Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 17, 2022
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Let the sunshine in — sort of

A patio umbrella that does double duty

Canada’s a funny place. For much of the year we complain about the cold and wet, then at the first sign of warm weather, we slather on sunblock and hide under big solar-protective umbrellas.

It wasn’t always like this, of course. We once thought sunshine was good for you and the more the better. When I was growing up, my mother couldn’t wait to get me and my younger sister out of the house on summer days. It’s true that she often had us wait while she greased us up, but it wasn’t with sunscreen, it was with a sun enhancer, gleaming oils intended to make us as dark as possible as quickly as possible. She especially encouraged us running around without our shirts on. The more tanned skin on her kids, the better she liked it and we did our best to please her. It was a sign to the world that she knew how to raise healthy offspring.

On beach vacations she did double duty to make sure we came home as brown as berries. Beach umbrellas were simply nowhere to be seen. Families stretched out on towels all down the sand like so many walruses baking their bodies to a deep mahogany. The lessons stuck.

During our teen years, I caught the rays anytime I got a chance and my sister used a reflector to direct as much curing sunshine on her face as possible. When I was 18 or 19, I read Ken Kesey’s popular novel One flew over the cuckoo’s nest and went on to his book Sometimes a great notion which stuck in my caw as “Sun-times a great lotion.” That was then and this is now. We take our sunshine in vitamin D tablets and haul out the deck umbrellas in May and now, ta-da!, there’s one that does double-duty day and night: meet the Outsunny, a 2.75-metre, solar-powered patio and pool umbrella. The remarkable “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” invention has three LED lights on each of the arms to bathe those beneath it in a romantic glow.

Available online at $109.99 with red, green and blue lights or at with clear lights, $94.99. Both offer free shipping.


Win an LED patio umbrella by entering the Gadget of the Month contest here.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


Showing 6 comments

  1. On June 15, 2017, Greg Patey said:
    Great gadget for my backyard!
  2. On July 5, 2017, Aileen Comerton said:
    This summer we needed a rain umbrella rather than a sun umbrella but I'd love the LED lighting .
  3. On July 7, 2017, Jennifer Caspers said:
    After a day of running, this is just what I need to cool down the engine.
  4. On July 9, 2017, Greg Patey said:
    Have home-made version but would love to have the real McCoy!
  5. On July 10, 2017, Christine Taylor said:
    Would be great on the cottage deck!
  6. On July 13, 2017, Alok Sood said:
    Perfect for providing some cooling shade and cool mood lighting to boot!

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