Category Archives: Demonstrations


Yesterday, Sunday March 1st, I spent a glorious hour or two experiencing the fabulous decor, event services, entertainment and …..gulp…FOOD offered in the DISTILLERY EVENTS showcase at the Fermenting Cellar in Toronto’s historic Distillery District. And, boy, did they deliver the goods!

20150301_135121I’ve attended numerous Leslieville Flea events at the Fermenting Cellar but have never seen it dressed up so beautifully, all courtesy of the on-site Events division of the venue management. The event was promoted as a Wedding Open House, showcasing a number of “preferred suppliers” of wedding gowns, custom tuxes, music, floral arrangements, wines, etc. but as an event producer/planner for corporate and private functions, it was a great way for me to check out how stunning this huge open turn-of-the-century warehouse space could look with some fancy lights, furniture, flowers and filled with happy well-fed people.

20150301_140812 20150301_142925 20150301_143131 20150301_143156The food was phenomenal…never have I attended a free industry event where they doled out the King Crab legs so freely, along with juicy tender (and big) lamb chops, Thai shrimp, oysters, gourmet Mexican tacos…even my fave Portuguese custard tarts!!


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20150301_140734 20150301_140625 20150301_142131 20150301_143119My favourite vignette was this huge stunning vase placed in a wall nook (below)…love love love this.

20150301_140723Met Mallory (below), the charming wedding consultant from GOTSTYLE, the chic menswear store that offers custom tux jackets and, as Mallory says, the best accessory for a bride is a well styled groom. GOTSTYLE showed everyone how to do just that! 

20150301_141916Frank Correnti Cigars had a couple of cigar rollers there, too (below) who were busy crafting the leaves into large fragrant cigars.

20150301_140841Big thank you to my dear friends over at Urban Gallery/UrbanSource Catering who gave me the ticket. And bravo to all at Distillery Events for a well-produced event – the staff was lovely, welcoming and took very care of us all. I highly recommend the Fermenting Cellar for your wedding or other celebration so contact Distillery Events to get the 411. 





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BIA-IceFest2015-eBlast-600x270For the past 10 years, the folks at the Bloor-Yorkville BIA have hosted a fun family festival of all things winter in the heart of Yorkville Village, featuring ice sculpting, entertainment, hot food and drinks, all sorts of interactive fun for all the family, tons of great shopping and lots of pretty lights at night.  This year’s theme will be “ancient Egypt” so they’re inviting everyone to come “walk like an Egyptian” around Toronto’s premier tourist & cultural hub, Yorkville, on Saturday February 21st & Sunday February 22nd. “Frozen in Time” is an ancient Egyptian-inspired showcase of ice carvings including a 3D  pyramid, plus depictions of  Egyptian gods and pharaohs including Anubis, Iris and King Tut.  There will also be a giant interactive ice carving of sitting camel where visitors will be able to get their photos taken as a keepsake.

424U2559Open to the public each day between noon – 5 pm, the Village of Yorkville Park and Cumberland Street will be the centre of Icefest attractions, with additional ice carving demonstrations taking place throughout the neighbourhood.

424U2193 (2) 424U2203 424U2288On Saturday, February 21st starting at 12 noon, the 15th Annual Sassafraz Ice Carving Competition will take place at the east side of the Village of Yorkville Park.  Twelve ice carvers from across Ontario will compete for the People’s Choice Sculpture Award! As great masterpieces begin to emerge beneath the picks, chisels and chainsaws of the talented carvers, visitors will cast their vote for their favourite ice carving sculpture throughout the afternoon. Winners will be announced at 5:15 pm that day.

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424U2225 424U2389Last year, I found the dolphin from HydraSense who was posing for photos so I just had to get in there myself, too!

424U2169 (2) Gwith sharkAs February is Heart Month, Bloor-Yorkville will be fundraising with participating partners and sponsors in support of the Heart & Stroke Foundation. For a $2 charitable donation, “Kiddie Ice Cubes” will be distributed each day at 2 pm, in the Village of Yorkville Park with a collectible toy inside. Patrons will also be able to sample tasty Maple Syrup Taffy from 1 pm ­ 4 pm each day on Cumberland Street for a $2 donation. Through IceFest, Bloor-Yorkville has raised over $54,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

20140222_121217424U2247This is an all ages family friendly, FREE event, all you have to do is bring is warm clothes, a hearty winter spirit, and maybe a camera to capture the moments in ice forever!  Photos from last year’s fabulous IceFest courtesy of Henry Lin and a few by me, too.  For further event Info:

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Toronto, Tues. January 6th: Dan Gordon, owner and chef of WHISKY & SPICE, shared some of his secrets to cooking with mustard with Rogers Daytime Toronto host, Val Cole who gave Dan a hand in the kitchen.  The show will air on channel 10 in Toronto on Wednesday Jan. 7th at 10am, 3pm, then again at midnight so you can catch it 3 times – Dan’s recipes are on the Rogers show website as well as on Dan’s site:

We got to the studios nice and early, giving Dan lots of time to set up (below)

20150106_114049 20150106_115551 20150106_115614 20150106_115622I got to hang out in the “green room” with the other guests including our guest coordinator, Sam, who met everyone at the door (below)

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First up on the show was awesome dentist, Dr. Jim Hyland (below) who has launched  Dr. Jim sat with me in the green room before he went on, and taught me how proper gum care and correct teeth brushing can not only prevent receding gums but can actually heal existing gum issues.  Brilliant! I recommend you check out his website.

20150106_124527Then Cliff the “Orkin Man(below) told us all about pest control, in particular rats and mice. Val was enthralled with the various new mouse/rat traps Cliff brought in to the studio.

20150106_130014Then it was time for Dan….for a first-time on TV, he did great. He talked about Whisky & Spice, what inspired him to launch the premium artisan mustard business, what goes into making the mustards and where viewers can find the complete line of products – online, at McEwan Fine Foods at the Shops at Don Mills (just 10 minutes from the Rogers studios in North York) as well as the upcoming Leslieville Flea on Sunday Jan. 18th at The Distillery District (see details at end of this story).

20150106_130545 20150106_130909 20150106_131139 20150106_131207 20150106_131216 20150106_122330We then had a couple more segments with other fun guests including the lovely Asil Teebi, owner of (below) who talked about updating funky (read: crap) old furniture and turning it into fabulous fashion-fwd furnishings. Recloth Modern is a client of my PR colleague, Peter Ashworth, who hung out with me in the green room.

20150106_132417Then musical artists Heather Hill and Kat Leonard joined Elizabeth Baugh, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Canada to promote this Thursday’s fundraising concert She’s Listening at the Flying Beaver Pubaret  – see details here:

20150106_132724 20150106_133118 20150106_133043Heather was a cheeky monkey as she went in to sound check – she grabbed the mustard and ran!

20150106_114220(0)And finally, back to Dan for plating! Val joined Dan in the kitchen studio as he showed her how to serve up the beef tenderloin, encrusted with mustard, then the mashed potatoes also with mustard, then drizzled mustard vinaigrette dressing on the fresh garden salad….the studio smelled delicious and the crew were licking their lips in anticipation of the feast they were about to enjoy.  He served up a plate to the lovely make-up lady as well as fellow guest Elizabeth Baugh before the crew charged the counter-top!

20150106_133838 20150106_133846 20150106_134525 20150106_134414We can’t thank Val and the crew enough for making the whole experience such a blast for Dan.

20150106_114234Bravo to producer Liz Stembridge, too, for allowing Dan to promote Whisky & Spice sales events and recipes.

20150106_122538Rogers Daytime Toronto TV show:

Leslieville Flea:

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Each year in August, I attend the Incentiveworks conference and trade show in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre where I get to meet up with old friends in the meetings and events industry, make some new biz connections and check out new opportunities to explore.  This year, I took Jennifer Murray, an Events/Mkt’g/PR student going into her last year at Humber College’s program and she had a blast! Sometimes it’s good to see things you take for granted through a newbie’s eyes. Big thanks and congrats to organizer Robin Paisley and her team for another great year at Incentiveworks.


One of the first booths was Berber Lounge (pictured above) where they set up the giant (and very comfortable) booth similar to their venue located at Front St East, Toronto. Lots of yummy taste treats but where were the belly dancers? I needed to wiggle off a few pounds..LOL

Jennifer and I loved meeting the men of Cheesewerks – Toronto’s premiere big cheeses!  We spent a long time tasting their apple & cheese samples – .in fact, we were little piggies. Yum yum yum

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Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery of Niagara made a beautiful statement with their rustic booth (below) …loved the decor.

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Then we moved down the aisles and had a little chocolate-money fun at the Caesars Windsor booth. They know how to spoil trade show visitors!

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Jenn and I had our pictures taken with a big furry friend at the Arctic Kingdom Marine Expeditions booth. Grrrrrr. The polar bear (made of borg, not real fur) was so cute and cuddly, Jennifer near fell on top of him as he tumbled over after she hugged him a bit too much!! Think it was all the sparkly stuff we had at Caesars…LOL

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We were thrilled to meet up with the reps from the host hotels for the upcoming Canadian Comedy Awards in Ottawa. Patrick from Les Suites and Melanie from the Courtyard Marriott posed with Jennifer (below)


I always love visiting the various Maritimes booths (the reps are always so damned friendly) and this year, I took Jennifer to Pr. Edward Island where she showed her prowess with a putter! She shoots…she scored! Me, too…and we ended up with a handfull of black and blue ball markers. Sounds rude but if you’re a golfer, you’ll know what they are…and I have a bunch of ’em, if anyone wants them!

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After all the drinkies, it was time for a visit to the loo and one of the service companies, Star Meetings, had decorated the ladies room….I couldn’t resist snapping these loo pics!

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Back on the trail looking for cool booths, we then found Universal Links who had a “special guest” in their booth….LOL! Stick your head thru Rob Ford’s tummy and snap a pic. I just couldn’t stoop that low – literally – my back was hurting!

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Loved these cute rubber duckies we found at the Calgary booth…one now sits proudly on the side of my own tub.


We met these super friendly ladies who told us all about the Metropolitan Hotel – we noticed they had colour-coordinated their wardrobes to match the booth. Apparently, they said, it was a happy accident. Love the fresh flowers.


Jennifer entered a cool contest to win a flight, courtesy of Porter Airlines. Good luck, Jenn, you gotta take me with you if you win.


And then I introduced Jennifer to the rep for CanSPEP, an organization for professional meetings and events people. They offer valuable information and networking opps for new graduates such as Jenn as well as industry pro’s such as myself.


Another sponsor for the Canadian Comedy Awards was also there, VIA RAIL, so we got to try out their comfy seats. Hope our trip up to Ottawa is just as nice as this.


Sole Power Productions welcomed all the visitors to Incentiveworks with their groovy music and delightful skating dancers. They played all afternoon and kept everyone energized and happy. The best entertainment on the trade show floor!

20140820_124053So if you’re in the Meetings & Events industry or planning to enter this business, I strongly recommend you sign up for the educational workshops & seminars or the FREE trade show next year. Watch for dates and news here: http://

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I had the pleasure of meeting young Toronto-based artist LORETTE C. LUZAJIC at this summer’s Toronto Outdoor Art Show and she so impressed me with her energy and bubbly, welcoming personality.  Lorette is no stereotypical angst-ridden artist who needs pain to create…this girl is FUN!  When she told me about her innovative (and super cool) workshops, I knew I had to share the news with you and encourage any Toronto art lovers to join in.  So here’s the scoop…..


Have you  always wanted to get your hands dirty in an artist’s studio but didn’t know where to begin?  Or maybe you love art and want to get more from galleries and openings? Perhaps you’d like to know more and develop confidence to talk about art with others – to ask questions and respond to artwork?  Well, here’s the perfect opportunity to develop your own artistic skills:  join artist LORETTE C. LUZAJIC in her workshop and discover the benefits of participation and creativity. Lorette has two fun workshops in September: Wine and Art and Art for People Who Can’t Draw.

DSC02209 Lorette at work OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith her Idea Factory series, you will engage your creative side in comfortable, informal and intimate group workshops. The special two-tiered class model is uniquely designed to remove pressures and expenses of longer-term course commitments, while providing more benefit than traditional workshops through the chance to review, reflect and return. Participants gather to learn and play, then reconvene a week later. Each workshop consists of two x three hour “play dates” one week apart.
studio with wine If you want to develop your creative side and learn more about art, you’ll be empowered to dive in, explore, experiment and expand. You will leave your inhibitions, limitations and intimidations at home and participate for the sheer joy of creativity.

Visit for more information.


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Yesterday, Saturday May 31, I had the pleasure of attending the “Season Opener” family event at the picturesque COUNTRY HERITAGE PARK in Milton, just west of Toronto.

20140531_125935Lots of local vendors and foodies set up camp, and event organizer, SHELLEY HARMER, and her delightful friendly volunteer crew welcomed visitors for a day of sunshine, musical entertainment and interactive games for everyone. I had been told about the event by SAM OTTAVIANO of EMG CANADA who was showcasing a number of his artists on stage so after some discussions, I suggested an appearance by music professional, MICHAEL WILLIAMS (founding VJ of MuchMusic, now journalist for Cashbox Canada magazine and concert promoter) to help host the concert stage. Photos below: singer KRIS MONICO (left) with Sam (right) setting up the EMG tent, and artists mingle at the beer tent (of course!) with MICHAEL WILLIAMS

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I enjoyed the deelish treats from EDIBLE DELIGHTS (  in particular the yummy sausage rolls (below)…

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…and invited Michael over to taste the wicked gluten-free cupcakes and cookies – I had to have one of the giant moose cookies and it was amazing.

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Shelley took time away from running the show to pose for pics with Kris and Michael (below)

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And I played hooky from all the festivities when Michael’s charming lady, Jill, suggested we take a walk around the entire park which is 80+ acres of rolling meadows, historical buildings, vintage farm equipment and vehicles, orchards and a huge barn that is now a stunning rustic event venue.

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One of the barn buildings housed an incredible collection of farm equipment and vintage tractors – I was fascinated. I recommend parents introducing their kids to Canada’s farming history with a guided visit……

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There was also a giant water wheel used to create power…

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…and I loved the old gas station equipment, too (below).


Nestled at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment, along west-bound highway 401 & the Hwy 25 exit you’ll find Country Heritage Park. Visit their website to see what exciting events are on their calendar:  or call 1-888-307-3276

Upcoming cool events include: Teddy Bear Picnic (June 14), Gadsden’s summer antique fair (July 12), Antique Tractor & Toy Show with “super tractor pull” (July 18-20), a real-life Pirate festival (Aug.2-4), Heavy Horse Field Days (Aug 9-10) and an American Civil War Re-enactment (Aug. 23-24).

If you’re into steam engines, tractors or the “steam punk” movement, you mustn’t miss Steam Era Days over the Labour Day weekend (Aug 29-Sept.1).


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The third Saturday of each month, the Williams-Sonoma store on Bloor St W just past Bay, holds a food artisans’ market where local foodies can sample all sorts of treats and purchase them directly from the makers. Yesterday, I visited with some of the latest artisans and enjoyed tasting a wide variety of specialty goodies.  Out front were Carlos and Sandy (below), the fun folks from No.7 Mexican Hot Sauce…, hot hot hot!


Then heading in, I spied the sweet treats from Kristina Ferraro Confections (below). Her dark chocolate caramel fudgy chunks were deelish.

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While my mouth was set for sweeties, I moseyed on over to the test-kitchen area in the store and found the lady from Fit Organix who had just baked some gluten, dairy, corn, soy and peanut-free cookies. They were gourmet heaven and going like hotcakes!

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Next to them, I found “Dan the mustard man” from Whisky & Spice with his spicey samples of Whisky Honey Mustard, Riesling Apple Mustard and Porter Pepper Mustard. Major taste explosion….gotta get me some of these. Mmmmmm

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Across the back of the store, I found Abu Maiyaki from Delice Foods who was promoting his unique drink made from the tree of life. Bao Smoothies are 100% natural with no preservatives, no dairy, no artificial colouring and come in three flavours incorporating the super fruit from the African Baobab tree.  My friend Erena had joined me by then and she sampled the mango one.

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As we worked our way back to the front of the Williams-Sonoma store, we discovered a very colourful display of dessert treats, courtesy of Sweet Sushi by Jessica. As her biz card says: looks like sushi, tastes like candy! How cute and stunning to look at – her rice-crispy based sushi rolls come in all colours and shapes with sugar and fondant coatings that create a magnificent display served in traditional “bento boxes” – ideal for any celebration, add to your corporate gala or fundraising buffet or as a hostess gift.

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Thanks to Williams-Sonoma for hosting this monthly “market” within their store (also up at their Yorkdale location, too), especially to Mohammed who arranges all the incoming artisans who showcase their locally sourced specialties.



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20140305_131254(0)Big shout out to those brave souls who battled chilly winds at the corner of Church & Bloor Street East in downtown Toronto today as they added their voices to the world-wide protest against Russia’s involvement in the struggles back home in the Ukraine. This past weekend, there was a huge crowd on this corner (next door to my home) drawing attention to the terror that their countrymen and women are experiencing. The local Toronto Ukrainian community is coming together to make sure we’re all aware of what is going on and I encourage everyone to watch the news on tv, read online news flashes and do your research, and support them and every society that is under threat of political, religious or gender terrorism.

Bravo to the Toronto Ukrainian community!


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