travel packages, we recommend WestJet Vacations or CAA. If you’d like that personal touch in Winnipeg, we recommend calling Constance Torossi at Enchanted Dreams Travel Company which specializes in Disney vacations, at 204-229-0296,,

(Read more in the Jan 20 - Feb 7/2011 issue of Senior Scope)

Backyard Birding 101

By Sherrie Versluis,
Owner of The Preferred Perch Wild Bird Specialty & Gift Store

Growing up, I was lucky enough to be able to spend my summers in the great outdoors of Lake of the Woods. It was there that my love of nature flourished into what has literally become my livelihood. The smell of the fresh green forest filled with the sights and sounds of wild birds turned me into a true nature nut. The birds left an impression that has not only stayed with me but become my job. It has now been over 15 years that my business, The Preferred Perch Wild Bird Specialty & Gift Store, has been in operation. It has been nothing short of an honour to introduce people to the 2nd biggest hobby in North America, attracting and feeding wild birds in your own backyard.

Many people who start feeding wild birds usually begin with a basic wooden feeder and wild bird mix. Unfortunately this usually results in seed spilled all over the ground and nothing more than masses of House sparrows visiting. House sparrows are the ‘bad guys’ of backyard birding. They not only make a mess but they dominate feeders and intimidate songbirds people want to see. House sparrows are an introduced species that has learned to adapt to life here and they do whatever it takes to succeed. Besides dominating feeders, House sparrows will break the eggs and even kill the chicks of our native birds that may be nesting in ‘their‚ territory’. It is important to try to not attract House sparrows to your feeders but sometimes it’s not possible. They tend to live in cedar trees and shrubs so if you have such housing it is unlikely they will ever go away no matter what you do.

Evening grosbeaks at a heated birdbath.

House sparrows are attracted to the seed white millet in wild bird mixes. That is why you will see them throwing seed everywhere, they are digging for what they want. To attract other birds, it is a good idea to give sparrows their own feeder at the back of the yard filled with pure white millet. Closer to your home where you can see best, place a good quality sunflower feeder filled with Black oil sunflower. This will attract Black-capped chickadees, nuthatches, bluejays, and finches to name a few. These birds can be found in Winnipeg and surrounding areas throughout the entire year. A good choice for a sunflower feeder is called a Tube Feeder. These are tall cylindrical feeders that have feeding ports from top to bottom with perches attached. This design reduces waste significantly and you don’t have to fill the feeder so often. Trays are available separately to attach to the bottom which helps in keeping the ground free of shells but it also encourages other species that are too large to land on the perches.

A Black-capped chickadee along with a pair of Purple finches eating from a sunflower feeder.

Feeding wild birds is a hobby that is known to reduce stress as watching the antics of bird behaviour can free your mind of negative thoughts. It is also very beneficial to those who may be homebound as it provides an easy and pleasurable source of entertainment. To me, it is rewarding in so many ways but especially when I hear from others how feeding wild birds has become a way of life for them and their family. Bring nature into your life and just feed the birds! Happy birding!

The Preferred Perch Wild Bird Specialty & Gift Store
Open 7 days a week.
Call 25-PERCH (257-3724)
1604 St. Mary's Rd • Winnipeg

(Read more in the Jan 20 - Feb 7/2011 issue of Senior Scope)


MADS - Men Against Drunk Shopping

By Willian J. Thomas
Humour Columnist

It’s the little things that tell the big story. Like that image of a little old lady on a corner waiting for a Good Samaritan to help her across the street. Well soon there will be a dozen elderly ladies on that corner kicking each other in the shins over who’s first in line and the Good Samaritan, a.k.a the government, will be a “no show.”

That lovely scene of two men playing checkers in the park. Soon there will be more checkerboards than benches in that park because the world’s population is aging at an accelerated rate never seen before in history. The number of older people is increasing much faster than the number of young people. The Golden Girls are cancelling Sesame Street.

The elderly used to worry about being a burden to their families, now they’re about to become a big problem for the planet. By 2018, 65-year-olds will outnumber those under the age of 5 for the first time ever.

This will also turn the global economy on its’ head. Experts believe that maintaining a decent standard of living for the old will place a crushing financial burden on the young.

Next year the first wave of baby boomers in the United States will be eligible for full Social Security and Medicare benefits setting off a two-decade, astronomical spending spree by a government that’s already in mile-high debt. So Sarah Palin’s insane claim that President Obama’s healthcare plan called for “euthanizing the elderly” is starting to look like a viable option somewhere down the line.

By the year 2050 there will be 300 million people over the age of 65 in China and not nearly enough toothpicks to go around. The Chinese government is passing the buck to the families. They have a name for it: “the 4-2-1 problem.” That’s one child caring for two parents and four grandparents. Not too much pressure on a young Kemei, circling help-wanted ads in the Shenzhen Times while riding around on a bike with a flat front tire.

To man their massive factories the Chinese government is flooding the biggest cities with young people and driving the old out of their homes. It’s called “age apartheid.”

All of this information is covered by the Global Again Preparedness Index compiled by a Washington think tank and when it comes to today’s forecast and tomorrow’s crisis – you couldn’t do better than the acronym GAP.

But what will Canada do? The government of Canada, unlike those of many unprepared countries has some concrete plans in place. First, when ‘Elderquake’ hits home hard over the next twenty years, our government plans to act really, really surprised.

They plan to blame Stats Canada and a software program short on zeros. While claiming to have made provisions for the health and financial well-being of 1.5 million elderly, they will claim to have no idea the real number was 15 million.

“We’re mad as hell,” the Prime Minister will say. But not as mad as the ninety-year-olds living in their grandson’s garage.

They will blame the failure of the system on the previous government, who will in turn blame it on their predecessors who will blame it on Paul Martin. Walking through Lafontaine Park in his undershorts, Paul Martin will say: “I can’t recall.”

Then the photo ops will begin showing that the crisis is not nearly as bad as the experts claim and the elderly of Canada, now living in an abandoned airport north of Toronto are receiving water, ration packs left over from Afghanistan and warm socks. It’s called “warehousing.”

Those requiring serious medical attention will be offered “Varadero, one week, all-inclusive, air, hotel, meals, bar drinks and hospital transfers.”

The federal health minister, later to be reprimanded for it, will characterize the elderly as “lazy and unproductive” pointing out that “Hey, why don’t they try their luck at the casinos!”

Health Canada posters and billboards will spring up extolling the virtues of the “aging initiative” showing a photo of 94-year-old Mable Spark who won ten dollars at her nursing home for guessing the number of jelly beans in a canning jar. “And,” the ad will say, “she also got to keep the jelly beans.”

A spry 95-year-old Julie Andrews will appear in a feel-good video extolling a few of her favorite things like: “Air bags on walkers and seatbelts on rockers.”

The minister of consumer affairs will almost lose his post for buying millions of cheap canes from China made of rubber. The recall will be ugly but not without comical incidents.

In a Hail Mary move to save its skin, the government will come up with its own “4-2-1 formula.” That’s one care giver for every two rooms full of elderly with four minutes maximum in the bathroom, each. Do you get the feeling this government believes that this trend too will pass?

Oh, and the real bad news? We’re all healthier than our parents and on track to live a lot longer.

For comments, ideas or a signed copy of
The True Story of Wainfleet,
go to

(Read more in the Jan 20 - Feb 7/2011 issue of Senior Scope)


Getting the Sugar OUT of your Diet

By Steven Denault

So now that we know how and why sugar is creating an epidemic of illnesses let’s talk about what we should be doing about it.

Refined and synthetic sweeteners are used extensively by processed food manufactures. The main reason they include sweeteners is to give the product some taste and of course it’s a cheap filler.

As consumers we have come to think of sugar as a comfort food, we expect and desire it. In fact the majority of us have become addicted to sugar and sweeteners. This is of course the intention of food manufacturers. Not unlike nicotine in cigarettes.

This is the big nasty bit of dirt they don’t want us spending much time contemplating. But the fact is sugar and artificial sweeteners are now recognized as addictive as alcohol and nicotine (cigarettes).

Putting sweeteners into processed foods will ensure you get the taste and sugar craving fulfillment you are in need of. As we consumers get more clued in and able to read labels we watch labels more closely looking for how much sugar is in a product.

BUT what you don’t know is new synthetic sugars (and sugar alcohols) are coming along quicker than we can keep up with. Food manufactures do list them in the ingredients but you won’t recognize their names because they don’t sound like a sugar. A few examples include barley malt, polysaccharides and alitame. If you would like to see a more comprehensive list check out this link:, scroll down for the whole list.

Since many of these sweeteners are new few long term studies exist. However studies of older generation(aspartame) synthetic sweeteners reveals that manufactured sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than plain sugar and even more destructive to our health. Did I mention they are cheap and addictive.

The take home message is this: do all you can to eliminate refined and synthetic sugars from your diet. These sweeteners are causing your pancreas to over produce insulin which is in turn triggering a fat storage signal plus they elevate your blood sugar levels and can eventually lead to pre-diabetes.

Are there any natural or safer sugars? Fortunately yes.

A popular one is Stevia. It might take a bit of getting used to because this plant based sweetener is very sweet. Also look for Xylitol or Lo Han. The best place to find them is at a health food store, you’ll have a much better chance of getting high quality product. Also available are natural sugars made from cane sugar and other plant sources. While these are far better than refined sugars they are still interpreted as sugar where your pancreas is concerned, so too much is not good.

Note: Food manufactures keep tabs on the health food industry and watch for trends. When they see something selling well they find a way to make it cheap and then add it to their product offering hoping you’ll think it is the same high quality as found at health food stores.

Steven Denault
River Heights Good and Natural
Weight Loss Clinic
1102 Corydon Ave., Wpg.

(Read more in the Jan 20 - Feb 7/2011 issue of Senior Scope)



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