Back To School in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, & 2010s

When considering what to write for my other blog post, I thought about our week on cell phone culture and all the discussions about technology’s influence on society and children and remembered back to September when I was shopping for a new agenda and USB. It was crazy how different back to school products are now from when we were kids and what children are asking for. There was not one thing in my backpack that needed to be charged or considered electronic except maybe a calculator. I remember in grade 7 I had a Spacemaker, Mr.Sketch scented markers, multi-ink push pens, and troll pencil toppers so I asked my younger cousins if they had any of these or heard of them and they did not own any but Bij said she saw some of them in #tbt posts about 90s kids.

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My two younger cousins are 12 (boy) and 13 (girl) years old and in 7th and 8th grade and I asked them about what school supplies they asked for in September that they did not get and they started telling me about how he wanted an iPad mini and she wanted a Jawbone Up and I interrupted them and asked, “What about notebooks, pens, and pencils?” Both of them just stared at me as if I was crazy for thinking they needed those things because it was not important to them. When I was a kid, this was the only importance to me when going back to school shopping and I felt sad that children were so brainwashed by technology. Bij said, “Nobody needs those anymore except for little kids. Everything is digital now and my friends and I always use our tablets to do work, record the teacher, and take notes in class so it’s no wonder Henri wanted one.” I was shocked and momentarily speechless because I just got my first tablet for Christmas and I am 10 years older then these two but I definitely felt their age when I got my iPad mini. Unfortunately, this is the digital era we live in. Then I asked what they did get for back to school and these answers were almost worse. Bij got a purse that charges her cell phone because her parents were tired of hearing the excuse of it being dead because she was constantly on it. Does not sound so bad right? Except that these purses cost anywhere from $200-400 and becoming a huge trend.

Two companies I have heard of are Everpurse and emPowered that each charge your phone but one of the company’s purses is cordless. The biggest selling feature for Everpurse is that everything about it is cordless. The purse has its own charging mat and inside the purse there is a sleeve for your phone that has a mini charging mat. It is compatible with the most popular phones: iPhone 4/4s and 5/5s/5c and Galaxy S3/S4. On the other hand, emPowered has a small cord inside the purse and has to be charged but they are universally compatible and even provide a few adapters. These purses are also cheaper then Everpurse because ‘OH NO’ you have to use cords!

Now these charging bags are not just targeted at female consumers… there are many backpacks for guys and Energi+ Backpack is a very popular one that promotes itself as a “next-gen briefcase, backpack and mobile charging station“. It is priced at $200 and can charge your phone four times or tablet once off of a single charge of the battery in the backpack. Unfortunately, the battery takes 7-8 hours to charge but you could do that every night while sleeping and it comes with a 1 year warranty. It has 13 pockets for any gadget, product, or purpose and originally created for easier and faster security checks at the airport.

Lastly, when I was googling about these charging bags I came across something that remediates the boom-box. Meet the Boom-Pack that is a boom-box on your back. Below is a picture of the features this high-tech backpack has including a projector, which is awesome. It does weigh 7.5 kg but it is water resistant and perfect for any outdoor get together. I have no idea how to buy one but I thought this was really cool and I hope you enjoyed it. I know Radio Raheem from “Do The Right Thing” (1989) would want one of these!!!

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Vintage Then, Digital Now

A few months ago a friend showed me an interesting website and Facebook group called Vintage Toronto that was dedicated to reliving the past of Toronto through photographs. The website is similar to Mitchell Wollziefer’s post below about Historypin, however, it was set up by a citizen of Toronto, Bill Stevenson, and has been propelled by the public. The purpose of Vintage Toronto is to share photographs of places in Toronto from the past; but the site has become popular because people have commented on these photos about these locations throughout the years, their memories, and decisions made at the time by various governments that have shaped Toronto. It has become very personal and interesting because you learn about all kinds of different experiences and people that were impacted by these locations. These photographs range from popular destinations in the city such as University Avenue, Front Street, and the Toronto Island to local neighbourhood streets and parks. Some people have even posted old school class photographs that have reconnected people after many years. These photographs have even impacted my family because some people have posted locations of our street and it was fascinating to know what it was like in our area decades ago. Some of the comments were very detailed such as personal memories people attended at various homes, the growth of trees families had planted, and renovations that impacted the neighbourhood. I do not believe it was the creator’s intention for the site to become a debating ground for the way the city was and where it is heading. For example, there is a large debate in Toronto about the deconstruction of the Eastern portion of the Gardiner Express Way. The Gardiner dismantling has become a major platform in the mayoral debate in October 2014. The followers of Vintage Toronto reflect the disparate views of Torontonians, many of whom have commented, debated, and criticized decisions on this very topic. Vintage Toronto embodies remediation and reflection of the past while incorporating the contrast between the public’s opinions and memories with their views of social, political, and economic status then and now. If you are from Toronto, I highly suggest that you check this page out because this site has given me a stronger and more in-depth connection to my hometown. The Facebook group has organized some photographs into albums by streets and areas that were helpful for finding photos of locations close to my house and area. And if you are not from the city I think you should still check it out because there are thousands of photos and interesting albums about sports, lost cinemas and theatres, fires, malls, bars and pubs, etc. The photos below are from the Facebook page. Enjoy 🙂

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^^ Dufferein Gates being built in 1959

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^^ CNE Auto Show in 1976

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^^ Bay St. & Harbour St., looking north, 1930 & 2011

–by: Hayley James

Vintage Then, Digital Now

A few months ago a friend showed me an interesting website and Facebook group called Vintage Toronto that was dedicated to reliving the past of Toronto through photographs. The website is similar to Mitchell Wollziefer’s post below about Historypin, however, it was set up by a citizen of Toronto, Bill Stevenson, and has been propelled by the public. The purpose of Vintage Toronto is to share photographs of places in Toronto from the past; but the site has become popular because people have commented on these photos about these locations throughout the years, their memories, and decisions made at the time by various governments that have shaped Toronto. It has become very personal and interesting because you learn about all kinds of different experiences and people that were impacted by these locations. These photographs range from popular destinations in the city such as University Avenue, Front Street, and the Toronto Island to local neighbourhood streets and parks. Some people have even posted old school class photographs that have reconnected people after many years. These photographs have even impacted my family because some people have posted locations of our street and it was fascinating to know what it was like in our area decades ago. Some of the comments were very detailed such as personal memories people attended at various homes, the growth of trees families had planted, and renovations that impacted the neighbourhood. I do not believe it was the creator’s intention for the site to become a debating ground for the way the city was and where it is heading. For example, there is a large debate in Toronto about the deconstruction of the Eastern portion of the Gardiner Express Way. The Gardiner dismantling has become a major platform in the mayoral debate in October 2014. The followers of Vintage Toronto reflect the disparate views of Torontonians, many of whom have commented, debated, and criticized decisions on this very topic. Vintage Toronto embodies remediation and reflection of the past while incorporating the contrast between the public’s opinions and memories with their views of social, political, and economic status then and now. If you are from Toronto, I highly suggest that you check this page out because this site has given me a stronger and more in-depth connection to my hometown. The Facebook group has organized some photographs into albums by streets and areas that was helpful for finding photos of locations close to my house and area. And if you are not from the city I think you should still check it out because there are thousands of photos and interesting albums about sports, lost cinemas and theatres, fires, malls, bars and pubs, etc. The photos below are from the Facebook page. Enjoy 🙂

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^^ Dufferin Gates being built in 1959

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^^ CNE Automotive Show 1976

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^^ Bay St. & Harbour St., looking north, 1930 & 2011

–by: Hayley James