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Gentili: 'Tis the season for Acts of Kindness, coffee talk and holiday lights

Some cool things going on over the next month or so at

We’ve got some exciting stuff going on around the Northern Life / building on Elgin Street, so I’m going to do a bit of housekeeping this week and get you in the know.

I know Halloween has just passed, and I’m sorry to have to do this, but we really need to talk about Christmas. I know, I know, but the holiday season is just around the corner. Get ready.

Once again, we’re bringing back our popular 12 Acts of Kindness Christmas campaign. The campaign has become a staple of our holiday coverage. We pick 12 deserving Sudburians who need a bit of a hand and surprise them with something special.

It could be something they need, something they want, or just something to brighten their day. Among the AOKs we delivered last year, we helped a single dad give his kids a good Christmas, brightened the day of a mom who had a really tough year and surprised a girl with a big heart whose brother had lost his fight with cancer.

Some AOKs will make you smile, a lot of them will make you cry, and all of them will warm your heart. But we can’t do it without you, our readers. We need your help to find those people who need an AOK.

So, we’re asking you, if there is someone you know who could use a hand, a smile or a pick-me-up, reach out to us by visiting and nominate someone today. It only takes a minute, but it’s a minute that could have a big impact on someone’s Christmas this year.

Sticking with Christmas, Greater Sudburians have some incredible holiday lights displays. I’m always impressed with the quality of the lights we randomly pass by in the car during the season.

Problem is, while my wife and I love looking at the lights, unless you know where the best displays are, finding them can be a real hassle and waste of fuel. 

So this year, at we’d like to build a holiday lights map to make it easier for me (and everyone else, of course) to find the city’s best holiday displays. Again, we need your help to do it; we need you to tell us about your holiday lights display or your neighbours or your friends.

If you hear of a display, shoot us a quick message with the address. If you see one, snap a quick photo and send it our way. If you think your lights display is worth sharing, tell us about it. You can message us on Facebook or send me an email at

Over the next six weeks or so, we’d like to build a holiday lights map that readers can follow, like a trail to the Christmas spirit. We hope to hear from you.

Moving away from Christmas, we have a relatively new feature on I’d like to tell you about. It’s called the Community Leaders Program. In partnership with advertisers, we’re funding original news stories in year-long campaigns under various topics. Fifty stories over 50 weeks.

The first one we rolled out about six weeks ago is on science and technology, a series we're calling Discover. We’ve had stories on the secrets of data analysis, an interesting exploration of errors in science with LU professor Dr. Thomas Merritt and a Q&A with a scientist exploring how to clean mine tailings with microbes. Fascinating stuff.

This week we unveiled the latest — called Helpers — that focuses on volunteers in Sudbury. Every week for the next 50 weeks we’ll bring you a new feature on a local volunteer doing outstanding things in our communities. 

Look for Discover, Helpers and more under the “Explore” heading on the homepage.

And finally, we’re talking coffee, talking local business over coffee, actually. unveiled a new video series this week we’re calling the Morning Mugshot. Our event co-ordinator Julianne Joki visits local businesses, learns a little about what makes them tick and does it all over steaming cups of locally brewed joe.

It’s a great way for local businesses to give customers a bit of a behind the scenes look at their operations and it’s a great way for shoppers to learn a little more about the talented entrepreneurs in the Nickel City. If you’re a local business and you’d like Julianne to stop by with java, reach out to our digital media manager Mel Junge at 705-673-5667 ext. 344 or

And finally, Remembrance Day is coming up on Monday, which means the annual Nov. 11 ceremony is set to go at Sudbury Arena. It's a powerful ceremony, but unfortunately, not everyone can make it downtown to attend.

As we do every year, will be livestreaming the entire event on our website and on our YouTube page. If you are unable to attend in person, our live coverage begins at around 10:30 a.m. this coming Monday.

Well that’s it for me, folks. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Mark Gentili is the editor of and Northern Life.