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…

FREE or ‘Almost Free’ Things to do With the Kids over the March Break.

What are your plans for March Break with the kids…

If you’re staying in Toronto for the break, there’s a lot to do in the city.

Here’s a list of FREE or almost free things to do with the kids….

  • Royal Ontario Museum: March is “Bat” month at the ROM. Specials for March Break include: FREE Bats t-shirts (valued at $17.99) for the first 50 kids through the door every day during the Break (March 13 to 21). FREE bat crowns to every kids on Saturdays and Sundays during Bat Month. Special hours for March Break, extended hours and half-price admission after 4:30 p.m.   **While supplies  last.
  • CBC Museum: Visit the Canadian Broadcasting Centre and learn about how all scenes from CBC’s classic children’s programs, or watch clips from their archives. CBC Museum is located at 250 Front St. W. Telephone: 416-205-5574 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              416-205-5574      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
  • Harbourfront: Bring your skates and head off to the Natrel rink for an afternoon of fun.  If you don’t have skates, you can rent them for the day. Admission is free. Hours are: 10:00 am. to 10:)0  pm.  The Natrel Rink is open until March 22 (weather permitting).
  • Nathan Philips Square: Another popular place to take the kids skating. Skate rentals are available for those who don’t have skates. Admission is free. The rink is open 7 days a week. Hours are: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  • Ontario Place: Cinesphere – March Break Film Festival. Watch movies every day from March 15 to 21 for only $8.  The Princess and the Frog will be showing at 11:00 a.m. and The Twilight Saga: New Moon at 2 pm.
  • Wizard World: Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place. Free Admission for kids on March 14 with Pizza Pizza coupon. $8.50 without a coupon. Lots of activities for the kids. Stage shows, rides, attractions, petting zoo, crafts, entertainment, etc. Hours 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Free lootbags for the kids. For more information, call: 416-585-9263 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              416-585-9263      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. VIA…torontoonthecheap

-Toronto is 18% parkland…get back to NATURE.  Go to one of the MANY great public PARKS like High Park or Trinity Bellwoods park or a park in your neighbourhood.  Its a great way to exercise and play OUTSIDE with the kids. The Allan Gardens Conservatory, is free for children and adults.

-Go to one of the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series. (I love the free concert series! I am so grateful to the donors.). On March 16, Norbert Palej directs an homage to the works of Chopin, performed by the University of Toronto’s music ensemble. Guest artists include Paolo Bellomia and Jimmy Briere.

-Go to the TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY www.torontopubliclibrary.ca with the kids.  You can rent movies and take out books if it is a rainy day. Many libraries have activities for families and events for adults. Check out RAMP the TPLs Youth Publication

-Go to one of the cities COMMUNITY CENTRES  Toronto Parks & Recreation where you can get active, play a game or join one of the many free activities or classes.

-Visit the free zoo at High Park . There are fallow deer, peacocks, bison, emus, yaks, llamas and exotic species such as capybaras and wallabies. Or the Riverdale Farm.This real farm in Cabbagetown parkland has free admission. The kids can see donkeys, pigs, fowl, rabbits, etc. Preschoolers activities include puzzles, books and games in the Meeting House playroom.

-Go to a museum or cultural centre. If you are downtown Fort York, a War of 1812 battleground, or Mackenzie House, the home of our first mayor. Or in the westend, visit Montgomery’s Inn, which is connected to the 1837 Rebellion, or Colborne Lodge, a restored 19th-century house in High Park. The Gibson House Museum and Todmorden Mills in North York, and Scarborough Historical Museum in the eastend.

The Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum. The AGO’s permanent collections are free on Wednesdays between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Plus, high-school students with valid ID get in free between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday. The ROM has free admission on Wednesdays between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The National Film Board of Canada’s Mediatheque offers Green Scenes, a twice-daily, hands-on animation workshop for children aged six to 14. It’s only $5 per child, and you can join in for free.

-Catch a hockey game and see the Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum.  You cant get tickets for as low as $10, in the “Toronto Star Zone” by purchasing them online..

-Go for a walk along the HARBOURFRONT or in the BEACHES have FUN!

-Explore one of the many culturally diverse neighbourhoods for the day like, Greek Town, China Town or Little Italy.

and remember LIFE is meant to be LIVED & ENJOYED, get out, try something NEW & have FUN!

………………………………………

P.S. Please SHARE any info in the comment section below, on FREE or budget friendly activities you may know about!  THANKS!

Even though I am not a parent, I am babysitting a wonderful 7 year old girl over the March Break Holidays. Wish me luck! HA!

Only kidding I love her to bits and she is the sweetest most intelligent child. She almost makes me want to have one of my own (I said almost, as I love to sleep in :-) …I honour & respect parents because just after 1 weekend of babysitting I am exhausted LOL!  It is a tough but rewarding job.)

DAY#58 of 365- The Amazing Volunteers of ‘Crisis Camp’-Toronto

Today I helped out a bit doing some admin work, watched,  documented and blogged about the amazing tech volunteers of the  Crisis Commons Toronto division of the great non profit charity Crisis Commons.org .  A group of people who decided to use their Saturday to help people half way across the globe who are going through a crisis.

From the “about page” on the Crisis Commons Website…

“Founded in March 2009 through an impromptu Tweetup at Government 2.0 Camp, a small band of idealists and innovators gathered to discuss the idea of a creating a common community through a mash-up of citizen volunteers, crisis response organizations, international humanitarian relief agencies, non-profits and the private sector. Within minutes, the CrisisCommons communitywas born and CrisisCamp events were created to unite communities, seek common ground and cultivate innovation in the use of technology for mobility and efficiency during crisis.”

Today’s camp was originally going to be dedicated to the relief efforts in Haiti.  But another earthquake happened in the early morning, in Chile.  So there was a change of plans to help the people of Chile during those very important and critical first few hours and days right after the crisis.   A CBC writer and reporter was also in attendance.

I first heard about Crisis Commons during a seminar I attended called “Tweeting for Haiti” at ‘Social Media Week’ conference and the Toronto coordinator Heather Lesson was on the discussion panel.  You could just see and feel how passionate and dedicated she was in  helping those facing a crisis in Haiti (and elsewhere), by utilizing her skills and talents to assist where she can.  Some people are just helpers and givers and she is one of those people.  Some people say they want to help and give back,  and from what I learned about how much she has given of her energies and time, she is definitely a ‘doer’ and not just a talker.

We need more people in the world like her and the other volunteers I witnessed today.

I said I would help by doing anything as long as it is not tech related (i.e. admin stuff, take pics and videos, take notes, pick up lunch, etc.) as long as I did not have to touch a computer beyond email and social media sites.

I am not very tech/computer literate, it is not my strength.  Yes I know, hard to believe because I write a daily blog.

But I am just starting to get the hang of it…and very slowly & a little too slowly I might add (you can hear my frustration)!

I believe in the power of social media to help make positive changes, raise awareness of great non profit organizations and for fundraising efforts that we have recently seen for the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

Below is an interesting article about how a man raised money through social media…

\”How one man used social media to raise $91,\” 000 for charity\”

This is a great non profit organization, I have seen the the positive results of their efforts, I believe in and will support in whatever way I can.

If you can help, or know someone else who may be interested, please check their website/wiki page for a crisis camp chapter near you or you can start one, or the Toronto camps blog below

Crisis Camp T.O. Blog

There are a lot of good people in the world!  And the people of Crisis Common are a perfect example of that.

DAY#57 of 365-A Tropical Oasis-A Little Nature in the City

This tropical green oasis, is located in an office building in downtown Toronto.  Yes, I know, its hard to believe.

The Robertson Building on Spadina Ave.  The people who work in this building and this is the 1st thing they see when they come to work everyday are very fortunate.  I love it. Its is beautiful.

A little nature in the big city.

One of those “hidden gems” in Toronto I discovered by accident looking for something a few weeks ago.

It is called a Bio Wall  Naturaire (Living Walls) , is the green company that built this beautiful, lush, green tropical plant wall…

It is beautiful but also CLEANS the indoor air quality in the entire building.  As someone with asthma, I could immediately tell the difference in air quality just standing in the lobby of this office building.

The air was so fresh and clean.  It reminded me of the Caribbean.

I want a Bio Wall in my apartment.

A real ‘Breathing Space’…

Nature is so BEAUTIFUL, I am in awe of it.  A reminder to take care of her much better than we presently are.  I am trying to live more green  (I still have a lot to learn) and recently joined my buildings green committee.   The city of Toronto is 18% parkland and the City has a lot of green initiatives in place and  others coming up in the near future.

If you have any Green living tips/info, please share.  Every little bit helps

Red Olympic Mittens, “Canada” Hat & Scarf *GIVEAWAY #3*!

The “I BELIEVE”– Red Olympic Mittens, the “Canada” Hat & Scarf Give Away!!!

This will be the 3rd time I will be giving away these mittens, in the  past few weeks!

To enter your name in a draw to win a pair of the popular 2010 Olympic red mittens, hat and scarf….. just say the word “HELLO” in the comment section below…

Thats all you have to do to win. Good Luck!

(And you dont have to be Canadian to enter it is open to everyone!)

News clip about the popularity of the Red Olympic Mittens

 

***Olympic mitten, scarf & hat CONTEST Update:

The deadline to enter the contest has been extended through Friday, March 5th. GOOD LUCK!

*Thank you for following me on this journey.  (I have had some major website technical difficulties over the past few week which have THANKFULLY  just been resolved, by my professional,  patient & very helpful web guy Tony of  Akira Studio .  Tony has been a life saver, for this very tech illiterate woman lol!  So my backposts will be reloaded over the next couple of days) .

I just want those who are following along to know that your patience, comments, emails and words of encouragement are very appreciated!

I am really doing all of this on a ‘budget’ and I am not that tech literate at all lol.

So a big THANK YOU! :-)

 

And dont forget your feedback and suggestions for FUN things to do in the city are VERY welcome!

Have a fun-filled week!

…and remember “Life is to be enjoyed & lived, get out and have FUN!”


***Olympic mitten, scarf & hat CONTEST Update:

The deadline to enter the contest has been extended through Friday, March 5th. GOOD LUCK!


***And stay tuned, I will be giving away the Red Canada Olympic hooded sweater and 2 of the very popular “CANUCK”  T-shirts for women.

DAY#7 of 365- A 1hour Massage is an Instant MINI Vacation

Most people when asked what would they do if they won the lottery…the most common answers given is go on vacation and buy a house.  I say….hire a live in , 24hr on call massage therapist.  Available to give me a massage whenever I wanted.   For the past six months I have been saying that I was going to get a massage, as I have neck, shoulder and back injuries from a car accident years ago and I needed one badly as I was in pain…Today was finally the day.

I am not one of those lucky people who have a health insurance plan that covers massages (yes I am jealous…so many of my friends who do, NEVER take advantage of it?  Crazy!) so I opted for a student to do the massage for ONLY $37 ….at the prestigious  Sutherland Chan School and Teaching Clinic at 330 Dupont St. Suite 400 (1 block west of  Dupont subway station) Call 924-1107  ext. 10 ….to book an appointment

www.sutherland-chan.com

These are qualified students that are supervised by professional teachers that randomly monitor the massage.  Since I have had a lot of massages over the years, by some amazing therapists, I was honestly a bit worried whether I would like the quality of the massage.  Gladly, it was amazing. The students name giving me the massage was Josh.  He was a very nice and had a very calming personality that put me at ease.  Due to my injuries I did not choose to do the relaxation massage, which is a choice, but instead choose to focus on treating the problem areas.  He worked on the injured areas for about 40 minutes after he did the initial first assessment.  I will try the relaxing massage next time.

The massage area was one large, very clean and nice room, with thick curtains dividing the different massage beds/stations.

I felt so much relief of the pain that I had when I 1st arrived.  Left feeling relaxed and refreshed.  I went home and took an Epsom salt bath which is recommended after a massage.  Heavenly!

A great massage… AN INSTANT MINI-VACATION in the busy city for *only* $37.00!

http://www.sutherland-chan.com/template1.asp?content_id=333

They also do specialty clinics for…Seniors, Pregnancy, Sports Injury, Breast Massage,Pelvic Chronic Pelvic Pain, Central Nervous System Clinic….

All these clinics if you are eligible are * only* $15 for a 1 hour appointment.

I qualified for the breast massage clinic because I had surgery a few years ago.

Will let you know how that goes next week.

I need to win the lottery ASAP, I need a massage everyday! ;-)

***I have completed 1 WEEK of FUN in Toronto!  Only 51 more weeks to go!

Please send me some ideas and recommendations of FUN and interesting things to do in the city!  (Unless it is a worm eating contest lol…one of my smart Alec friends suggested that).
I would also like to thank everyone for your comments.  Keep them coming I really appreciate them and they encourage me to keep going and to finish this exciting New Years Resolution! And please forward my blog to your friends and family. I will be announcing the details of my 1st contest/ give away this week…so subscribe and keep on reading. See you tomorrow

DAY#8 of 365- The X-Weighted.com National Weight Loss Challenge and Saturday Night Ice Skating Party

Today I went to register for the “X-Weighted Challenge” nation wide weight loss challenge, event with a friend.

http://xweighted.ca/national-weigh-day-2010  .

It took place at X-Treme Fitness Gym at Yonge and Dundas.

They gave us a gift bag, containing a measuring tape, granola bar and coupon, portion control fridge magnet, a blue nap sack and a pedometer.

It is a 26 week journey to get into shape and in the end there is 7ooo dollars worth of porizes for the winner!  I am crossing my fingers and I am feeling lucky.

Why don’t you join me if getting back into shape is one of your New Years Resolutions?  Week 1 starts today.

Every Saturday night at the Harbourfront there is free a DJ Skate Nights.

http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/skating/

A live DJ plays music until 11pm.  Tonight was a 50 and 60’s dance party theme.  Next week it is house music.

It was so much fun, even though I was on my behind half the night.  It has been almost 20 years since I have skated.  I forgot how much  fun it was.  I rented skates for 5.00 but will buy a pair of my own skates.  And its also a fun exercise!

They even provided free hot chocolate the entire night and that is until Feb 13th.

They also sell other hot beverages out of a vending machine for only 1.00… like coffee, soup, cafe mocha.  Or food and drinks in the indoor cafe which is a great place to take a break, play games, chat with friends and family and warm up.  Or fill up your thermos at home and bring it with you.  The last day to skate is March 5th.

Just remember to dress warm and you will be fine…

It was a fun night and I will go back a few times at least, before the season ends.

I am going skate shopping this week and for some pink laces like I saw one woman had.

The next time I will strap a pillow to me for protection :-) .

DAY#15 of 365-Toronto’s BEST Wings…The Wing Company!

Why has no one told me about this place before?

These are the best wings in the world…not just in Toronto.

I just stumbled upon  The Wing Company by accident as I was walking down King Street.  As soon as I walked into the restaurant at 700 King St. West @ Bathurst, I had a feeling I was going to like the food.  Very clean, bright and the level of attention to detail was impressive.  Friendly staff, the smiling and nice owner on site, and a stream of obviously very regular customers coming in to dine or for a quick pick up and a warm and welcoming and community “Cheers” like feel to the place…are always good sign.

There is a large selection different wing flavours, so I asked the cashier which ones were the most popular.  She said their ’signature’….’Smoked Lime Tequila’  and the Buffalo Style.  So I opted for the Buffalo Style-Hot!   For 10 big wings and choice of fries or celery and a signature dip, it was only $9.98.  I also had a Boylan’s Vinatage Creme Soda.

It was love at first bite.  I have never tasted wings like this before.  Wow the flavours were so intense and yummy!  These really are the best wings in the city.  No false advertising here.

Warning you may become addicted!

I cant wait to go back and I will be bringing some and telling all my friends!  They also deliver.

If you are having a Superbowl Sunday party,  a family dinner night, lunch, a late night snack after a night on the town, something to bring to a get together or when you are simply hungry and want something good to eat, etc….this is the place you want to go to or order your wings from.

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