Live from the 3.5, 2019: Intro — Being Black in Canada

Black culture is unique—one of the few cultures thrust upon a people and not developed by them. A Jamaican is not a Gambian is not an Australian Aborigine. We’ve got tribes within tribes and languages within languages but somehow lumped together by the colour of our skin.

And we’ve made the best of it. From Canada’s first Negro History Week in 1926 to officially recognising Black History Month in 1995 thanks to the help of the Honourable Jean Augustine, we’ve celebrated our Blackness and looked to remind the world that we’re not just one thing.

But it hasn’t been easy, with “Black Canadian” conjuring up images of The Weeknd or Drake and not so much Cameron Bailey or Michaëlle Jean. You hear about Black Canadians on February 1st, but where do they go for the rest of the year?

And that’s why I’m here working on Live from the 3.5—because if we don’t invest the time to own our stories, who will?

Govfest 2018 — Helping the World Through the Power of MUSIC.

I think it’s possible to have fun with just about anything we do.

Govfest — Because We Do More Than Just Sit Behind Our Desks.

There to Care — A Spotlight on Father Figures by Dove Men+Care — Paul BurnsBack in 2009, after jumping from the Ontario Public Service’s internship program to a contract opportunity that didn’t end so well, I started working for someone who wound up profoundly changing my life.

A Night Thirteen Years in the Making

If you’ve never met Paul Burns, I promise that you’re missing out.

As a guy I’ve worked for three times now, I can tell you some stories about this guy. Like how the question right after my introduction at our first team meeting was what instrument I played. Or that even as a white guy from the depth of Winnipeg, Manitoba, he’d routinely have some of the most diverse teams known to the organisation. He’s a special kind of guy, and it’s that kind of guy who you need to run something like Govfest—the annual battle of the bands in support of the United Way and Ryan’s Well, running more than a dozen years now!

The Abridged Story of the Band Called the Calamities…

There was once a band called The Calamities, with whom I sang a bunch of songs. We actually took Govfest’s People’s Choice Award home a few years running, because with twelve or thirteen bandmates with friends who wanted to see them, how could you not?

But after life came along and changed things up for the lot of us, we all went our separate ways, and I thought that’d be that.

Yeah… Govfest had other plans.

As the show got bigger and bigger each year, they wanted a flashier finale that’d keep the audience living in the moment.

And that, friends, is how I became the annual MC for the Govfest finale.

Calgary 101: It’s More than Just the Stampede!

A Toronto does not a Canada make.

Toronto’s Cool, But What About the REST of Canada?

Ask most Torontonians what Canada means to them, and they’ll give you a perfect view that sounds very… Toronto.

Calgary 101 — The City that's More than Just the Stampede! — Toronto from AboveBusy and abundant with life. Representation from every corner of the world. It’s everything we big city slickers spout when we want to prove why our city is better than yours, but that’s from the same city who rarely explores their country east of Montreal or west of Niagara Falls. Instead, we hop on the nearest flight to the Dominican Republic or Cuba—after all, it’s hotter, cheaper, and it takes a lot less time to plan an all-inclusive vacation. But I’ll say the same thing about our country that I did about camping—it’s a mighty big world out there, and we’re doing ourselves a horrible disservice by not experiencing more of it.

Let me tell you some of what I’ve seen.

Welcome to Canada! Well… at Least SOME of it!

Calgary 101 — The City that's More than Just the Stampede! — Niagara Falls

At 9.985 million square kilometres, Canada’s the second-biggest country in the world, but much of it’s woefully underutilised.

I’ve seen a bit of it so far—plenty of Ontario through cottages and camping; weekend trips throughout western Quebec; and even some time on the West Coast lately.

But this isn’t the Canada I grew up discovering—it’s the 99.93% of the country that isn’t the Toronto area. The travelling I did with my parents was to see family—affording anything else simply wasn’t in the cards. But the travelling bug eventually caught me, and I realised how important it was to see more of my country if I truly wanted to call myself Canadian.

So on this journey to see the Canada everyone else sees so I can better understand it—and taking my kids along for the ride—I’d like to share some thoughts on this country with you from some of the people who live within it.

Our first stop? Calgary, Alberta—Canada’s great cowboy capital of the west!

For the Love of Camping, Part Two — A Man and the Mountain that CHANGED Him.

Welcome to For the Love of Camping, the three-part series journeying from my family’s stance against camping to my desire to get everyone camping, so they can enjoy it as much as we do.

In Part One of the series, I explained how camping didn’t fit growing up Black and suburban in the ’80s and ’90s. Even when I started dating Sarah over a decade ago, I resisted at first from both the bad experiences I had in the past and the ones that soon came. But she wasn’t quite ready to give up on me, and that brings us to the summer of 2011 with Sarah’s family at Earl Rowe Provincial Park to celebrate her parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.


For the Love of Glamping…

It was sooner than I expected, but just a year after a Turkey Point camping trip that had me miss the annual Palmer BBQ and hole up in a waterlogged tent through seventeen hours of torrential rain, we were camping again in Earl Rowe Provincial Park for my in-laws’ 35th wedding anniversary. That same year saw us engaged, married and spending some time abroad, so it wasn’t exactly like I was about to say “no”—this was the world I married into.

But I wasn’t going to make it easy for her.

Since that trip that didn’t go exactly as planned, we invested in plenty of gear to make future stays more… comfortable. A ten-person Coleman tent with three rooms and an interior lighting system. Sizable coolers to hold all the beer I’d need to survive the experience. I wasn’t getting caught with my pants down again, so I demanded some glamping, setting the tone for our trips in the foreseeable future.

For the Love of Camping, Part Two — A Man and the Mountain that CHANGED Him. — Lake Opeongo Panorama`

And then we climbed a mountain.

UP NEXT: Live from the 3.5, 2019—My Biggest and Best Black History Month Project YET.

We’re halfway through January, and before you know it February will be up close and personal and with it, all the stories of Black history we’ve waited a year to share.

Black History Month is Back Again!

That’s not entirely true—Black people are sharing their stories all the time, but is the world ready to listen? Our culture stretches to every corner of society—those flaunting their wealth on social media and in music videos. Or those seeking separation instead of assimilation as the best way to preserve ourselves. If you’re anything like me, that culture involves a little too much code-switching—trying to find our place by working with the rules of our non-Black environments instead of fighting against them and staying true to ourselves. The world gives us a number of ways to learn each others’ stories—I found The Hate U Give as a recent example, showing that no matter how much you try riding the line, the world will try its hardest to tell you who you are.

(The Hate U Give was released on Blu-ray™ and DVD on Jan 22nd if you want to check it out for yourself!)

But that’s not the only story we have to share, and that’s why I work on Live from the 3.5 every February to tell even more.

Live from the 3.5 — Telling the Stories of Black Canadian Culture

UP NEXT — Live from the 3.5, 2019—My Biggest and Best Black History Month Project YET. — Casey on TV for Black History Month

If you’re unfamiliar with my work, I’ve been running month-long projects for Black History Month, usually either interviewing other Black Canadians to hear their stories or discussing topics that affect us all regardless of our heritage, language or beliefs. I wasn’t able to put it out last year due to some scheduling conflicts, so I’m doubling down this year to get it done right.

While past years have been almost entirely in written form, this year I want to do a better job of appreciating the oral tradition deeply rooted in our history and spend some time creating podcasts for the things I’ll be discussing this February. If you have a computer microphone or a landline phone and feel compelled to spend 10-15 minutes chatting on any of the topics below, do let me know. February’s around the corner, and I’d love to start locking the recordings in sooner than later. With anyone who participates, I’ll include a photo, mini-bio and the most relevant links that tell us what you do! If you have a computer mic or landline phone, we can make it work.

For the Love of Camping, Part One — An Intergenerational Tale of Transformation

You only need to travel a few hours outside of the city to remember that very little of Canada is like Toronto.

For the Love of Camping, Part One — An Intergenerational Tale of Transformation — Driving Around in Smalltown Ontario

For last summer’s annual #PalmersGoWild camping trip, we hit up Port Burwell, Ontario, a small community of just over a thousand people and home to a lighthouse; the Simply Scoops ice cream parlour, and Port Burwell Provincial Park—the place we’d call home for a week in late August. Found just under three hours west of Toronto on the north shores of Lake Erie, it’s the perfect place to go if you want to slow things down a little—the kind of place you can let your kids roam free sans worry.

But I’m starting to understand that it’s not for everyone.

For the Love of Camping, Part One — An Intergenerational Tale of Transformation — The Boys Hanging Out in the Tent

Whenever anyone hears we’re going camping, we generally get one of two responses—nostalgic memories from the people who’ve done it, or good luck wishes from the ones who haven’t. And others fall somewhere in the middle, whether scarred from a bad experience or had a nice time, but too intimidated to go out and try it again on their own.

But let me tell you this as someone who didn’t take a shining to camping at first—if you’re unwilling to get out of your comfort zone and take the world as it comes, you’re missing out on so much of what it has to offer.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, January 2019 — Janu-WEARY.

We’re a week into 2019, and I’m here drawing up battle plans for the year of content ahead.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer—A Bustling Era Ahead

With any luck, you’ve had yourselves a very happy new year so far, full of new opportunities and experiences as you reach for everything 2019 has to offer. In my case, I just got The 2019 200 up and running (so I can stop agonising over every aspect of the 3700-word treatise to resolutions every night—you should really check it out), so, with that out of the way, it’s finally time to work on some time-sensitive things that could probably use my attention.

Hasta la Vista, 2018.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, January 2019 — Janu-WEARY. — Me and the Youngest in 2017The first is to say goodbye to 2018. Officially.

The problem with my world is that there’s rarely enough time to keep the past in the past.

In my quest to do everything—saying “yes” to plenty of things I probably shouldn’t—I somehow forget that one can’t juggle parenting, work and a world of content without sacrificing something in the process.

But I keep trying anyway despite reality, leaving me with some 2018 content left to deal with and a 2019 that’s not sitting around to wait.

The 2019 200 — Because if YOU Don’t Get it Done, Who Will?

If you’ve been around a while, you’re probably familiar with the lists of 100 goals I’d write every year. And I saying, “But you missed 2018!” And it’s true—2018 came hot and heavy; I wasn’t in any position to commit to a list that ambitious. And I could probably say the same now—with a bigger and better Live from the 3.5 than ever, Chatting with Casey picking up steam and a slew of other things in the works, I likely wouldn’t be wrong. But if you’ve been around a while, you’ll probably know my Achilles heel—much like Marty McFly, I can’t turn down a good challenge.

Welcome to The 2019 200 — Because When You Skip a Year, 100 Just Won’t Do!

This post? This post has history. Zach and I go way back, and he’s easily one of the people I respect most in this game. We’re talking the guy who had a podcast long before Toronto was anywhere on it and got media coverage when he worked to show what life was really like when you tried to live it all off sponsorships. There’s a lot he sees coming before they blow up and proves unstoppable when he digs his teeth into something.

Which is why I felt a little inspired when he challenged me to tackle 2019 with not one hundred goals, but two.

It won’t be easy, but I’m working a lot harder than I used to—and smarter, too.

With so much going on in my life, slowing down ain’t much of an option, and my to-do lists are the things that keep me going. But I’ve mostly kept them to myself as I work on all the things—I think it’s time to make ’em public again so there’s a chance I can get everything done.

So without further ado, let’s dive into The 2019 200—because no one creates anything innovative without pushing some boundaries first!

The 2019 200 — The List

So first things first—two hundred items make for a really long list, so I knew no one was about to read this thing if I just put them together without any order. What I needed to do was write the 200 items out first, and then find some way to categorise them so they’re easier to keep track of.

And the easiest place to do this? Excel. Not only could I easily keep track of how many items I’d put together with a simple numbering column, but when I was ready to categorise and prepare for the final list, it was a simple sort away!

But you’re not here for any of that; you’re here for the list. So let’s do this!

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Year That Was… 2018.

Real talk? I was done with 2018 months ago, but it wasn’t quite done with me.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Year That Was... 2018. — Casey Pout

It’s been a challenging year. And not in the regular “working harder than any year before it” kind of way—hard in the losing friends and making enemies kind of way. In the realising you have more work than you have the effort available to do it kind of way. 2018 was a continuous, ongoing gauntlet of activity, and though I’d love to jump forward to 2019 and make a clean break, things aren’t quite that easy.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Reality that was 2018.

I tried so hard to have less on my plate than everything I’m looking at on December 31st, 2018.

The year had no shortage of curveballs, and my batting average wasn’t exactly amazing—despite my successes, there’s plenty that’s gone to the wayside. Like this being the first year in a while I didn’t start with a list of a hundred goals, too busy travelling and planning to get my act together. Same goes for my annual Black History Month project, which got a few posts out but didn’t reach the potential I had in mind. It was a year full of distractions, and while I started Chatting with Casey and giving some much-needed shape to the unfinished problems in my life, it still showed I was a long way off from sorting it all out— I sensed a very interesting 2019 ahead.

Get Thee to a Mobilist™! — How The Mobile Shop Can Help Get You the Right Device the FIRST Time.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Mobile Shop. All opinions are 100% mine.


You may not appreciate the great phones out there until you see what others can do with theirs. It could be that their phones are good at taking wide-angle photos. Or maybe they rock phones that offer cool augmented reality and 3D photo capabilities. In any case, if you feel stuck with your phone, it may be time to consider a new one.

But how do you choose? If you’re not a tech blogger or don’t obsessively follow news about the latest devices like I do, the number of features and specs out there can be overwhelming.

Which is why you can luckily find someone to do all of the hard work for you.

The Mobilist™ — The Smartphone Expert You Didn’t Even Know You Needed!

Allow me to reintroduce you to the Mobilist™—a smartphone expert at The Mobile Shop who can give you the unbiased advice you need to get the phone and plan you want.

Get Thee to a Mobilist™! — How The Mobile Shop Can Get You the Right Device the FIRST Time. — Phone Display
Promotions and prices in this photo may no longer be available in store.

That’s the thing about The Mobile Shop—you’re not tied to one kind of phone from one single carrier; you can get your hands on a wide selection of smartphones from major carriers in the same place you get your groceries! And there’s no shortage of places to check them out—found in numerous Loblaws, Fortinos, Zehrs, Atlantic Superstore and Real Canadian Superstore locations across the country; they offer not only great value but the opportunity to earn PC Optimum points on select phones and plans!

And at the centre of it all is the Mobilist™, who can give you advice on the things you might not even think about to make sure that the phone and plan you get are the right ones for you. Like getting the most storage you can on a phone versus unlimited space in the cloud because you’ll just use most of that space for photos. Or maybe you’re looking for more power without overdoing it on size. Whatever the question, there’s a Mobilist™ who can help answer it for you—you just need to take that first step and get thee to The Mobile Shop to make it happen!