Charitable Donations


Playful Pastimes was founded under the spirit of giving back. Recognizing that many people with limited mobility can struggle with the prolonged periods of isolation, we decided to donate puzzles to our local chapter of Meals On Wheels. We know that doing puzzles can help relieve the stress that some may be experiencing without daily the interaction of loved ones. Doing a puzzle has similar effects as meditation; when you focus on one image for a long period of time, without extraneous thoughts entering your mind, any stress you may be experiencing evaporates and is replaced by a sense of peace and tranquility.

Playful Pastimes supports Youth Mental Health Canada which is a youth-driven non-profit organization focused on education and advocacy for youth mental health change and advocates for funding of publicly funded, culturally sensitive, needs-based support and services in healthcare and education which we strongly support. This philosophy aligns nicely with our Playful Pastimes brand because we firmly believe simple pastimes like puzzles promote good mental health.  

Our belief is that mental health and physical health should be valued equally and immediate and effective responses to mental health issues and crises is critical to the safety of our communities. YMHC recognizes the mental health challenges in the school system and therefore strongly advocate for suicide prevention strategies in schools that demonstrate the value we place on the lives of all youth in Canada.

Puzzling provides many benefits to the brain and a greater understanding of how the brain works will contribute to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of disorders of the brain such as dementia and depression so we have chosen two projects to support through Brain Canada Foundation. Located in Montreal, Quebec they play a unique and invaluable role as the national convener of a community of those who support and advance brain research with 90% of the funding going directly to researchTheir mission is to understand the brain, in health and illness, to improve lives and have a societal impact that makes a difference. The brain determines how we think, how we feel and who we are. While there have been many breakthroughs in recent years, researchers have a long way to go to fully unravel the mysteries of the brain. There are about 1,000 disorders of the brain and nervous system. For more information about this non-profit organization, visit Brain Canada website.
We are making quarterly contributions based on net profits rather than a set dollar amount per puzzle and we're working with Monica Berger from the foundation to determine the distribution of funds between the two projects.  

We support the following projects:

Neural predictors of theta burst stimulation

1 in 20 people live with depression. Substantial efforts have been made over the years to develop new treatments to enhance therapeutic options. One effective alternative to medication is theta burst stimulation (TBS). This technique uses magnetic fields applied to the outside of the head to modulate brain regions believed to be involved in depression. This treatment involves a daily 3-min session of stimulation (Mon to Fri) for four consecutive weeks.

Although we know TBS to be effective, we do not fully understand its detailed impact on the brain. Additionally, we know that about 50% of people respond to TBS, which is comparable to the response rate of antidepressant medication. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to predict who will likely respond to treatment. As such, doctors use a trial-and-error strategy, and need to wait several weeks before knowing if a treatment is helping a person or not.

In the proposed project, the main objective is to directly tackle these issues using an innovative brain imaging technique that allows us to simultaneously measure changes in brain metabolism and in connectivity between brain regions. The goal is to use this imaging technique to study the mechanisms of action of TBS on the healthy brain and then predict the therapeutic response to TBS treatment in people with depression, based upon changes in their brain’s metabolism/connectivity measured after their first TBS session.

Results from this study will help to directly reduce social and economic burdens for Canadians, via the development of more personalized, reliable, and efficient treatment options for people living with depression.

Investigating altered functional brain networks in autism spectrum disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental brain disorder characterised by impaired communication and repetitive behaviors, and is often accompanied by intellectual disability. 1 in 66 children and youth is diagnosed with ASD. The personal and societal costs of treatment and caregiving are immense with lifetime financial costs in the millions to care for “typical” individuals with ASD. Current therapeutic interventions for ASD are oriented toward symptom management but there is no treatment for the underlying disorder, as the cause of the disorder remains unknown. A greater understanding of the basis of ASD is imperative to develop the most effective diagnostic criteria and treatments.

Neuroimaging studies have indicated that brain network dysfunction is an important feature of ASD. This proposal aims to investigate brain dysfunction associated with ASD in novel ways, using light-based methods for imaging and manipulating brain activity in animal models. These innovative techniques incorporate a scale of assessment, called mesoscale, which allows the assessment of brain activity at both a microscopic level and a brain-wide level at the same time. By furthering the understanding of the neuroimaging features of ASD, as well as how altered brain activity manifests in the symptoms of ASD, this research will inform the development of diagnostic criteria and treatments for ASD.