• Achievements of Geography and Tourism Studies professors and students recognized by FOSS

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to congratulate our professors and students who were recognized last week by Brock’s Faculty of Social Sciences at their annual Celebration of Excellence.

    • Dr. Julia Baird, Assistant Professor (Canada Research Chair, Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience)
    • Dr. David Butz, Professor (Brock SSHRC Institutional Grant)
    • Dr. Michael Pisaric, Professor (NSERC Discovery Grant)
    • Dr. Kevin Turner, Assistant Professor (Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund)
    • Dr. Ebru Ustundag, Associate Professor (Ontario Undergraduate Students Alliance Teaching Excellence Award)
    • Katelyn Pierce, MA in Geography student (Ontario Graduate Scholarship)
    • Connor Dingle, MA in Geography student (Best Major Research Paper)

    Read the full story on the Brock News.

    Graduate student award winners and their supervisors and mentors were among the honorees at the Faculty of Social Sciences Celebration of Excellence. From left, Dawn Zinga, Acting Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Megan Earle and supervisor Gordon Hodson, Xiaomei Zhou and supervisor Catherine Mondloch, Christie Milliken accepting on behalf of Devon Coutts, Ebru Ustundag accepting on behalf of Connor Dingle, and Ingrid Makus, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.


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    Categories: News

  • Groundhog Day highlights the challenges facing those who rely on consistent weather

    From the Brock News
    TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2018 | by 

    When it comes to predicting long-term weather, humans hold little advantage over Wiarton Willie or Punxsutawney Phil.

    That’s not good news for businesses who need consistent forecasts to succeed, but are increasingly faced with volatile weather patterns.

    “Even though short-term weather forecast models have gotten very good, long-term forecasts are not very accurate, so there’s a lot of uncertainty in terms of what’s going to happen,” says Brock Geography and Tourism Studies Professor Tony Shaw. “Industries that rely on the weather have to take necessary precautions. Those uncertainties mean the risks are quite high.”

    Shaw says that while January thaws like what we experienced late last week and over the weekend are not unusual, the dramatic swings in temperature are.

    “What we’re seeing is changes on a daily basis tend to be on a bit of the extreme,” he says. “With climate change we can expect to see more volatility and variability in the weather.

    “On the optimistic side, despite the occasional extreme cold temperatures, winters in Niagara are getting warmer and spring is arriving earlier based on long-term temperature trends.”

    Goodman School of Business Professor of Finance Don Cyr says the weather volatility means businesses across many sectors are having to turn to measures such as weather derivatives — financial contracts that protect them by allowing them to hedge weather conditions.

    “There is a growing interest in this quasi-insurance market as the weather becomes more volatile,” says Cyr. “Weather-related risk can affect about 25 per cent of the gross domestic product for Canada. In some countries, it’s as high as 40 per cent. It’s pretty significant.”

    He says insurance companies and other financial intermediaries have long offered financial protection to industries such as agriculture, tourism and outdoor sport resorts such as golf courses and ski hills.

    “These weather contracts allow firms to hedge against systemic weather risks — volatilities that wouldn’t typically be covered through insurance,” says Cyr, adding that these contracts have been famously used by a salon in a mall that noticed a drop in business on sunny weekends and a restaurant chain specializing in outdoor dining to cover their losses due to cool, rainy summers.

    Municipalities have also used the contracts to hedge against the unexpected costs of snow removal when winters are worse than expected.

    Article reposted from the Brock News

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    Categories: News

  • Dr. Phillip Mackintosh’s research on the history of Toronto streets highlighted in the Toronto Star

    Toronto’s been road-raging about cars, bikes and streetcars for over 100 years. We’re not about to stop

    From The Toronto Star
    By KATIE DAUBS, Feature Writer
    Fri., Jan. 26, 2018

    In the long history of Toronto streets, change has never come easily.

    Downtown, where the streets are narrow relics of a Victorian age, there is little middle ground, only middle fingers.

    The flipped bird on King St.’s restaurant row is the latest symbol of irritation, a stand-in for the frustration certain business owners feel toward city hall, and a transit pilot they say isn’t working for them.

    Toronto was a city of walkers when it was incorporated in 1834, and that remained the main form of transportation (supported by transit) until the growth of its suburbs after the Second World War, says Phillip Gordon Mackintosh. The geography professor at Brock University researched Toronto’s streets for his book Newspaper City: Toronto’s Street Surfaces and the Liberal Press, 1860-1935. Torontonians paid for concrete sidewalks long before they agreed to finance asphalt roads, because most people simply didn’t use them, he notes.

    This 1900 photo shows one of the Toronto Railway Co.’s electric streetcars. The company began modernizing its fleet in 1892, and by 1894, horse cars were no longer in use. (ALFRED J. PEARSON / TORONTO ARCHIVES)

    Toronto has greeted change on its streets with excitement, anxiety, finger pointing, politicking, gloomy predictions and ideological bickering for most of its history. Even in the 1860s, when Toronto had close to 45,000 citizens and the roads were covered with filth and roaming animals, we argued about the “itinerant Toronto hog.”

    “Have we no ‘health inspector?’ What are our ‘police’ doing?” one citizen wrote to the Globe in 1862, complaining about the pig nuisance. Another defended the pigs, because they were performing a valuable trash-disposal service. When a tenacious gutter pig bit the skirt of a woman walking on King St., the Globe demanded that the pig nuisance be an election issue… continue reading.

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    Categories: News

  • MA in Geography Student Wins 2018 Best Research Paper Award

    Congratulations to MA in Geography student, Connor Dingle, on receiving the 2018 Best Major Research Paper, Graduate Research Writing Award, for the Faculty of Social Sciences!

    Connor’s MRP is titled “Mobile Technology and Reconstituting Place at the Matheson Learning Commons”. His research was supervised by Dr. Catherine Nash and Dr. David Butz.

    Categories: News

  • Join us for Loris Gasparotto’s Retirement Party

    You’re invited to join the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies for a retirement party in honour of Loris Gasparotto. After 40 years as our cartographer, Loris has finally mapped out his retirement!

    Friday, January 19th
    Drop in from: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
    MC C-405, Brock University

    RSVP online at by January 15th.

    Please forward donations towards a group gift to Virginia Wagg, Geography & Tourism Studies (; MC C-322) by January 16th.

    Categories: Events

  • Congratulations to Andrew McCartan on the successful completion of his MA in Geography thesis

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to extend our congratulations to Andrew McCartan and his committee for the successful defence of his MA in Geography thesis entitled “Glasgow’s Queer Battleground” on December 4, 2017.

    Andrew’s research was supervised by Dr. Catherine Nash, and committee members, Dr. Philip Mackintosh and Dr. Ebru Ustundag. Thanks to Dr. Linda Peake (York University, City Institute) for serving as the external examiner, and to Dr. David Butz for serving as the Acting GPD for Andrew’s defense.

    We wish Andrew all the best for his feature endeavours, including his doctoral studies in Ireland starting in January 2018!

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    Categories: News

  • Congratulations to Connor Dingle on the successful completion of his MA in Geography Major Research Paper

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to extend our congratulations to Connor Dingle on the successful completion of his MRP titled ‘Mobile Technology and Place at the Matheson Learning Commons’. 

    Connor’s MRP was supervised by Dr. Catherine Nash, Committee Member Dr. David Butz. 

    We wish Connor all the best.

    Categories: News

  • Researchers tackling allergies and climate change receive CFI funding

    Understanding immune cells and their link to allergies, and mapping the impacts of climate change in Canada’s north are two Brock University research projects that received funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan announced today (Aug. 15).

    Researchers Adam MacNeil and Kevin Turner received a total of $311,821 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), which enables leading researchers to purchase equipment for their work.

    MacNeil, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences, studies how mast cells, which evolve from bone marrow stem cells, cause inflammation associated with allergies.

    “We’re looking at the molecular and genetic changes that happen to bone marrow-derived stem cells to allow them to become mast cells,” explained MacNeil. “We’re interested in how those mast cells function, and whether or not we can find innovative strategies to target mast cells and block their ability to create allergic inflammation.”

    With his JELF funding, MacNeil will purchase a cell sorting and analysis suite — a group of instruments that will allow him to suck out and isolate stem cells developing into mast cells for intense examination.

    Turner, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, researches how climate change impacts are transforming the landscape of a lake-rich area of the Yukon called Old Crow Flats. He is mapping how carbon moves through the complex lake and river system as permafrost thaws.

    With his JELF funding, Turner will obtain drones and GPS systems that he will use to create three-dimensional maps twice each season over several years. These maps will be used with sampled sediment, vegetation and water to document rates of landscape changes and associated influences on the carbon balance, as well as river and lake environments.

    “It is important for us to continue development of innovative and integrated approaches to monitor landscape changes and impacts across vast northern regions,” Turner said. “Findings will improve predictions of how these important landscapes will respond to future climate change.”

    The John R. Evans Leaders Fund is used by the CFI to help Canadian institutions attract and retain top researchers, by providing the infrastructure they need to remain or become leaders in their field.

    Brock’s Interim Vice-President Research Joffre Mercier said it is gratifying for the University to receive funding that is earmarked for the country’s most significant research projects.

    “This will enable two of our researchers to make significant contributions to Canada’s health care and environmental conservation efforts,” he said. “We’re all very proud of the exceptional research performed at Brock, and I look forward to seeing the results.”

    Categories: News

  • Benjamin Kwao successfully defends his MA in Geography thesis

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to congratulate Benjamin Kwao on the successful defence of his thesis “Sustainable Food Systems in Northern Ghana: Assessing the Influence of International Development” yesterday.

    Benjamin’s Examining Committee included: Dr. David Butz (supervisor), Dr. Anthony Shaw (committee member), Dr. Chris Fullerton (committee member), and Dr. Mustafa Koc (external examiner from Ryerson University).

    We wish Benjamin all the best for his future endeavours.

    Categories: News