Abby Hughes

Welcome! My name is Abby Hughes, I'm a fourth-year journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University and an online editor at the school's independent newspaper, The Eyeopener.

Find below a range of journalistic works I've produced, covering everything from a new software helping researchers study social media, to the closing of a local fire college near my hometown.

Terriers superfan ignites joy in hockey community (6 photos)

When 11-year-old Max Weaver is in the arena's stands, there’s no debate over who owns the title of No. 1 fan. Whether he’s coaching from the stands or waiting off-ice to give high-fives, everyone who knows Max says he brings an infectious enthusiasm to the rink. Max’s older brother, Sam Weaver, says he can hear Max’s shouts of “Go! Go!” and “Get them!” all the way on the ice. “It gives me confidence,” says Sam. Since Sam started playing hockey about seven years ago, Max has attended games wit

Rye students and faculty underwhelmed by hybrid semester

While Ryerson may no longer be a complete ghost town with a hybrid fall semester underway, many students say campus still looks barren. Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi announced on June 8 that some in-person classes and activities would resume during the fall 2021 term. Lachemi called this semester a “transition period” in preparation for a full return to campus by winter 2022. In addition, the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC), Mattamy Athletic Centre, Recreation and Athlet

Garden suites and their place in Toronto's housing market

Last month, the City of Toronto bylaw on garden suites came into effect. These small, back yard units have been popping up in other major North American cities like Los Angeles and Halifax. Municipal governments see them as a way to increase housing options for residents. We’ll hear from the Executive Director of Toronto City Planning, Gregg Lintern, about bringing in the bylaw. Shelach McCartney, a planning and housing professors at TMU and the director of the Together Design Lab here at the sc

Ski patrol volunteers always ready to ski into the breach (4 photos)

When Sidney Canning moved back to Barrie last year and got a regular 9-to-5 job, she needed a hobby to fill her weekends. So, she took up the offer from a friend who’d been urging her for years to give ski patrol a try. Canning thought the patrol would be a good way to lower the cost of her new hobby and find others to ski with. “Skiing is one of those things where it’s a solitary sport, but it’s boring if you go by yourself,” says Canning. Canning says she’s glad to have joined the patrol t

All Are Welcome

On a quiet morning in December 2010, a ringing phone cut through the Good Shepherd parsonage in Brockville, Ontario. Pastor Lori Pilatzke, still in pajamas, paused work on her Christmas Eve sermon to answer it. The caller, Bishop Michael Pryse, countered Pilatzke’s warm greeting with sternness. “I have something very hard to say,” he said. Pilatzke paced to the bedroom to find her wife, Jen Macklin. “It’s Bishop Mike,” she mouthed, flailing a pointed finger at the phone. At the time, the Evang

New downtown cannabis shop sparks mixed reviews from neighbours

After half a year of waiting for the go-ahead from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, Miss Jones Cannabis Co. opened their doors at Peter and Mississaga streets this week. Store manager Jesse Smith says the shop has been busy despite opening during the 28-day provincial lockdown. “(The opening) went really well, I’d say it definitely exceeded expectations,” says Smith. Eight staff members work at the Orillia location selling dried flower, pre-rolls, topicals, edibles and more. Orde

Board gaming and the gendered division of leisure

Studies show that women don’t have as much leisure time as men. But board game researcher Tanya Pobuda found a deeper pattern in their doctoral dissertation. In interviews with board game enthusiasts, women reported they had not only less time, but lacked the mental energy at the end of the day to play these games. We’ll hear from Pobuda about the importance of board games, their findings and how the industry is starting to make innovative games that work better with people’s busy schedules. Plu

Local youth working hard to tackle climate change (3 photos)

After two years of hard work-fueled success, the Sustainable Orillia Youth Council is planning their most ambitious project yet - a day-long youth conference to motivate, educate and encourage leadership on environmental issues facing residents of Simcoe County. The youth council expects 200 young people to attend their ‘Sustainable Simcoe Youth Summit’ at Lakehead University’s Orillia campus on May 10, 2022. Workshops and speeches by motivational keynote speakers will fill the day. “Everyone

Cumberland Beach kids spread joy with 'pictures of kindness'

Since January 2021, Mandy Noble and her three children - Jared, Cody and Brielle - have made an outing of their weekly walks to the post office. There, the kids wait outside while Mandy delivers three pictures with a letter attached to the postmaster. The letter describes the contents - a hand-drawn picture from each of the Noble kids, to be handed out to post office patrons in an effort to spread some joy at a time when life is isolating and challenging. Around the Noble house, this project i

Roe v. Wade and Canadian abortion care

Last week, the United States Supreme Court overruled two really important decisions. They were Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The decision removed the constitutional right to abortion for women in America. Today, we’ll hear from a reproductive rights advocate and a Canadian lawyer. They’ll tell us about the ripple effects some worry the decision could have here, and the current state of Canadian abortion access. Plus, TMU students share what the ruling means to them.

Ask a Rye nurse practitioner: Is my body weird?

Do you ever stare long and hard at your earbuds and wonder where all that wax came from? Has your throat made that involuntary gurgling noise in a very quiet setting, prompting you to clear your throat to try and cover it up? Do these scenarios prompt you to ask yourself: ‘Am I…gross?’ Well, you might be gross, but luckily all human bodies are a little bit icky and sticky when you pay attention to them long enough. Rather than being embarrassed about your imperfections, Erin Ziegler, a nurse pr

Pop-up clinic in Coldwater doles out shots with a side of hope (5 Photos)

Spirits were high as Coldwater residents rolled up their sleeves today at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Coldwater Community Centre. About 500 first doses of the Moderna shot were doled out to anyone aged 18 and up with a pre-booked appointment, starting at 9:30 a.m. when the centre’s doors opened. Doctors and nurses from Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital (OSMH), the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit and Couchiching Ontario Health Team staff administered shots and screened pat

Local Indigenous teen’s art raises funds, awareness for truth and reconciliation

This week at Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School (PF), teachers and students are sporting black-on-orange buttons and stickers that read “Every Child Matters” under the silhouettes of three Indigenous children holding hands. A symbol of remembrance for those affected by the residential school system, the buttons and stickers are meant to encourage awareness and education during Truth and Reconciliation Week, say PF staff. The design is no ordinary drawing though - it’s the work of 17-yea

The Kensington comedy bar trying to break the standup mold

Despite opening in June of 2020 — a time that was really hard for bars and clubs — comedy bar Nothing Fancy thriving. In fact, they’re challenging norms in the comedy scene, with the aim of becoming more inclusive and supporting comics. We’ll hear from the owner of Nothing Fancy, the club’s comedy booker, and a comic/friend of the club. Plus, Daniel Centeno gives us a COVID-19 update as told by Dr. Amit Arya — particularly with respect to long term care facilities in the province.

Closure of Ontario Fire College a 'shock,' says Orillia's fire chief

The provincial government’s decision to close the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst was a shock to local firefighters, who say they were not consulted on the decision. “We were not at all consulted with, or even given a heads up, so it came as quite a shock to all of us,” says Orillia fire chief Brent Thomas. The government’s new plan, announced in a Jan. 13 press release from the Ministry of the Solicitor General, will divert training from the college to 20 smaller regional training centres

Green living gone virtual: Meet the local youth behind Green Orillia

Maddy Fournier has taken her passion for environmental issues community-wide with the Green Orillia organization. In the summer of 2020, Fournier took over the Green Orillia Instagram and Facebook accounts where she shares tips and advice specific to the Orillia area on sustainable living. Since then, she’s shared information on all things green, from where to order takeout on Meatless Mondays to the pros of hang-drying laundry. Fournier’s goal is to remind as much of the community as possibl

PROFILE: Orillia man falls in love with the art of skateboarding

Anywhere street art covers buildings around Orillia, you may find a frowny, sasquatch-esque caricature among the tags and designs. This tag is known as ‘Jimmy’, and is the signature of artist and skateboard enthusiast Dylan Court, a.k.a Bones. The simple body outline and frowny face of the caricature made Jimmy a great warmup sketch for Court. As pages filled up with Jimmies, more people took notice and connected with the character, making him more requested. Over time, Jimmy has become a defin

OSS students give gift of music to local nursing homes (3 photos)

Ashley Greenwood remembers well the lonely feeling of being at home, playing her trombone to nobody but her laptop. “It was so sad playing alone in my room with (my bandmates) muted on my computer,” she says. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, members of the Orillia Secondary School brass quartet, Brazzledazzle, were restricted to virtual practices and performances for their entire Grade 11 year. With those restrictions now easing, the group is giving the gift of music to residents of local nursin

Proposed lakeside development a concern for local residents

When the big Bosseini Developments sign went up in August at the Grayshott Drive exit of Highway 11, it sparked a lot of questions among residents of the Westshore community. The Lake Couchiching Residence project described on the Bosseini Developments website boasts 110 detached houses, 30 semi-detached houses, 48 townhouses and one management and security unit on the 92-acre plot of lakefront land. A rendering of a dock featuring boat and jet-ski rentals, in addition to a clubhouse with an i
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