Category Archives: Photography

ICEFEST TAKES OVER YORKVILLE (Toronto) FEB 21 & 22.

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:  http://www.bloor-yorkville.com/icefest/

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Celebrity chef Lyndon Wiebe’s artist reception @ Urban Gallery, Toronto

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4:55pm yesterday…all the photos were framed and hung, food prepped and wine was chilling, and celebrity chef and photographer LYNDON WIEBE had changed out of his chef’s whites into a more relaxed shirt and sweater ready to greet friends and fans to the opening of his 1-man show “Lost in Travels: Solitary Confinement” at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East in Toronto.  And then…..

DSC_0284…in they came.

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The gallery was full of happy, appreciative art fans and friends, all commenting on the colourful striking images. And Lyndon’s artistic talents were reflected in the catered dishes served, too.

DSC_0272 DSC_0267 DSC_0278(above images #2 thru 9 courtesy of Jean-Marc Fontaine, UrbanSource Catering & Urban Gallery)

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IMG_5636 IMG_5662 IMG_5643 IMG_5681Lyndon finally relaxed once all his friends arrived and we all heard the ooo’s and aaaah’s as people viewed the photographs. And his big beautiful smile (below) says it all….Woohooo!

IMG_5666(above 6 images courtesy of Kaspara Albertsen, Urban Gallery)

ABOUT THE SHOW:  In 2009 the Winnipeg-born Wiebe and 2 chef friends filmed the travel-based web series Without Borders, commissioned as the series Chefs Run Wild on APTN and Travel+Escape Network in Canada and in 40 countries worldwide on National Geographic (pictured below, centre). On this two-year trip he discovered his love of photography. The photos in this exhibition were taken over several years of traveling around Asia, Africa, Canada and New Zealand.

Here are some of the photographs on show (photographed by me)….all large format and affordable for any collector.

20150115_165625 20150115_165637 20150115_165645 20150115_165706My personal favourites are… (below)

20150115_165453 20150115_165403 20150115_165421(0)I had fun attempting to take selfies with writer pal, Donna Lypchuk (below)  – thanks for the pics, Kaspara.

IMG_5690 IMG_5692…and in the end, Donna got a pretty good one (below) although we really should take these before enjoying several glass of wine, eh?

1620572_10152662242981156_5637709768831286484_nStrongly doubt any of our selfies would ever make it into a gallery show, but everyone else concentrated on Lyndon’s work and spent the evening enjoying the hospitality of Urban Gallery.

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20150115_184132 20150115_184159Urban Gallery’s Wayne  and Kaspara enjoyed all the photo opps, too.  (below)

20150115_181848Congratulations to Lyndon and Urban Gallery for a successful launch. Lyndon’s show runs through to the end of February so if you would like to check his work out in person, visit the gallery’s website for directions and hours:  http://www.urbangallery.ca

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CHEF WHO RAN WILD PRESENTS INT’L PHOTOGRAPHIC ART SHOW & NOT-SO-TAME CATERING

I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming exhibition of LYNDON WIEBE‘s photographic art Lost In Travels: Solitary Confinement at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto, which opens Thurs. January 15th with a special reception for media and art fans.  See: http://www.urbangallery.ca for details

Lyndo- HEAD SHOT6Along with two other chef friends, Lyndon (pictured above) starred in the CHEFS RUN WILD TV series which has been broadcast on APTN and Travel+Escape TV networks in Canada as well as 40 countries worldwide on the National Geographic Channel. On their featured two-year trip, he discovered his love of photography. The photos in this exhibition were taken over several years of travel in Asia, Africa, Canada and New Zealand. The show will run from Jan. 15th to February 28th.

I recently asked Lyndon a few questions about his photography, travel and culinary passions:

What prompted you to undertake your “chefs run wild” reality series & why did you choose to take 2 others with you?
Well, originally we wanted to create our own web-based food and travel series which became Without Borders. We had all been travelling for years and thought this might be our last big epic adventure so we decided to do something different. We were tired of simply travelling and drinking and doing the usual adventures, not that there is anything wrong with it as we did it for years but we wanted to take advantage of our knowledge of food and expand it and come home with a different experience. At the end of the day it would not hurt our resumes or our repertoire of food knowledge. After making over fifty YouTube videos and winning several awards in the U.S. for Best Food & Travel series on the web, we were starting to get noticed and our production value went up. Marcus Samuelsson (who is a well known celebrity chef) used to show our videos all the time on his own website and promote them for us because he loved them. Eventually our footage was bought from us and commissioned into a 15-episode series called Chefs Run Wild here in Canada on the Travel + Escape Network. (Lyndon is pictured below, right)

1380782_10151909619221014_1362482927_nWhat life-changing events did you experience while travelling around the world?
I spent seven years of my life abroad so it’s hard to pinpoint certain experiences. I think in general, all of those experiences helped me become a better person. Traveling taught me patience and understanding. If you have neither you will have a hard time in some countries. It taught me that slow is better and you don’t always need to rush. You appreciate things more when you can actually relax and take it all in. (Masai tribesman, Africa, pictured below)

Invitation Image Masai Tribesman TanzaniaYou’re originally from Winnipeg – what brought you to Toronto?
After travelling and undertaking the Without Borders adventure I decided to move back to Winnipeg. I knew after a few years I had to go to a bigger city, so was set to move to Vancouver to live with my brother on the coast when my producer suggested I move here to Toronto as the TV networks were all here as well as the production studio. So it made sense as we were doing a whole bunch of media interviews and spots to promote the show in Toronto. After moving here to give it a try, I fell in love with the city and have been here for three years now.

When/how did you come to work at UrbanSource Creative Catering?
I started at Urban Source in March of 2011. I had moved to Toronto six months prior to promote the TV show and had been slowly looking for work but no longer wished to work in restaurants – they no longer appealed to me with the long hours and dismal pay. I had done some catering in Calgary before and I liked it so I thought I would send out some resumes to different catering houses. Urban responded and when I went in for an interview, it turns out they were hiring a head chef and I felt up to the task.

How do you describe your cooking style?
Very loose and playful, I would say. I’m not rigid when it comes to following recipes unless it’s baking which  needs a little more attention. I like comfort foods, braised dishes and love smoking my own meats and making my own pickles. I prefer simple, well presented flavours that are evenly matched and not too bold unless they need to be.

ArtofFood14Do you have plans for expanding your culinary skills or do you plan on opening your own restaurant one day?
I try new recipes all the time when I’m at home and at work when the time allows and the ingredients are available in the kitchen. As for my personal ventures, I do love teaching people how to cook and do personal lessons from time to time in the comfort of their own home over a glass of wine. I used to volunteer at The Stop Community food centre teaching kids how to cook in an after-school program and I loved it. As for the immediate future, I will continue to offer lessons and small dinner parties whenever I get the chance.

Your travel photos are stunning and will be shown at Urban Gallery Jan.15 to Feb 28th – how did you select which photos are shown and why?
Going through all of my photos over the years, the ones that really made an impression on me were the ones that gave a sense of loneliness and isolation even in a busy environment, so I decided to choose the ones that put me in that sense of calmness and reflectiveness when I look at them.

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Apart from the large prints hung on the gallery walls, can people purchase other prints?
Absolutely – people can order a smaller print size, if they so choose. This is my first exhibition and if it goes well there will be more to follow.

Any exciting new travels planned for the near future?
My girlfriend and I are off to Cuba for a friend’s wedding in April and other than that, maybe a trip to the Bahamas or somewhere warm with my family this year. I no longer desire the six-month trips abroad. A month is more than enough for me now.

ARTIST’S STATEMENT:  Lost In Travels: Solitary Confinement looks at feelings of isolation in the world around us. Even in a group, we are still alone in our thoughts. Nature can make us feel isolated when it opens itself up to us – the more surreal and beautiful the moment, the more removed from our surroundings we become, lostin thoughts of awe and wonder.    Lyndon Wiebe 2014

Urban Gallery hours:
Monday-Saturday noon  to 5pm
Thursdays noon to 8pm
Closed Sundays & Holidays
400 Queen St East in the historic Corktown district of  downtown Toronto   http://www.urbangallery.ca

UrbanSource Creative Catering: http://www.urbancatering.com/

 

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FESTIVE SUNDAY STROLL IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO

It was a grey old day in Toronto but unseasonably warm, and having suffered with severe bronchitis over the past 10 days, I really needed some outdoor exercise so on went the good walking shoes and I headed down Yonge Street (the longest street in the world, apparently) to take in the Christmassy sights.

20141130_130611 20141130_130641My first stop for quick snaps was the gorgeous old College Park building which still has a number of its original bronze light fixtures (above) and architectural details in tact. when I first arrived in Toronto in the mid-70’s, this was a big department store called Eatons, with many floors of clothes, furniture, home decor, toys and haberdashery – it even had a wooden escalator which, I’m told, is still there hidden behind false walls. The building has been converted into stores, offices and condos – sad but that’s progress for you. If you look up and also up close you’ll notice beautiful carvings and bronze roundels (below)

20141130_130702 20141130_130803A few blocks further down and I came to the Yonge-Dundas Square, a gathering place for tourists, students and shoppers, and today there was a community event promoting drug-free student life with all sorts of exhibits and displays (below)…..

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20141130_131623 20141130_131617… sadly, all I could smell in the air around the area was dope!! At least the folks in the Square were doing their best. Surrounding this square is a mass of billboards and advertising hoardings, sorta like a mini Times Square…and the famed Hard Rock Cafe (below)

20141130_131758 20141130_131856 20141130_131921Moving further down Yonge St, I walked past the stunning Elgin Theatre (below) where the annual Christmas pantomime Cinderella was playing. Look at this magnificent entrance….

20141130_132035Last night, the annual lighting of the city’s official Christmas Tree took place – this year I stayed in bed with a box of tissues, Buckley’s cough medicine and crap on TV, so as I wasn’t able to enjoy the entertainment and fireworks in person, I decided to pop over to Nathan Philips Square and take a few shots of the tree, City Hall & the skating rink in daylight and without all the crowds.

20141130_132827 20141130_132850 20141130_132921Heading to Yonge Street along Queen Street I looked at the festive windows of The Bay department store – how cute are these?

20141130_133300 20141130_133411 20141130_133424 20141130_133442In the store’s display windows at the corner of Queen & Yonge I found these cute sheep promoting the store’s own traditional blankets and colours….

20141130_133554 20141130_133600 20141130_133617As I walked back up Yonge, I noticed a large tent with signs saying it was a pop-up Christmas market featuring local artisans and craftspeople so I popped in for a quick look-see and the first vendors I met were a delightful couple featuring African hand-crafted cushions, carvings and other home decor pieces.

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Jean-Renaud (above left) and Kalinka (above right) told me about the beautiful cushion covers that Kalinka designs – leather corners and heavy cotton with stunning tribal prints. She is an interior decorator (Klemya Interior Decoration) as well as designer [ http://www.klemya.com ]  Jean-Renaud (JR) heads up a company called mTIDI which represents beautiful handcrafted items from Cameroon [ http://www.mTIDI.ca ].  Directly behind them was Rococoa Chocolates, a local chocolatier with delicious treats including these dark chocolate pearls…

20141130_140701…and (below) chocolate covered Oreo Cookies…complete decadence! http://www.rococoa.ca

20141130_140729I started feeling a bit fatigued – this was my first real outing since being in bed for 3 straight days) – so decided to grab the subway home. Caught myself in the mirrored advertising display at Yonge & Bloor subway station…hmm, not looking too worse for wear, eh?

20141130_144139I more block to go before bed and a nice cuppa tea. One more photo opp of the Christmas tree 1 block from home.

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Whew! Made it…am now sitting down, watching The King’s Speech on TV and enjoying a nice refreshing mug of Earl Grey tea.  And how was your Sunday afternoon?

 

 

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PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST KAREN SILVER LAUNCHES SHOW @ URBAN GALLERY

13999_32_44_J_7Last night, URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East, Toronto) hosted the artist’s reception for photographer/artist KAREN SILVER, whose work engaged and inspired a large crowd of friends, family and art fans.

20141106_185025Karen (above, centre) was thrilled to show her guests around the gallery, pointing out her techniques and subjects, and within the first hour, there were already red dots (indicating sold) beside two of her large format photos, including my personal favourite (below)

20141105_130709Her guests enjoyed a wonderful catered spread with wine and cheese, courtesy of URBAN SOURCE CATERING, and as you can see below, lots of networking and friendly art banter.

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20141106_182932(0) 20141106_175126 20141106_180947Artist Erik Chong (below) also came out to support Karen – Erik will be showcasing his work next month at Urban Gallery.

20141106_183831I had a blast with gallery manager CALVIN HAMBROOK (below)

20141106_183143…and schmoozed with lots of friends and art aficionados like Sue & Teresa (below)

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20141106_175157 20141106_182957 20141105_130719 20141106_181329Congratulations to Karen who was thrilled and a little overwhelmed by the support for her work (below)

20141106_180956Her exhibition entitled “Otherworld” continues throughout November until the 29th at Urban Gallery so if you would like to check out her work, gallery hours are:

Monday-Saturday 11am  to 5pm
Thursdays 11am to 8pm
Closed Sundays & Holidays

400 Queen St East in historic Corktown, Toronto  www.urbangallery.ca

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TAKE A STROLL ALONG TORONTO’S WATERFRONT

20141018_143759It’s been a blustery old day today with big grey clouds chasing each other across the Toronto sky…my favourite kinda afternoon to spend down on the city’s lakefront. I started off by taking the streetcar to the beautiful “Music Garden” at the bottom of Spadina Ave. The gently rolling landscaped grounds offered up visual treasures around each turn of the path…..

20141018_124620 20141018_124635 20141018_124829 20141018_124910 20141018_12492020141018_124742 20141018_125251 20141018_125348 20141018_125405 20141018_125438 20141018_125512(0) 20141018_125533 20141018_125603Even on an overcast day, the waterfront looks amazing and this was a great day for an adventure….so I pressed on.

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Yaaaar, matey! I played pirate with the Empire Sandy, one of our famous tall ships that are pressed into service every summer, ferrying tourists on booze cruises around the inner harbour and islands.

20141018_130554My personal opinion….leave those damn fish alone! Too much mercury, I don’t care what anyone says.

20141018_130731Found another of the tall ships tied up and getting ready to wait out the snow and ice of the coming winter.

20141018_131103As I walked east towards Queen’s Quay, I passed by the emergency rescue & water police services and was greeted by this pretty tree wearing its fall red coat…then around the corner I saw the moving memorial (The Last Alarm) to those who lost their lives during rescues.

20141018_131249 20141018_131421 20141018_131452How incredible does the waterfront look here? Wow…and all the colours of the boat hulls, up ended and stored for the winter. Love the photo with the lone gull standing guard (bottom)…I call this shot “The Sentinel”…LOL

20141018_131510 20141018_131654 20141018_131819 20141018_131842 20141018_131906As I watched these two yachts (below) battle the wind, I wished I could be out there, all very Moby Dick of me….or was I looking for my Gilligan moment?!

20141018_131935Sooooo……I took a cruise! One of those touristy 1hr boat rides around the islands and along the waterfront that was only $25. Best twenty five bucks I’d spent in a long time. Nice bunch of fellow sightseers, cheery crew and the scenery was magnificent, don’t ya think?

20141018_140202 20141018_140749 20141018_141411 20141018_143712 20141018_143931 20141018_145135This is an adventure anyone can have, especially if you’re bored, alone and have a limited budget. The walk along the waterfront looking at all the beautiful plants and tress and boats cost me nothing and if you don’t want to spend a lot on a guided cruise, hop on one of the Ward’s Island ferries that run throughout the fall and winter months. Ahoy, matey, Gilligan and Skipper would be proud of you!

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Monday Walkabout in Ottawa, Canada

The Canadian Comedy Awards week is done and dusted…whew! My PR colleague, Jennifer, and I survived the organized chaos of a major awards show and finally got to play tourist in Ottawa for 2 hrs before leaving for our train back to Toronto. Here’s our quickie trip around the historical parliament buildings and various points of interest…some I covered solo in my previous blog. So much more fun with a friend and some sunshine, yes? Jenn took a quick pick of the big Catholic church opposite the National Art Gallery – the silver covered spires sparkled in the sunshine.

20140915_123644We then took a hike up and around “Champlain Point” which offered stunning vistas across to Quebec and all across the city and hills.

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20140915_124457 20140915_124537 20140915_124613 20140915_124646 20140915_125041(0)I was careful to tell Jenn (above) not to back up too far as the cliff was right there….aaaaaaargh!  Then Jenn got me to do my best impression of Ottawa’s hostess with the mostest! Ladies and gentlemen, may I present….the capital

20140915_125119So much beautiful green space and flower gardens…we snapped away at everything and anything

20140915_125746 20140915_125752 20140915_125905 20140915_125947 20140915_130121Jenn got into the statues and helped a family with their group shot!

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We circled the fabulous Hogwarts-style Chateau Laurier hotel (below) with all its fancy-schmancy architecture & walkways along the Rideau Canal.

20140915_13081120140915_130858 20140915_130928 20140915_130937 20140915_131052 20140915_131210Then it was back to the hotel to pack out suitcases and head to the train station. Thanks to Kathleen from Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa who graciously offered to drive us and a couple of other comedy guests….

20140915_131249 20140915_142228 20140915_142237…and we finally made it. Poor Jennifer looks tired but happy it’s all over, and I felt exactly the same (hope you appreciate my lack of a selfie here as I looked pretty scary with no make-up, no sleep and no energy).

20140915_145500 20140915_145512 20140915_151050Toronto, here we come……oh, oh, look…. horsies!

20140915_152631The little kid in me made a surprise visit…haa! I also saw a cheeky groundhog and a big white-tailed deer dart away from the tracks – I watched her disappear into the brush alongside the rails – too quick to snap a photo. How wonderful.  Am now home and ready for a nice cuppa tea and the comfort of my own bed. Thank you for such a warm welcome, Ottawa. I’ll be back soon.

 

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