For the 'Joy' of cooking: a cookbook and personal time capsule

Christine Bruce
"I wanted to put something together that could be passed on to family and loved ones," Christine Bruce, Senior Director, UHN Laboratory Medicine Program, says of her cookbook. "I began curating some of my favourite recipes and the list began to grow."(Photo: UHN)

What started off as a mission to perfect her grandmother's homemade oxtail soup, led Christine Bruce, Senior Director, UHN Laboratory Medicine Program, on a two-year journey reconnecting with her roots and creating a one-of-a-kind cookbook.

"Joy," Christine's first cookbook, complete with dinner-to-dessert recipes, was released in August.

"It's more of a personal time capsule than a cookbook," Christine says with a laugh.

At the start of the pandemic, Christine needed a creative outlet outside of work. At the time, she was leading Sinai Health and UHN's Microbiology Department and was busy ramping up services to support the processing of COVID-19 tests.

"I wanted to put something together that could be passed on to family and loved ones," says Christine. "I began curating some of my favourite recipes and the list began to grow."

While corralling the list of recipes, she realized that the food – while delicious – was only part of the story.

"I realized the book needed to capture some of the special connections in my life that was tied to our experience with the food," says Christine.

She went on a mission to assemble nostalgic recipes and identified 25 people in her life who had a special connection to them. This included long-time friends, family – and even a high school crush.

"The high school crush and I still keep in touch," Christine says with a laugh. "He actually kept the original handwritten butter tart recipe and I was able to include a photo of it in the book."

All proceeds generated from the book's sales will be donated to UHN Foundation in support of the Ajmera Transplant Program.

"I've always been impressed by the incredible work done by the teams in transplant," says Christine.

"I would love to support the Ajmera Transplant Program, not only through their impact on the lives of patients they treat, but also by helping make their workplace more comfortable for staff."

"Absolutely," Christine says when asked if she had plans to write a second cookbook.

"I already have a few ideas for what it would be on."

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2022

PM Foundation
Staff members of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation at a fundraising event. (Photo: The PMCF)

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation is proud to be one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2022.

The highly competitive and merit-based competition recognizes employers that act as leaders in their industry by offering exceptional workplaces to their employees.

One of the few charities to receive the award, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation ranks among the best employers for its employee-centred initiatives and values, as well as resiliency throughout the pandemic. Here are some of the initiatives that earned the Foundation the award:

A commitment to employee wellness: When the pandemic hit, employee wellness became a focal point of our HR program. Our staff has access to various virtual wellness programs to address both their physical and mental well-being. We have also re-defined flexible working arrangements and allow team members to work through hours of the day, and from locations, that best suit their personal and work commitments. The team also enhanced virtual employee engagement to foster employee connectivity and help combat feelings of isolation during the pandemic.

Comprehensive benefits: We are committed to supporting our staff and their families by providing a comprehensive benefits package that will ensure their financial well-being and work-life balance. As a member of UHN, our benefits for full-time employees include a generous maternity and parental leave top up plan, and a progressive paid vacation allowance and a generous defined benefit pension plan (HOOPP) with employer contribution.

Our mission: The PMCF is a mission-driven organization. Not only do we have the privilege of working with other like-minded individuals who share a single purpose we all believe in, but each and every one of us has an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of people living with cancer. This motivates us to bring our very best to work and enriches our workplace culture.

"Our people are at the heart of what makes The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation an incredible place to work, and we're committed to supporting their well-being and the pursuit of their ambitions," says Dr. Miyo Yamashita, President & CEO. "The pandemic has made the past year challenging, but our people were resilient as they worked to fulfill their personal and team goals, enabling the Foundation to grant a record-setting $113 million to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

"I am so proud to be part of an organization that is fueled by passion and by a unifying mission to Conquer Cancer in Our Lifetime."

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation is a proud member of the University Health Network, which fosters a safe, equitable, and employee-centric workplace.

The 2022 recipients of Canada's Top 100 Employers were announced in The Globe and Mail earlier this month. Learn more about the competition and why The PMCF was recognized

Toronto joins 'Lighting the 22q'

Dalglish 22q Clinic team
The team of The Dalglish Family 22q Clinic, the first clinic in the world devoted to adults with 22q, an under-recognized genetic condition. (Photo: UHN) *Please note photo was taken before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

On Monday, Toronto joins the awareness movement "Lighting the 22q," an international effort to spread the word about 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

The CN Tower will light up red in honour of the occasion. The date (22/11) is a play on the name of the condition (22q), which affects one in 2,148 live births.

22q.11.2 deletion syndrome is an under-recognized genetic condition (previously known as DiGeorge syndrome) which occurs when part of chromosome 22 is missing. Symptoms can appear at birth, or later in life, and can cause developmental delays and medical conditions such as congenital heart disease, calcium and thyroid problems, neurological and mental health conditions, autoimmune disorders, and more.

"On average, our patients have nine serious medical conditions," says Dr. Anne Bassett, Director, The Dalglish Family 22q Clinic for Adults, UHN, and Director, Clinical Genetics Research Program, CAMH.

"We were the first clinic in the world devoted to adult patients with 22q, and we remain the only such clinic in the country. Patients might be seen elsewhere, at medical genetics clinics, but nowhere is there the multi-disciplinary, multi-system, and family-based clinic we have for ongoing care."

Due to the complexity of the 22q patient population, Dr. Bassett's clinic works closely with Sick Kids in the joint 22q Transitions Clinic, and with experts across UHN, from the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, to the Movement Disorders Clinic and Epilepsy Genetics Program at the Krembil Brain Institute.

"Lighting the 22q" began in Spain in 2018, and went international in 2020, with buildings in Germany, Belgium, Finland, and the United States lighting up in red on Nov. 22.

The CN Tower will be lit at sunset and the red light will be most visible starting at 5:15 pm Please note there is an eight-minute light show at the top of every hour.

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