How Canadian Tire Made One Family’s Wish Come True

Canadian Tire

I believe very strongly in the power of giving. In the past few months, I have quietly started practicing a daily random act of kindness. It sometimes involves spending money but often is something as little as opening a door for someone or letting someone in line ahead of me. I never expect anything in return for any of this but I was lucky enough to be the recipient of some excellent news yesterday and I have to share it with you.

You may remember back in February, I posted an awesome commercial from Canadian Tire, that depicted a father and son going to the outdoor rink to skate and bond together. It was, and still is, my favourite commercial of all time. One of the commenters on the post mentioned that they hadn’t been able to afford skates for their boys but hoped it would happen someday. I’ve deleted that portion of their comment for their privacy.

The post faded into obscurity, as most blog posts do, until yesterday when I received an email from the people at Canadian Tire. They thanked me for sharing their commercial and asked for the contact info of the above noted commenter because they wanted to outfit her family with new skates. I’d be lying at this point if I said my eyes were completely dry after reading through their email and they didn’t get any dryer after speaking to the recipient of the gift. If I ever questioned what the ROI of sharing other people’s amazing content was, Canadian Tire answered it in incredible fashion.

I was already impressed with Canadian Tire for the way they portrayed the Dad in their commercial, but helping a family in need just put them way over the top in my books. When you do awesome things, especially in business, awesome things will come back to you. I hope creating two new life long loyal customers was enough for Canadian Tire in this instance, because they absolutely earned it!


My Day With The Cast Of Disney On Ice

Disney on Ice2

When I pitched the idea of me skating with the cast of Disney on Ice, I was only half joking. In my mind, there was no way they were going to take time out of their busy touring schedule to let me do this. As it turns out, the joke was on me when they gladly accepted my offer.

So, after a rigorous hunt for a videographer, I set out to Scotiabank Place at 6am on a Friday morning and had my opportunity in the Disney on Ice spotlight. After attending the amazing show with my family the night before, I was more nervous than I had been in a long time. Even as I left the arena that day, I still hadn’t processed how awesome the experience was. That was, until I saw the video that Algonquin College student and life saver, Troy Baker, had put together for me.

This was my first experience with live interviewing someone and also with creating my own video and I’m proud as heck at how everything turned out. I want to say a huge, huge thank you to everyone at Scotiabank Place and Feld Entertainment for helping facilitate my request. I also want to thank Whitney Thomas and the rest of the cast from Disney on Ice for being so friendly and welcoming, even though I made them wake up very early to watch me humiliate myself. Finally, thanks to Troy Baker for stepping in and shooting and editing all the footage, you saved the day, man! I realize that life changing sounds like an exaggeration but that’s exactly what it was in a lot of ways and I am very grateful to have had the experience.

Without further ado, here is a quick recap video of my day with the cast of Disney on Ice. The show was amazing as well and I highly recommend checking it out! Enjoy!

And Now An Inspirational Message From The Kid President {#AwesomeYear}

Kid Pres

When I saw Scott Stratten from UnMarketing post this video on his Facebook page with the headline, “Simply put, this is the greatest video in the world”, I was simply going to watch it once and move on. After watching the video three times in a row, I realized two things. 1 – Scott Stratten is no liar; and 2 – It was so great that I needed to share it here with all of you.

This video comes from the people at Soul Pancake and features a message from their Kid President, who may be the cutest Kid President you will ever see. His message is funny but real and for a kid, his timing is perfect. Check out his awesome Pep Talk below and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Now get off your couch, get out in the world and start doing something awesome! You are the only one stopping yourself from it. Why are you even still reading this??? GO!!

Here’s A Double Shot Of Business Awesome!

I’ve always appreciated excellent service and ethical, client centered business practices. That said, it wasn’t until I went to one of the presentations for Scott Stratten’s, “Book of Business Awesome”, that I truly understood the value of sharing some of the everyday, cool things that some businesses do for us, as consumers. I want to share one of those stories today.

While wasting my life away doing blog research on Facebook recently, I noticed a status update from my friends at Mabel’s Labels. It was a letter from one of their customers, that read as follows:

“Dear Mabel, Last week my car got broken into. Sadly our GPS and my son’s hockey bag were taken. I was sad to tell my son about it. It takes a lot of time effort and money to gather all the items for hockey equipment. My husband and my son decided to go to a second hand store called Play it Again Sports to find some new equipment. When my son tried on a neck guard, what does he see: Yes! his name on it with your label. He points this out to the store owner and tells him the story of the loss. They were able to find all his equipment and they returned it without charge. To top it all off, the store owner caught the thief on his video camera, gave us a copy and we were able to give it to the police.”

Pretty awesome, right? I realize that by returning the boy’s equipment, “free of charge”, the owner did the right thing and probably what was expected of him, but this is where I get to add an extra dash of awesome to the story. You see, I help run a charity called, The Gil Read Memorial Foundation, named after my father. Our goal is to provide monetary assistance to children who can’t afford to compete in sports. This includes equipment, registration and other costs associated with playing a sport.

When I approached Play It Again Sports about becoming our official supplier of sports equipment for the charity, not only did they agree immediately but they also offered a generous discount to all the families we sent in. I can’t say enough good things about this company and the people they have working there. On top of all of that, their Regional Manager, Rob Lavoie, was an integral member of our Movember team that helped raise over $12,400 this past month.

Keep up the excellent work, guys! You make our community a better place to live and I appreciate it! I’d also like to thank the awesome people at Mabel’s Labels for sharing this story. It’s nice to read about the positive, inspirational stuff every now and then. Plus, you know, your labels are awesome and clearly help catch criminals!


How About Another Dose Of #AwesomeDads

After a great response to last week’s Awesome Dads post, I’ve decided to keep it going as long as I keep getting photos submitted. I’m also working on a design for the main photo, so it doesn’t look like I’m implying how awesome I am from week to week, haha.

My goal is to feature Awesome Dads doing awesome things with their kids. Whether it’s hitting the slopes, helping with homework or snuggling them back to health, I want to showcase the changing face of Dad. That said, here are this week’s Awesome Dads!



Here’s Oren Miller from the blog, Blogger Father. This isn’t the first time he’s appeared on my site and the write up I did on him for Dad Blogs Exposed will tell you more than I could write now. To follow Oren’s journey, you can check him out on his Facebook Page! Thanks, Oren!






Meet Mike Reynolds from the blog, Puzzling Posts. I don’t really know how else to describe Mike, except to say that he is one of the really great ones. I’m not talking just Dadding here either. He just seems to be a genuinely kind person and I’m happy to have met him and his family. Of note, Mike just single-handedly raised over $1800 for our recent Movember campaign. Not an easy feat. You can catch him on Twitter at @PuzzlingPostDad.





This is Kevin, who I only know as @KevinSky on Twitter. The best thing about pictures is that you don’t need to know somebody to appreciate them and I love that Dad and Grandpa are present in this amazingly patriotic shot.





Here is a photo of Chris, helping his daughter learn how to swim. This one strikes a chord for me because it’s one of my favourite things to do with my kids. It’s great when you can capture pride in a picture!






Last but certainly not least, meet Ryan Sanders from The National Fatherhood Initiative. This photo has me missing our Expos and even more so because he’s cheering for the team that they left for. Ryan has also been kind enough to offer me a guest post on his blog and I’m grateful for the opportunity. You can also follow him on their Facebook Page.

That’s it for this week! Thanks to all the Dads and wives who submitted pictures. They were all great! If you’d like to submit your great Dad pics, please send them to [email protected], along with their name and a link, if any, to your site. Til we meet again!


Forget Dad Fail; Here Is Some Dad Awesomeness! #AwesomeDads

I got slightly annoyed this week, after seeing two separate posts featuring photo slideshows with the tagline of DadFail. I won’t link to them but I assure you, they are out there and the pictures were a complete misrepresentation of what I’m guessing in 98% of the Dad population.

I thought it would be a fun idea to counter that post with some pictures of the Dads I associate with, doing the things that real Dads do with their children. I’m sure it won’t get even 1% of the hits those other posts got but it’s a start. We’re certainly not perfect but we are definitely not failures. I put a call out for photos and received so many that this could become a weekly feature.



This is another Canadian Dad blogger, James from EduDad and also from the Dads Round Table. You can catch him on Twitter at @SaskaDad. He’s a good dude and a great Dad!







Meet Trent Hamilton, who blogs over at Green Eggs & Hamiltons and also at Life of Dad. Don’t be afraid to hit him up on twitter at @mrThamilton. He is a perfect example of the changing face of fatherhood today.







This is Spencer Warren and his daughter at last year’s Ottawa Children’s Gala, which he also organizes. It’s an excellent event, for kids too, which raises money for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s ‘Plan It Safe’ Program. He is a really good person and has committed a lot of his time to helping kids in my community. You can follow him at @CharityForCHEO on Twitter.






This is Daddy Nickell from the website Daddy Scrubs. It’s actually a very cool website and I encourage you to check it out. You can also catch up with him on the Daddy Scrubs Facebook page.








How about a Dad who doesn’t blog? They are the majority after all! Here is a cool shot of Darryl hanging with his kids out in the wilderness. I’m willing to excuse the Penguins hat here because of the amazing setting and the giant smiles!






Last but certainly not least, we have Mark Buell from my hometown of Ottawa. Hard to believe we are back to tobogganing season already! You can find Mark writing things at, A Semitone Higher and on Twitter @MeBuell.



That’s all for this week’s Untitled Dad Awesomeness Feature! I hope enjoyed it as much as I did putting it all together. I’m hoping to keep it going but I’ll need your help. You can do so by sending me your cool, Dad pictures, of you and your kids spending quality time together. You can send them to me on Twitter at @CanadianDadBlog, via my Facebook Page, or email them to me at [email protected]. Have a great week!


The Most Awesome Snow White I’ve Ever Met

If I learned anything from Scott Stratten’s presentation in Ottawa the other day, it was that awesome customer service can make you forget about anything bad that has previously happened and puts your focus solely on the awesomeness at hand.

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to have been a participant in something awesome and it would be a crime for me not to share it with you all. We took our family to a local fair that we visit each year. The day actually started off on a less than stellar note as we spent way too much money on ride tickets, and then I found myself faced with a frustration that I tweeted about in a fit of monetary anger.

It was probably not one of my finer moments, but being asked to pay an extra $4 so my 2 year old daughter can ride on Dumbo for 45 seconds didn’t sit right with me. I’ve been to a lot of fairs and hadn’t had this problem before. It is what it is, I paid the fees and we had a great time on the rides despite the hit to the wallet. In what can only be described as perfect timing, right after I sent that tweet we ran into one of my daughter’s favourite Disney characters in Snow White.

Now, you may remember that I once posted about how my son was afraid of people dressed in costumes. My daughter is no different and just this July we had an incident with a princess at a carnival in our hometown, where my daughter got spooked while we went in for a photo op.

For some miraculous reason, this particular Snow White character had no negative effects on my little girl and as we approached her, I could feel my daughter shaking with excitement. We stood and talked with her for a minute as she asked my little girl’s name and gave her a high five. My daughter then surprised all of us by asking to have a picture with her, as you will see above.

That could have been then end of the experience and I would have been a happy Dad with just the fact that the interaction went surprisingly well. As it turns out however, Snow White wasn’t finished just yet. We moved on and went to the petting zoo and saw a magic act before making the trek back to the lunch area about 45 minutes later.

As we were just about to reach “Food Alley”, as I like to call it, we heard someone say, “Hi Julia”, and then I noticed my little girl stop and smile. I looked over to see Snow White waving to her and calling her name. Do you have any idea how many people she talked to that day? I’m guessing a lot, so to remember my daughter’s name and then to go out of her way to say hi to her amidst the sea of people at the fair was truly Awesome!

It really changed my whole view of the fair that day and ensured that it will remain a yearly tradition for our family. From now on, when I see the signs for this particular fair, all I will think about is that one interaction with the coolest Snow White I’ve ever met. I hope the people from the Carp Fair Board and the company that employs this Snow White, Official Princess Parties, will read this and share with their staff because this is the exact way that you create repeat business. When you impress people with Awesome, especially parents, you will be rewarded in the long run.

I realize that the people involved here will probably never see this but in case they do, I want to say a very big Thank You to our mystery Snow White! Not only did you give my daughter a memory to last a lifetime but you have also showed her that she doesn’t need to be afraid of people dressed in costumes anymore, which believe it or not, is a pretty big deal to a family who is afraid to plan a Disney trip.

It may seem like a small thing to some of you but that one small interaction has helped me understand the importance of each and every detail that goes into a job or project. Can you imagine not being able to plan a family trip for fear of your children’s anxiety? Then, in just a split second moment having those fears lifted and instilling some hope for a young family.

Totally Awesome!