Tag Archives: City of Toronto

DISTILLERY DISTRICT ALL DRESSED UP TO SHOWCASE EVENT FACILITIES

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_142344 20150301_134706 20150301_135246 20150301_141223 20150301_141206The entire space was glittering and shimmering with twinkling lights and stunning floral sculptures…I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it all.

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!  http://www.shop.gotstyle.ca 

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

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. http://www.distilleryevents.com 

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THE LITTLE TORONTO NEWS SITE THAT COULD – MEET PUBLISHER KJ MULLINS OF NEWZ4U.NET

About 18 months ago, I was introduced to one of Toronto’s unsung heroes, a woman who launched a news site that champions the underdog stories and gives a voice to those causes and issues that don’t get much exposure in mainstream media due to their lack of media “sexiness” or mass appeal. These are the stories that confront day-to-day life and issues in the naked city.  KJ Mullins is passionate about Toronto and her neighbours, and publishes her daily NEWZ4U.NET e-newspaper with the help of talented reporters and photographers dedicated to bringing the real news to you without corporate or advertiser “filters” and without fluff or filler content.

I recently sat down with KJ and asked her to tell us all about NEWZ4U.net and what prompted her to create the site.

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Tell us a little about KJ Mullins – what is your personal journalism/business background?
KJ: I started out in college on the journalism track but went to drama/psy instead. Ten years ago after other jobs and being a stay at home mom, I got the writing bug again and this time went full steam.  One of the first articles I wrote back in college helped to bring forth positive changes for disabled students rather quickly, and seeing that I could make a difference was really powerful.

KJ MullinsWhen was your website first launched?
KJ: I launched NEWZ4U.NET on May 12, 2010.

What first inspired you to create Newz4U & what news niche wasn’t being fulfilled by the national newspapers?
KJ: I wanted to get my voice out there and the voices of others who may not fit into the mainstream model. Social issues like homelessness, poverty, LGBT issues and the arts are often overlooked in the mainstream because if it’s not a ‘front and centre’ story it isn’t sexy. The same is true with stories on the city’s front line responders – in mainstream media the motto of if it bleeds it leads also means that stories about good works aren’t covered. It’s rare to find articles about the various Kops and Kids programs that do curb youth violence.

homeless porter_002 DSCF8097How did you source your first news items?
KJ: We have always sourced our news items in the same way; with on the scene and through interviewing with fact checking. We also use reliable newswires for additional coverage. 

What sort of feedback did you receive from readers once the first few editions were e-published?
KJ: Knock on wood, from the beginning we’ve had positive feedback. For the readers who had personal issues in the city like a pot hole appearing and reappearing at their Toronto Community Housing building which we helped to bring positive results, the feedback was extremely positive.

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DSCF0879Who are your readers and how do you reach them?
KJ: Our readers are mostly from Toronto and are generally 25+, evenly mixed between genders. Most have university educations and many are movers and shakers. They are interested in social change and the arts.

DSCF3761As a web-based news source, what sort of reach does Newz4U enjoy?
KJ: In 2014 we had over 449K readers who read over 2.4 million articles. We average 31K monthly readers going through 146K articles.

What stories do you look for?
KJ: We are always looking for new stories about social issues. Fresh produce in the city, and childhood hunger is a current issue we are tackling hard. In Canada’s largest business city it is mind-blowing how many go to bed hungry every night or haven’t got a bed to sleep in. We’ve covered Pride and the Caribbean Festival for several years, looking into the areas that aren’t touched by mainstream.

DSCF2517The arts are also a strong interest for us. We cover as many events, big and small, as possible. Right now we are working on the RBC Taylor Prize and the Lionel Gelber Prize, both covering Canadian non-fiction literature. Each shortlisted book is read and reviewed prior to the prize announcements. It’s a lot of work but promoting our Canadian authors is very important. These men and women are putting forth some amazing work. Photography, fine arts and music are also a prime focus. We hope to be at the Junos this year with one of our newest writers whose focus is music.

DSCF8833 DSCF6408We will also be covering sports at the Pan Am Games. Our sports photographer, Hugh McClean, has been covering soccer and rugby in the past year, two sports that get very little coverage in the city.

?????????????????????Do you offer sponsored pages or ad space and if so, what is the range of $s?
KJ: This is a hard one for us but yes we do have ad space. Ads run from $25 to $150 a month depending on placement. We have plans to change up our layout in mid-March/early-April that will allow for pages to be sponsored as well. Prices for this are still in the works.

We also have a sponsorship program which gives ‘free’ ad space for Toronto small businesses. Our Angel sponsors keep us going and growing.

NEWZ4U.NET gives back to the community by offering local grassroots and small charities space for promoting themselves and their events for FREE.

How do people reach you for editorial coverage and/or advertising?
KJ: We are always available via email at editor@newz4u.net. We respond within 24 hours Monday-Friday. You can always get in touch with me personally on Twitter @kjjournalist.

20141018_143931Above photo: G.J. Fordham

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ALLEN GARDENS OFFERS BEAUTIFUL HOT-HOUSE FLOWERS IN HEART OF TORONTO

20150111_145237I recently enjoyed a quick trip to paradise…or at least the closest thing we have here in Toronto’s grey, chilly downtown core.  Allen Gardens is a series of botanical greenhouses offering a variety of climates from tropical to desert and I always welcome the opportunity to wander through the pathways breathing in the fragrances or spotting the unique and beautiful blooms.  I managed to catch the tale end of their Christmas displays so there were tons of poinsettias in all shades of red, pink, yellow and event white (below) and there were even some “flower people”, too.

20150111_144322 20150111_144747 20150111_144020 20150111_144030I then took a stroll through the cactus & succulent collection (below) with all the prickly stems and hot dry atmosphere….

20150111_144354 20150111_144422 20150111_144505 20150111_144609…and on the way back, I took in the beautiful hibiscus and a few random plant decorations (below)

20150111_144249 20150111_144210 20150111_144305 20150111_144315Passing through the big palm house, I then went into the area with the ponds, statues and lots more flowers, including some stunning orchids.

20150111_144909 20150111_145053 20150111_145226 20150111_145337They have a charming pond that’s populated with koi as well as a few turtles who decided to make an appearance just as I passed by….

20150111_145319 20150111_145423Throughout the greenhouses, I found a number of festively decorated Christmas trees (below)

20150111_144901 20150111_145503After about 30 minutes of enjoying the floral beauty, I headed back outside, past a few more pretty flower beds…

20150111_145443 20150111_144102 20150111_144845…then back up Jarvis Street, passing by the beautiful old Victorian/Edwardian houses on my way home.

20150111_143202(0) 20150111_143237All in all, a lovely way to spend a grey old winter’s afternoon in Toronto.

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For information and hours, please visit: http://bit.ly/1u5PKc6

 

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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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Celtic spirit comes alive & kilts are a-flying @ Beach Celtic Festival, Toronto

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Day One of the annual Beach Celtic Festival is done-and-dusted, and oh what a highland fling was flung! Lots of vendors selling and sampling everything from food to jewellery to clothing to home accessories…even wee Scots sock monkeys!!

Founded 11 years ago by my friend, Sandy Graham (below), who ran Route 66, Toronto’s hottest 50’s dance club back in the late 70’s, early 80’s while I ran Ollie’s, the 2nd best such club located in the Ports of Call multi-venue entertainment centre which was located at Yonge & Summerhill.

Sandy picSandy, a first generation Scottish Canadian, has been presenting Toronto’s only outdoor ceilidh at Kew Gardens in Toronto as a tribute to her late mother.  When her Mum was dying, she asked not be mourned but to be celebrated and thanks to her daughter’s dedication and persistence, the event has grown into what is now a local tradition, celebrating  the Scottish, Irish and Welsh diaspora who came to Canada to start a new life.

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Meghan Bold, founder of the Bold Steps Dance Studio, has choreographed many of the dances presented at the Festival, and has been supporting Sandy with fundraisers and promotional performances leading up to this weekend’s event.

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Check out some of the great vendors who have lots of goodies left in their tents for tomorrow’s visitors….

Dan and Laura Gordon of Whisky & Spice (below), the local hand-crafted premium mustards were busy sampling and selling their Whisky, Porter beer and Riesling/Apple flavoured condiments…yummmmm  http://www.whiskyandspice.ca 

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Tammy Watson, known as the “Canadian Mom” brought her wee sock monkeys to the event, along with some of the sweetest crocheted and knitted hats and toys for the wee ones.  http://www.Facebook.com/CanadianMomOshawa

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…and charming jewellery designer Stephanie MacKay (below) brought her stunning “druzy” rings and pendants that sparkled in the sunshine  http://www.mform.weebly.com

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Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I’m a glutton for bling so when I saw the lovely designs of Fric & Frac Jewelry & Beads who set up their tent next to Whisky & Spice, I started oo’ing and aah’ing, drawing a crowd of shoppers. Look at these very affordable lovelies….

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20140906_171621http://www.fricandfracjewelry.com

Here are some more happy snaps……

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Toronto’s own Celtic Punk band, The Mahones, closed out the day’s festivities with a kick-ass performance that had the crowd clapping, dancing, whooping it up! http://www.themahones.ca

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Congratulations to Sandy on another fun-filled, family-friendly FREE festival in the heart of Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood! On Sunday, Sandy will be joined by knights (and maybe a princess, too) from the Medieval Times castle, and even more activities and entertainment.

http://www.thecelticfestival.com

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COOL STUFF HAPPENING THIS WEEK FOR FORDHAM PR

Woohoo…it’s Honda Indy Toronto week!

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….and Degrassi tv series star SARAH FISHER   http://sarahfisher.ca/ will be meeting her namesake, celebrated ex-Indy racer SARAH FISHER who now owns Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing  http://sfhracing.com/  in the paddock at the Exhibition grounds on Saturday July 19th at 12:30pm in the afternoon. Media will be in attendance for photo opps and interviews with the two Sarahs along with hot new SFHR driver, Josef Newgarden.  If you’re attending the Indy races this weekend, say hi if you see the Sarahs.

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Then on Sunday July 20th, Sarah (Degrassi) will perform live on the Yonge/Dundas Square main stage as part of the YOUTH DAY celebrations at 8:30pm and will also be at the Kids Help Phone booth earlier in the evening signing autographs and posing with fans for photos. Check here for details of the day’s events:  http://yd-toronto.com/

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Sarah will be releasing her new single, “Ceiling” this week and will be performing that song two others as part of the Youth Day concert.   Then…..

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… WHISKY & SPICE gourmet hand-crafted all-Canadian mustards will be offering tastings of their super-deelish flavoured condiments at this Sunday’s LESLIEVILLE FLEA  http://leslievilleflea.com/  located at 1444 Queen St East (pictured above). Made from the finest spices and premium Canadian mustard seeds, the three flavours include Porter Beer, Whisky and Riesling/Apple and all go extremely well with BBQ, cold cuts, cheeses, pretzels, sandwiches …in fact, W&S mustard goes well with anything that needs a little “boost”.  Come meet mustard maestro Dan and wife Laura (pictured below), tickle your tastebuds and pick up a jar or three!  http://whiskyandspice.ca/

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What a busy week we’re having, and I’m thrilled to be with the two Sarah’s at the Honda Indy Toronto autographing my book “Women Racers: Inside Stories from the Fast Lane” which contains a chapter on the history-making Indy car driver Sarah Fisher. Ladies, start your engines! Vvvroooooom…..

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