Tag Archives: Canadian artists


20150110_165843Dropped in yesterday to say happy new year to Gallery 36 owner Trevor Allen and his lovely gallery colleague Violetta yesterday. They recently moved from their original space in Hazelton Lanes (now under yet another renovation and reconstruction) over to 92 Avenue Road (opposite the west entrance to the Lanes). The gallery is chock-a-block full of colourful original paintings, Murano art glass and stunning bronze sculptures.

20150110_170218 20150110_165801 20150110_165746Gallery 36 now represents UK-born Canadian artist Gary Pilkington, whose unique work not only stopped me in my tracks, it’s got me saving up my pennies (and planning to return my forest of wine bottles for refund$!!) to possess one of his pieces. Check out Gary’s work below….

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20150110_165606 20150110_165718Here’s the artist’s statement: Every piece is extraordinary, and diverse in design, so it makes sense that Gary’s approach to painting is also uncommon: “Instead of applying a medium with my hands, paintbrush or pallet knife, I let gravity, chance, luck, and randomization take control over the painting.” Gary uses an unconventional technique called “pulling paint,” using different channels to pull it down. Here, he finds the exhilarating feeling of exploring colour, inspiring his creative presence and ingenuity. He also uses tiles, plexi-glass, and aluminum sheets, reinforcing his deviation from the norm. Pilkington’s influences include Jackson Pollock, Keith Tyson, Damien Hurst, and Jason Martin; these influences are revealed in Gary’s work – abstract and fluid.

You can find out more about Gary here: https://pilkingtonsart.wordpress.com/ 

The Murano glass (made in Italy) is stunning and a real favourite of mine. I have a number of handcrafted rings and some small art glass pieces but would love to add some of Trevor’s catalogue to my collection (many more wine bottle refunds are needed, tho! LOL)

20150110_165923 20150110_165928And look at these beautiful glass hummingbirds (below)….so delicate, yes?

20150110_165944 20150110_170005Thanks for the hospitality, Trevor, and I look fwd to attending your planned Gary Pilkington reception, hopefully in the spring.




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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.


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)


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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Over the past year, I have been honoured to represent international award-winning artist BRUCE K. LAWES for his publicity and promotions and watched with great excitement as his paintings have been snapped up by those appreciating his stunning equine portraits, beautiful landscapes and Civil War historical re-imaginings. Now represented by two prestigious galleries in the south-western United States for whom he has already shown and sold several major art works, Bruce is poised to attract an even wider audience with two important upcoming sales in Scottsdale and Tucson, AZ. I spoke with him recently to find out about his new painting projects and career developments.

Bruce Lawes- On a Cloud (in the works) Bruce Lawes- Shades of Blues and Grays (In the works)http://www.bklawesart.com

GF: Since entering the South Western US art markets last year, your historical Civil War paintings and equine portraits have sold well and sold fast. Do you see this as a positive omen for your impending move south of the border?
BKL: Without question, my introduction to the western United States has launched my career in a new direction. My relocation to the U.S. has a dual purpose: first, to be in the same country as the galleries that represent me enables personal appearances and transportation of paintings so much easier. Secondly, to be able to paint outside all year round, snow free, PRICELESS!

GF: You are now represented by two leading galleries, Trailside Galleries with locations in Jackson Hole, WY, and Scottsdale, AZ, and Settlers West Gallery in Tucson, AZ – how has this exposure introduced you to a wider audience?
BKL: I’m showing my paintings with artists who sell their work for hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars; this attracts an elite collector base that is now viewing my work and showing great interest. Also, the professionalism and credibility of these galleries attract the appropriate buyers. The combination of gallery exposure, auctions and a great publicist, Glenda Fordham, continue to move things in the right direction. (thank you…I’m blushing – GF)

GF: Earlier this year, you participated in the famed Coeur d’Alene art auction in Reno, NV, and your portrait of George Armstrong Custer (below) during his Civil War campaign at Gettysburg created quite the buzz and sold very quickly. Then a second Civil War painting sold quickly in Jackson Hole. How has that success motivated you to focus on re-imaginings of Civil War battle scenes?
BKL: As we have previously announced earlier this year, I’m involved as an artistic entity in “To Appomattox”, an upcoming 8-part TV mini series based on that defining moment between Grant and Lee in the Civil War. To be able to draw inspiration from an actual Hollywood production set is going to be very exciting and I think will be reflected in my paintings I produce for the series.

Lawes_-_Custer__Before_the_StormGF: The Wyoming market seems very interested in your stunningly realistic equine portraits – can you tell us a little about your recent sale of “On A Cloud” and the client who purchased it?
BKL: The painting, ‘On a Cloud’ (below), almost did not go to Wyoming for two reasons, I had a client of mine very interested in it and I was also concerned about sending a dressage painting to ‘cowboy country’. As it turned out, my client bowed out and Trailside, WY, assured me that their collector base would be very interested in this work as their clients reside all over the country, many being fortunate to have several holiday homes. In fact, the painting sold at the opening weekend of the show to a Virginia woman who was a competitive dressage rider and had a home in Jackson Hole, but the painting is being hung in her Palm Beach, Florida winter home.
Bruce Lawes- On a CloudGF: How do you feel about “commercializing” your work by issuing multiple giclees or limited edition posters that are affordable to a wider audience?
BKL: If done properly and for the right reason I think reproductions can show a beneficial result for an artist by bringing greater awareness to their work and an additional revenue stream. Doing corporate projects and fundraising efforts with multiple reproductions can be a great asset to both artist and charity.

GF: You have two important shows coming up in November – what paintings do you have planned for each show?
BKL: I will be flying out to visit the Trailside Gallery in Scottsdale and will be attending the Settlers West opening night in Tucson for their Great American West show on November 22. I will be featuring another Dressage painting called, ‘Ghost Rider’ 40”x 43” at Trailside and perhaps one other, if time permits. At Settlers West I will have a beautiful painting of gray wolves in the winter snow called, ‘Shades of Blues and Grays’ (below) plus a painting of a wild mustang in Montana entitled, ‘Over His Domain’. These are major works sized 26”x54” and 36”x54” respectively. I look forward to meeting all art enthusiasts who come out to see all the amazing artists participating in both events.

Bruce Lawes- Shades of Blues and Grays (internet)

Trailside Galleries, Scottsdale, AZ
Fall Classics Exhibition & Sale
November 3-15, 2014


Settlers West Gallery, AZ
The Great American West Show
November 22, 2014

Visit Bruce’s website to see his portfolio of landscape, figurative, equine and historical paintings  http://www.bklawesart.com

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What a delightful delicious exhibition of art dedicated to all the things we love to eat!  URBAN GALLERY, located at 400 Queen St East in Toronto, launched their September show ART OF FOOD with an afternoon reception yesterday (Sat. Sept.6) welcoming all the artists whose work sparkled, shimmered and made us all salivate…like Janna Kroupko’s Gifts of Autumn (above), 20″ x 16″ oil on canvas.

The first talented painter I met was Eric Chong  (below) the contemporary Chinese-Canadian abstract artist whose delightful Fiddleheads (28″ x 38″ ink on rice paper) greeted visitors upon entering the spacious and bright gallery.


I then met Emebet Belete who has worked as an artist and educator in Canada, Ethiopia and China. Here (below) she shows off her Star Fruit Plus 39 1/2″ x 31 1/2″ acrylic on canvas to fellow artist Lindsey MacKay.

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Colombian-born artist Angel Torres had two saucy paintings in the show – I call them “food burlesque”) – here he is showing off  Geisha Majikku (or Geisha Magic) 24″x 24″ photography on plexi…..


…and of course, I had to do my best/worst  impression of the naughty geisha!

Where’s Gene Simmons when we need his tongue?

20140906_150607Angel’s second piece Kankaku Anburoshia (or Sensorial Ambrosia) is a photo on metallic paper (20″ x 20″)


The charming Aisha Chiguichon posed with her Soul Food acrylic on canvas (12″x 36″), explaining that each fruit/veggie represented one of the chakras. There was always a crowd around Aisha’s painting as everyone tried to name all the forked treats.


Janna Kroupko has a second piece in the show; here is Red Wine, a 20″ x 16″ oil on canvas…. the cherries looked so real and juicy, I was almost tempted to reach up and grab a handful!


Ten Fruits (27 1/2″ x 20 1/2″) by Toronto’s Giovanni Lombardi stood out with its monochromatic ink on paper. The artist was able to achieve great depth and standing in front of the piece, I just wanted to run my fingers over and thru the 10 fruits.


St. Thomas, ON native Barbara McCormack works out of her Naples, Florida, studio as well as her Ancaster, ON home-base. Here she shows off her stunning Pomegranates III acrylic on canvas (30″x 30″)


Urban Gallery is part of the Urban Source Catering family and for many years, artist Valerie J. McMurray worked with them as chef.  Here she showcases her artistic talents with the 36″ x 72″ oil on canvas Wild Rose Hips.


One of my favourite pieces in the show is Lindsey MacKay’s Manger a l’Exterieur a shimmering 40″ x 30″ acrylic & liquid gold leaf portrait of a soon to be devoured lone lobster sitting in a seascape populated by little sailboats. Photographs do not do this painting justice…you gotta see it in person to get the full effect of the shiny, glittering gold leaf.


Toronto painter & woodcarver Alexander Koltakov was raised in Crimea, and lived in Israel for 17 years prior to coming to Canada. He proudly showed off his Two Pomegranates by the Window acrylic on canvas.


The afternoon reception was a rousing success with all artists welcoming their friends, family and art aficionados, while enjoying the equally delicious spread courtesy of Urban Source Catering.


The Art of Food runs until the end of September so you MUST visit to peruse the menu on the gallery walls. And on September 18th, there will be a special foodie media event featuring edible treats sampled beneath these canvases.   http://www.UrbanGallery.ca 

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A Visit to Westmount Galleries, Toronto – what stunning artwork!

I recently spent a delightful couple of hours enjoying the fine art exhibited at WESTMOUNT GALLERY in the west end of Toronto.  What a stunning display of Canadian and int’l artists who work in various mediums, and I found so many that I truly loved, I need to start buying lottery tickets to feed my new addiction.   Here are some examples of my favourite pieces….

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I adore this charming barnyard portrait of a blue rooster titled “Chickenizer” by Tim Hough

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and these lovely miniatures of Victorian English seaside working ponies…

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Speaking of horses, I found a few equine masterworks by award-winning artist (and client) Bruce K. Lawes including this stunning portrait of racing’s legendary mare, Zenyata (bottom).  www.bklawesart.com

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I also happen to love moo cows, too. Whenever I visit the country, I can usually call up the cows from far across fields and meadows…it’s a cool talent I have, calling cows!  This lovely lady (below) definitely needs to come home with me so I’m calling her now as I sit and type this story. Here cow cow cow……


There were some lovely seascapes by Robert Amirault that I sat and stared at for some time…I could almost hear the waves crashing on the shore.

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There truly is something for every taste and bank account at Westmount Gallery and I was particularly thrilled to see a lovely landscape by one of my newest fave artists, Anthony Batten. His Newfoundland cottages are at the bottom of this set of photos….what do you think? Wouldn’t you just love to visit this down east fishing village?

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The charming and knowledge gallery President is Judy Smith who presides over this “Disneyland” for art enthusiasts. She kindly posed for me in her office surrounded by some amazing paintings and sculptures. The woodland scene with deer takes up the entire wall to the left of her desk…it was so big, I could’t snap the whole thing. What a lovely view from her desk chair.

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When you enter the gallery, you’re met by a giant bronze heron …


…and when I was leaving by the side door, I noticed these delightful small originals of Toronto cityscapes.


Thank you to Judy, her husband Murray and the friendly gallery staff who made me feel so welcome. http://www.westmountgallery.com

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Come up and see us sometime!


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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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It’s the Simcoe Day (or Civic) long weekend here in Toronto and I managed to squeeze in a trip to ArtFest Toronto held at the historic Distillery District.  Fortunately the threatening lighting and rain storm held off long enough for me to make a flying visit, snap a few pics and connect with some super cool artists and craftspeople I’d never met before. Let me share my trip with you….

First off, I met Ottawa-based contemporary artist Therese Boisclair  http://www.tboisclair.com  who offered beautiful paintings in various sizes and I was pleased to pick up one of her miniatures – like I had a choice…it just called my name so I had to bring it home with me!

20140804_111839 20140804_111845Next door to her was a delightful, fun booth called CG Monsters (below)…..cute stuffed not-so-scary “monsters” crafted by the talented  Chantal Morin  www.etsy.com/shop/cgmonsters 

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Mural artist Arthur II was helped by kids and adults with his latest giant artwork painted live on-site. How cool is this? He had just stepped away when I visited but his assistant (pictured below) confirmed that Arthur would be adding more to the piece before the end of the 3-day exhibition.


Hamilton-base designer & craftsman, Ali Genc of Copper Art Canada had a stunning display of copper jewellery – earrings, pendants and great bracelets.  Unfortuantely, Ali doesn’t have his website up yet but I do recommend checking out his affordable wearable art if you see him at future craft/artisan shows like this.

20140804_113246 20140804_113252 20140804_1133062014 has become the “year of the glass” jewellery for me – I’ve fallen in love with Murano glass and lampwork beads and I found several great exhibitors today including Kathy Steers of Creativity in Glass Designs. Her colourful, happy designs attracted a lot of attention and I had my eye on the blue pendant (bottom pic) as well as the stunning copper & purple piece worn by her charming  friend from Indonesia who helped out in Kathy’s booth. Rats! I forgot to go back and pick up these 2 pieces so fingers crossed I can catch up with her later this week. http://www.CreativityInGlassDesigns.com 

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I then discovered S. Dias, a very gifted woodwork craftsman who carved this stunning rocking horse (complete with real horse hair mane & tail). His unique serving trays are actually made from wine crates and feature wood-burned labels from France, Italy and other int’l wine regions. No website but if you like his work, email him at s.dias.arts@gmail.com

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Just as I turned a corner, the sun came streaming out and seemed to shine directly on a cute little booth, Colours by Chris, featuring stunning handpainted artware and fun little jewellery pieces, including stones & pebbles found on the shores of the Messenia region (Kalamata) of Greece. Chris (pictured below) has created dainty little pendants with sterling silver fixtures. No website yet but you can probably find her at the next ArtFest at the end of this month – same venue, same times.

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Just next to Chris was ArtFest Toronto HQ where show producer & President Lory MacDonald (below) was meeting and greeting visitors, handing out show programs and answering all sorts of questions from the happy visitors. http://www.artfesttoronto.com 


As a contributing editor and arts & entertainment columnist for The Rider (www.TheRider.com), Ontario’s “voice of the horse” newspaper, I was thrilled to meet Sarah Bohan of KOOL Designs – Sarah (in 4th picture) recycles equine feed bags & packaging and crafts them into fashionable totes, shoulder bags and purses, even insulated “equus” carriers for your cool drinks (see 3rd pic) sometimes using old bridle leather and reins as shoulder straps and handles. Her designs help keep the commercial packaging out of landfill so not only are they fashion-forward they’re also eco-friendly. Check out her page at http://www.Facebook.com/2KOOLdesigns and watch for a story on KOOL Designs in an upcoming Rider issue. Bravo, Sarah – my new “green” champ!

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Artist Ivan Trotter brought some of the most colourful and charming paintings of Parisian street scenes and Tuscan landscapes to ArtFest – take a look at these gorgeous pieces painted on canvas and board. http://www.artbyivan.com

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Hey, how about a unique, sturdy leather rhino in your living room? Or a moose…a buffalo….an elephant? Reiner’s Originals offers quality leather Ottomans which can support adults, not just kids. I just love the beige bulldog here. http://www.reiners.ca 

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There was a charming young folksinger with her guitar in the main courtyard singing one of my fave 60’s tunes “Look What They’ve Done to my Song, Ma” (originally by Melanie, then recorded by The New Seekers in the 70’s) so I stopped and sang along with her for a bit. Lots of fun.


“Pretty .. rocker .. chic .. accessories” is how Colleen Poitras (below) is described. Her accessories and jewellery designs are also available at Made You Look boutique. Her metal cuffs are stunning – my photo doesn’t do them justice – with delicate engravings and pressed designs. Check out her site: http://www.ColleenPoitras.com

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Photographer Michael Hyman (below) was very popular and I snapped a couple of pics while he was busy wrapping artwork for customers.

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I grew up in a home filled with lovely pictures of birds – English birds – and the minute I saw artist Marilyn Kutsukake’s booth Birds with Words, I knew I had to snap a few pics. Her daughter was minding the store when I visited (pictured below). http://www.marilynkatsukakeart.com

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Next to the birdies, I found sculptor Irene Sirko whose stunning stone pieces are so tactile (feely-touchy) that I just had to! Loved running my hands over the green stone (I believe it’s fuchsite).  https://www.facebook.com/Irene.Sirko.Sculptor
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Then I found the lovely young folks at BravaSkin, a local soap maker presenting the most adorable soaps is shapes and scents for everyone. Eva Zhu explained how much fun she has designing all the cute cupcake soaps for bridal parties and tea parties, as well as the “rubber ducky” soaps for little kids (this big kid would love one, too!) http://www.BravaSkin.com

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So all in all, I had a wonderful time at http://www.ArtFestToronto.com – there’s another event over the Labour Day long weekend (Aug.29-Sep.1) at the Distillery District so if you’re in town then, you simply MUST visit and support our local artisans and craftspeople. You’ll find affordable art, gifts and treats and the venue is such a fun place to hang out and take photos of the old heritage warehouses and buildings. But ladies, wear flat shoes as the cobblestones are hell on your heels! Enjoy a few more random pics… and do leave a comment – let me know how you like the story.

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