Charming Senior's Video Wins Online Contest

Have you ever made a grilled cheese sandwich with an iron or cooked corn on the cob in a kettle? Toronto senior Shura certainly has!  She shows how it’s done in her unique and utterly irresistible “Cooking with Shura” video that won first prize at the Cyber-Seniors Corner Video Contest this week.


Cyber-Seniors is the brainchild of Toronto sisters Kascha and Macaulee Cassaday who decided to teach a group of seniors how to use the Internet back in 2009 as part of a school project. The teens’ experience teaching their elders how to Google, email and Skype inspired the Cyber-Seniors  documentary film which will debut in 2013 and be directed by their sister, Saffron Cassaday. Shura’s cooking video was the inspiration for the video contest and the Cyber-Seniors Corner YouTube channel where you can watch all 20 entries. Anyone over 75 years of age could enter the contest as long as they partnered with someone who was under 25.

Multigenerational winner

In addition to being innovative, unique and very entertaining, “Cooking with Shura” is also a multi-generational video because seniors in a retirement residence or students in a university dorm can use her tips. In fact, my daughter who is moving into residence this fall bought herself a student cookbook the day I attended the awards. That evening she showed me the cookbook and I showed her Shura’s video. My daughter loved it. I wish they could meet because Shura is just as sweet and fun in person as she is in her video—and she has lots more cooking tips!

Christie Gardens Retirement Residence

The contest winners were announced at Christie Gardens Retirement Residence in Toronto. I was fortunate to attend and to be one of the judges along with Libby Znaimer from ZoomerMedia who also presented the awards, Erin Davis, Morning Show host on CHFI 98.1fm, Jean-Marc LaFlamme, web director for NICE (National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly) and filmmaker Gail Singer, who is producing the Cyber-Seniors documentary film. Here’s a sneak peak at the documentary.

The other winners were:

Second prize: Annette (“Six Tips on How to Pick Up”) Annette and her young friend Kate plus several other senior girlfriends head out on the town to meet men. Along the way Annette, 77, showcases her upbeat attitude, demonstrates a great ‘fist pump’ and shares perhaps the best tip of all: “we don’t need men to have a ball”. Annette told me that although she’s tried online dating she hasn’t investigated speed dating yet. She seems up for the challenge so maybe there’s a ‘seniors dating’ video series in Annette’s future. Meanwhile when asked what she was going to do after winning second prize Annette quipped, “I’m gonna keep on truckin’!”

Third prize: Marion ("Marion K - O.G. Teeth”) Marion’s “o.g. teeth” are her ‘original granny’ teeth and her rap celebrates the fact that at 93, she still has all of them! Wearing a sideways baseball cap, bright green shirt and beads, Marion chomps on an apple in synch with Strauss’s “Blue Danube” waltz and then segues into a tough, rap swagger complete with a glance that would make anyone start flossing! Marion’s video had the most online success and has the best chance to go viral with 1500 hits and almost 100 likes at contest close. In person Marion is lovely and self-effacing and told me that before this video, the closest she ever came to performing was working as a prompter. Marion, your time has come!

Two entrants received honourable mentions

John: ("The Wrath of Lake Simcoe: Disaster of a Dock"): John wrote the script for this very creative ‘news report’ style video that documents the near disaster that happened to his cottage dock. A split screen contrasts John’s reporting with actual video footage of the storm as it tosses his dock upside down. There are close-ups of John’s arm and wristwatch, inset photos of him making the dock and dramatic music. In the video’s witty ending John notes that they’ve reinforced the dock with weights so that it will be able to “…withstand the next time Lake Simcoe has a ‘temper tantrum’.”

Ellard. (“90-year-old Ellard Looks Cool While Keeping Fit”): Ellard’s video is simply inspirational as he demonstrates his daily walk to the bank with Nordic poles, checking in on Facebook or working out on the exercise bike or with dumbbells. Ellard has always been physically active and although he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s you’d never know it. What seals the deal for viewers is his wonderful smile, sparkling personality and that charming wink he gives us as he stops in at his local coffee shop. 

She's got 'the look'

The female admirer giving Ellard ‘the look’ as he heads out on his walk is 92-year-old Petra, who talks about her world travels in her own Cyber Senior video (she has visited  25 countries).  Even if Petra’s spirited glance in Ellard’s direction hadn't reminded me so much of my late grandmother I would still say she should get a video credit!  Her cameo got a well-deserved laugh when the videos were screened at the presentation.

The word ‘encore’ came up several times. Let's hope these video stars will be back in front of the camera soon!

Even though the video contest is closed, you can still become a Cyber-Senior. Get more information  here.


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What's your favourite seniors video online? What makes a good one? Share your thoughts by posting a Comment below! 

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