Tag Archives: Bloor-Yorkville BIA

MURANO GLASS, the fabulous art from Venice’s historic island of craftsmen

My friends at Gallery 36 in Yorkville (Toronto) invited me over yesterday to check out their ever-growing collection of stunning art glass from the island of Murano, home to some of Italy’s greatest crafstpeople. In this cozy boutique gallery you will find breathtaking pieces from glass “masters” such as Rossi, Alfiero, Medici, Russo, Bellisio, Mercato and others, in all shapes, sizes and a rainbow of colours.

20150314_145320I found some functional bowls and vases as well as sculptures of animals, birds, even festive crustaceans!

20150314_145118 20150314_145157 20150314_145921 20150314_145342I had a chuckle when I spied these cheeky kitty-cats (below)

20150314_145814 20150314_145832and all the other wee glassy beasties….

20150314_145751 20150314_145925 20150314_155513Gallery owner Trevor was busy changing the window display so a snapped him hard at work…

20150314_145524 20150314_145520…. and dusting his friend, the zaftig bronze ballerina (below). I just love her!

20150314_145421The gallery is chock-a-block full of wonderful and affordable pieces suitable for your mansion, apartment, loft or basement hide-away.

20150314_155445 20150314_155500Just look at these bowls and the intricate art found inside each…

20150314_145213 20150314_145632 20150314_155428 20150314_155434The glass is created using the “lampwork” technique – made from Silica which becomes liquid once it reaches an extremely high temperature. As it starts to harden, the “glass” is still soft enough to allow the artisan to shape the materials. You can see the amazing results of this all around you at Gallery 36. I recommend popping in and I’m sure you will find something that fits your home and your wallet. And say hi from me.

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92  Avenue Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2H2  T: (416) 962-7636  http://www.gallery36.ca

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

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After 50 years of supporting The National Ballet of Canada, the 99 Yorkville Avenue store PAPER THINGS will be closing its doors when the current lease expires at the end of September….but they are going out in style! The once fancy-schmancy stationery, greeting cards and gift store has been converted into a stunning gallery space and this evening they are launching a fabulous show and sale of artwork presented by The Volunteer Committee,  The National Ballet of Canada.


I dropped in for a brief chat with artist and store/gallery director, Echo Railton, this afternoon and she kindly escorted me around the wonderful airy space and intro’d me to some artists I had not previously known. Wow, what beautiful (and affordable) works of art, featuring stunning photography from around the world, oils, acrylics, watercolours, sculptures, even a few delicate mobiles hanging from the ceiling.  Here are a few examples of the works on show that you might want to add to your collection…..

My favourites have to be Tony Batten‘s stunning canvases (below) portraying elegant, peaceful French cafe-scapes.  You can almost imagine yourself sitting there sipping a cuppa latte, inhaling the fragrant lavender and listening to the birds sing……

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The Toronto-based artist is represented in Windsor Castle’s Royal Collection and his work is also held privately by HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales. Tony’s work is in the collections of The Government of Ontario, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Vancouver’s Museum of the Pacific and the City of Toronto among others. His large canvas of Newfoundland (below) is particularly spectacular…what do you think?


I also loved the small still-life originals (below) by Guelph-based Janette Hayhoe. Each one offers a glimpse of everyday life from our homes, our kitchens….all lovingly executed and framed beautifully. At $300 each, I can see collectors snapping up 3 or 4 at a time.

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There are some beautiful B&W photos (below) of  ballerinas taken by former  principal dancer of  The National Ballet of Canada Vanessa Harwood and Bruce Zinger who is one of The National Ballet of Canada’s regular photographers that made me wish I’d kept up my ballet classes as a young girl…but I opted for tap instead and spent way too many years clomping about thinking I was going to be the next Ginger Rogers. Obviously that didn’t work out for me!

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The multi-talented Echo (pictured below) has a number of pieces in the gallery, too, and I love this piece which is on a sheet of metal and shows a special bee native to Florida as he gathers his pollen from a colourful array of flowers.


Here are a few more examples of the work on display and all the artists’ profiles can be found on the Paper Things website listed at the end of this blog post.

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You will also see this beautiful, delicate tutu designed by Linda Lundstrom in collaboration with the Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada, which is part of their TUTU PROJECT, a curated celebration of the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary. The tutu featured here is made up of  costume material from each of the productions sponsored by The Volunteer Committee for the Company. You can find out more about the project here: http://www.national.ballet.ca

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Originally housed in The Colonnade on Bloor St West in the 60’s and in its present location on Yorkville Ave since 1973, Paper Things has contributed over $2 million to The National Ballet of Canada since opening. Bravo!

There are 2 other special receptions for the show apart from this evening’s opening soiree that runs 4-8pm. You can also attend a reception on Thurs. Sept. 4th and the closing night Wed. Sept, 24th. http://www.paperthings.ca

Thank you for your warm hospitality, ladies, and good luck with the show.  Here’s Echo, below centre, with the friendly store volunteers Lorna (L) and Therese (R)


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Ice Fest

The fabulous folks who run the Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Association (BIA) are hosting another terrific ICE FEST this weekend on Cumberland & Bellair streets in Yorkville (Toronto), featuring stunning ice sculptures, fun activities for the whole family, yummy treats courtesy of local food vendors – all benefiting the Heart & Stroke Foundation [ www.heartandstroke.on.ca ]

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Lots of fun photo opps for all the family and the lovely ladies at Sassafras are keeping the grown-ups well lubricated!  There was a great DJ keeping everyone “dancin’ in the streets” and a variety of food vendors keeping us well fed and watered.




I ran into my friend and favourite snow bunny, Rafael, who runs the super cool Italian espresso bar, Zaza Espresso Bar [http://www.zazaespressobar.com]. As usual, Rafael (below in yellow) was welcoming everyone in for a hot beverage and letting all of us ladies know how pretty we looked in our winter finest.


And I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the lovely ladies from  http://www.hazeltonlanesdental.com (below) who were handing out teeth whitening advice and free toothbrushes – always a good thing!

20140222_125401Must admit I was thrilled to hang with the dolphin from HydraSense [http://www.hydrasense.com ]. Something about blue and white plush makes me smile !

20140222_125206Thanks to all the hard working BIA members and volunteers who are helping to make this weekend a success. ICE FEST ’14 continues tomorrow, Sunday March 23rd.

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