Category Archives: CULTURE

DAY# 112 of 365- EARTH DAY and the Magical Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park!

Happy EARTH DAY!

Today I had planned to do something else for ‘Earth Day’, but a dear friend invited me to see the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park, instead. I like to go with the flow and I don’t really have a set plan everyday during this 365 day journey (and my plans over the past 3 months have often changed the last minute), so I decided at the last minute to go with her and be one with nature. I don’t do this enough, and the weather is getting much warmer and everything is in bloom and coming back to life now that spring is here. So today was the day. Getting out and enjoying nature is one of my favourite things to do.

After seeing the movie ‘Avatar’ yesterday and loving the message of the movie which to me was to ‘appreciate, protect and respect the beauty of nature’, I am reminded to get OUT of my tiny downtown apartment and enjoy nature. And a lot of people are not aware that, Toronto is over 18% PARKLAND, so there is a lot of beautiful nature to enjoy in the big city!

Today marks the 1st weekly series on Toronto 365 of “NATURE IN THE CITY” and I thought going to see the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park, (that were a gift to Toronto from Tokyo many years ago) would be a fitting beginning of this series.

It was my first time seeing the Japanese Cherry Blossoms, even though I was born and raised in Toronto. Its one of those things that I always said I was going to do one day.

What a beautiful expression of nature. It was like we were transported to Japan.

People were walking, talking, singing, taking pictures, eating and EVERYONE was happy and smiling walking through this natural wonderland. When the soft pink petals fell it was like huge pink snow flakes were falling on my head. Living in Toronto for 30-something years, I cant believe this is the 1st time I have witnessed this hidden gem.

Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park, in Toronto, Canada

Here is an article about the history, and some interesting information about the Japanese Cherry Blossoms and how they arrived in Toronto….

Celebrating Japanese cherry blossoms in Toronto

I particularly liked this sentence in the article….

“In Japan, cherry blossoms are called sakura, and the delicate and ephemeral blossoms are said to remind the Japanese that life is short, and already over before we really understand that it has begun.”

As my motto for my 365 Day Vacation or Journey through Toronto says…. “Life is to be ENJOYED and LIVED, get out and have FUN!”

I have been fortunate to have vacationed in over 40 countries and 100’s of cities around the world, and after over 3 months of having a daily mini vacation in my home city of TORONTO, I can honestly say this has been my best vacation ever! I love discovering and rediscovering my city. I am having the most fun, meeting so many positive and friendly people, experiencing and learning something new everyday. I LOVE T.O. :-)

Being that is EARTH DAY, I am not going to get on a soapbox and preach to people how they should recycle more and turn off their lights, etc. because I don’t believe that is the most effective way inspire people to respect and take care of nature.

I may be wrong but I personally believe that showing people the beauty of nature or taking their hand and walking them through one of the many beautiful expressions that nature gives us, (as I captured in these pictures below) I think is much more effective and inspiring.

How could anyone not want to protect, respect and take care of NATURE after seeing and experiencing such beauty?

ENJOY

How the Play a ‘FABULOUS DISASTER’, Mended My Broken Heart…After I Experienced a Breakup Via a Facebook Message…(yes you read that correctly)!

Today started off as a beautiful day (spring is finally here) and a happy day, which was exactly what I needed.

I have had an extremely busy and stressful last few months, and not getting enough sleep has left me sleep deprived.  You know that saying … ‘things happen in 3’s’, well since I have started this journey it has been more like 33’s.

From major tech problems and issues with my website and computer and I am NOT a tech savy person, to health issues, my dad being recently admitted to the hospital, to being a victim of bank fraud and financial issues like I have never experienced before, discovering who my true friends are and not, and my TV, stereo, computer, phone and car all breaking down within 2 months (the technology gods must be angry at me lol), etc.

I finally made the time to see the movie AVATAR, with a friend.  Loved it!  Absolutely beautiful nature scenes and cinematography.  Very appropriate for EARTH MONTH.  Loved the message of the film and how it reminded us that we need to take care of and be more connected to nature.  NATURE is powerfully moving and inspiring we have to respect it.
I was inspired, happy and on cloud 9 after watching the movie…

Now this part of my day, is hard to write about……

I came home and saw a message in my Facebook message inbox from my new boyfriend…
He broke up with me via a FACEBOOK message.
I know I am a self confessed fan of  Facebook and all things social media …but breaking up with someone via a Facebook message is very inappropriate.
The fact that he is a man in his 40’s made it even more shocking.

When I started this website, I made a conscious decision to make sure I focused on uplifting and inspiring others and myself to LIVE and ENJOY life and to have FUN, and sharing helpful and fun info about my city that is accessible and affordable to everyone.  I am not a critic, I like to call myself a ‘positive storyteller’.  For example, if I attend an event or a restaurant, etc. and I did not find it fun or was not pleased, I simply do not write about it.  I will do something else and write about that instead.  My belief is the NEGATIVE things and people already get ‘too much’ attention.  I don’t want to play in that sandbox.

My goal and mission is to shine the spotlight on all the POSITIVE PEOPLE and things in this great city and the world. So I will not lower myself to bash him.  That is not my style anyways.

Of course I was heartbroken and hurt, mainly because he did it via facebook (still shaking my head at that).
It felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode, I was looking around for George, Kramer and Elaine LOL
His Facebook breakup reminded me of a Sex In The City episode when the main character, Carrie was dumped via a sticky note. LOL

I really wanted to stay home, in bed under the covers and cry a little.  Then mend my heartbreak with a bucket of Haagen-dazs Cookies & Cream LOL.

But I had tickets to go see a play at one of my favourite theatre houses in the city, at the Factory Theatre ……
the play was called a A FABULOUS DISASTER

…and created and performed by the very talented ‘Denise Clarke’ and produced by One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre company of Calgary.

A Fabulous Disaster is a dark comedy that deals with a woman dealing with a broken heart, “poignant and elegant, the one woman play bounces through the themes of love, jealousy and belonging that everyone can relate to.”

I thought oh no how timely, maybe I should pass on seeing this one because I thought it would be too sad.
But I forced myself to leave the house and get out and have a FUN night regardless.  I knew if I didn’t, I would stay home and be depressed and I have vowed to never allow anyone, ever again to rent space in my head!  Nope not like I use to in the past.

I am so glad I did, because seeing this MAGNIFICENT play lifted my spirits.

The healing power of arts!!! The reason why I love the arts so much.
The play was so darn funny that I laughed until I cried…literally. (I am giggling as I type this, just thinking about some of the funny scenes and lines)

I totally laughed out loud throughout most of the play.
I was laughing so much my cheeks hurt.  It was that funny!  The entire audience was in stitches.

The very talented actress Denise Clarke, was hilarious with a capital H.
The story was so layered, fun, creative, unique, interesting, thought provoking, moving but most of all FUNNY.
Exactly what the doctor ordered.

I purposely waited around after the play to meet the actress, so I could personally THANK her for lifting my spirits through her artistic talents.  Also for inspiring me to change my perspective, and making me laugh out loud when just a few minutes before I arrived at the Factory Theatre, I was hiding my tears from the other riders on the TTC streetcar. This play reminded me that loosing myself in the ARTS, is much more healthier, fun and healing for the soul, mind, heart and body than a gallon of Haagen Dazs ice cream (and much better for my thighs too LOL).

I will definitely see it again before the run ends this Sunday.  Highly recommended if you want to see some great live theatre for not much more than the cost of a movie ticket.

Life is short, I will always try to remember to get out and have fun.

One of my favourite quotes is by Maya Angelou…

“Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got.
Love it with passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it!”

At the beginning of this year I made a promise to myself to live my life to the fullest, every single day.
So I will not internalize his inappropriate actions and take it personally.
I refuse to lay in bed crying for a week, and eat my sorrows away, like I would have done in the recent past.
I know that there are a lot of great men out there, so his actions are not a reflection of all men…Nope not even close to the majority.  There are a lot of good men in this world!

One thing that I have been constantly reminded of on my 365 day journey of love for my city (and for myself) is there are so many GOOD and KIND people in this great city and in this world.  Even though the negative people get a lot more press and attention,  they truly are the minority.  We cant forget that.

Lesson learned…

I will remember to listen to my intuition (it is never wrong)

…and everything happens for a reason because, any man that thinks it is appropriate and respectful to break up with someone via Facebook is not the type of man I want to be with.  So it never would have lasted anyways!

As someone said at the theatre last night, ‘Darling he actually did you a favour, so thank him!’
So true, and I do…
A BIG blessing in disguise.

I KNOW and have total FAITH that the right guy is out there for me and I ‘will’ find TRUE LOVE.  I can feel it deep in my heart and soul.

If you know of any kind, loving, intelligent, funny, mature, courageous and handsome men…I am open to being hooked up.  I heard that this unknown guy in the picture is single, I cant remember his name for the life of me>>>>

…so if anyone has his direct line, let him know that I am available and I would think about going for coffee with him lol

Match.com here I come LOL!  I have always wanted to try speed dating, it looks like fun…anyone ever try that?

I have moved on!

***The lesson learned from all of this is….I will continue to have FUN, love and laugh, dance…and live a FABULOUS life, even in the midst of DISASTER!

DAY# 111 of 365- How the Play a ‘FABULOUS DISASTER’, Mended My Broken Heart…After I Experienced a Breakup Via a Facebook Message…(yes you read that correctly)!

Today started off as a beautiful day (spring is finally here) and a happy day, which was exactly what I needed.

I have had an extremely busy and stressful last few months, and not getting enough sleep has left me sleep deprived.  You know that saying … ‘things happen in 3’s’, well since I have started this journey it has been more like 33’s.

From major tech problems and issues with my website and computer and I am NOT a tech savy person, to health issues, my dad being recently admitted to the hospital, to being a victim of bank fraud and financial issues like I have never experienced before, discovering who my true friends are and not, and my TV, stereo, computer, phone and car all breaking down within 2 months (the technology gods must be angry at me lol), etc.

I finally made the time to see the movie AVATAR, with a friend.  Loved it!  Absolutely beautiful nature scenes and cinematography.  Very appropriate for EARTH MONTH.  Loved the message of the film and how it reminded us that we need to take care of and be more connected to nature.  NATURE is powerfully moving and inspiring we have to respect it.
I was inspired, happy and on cloud 9 after watching the movie…

Now this part of my day, is hard to write about……

I came home and saw a message in my Facebook message inbox from my new boyfriend…
He broke up with me via a FACEBOOK message.
I know I am a self confessed fan of  Facebook and all things social media …but breaking up with someone via a Facebook message is very inappropriate.
The fact that he is a man in his 40’s made it even more shocking.

When I started this website, I made a conscious decision to make sure I focused on uplifting and inspiring others and myself to LIVE and ENJOY life and to have FUN, and sharing helpful and fun info about my city that is accessible and affordable to everyone.  I am not a critic, I like to call myself a ‘positive storyteller’.  For example, if I attend an event or a restaurant, etc. and I did not find it fun or was not pleased, I simply do not write about it.  I will do something else and write about that instead.  My belief is the NEGATIVE things and people already get ‘too much’ attention.  I don’t want to play in that sandbox.

My goal and mission is to shine the spotlight on all the POSITIVE PEOPLE and things in this great city and the world. So I will not lower myself to bash him.  That is not my style anyways.

Of course I was heartbroken and hurt, mainly because he did it via facebook (still shaking my head at that).
It felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode, I was looking around for George, Kramer and Elaine LOL
His Facebook breakup reminded me of a Sex In The City episode when the main character, Carrie was dumped via a sticky note. LOL

I really wanted to stay home, in bed under the covers and cry a little.  Then mend my heartbreak with a bucket of Haagen-dazs Cookies & Cream LOL.

But I had tickets to go see a play at one of my favourite theatre houses in the city, at the Factory Theatre ……
the play was called a A FABULOUS DISASTER

…and created and performed by the very talented ‘Denise Clarke’ and produced by One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre company of Calgary.

A Fabulous Disaster is a dark comedy that deals with a woman dealing with a broken heart, “poignant and elegant, the one woman play bounces through the themes of love, jealousy and belonging that everyone can relate to.”

I thought oh no how timely, maybe I should pass on seeing this one because I thought it would be too sad.
But I forced myself to leave the house and get out and have a FUN night regardless.  I knew if I didn’t, I would stay home and be depressed and I have vowed to never allow anyone, ever again to rent space in my head!  Nope not like I use to in the past.

I am so glad I did, because seeing this MAGNIFICENT play lifted my spirits.

The healing power of arts!!! The reason why I love the arts so much.
The play was so darn funny that I laughed until I cried…literally. (I am giggling as I type this, just thinking about some of the funny scenes and lines)

I totally laughed out loud throughout most of the play.
I was laughing so much my cheeks hurt.  It was that funny!  The entire audience was in stitches.

The very talented actress Denise Clarke, was hilarious with a capital H.
The story was so layered, fun, creative, unique, interesting, thought provoking, moving but most of all FUNNY.
Exactly what the doctor ordered.

I purposely waited around after the play to meet the actress, so I could personally THANK her for lifting my spirits through her artistic talents.  Also for inspiring me to change my perspective, and making me laugh out loud when just a few minutes before I arrived at the Factory Theatre, I was hiding my tears from the other riders on the TTC streetcar. This play reminded me that loosing myself in the ARTS, is much more healthier, fun and healing for the soul, mind, heart and body than a gallon of Haagen Dazs ice cream (and much better for my thighs too LOL).

I will definitely see it again before the run ends this Sunday.  Highly recommended if you want to see some great live theatre for not much more than the cost of a movie ticket.

Life is short, I will always try to remember to get out and have fun.

One of my favourite quotes is by Maya Angelou…

“Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got.
Love it with passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it!”

At the beginning of this year I made a promise to myself to live my life to the fullest, every single day.
So I will not internalize his inappropriate actions and take it personally.
I refuse to lay in bed crying for a week, and eat my sorrows away, like I would have done in the recent past.
I know that there are a lot of great men out there, so his actions are not a reflection of all men…Nope not even close to the majority.  There are a lot of good men in this world!

One thing that I have been constantly reminded of on my 365 day journey of love for my city (and for myself) is there are so many GOOD and KIND people in this great city and in this world.  Even though the negative people get a lot more press and attention,  they truly are the minority.  We cant forget that.

Lesson learned…

I will remember to listen to my intuition (it is never wrong)

…and everything happens for a reason because, any man that thinks it is appropriate and respectful to break up with someone via Facebook is not the type of man I want to be with.  So it never would have lasted anyways!

As someone said at the theatre last night, ‘Darling he actually did you a favour, so thank him!’
So true, and I do…
A BIG blessing in disguise.

I KNOW and have total FAITH that the right guy is out there for me and I ‘will’ find TRUE LOVE.  I can feel it deep in my heart and soul.

If you know of any kind, loving, intelligent, funny, mature, courageous and handsome men…I am open to being hooked up.  I heard that this unknown guy in the picture is single, I cant remember his name for the life of me>>>>

…so if anyone has his direct line, let him know that I am available and I would think about going for coffee with him lol

Match.com here I come LOL!  I have always wanted to try speed dating, it looks like fun…anyone ever try that?

I have moved on!

***The lesson learned from all of this is….I will continue to have FUN, love and laugh, dance…and live a FABULOUS life, even in the midst of DISASTER!

Toronto STREET ART#2- Respecting the Craft of Street Art!

Another talented Toronto artist that so graciously shares his gift of creating beautiful art, with other Torontonians.

Some beautiful art to brighten our day,  as we walk about the city streets of downtown Toronto.

Thanks Mr. Chalk Master for making me laugh with your wicked sense of humour and the pleasure of watching you create something so beautiful, out of something as simple as a piece of chalk.

See one of the Chalk Masters masterpieces at Yonge & Dundas, infront of the Eaton Centre Mall, before the rain washed it away…

Black Business and Professional Association to Announce *TODAY*-Award Recipients of the 2010 Harry Jerome Awards “Celebrating Excellence”

Black Business and Professional Association to Announce the Award
Recipients of the 2010 Harry Jerome Awards
“Celebrating Excellence

Toronto, ON – March 25th 2010- Media are invited to attend the announcement of the 2010
Harry Jerome Awards recipients with BBPA President, Pauline Christian and Harry Jerome
Awards Chair, Karlyn Percil. This momentous occasion is celebrated with great honour and
pride, as the BBPA gears up to present these outstanding individuals with their due reward in the
upcoming ceremony. African-Canadians have made great contributions to the landscape of this
nation and we are proud to recognize their achievements.

The 28th Annual Harry Jerome Awards Ceremony is taking place on
April 24, 2010
.

See the website below to purchase tickets to the event…

www.bbpa.org

For more information about the celebrated Canadian track and field runner and gold medal OLYMPIAN, Harry Jerome

click the link below…

Harry Jerome-Canadian Track & Field Olympian & Canadian Walk of Fame Inductee

I will be attending the announcement and excited to be there as I was a recipient of the

Harry Jerome Scholarship  Award in high school for my academic achievements and community

involvement.

The BBPA National Scholarship Fund-available to students attending accredited Canadian universities or colleges

I am very grateful to the BBPA for the scholarship award, because the monetary award enabled me to attend my

1st year at York University, without financial stress, and that made all the difference!

This is a full circle moment for me

Stay tuned for my blog post to come…

DAY#2 of 365-A World Famous Peameal Bacon Sandwich & a Conversation about Life & Love with a 73 yr old Jamaican-Canadian Saxaphone Player

Today I was ‘inspired’ to have the ‘world famous’ peameal bacon sandwich at the Carousel Bakery & Sandwich Bar, which is located inside the historic St. Lawrence Market.   My inspiration came from the fact that today it was -20 degrees, with the wind chill factor and the St. Lawrence Market is only a 5 minute walk from my home… ;-)

These sandwiches are as Toronto as you can get and they are loved by the locals,  bus loads of tourists, and famous celebrities such as the chef Emeril Lagasse and Catherine Zeta Jones, etc.   The walls infront of the sandwich bar are covered with thank you letters from countless celebs who just  love these yummy sandwiches….that are only $5.30 +tax.

The owners are 2 brothers Maurice and Robert.   Robert was not in, but I spoke to Maurice for a while and he is one of those warm and friendly guys, with a great sense of humour, that after 5 minutes of talking to, you feel like you have known him forever.

Just look at Maurice’s smile :-)   No wonder his place of business is so popular and his food tastes do good… You can tell he cooks his food with lots of ‘love’

 

I struck up a conversation with two nice guys, who were enjoying  their peameal sandwich.

We started talking about great food in the city and they gave me a suggestion of a South American (Uruguay) restaurant in the city.  I asked how were their empanadas,  because I love them, and he said they are amazing.  So I will be making a visit there very soon.

 

As I sat and ate my sandwich I heard the most soul stirring saxaphone music coming from around the corner.  When he finished playing I put a few dollars in his sax case and told him he plays beautifully and introduced myself, and asked him how his day was.

His answer to me was this… ”sometimes people dont understand that someone could be smiling on the outside but crying on the inside”  I asked him what was wrong and he told me his brother passed away in Jamaica and he will be going to his funeral this week.  I offered my condolences.  Then I pulled up a chair and just listened for as long as he wanted me too.

He told me about his 50+ year international music career starting as a little boy in Jamaica,  when he attended the well known “Alpha Boys” music school,  playing with the world famous “Skatalites” and touring the world, to working with the legendary recording studio & label “Studio One” nicknamed the “Motown of Jamaica”.  He said  it was always ‘just about the music’ and that he  just played for the love of the music & for the people.   I learned lessons about life & love from this amazing 73 year old talented musician.

I went to the market expecting to spend $5.30 to fill my hungry stomach….never expecting that having a conversation with this amazing stranger, would fill my soul….PRICELESS!  Thank you Karl.  We will continue our conversation when you return from Jamaica….

And now  I would like to introuduce you to baritone saxaphone player…. Karl Bryan aka Karl “CannonBall” Bryan.

Below is a short youtube clip of him playing in Toronto this summer… ENJOY!

Karl \”CannonBall\” Bryan Playing for the People of the World