B.C. man takes one-tonne pumpkin on road trip to win California weigh-off

Vancouver –

An enormous pumpkin nicknamed “Mama” grown in a Richmond, B.C., backyard has won first place in one of North America’s most prestigious pumpkin weigh-offs, tipping the scales at more than a tonne.

Grower Dave Chan, 78, says “a lot of good science” went into his victory on Saturday in the National Pumpkin Weigh Off in Wheatland, Calif., where Mama weighed in at 1,003 kilograms, or 2,212 pounds.

The retired dentist says he and his wife Janet Love analyzed soil samples throughout summer to ensure the pumpkin was receiving the right nutrients.

They loaded Mama and another giant pumpkin onto a trailer and drove more than 1,300 kilometres to attend the weigh-in, which organizers say has been held since 1921.

Chan, who’s been growing giant pumpkins for more than 40 years, won $28,000 – that’s US$9 per pound – as well as a flashy championship belt, worthy of a heavyweight champion.

He says he and his wife will use the money for a trip to Italy, where they plan to meet the grower of the world’s heaviest pumpkin, which weighed in at 1,226 kilograms in 2021.

Chan says they’ll continue their U.S. road trip with “Mama” and her smaller trailer mate, which weighs about 725 kilograms, and will take part in another competition this month at Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2023.

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More than half of young Canadians say relationship status affected their mental health post-pandemic

From breakups to expedited proposals and wedding ceremonies, the pandemic seemed to affect some relationship timelines and milestones.

As a result, many single Canadians report that seeing others get engaged, married or move in together has taken a toll on their mental health, according to nationwide survey findings.

Data from Angus Reid commissioned by Shift Collab, a Canadian online mental health practice, found in a survey of 1,504 Canadians that 59 per cent say their mental health was affected by being single or having been in the past.

For 60 per cent of Canadians between the ages 18 and 34, they admit feeling isolated and as though everyone is in a relationship but them.

More than 125 therapists at Shift Collab identified an uptick in clients who were struggling with feelings of missing life milestones and decided to conduct a nationwide survey to build on these findings, according to Megan Rafuse, CEO and co-founder of Shift Collab.

“We saw many relationships intensify online during this time [the pandemic] due to the amount of time people were spending together and, therefore, people have been broadcasting milestone announcements more frequently on social media,” Rafuse told CTVNews.ca in an email.

The data also revealed that 33 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 have experienced shifting expectations of when to start a family due to the pandemic. As a result, 31 per cent reported feeling isolated.

“The pandemic specifically contributed to people feeling more anxious around meeting life milestones like meeting a partner and getting married, primarily due to the challenges related to dating, meeting new people, and even events like having to cancel a wedding or delay plans of moving in together due to the pandemic lockdown rules,” Rafuse said.

As a result, this drove feelings of uncertainty and fear for many people, which can lead to increased anxiety, worry and stress, Rafuse added.

Social media feeds, which are often home to wedding and engagement posts, also play a role in the comparison game. In fact, 27 per cent of single Canadians say that seeing other people celebrate their marriage on social media has contributed to disappointment regarding their own relationship status.

To navigate the issue, the survey found that over a third of Canadians have considered therapy due to their relationships status.

“No Canadian should ever feel alone in their feelings and counselling can help them safely identify and take control of feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression,” Rafuse said, who has a few tips for those experiencing negative feelings after seeing others hit milestones.

“First, it’s critical to acknowledge the feelings that surface. Ask yourself, what is it that you’re really feeling? Is it disappointment, regret or perhaps even a twinge of envy? Recognize these feelings, name them and ask for support,” she said.

She said to put your feelings in perspective and recognize that many other people are feeling the same way across the country. “Our lives are deeply imperfect – and so are the Instagram-worthy moments of others.”

Finally, Rafuse encourages people to focus on the things they do have control over.

“Your life’s milestones don’t have to be defined by engagements, weddings, having kids or purchasing a home. What milestones are unique to you? Lean into those and create your own path.”  

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 Deciding on Your Focal Point
Do you have a magnificent bay window with an incredible view?  Is there an ornate mantle that is the reason you fell in love with your home? Or is there something you absolutely MUST HAVE in the room? Situate your furniture around your chosen focal point to create balance and equilibrium. If your room does not already have an existing focal point, create one with oversized art or add an accent point like a free-standing fireplace, they come in a variety of sizes and styles. Symmetrically balance the room evenly so that both sides mirror one another.  This will help your chosen focal point stand out all the more! Use matching accent tables to flank your sofa or use different pieces of furniture to create a copacetic visual impact, like two similar armchairs to balance a sofa.
Repetition for Rhythm
Rhythm creates a flow and helps direct the eye to the differing visual elements in your room. Just as the notes of a favorite song repeat to create the rhythm, repetition in decor will create a rhythm throughout a home. Establish visual interests with a rhythm throughout your space by placing similar colours or patterns at intervals and repeat in artwork, cushions or area rugs.

Perfect Proportion and Suitable Scaling
Who doesn’t love a large, overstuffed chair? But if your room is on the smaller size it may look out of place and make your room seem even smaller than it is. Keep proportion in perspective. Proportion is the ratio between a piece of furniture and the size of a room. Scale is the size of a piece of furniture in relation to the other pieces of furniture in the room. A super large chair will overpower an apartment of loft size sofa or loveseat and create a sense of unbalance in the room.

Have your room humming harmoniously
Creating harmony will enhance how much you will continue to love your finished. Pull the room with a subdued colour palette for a pleasing, harmonious vibe.   together for a pleasing, harmonious look with a subdued color palette. You can also use a single colour for elements that vary in size and shape. Check out our blog on Doing White on White Right! for more tips!

What is the focal point in your room?  What is your best tip to find harmony and balance through your home?